Small Batch Release: Dry-Hopped Saison

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will be rolling out a small batch of a dry-hopped saison Saturday, Oct. 28.

A Belgian-style saison is, generally, a beer that is lighter in body and more carbonated than most beers, according to Issac Peglow, Stable Craft’s assistant brewer. Peglow brewed the dry-hopped saison on Stable Craft’s pilot system, and it will be on tap starting Oct. 28 exclusively in the tasting room.

Saison is a style of beer that was drank during the harvest time, and, typically, would be lower in alcohol percentage. “The one that I brewed was 5.6%,” Peglow said. “Traditionally, they will be between 3% to 6%.”

Dry-hopping simply means the brewer adds dry hops to the beer post-fermentation to get the flavor and aroma of the hops into the beer.

The hops in the dry-hopped saison will be added by the brewer after fermentation is complete.

“Fermentation will stop, and then I will add the dry hops and let it sit warm for a couple days and then I will move it into the cooler and crash it to bring down all of the sediment that is in the beer,” Peglow explained. “Since we don’t have a filter for the pilot system, it will be a clearer beer going over to the brite tank.”

After the beer is crashed, or cooled down, the dry-hopped saison will spend the night in the brite tank where it will be carbonated before being transferred to a keg.

It is a beer that I have always wanted to brew ever since I got into brewing, Peglow said. “I really like saisons because each one is really unique because the flavor profile comes from the yeast rather than mostly from the malt.”

Unlike pale ales and IPAs, the flavor profile in a saison comes from the yeast instead of from the hops. “With your hoppier beers, like IPAs and pale ales, the hops are going to be the stars. Whereas with Britchin Brown, the malt is the star there since there are less hops,” Peglow explained. Britchin Brown is Stable Craft’s brown ale.

Each saison yeast will produce a different flavor profile. The flavor profile can range from dark fruits to spice, such as peppercorn spice.

Citrus will be one of the dominant flavors in the dry-hopped saison that will be available starting Saturday, Oct. 28. Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Peglow will add Citra and Lemondrop hops when he dry hops the saison. With the hop addition, Peglow said drinkers will taste a good bit of citrus flavors, such as lemon. Other flavors that will come through to drinkers include a light cracker-like taste and fruity characteristics.

But the brewer hesitated to say exactly what drinkers will taste since he had not yet dry-hopped the beer.

“It is kind of a wild card whenever you brew it,” Peglow said. “You don’t know exactly how it is going to turn out until it turns out.”

 

The dry-hopped saison will exclusively be available in Stable Craft Brewing’s tasting room starting Saturday, Oct. 28. Come out to enjoy this harvest-inspired beer style while it is available.


Stall Series Release: Moonlight Rider Aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will be launching Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts this Saturday, as well as the Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries. Both ales are part of the brewery’s Stall Series.

As noted in the previous blog post about Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries, both of the flavors of the barrel-aged brown ale will be available in 22 oz bottles and on tap starting at noon Saturday, Oct. 21 exclusively in Stable Craft Brewing’s tasting room.

The process of making Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts is mostly the same as for the tart cherry version of the beer. The coffee and hazelnut version of the brown ale was also aged in rye whiskey barrels from Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville, Va. for about nine months.

The making of the two versions of the ale began to differ around the beginning of September when cherries were added to three of the five barrels of Moonlight Rider. The two barrels that were reserved for the coffee and hazelnut version of the ale remained unchanged until Oct. 18.

On Oct. 18, Chris Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, moved the two barrels of Moonlight Rider that have remained unchanged for the past nine months into the brite tank where the beer was carbonated overnight.

The next day, Fann and Issac Peglow, assistant brewer, put coffee beans and hazelnut extract in a muslin bag in the pilot brewing system. The now carbonated Moonlight Rider ran through the pilot brewing system for a half hour where it was exposed to the coffee beans and hazelnut extract. This is where the beer picked up the flavor of the coffee beans that were supplied by Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery in Staunton and the flavor of the hazelnut extract.

Chris Fann, head brewer, fills a bottle with Moonlight Rider by hand.

 

After Fann fills the bottle, he hands it off to Issac Peglow, assistant brewer.

 

The final step for Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts was hand-bottling and kegging the beer. There will be about 150 bottles of Moonlight Rider aged on Coffee and Hazelnuts and about 350 bottles of Midnight Rider aged on Tart Cherries available for purchase.

The inspiration to create a coffee-flavored brown ale came from Fann. “I pretty much live off coffee,” Fann said. He also said, since he is a coffee lover, he has always been interested in creating a coffee-flavored brown ale, and this was his first opportunity to do so.

Hopefully, there will be more opportunities in the future to collaborate with the Staunton Coffee Co., where Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery sourced the coffee beans, in the future, Fann said.

Come out to Stable Craft Brewing Saturday, Oct. 21 beginning at noon to enjoy these first two releases of the Stall Series while they are available.

Peglow manually puts a crown, or cap, on the bottle after Fann hands it off to him.

 

Once a bottle is filled and capped, it has to dry before a label is placed on it.


Stall Series Release: Moonlight Rider Aged on Tart Cherries

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing will launch its all-new Stall Series collection with Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries.

Moonlight Rider, a barrel-aged brown ale, will be available in bottles and on tap starting at noon Saturday, Oct. 21 in the brewery’s tasting room. Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries will be released, as well as Moonlight Rider aged on Hazelnut Coffee.

Barrel-aged releases are a part of the craft brewing industry that Stable Craft is effectively expanding into as part of its operations, and the brewery has already had great success with a barrel-aged release. Stable Craft had its first barrel-aged release with Julep, an ale aged in bourbon barrels, during the brewery’s Kentucky Derby Day Birthday Bash in May 2017 that was very well accepted.

Rye whiskey barrels hold Moonlight Rider in the brewery. The beer will be released on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Moonlight Rider differs from Julep as it has been aged in rye whiskey barrels made of oak from Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville, Va. instead of in bourbon barrels. The beer will adapt both the flavors of the organic rye whiskey that was previously in the barrels, as well as the flavor of the wood, according to Issac Peglow, assistant brewer.

The brown ale was first put into the five oak barrels to age at the end of January 2017 after being brewed and fermented, therefore, they will have aged for about nine months prior to being bottled and kegged.

About a month and a half ago, tart cherries were added to three of the five barrels. The tart cherries are not added any later in order to prevent refermentation, Peglow said, which could happen if the cherries were added right before bottling.

Cherry was chosen as a flavor for Moonlight Rider by both Christopher Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer, and Peglow. The maltiness of the brown ale and the tart flavor of the cherries sounded like a good combination, Peglow said.

But tart cherries, apparently, do not come without their own set of challenges. Peglow described cherry as an “easily masked flavor and delicate.” He went on to add that there is a sweet spot you have to hit with adding cherries to the beer.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

This is Peglow’s first time being involved in a barrel-aged release from start to finish, and he said he is getting more and more excited to see how the beer has transformed in the barrels over time. The beer will have all new notes when it comes out, and drinkers will detect a greater whiskey flavor since it is the first time these barrels have been used to age beer, he said.

Everyone will be able to taste the tart cherries, whiskey notes and oak flavors of Moonlight Rider aged on Tart Cherries on Saturday, Oct. 21. This is a release exclusive to Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom. Drafts and 22 oz bottles of Moonlight Rider will only be available at this location.

Check back into Stable Craft’s brew blog later this week to learn about the Moonlight Rider aged on Hazelnut Coffee and for photographs of the bottling process.


Hoppy Harvest Party

Stable Craft Brewing is hosting its debut Hoppy Harvest Party this weekend.

The party will take place at the brewery located at 375 Madrid Road in Waynesboro from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. Adults and children alike are invited to take part in Stable Craft’s fall festivities.

Attractions for the adults include caramel apples, apple butter, live music from Brent Hull and Stable Craft’s 16 beers on tap in the taproom. Activities for children ages 12 and under include a costume contest and the Great Pumpkin Contest.

For the costume contest, Stable Craft encourages children ages 12 and under to dress in their best Halloween costume to compete for a $50 prize. The Great Pumpkin Contest is a pumpkin-decorating competition where the winner will also receive a $50 prize.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

In Stable Craft’s constant spirit of supporting local agriculture, the pumpkins were supplied by Ed Miller, a farmer located in Waynesboro.

Children will be able to decorate their pumpkins with colorful paints, and the winner of the Great Pumpkin Contest will be photographed with their pumpkin. The photograph will be displayed in the taproom following the party.

Matt Milhit, Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom manager, brainstormed the idea to host the Hoppy Harvest Party. In the spirit of creativity, Milhit carved a Fumpkin pumpkin. Fumpkin is Stable Craft Brewing’s seasonal pumpkin beer.

Matt Milhit, Stable Craft Brewing’s taproom manager, carved this Fumpkin pumpkin, which is currently in front of the taproom.

Fumpkin is a seasonal pumpkin beer with crust, pumpkin and spice in the taste. The beer is currently on tap in the taproom.

Schedule for Sunday, Oct. 15:

1-4 PM – Brent Hull performs live

3-6 PM – Outdoor pumpkin painting party

5 PM – Contest judging begins for both contests. Participants must be present to win.

4-8 PM – S’mores by the campfire

 

 


Bolstering the Brewery

Three of the four new 20-barrel fermentation vessels.

By Katherine Hensley

Stable Craft Brewing expects to triple beer production once its brewery expansion is complete.

Stable Craft is building a four-story warehouse and barrel-aging room on its property in Waynesboro, Va, as well as adding new brewing equipment. The physical expansion started on August 24 and is a result of a need for more fermentation vessels to keep up with the demand for Stable Craft beers.

The expansion is partially funded by a $15,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund that was approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Augusta County, where the brewery is located, has matched the state grant with local funds. Private funds are also being utilized.

The brewery’s equipment prior to the expansion included six 10-barrel fermentation vessels and one 10-barrel bright tank, according to Chris Fann, Stable Craft’s head brewer. Four 20-barrel fermentation vessels, one 20-barrel bright tank and a bottling line have already been added to the brewery as part of the expansion.

Stable Craft Brewing’s new bottling line produces about 20 bottles per minute.

Right now, theoretically, we are putting out 60 to 80 barrels a month on the existing system, Fann said. We will be able to triple that after the expansion, he added.

The new barrel-aging room that is in the process of being added will hold about 50 53-gallon barrels at one time. Fann particularly enjoys barrel-aging beer and is looking forward to increasing Stable Craft’s capacity to do so.

I like the different flavor profiles from experimenting with the different types of wood, Fann said. He views it as a creative outlet and a viable opportunity for the brewery considering barrel-aging beer is a relatively new venture for the craft beer industry.

The new equipment and increased space will, ultimately, allow Stable Craft to add variety in its tasting room while maintaining its 16 taps that are currently available.

The equipment will also allow the brewery to add soda production to its reservoir of offerings. Stable Craft’s current goal is to bottle soda by the end of the year and, in due time, offer two to four taps of soda in the tasting room, in addition to the beer taps, Fann said.

Britchin’ Brown labels are ready to go on the new bottling line.

 

The current expansion is projected to be complete by this Christmas, according to Craig Nargi, Stable Craft Brewing’s owner and operations director. But expanding the business is no new feat to Nargi.

Nargi purchased the property with his wife Nikki in 2006 and has been developing it into the successful wedding venue, agri-pub and brewery it is today ever since. The latest addition of a warehouse and new brewing equipment is just the most recent measure of accomplishment for the duo.