"Left for Dead": Spirits made from discarded beer!

Article here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/food-drink/article80145277.html

This distillery in Kansas City is taking waste beer that would have otherwise been poured down the drain by the Boulevard Brewing Co, and distilling it into… what would you call it? Just “spirits”? I guess the taste would largely depend on what kind of beer it was distilled from. As the article states:

It sounds intriguing. I’ll have to pick me up a bottle once it hits the stores.

I made some of that from some of my failed fermentation attempts: beer that wasn’t good, overly sweet mead, and pear wine that was disgusting. And the result out of the still and diluted to 80 proof was…disgusting. But I threw in some oak cubes, forgot it about for a year, and when I tried it again it was surprisingly very good.

Their spirits, with a more uniform source, have better potential. But I might wait for the barrel-aged versions.

This is something you can make from bar swill?

This reminds me of the beers BrewDog of Scotland made:
Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32% ABV
Sink The Bismarck at 41% and
The End Of History at 55%.
For these they used ice distilling so it might retain more “beeryness” than the heat distillation method. I’ve tried Tactical Nuclear Penguin and I’d describe it as beer brandy.

From the article I think it’s more “this barrel of beer doesn’t fit the style so we’re not going to tap it and serve it to customers” that’s being distilled, NOT “Bob only half finished his beer before falling off his stool drunk” leftovers.
Basically, if you screwed up brewing the beer by adding too much/little of the hops/malt/yeast/water, you distill it instead of throwing it away.

I’ve had several vintages of Sam Adams Utopias (~27%ABV).

Very nice stuff, I wish I could afford to have a few bottles at home.

Technically it IS a whiskey of some kind as it’s distilled from fermented grain, but they probably would have to label it as Hop Flavored Whiskey, and that sounds unpleasant. Without the hops, they’d probably be able to label it as Light Whiskey or maybe Straight Malt Whiskey (if aged appropriately).

https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf (pages 4-2 through 4-5, and 4-12).

I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of “waste beer”. :eek:

Of the hundreds of homebrews I’ve whipped up, I’ve only had one I couldn’t drink. A friend of mine tried it, and said, "That’s the best homebrew Guinness I’ve ever tasted!"


Heh. A friend made a Farm House Ale last year and contamination with Lactobacillus or similar turned it into an extreme sour. He was going to dump the batch, but I convinced him to bottle it for me and a few other sour-lovers.

Out here in Colorado it’s normally called Bier Schnapps the best example is Feisty Spirits. There is going to be a lot more of these distilled spirits specialties as the craft spirits industry continues to mature.

From a bigger brewer it can make sense. If you’re producing an IPA, a Golden Ale, and a Red Irish, and you produce something that’s black and opaque, it may be delicious but you can’t bottle it as any of your current offerings. A really tiny brewery might just make a one-off for the batch, but larger ones probably consider it a waste.

Yeah, it’s probably process control issues, like pitching too little yeast, or fermenting at the wrong temp, or getting the grain bill a little off. Nothing that would make a bad batch of beer, but flaws that would make it clearly NOT say… the standard Boulevard Wheat.

I mean, what if someone botched it up and put 3x the amount of bittering hops in the kettle? I suspect the resulting beer would probably actually be pretty good, but it wouldn’t be Boulevard Wheat, and I don’t know if they’d be able to turn on a dime and resell it as some kind of limited edition brew, as the labeling has to all be ATF/TTB approved. Even if they could, it’s time, effort and money to do that, and in the larger breweries, it might well be cheapest to just dump the beer.

You or I would just keep it since it’s drinkable, and enjoy it for what it is, without any real expectations as to style or comparisons to previous brews.

AFAIK, that is not distilled, though. It’s just fermented/brewed.

You are correct. All the talk about high gravity products got me worked up.:smiley:

Try some of the eisbocks that are made by freeze distillation - drop the temperature until some of the water forms ice crystals, then remove those leaving a higher alcohol beer that retains more aromatics than with regular distillation. There’s been a battle raging over who can make the highest ABV, with the latest I know of at 67.5%.

It would be interesting to compare these to the distilled spirits made from beer. And if I had $150-800 per bottle to spare, I’d get right on it.