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Messages - majorvices

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5296
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 07, 2012, 04:39:24 AM »
Major I am happy to be an inspiration. 

And a model buddy! I wish I would have copied your set up when I first started! I think I started before you though so that would have been difficult. Still, really like what you did on your budget. Impressive set up and a good model for anyone trying to open a brewery on a shoe string budget.

5297
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 1st Saison
« on: January 07, 2012, 04:33:50 AM »
I say try one a week and judge for yourself. My saisons have always aged out well. If you like spice, then that will fade, of course. But I personally prefer Saisons that have not been spiced.

I didn't mean to insinuate that you needed to wait three months. As I said, my personal preference is fresh - I just meant I think 3 months is in the "fresh" window. You need to taste it ad just get a fee for when you think it is at its peek.

5298
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 1st Saison
« on: January 06, 2012, 10:35:42 AM »
I think they are best when fresh, personally. I consider 3 months to be way inside the fresh parameter however. If they are higher gravity saisons you may find they peak over time, but it is going to depend on your personal preference how long. Personally I like all the yeast characters that happen in the beer and I like the way they evolve over a few months but I don't care for them once the yeast character starts fading.

As far as brewing it is best to keep the grist simple. 100% pils malt is not a bad idea, though you can get more creatve than that if you want. One of my favorite saisons I have ever brewed is a red saison - certainly not typical. But for a tried and true saison you need to keep the grain bill very simple. It can be an elegant and complex beer from a very simple grain bill. I also like hops. I like to edge close to the top end of teh style guide lines and some grassy and/or spicy hops in the flavor/aroma.

And start the fermentation off on the cool side. 64 works for me and then I let it ride a few days around 66 and start cranking it up to the low to mid, even high 70s. Experiment around to find your sweet spot.

Saison is a very fun beer to brew.

5299
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 06, 2012, 08:56:56 AM »
I was just bringing up a "for-instance" of highs and lows. Our flagship beers are our bread and butter and we can not keep up with demand and we have pubs waiting in line to take our beer on. I love our flagship beers. Mostly the business is "high" for me but you always have your detractors. It's awesome to have people tell you how much they love your beer but you are always going to have those who don't. It's part of the risk we run by not having a "gateway" beer in our line up. IPA, Belgian White and German Alt.

I guess if you are looking for a Porter or English ESB you are going to be disappointed.  ;) Our focus is on German and Belgian Ales and American IPAs.

5300
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 06, 2012, 06:24:50 AM »
Well, we had built our facility to house a 15bbl brew house with 30 bbl tanks so I guess if you build a tiny space and don't expect to grow then it can be done for a lot cheaper. In terms of actual equipment we spent a good deal more on our jacketed conicals than we did on our little 40 gallon blichmanns. But 3bbl tanks are not much less than 7 bbl tanks which are not much less than 10 bbl tanks which are not much less than 15 bbl tanks.

Also, we probably spent 2Xs as much as Thirsty Monk on our initial build and he was putting out more beer in a month that we were our first quarter I highly encourage you to look at what he has done. I have stolen lots of ideas from him.). There are some really cheap methods of doing things if you look to frankenbuilding your equipment. And plastic conicals are extremely affordable and easy to rig. We bought 4 plastic 3 bbl conicals for as much as we paid for two 42 gallon blichmann conicals.

5301
Beer Recipes / Re: belgians for ageing
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:43:05 PM »
Dark beers do age longer because dark malts have an anti-oxidant effect. I do not think tripels lend themselves well to long aging periods, though certainly they can be good 6 months and beyond they are usually better when fresh. In fact, a lot of traditional trappist type beers seem to lose their nice "belgian yeast spice" after they pick up some age. OTOH beers with brett and other funky sour beers age wonderfully as the bugs continue to work in the beer. Even low gravity belgian ales with some wildness improve and become more complex as they age. Especially when aged in oak. You may want to be prepared to blend them, however.

Ginger flavor may fade, I'm not sure, but the heat sure doesn't. I made a ginger beer years and years ago that turned out really spicy like gingered ale. It was very hot and it retained that ginger spiciness almost a year later. I can;t recall for sure but it seemed like it retained most of the ginger flavor as well. I just remember how "hot" the beer was.

5302
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 05, 2012, 09:20:13 AM »
Big highs and big lows. Recently I had a guy come up to me and tell me he liked all our specialty/seasonal beers. He didn't care at all for our flagship beers, but really loved our specialty beers.  ::)

5303
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 05, 2012, 08:16:36 AM »
I'll add to this: As a homebrewer you have so much more control over your beer. You can pull it if it starts to develop flaws. As a pro I have dumped beer without hesitation, hurts as much or more than at home. But it is really difficult when you go to a pub or restaurant and your beer is not serving properly due to under-carbonation or signs of other flaws. I can honestly say we have done a pretty good job of quality control - unlike other local breweries we have gone well over a year without a returned keg. That is a real accomplishment IMO and one that I am proud of. Unfortunately there have been a few beers out there that developed stability problems that I am not too proud of. It's a tough gig to sit down with a pint of your own beer to discover that it is not what you had hoped it would be. Sacks the ego pretty hard. When it is homebrew you can just pull the tap. But once the beer leaves your brewery it is not yours anymore.

5305
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:41:38 AM »
You mean some of them actually do offer again? I would really like to try your beer some time - you must brew some really good stuff!  :)
Sometimes.  The key is to only serve the good stuff ;)

Bhahaha!  ;D
Same holds even after you go pro, right Keith? ;D

Both home and pro brewing.  ;)

5306
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Ferment 3 gal batch in a 5 gal bucket????
« on: January 04, 2012, 07:54:52 PM »
The problem is you are going to only be drinking 3 gallons of beer.  ;)

5307
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 07:53:37 PM »
You mean some of them actually do offer again? I would really like to try your beer some time - you must brew some really good stuff!  :)
Sometimes.  The key is to only serve the good stuff ;)

Bhahaha!  ;D

5308
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 04:03:26 PM »
There is one more thing to consider.
Health Insurance.

On site sales have higher margin but you have to have someone who is there to serve it.
Consider non traditional / returnable packaging.
Take deposit for your packaging.

Self distribution.
Consider that you will spend fair amount of time distributing.
This goes nicely to brand building.
You are in charge and control your growth.

Bottled beer has higher margin then draught beer (at least for me).
Draught market is tough.

Good Luck.

I would like the option to be able to self distribute but having a distributor is well worth it. We are able to have our beer from Huntsville to Auburn and soon even further. I could never do this myself or pay someone.

As far as bottles, the profit margin is higher but so is the amount of labor.

Not disagreeing with my fellow cohort, just adding some side points.

5309
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 01:26:33 PM »
Brew pubs are great money making opportunities but they are also multi-million dollar projects. The beer is also usually secondary to the food and is just as often rendered a a novelty. There is also a TON of more regulations involved with restaurant. If you are on a strict budget a brewery with a tasting room and local distribution is the only way to go.

Also, the longer I am involved with this business the more I realize that it really ain't that much more expensive to build a 3 bbl brewery than it is to build a 10 or 15 bbl. I basically set myself a year behind by building the size brewery I did. Would do it different today if I could.

5310
Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 11:52:32 AM »
My personal feeling is I think you could make it work with a tasting room, off premise sales (growlers to go) and low volume local distribution on a 3 bbl scale. Maybe even a 2 bbl scale. Especially if you could sell growlers for sale at grocery stores/beer vendors. You may even be able to make a living at it, as long as you don't mind eating ramen.

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