Improve Your Brew

by Andy Riedel, January 6, 2017

I recently had a wonderful conversation with a fellow head brewer and good friend of mine.  We discussed changes he’s making to their flagship (they sounds awesome, by the way), which lead to a discussion about changing beers that you’ve already released.  There’s obviously huge risk involved in doing such a thing, but he made a great point:


What’s the point of brewing if you’re not constantly trying to improve?


While that is paraphrased, I could not agree more.  With us being so new, there’s been a wealth of growth I personally have experienced as a brewer in our first year.  That means I don’t think of beers and recipes in the same way as I did just one year ago.


So what does this mean?  Well, we’ve made some adjustments to a couple of our beers.  We’ve made steps to ‘improve our brew’ (that’s a phrase I’ve been throwing out a lot lately).  While not drastic, these are the first steps towards a philosophy in beer that I have been developing.  If you are already a fan, I hope you love the changes.  If you didn’t enjoy our beers before, I hope you give us another chance!


I want to outline some of the changes we’ve made here, and I’ll start with Over The Moon:


One of the elements of Over The Moon that I wanted to tackle was a pronounced ‘stonefruit’ that I perceived in the beer.  We used a couple of tricks to get rid of that.  First we changed our crystal malt from 80 to 40 to bring out a more caramel flavor as opposed to fruit.  Second, we changed our yeast to a much cleaner yeast strain, leaving the malt to shine in this beer.  Speaking of which, we adjusted our proportions of malt as well.  This beer uses entirely chocolate and pale chocolate for its roasted character.  We shifted that ratio to be a little heavier towards the pale chocolate to bring out more of a milk chocolate character.  Further, we made some adjustment to our water chemistry to make it a bit softer and creamier.  Finally, we made a change to how we hopped and filtered, but that discussion is best left for our IPA…


Short Arm!  Short Arm is not changing too dramatically, but rather we are using new techniques.  One of those is how we hop our IPA (and in general, all our beers now!).  We switched to doing only a bittering charge, whirlpool additions, and dryhopping.  I’ve been ‘hop bursting’ since before I knew that ‘hop-bursting’ was a thing, and this is taking it to the extreme!  Additionally, we had been using hop extracts late in the boil.  While I love hop extracts (all the hop goodness, none of the plant-y stuff, technically speaking), it doesn’t work so well for late additions.  We definitely were experiencing mixing issues, and that led to some inconsistencies.  So no more late additions with extracts!  The other exciting bit of news is that we can now centrifuge instead of filter.  This should mean less striping of the flavors we worked so hard to get and a better beer all around!


The newest batches were just finished and are hitting distro over the coming weeks, so check them out if you can!  Again, I feel strongly that if you enjoyed our beers before, you still will love what we’re doing.  And if there were some things you didn’t like, you might be pleasantly surprised.  I read pretty much all the untappd comments (I’ve only cried myself to sleep a few times…) and we are definitely listening!


And don’t forget, with our taproom opening, we will be featuring the changes made, so please check them out there and say hello!

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