Friday, November 13, 2009

Cigar City Brew News

Damn it. Bolita Infection.

Someone mentioned to me they were picking up some sourness in the second batch of Bolita bottles. I had them send me some. Definitely an infection. If I had to guess, it is brettanomyces. Very barnyard aromatics, dry finish. Very much the hallmarks of brett. But it could be something else. I also checked our stock. The stuff we have kept cold isn't showing the brett infection (but brett needs warmth to really work) but the stuff in our warmer cellar, was showing it. At this point I have to assume the whole batch is turning.

This was only the bottles from the 2nd batch and only the bottles. The draft doesn't seem to have suffered any infections. This leads me to suspect that it picked the infection up from our bottler. The run we did before Bolita was Guava Grove. The yeast for Guava Grove was from Saint Somewhere and we suspected there might be bugs in the yeast, but thought we could handle it. What I suspect happened is that the tubes that run co2 up to the filler holding tank got beer in them and being soft material the paracetic acid we use for sanitizing after we do a bottle run either didn't get far enough up the tubes or didn't penetrate the soft material enough to kill the infectious agent.

What this means is the Bolita that went out just fine in its bottles, is now very much not as was intended. If you like brett or bretty oud bruins I suspect you are going to be really tickled about this and want to lay some down for a year. But if, like me, you prefer Bolita the way it was intended I sincerely aplogize. This is my nightmare and the simple fact is we failed on this batch of beer. In way of restitution anyone who brings in a bottle of 2nd batch Bolita (flared campagne style bottles) will receive a $10 tasting room credit for any future purchase and my apologies. No questions asked. The credit can be spent on anything including future limited releases such as Capricho Oscuro #2 which will release, most likely, in January.

And in the truest "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade" fashion we will take those bottles of Bolita returned to us and put them in a barrel, add lots of additional bugs, some fruit and whatever else we think we need to add and make a small batch of some very tart and funky beer that started life as Bolita. Think of it as reform school for a beer gone bad. Only the idea is to make the beer go even worse to the point that it is good again!

Again, I sincerely do apologize. I know these things happen to the best of breweries, much less our ragtag operation, but it doesn't make me feel any better. I take the quality and integrity of our beer very seriously and this batch ended up with a noticeable infection. You have our promise we will work to remedy the situation as best we can.

Joey Redner

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