The Schlafly Beer Employee Blog

May 11, 2013

Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons

brennaWe have been making Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout since 2006, but never before has it tasted like this.  As our brewery continues to grow quality control becomes an ever growing more cirtical issue.  The key is to continue to make the best possible beer, despite brewing three times as much as we did in 2006. 

All of our beers have a set of specifications, abv, IBUs, color, clarity etc.  On occasion a batch falls out of spec for a variety of reasons mostly steming from the fact that we are using a living organism (yeast) to ferment an agricultural product (barley) which makes each batch a little different.  When a beer doesn’t meet our strict standards, we won’t sell it.  When we found out that a batch of our famous Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout was slightly out of spec, we, as a brewing team, were crushed.  We spend more time, effort, money and love on Imperial Stout than any other beer. 

Beer is not just a set of numbers, however,  it’s really all about taste, and this batch of Imperial Stout tasted great.  The last thing we wanted to do was dump 60bbls of great tasting beer, but we knew we couldn’t bottle it and sell it as our normal Imperial Stout.  So we decided on a third option, modify the beer and sell it on draft as a new beer. 

All sorts of ideas were thrown around, so many infact we decided to split the batch into four 15bbl batches and treat each one differently.  The first 15-bbls we decided to add raspberry purée to the bourbon barrels.  The second set of 15bbls we added vanilla beans, the third we added cocoa nibs, and the last 15bbls we will add coffee. 

The first batch, Raspberry Imperial Stout, goes on tap at the Tap Room on May 10th, and if I do say so myself tastes amazing.  Think chocolate covered raspberries. I’m equally excited about the other three as I know they will be an interesting twist on a great beer.  Come on down to the Tap Room and give one of them a try, each batch will go on after the previous one runs out, and should run through the whole summer.  Enjoy.