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Old 08-23-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
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Default My Founders Brewing Co Story

Hello all, I havent posted here much, more of a lurker while I am learning the art of homebrewing. Anyway, I wanted to share with you an expirence I had with Founders recently. Maybe one of you can help me understand...or tell me Im over-reacting...

Some background: Simply put, I love Founders. I travel great distances to get there beers, go to all of their release parties, etc, etc, etc.

I reached out to them to ask a few questions about their process. I am brewing a nut brown ale for SWMBO in the next few weeks and I wanted to add some Cashews to it, similar to Founders Cashew Mountain Brown. I emailed them asking two simple questions.
Question 1: Where in the process do you introduce the Cashew? Mash, Boil, Secondary? And is there anything special you do to them first? Crush, Roast, etc?
Question 2: What type of yeast do you use? Is it a locally available homebrew yeast or a proprietary strain that was designed for you? If it is proprietary, would I be able to harvest it from a bottle?

Now I know I probably could have just harvested the yeast without even asking, but that is besides the point. I wanted to hear from the souce. Breweries like Rogue and Bells are more than willing to share yeast info. I have also always had great expiriences getting my questions answered when at the actual Founders Taproom. Apparently their email process is a little different...

Here is the response I recieved...
Due to proprietorship, we cannot divulge any process of recipe information concerning our beers. These recipes took years to perfect and they are proprietor to Founders Brewing Company. Thank you in advance for your understanding and we with you the best of luck in your brewing adventures. Cheers!

Are they serious? They didnt even acknowledge my questions. Was I out of line in asking those simple things? The info I asked for seems hardly proprietary. This "canned response" they fired back really makes me a little fired up considering I spend hundreds of dollars a year on their beers. Needless to say, I fired back a rant of my own due to the fact that I was not very happy...maybe I will get somewhere with the second try.

What do you guys think? Am I over thinking this? Is that the response you would have expected?

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:15 PM   #2
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Reasonably common. Some breweries are more homebrewer-friendly than others - some feel they need to protect themselves by keeping it a secret - some feel transparency can actually be a selling point, and will hand out their recipe to anyone who asks, and send them out the door with a mason jar of their yeast, to boot.

I like to take pictures of recipe sheets (not because i want the recipe, but because i like how different folks use their sheets during brewing for checking off, scribbling, etc.!) and sometimes, I'm shut down when they see the camera come out, and sometimes, they ask me if i wanted them to email me a copy. :P

I doubt they'll take kindly to an angry rant in reply though.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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That is why the email caught me off guard. Most breweries I talk to are all about helping out homebrewers. Dont forget where you started...
My response wasn't angry or rude...more or less trying to understand their reasoning.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by caber2615 View Post
Hello all, I havent posted here much, more of a lurker while I am learning the art of homebrewing. Anyway, I wanted to share with you an expirence I had with Founders recently. Maybe one of you can help me understand...or tell me Im over-reacting...

Some background: Simply put, I love Founders. I travel great distances to get there beers, go to all of their release parties, etc, etc, etc.

I reached out to them to ask a few questions about their process. I am brewing a nut brown ale for SWMBO in the next few weeks and I wanted to add some Cashews to it, similar to Founders Cashew Mountain Brown. I emailed them asking two simple questions.
Question 1: Where in the process do you introduce the Cashew? Mash, Boil, Secondary? And is there anything special you do to them first? Crush, Roast, etc?
Question 2: What type of yeast do you use? Is it a locally available homebrew yeast or a proprietary strain that was designed for you? If it is proprietary, would I be able to harvest it from a bottle?

Now I know I probably could have just harvested the yeast without even asking, but that is besides the point. I wanted to hear from the souce. Breweries like Rogue and Bells are more than willing to share yeast info. I have also always had great expiriences getting my questions answered when at the actual Founders Taproom. Apparently their email process is a little different...

Here is the response I recieved...
Due to proprietorship, we cannot divulge any process of recipe information concerning our beers. These recipes took years to perfect and they are proprietor to Founders Brewing Company. Thank you in advance for your understanding and we with you the best of luck in your brewing adventures. Cheers!

Are they serious? They didnt even acknowledge my questions. Was I out of line in asking those simple things? The info I asked for seems hardly proprietary. This "canned response" they fired back really makes me a little fired up considering I spend hundreds of dollars a year on their beers. Needless to say, I fired back a rant of my own due to the fact that I was not very happy...maybe I will get somewhere with the second try.

What do you guys think? Am I over thinking this? Is that the response you would have expected?

Yes you are overreacting. As the previous poster mentioned, some breweries are friendly and will give you all the information you want, some refuse. That is their right, and it shouldn't effect if you purchase their product or not. If they have figured out the way to add a cashew flavor, and no other brewery has, then that is proprietary, plain and simple, they don't want it to get out. Is is lame, yes. Is it disappointing, absolutely. But it shoudn't effect anything.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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My understanding is that Founder's doesn't even do brewery tours. They are very close-mouthed about their brews and their equipment. That's not typical of most breweries that I know, but it's probably not all that rare either.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caber2615 View Post
Hello all, I havent posted here much, more of a lurker while I am learning the art of homebrewing. Anyway, I wanted to share with you an expirence I had with Founders recently. Maybe one of you can help me understand...or tell me Im over-reacting...

Some background: Simply put, I love Founders. I travel great distances to get there beers, go to all of their release parties, etc, etc, etc.

I reached out to them to ask a few questions about their process. I am brewing a nut brown ale for SWMBO in the next few weeks and I wanted to add some Cashews to it, similar to Founders Cashew Mountain Brown. I emailed them asking two simple questions.
Question 1: Where in the process do you introduce the Cashew? Mash, Boil, Secondary? And is there anything special you do to them first? Crush, Roast, etc?
Question 2: What type of yeast do you use? Is it a locally available homebrew yeast or a proprietary strain that was designed for you? If it is proprietary, would I be able to harvest it from a bottle?

Now I know I probably could have just harvested the yeast without even asking, but that is besides the point. I wanted to hear from the souce. Breweries like Rogue and Bells are more than willing to share yeast info. I have also always had great expiriences getting my questions answered when at the actual Founders Taproom. Apparently their email process is a little different...

Here is the response I recieved...
Due to proprietorship, we cannot divulge any process of recipe information concerning our beers. These recipes took years to perfect and they are proprietor to Founders Brewing Company. Thank you in advance for your understanding and we with you the best of luck in your brewing adventures. Cheers!

Are they serious? They didnt even acknowledge my questions. Was I out of line in asking those simple things? The info I asked for seems hardly proprietary. This "canned response" they fired back really makes me a little fired up considering I spend hundreds of dollars a year on their beers. Needless to say, I fired back a rant of my own due to the fact that I was not very happy...maybe I will get somewhere with the second try.

What do you guys think? Am I over thinking this? Is that the response you would have expected?

That is the stock response I would have expected. Think about it. They are in the production business and if they told everyone how to make their product then they wouldn't be in business. It is similar to emailing Coke and asking them how to make their soda. Or asking Apple how they make their computers. Just because the beer community is generally pretty open about information doesn't mean they share everything. The Brewing Network has been trying forever to get Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing Co. to give up the tiniest of information on the Arrogant Bastard recipe but he hasn't and won't. I recommend you RDWHAHB. I have found that it is better to ask those type of questions on a brewery tour or at a beer fest/release party where you can actually have a chance to talk to a brewer.

Good luck and happy brewing!
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
My understanding is that Founder's doesn't even do brewery tours.
Good to know for when I plan my Michigan Beers Road Trip.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
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That is the stock response I would have expected.
In retrospect I probably should have expected this response as well. Just pissed me off a little. Maybe I just expect more out of a highly respected brewery. Especially considering we all start as Homebrewers.

On a side note, anyone have suggestions on adding Cashews??
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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I have done pecans before, I opted to toast them for about 5-10 min until they started to smell toasty - then I added them to my 60 minute mash.

If you toasted them low and slow (but hot enough to kill any bacteria?) you could potentially "dry nut" your beer?

...that just sounds dirty.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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Dry Nutting. Nice. Im gonna have to try that.

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