I guess when you get predictable, any deviation from the predictable behavior is immediately noticeable. In this case, my inbox has been flooded with questions about when our next can release would be since it’s been a few weeks and we’ve been a bit quiet during that time. The date for the next can release has been planned for a while now… August 31st. Since we had been in a good routine of releasing 3 beers every other Saturday, that does seem like a long time between releases… but we have good reason!
Over the last year and a half or so, we have built up quite the archive of barrel aged beer. With our normal production schedule, we empty tanks and the next day, the tanks are cleaned and refilled. The problem here is we need empty tanks for blending barrels and carbonating them. We thought we had it all sorted out when we bought lager tanks to double as barrel blending vessels, but we couldn’t resist filling those with Pilsener and Oktoberfest. Even after deciding we wouldn’t brew our Festbier this year, we called a last minute audible. We were just going to miss the beer too much and we didn’t start a brewery to NOT brew the beers we love most. We have barrels that I’ve been dying to release though and no tank space to blend them.
That lead to us making the decision to take a break from our regular schedule and start working on these barrels we want to release. We’ve got a seriously busy schedule in the next few months, and we’ve got beers that we want to share! For the last 11 months, we’ve had our Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon, VSOP Brandy, Sea Salt, Maple Syrup, and Vanilla Barrels. This is the second half of the RIS that we canned last Fall which was brewed using a reiterated mash that clocked in at 15.5% ABV when we put it into barrels. All 5 variants are in the process of getting bottled now and are scheduled for release on August 31st… the same day as a triple batch can release.
For the cans on the 31st, we have a killer lineup of hazy IPA’s. The one I’m most excited about is a new session IPA which features a really cool new hop product from Barth Haas. **For the TLDR crowd, skip the next paragraph** It is a super critical co2 extract made from Citra. Normally, co2 extracts in the USA have been thought of as a good source for bittering. I’ve used them frequently for that purpose since it provides a good bitterness that doesn’t linger on the palate. When I studied in Munich though, I talked with a few brewers that said they were using varietal specific extracts for flavor and aroma and that super critical co2 provided them with a characteristic flavor of the variety used without sacrificing anything. This differs from other extraction methods and products where the flavor changes or only certain attributes of the hops are extracted through isolation of the specific compounds that contribute to those attributes. The new method of super critical co2 extraction for American aroma varieties makes it possible to produce even more intensely aromatic hoppy beer without getting any of the grassy or vegetal notes that you might get from trying to add more hop pellets to the beer. While Barth Haas says you can use 20% of the amount by weight to create the same effect as pellets, that’s not how we roll in Tombstone. We will use it to create a far greater aroma intensity while minimizing bitterness.
**TLDR version: We got a new cool hop product made from Citra. It’s going to help us elevate our IPA game to the next level.
We will also have a new Triple IPA which features Ella hops in the dry hop and Another Exercise in Mediocrity getting released on the same day.
But that’s not all… if you’re keeping score so far, we have 5 barrel aged Russian Imperial Stouts, a session IPA, Another Exercise in Mediocrity, and Ella Triple IPA getting released on the 31st. If that wasn’t enough, we will have 3 new sours in bottles.
Last November, we had the idea to release a series of sours that would be inspired by paletas (a kind of Mexican popsicle that uses fresh fruit). We fermented some sours in our funky container; 2 goses and a Berliner, and added fruit last week. The first three paletas beers are: Watermelon and Lime Berliner, Plum and Tamarind Gose, and Cantaloupe and Hibiscus Gose. These are not kettle sours. In fact, in the case of the cantaloupe and hibiscus Gose, it is a spontaneously fermented beer that was fermented next to our Brett barrels. All of these beers have live lactobacillus and house yeast cultures in the bottles. The beers are bottle conditioned in 750 ml cork and cage bottles.
While we might have skipped a round of cans, don’t worry… we’ve been gearing up for our biggest release in TBC history… and that is just the lead up to our most hectic time of year the following month when we have wet hop beers and hop lot selections. Stay tuned!