Company Homebrew Competition -

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And The Winner Is…

Kegerator.com sponsored an employee beer brewing competition over the month of November, and the winner was recently announced. There were four participating teams:  Rainbow Ale, Brew Ha Ha’s, Holiday Five Pack, and Schlitz and Giggles.

All put up a good fight – but ultimately, the judges had to choose just one to be the winner. And how did they determine the best beer you ask?

We arranged for a panel of beer aficionados (the brew class instructor from Austin Homebrew and two unbiased company execs) to rank the brews. They came to an undisclosed location (AKA an upstairs conference room) for scoring each team’s batch based on the following four criteria:

  • Presentation
  • Aroma and head retention
  • Flavor
  • Overall perception

JB, our brew class instructor and actual beer expert, lead the tasting – giving Rick, our CEO, and Peter, one of our VPs, his insights throughout the process. Interestingly enough, the scores came out synonymously, which affirmed a true winner.  Phrases used to describe the victor included, “excellent, almost-commercial, and a true first place.”

The winner was Schlitz & Giggles’ Meadow Muffin, a medium-bodied brown ale with hints of chocolate and malt. Out of a possible 120 points, Meadow Muffin came in at a not-too-shabby 102.

 

Kegerator.com congratulated its first ever beer brewing competition winners with a trophy of a home brew keg and tickets to a local beer tasting event.

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Debut Day! | Schlitz and Giggles

Today is a landmark day at the Schlitz & Giggles Brewery. Our new beer is making its debut on store shelves!

Meadow Muffin Brown Ale is a medium-bodied beer that has hints of chocolate and malt. Our secret ingredient adds that hint of spice, which gives a kick to the overall smooth flavor of the beer.

We decided on the name Meadow Muffin, because we wanted to give back. This brown ale is a tribute to the average American farmer who has gone through tough times. The American economic troubles have taken its toll on many Americans, but few have been hit harder than the farmer. So we have decided to donate 10% of all proceeds to the Certified Horticultural and Agricultural Farmer Fund (CHAFF) to help revive the fledging agricultural industry.

We are also rolling out each bottle with a specialized code on the label that could enter you into the drawing for a $1 million grand prize. You will see a QR code like the one below on each specially-marked bottle:

All you have to do is snap it and send it to WIN-BIG (946-244) for your chance to win!

We hope you have as much fun drinking our Meadow Muffin as we did making it and, as always, drink this Schlitz responsibly!

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Final Day | Brew Ha Ha’s

The day has finally arrived… the judges will taste our beer today.  A couple members of our team did a taste test last night and gave Bee Caves Imperial Stout two thumbs up; let’s just hope the judges agree.  If not, well…at least our label looks amazing!!

Speaking of our team, the Brew Ha Ha’s FINALLY got a team picture this morning.  That’s Michael, Ashley, Kari and Stefanie.  Unfortunately, Blake was on vacation today so he’s missing from our photo.

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Unique Piece | Schlitz and Giggles

Our Marketing campaign has hit America’s heartland! The following newspaper article was found on the Omaha World-Herald website (omaha.com):

Published Tuesday, November 30, 2011

Guerilla Marketing for Beer Draws Buzz

By Roem Niodar
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

In what some are calling the most bizarre marketing to ever be featured in Nebraska, a small farm about 20 miles outside Omaha is the site of a buzz-worthy billboard that asks more questions than it answers.

The Jones Farm & Ranch in neighboring Fremont, NE is currently playing host to the billboard planted seemingly overnight on a reserved plain of land. Featuring the text “What is Meadow Muffin?” the billboard is signed by Schlitz & Giggles, an up-and-coming American brewery that is fast becoming a household name.

Established in early 2011, this brewery’s fast-track to success can be traced back to its board of presidents. Known for their marketing prowess and willingness to take risks, these innovators are no doubt the ones behind this billboard, which should be no surprise to the business leaders who are familiar with the workings of the board.

With the brewery’s newest beer slated to make a December 9th launch, this is no doubt an attempt to create buzz for their highly-touted product. Industry leaders are speculating as to what this beer will be called, and this billboard gives a glimpse into what exactly this beer might be.

As a slang term, “meadow muffin” is used by farmers to describe animal waste left in the fields, most commonly by cows. While not terribly appealing to the ears, this question is further churning the rumor mill as to what the new Schlitz & Giggles beer flavor will be.

While many questions may still be in the air, most will not get them answered until December 9th. Asked about the billboard, Kevin Jones, owner of the Jones Farm & Ranch, said, “I may not like it on my field, but I will definitely be waiting to see what this new beer is going to be. I’ll be sure to pick up a six pack the day it comes out.”

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Rainbow Ale Fermenting & Bottling

A lot has happened since the Rainbow Ale team has last checked in and the beer judging is rapidly approaching so we figured you were definitely due for a status check.  Our last post left off with our Honey Brown Rainbow Ale in the primary fermenter.  The beer stayed in the primary fermenter for about a week.  During this time it was important that we kept it in a cool non-drafty location and let the yeast go to work.  We opted to store it in a corner of my dining room.  The first 2 to 3 days the air lock that was on the top of the primary fermenting bucket was going crazy.

It was noticeably bubbling as our brew was releasing CO2 which had one of my dogs very curious about this new object in our house.

After the first few days the bubbling started getting less and less and then at about a week of it being in the primary fermenter it was time to move our ale to the secondary fermenter which was a glass carboy.  We found out from our friends at Austin Homebrew that using a two stage fermenting process allows for better clarity on our brew. To move the beer from the primary fermenting bucket to the carboy we used an auto siphon (which made it way easier than trying to siphon the old fashioned way because what I had in mind was more like siphoning gas from a car with plastic tubing and you adding suction without trying to get gas in your mouth).  The first step it to sterilize everything.  This is probably the longest part of the process, but is definitely key.  After I was done sterilizing, I put the empty carboy on the floor and made sure to gently place the primary fermenting bucket on the counter above the empty carboy.  When transporting the primary fermenting bucket, you want to make sure not to disturb the sediment that has accumulated on the bottom of the bucket.  This sediment is called trube.  The idea is to try to get as little of the trube as possible into the carboy while getting as much as the liquid (AKA beer) in the carboy.  A good tip is to move the primary fermenting bucket to the counter or whatever place you are going to use to transfer the beer the day before.  This will allow time for any sediment that you stirred up while moving it to settle before you begin the transfer.

I took the lid off the primary fermenting bucket, which can be tricky, but luckily there was a tool in our kit to help with this.

I then plunged the auto siphon about half-way in the bucket making sure not to hit the bottom so I don’t disturb the sediment.  I then gave the auto siphon 2-3 pumps and voila the beer was flowing from the primary fermenting bucket to the carboy!

         


Here the trube that was left in the primary fermenting bucket after the transfer:

Here is the full carboy after the transfer:

         

Once it was finished, I placed the air lock tightly on the top of the carboy and moved it back into my dining room for safe keeping and there it sat for about another week.  During this time the air lock bubbled less and less until finally it stopped bubbling all together.  At this point we knew it was time to transfer our Rainbow Honey Brown Ale from the carboy to the bottles.

Once again we moved the carboy to the counter making sure not to disturb the sediment or trube that had accumulated at the bottom.  This too can be done the day before the bottling process to ensure the least amount of sediment possible gets in the bottles.  At this point you are supposed to take a hydrometer reading to ensure your brew is ready to be bottled and the bottles won’t explode on you, however, with the excitement of bottling our brew, we completely forgot about this very important step until it was too late so we had to just cross our fingers and hop for the best.

The very important step that we didn’t forget was to sterilize everything.  We formed an assembly line as we sterilized the bottles.  Anthony took them out of the box and handed them to Scott who proceeded to dunk them in the sterilizing liquid in the bucket and then handed them to me, Kara, who placed them on my dishwasher rack to dry.

It is very important to have nothing touch anywhere the beer will touch after it has been sterilized so this required strategically place the bottles on the rack where they were balanced but nothing actually going inside them including the rack prongs.  This meant they were kind of just hanging on the rack.

While we were doing this, Michael heated up the priming sugar on the stove and transferred the beer from the carboy to the sterilized bottling bucket with the auto siphon making sure to get as little trube as possible during the transfer.  He then added the priming sugar mixture to the beer and slowly stirred it in by using figure 8 motions for 2 minutes.

By this time the bottles were drying out and we set the bottling bucket on the counter, hooked up the bottling hose to the spigot and we were ready to start bottling…or so we thought.  We turned on the spigot and noticed nothing was coming out in the hose and was instead leaking out of the sides of the spigot where it connects to the bucket.  Uh oh, it was time for us to think fast!!!  Thanks to the genious mind of Michael, we decided to syphon the beer from the bucket into the bottles instead of using the spigot.  You see, if we didn’t have the spigot on, the leak wasn’t that bad, it was only when the spigot was open that the leak became a gusher and we thought we were going to quickly sacrifice all of our scrumptious Rainbow Ale to my floor.

Though not ideal, we once again formed an assembly line and siphoned our beer into the bottles.  Anthony handed Michael the sterilized bottles.  Michael filled the bottles up.

Anthony handed me the full bottles.

I gave the filled up bottles to Scott who capped them.  To cap the bottles, we used a capping tool that came in our kit.  You place the cap on the bottle and then clamp down with the capping tool, give the bottle a quarter turn, and clamp down again with the capping tool again.

You then make sure the bottle has a circle dimple on the top, and if so, it is ready to be placed in the box for safe storage for another two weeks.

We bottled 48 beers but of course made sure that there was enough left over to give our brew a little taste tester.  At this point in the brewing process the beer will have the flavor of what it will taste like when it is complete, however, it will not yet be carbonated.  The carbonation occurs when the yeast eats the priming sugar which happens while in the bottle.  We ceremoniously gave a cheers and tasted the uncarbonated version of our brew and if we do say so ourselves…it’s delicious.

Hooray for Rainbow Ale the best honey brown ale around!!!!

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