Author Topic: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed  (Read 6586 times)

Offline a10t2

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 03:41:38 PM »
It's amazing how many people will drink bad beer and think that's just the way craft beer is supposed to taste like.

Hey now, no fair stealing my business model!
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Offline gmac

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 03:46:37 PM »
It's amazing how many people will drink bad beer and think that's just the way craft beer is supposed to taste like.

It's not?

Offline jklinck

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2013, 02:20:16 AM »
The brewer and founder of a new farm brewery/hop farm in our area came to one of my clubs meetings recently.  They have an AMAZING story, great packaging, and seemed like great guys overall.   They are doing cool festivals, do a lot for their community, and have helped with legislative matters. 

Then we tried their beer....

Every one of them (4 different beers) produced on a 7bbl system were extremely flawed.  Acetaldehyde, fusels, lots of sulfur (?)...borderline offensive beer. 

They said they would love feedback, but I didn't necessarily feel comfortable sitting back, twirling my imaginary mustache, and asking them about pitch rates and yeast viability.  However I did ask them, "What yeast do you use in this beer", to which they both replied with quizzical looks.  Mind you, there was an amber, an IPA, a bitter, and a stout.  The reply was "one of the dry ones", but I'm not even sure they were fully confident in their answer. 

Part of me was thinking of emailing them privately and suggesting they get some formal sensory analysis done (politely).  I am awaiting my BJCP written exam grade, but am currently only a Provisional judge, so I'm not sure if that means me. 

Thoughts from pro brewers?   Homebrewers?

The President needs to create a new position called the Brewing Czar. Along with your TTB license you have to pass an oral interview with The Brewing Czar and they will evaluate your beer, brewing knowldege and tell you EXACTLY what they think. If your beer sucks and you don't know crap, then no license for you. They'll be told things like "don't re-apply until pitching rates and temperature control are no longer foreign ideas to you".
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2013, 10:46:31 AM »
The brewer and founder of a new farm brewery/hop farm in our area came to one of my clubs meetings recently.  They have an AMAZING story, great packaging, and seemed like great guys overall.   They are doing cool festivals, do a lot for their community, and have helped with legislative matters. 

Then we tried their beer....

Every one of them (4 different beers) produced on a 7bbl system were extremely flawed.  Acetaldehyde, fusels, lots of sulfur (?)...borderline offensive beer. 

They said they would love feedback, but I didn't necessarily feel comfortable sitting back, twirling my imaginary mustache, and asking them about pitch rates and yeast viability.  However I did ask them, "What yeast do you use in this beer", to which they both replied with quizzical looks.  Mind you, there was an amber, an IPA, a bitter, and a stout.  The reply was "one of the dry ones", but I'm not even sure they were fully confident in their answer. 

Part of me was thinking of emailing them privately and suggesting they get some formal sensory analysis done (politely).  I am awaiting my BJCP written exam grade, but am currently only a Provisional judge, so I'm not sure if that means me. 

Thoughts from pro brewers?   Homebrewers?

The President needs to create a new position called the Brewing Czar. Along with your TTB license you have to pass an oral interview with The Brewing Czar and they will evaluate your beer, brewing knowldege and tell you EXACTLY what they think. If your beer sucks and you don't know crap, then no license for you. They'll be told things like "don't re-apply until pitching rates and temperature control are no longer foreign ideas to you".

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Offline gsandel

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2013, 11:20:18 AM »
Quote
I have kind of the same problem with a local brewery.

I have just recently had the same experience, and was thinking it was just me being overly critical or came at a bad moment in time.  I wonder if it is the same place.
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2013, 11:37:56 AM »
Quote
I have kind of the same problem with a local brewery.

I have just recently had the same experience, and was thinking it was just me being overly critical or came at a bad moment in time.  I wonder if it is the same place.
  +1.  There is a fairly new brewpub around here that has really good guest taps (ie.,Stone, Founders, 3Floyds,etc.), but also serves their own beers.  They make beer that is incredibly flawed - I'm not a BJCP and it's easy to find fermentation temp issues, infection issues, mash temp/recipe formulation errors, all on top of beers that are bland, underhopped, some undrinkable.  A perfect storm of s#*t. The guy says his parents "helped" him start the place. A few more (or hundreds of) homebrew batches might have helped.
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Offline goschman

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2013, 01:44:20 PM »
It's amazing how many people will drink bad beer and think that's just the way craft beer is supposed to taste like.

I second this. In my opinion there are a lot of breweries opening around Denver, CO that just aren't that good. Instead of focusing on making solid beer, it seems that a lot are focusing on making hybrid/unique beers. I am amazed to see some of these places packed for average at best beer a lot of the time...

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2013, 04:42:52 PM »
It's amazing how many people will drink bad beer and think that's just the way craft beer is supposed to taste like.

I second this. In my opinion there are a lot of breweries opening around Denver, CO that just aren't that good. Instead of focusing on making solid beer, it seems that a lot are focusing on making hybrid/unique beers. I am amazed to see some of these places packed for average at best beer a lot of the time...

True.  But "underhopped" or similar comments show a bias toward highly hopped beers - which is a flaw as to some styles.  I agree however; if a BJCP qualified judge is saying that the beers are cr$p, then the brewer needs to know.  Sink or swim is one thing, but a little constructive criticism would delay the "sink".... Which is fair.  The whole concept of hybrid beers intrigues me, but I always say I judge a brewery by how well they brew to style on those styles I prefer.  I'm no hophead, so I don't care how well they make a DIPA.  How well do they make a cream ale, a Belgian Saison, a pilsner, an oatmeal stout, a porter, and a Belgian Dubbel?  That tells me more about them than their "creativity".
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2013, 04:54:18 PM »
This is what I ended up sending:

Henry-

We met a few weeks back when you came to the meeting at Cross Street Irregulars homebrew club.  I really enjoyed meeting you and your son and wanted to tell you I am really impressed with your brewery's story.  Further, I think you guys have a great brand and from what is sounds like, a really special brewery and farm. 

At the risk of giving an unsolicited opinion, I wanted to give some feedback on the beer itself, and didn't think the brew club meeting was the best venue.  I didn't take specific notes, but was picking up some pretty significant off-flavors, most of which seemed to be from either yeast pitch rate, yeast health, or fermentation temperature. 

Not having the beer to taste, I cannot specifically recall what compounds are present, nor what processes in the brewhouse might have caused them, but I seem to recall diacetyl and potentially some acetaldehyde.  However, you might want to consider putting a small tasting panel together and doing a blind triangle tasting (one sample with your beer, the other two with another commercially-made example of the same beer style, such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale next to your Tavern Pale Ale, assuming the latter is an American-style Pale Ale).  After the tasting notes are complete and compared, you may be able to trace it back to a process. 

You could probably solicit some local homebrew clubs to see if they have any judges available who would be willing to assist.  I do have my BJCP certification, but am awaiting my final score on my written exam to see if I achieved a score high enough for 'National' level.  Further, I am moving out of the area in about 6 weeks for work, so will likely be quite busy! 

In any event, I debated whether to send this email and give you guys feedback, but thought I would offer my opinion.  Worst-case, you can completely ignore me and hopefully be no worse off.  Maybe you are already doing quality control or are aware of the problem.  Maybe you just don't want any feedback, which, again, is understandable. 

Best of luck to you all-
Mike
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Offline euge

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2013, 04:59:33 PM »
Very diplomatic! Awesome!

I look forward to their response(s) or lack thereof. ;D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2013, 05:27:51 PM »
aaaand the response.

I won't be visiting their brewery and frolf course.  The flavors they have are not from water or fresh hops.  What those customers are in love with is the experience of being at a farm brewery.  I tried. 

Mike ,
Thank You for your input. Our ales do have a distinct flavor since we use unconditioned well water and our own hops.
There are times when our crew taste the different ales and feel that there might be a problem with some of our brew and then a few customers come in and fall in love with it.
Thank you again for the input.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 05:32:33 PM by mpietropaoli »
Primary: Common Cider; Xmas FauxCAP
Kegged: Pliny Clone; Rodney's Weizenbock; RIS
Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
Planned: Schwarz

Offline hd3

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 07:09:41 PM »
Wow...just wow.

At least you tried.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2013, 07:29:08 PM »
If you want to help, I'd approach them privately... doing it in front of the whole club would probably not be the best time to give them unpleasant news.  Tell them that you love their brand but think the beer has some flaws.  If they seem receptive to the unpleasant criticism you're about to give, elaborate.

Otherwise, let them fail.  There's going to be lots of cheap used equipment out there in a couple of years.   :)
+1

I agree as well.

If you really want to help them I would let them know on the down low.

Nice effort though.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 07:30:40 PM by bluesman »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2013, 09:14:20 PM »
I'm not really surprised that they are ignoring you.  They ask for feedback, but they don't really want it.

Although for the record, a triangle tasting would be totally inappropriate for picking out flaws if you are using someone else's beer.  You could do a triangle with SNPA and FWP31 and pick out the one that is different every single time, but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with either beer.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jklinck

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Re: How to tell a craft brewer his beer is seriously flawed
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2013, 03:22:55 AM »
aaaand the response.

I won't be visiting their brewery and frolf course.  The flavors they have are not from water or fresh hops.  What those customers are in love with is the experience of being at a farm brewery.  I tried. 

Mike ,
Thank You for your input. Our ales do have a distinct flavor since we use unconditioned well water and our own hops.
There are times when our crew taste the different ales and feel that there might be a problem with some of our brew and then a few customers come in and fall in love with it.
Thank you again for the input.

It doesn't sound like he knows what he's talking about and has little brewing experience, knowledge and/or a dead palate. What does unconditioned well water have to do with diacetyl or acetaldehyde? Plus those customers that fall in love the "off flavors" with may just be converting from BMC, which would make their opinion pretty much useless. Or maybe they're just being nice and will never return because the beer sucks.
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No temperature control
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Time for the dump bucket!

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