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.

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!

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.

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.”

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.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHooK-MWmsc?rel=0]

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.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkF11DkjLzE?rel=0]

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!!!!

Damage Control | Schlitz & Giggles

As many of you already know, we at Schlitz & Giggles are on the verge of announcing our new beer. It is due to be introduced in late November, and production has already begun at our plant. To ensure a quality product, part of our brewing process is taping various quality assurance videos, which remain safe within our company.

However, our QA videos were unfortunately leaked to the news media outlets, showing bits and pieces of the process we used to make our mystery beer. While we wish that this source had chosen not to leak these videos, we figured it would just be better to roll with the punches. Luckily, not enough of our secret was divulged to discontinue our late November launch, and so we decided to post those videos on our blog.

Please keep in mind that, while many of the various steps were meant to be top secret, most of them can also be used to brew your own style of beer at home.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYBJsmyZVg4?rel=0]

This process is known as steeping (just like with tea). We use a muslin bag to pour our secret blend of barley and malts, and steep it in the bag of boiling hot water for about 20-30 minutes.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPA5I4yA0NE?rel=0]

Our master brewers then let the mixture of the water and spices boil over an open flame for about 30 minutes.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAaKajG8Bs?rel=0]

The top-secret syrup is then added to the hot water, and the brewers make sure it is slowly poured in while stirring slowly to ensure it dissolves. Then the mixture boils for another 60 minutes. By the way, I recognize that dog… I may have just figured out who leaked this video!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IClDw0HH9y8?rel=0]

Then, 15 minutes before the hour of boiling is up, the master brewers add our bittering hops blend. After about 10 minutes, they then add flavoring hops to give it that extra Schlitz kick.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPDmko-9nbM?rel=0]

Following the boiling and adding of flavors, our brewers rapidly cool the mixture down to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in just 15 minutes to ensure all of the flavors are not boiled out.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcGxhthbSpA?rel=0]

Our mixture is then added to the fermenter along with water to make the complete brew. In this case, they added it to make 5 gallons of beer.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USE-YxpSY8w?rel=0]

This is the final result of the first half of brewing. The mixture stays in this fermenter for up to 2 weeks. The thing at the top is called an airlock, and it tells is if the brew is starting to ferment correctly.

These are the videos that were leaked, but luckily nothing incriminating came out of it. Now we just have to hope that no other video gets leaked… I think it’s about time we find the owner of that dog!

Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition, Brewery Buzz | Schlitz & Giggles

Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition

Brewery Buzz | Schlitz & Giggles

Welcome to Schlitz & Giggles Brewery, your one-stop shop for everything Schlitz! Our brewery was founded in 2011 with one focus in mind: to brew good Schlitz that everyone would want. Thanks to the executives of the brewery, we are on our way to achieve that goal!

Meet the Executive Team

Our brewery was founded by some of the most fascinating and brilliant people on the planet, and we are lucky to have them as our leaders. No one knows beer like they do, and they put everything they have into making the best beer. Blood, sweat, and tears went into making every perfect brew (well, not literally… at least we hope not).


Lana Anderson

Growing up in the streets of Harlem, Lana’s childhood was atypical compared to the average American girl. She was raised by her parents, two retired black ops commanders, to be one of the best ninjas the world has ever seen. At age 14, she entered the Strongman Competition in South Africa and, after competing 3 straight days in a champion tug-of-war match, she came up victorious. She spent most of her adult life meditating in a dojo in South Korea, stopping only to eat, drink, and fight crime. To this day, her name still strikes fear into the minds of the world’s most notorious criminals… and squirrels.

 


Rudy Cantu

Rudy’s mysterious background prevents us from really knowing the man behind the hair, but here is what our contacts at the CIA were able to dig up. Legend has it that Rudy was raised by a pack of mangy wolves somewhere deep in the valleys surrounding the Weisshorn mountain of Switzerland. His upbringing forced him into a state of continuous alert and constant vigilance, allowing him to develop superhuman traits like 20/10 vision and the ability to leap 20 yards with little effort. Trained by the Columbian military at the ripe age of 11, Rudy became one of the most sought-after demolition experts in the Western hemisphere.

 


Jeff Kaller

Jeff is the definition of a “manly man.” Seriously, look it up. His picture is right next to the words “manly man” in Webster’s dictionary. Deep in the Everglades of southern Florida, Jeff, minutes after being born, went to work on building a log cabin for him and his family. The laborious project took all of 30 minutes to complete, and Jeff was sleeping in his own toddler suite by the end of the night. Growing up, he always got the ladies and it is rumored that he was unable to carry credit cards because his personality was so magnetic. School was a breeze for him: by 18 he was able to speak fluent French in Russian and his photographic memory is in HD.

 


Todd Miller

As a cryogenically frozen test tube baby, Todd was raised by the aboriginal Australian people on the outskirts of the Great Victorian Desert. By the age of 23, he was the first and only multi-sport athlete to win championships and MVP titles in the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, and WWE. As a runner, his world record speed for the 100 meter dash came in at 1.2 seconds – 23.3 seconds faster than the time he beat. During his teenage years, Todd spent his free time dabbling in various hobbies, including watercolors, basket weaving, and underwater shark fighting.

 


Darin Moore

One of the most intelligent men of the last 500 years, Darin’s keen intellect helped him in his childhood when he gained the highest honor at any higher education institution, a Doctorate in Brewery Science, at the age of 15. Working to invent several uses for his favorite liquid, he built and patented the beer-powered flying car in hopes of saving the world’s energy sources from depletion. At 21, he co-founded a secret government program called SNASA (Secret NASA) designed to launch the first American onto the surface of the moon (not the moon that everyone knows, but instead a secret moon that orbits the Earth invisible to the naked eye).

 

 

Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition

Introducing The Holiday Five Pack

The Holiday Five Pack, if you’re not aware, is taken from the following Heineken commercial:

We are big fans of the advert and, since there are 5 of us, it made perfect sense for a team name. Holiday Five Pack consists of Melanie, Christine, Danielle, Linda and Titus.

Intimidated yet?

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to brew a dark beer because 1) the competition is being judged in December, so a light beer doesn’t work as well, and 2) Austin has hard water that gives off a slight bitterness and lends itself well to a dark brew. In the end, we chose to make a vanilla porter. Mmm.

The next step was to come up with a name for our beer. There were a few suggestions tossed around, including the clever “Pppporterface,” but Linda was dead set on including something relating to a wolf in the title. Why? We didn’t know for sure, but after we found this t-shirt at Austin Homebrew Supply, we knew it must be fate:

So we went back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, it seemed like every name we came up with was already taken. Howling Wolf? Taken.  Howling Wolf Mustache Beer? Taken. Obviously, we weren’t nearly as creative as we thought. We discussed the idea a bit more and decided the title should have some sophistication to it, then it came to us:

Image of the wolf was graciously provided by Jeremy of Sir Critter. It is only appropriate that he was inebriated when he came up with the idea. Thank you Jeremy. We hope to use the above image to print off labels for our bottles. Be sure to stay tuned for future posts on our brewing and bottling process. In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of our team photo shoot outtakes.

no images were found

Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition

Rainbow Ale Brewing Process

Team Rainbow Ale checking in here.  Our team includes Anthony, Michael, Kara and me, Scott.  We are making honey brown ale.  Michael chose this based on the description.  “Honey Brown is a full bodied American brown ale…”.  Mike thought it was perfect, since there are two full bodied American brown people on the team (Anthony and Scott, pictured center below).

Team Picture

Before we brewed, we went to Austin Home Brew to get the supplies, and learn the process. Check out the video Mike put together of that experience:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DShA5hsFZS0?rel=0]

So, we brewed our beer last night, and that was an adventure, and I mean that in a good way.  Austin Home Brew sent us home with all of the supplies we would need to make the perfect Honey Brown.

Brewing Ingredients

As the video explains, first we get the water up to 155 degrees.  We just settled for boiling, and let it cool from there.  Then, we added the malt, which smelled of honey and chocolate.  Luckily, we had something to put it in, because I was thinking we were going to use an old stocking (yeah, pretty gross, but you do what you gotta do).  We let that soak for 25 minutes, dipping it like a tea bag every so often.  After that was done, we added what looked and tasted and smelled like molasses (not sure of the technical term, but I called it the tasty goodness).  We got that to a rolling boil, and then the fun began!  TIME TO ADD THE HOPS!!  The hops had a sweet, slightly fruity smell to them, and look like rabbit pellets.  So, we took half the hops, and added them in the beginning for bitterness.

This is when we ate dinner, thanks to Kara’s husband Justin.  He grilled hamburgers (AMAZING) and hot dogs (even fat free, for us full bodied American browns).

The Grill

After 45 minutes, we added half of what was left for flavoring.  10 minutes later, it was time to add the rest for aroma.

Now, the fun began.  The instructions were very specific about getting this brew to 80 degrees within 20 minutes.  So, we created an ice bath in the sink, and took the mixture (keep in mind, it was boiling) and put it in there.  And, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  But, we forgot to set a timer, so it was unclear when 20 minutes were up.  I used the baseball game (Game 6 of the World Series) as a timer.  I figured 2 complete innings would be about 20 minutes.  It took almost that entire time to get it down to 80.

Cool Down

Then, we transferred the brew into the fermenting bucket and added 3 gallons of water.  After thoroughly mixing it, we tested the density, made sure it was correct, and put the lid on.  Now, putting on the lid proved to be a little more difficult than we initially realized.  I literally had to kneel completely on it to close the lid.  We thought we were all done, but WAIT!  Forgot to add the yeast (you know, that makes the alcohol, pretty important).  So, it was getting the lid off, another adventure, and then pouring the yeast in.  Now, in the brewing class, we learned that we are to sprinkle it evenly across the top.  But, yeah, that didn’t happen.  We just kind of put it in there.  We’ll see how that turns out…  The lid went back on (much easier this time), put the stopper and a little contraption that could be mistaken for a crack pipe into the stopper to allow the CO2 to escape.  And, voila!  Now, we are just letting it sit and ferment.  In two weeks, we will begin the bottling process.  SUPER GEEKED!!  So, that was our brewing adventure. Remember, when you are in the mood for a full bodied American brown ale, think….

Rainbow Ale LogoRelated Posts: Company Homebrew CompetitionTeam Rainbow Ale Introduction

Brew Ha Ha’s Brewing Process

Once we learned the basics at Austin Homebrew, it was time to do it ourselves. As previously stated, we chose the Imperial stout recipe. The brewing process was fairly simple and foolproof, from start to finish. The recipe was straightforward and step-by-step, allowing for an easy night of brewing. All the equipment was labeled and documented in a little pamphlet provided by AHB. The first step was to sterilize the stock pot, thermometer, and gigantic spoon. We visually inspected the equipment before sterilizing, but found no dirt or grime to clean. Earlier in the day, I took the hops and yeast out of the refrigerator to let them warm up.

Next it was time to bring the water 155˚F and then steep the grains. We added the grains to the boiling bag and let it sit in the water, periodically moving the bag up and down to really let the grains move through the water. We did this for about 26 minutes, and halfway through the aroma really began to waft through the kitchen.

Following the steeping process, we let the boiling bag drain excess water into the pot and then tossed the grains. The formerly clear water was now a dark black, so we were headed in the right direction. We added in some more water and began to bring the pot to a boil. With such a large amount of water it took about 30 minutes to bring to a full boil. Once it was at a continuous boil we added in the malt, which brought with it an overpowering, concentrated smell. The smell permeated through the entire house and it was almost enough to make one feel a little nauseous. Opening the kitchen window brought only a little relief. We let that sit for about 45-60 minutes, occasionally stirring so the syrup didn’t burn to the pot.

Once the malt was sufficiently dissolved and cooked, it was time to add the hops editions. The recipe only called for one packet of Chinook hops, scheduled to cook for 60 minutes, however a packet of Kent Golding hops had found its way into the ingredients bag. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I called Austin Home Brew and they advised that it would be okay to just throw the unscheduled hops into the mix at about 5 minutes left in the scheduled hops cooking time. That was good enough for me and I did just that.

Next was the hardest part of the entire process – bringing the wort down to 80˚F in 20 minutes. We set up an ice bath in the sink and placed the pot inside. The ice would melt pretty quickly so we would constantly drain the water, add more ice, and repeat until the wort was cooled. Unfortunately, it took a little longer than 20 minutes so hopefully that doesn’t affect the end result too much.  While the hops were cooking we had sanitized the fermenting bucket. It was time to dump the wort and add the yeast. After adding the wort and water to bring the brew to the necessary 5 ¼ gallon level, I stirred vigorously to allow it to breath and then added the yeast. I placed the lid on the bucket to close it up and, after adding sanitizer, placed the air lock in its designated hole.

It only took about an hour for the CO2 to start making bubbles in the air lock, which was a comforting sight. Hopefully the rest of the process is as easy as the brewing portion. We will update you once we begin the secondary stage.

Check out our video of the process:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9S56OnWJhM?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition, Brew Ha Ha’s: Austin Home Brew Class #1