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

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

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  1. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    Yeah they did. I'm not a fan of Brett.

    Lots of potential there, but FFS. They need to pasteurize if they can't control the bugs after bottling.
  2. mattchow

    mattchow Disciple (319) Jun 24, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    strange, I haven't had a problem with any of my batch 1 to 4 at all. All purchased at D&Q.
  3. r0nburgundy69

    r0nburgundy69 Initiate (82) Jan 27, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    my #3 was somewhat tart but #4 was fine for me, but not anything mind blowing.
  4. mattisloco

    mattisloco Devotee (413) Feb 13, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    You have been extremely lucky.
  5. reverseapachemaster

    reverseapachemaster Aspirant (244) Sep 21, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I had a couple #2 and a #1. Opened a #2 last week that was bottled 7/12 and didn't have any gushing or off flavors.
  6. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2010 Texas

    As promised in the Ranger Creek Kickstarter Thread, here's the update (and I really can't believe a company that's as established as RC is doing a kickSTARTer to begin with.).

    Despite RC tasting all of the small batch series on site, with dates matching those that I've complained about, and stating that they're all fine, they are in fact coming to Austin for a taste of the problem batches. Someone @ a local specs did in fact taste an on-hand small batch 3 after I complained and RC denied problems. 5-6 staff members verified it was shit. They have pulled all small batch from the shelf and have RC coming up on Wed. to reclaim and credit (or replace with non-small batch brews) every small batch on site. Word has been passed on to Specs corporate beer buyers and they will ultimately make the call as to whether RC is carried at all in the future (as well as notifications to all regional Specs throughout TX).

    I have returned every RC beer I had on hand, received appropriate credit, and not only increased my cellar with other bourbon barrel aged beers but added a nice 40 year old Bunnahabhain scotch to my collection as well. Obviously I had a vested interest in this. Based on my credit, I had a lot of undrinkable shit hanging around.

    I'm honestly sad it had to come to this. A simple admission from someone, anyone, at ranger creek could have avoided the shit storm that's about to hit. At the same time, I hope this helps sway the opinion that some of you have about specs. It may be a "huge" regional franchise but at the heart of it, they're all human. They're friendly, knowledgeable, and truly enjoy their jobs. Treat them like human beings, instead of your beer wenches who need to fetch those brews you feel entitled to, and they just might offer a hand when needed and/or help you track down a whale every now and then. I cannot say enough good things about specs at the moment and I've never had to return beer on this grand of scale. They got the message across when I wasn't taken seriously and made it extremely easy for me to reclaim my funds. I chose the gift card but a cash refund was also an option. I wasn't even required to funnel my money back into their system and THAT will keep me shopping there for years to come.

    Oh, FU ranger creek, for making this such a hassle. Good luck with your kickstarter. I hope the bottling line comes along great but here's one guy who will never drop another penny on your beer or liquor again.
  7. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    But.... there's nothing wrong with the Small Batch series! :wink:

    Specs: Respect.
  8. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    Sad that it's come to this. I never had a bottle of batch #1 that didn't have brett. I assumed it was supposed to be there, but maybe not.

    I was lucky that my few bottles of batch #4 were fine, but ironically enough, the sample I had of it from a Ranger Creek employee at the tasting at Sunrise was from a bad bottle.

    I've got one bottle of batch #3 that I was holding on to. May as well open it.
  9. RangerCreek_Mark

    RangerCreek_Mark Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2013 Texas

    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 Small Batch Series No. 3 and No. 4 beers, and our entire team has quality contol tested every batch. While we have not encountered any problems with any of the bottles we've tested, we do take complaints to heart and are trying to get to the bottom of it.

    I would like to hear from anyone that had a bad experience directly so we can figure this out. Please contact me at mark@drinkrangercreek.com. The more detail you can provide describing the problem you encountered the better. Did the bottle foam upon opening? Was there a ring left on the inside of the bottle? If it was just related to flavors, what specific flavors were off-putting? Also, if you still have the bottle, can you provide the bottling date? Where did you buy it?

    Barrel aging can add light tart, dry, and acidic character to the finish depending on the type of wood and length of maturation. However, our lab analysis shows that these flavors come from the tannins is the wood as opposed to any wild yeast. We have also not tasted any of the barnyard, wet hay, or leather character found from Brettanomyces.

    My apologies for anyone that had a less than perfect experience with Ranger Creek. The problems seem to be sporadic and isolated, which make them difficult to troubleshoot.

    Mark McDavid
    Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
  10. mindswoop

    mindswoop Initiate (186) Dec 22, 2011 Texas

    Mark, it's amazing you haven't encountered a single problem with any of the bottles you have tested, yet there's been a 5 page thread spanning over 2 months on the largest craft beer website full of complaints of infection and overwhelming sourness from people who were pumped about the idea of a barrel-aged MSP. Perhaps RC uses a different type of wood for their bourbon barrels those of every other distiller whose barrels are utilized to age beer.

    Nonetheless, glad to hear finally that it's an anomaly and the beer is fine. :astonished:
  11. IPAnut

    IPAnut Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Scored a no3 batch at specs not too long ago they had a lot downtown houston
  12. Cablejelly

    Cablejelly Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2010 Texas

    If I understand the situation correctly, someone from Ranger Creek will be on site, at Specs today, tasting the bottles I returned as well as the bottles that were pulled from the shelves. Maybe, instead of asking the lot of us to contact you with specifics, you (or your representative) can follow up on your post with what YOU found to be wrong. I appreciate the post and the willingness to investigate and/or work with us to "figure this out" but for me it's a little too late. At this point, posting this on a public message board is nothing more than damage control. My first contact with Ranger Creek was in November. Today, February 27th, a rep is coming to Austin (quite possibly Holland) to "determine if there's a problem" and swap out stock. Still, no admission. Even with people from Specs calling and providing you with bottling dates (I know because I provided them) Ranger Creek still said there were no problems.

    As far as brettanomyces, its flavor if not it's presence is in all of the small batch series. If nobody there can taste it maybe it's time to head here.
    blatherbeard and rainerschuhsler like this.
  13. HopsSchnapps

    HopsSchnapps Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2009 Texas

    This is a Lost Abbey style Deja Vu.
  14. lefty12

    lefty12 Initiate (132) Feb 6, 2010 Texas

    I like brett beers and its an easy taste to detect, imo. I detected the brett flavor in Series 1 and especially Series 3. I dont mind it but for not brett lovers, I can see why they are not getting what they expect when they purchase the products. RC_Mark, you dont people to email you when you have the majority of 5 pages of comments about the experiences they are having with your products. I feel like this is such a strange situation, with you guys saying, "nothing to see here, please move on."
  15. dumptruck81

    dumptruck81 Initiate (174) Dec 28, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Here's the gentle pour of my last batch #3


    That kind of head retention screams Brett infection. The Brett was definitely in the taste also. I may or may not buy more ranger creek. How they handle the issue will help determine that. I'm certainly in no hurry to buy more of their products though.
  16. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    As I said earlier in the thread, I dislike brett. The bottles that were being used for tasting at the Sunrise event a few weeks ago definitely had brett.

    Or maybe it was just barrel flavors? I mean, I've only had dozens of barrel-aged beers, so what do I know? Maybe when I reach hundreds I'll be an expert and can point out the obvious flavor of brett.
  17. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Disciple (300) Mar 12, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Mark. 3 out of 4 batch 4's for me were solid...the first two I drank very quickly upon release and were matching flavors. Lightly dry and a little tart up front but plenty of smokiness at the end as would be expect from a Barrel Aged smoked beer (honestly the flavors clash a bit but I like the evolution of it. The third bottle I popped and it was sour. Given the BA communities introduction into soured stouts and the like I can confidently say the third bottle was as sour as a Funk Metal would be. I drank the whole thing but it wasn't as enjoyable as the first two (perhaps its worth noting that this 3rd bottle was opened a few weeks after those first two). Finally the fourth bottle I opened a week or so ago. It had been stored out of light at ~60-65 degrees since purchase and was opened without any additional cooling. This final bottle was a slow gusher and while the sourness was a bit more intense than the first two bottles, it retained that nice smokey after taste and carbonation aside was good.

    All 4 bottles were purchased from Kings #3 in Fort Worth, from the same case, on the same day.

    I'm not in the camp that has turned their back on this line of beers from you guys but continued reports of problems mixed in with substandard bottles and pretty significant bottle variation in a short amount of time makes pulling the trigger on this expensive lineup more difficult. I hope that helps, I don't need a direct response back, but if you would like to discuss it in more detail or if you have any follow up questions don't hesitate to BM me.
  18. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    With all of this talk about Brettanomyces, have we also forgotten about the strong presence of diacetyl in Small Batch #3? My bottles were a sour, nasty, buttery mess. I can stand the funk of brett just fine in a beer but the diacetyl in #3 made the beer undrinkable.
  19. pushstartnow13

    pushstartnow13 Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2011 Texas

    When can we go back to just enjoying beer and not judging beer. People wonder why more people don't drink craft beer, it is often because of obsesive knowitalism, see wine. Wood aging beer is not an exact science. So what if it had "brett" (the most commonly mis-identified atribute of a "sour" beer) or if it was wood tannins, can you enjoy it? Some of the best beers were born out of accident.
    Go back and try JK Commercial Suicide you will notice some familar notes. In fact, only 1 JK beer uses Brett, El Cedro. Which I am totally guilty of mis-identifying in other JK beers.
    I agree that #3 has a sour or tart nose, but it does not over power the style of the beer.
    I am not coming to RC defense, though I do sell their beer, but more so I am coming to the defense of craft beer and the people that want to start drinking better beer. I am all for an open discussion but remember to keep it fun, talk it up not down. Craft breweries will continue to make mistakes and if we trash them so much that people stop supporting them we will be left with BMC (bud, miller, coors). That is my 2 cents...Drink Craft Beer!!
    TapThat, H0rnedFr0gs and pwsoldier like this.
  20. jamescain

    jamescain Meyvn (1,002) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    "Wild yeast from the Texas Hill Country" = Brett
  21. pushstartnow13

    pushstartnow13 Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2011 Texas

    Is that right? Or is it a collection of wild yeast including brett? (yes honest question)
  22. UHCougar12

    UHCougar12 Disciple (379) Feb 21, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I don't think ignoring there is an issue, when RC clearly denies there is a problem is the right thing to do. Clearly their is a mishap in their wood aging process, and if we(the customer) don't bring it to their attention, and show them that their is an issue they will continue doing what they think is "right". I agree, that "trashing" them is probably not the right thing to do, but its been what 3 months? since we have complained, and not until Cablejelly said something to probably one of RC's largest single clients(specs), RC hasn't done or said anything.
  23. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    We can only make assumptions without a lab analysis, but there is clearly at least one, if not multiple, brett strains in JK's "wild yeast".

    I didn't pick up diacetyl in #3, but I'm not nearly as sensitive to it as I am brett. I will say that I drank a bottle immediately after it hit shelves, and did not pick up brett, unlike batch #1. I also didn't get brett in my bottles of batches #2 or #4, but I also consumed them right after they were released.
  24. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    That is something completely different than what I tasted. Judging the responses, Small Batch #3 has been wildly inconsistent and the bottles I opened were totally undrinkable. You cannot tell me that a barrel-aged barleywine is supposed to taste like sour butter. I purchased the beer to enjoy it and I felt like I wasted my money.
  25. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    2 out of 3 of my #4 bottles had a funky sour brett taste. Oddly enough, the 1 bottle I got that tasted the way I think RC intended (a BA smoked porter with bourbon) was purchased at Spec's Brodie. The other 3 were purchased at Rosedale Market here in Austin. I also bought a 4th bottle at Rosedale Market that I gave as a gift that had the same funky/brett taste according to the giftee. They also had massive buildups of foam when poured as well as rising foam when opened that overflowed over the sides of the bottle. As this was 2 months ago now, yeah... I don't have the bottles.

    Those bottles were undrinkable to me.

    Honestly, if you think that a bourbon-barrel aged porter/stout or barleywine should have any tinge of funk, dry, or acidic overtones... I don't think you've ever drank a BBA porter/stout or barleywine.

    But maybe that's just me. Personally I don't think that's what you were going for.

    Now, if the label said "Wild Movie Style Barleywine! Small Batch #3" or "Funky Smoke! Small Batch #4", that would be understandable.

    And I'm not gonna say anything else on the subject.
  26. HopsSchnapps

    HopsSchnapps Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2009 Texas

    This is why people are probably complaining. They want better beer, not a mess of a beer. I'm all for better beer, but craft does NOT always equal better beer. I'm not going to be singing kumbaya with a subpar product just because it's labeled as craft.
    jamescain and BeerZack like this.
  27. TxUltraRunner

    TxUltraRunner Disciple (356) Aug 16, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I read Mark's response yesterday afternoon and didn't want to comment so soon without seeing what others thought. I seriously doubt the result was what the brewers were intending. Never bought 2-4, but bought three 1's and I'm still sitting on two of them because I refused to give them to a buddy. 1 was just a bad beer and I had to pour out the last half.

    That's how barrel aging works? I don't think so. None of us are experts but we understand the nuances of barrels and their result on beers and acidic funk of 1 was not the intended result. I bought 1 with the understanding that it was a barrel aged OPA, not an OPA sour. Felt I was mislead and out six buxx.
  28. pushstartnow13

    pushstartnow13 Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2011 Texas

    All good my friends, All good. Good beer for good folks. Just keep spreading the word and keep it fun.
    H0rnedFr0gs likes this.
  29. ThirdEyePA

    ThirdEyePA Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2011 Texas

    I will forward you the exact email I sent to Ranger Creek via the website, in which I received no response. I also have pictures of each beer after the pour, and I still have the bottles to give you the bottling date on each one. I'll even post it on here to make sure it's seen.
  30. mhenson42

    mhenson42 Zealot (535) Nov 20, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    My kitchen sink enjoyed this "tastey" brew tonight....

  31. ThirdEyePA

    ThirdEyePA Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2011 Texas

    This is a verbatim transcript of my original email sent on 1-23-2013:

    I picked up a bottle of each of the Small Batch series 1-4 at the Specs Arbor Walk in Austin a few weeks ago and I've got to be honest, 3 of those 4 beers were infected. The only one that wasn't was #2. The most far-gone of them was #3. When I poured it, it was absolutely putrid. #4 was just on the verge, you could taste it turning on the back end as it has a sour funk to the finish. It was still drinkable for the most part, but I had to pour #1 and #3 down the drain. I had very high hopes for this series, and it's just a bit disappointing considering none of them are cheap. I really hope this doesn't come off as me sounding like an asshole, but I just really felt like I needed to let you guys know. And I know I'm not the only one experiencing this. BeerAdvocate has quite a few members with the same issues.


    Now follows the additional details you requested:

    Small Batch 1 Bottled Date: 4-9-12 (No batch #) - Did not foam on opening, wax smelled like vomit, sour notes reminiscent of a barnyard. Also noted some sourness in the aroma, but not near as much as the actual taste - Drank on 12-26-2013

    Small Batch 2 Bottled Date: 7-20-2012 - Batch 001 - Nothing off putting - Drank on 12-30-2013

    Small Batch 3 Bottled Date: 10-9-2012 (No batch #) - Foamed on opening, even a slow pour produces a massive head in which the retention is a huge red flag for infection. Very strong sour aroma on the nose and the taste is almost too bad to try to attempt to characterize it. It taste like someone made a smoothie from soggy molded hay. - Drank on 1-23-2013

    Small Batch 4 Bottled Date: 11-27-2012 (No batch #) - No foam on opening, no sourness on the nose, only mild funk on the finish. For the most part this one was ok, but you can tell that it's starting to sour. Mild sour on the back end, but definitely beyond tart. - Drank on 1-24-2013
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  32. jamescain

    jamescain Meyvn (1,002) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Brett is a "wild yeast" but they are referring to wild yeast that they cultured. They don't know what the collection is so its titled "wild yeast"
  33. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I, too, often drink in the future. :wink:
    BrutalSusan and ThirdEyePA like this.
  34. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I opened my last Batch #3 tonight, bottled 10-8-12. It's been kept at fridge temps since purchasing, very soon after it was available in stores.

    It wasn't a gusher and did not have excessive carbonation. However, you could smell the brett in the bottle even before pouring. I shared the bottle, and without me saying anything, my buddy said "Um, I don't think this is very good."

    We didn't finish it. :astonished:
  35. dfree23

    dfree23 Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2010 Texas

    I opened a #4 tonight, totally sour, not the taste I expected.
  36. ThirdEyePA

    ThirdEyePA Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2011 Texas

    Haha, that's what I get for drinking and typing.
  37. cfh64

    cfh64 Defender (602) Aug 16, 2005 Texas
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I think your description of the beers is rather vague and confusing. Maybe if you provide a few more details and perhaps some different camera angles of the beer that will really help clear things up.
  38. MattSweatshirt

    MattSweatshirt Initiate (0) Jun 29, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    From JK: At the time of packaging, Das Überkind was re-yeasted with Brettanomyces yeast and allowed to naturally re-ferment in the bottle for nearly another two months.
  39. pwsoldier

    pwsoldier Devotee (438) Apr 26, 2007 Texas

    I believe all of their sours use brett in addition to their "farmhouse" strain.
  40. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm curious, when you say "you could smell the brett" are you smelling funk or are you smelling sour?
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