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Old 04-01-2007, 01:42 PM   #1
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Default Brewpubs = AG?

Back a few years ago before I knew anything about brewing someone once told me that brewpubs weren't exactly as they seemed to be. He said that they made all their beer from extracts.

Now that I know a little more about brewing I wonder about that. I guess I certainly wouldn't put it past brewpubs that are owned by largish corporations to do it if it's cheaper. How, you ask, could it be cheaper if extract costs more than grain? Easy. You could avoid the cost of hiring an experienced brewmaster at each of your locations. Instead you could train staff to run the equipment and to make three or four regular house brews plus a rotating seasonal one. Just give them the recipes and have them do the same thing over and over again.

The other thing I have wondered is, do brewpubs actually make their beer on site as one would expect from a place that bills itself as a brewpub. I'm sure that some or most of them do. But still-- they all have all that shiny, fancy looking equipment on display-- but did you ever notice that in most places you never see anyone actually using it? Also, I have never noticed brewing smells either inside or coming from outside any of the ones I have been to. Maybe I'm just being cynical, but what's to stop them from making all their beer at one central location, or even contracting out for it?

One of my father's favorite expressions is that "ignorance is bliss." Sometimes that is really true. Sometimes I'd really rather that I didn't know how some things are made.

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Old 04-01-2007, 01:52 PM   #2
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I can't believe for a second that it would be cost efficient at all to use extracts. Grain is miles cheaper per batch.

My brewpub makes all of their stuff on-site, and every time I go there, the brewer is in the brewing building. You can watch him go about his business. They use their own hops too.

EDIT: Also, in many brewpubs, the owner *is* the brewer, so it's not like you have to "pay" some master brewer to make your beer. I'd put money down that you're pretty off-target here.

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Old 04-01-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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There are definitely some extract brewpubs, but I'd guess the VAST majority of them are all grain.

New Mexico has an extract brewpub if I'm not mistaken.....

I can't imagine that.

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Old 04-01-2007, 02:28 PM   #4
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I've only seen one extract brewpub around here & it was about 5 months open to closed. You can easily get the wrong impression because the companies that sell extract setups are about the only ones who advertise in consumer publications.

Ever the guy in Hillsboro with a one barrel system does all grain.

As far as there being someone actively using it, if there are computer controls and steam process heat, about the only time you would see someone is at the beginning of the mash and during transfers. Most of those tanks are fermenters and bright tanks. It's also time of day, if you hit a place around lunch, the mash might be active, but by evening, it's in the fermenter and venting outside.

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Old 04-01-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
There are definitely some extract brewpubs, but I'd guess the VAST majority of them are all grain.

New Mexico has an extract brewpub if I'm not mistaken.....

I can't imagine that.

I vaguely remember discussion on this forum about an extract brewpub, but I'm too lazy to try to find it this morning. I'd agree, though, that most must be AG.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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I hope whoever told me that was wrong. Call me cynical, though, but I just never really trust big companies with things like this. Unfortunately, here in Milwaukee the brewpubs don't seem to be owned by the brewmasters.

That's not to say the places we have are bad-- for the most part they're pretty good-- but they don't seem to be owned by little guys.

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Old 04-01-2007, 03:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie Brewer
I vaguely remember discussion on this forum about an extract brewpub, but I'm too lazy to try to find it this morning. I'd agree, though, that most must be AG.
I think it was Cheese that posted a whole "system" that brewpubs could use to make beer... extract, pre-measured hops, etc.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:48 PM   #8
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I've seen this mentioned in other forums, I would tend to believe it. If you think about it extract bought in bulk could be very cost effective when you consider that you no longer need a mash tun, the energy saved by elimminating the mash, time saved, no grain storage or grinding and no grain disposal issues.

Everybody is always talking about making award winning beer from extract so its entirely possible. Although I'm sure the vast majority are AG based.

Here's a turnkey setup http://www.addabrewpub.com/procedure.html

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Old 04-01-2007, 06:06 PM   #9
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When I won Best of Show at our local clubs contest I won the opportunity to brew a batch of the winning receipe at the local brewpub.

It was a 250 gal all grain batch.

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Old 04-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #10
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We have a local "brewpub" that brews off premises out of state, then trucks in the wort and ferments it locally. Apparently they do it for tax purposes, plus they have several locations and it's probably cheaper to have one centralized brewery. The beer is so-so.

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