At Cigar City Brewing’s Barrel Aged Hunahpu Day, the brewery released a Rum Barrel Aged edition of Big Sound. Apparently, there are some flavor issues that Joey Redner would like to address…
I want to apologize to everyone that was unhappy with the condition of Rum Barrel Aged Big Sound Scotch Ale and for not addressing this issue earlier. It wasn’t willful, I have just been busier than usual this last month going through the process of becoming a foster parent and adjusting to having a 4th child under the age of 4 in my home. Because I have been more distracted than usual I haven’t been checking in on my favorite beer sites daily like I normally do.
It’s not an excuse it’s just what has been going on with me. I literally didn’t know the scope of things until tonight. Everyone has demands on their time, I am however not exceptionally good at managing my time and so because of the distractions in my life I haven’t been paying as much attention to the websites I normally monitor. I apologize for that as well, I certainly wish I had noticed this earlier.
That said I want to address some of the concerns people had about this beer and some conjecture on it. We certainly did not know we had a problem on our hands and just chose to go forward anyway. It is much harder to address a beer gone wild than it is to prevent an unintentionally wild beer from ever getting released. In fact I’d happily pay 10X the profit on the Rum BA Big Sound to not have that sinking feeling I got when someone informed me there might be an issue with it. Releasing something that isn’t generally enjoyed never helps the cause.
We bottled 6 barrel aged beers in this last release. Three versions of spirit-based Hunahpu, 1 Virgin Oak beer and 2 of Scotch Ale. The Scotch Ale aged in Rum barrels was treated exactly as the other 5. Same aging area. Same transfer technique and the same bottling machine. Why did the Rum eventually turn out tart? I can’t say. I don’t know. I wish I did. That is the nature of using barrels. You take some gambles when you use wood. That said, on the day (and all the days leading up) it was released we were very happy with the way it was drinking. Many on the staff still are very happy with it and we just opened several bottles from the library when we become aware of a potential issue. But each bottle was a little different, which means some people may have gotten bottles that tasted a lot worse (or possibly better) than the test bottles we have been pulling. Again something that can happen with Barrel Aging.
This was absolutely not an attempt to sell a beer we didn’t think was good. We liked the beer we sold. I have been sending it to personal friends as recently as last week. I want people to be impressed with what we make. Not pissed. I didn’t purposely release a dud. It’s much harder to deal with the repercussions of selling a beer that isn’t perfect than it is to just not sell that beer. Having people feel duped doesn’t gain us anything; it only hurts. In fact if you want to be cynical you could assume that if I knew the beer had (or would have) gone tart I missed a golden opportunity to sell an intentionally tart beer. We didn’t “know” there was an issue before we released the beer. That is the truth.
All of that said if you are/were unhappy with the beer or even suspect that you might be unhappy with it, email [email protected]. I will give you the option to trade for the value in other beer and/or merchandise or if you just want nothing further to do with us I will happily refund your money.
Again, I apologize that we didn’t execute our vision on this beer. We didn’t want it to be tart. The fact that some people like it doesn’t ameliorate the fact that it wasn’t as attended and I relish the opportunity to make it up to anyone affected in whichever manner they prefer.
Founder, Cigar City Brewing
Also Check Out – Live From BA Hunahpu Day, and Pic Wrap-Up