Its Been Too Long…

I haven’t posted here in ages so I just thought I’d post an update on Riverlands progress.  There’s one thing I’ve learned from this process, and that’s everything takes time.  I’m dying to get to the beer brewing part of this, but we are still looking for a location.  We’ve had potential buildings come and go, offers put in, counteroffers, but nothing that has stuck.  We’re submitting an offer again today on a building that I loved, so hopefully this is the one!

There are so many things to consider when you’re building hunting.  The buildings we are looking at need to be zoned for manufacturing, but the city we are looking in will rewrite some building codes to allow us a partial retail use there as well.  It needs to be in our budget (which has been ever expanding), and it needs to be between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet.  The more things it has like sprinkler systems, HVAC, floor drains and such, the more expensive it is, but will take less money and work later.  Its all a balancing act and finding the perfect spot has been tough.  After we drop a sizable amount of money on a spot, we still need money to buy equipment, build the taproom, do the floors in the brewhouse and cellar area, and more.

After we get that wrapped up, we’re looking at between 6 to 12 months for buildout, licensing, permits, and anything else that comes up.  We are currently shooting for winter of 2018 or early 2019.

While this has been going on, I’ve volunteered at a brewery in Villa Park, IL called MoRE Brewing Company.  They specialize in New England style IPA’s and stouts, but do a wide variety of other things too.  I’ve learned a lot from those guys that will help me transition into doing this on a professional scale.

Since this is a homebrew blog, here’s one thing I can tell you that I’ve learned about brewing NE IPA’s that you guys can use.  It’s all about the dry hops.  You can get almost all your flavor from them too, not just aroma.  Looking back at my old recipes on here, I’d basically double my dry hop amounts now and use less in the boil/hopstand.  I dry hop over 4lbs per barrel, which comes out to 13.5 oz or so on a 6 gallon batch.  Its nuts, but it does wonders.  If you visit our beer page at the Riverlands site, https://www.riverlandsbrewing.com/our-beer/ , you can see the malts and hops used in our beer.  I’ve taken to using a pretty even split combo of flaked oats and white wheat.  I use carafoam for even more body in these beers.  I’ve tried flaked wheat and malted oats as well, I just prefer the flaked oats, white wheat, carafoam combo for the body of these beers.  Honey malt is fun to play around with in these too, but I’ve mostly stuck to light crystal lately.  I’ve just been using good old 2 Row as my base.  I do plan on playing around with Golden Promise, but for our core hoppy lineup, GP doesn’t make sense for me.  We do use a decent amount of Pilsner too.

Anyway, I’ll post on here when we do get our location nailed down, hopefully it won’t be too much longer.  Then the real work begins!!!!

Cheers,

Eric

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6 thoughts on “Its Been Too Long…

  1. Hey Eric,

    You mention how after this recent time spent volunteering at a brewery, you would double the hops during DH as opposed to hop stand. Could you say roughly (when it comes to your NEIPA’s), what percentage of your overall hops are utilized during dry hopping vs hops during flame out or hopstand/whirlpool? I recently made a NEIPA that came out fantastic and also used a crazy amount of DH over 2 stages.Thank you and best of luck finding a location!

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  2. I probably use about 75% of my hops in the dry hop for most of my New England style IPAs. I believe that Trillium in Boston does something like this as a prime example. They do a bittering addition, maybe something in the boil around 5 or 10 minutes, then a pretty modest hopstand addition. They then do a huge dose of dry hops. I’ve taken to doing a method similar to this. I’m amazed at not only the aroma, which is the obvious part, but the huge flavor contribution that the dry hops bring, including an increase in perceived bitterness.

    There are of course more than one way to go about this, and I’ve done plenty of batches with a more evenly split dry hop and hopstand with great results too. You can also play around with reducing or even eliminating boil hops all together, which is another thing I’m fond of. I’ve found that playing with these hop schedules really makes brewing this style fun, and there are a lot of different approaches that yield great results!

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  3. Hey Eric!

    Great to hear the progress. I was just invited to a wedding in Elburn next summer. I’m hoping you’ll be up and running then. I’d love to give your beers a try!

    It’s interesting that you’re finding success with big dry hops. My latest and best beers lately have used around 5.5 oz in boil and 10-ish oz dry hopping. Maybe I should push that a bit more! Which means any DDH version is going to be off the charts…

    Good luck!

    Colin

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    • Thanks Colin! That’s not far off from the amounts I’m using. I’m doing 13.5 oz in the dry hop for a 6 gallon batch. It scales up to just under 4 and a half pounds per barrel. I agree, I’m not looking forward to my hop costs when I do a DDH beer at this ratio. Hell, I’m sure over 4lbs per barrel would be considered DDH by a lot of breweries!

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      • I don’t know if you saw Janish’s last blog post but he talked about dry hopping changing mineral content of beers. His focused more on removal of copper and other metals. But what I was more interested in was Cl jumped 48 ppm (with 2 oz of cryo hops). Have you done any kind of studies around this? Or how it would impact how you approach your water treatment?

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      • I hadn’t read that, I’ll have to check it out. I haven’t looked too deeply into that. I have a base water profile that I like for most of my beers and only really get way from that if a style specifically needs certain water. With the pretty massive dry hop amounts I’ve been using this would be a worthwhile thing to explore.

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