Are breweries relying too heavily on barrel aging?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by krl2112, Feb 5, 2013.


Are breweries relying too heavily on barrel aging?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. I don't care

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  1. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (738) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    So first let me say that I very much enjoy BA beers. However today I saw that FFF just released BA Behemoth with cherries. Two weeks ago they released their regular Behemoth and then last week they released BA Behemoth. They typically charge $35 - $50 for 750ml BA brews. It seems like they are coming out with barrel aged beers every couple of weeks. To me it feels like they are just pumping out BA beers because they are popular and can fetch higher prices. Again I like BA brews but dont be repetitive, be innovative. What are your feelings?
    beertunes and mellowmark like this.
  2. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,439) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    FFF charges too much for BA beers.
  3. WagonCircler

    WagonCircler Initiate (131) May 15, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I dont see the relationship between these beers and relying too heavily on barrel aging

    I kind of see them as "Hey we made this, who wants to buy one?" Really doesnt effect much.
    Photekut likes this.
  4. Bay01

    Bay01 Aspirant (278) Nov 19, 2008 Illinois

  5. taxman

    taxman Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2012 Illinois

    I don't think that they are relying on them, their capitalizing on them!
  6. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    How many US breweries do you think derive even as much as 10% of their revenue from BA beers? Jolly Pumpkin, and, um, and, anyone else?
    dennis3951 likes this.
  7. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,280) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member

    Riding the trend, maybe not relying on them. No different than hyper-hopped IPA's.
    beerepiphany likes this.
  8. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,439) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    jbck109 and Bung like this.
  9. 4kbrianb

    4kbrianb Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 California

    I think everyone is hopping on the wagon because it brings in additional revenue and allows them to perform experiments with their brews. I enjoy a lot of the BA beers, and I hope that the next progression is trying new and untapped Barrel types.. whether it be wood options or what was in those barrells before the beer. or multiple barrel progressions... I know some breweries are doing this... Bourbon/Brandy/ etc. kind of like a tiered aging process.
    MontereyBay831 likes this.
  10. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (174) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Absolutely, though they're chasing the trend that BAs are propagating.

    It's release frenzy that is causing this. Anything and everything is being thrown into a barrel these days, and good or not, it's being bought up in a feeding frenzy. The brewers aren't to blame, the 'community' is.

    Excellent stouts are being ignored simply because they're not out of a barrel.
    Manoftyr, ESeab and Bung like this.
  11. WagonCircler

    WagonCircler Initiate (131) May 15, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Like what?
  12. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    BA = walez bro.
    pk18, Bung, FosterJM and 2 others like this.
  13. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (174) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I mean by buyers, not by breweries.

    Changed my post for clarity.
  14. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    I'm pretty sick of barrel aging dominating new releases and stunting innovation.

    It's getting embarrassing at this point.
  15. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (505) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think it's a little harsh to say anyone is blameworthy. Trends are what they are, any enterprising business would be foolish not to cash in on them. We can extol the virtues of craft brewers all we want, and they are a great bunch of people if for no other reason than the amount of joy their products bring consumers, but they are still businesspeople. The bottom line, though, will always be that you must put out a good quality product, or people won't buy it. And if you want to charge a buck an ounce or more, you sure as hell better be making something great.

    The beauty of the craft beer marketplace is that marketing efforts aren't nearly as pervasive, and as a result products largely stand on their own merits in most cases. People might get shortsighted in the face of a trend such as barrel-aged beers, but if the upshot is that more world-class barrel-aged beers find their way to market, then so be it, and God Bless America.
    19etz55 likes this.
  16. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    If it isn't barrel aged, I don't want it!
  17. teal

    teal Initiate (78) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    Wish I could buy a proper pin or firkin of cask conditioned ale from the local store.

    That actually interests me more than BA beers but I realize I'm in a small minority and that a pin/firkin would be very expensive to do.
  18. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,112) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I like them and want to tick them all, eventually. But not at that price. Probably ever, unless it's a mega-whale and I'm making over 100K a year (which is not right now).
  19. Carbon14

    Carbon14 Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2009 Maryland

    Larkin4beer and BierGartenok like this.
  20. 4kbrianb

    4kbrianb Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 California

    maybe not the majority, but quite a few I would guess. They may sell less beers of BA stuff, but the profit they bring in from those beers adds up to a larger % per bottle sold.
  21. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I still want to know "like what?" People go apeshit for Darkness, DL (not that I'm calling DL "good", mind you), Kate, to name just a few of the bigger ones. I just had a milk stout by Revolution and want moar.

    So I don't think people ignore good non-BA stouts. BA stouts probably get more attention here because they're harder to find (and thus more interesting to talk about), but plenty of non-BA ones do too.
  22. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,348) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Crooked Stave

    As for the original question...its always better to have too many options than too few. As long as what is being offered is qualirty...
    BierGartenok and 4kbrianb like this.
  23. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (840) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    My guess is that BA beers are not even 1% of craft beer sales.
    geocool likes this.
  24. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Absolutely not, I would even go as far to say that the thought is incredibly short sighted. Breweries rely on their core line up, the year rounds pay the bills. The money that these beers make allows the breweries to do things such as barrel aging.

    Let's not make more out of what FFF is doing than necessary. Sure they now they can roll out these beers every couple weeks and demand a higher price but they sure as hell aren't relying on it. More than anything it is an excuse for them to do some different things and make a buck or too. There is no real downside for them. Let me promise you they would not be rolling these out with out the help of Alpha King, Gumball Head and so on.

    To touch on one more item, let's talk innovation. We throw around words like creativity and innovation far too much. Very little that is done in brewing today is truly creative or innovative. There is nothing new under the sun. This is not said to diminish what breweries are doing, sure it is fun and exciting, but rarely is it something new.
  25. oya1time

    oya1time Initiate (121) Dec 23, 2010 California

    FFF charges too much for all their beers...$13 for a DIPA? No thanks
    Bung likes this.
  26. oya1time

    oya1time Initiate (121) Dec 23, 2010 California

    FiftyFifty i would imagine
  27. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    You sound like you are from San Diego hanging with Bduble and Ehammond1.....
    Oh wait you are!!!!!

    ehammond1 likes this.
  28. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (738) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    THanks for your opinion and not sure mine was "incredibly short sighted" but I do appreciate your opinion. From the votes so far, a fair amount of people feel the same way. However, I do think FFF specifically relies on their BA program. Case in point is that their Murda'd was $50/bottle and they had over 500 bottles. That's $25,000 they did in a matter of weeks for 1 brew. That does more than make a buck or two. Also, I did not use the word creative in my OP. I am ok with breweries coming out with new BA stuff, but my point was that FFF seems to do it quite frequently. That's all.
  29. stayclean

    stayclean Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2012 Wisconsin

    It's creative and innovative if red blooded Americans do it. :stuck_out_tongue:
  30. taez555

    taez555 Poo-Bah (1,588) Dec 9, 2002 Massachusetts

    Five to Ten years ago maybe, but now not so much.

    Now it's just normal. The ones that do it well keep doing it, the ones that don't fall to side. No different than any other craft style.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  31. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    From that $25000, subtract increased raw material cost, subtract the time and space that the barrels require and subtract the cost of wages you are paying for someone to "hand-label" the bottles. The actual profit starts to shrink very quickly there. If you compare that to the profit they make off of Gumball head that does not require the additional ingredients, storage and time there is no doubt which one is relied on far more heavily. BA beers may have a higher profit per bottle ratio in some case but it would be damn difficult to base your business off of such products.
  32. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (477) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    pretty simple. either you buy them - or you don't. i don't understand complaining or questioning the fact. in my experience anything that is over done eventually meets its market correction. if you like them enjoy them while they exist. if you don't or you think the market is over saturated etc. don't make everyone else who might have otherwise been uncertain you are hater.... unequivocally certain you are hater by airing a commercial on the subject during halftime of the SB. lol
    zekeman17, bozodogbreath and Bay01 like this.
  33. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (738) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    So not disagreeing that you can't run a business on it but hand panelling costs? They write it on the bottle and you can probably have all the bottles done in a couple of hours by someone being paid $12 per hour. Profits are high.
  34. 19etz55

    19etz55 Disciple (326) Aug 12, 2007 New Jersey

    I think it has become the in-thing to do at the moment. Barrel aged sounds great. But I've tried a few that I thought would knock my socks off and have been disappointed. They just seem like a mellow version of their non-aged brother (or sister) beer. They are higher priced without I think the reward. But I'll give them another chance down the road. Mustn't give up. (: Beer on!
  35. BierGartenok

    BierGartenok Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Oklahoma

    Prairie Artisan Ales does, I'd say at least 10% if not more.
  36. Pahn

    Pahn Meyvn (1,480) Dec 2, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    i want more barrel aged beers.
  37. SadMachine

    SadMachine Meyvn (1,439) Mar 14, 2011 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I've never had a FFF beer, let alone a BA one, but I almost choked when I saw those prices! Sorry, but $35-50 is absurd unless they've been sitting in barrels taking up space for like 5+ years! Even then I don't know if I'd pay it unless it's got at least a 97 on here...
  38. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    Possibly Russian River? Jester King? Logsdon?
  39. codysjb

    codysjb Devotee (424) Jun 16, 2010 Prince Edward Island (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I think theres a twofold answer here. Are they relying too heavy on barrels? No. All sours, or nearly all, take barrels and many breweries want to make some kind of sour/fruit/brett beer atm. Does every beer you make need to be crammed into wood to make a BB Milk Stout/ BB IPA/ BB DIPA/ BB Scotch Ale/ BB insert random style here. No. I really like sours and the occasional Barrel Aged stout (I like most stouts but drinking to many BB ones makes me feel sick and full of sugar) but I'm kinda spotty about the rest. Some are good, many if not most are decent but too expensive since the barrels dive up costs when the regular IPA was just as good if not better.
  40. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    my fav walez. If they stop, there will be a blond chick on LI enduring DTs for several months. just sayin'.
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