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Ranger Creek Releases First Beer Aged in Their Own Bourbon Barrels as Small Batch Series No. 4

Discussion in 'US - Southwest' started by Todd, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Not really sure how it works there but I see this posted quite a lot http://www.drinkrangercreek.com/about/events-registration/?event_id=154 From what I gather, your quick response gets you the job. No experience (or hygiene) necessary. I kinda love that they involve fans in the bottling process but I can't help but think this is one of, if not, the main problem with small batch #4.
  2. Lutter

    Lutter Advocate (650) Texas Jun 30, 2010

    I dunno man, this whole thing stinks to high heaven. It's not even the money that I'm mad about (I'd be more mad if I bought a few cases :) ), but not even admitting to there is a problem, lying about bottlings (It's a barrel-aged release, so there was blending into a brite tank and several days of bottling [I always see them bottle on consecutive days], and generally playing dumb to the entire situation.

    This beer. Should not be on the shelf.

    I'm officially off their bandwagon until they acknowledge there was a problem with these beers (especially #4).

    Who is their distributor? I wanna give them a call on Monday. Now you've woken up the sleeping dragon. I might even write a LETTER.
    rainerschuhsler and ThirdEyePA like this.
  3. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    I'd be a little more mad if I didn't have a way to return it, but I do. The problem is, if I work an exchange I may get the same crap right back. The other problem is, its not Ranger Creek working the return/exchange but a retailer. I agree though, I was a little put off with their stance. They freely admitted that their choice of wax on SB#1 was horrible, sucked it up, and moved forward with #2. I'm not sure why they won't do the same here. From what I'm reading now, it's clearly not just me that's noticing this.
  4. Lutter

    Lutter Advocate (650) Texas Jun 30, 2010

    Because if they admit there's a problem, it's gonna cost them a lot of $$$$$. They probably don't have the funds to take a hit like that like a larger brewery does.

    But that's why you have QA. So stuff like this doesn't happen on a large scale.

    I half expect them to change their website to call #3 & #4 a "wild ale" to get away with it.
  5. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    ala jester king ;)
  6. bentwookie

    bentwookie Initiate (0) Texas Jan 13, 2008

    One of the head brewers Rob Landerman just left to open a brewery in another state and this has been in the works for a while. I wonder if his attention being elsewhere would have anything to do with it.
  7. Lutter

    Lutter Advocate (650) Texas Jun 30, 2010

    I posted this thread to their Facebook page. Let's see if they respond.
    ThirdEyePA likes this.
  8. cfh64

    cfh64 Advocate (635) Texas Aug 16, 2005

    Not that it matters at this point but I opened the 3 and 4 last night that I had bought prior to known infection issues. Result...INFECTED. Like many in this thread, I'm all about supporting TX breweries but their lack response and price point have caused me to abandon them all together. It sucks but oh well.

    Edit: Their lack of response but especially their known infection issues have caused me to abandon them.
  9. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Fantastic :mad: I've had 2 of the #3 and they were fine but i've been sitting on a case since then. Guess I should crack one to see if this is infected too....
  10. mhenson42

    mhenson42 Advocate (535) Texas Nov 20, 2011

    Mesquite Smoked Porter is the only one I buy on a regular basis. Seems they can get that one right. I haven't had a bad SB #4 yet, but I was not overly impressed with #1 and #2 and #3 on draft tasted infected to me. Still haven't tried the bottle. I'm still gonna get sucked in on #5 and after though. Gotta keep the vertical whole. lol.
    blatherbeard likes this.
  11. I feel like y'all are a little too dramatic.

    I felt like saying more but I think I'll leave it at that and see what everyone has to say about how I'm wrong.
    I'm not saying RC is right though and ill go on record with that.
  12. cfh64

    cfh64 Advocate (635) Texas Aug 16, 2005

    How are we supposed to say you're wrong when you don't tell us specifically how we're being too dramatic? I don't want to put words in your mouth but if being too dramatic is being disgruntled from spending money on a series of beers that is continuously infected and no response from the brewery after several emails then I guess I'm being too dramatic. I don't know though, maybe you're referring to something else?
    BeerZack likes this.
  13. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    I'm not following the logic here but I'm certainly not going to tell you you're wrong. Maybe if you'd had said a little more I could agree with you as well. Here's my side:

    I currently have 6-7 SB#1, a case of SB#2, a case of SB#3, 2 cases of SB#4, and 4 .36 small caliber series texas bourbon. In addition, I've plowed through many mesquite smoked porters. It's not as if I've had 1-2 beers, claimed I was disgusted, and vowed never to taint my palate with Ranger Creek again. That's a pretty good chunk of change. I'm not asking for a handy in the back room or demanding someone give me their first born. I'm looking for a bit of acknowledgement and maybe an admission that someone screwed the pooch on SB#4. At that point, maybe we can discuss some options. That's about it. No dramatics as far as I can see. Instead I get feigned bewilderment and confusion. Although you haven't admitted RC is wrong, you're not saying they're right. It sounds to me that you either agree with at least a portion of the complaint posts here or you like to inject confusion into your posts to better troll us.

    So, that's my side. What's yours?
    BeerZack likes this.
  14. GregSVT

    GregSVT Savant (475) Texas Jul 1, 2009

    I opened a #4 recently and it was not infected. It was underwhelming but not infected. Bought from Lonestar in Carrollton.
  15. Opened a #4 on Saturday night and took one whiff of it and could tell it was infected. Poured it into the glass and it was very sour. So my last #3 and #4 I opened were super sour.
  16. mattisloco

    mattisloco Savant (455) Texas Feb 13, 2007

    Damn you... I'm drinking a La Bestia right now.
  17. canadianghetto

    canadianghetto Savant (465) Texas Oct 15, 2011

    RC is the Lost Abbey of Texas. There are some good beers in there but the lack of QC and listening to customers with problems is exactly the same. Both breweries are hard to trust out of the bottle. At least RC doesn't charge $18 for a 375ml!
  18. pwsoldier

    pwsoldier Advocate (540) Texas Apr 26, 2007

    I helped them bottle a batch of MSP back in September. Bottles and caps are sanitized with chemicals prior to filling. When I went they had an assembly line-esque setup. One person operated the labeling machine, the next person wrote the batch # and date on the label and racked the bottles onto the sanitation center. From there, the bottles would be filled (by a brewery worker), then immediately capped.

    It's not exactly the most efficient bottling line, which is why it takes three days to bottle a single batch. Their sanitation practices for bottling seem okay though, and I think the fact that their non-BA beers seem pretty consistent would suggest that the problem lies with their barrels, not the bottling line or use of volunteers.
  19. kevinscott

    kevinscott Savant (315) Texas Oct 21, 2008

    Have the bottles for their regular line up beers become consistent? I stopped buying them after a few bad bottles of MSP and OPA. In theory I like the beers they're trying to produce, but the final products on draft and in bottles have really left me disappointed.
  20. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    I really appreciate you posting this. I was beginning to wonder if maybe, just possibly, it could be that multiple people thought it was 3 different days when they were bottling. Apparently RC was just flat out lying to me when they said it was done all in one day. I'd assumed as much but it's always nice to give someone the benefit of the doubt before there's proof.
  21. champ103

    champ103 Champion (860) Texas Sep 3, 2007

    I have had to many infected MSPs to ever buy that beer again. From what I have had it is more than just their barrel aged beers.
  22. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Savant (425) Texas Mar 12, 2012

    Thanks for the first hand info. Maybe I'm just a novice but the system you described suggests that every case consists of bottles bottled in succession. If that is the case I don't understand why bottle #1 in case X is ok and bottle #12 in the same case is infected.

    I get how entire batches get infected, but the individual bottles in case being hit or miss is strange.

    Anyone with any insights into how this can happen if not for gaps in RC's bottle prep process?
  23. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Based on the process mentioned, I can only imagine it's the sanitation process itself. I guess it could be possible that one rack of bottles would contain bottles of different levels of "dirtyness"? Maybe they're not being hit long enough or with enough "chosen sanitation means" and some remain dirty?
  24. pwsoldier

    pwsoldier Advocate (540) Texas Apr 26, 2007

    To the best of my knowledge, their core brands have been pretty consistent despite some early hiccups. The MSP in particular had some issues at first, but I haven't encountered a bad bottle since the first batch. I've also never had issues with OPA or La Bestia.
    champ103 likes this.
  25. champ103

    champ103 Champion (860) Texas Sep 3, 2007

    Good to here, I got tired of explosive carbonation and lactic like sourness in MSP. I gave it several tries, always a mess and have not tried it in a while.
  26. It's not just the bottlings that get infected. I often get the funk on tap in their non-barrel-aged beers also. Freshness and storage are probably the biggest reasons for the inconsistency, the most fresh and well preserved not yet having developed the inevitable signs of infection. The beers have always tasted better at the brewery where presumably they are the most fresh. I have noticed a few things about their brewery design which probably makes it a constant battle with airborne contaminants. I also think its a very novice move to use untrained labor for anything on the cold side of the brewing process, but these are some of the most labor intensive parts of the process, which is why it's fairly common practice. I would also like to add that theyre probably not faking it or lying when they tell you they have no idea what is going wrong with their beers... I do not believe they are knowingly releasing infected beer.
    champ103 likes this.
  27. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    I'll admit, I don't believe they are knowingly releasing infected beers. When I talk about RC lying, it's in reference to this statement:
    "I'm at a loss. We only did one bottling of Small Batch 4. All the bottles we've cracked either for quality control or personal consumption have been properly carbonated. I'm not sure what it could be at this point?"
    Clearly, based on what's hand written on my bottles and what's been posted here, that is a lie.
  28. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Savant (425) Texas Mar 12, 2012

    I hate to beat a dead horse here but it's one of two things. These beers are intended to be be sour and some of them are not or they are intended to not be sour(sic infected) and some are. Sounds like they won't even acknowledge which is the correct state for the beer
  29. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    To be honest, I didn't even notice a sour/funk or lack thereof. I was more concerned with how flat my initial case was. Things just escalated from there. You're right though... dead horse. I'll prolly swap mine or return for credit. Maybe someone with a little more pull, Specs for instance, can get some answers ;)
  30. I think were pretending to be more naive than we are here. It should be safe to say they didn't plan on releasing them sour. Most people on this site probably have had some really weird beers that were first "invented" or discovered by accidental infection. Its part of what makes small batch beers and beers from small breweries exciting. Barrel aging is now a buzz phrase and attractive to many of these small craft brewers looking to put themselves out there. Its another area where doing one's due diligence will payoff in the long run.
    Barrel management, blending and using a MF#k!ng microscope are some things a lot of the new guys never bothered to learn about before jumping in the game. Some of the pioneers had to learn the hard way, but the knowledge is now out there. At this point, I think most of the breweries releasing the barrel aged beers that we actually enjoy drinking year after year are not only managing their barrels where they have the ability to blend in proper proportions to achieve the most favorable or consistent flavor profile, but taking a closer look at the sugars and bug activity left in the beer before packaging also.
    Im not suggesting RC or any other newer breweries barrel-aged beers should be forsaken, just that we should perhaps temper our expectations a bit. We shouldn't be looking for the most well-refined or exemplary examples of styles that we have had before (unless youre ready for disappointment). We should probably be more attuned to things we haven't tried before, bold flavors and oddities that perhaps one day might be desired, or at least acceptable, in a (new) style of beer. With that said, those of us who have been around awhile and shared the ups and downs of some more established breweries barrel experiments, like Avery's barrel aged series, might not be as excited about investing this time around. [If anyone hasn't listened to the Avery BA Series episode of The Beerists, you should definitely check it out: http://thebeerists.com/?p=586]
    I wonder if the dude who wrote the Draft article was being a little tongue in cheek refering to the beers in this series as "surprising" at least twice in those few paragraphs. But then again, he was probably just trying to wax poetic and cover his ass for naming one of them in the Top 25 Beers of the Year. I don't think hyping this beer series, only locally available anyway, in a national ragazine is a very good use of anyone's time or space.
  31. champ103

    champ103 Champion (860) Texas Sep 3, 2007

    You are spot on. I am still amazed that I never here about Bourbon County or any of the Founders barrel aged stuff ever being infected. In Bourbon County's case that is at least 20 years now. They know what they are doing.
  32. mindswoop

    mindswoop Aficionado (195) Texas Dec 22, 2011

    I did finally get an email response.

    Thanks for letting us know, I really appreciate it. We take the quality of our beers very seriously and do not want anyone to have a bad experience drinking one of our brews. We have received very good feedback on our SB#4 and I have enjoyed quite a few myself.
    To figure out what happened, do you mind describing the infected beer? Also, if you still have a bottle, can you provide the bottling date? Where did you buy it?
    My apologies for a less than perfect experience with Ranger Creek, hopefully you will give us another try in the future.

    Cheers,
    Dennis Rylander
    Co-Founder
    Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
  33. ThirdEyePA

    ThirdEyePA Savant (370) Texas Nov 7, 2011

    Well I be damn. Maybe I'll get a response in the upcoming days. I also took notes on all 4 beers, with pictures after the pour, and kept the bottles.
  34. raffy313

    raffy313 Savant (405) Texas Dec 15, 2010

    I seriously hope you're not comparing this RC mess with any practices/issues that Jester King has experienced in the past. No brewery is perfect, and we all know that JK has gone through some minor "growing pains", but the fact that Jeff himself comes on this board and addresses any and all issues related to his beer speaks volumes to how he cares about his product. Not to mention the people who support his brewery through sales.

    Apparently... you can't exactly say the same about RC. How 'bout we keep Jester King's name out of this conversation as they're not at all related.
    HopAG likes this.
  35. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Looks like your seriously hoping did the job! I was not. Good catch though. I apparently missed a "?" at the end of my post and it was sarcastic, in reference to this:

    Guess I should have also used an eyeroll instead of a wink? lol

    Regardless, it was a shot at the rumors and gossip that've been floating around since JK switched from an English Ale Yeast to the Farmhouse. Despite Jeff squashing the rumors numerous times, people are running around claiming that all JK equipment is tainted, infected, one yeast took over the other, and they're desperately trying to steam clean everything so they can return to using the original yeast strain.... Basically, the rumor that the farmhouse beers (Black Metal / Wytchmaker) were initially unintentional and instead a product of infected equipment.

    I appreciate your passion in defending JK though :)
    BeerZack and blatherbeard like this.
  36. I was the one being dramatic. Tbh I was a little buzzed and couldn't help saying something but didn't want to sound like a totally idiot so left it at that.
    Anyway I guess I was just thinking what BeerZack said but, like I said, I was pretty buzzed. RC is in the wrong for not admitting there was a problem. That I totally agree with but it seems like some of y'all have just had bad luck and you can't blame anybody else for that. Not that it's ok that RC put out bad beers though. But y'all have every right to be upset and I don't mean to say that y'all don't. It's your money your spending.

    I've had 2 of each. I drank one of each one I bought them when they came out and I drank 1-4 that I have been holding on to a few days ago. I'm not a expert but none of them tasted funky. Expect for the very last sip of #1.

    Like I tell the custs where I work that have had "a lot" of problems "We don't see you're name on the order and think 'hey lets mess up their order again'" and I say that basically word for word. I don't think they're intentionally putting out bad beers but hey maybe they did because they couldn't take a loss like that. But I doubt it seeing it's hit and miss with the bottles.
  37. blatherbeard

    blatherbeard Savant (420) Texas Sep 30, 2007

    Wow! I didnt even realize that beerzack had posted! (since i always expect his avatar to be him, not this new fangled avatar!)

    ;)
    champ103 likes this.
  38. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Did we decide that #3 was infected as well? I'm doing a 1-4 vertical right now and #3 is all funk and brett. Not bad for a brett beer... not at all what I remember from the first one I cracked.
  39. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Savant (255) Texas Sep 6, 2010

    Yeah... I couldn't do it. That was a drain pour. It's decided... RC is getting 4 cases back via Specs. They may not take this issue seriously but when someone like Specs is shipping shit back for a credit, maybe they'll do something. Funny thing is, I just saw them asking for help bottling small batch 5... good luck with that. I'm done with RC.
  40. The next RC beer I buy will be to just see how bad it really is. Can't wait for the disaster that Small Batch#5 is gonna be.

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