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Old 11-12-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
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Default Worst Hangover EVER after TWO beers - WHY??? (Founders Brewing Company)

I have loved me some Founders Brewing Company beer for a long time - and have been a mug club member there since 2004. A few years ago they moved into the new location and have increased production about 1000%. Many of you across the country are now able to get your hands on some favorites like Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Reds Rye, Dirty Bastard and Centennial IPA. The problem is, since this move I am unable to enjoy *any* beer without paying a significant price the next day. I had the same experience with New Holland when they upped their production. In the case of New Holland, a single beer would give me crushing, oppressive headaches. With Founders, and I've joked about this, but I literally feel (as I'm typing this) like what I imagine chemotherapy feels like. My body and stomach are tight, almost feverish and achy, and it feels like my cells are vibrating.

I am not alone on this one. We went down last night to see some excellent bands (Holy Ghost Tent Revival from NC and Chip Fundy from MI) and I had two beers - a Hop Mountain Brown and a Harvest Ale. A friend had 3 - Hop Brown and two IPA's and my lovely wife had a single 8 oz pour of Backwoods Bastard (Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale aged in American Oak bourbon barrels, 10.2% ABV). We all feel like ****. And like I said, it happens pretty much every time I go down there. Why do I still go? Well ... have you tasted some of these beers??

Still, I think I've reached the end of the line. My question is - what are they doing wrong? I don't often buy their beer bottled, so I can't tell if the problem lies in the serving lines or the beer in general. All of the beers seem to have the same effect on me, so it isn't just a bad batch issue. What could it possibly be? Is it possible for a certain yeast strain to just disagree with a person? Could it be something like improper cleaning procedures where some caustic is getting into the beer? Are they trying to push out too much beer by bumping up the fermentation temps and thereby creating some unwanted byproducts?

Really curious...and sad that it seems to be the end of a long relationship.

Anyone?

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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I was going to suggest comparing them to the bottles. The only thing I can think of is some dirty lines, but I would suspect that at a brewery they would know about line cleanliness?

Do they even use the same yeast strain on all the beers?

I had a bottle of backwood's bastard last night and I feel fine right now (no cell vibration that I can notice).

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:19 PM   #3
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I don't think that it's the yeast in this case, because I doubt they've changed yeasts in the past years, and it used to be okay. I was sort of just wondering that as a general question though.

The change coincided with the move to much larger tanks, so I'm kind of wondering what might be going on there.

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:37 PM   #4
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I have noticed this problem at a few local establishments - not breweries, but bars. I FIRMLY believe it is the length and cleanliness of the beer lines that cause this. There is a local bar in my area that has great blues bands on mondays as well as a small but nice selection of craft brews on draft (had Dogfish Punkin, Penn Oktoberfest, Victory Hopdevil last time I was there.) Last time I was foolish enough to drink drafts there, I had TWO beers over the course of a couple hours (the punkin and Penn) and woke up with a headache that felt like I had had a DOZEN. I was discussing this problem with a fellow who works there and he told me that the kegs were in a cooler that is at least 50' away from the tap.....
So.... calculating that out....3/8" x 50' = 66 cubic inches of beer = 36.57 ounces.... .OUCH...More than 2 pints would have to be poured before you even got a drop of beer from the keg instead of the line. Now I know why the drafts always taste "off" there... Now this place doesn't exactly have a lot of craft beer drinkers for blues night. I recon I was the first to have the Punkin that night.... of which ALL of my pint came from the beer that had been sitting in the line for who knows how long. This same problem has been experienced by MULTIPLE beer drinking buddies there. Now I just drink bottles. Which sucks cause they don't have any craft beer in bottles except Sam Adams Boston Lager and Penn Pilsner and Penn Dark. AND it is more expensive.....but at least I don't get that sledge-to-head the next morning.

I (and some friends) also used to have this same problem at another (now closed) local beer bar. Their lines ran up from the basement and were also LONG. It was so tough to go there. 15-20 craft taps, but have more than 2 and lookout!

I know what my 1.5' dispensing lines / cobra tap look like on my kegs after a relatively short time.....makes me shiver to think about 50'...

Now, in your situation, I would think that a brewery, especially one as good as Founders would have this dispensing thing figured out. So, don't know if this is much help to you, but at least you aren't alone!

Then again....maybe we're just gettin' old....

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Another bit of info -

Went to my "regular" bar where I meet friends on Thursday evenings last night. Great draft selection - DFH 60 min, Penn's new Allegheny Pale Ale, Great Lakes Octoberfest. We all had well OVER a pitcher for each of us.... and no problem or hangover at all this morning. This place's set up is standard commercial beer coolers with the draft towers, where the kegs sit immediately below the taps in the cooler. The lines gotta be 2-3 foot max.

Damn I love that place. Good people, great food, and cheap ($8!!!) pitchers of good craft beer that doesn't give you a hangover even if you have enough to know you've been drinking all night....

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Old 11-12-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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This question may not pertain to the topic (my pre-coffee brain thought process) but did the move by any chance move it up a significant elevation? I ask because in the Great Basin / Sierra Nevada's area there is huge variation in elevation. When SWMBO and I travel to her hometown in Nevada County, CA, it's impossible to get even buzzed due to an elevation of 1500ft. But upon returning to our house in Reno (5300ft) our acclimatized bodies cause us to get quite toasty after just a couple beers.

Just a thought; figure I'd try to introduce another possibility.

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Old 11-12-2010, 05:53 PM   #7
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Like others have stated, most likely its the lines. A good friend works for distributor and they are very cautious about making sure their accounts clean their lines regularly. You would be surprised the stories I hear about checking the lines and having "Sludge" come out of them...if they dont have a Glycol system running along their lines then most likely the beer is sitting warm in the line rotting. Some places think that because their kegs are kept in a cooler that they do not need the Glycol. Well what about the 50' of beer line that is not in the cooler.

A little off topic, we have a dive bar by my work that we frequent for happy hour. They pour nothing but Miller Lite and Coors on tap, but they clean their lines EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is amazing how good a cold Miller Lite tastes from a freshly cleaned line.

New Belgium is notorious for enforcing clean lines. They have the "Beer Rangers" whose sole job it is to travel the country and make sure that any bar/rest that serves their beer has clean lines. If not, they will pull their beer from that establishment...

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Old 11-12-2010, 06:12 PM   #8
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I think I found my new job..

Beer Ranger... I like the sound of that

-=Jason=-

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Old 11-12-2010, 06:18 PM   #9
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I was under the impression that hangovers were caused by dehydration and or sulfites. Is it possible the beers you chose where high in sulfites?

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Old 11-12-2010, 06:23 PM   #10
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I tasted Founders' beers at the GABF and several of them had strong fusels. So strong that I dumped them immediately.

Fusel alcohols have been known to contribute to hangovers. This may be what you are experiencing.

Not sure if the fusel alcohol fault is related to the brewery move but I've had Founders in the past and was always impressed. Though, they'd have to pay me to drink the poor quality beer served at GABF.

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