Quaff Bros. to merge with Quaff On Brewing for new barrel-aging project

In an almost-destined move, Quaff Bros. — the Cincinnati-based barrel-aged beer collaboration project — will merge with Quaff On Brewing in Indiana.

Brew Minds talked with Quaff Bros. founder/owner Danny Gold about the change on Thursday and what it means for his current projects. [For a little history, check out the first article Brew Minds wrote about Quaff Bros. here.]

RELATED: Official press release from Quaff On Brewing

“When I left The Party Source, it was on good terms and they gave me the rights to Quaff Bros.,” Gold said. “Given that Quaff On is so close in name, and that I came to work with them, it just seemed like a good fit.”

“Quaff Bros. has always stood for a couple things — it stands for collaboration and friendship, and pushing the envelope while creating the highest quality liquid we can,” — Danny Gold

The creator of storied barrel-aged collaborations such as Blue Melvin went on to say that it works from a business perspective too. Quaff On was looking to start a barrel-aging project as it opens a new, larger facility in Southern Indiana.

“We thought there was a lot of potential,” Gold said. “I’ll still be based in Cincinnati, but this will eventually cut down the 1,000 weekly miles of travel I do as we expand into Greater Cincinnati someday.”

The new facility outside Bloomington houses a brewery, barrel program, distillery, and restaurants. From a logistical standpoint, it means that Gold will be able to set a timeline on collaborations and more efficient source barrels and work with breweries besides Quaff On.

“Quaff Bros. has always stood for a couple things — it stands for collaboration and friendship, and pushing the envelope while creating the highest quality liquid we can,” Gold said. “By having a headquarters, it will allow me more time to control the timeline and production schedule. I can have my friends such as Fifty West Brewing, West Sixth Brewing, or Jackie O’s come out to my shop and we don’t have to wait on anything.”

He added, “The new facility will allow me to get the barrels as soon as the distillery is done with them and fill them with beer. Quaff Bros. originally begin as a collaboration and we have no plans to change that. If anything, it opens up more avenues.”

“This will allow us to restart Quaff Bros. with a clean slate so we can start fresh,” — Danny Gold

As for the current projects, Gold said he only has a few beers resting in barrels currently. Those projects haven’t maturated yet but information should be released once the beer is ready.

“This will allow us to restart Quaff Bros. with a clean slate so we can start fresh,” Gold said.

As for the awaited projects with the now-shuttered Blank Slate Brewing, Gold said they are deliberating what to do with those beers.

“Obviously we don’t want to have to dump the beer, but we have to figure out the smartest move for everyone. Those beers also include Against the Grain Brewing, so we have to figure out the logistics of making it work,” Gold said.

As for the merger, it will take effect almost immediately and will be “official” as of Saturday.

The first big release for the combined project will come at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers, (FoBAB,) in Chicago this year. Gold said they are submitting a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout called “Fools Russian” — get it? Fools-Rush-In — as well as variants. He said the beers should be released to the public sometime after the contest.

The change in business structure will also mean a change online, so fans should watch Quaff Bros. Facebook page and other social media for the latest updates.

Beer Review: Founders CBS

If you haven’t heard of Founders CBS I don’t blame you. If you haven’t heard of Founders then I am very sorry for you. Founders is a fantastic brewery out of Grand Rapids, Michigan that makes a range of amazing beers. The story of CBS starts with their winter seasonal Breakfast Stout. Founders Breakfast Stout is released from October through February and should be found in most better beer stores in most of the eastern half of this country. It’s a delicious oatmeal stout with flavors of chocolate and coffee, if you haven’t had it go out and buy it now.

Every April Founders releases KBS (Kentucky Breakfast stout). It is only available in the best (best at selling Founders that is) beer stores and you will likely need to enter a raffle or know someone at the store to get it. To make KBS Founders takes the Breakfast Stout and [correction: KBS is not exactly the same recipe as Breakfast Stout, just very similar]  ages it in bourbon barrels for a full year. So you get all that awesome coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal action found in the Breakfast Stout plus the oak and vanilla attributes brought on by bourbon barrels.

Once, one single time, in 2011 Founders released CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout). Instead of using standard 2nd use bourbon barrels (once for bourbon, once for beer) like they do with KBS they used 3rd use bourbon barrels that had been used to age bourbon, then used to age maple syrup, then used to age beer. Yep, bourbon maple syrup, I’d love to try that stuff. The maple syrup added more sweetness and complexity on top of an already complex and succulent beer. Here is Founders short blurb on this beer:

Canadian Breakfast Stout is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that have most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup. The final product has had stellar reviews and is usually among the top 5 highest rated beers in the world on BeerAdvocate.

Founders CBS has become an unobtainable white whale for many craft beer aficionados out there. It’s so rare that in my 3 years of trading beer I have never once seen it offered for trade though many people are in search of it. I had honestly given up my hope of every having this beer until my annual trip to visit my family in Atlanta over Thanksgiving led us to The Brick Store Pub. The Brick Store Pub has an obscene cellar list that includes a bottle of CBS for $150 dollars! Though $100 of that goes to charity, so I rationalized this purchase because I always give around $100 to charity around the holidays but hadn’t yet this year. Thus that $100 took care of my yearly charity donation and I got CBS!! Enough of that, on to the beer!

Continue reading “Beer Review: Founders CBS”

Review: Quaff Bros Big Kahuna

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Coconut beers always seem to be a disappointment to me. It always just seems to be a hint of coconut, leaving me wanting more. After drinking Big Kahuna from our buddies Quaff Bros across the river (though brewed on this side at Listermann), I can safely say that this is no longer the case. Utilizing coconut flakes, toasted coconut, and coconut oil, this beer essentially tastes like it has been aged inside of a giant coconut that previously housed bourbon.

It starts off looking like every other stout, porter, etc. in the world. The only differentiating figure looks-wise is the Coca Cola head on it; big brown bubbles. It gave me pause for a moment because I was under the impression that fatty coconut kills head retention. I guess not always. From the smell alone, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat if you’re a fan of coconut. For just about the first time I’ve experienced with a Quaff Bros beer, the barrel takes the back seat here. In the driver’s seat (and probably the passenger’s, as well) is COCONUTBourbon is in the child seat in the back and the base beer (an imperial porter for those who care), is bound and gagged in the trunk.

The taste, following this trend, is dominated by coconut, with a slight butterscotch flavor either from barrel or base beer. It’s tough to tell. The bourbon is even more muted in the flavor, though to be fair, barrel characteristics often include coconut notes, so it’s entirely possible this is getting lost. Also strange is a slight lactic twang on the finish. I have not the slightest idea what would lend this, but I don’t care for it.

The coconut here is obnoxious and somewhat reduces drinkability (in my modest opinion, of course), but that’s the whole point. It’s supposed to be obnoxious. This is a good, not great, beer, but I am happy that I have another bottle. If I’m going to buy a unique beer, I’d much rather make it a local one than one Sam has recreated from some terracotta pot in a third world country. I know there are a handful of people whose palates I respect who really enjoyed this, but I’m having a tough time putting it on the same level as Sour Grapes, Joseph, and a few other top tier Quaff beers. Maybe it’s just that I don’t appreciate coconut enough. Who knows.

There are still more than fifty bottles of this at Party Source, and if you and a buddy go in on it together, at $9.99 a bottle it won’t cost you more than buying a drink at the bar. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of coconut, you owe it to yourself to get over there and pick up the maximum of four bottles you’re allowed to buy.

P.S. In other cool Quaff Bros news, their “Corn on the Knob” will be on draft at Great American Ballpark on June 14 when the Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Beer Review: Founders Double Trouble & Doom

I’m coupling these two reviews into one post because Doom is just Double Trouble… after spending 4 months in bourbon barrels. Double Trouble is Founders standard double IPA that is released in mass during May and June while Doom is only available now… if you can still find it. I was lucky enough to score a bottle before everywhere in town sold out thanks to the assistance of my sister-in-law. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to find anymore Doom around town but you can look this up again next year and find Double Trouble wherever better brews whenever the weather is cold.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Double Trouble
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 86
Calories: ~280

Absolutely beautiful rich golden color with a snow white head topping.

Pungent aromas packing citrus into every nose hair.

Woah, super bitter kick in the palate. After that initial wave of bitterness comes grapefruit hops and a slight malty body that doesn’t come close to balancing things out.

Medium body with loads of carbonation, a slight bit of alcohol, and a lingering slickness.

This definitely lives up to the name Double Trouble and the style double IPA. With all the IPAs, and various sub-categories of IPA, out there this doesn’t come close to being one of my favorites. But it is an enjoyable brew, just not one I’d be in any kind of rush to have again. If you go crazy for citrus hop bitterness then you’ll go crazy for this. Love the label on this brew but it kinda blows that there’s no back story to it on the bottle. It just has the name, style, IBU, and ABV, oh and of course the gov’t warning.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Doom
Style: Barrel Aged Double IPA
ABV: 10%
Calories: ~400

Comes out a slightly deeper golden hue then Double Trouble did with a LOT more of that same fizzy pure-white head.

Very slight bitter aroma mixes with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some citrus hops.

Surprisingly hoppy taste, I expected the citrus and bitterness to be much more subdued after 4 months in a barrel. All that mixes delicately with sweet caramel and vanilla backed by a solid amount of bourbon. Resulting in a very balanced flavor.

Medium body and mild carbonation come together for a mediocre mouth feel experience.

I have a feeling that many people will find this to be a great beer I, however, do not. It’s a good beer, and an interesting beer, but we don’t need to bourbon barrel age EVERYTHING just as we don’t need to hop the crap out of everything. Also $15 for a 750 ml is $5 more then I’m really interesting in paying for something less then spectacular. Call me cheap if you want but the value is rarely there at that price. All that said I’d still encourage folks to try this once, just get a bottle to split with 2 or 3 friends next year or this year if you get lucky!

Edit: Turns out I misunderstood the rarity of Doom. As part of Founder’s Backstage Series we may never see this beer again. Sorry if I got people excited. I know O’Bryan’s in Loveland had some as of Saturday (4/27) and folks are trading them online, so if you’re really interested don’t give up hope!

Beer Review: Epic’s Big Bad Baptist

Back in the heady days (of 2 weeks ago) when folks (or just me) were hounding around town trying to track down every last bottle of Founder’s KBS (my review) Josh told me to look for Epic’s Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout. This is a bourbon  or whiskey, barrel aged beer just like KBS and from what I’ve been told it has a very similar profile. Luckily though, unlike KBS, it’s much more available much more often. I scored this bottle at Arrow Wine & Liquor up in Centerville and they had 2 more bottles left. Each batch of the Big Bad Baptist is slightly different than the others and this one, batch #10, has the following:

Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout #10

Brewed on August 24, 2012. Packaged November 15, 2012.
This release was aged in both whiskey and bourbon barrels, primarily first-use whiskey casks, and second-use bourbon casks.  Additional dark chocolate and fruit flavors mingle with the whiskey and bourbon notes.

The Grains/Malts
Muntons Maris Otter Malt, Briess 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal Muntons, Weyermann Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley
Ibis Coffee (Gayo Mountain Sumatra Dark) and Cocoa Nibs.

The Hops
Nugget, Chinook, Cascade

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