Sunday, December 6, 2009

The First Collaboration Beer

This past week Schlafly was happy to host brewers from New Albanian Brewing of New Albany, Indiana and our local brethren O'Fallon Brewing for a collaborative brew day.

The project? A smoked rye IPA.

A long, somewhat serious, somewhat joking, conversation, during road-trips and beer festivals, plans were eventually made to jump in with a collaborative batch of beer.

After the grain and hop bills were agreed upon, a small test batch was brewed up by O'Fallon. Happy with the results, the recipe was prepared for the 15bbl brewhouse at the Schlafly Tap Room.

Despite several stuck mashes due to the two (count 'em, 2) varieties of rye (it helps to have extra brewers around to take turns stirring the mash), the smoked rye IPA was cast out, pitched and set to ferment. After fermentation is complete, the beer will be dry hopped and aged on oak.

No doubt that part of the conversation when we tap this beer early next year will be, "What do we do next?"

The smoked rye IPA will be available only on draft at several locations and in several markets. As we get closer to its release date, we will update where you will be able to try it. You can expect we'll also have a cask or two of this as well...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Augusta Bottoms Beer Fest

We're back from the Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival. A slightly chilly but successful event in gorgeous Augusta, MO. The event is hosted by the gracious crew at Augusta Brewing and the proceeds went to H.I.S. K.I.D.S, a group that supports families dealing with childhood cancer.

For those who were there, we appreciate everyone's positive comments. The best compliment, of course, is returning with empty kegs!

We were pouring Oktoberfest, Indian Brown Ale, Pumpkin Ale, a cask of APA dry-hopped with simcoe hops and we were also pouring what may have been the final few pints of American IPA. The pumpkin disappeared first followed closely by the IPA.

It's always good to meet with our fellow Missouri brewers and share some pints with Missouri beer fans.

Mark your calendar for next year. We'll be there, will you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kolsch Takes the Cake at Indiana Brewer's Cup

For the second year in a row, Schlafly's Kölsch has beer awarded first place in the Light Hybrid category in the Indiana Brewer's Cup.

The competition has been going on for several years now as part of the Indiana State Fair. The contest has two tiers, one for home brewers and one for professional breweries. Keep an eye out for photos.

The Schlafly Kölsch has been a proud member of our lineup for many years. We have been brewing it with a traditional German Kölsch yeast at temperatures lower than normal ale temperatures to allow it to develop the unique, crisp and clean flavor that typifies a Kölsch. Once you've tried the National Beer of Cologne (the German city where the style originated) you'll recognize it as an ale apart.

Originally distributed as the seasonal Summer Kölsch, we are now happy to provide Kölsch year-round. The response we have received from our customers led us to bring it on full-time. Not to mention, Kölsch is a beer that is always in season. Refreshing when it's hot and satisfying when it's cold.

While the brewers back in Cologne may dispute hanging the "hybrid" label on their beloved Kölsch, there just aren't that many Kölsch beers being submitted to the Cup, although the overall interest is growing. That said, Kölsch shares the category with Blond Ale, Cream Ale and American Wheat or Rye Beer, a potentially crowded field.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hot Liquor Lager

The first in line of a new series of "on-premise only" Brewer's Choice beers is the eponymous Hot Liquor Lager, designed by the lead singer of the Schlafly House Band The Hot Liquors. Brewer Eric Roy wanted a beer that blended the best of two worlds, a well-hopped, easy-drinking lager.

Weighing in at 49 ibu's and 6.0% abv, Hot Liquor Lager is a delicious hoppy lager fermented at 45 deg F has a big hop aroma and a rich hop flavor that satisfies without being overwhelming. Despite the high OG, the beer's great attenuation allows the malt to shine but finish clean and dry, necessitating another.

The Brewer's Choice beers are small batches-15 barrels or less-that will only be available at the Schlafly Bottleworks. This line of beers will allow the brewers a change to flex their creativity and give visitors a chance to try something unique.

Hot Liquor Lager
IBU: 49
ABV: 6.0%

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First Wort!

We have had the brewhouse off-line for the past two weeks as we upgrade it to accommodate the demand of the thirsty Schlafly fans. We have added a new, larger kettle that will utilize an internal calandria to provide a more efficient and effective boil.

We are also automating much of the process utilizing Siemens technology and their Braumat Compact software. It will allow our brewers to focus on producing the best beer possible with the new tools, rather than juggling valves and connections.

Well, the first batch of beer has made its way through the new brewhouse yesterday (Saint Patty's Day, appropriately enough). Here James "Otto" Ottolini, our production manager and resident engineer, and brewer Eric Roy examine and taste the first batch, sampled from the whirlpool. This is just prior to being transferred to the fermentation cellar.

I am happy to report the first batch is happily fermenting away...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Schlafly Photo of the Day

The ultimate in last minute dry-hopping; or how to make your beer pals jealous.

*Note: a small vial of isomerized hop extract may be easier to transport than a bale of whole leaf hops. But a hope head must do what a hop head must do....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Schlafly Photo of the Day

Nalgene sculptures.

All you need is an autoclave and Nalgene bottles that refrain from indicating whether they are autoclave-friendly polypropylene or the more pliable polyethylene.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Schlafly Photo of the Day

A look at the brewhouse as it once was. This photo is actually from this past summer. We are beginning the final phase of our brewhouse upgrade this weekend. The upgrade includes: a new, larger kettle with an internal calandria; an integrated CIP system; and automation provided by Siemens and their Braumat software.

The kettle is actually in place already, it was installed after the above photo was taken. It's located between the whirlpool and the existing kettle, which will become a hot wort receiver, allowing us to collect sweet wort from the next batch before the prior batch has finished boiling.

By integrating a wort receiver, automating the remaining mechanical systems on the brewhouse (most of the valves are already run using air-powered actuators-and using the Braumat computer control system to seamlessly drive the process, we hope to increase our efficiency greatly, allowing the brewer to produce more wort per shift.

This will help us keep up the growing demand for Schlafly beer. We thank everyone who made this upgrade necessary. Cheers!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Schlafly Photo of the Day

In order to sample our fermenting beer in an aseptic fasion, we have to bring the heat....

By hitting the sampling port with some flame from a hand-held butane torch after spraying it with ethanol (which is why the blue flame seems to spread so far), we can be assured that the port is free of any airborne contaminants that may have alighted upon it.
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