Production losses during bottling?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by atomic, Nov 26, 2013.

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  1. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    How much beer is typically lost in production for a big experienced brewer? Lets say Goose Island.

    I'm asking because according to an article I read, there were 88 whiskey barrels of the Proprietors Reserve BCBS. Doesn't seem like much up against 1400 barrels of regular BCBS this year, but if each whiskey barrel is 200L, that makes 6763 oz of beer per barrel, or 307 22oz bombers of beer in each barrel. With 88 barrels thats over 27,000 bombers worth of beer, or over 2000 cases! Even if you account for half of it getting kegged (maybe?) thats over 1000 cases of beer, not so rare in this case.

    I'm guessing then that theres lots of losses in the bottling process?
  2. beerme411

    beerme411 Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2010 California

    Does what the staff drink count as losses?
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  3. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,009) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Also, barrel aging itself results in some loss as the beer soaks into the barrel - it is somewhat dependent on the length of time and temperature.
  4. mani

    mani Initiate (188) Jun 16, 2012 New Jersey

    Not to mention, I'm guessing they will keep many cases from hitting distribution. I know I've read they did this with Rare. Some will make it to festivals, tastings and the brewers cellar.
  5. jkblodge

    jkblodge Initiate (108) Jun 27, 2005 Maryland

    You also have to take into account that they are blending the barrels so not all of the beer may be used. If barrel 1 is a little better than barrel 2 maybe they use more of 1 and less of 2.
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  6. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    Ahh yes, that makes sense. Are there any brewers online who can divulge how much barrel stuff typically goes down the drain?
  7. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    To the OP. You have two distinctly different discussions happening in one paragraph.
    As for the differences for barrels between the two. That is up to one thing. How rare the initial barrels are, and also, how old they are. Each of those factors ramps up to how expensive the initial investment on those "spent" barrels will be.
    The amount of loss in barrels will probably be minimal compared to production floor waste.
  8. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    Never talked about cost on this, just comparing how many bottles they could theoretically fill with how many will actually end up being filled. With the difference being in part due to kegging, but also losses in bottling/kegging.
    Theoretically they have (or had I guess) enough beer to fill over 27,000 bombers. Lets say half of that gets kegged, we're still talking 13,500 theoretical bottles. If this is anywhere near as limited as rare was, then theres something like 1,500 bottles. So to reiterate my question, how much is actually lost going from barrel to bottle/keg.
    maybe @Pipeworks would care to share how much they lost when they did their BA stuff.
  9. ERRL710

    ERRL710 Initiate (184) May 6, 2013 Illinois

    Read somewhere on here its about 8% first year lost to the "angels share"? Don't quote me. But pretty sure thats what I read.
  10. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (244) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    Depending on the types of spirit, we usually lose 8%-10% of the barrels due to off flavors and general weirdness. There is also quite a bit lost to evaporation about 6%-8% per year.

    Some barrels are a little better, some are a little worse. Brandy barrels can be as high as 25% lost due to weirdness or infection. Wine barrels can be brutal too

  11. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    Thanks for the response. Is there much (any?) loss from barrel to bottle? Or have you guys got that down that down to a science?
  12. ERRL710

    ERRL710 Initiate (184) May 6, 2013 Illinois

    Awesome, appreciate the inside info. All interesting to know.
  13. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,712) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    If you're talking about accidental spillage then I have a feeling that the more valuable that the beer is that is being bottled, then the bottling process become all that more careful to lessen the loss.
  14. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (582) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Bourbon County Rare had about 12,000 bottles from what I can remember as the number that was tossed around.
  15. sjverla

    sjverla Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2008 Massachusetts

    Also, keep in mind that America's really big. 1000 cases sounds like a lot, but if you divide that up equally, that's only 20 cases per state (or 320 bombers). 320 bottles of beer wouldn't service the Boston area, let alone the rest of the state. Obviously distribution gets skewed based on market size (are there even 320 people in South Dakota?), but that's the kind of thing that shakes out because very large markets (San Francisco, Austin) balance much smaller ones (Pierre, Anchorage).

    So even if 1000 cases isn't M levels of rare, it's not going to be the easiest thing to get your hands on.
  16. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    I think you mean 1,200
    THis one isnt leaving chicago
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,812) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Without barrels, I have read that 8% loss in the brewery is not uncommon.
  18. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (582) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Nope I mean 12,000 as in twelve thousand bottles of bourbon county rare
  19. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    So there were... a lot more than I thought. 1000 cases, thats not exactly all that rare. Hell Parabola had 1500 cases and sits on shelves.
  20. cwehr13

    cwehr13 Aspirant (256) Aug 4, 2011 Illinois

    I would love to find some parabola sitting on the shelf
  21. ZamaMan

    ZamaMan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2013 California

    Where does parabola sit on shelves? in my area of Cali it was gone fast maybe 2-3 days at most in some stores with one bottle behind the counter limits.
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  22. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    Washington has them by the case load I hear
  23. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,442) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    That has to be volume dependent because it seems high. Bottling juice - and I know it isn't the same thing - we typically run a one to two percent loss, but that is on a huge volume over long production runs, comparatively speaking. So I could convince myself that 8% loss in bottling could be right on a small volume, short duration run where you can't really recover what is in the lines.
  24. pjkelley82

    pjkelley82 Initiate (0) May 23, 2013 New York

    Parabola had 3, 000 cases for 2010 and 2011 and 3, 500 for 2012 and 2013.....
  25. atomic

    atomic Aspirant (234) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois

    Gah for some reason I remembered 1500 not 3500
  26. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (622) Nov 6, 2007 California

    1-2% loss during bottling is about right for a newer, high-tech bottling line like Goose probably has (can't remember what exactly they use).

    There is more lost during the barrel handling process though. Barrels aren't completely full when they are emptied, probably about 5 gallons of headspace in a bourbon barrel, mostly from loss through the wood, and then you don't drain the entire barrel and the amount left in the barrel can vary from probably a quart to a gallon depending. Then you have loss to settling in tank after taking the beer out of barrels. You have to cold condition to drop out proteins and all the charcoal that comes out of the barrels. Lots of variability but always a decent amount of loss in the barrel aging process.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
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