Gute Nacht Can Recall

One of the hardest parts of working with the wild yeasts we use is their tenacity to ferment any available sugars in the beer. As such, we ferment our beer to a very low residual sugar level during primary fermentation and attempt to ensure all fermentation is complete before packaging the beer. We do this because we love the flavor of heavily attenuated dry beers and it also ensures the shelf stability of our beers. However, it appears a secondary fermentation of residual sugars took place in the Gute Nacht cans released last winter resulting in burst cans. 

We've received these reports of burst cans over the last few weeks, as well as observed similar events with Quality Assurance cans that we keep back from each batch.  It appears to only impact cans that have been stored warm, then exposed to elevated temperatures, and is only limited to cans. Draft Gute Nacht appears unaffected at this time. 

As a precaution, we are issuing a recall on all Gute Nacht cans. The recall is limited to the regular Gute Nacht and not the Barrel Aged version or any of our other beers.

To our retail partners, please contact our distribution partners and arrange pickup of the product.  We are working with them to ensure a credit is issued. To our customers who still have Gute Nacht cans, if you would like to receive a refund, please bring the cans into The Koelschip. We will swap the recalled cans for either a 4 or 2 pack of your choice.  If you have questions, you can contact us via email at

Finally, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.  We constantly monitor our beers to ensure they continue to age the way we intended and that they adhere to our quality standards. Unfortunately, as with all living things, they don't always cooperate.

Josh Hambright

Co Founder/Head Brewer

A House becomes a Table

A few weeks ago, we received a letter from a law firm. These situations always make us nervous because we are still new to owning businesses and we make mistakes along the way. Did we hurt someone? Did we fail to pay something in a timely manner? It is truly impressive the volume of snail mail we receive on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately, the letter was one of the oft-referenced "Cease and Desist use of..." letters that are becoming more and more common in brewing. While we, as brewers, are pretty creative with beer recipes, there are only so many words that can be used on a label and we are bound to arrive at similar names from time-to-time. Faced with the option of spending a six-figure sum of money on a gamble to try and prove a point, we chose a more straightforward option: change the name.

The name being disputed is "House" and the phrase "House Beer". So, where we have spent the last 16 months making a 4% ABV Rustic Blonde that we call "House" and a number of variations to that base recipe, those references will be no more. We have already scrubbed our website and are working with the various rating sites to remove those beer names from the various websites.

Now allow us to announce our latest release....Table. Table is the same exact beer and will be packaged in that same beautiful red can that we love seeing on shelves and in refrigerators. Since these label changes and approvals take time, we are hoping that you will start to see Table on shelves in November. Stay tuned to our social media and we'll keep updates rolling on progress.


Next Steps: East 26th Street

We knew that this time would arrive. For it to have arrived so quickly is a bit surreal, but it feels logical, even comfortable, which is the way we wanted it to work. On August 1, 2016, we took possession of a leased building at 4001 E. 26th Street in Indianapolis. The 6,000 square feet will become our permitted production facility once we get through all of the permitting process eight to ten months from now.

As you may know, in order for a brewery to obtain a Small Brewer's permit from the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau, they need to have a physical space already reserved. Many start-up breweries do not realize that from the time of signing a lease, or purchase agreement, they are at least eight months away from actually having the permit. Thankfully, we were able to watch a number of our friends navigate the process and have planned appropriately. The support that Black Acre has given us for the last 20 months and continues to give us is a huge part of us being able to make this move.

"26th Street", as we have started to call it, will not have any public-facing duties. We will focus the space on stainless production and have room for more of the 10 BBL (310 gallon) plastic totes that allow for beers like Totes McMaple, Funky Rose, Ottermelon Gose, and Lazer Raptor to be more readily available. By the end of 2016, we expect to have twenty of the totes in rotation at Black Acre's facility.

We still have to bundle all of the paperwork and send it off to the proper agencies, but if you start to see pictures of more equipment and taller ceilings, there is a solid chance we are getting closer at 26th Street.

Garden joins the family

We are super excited to announce the release of a new beer: Garden. Garden will ship in draft and in cans and our plan is to make it available throughout the year. As you can see in the label below, Garden is a Leipzig-style Gose brewed with lemon peel and a touch of Cascade hops. Draft of Garden will begin shipping to distributors mid August with cans to follow a few weeks later, so they will likely be on shelves in time for Labor Day celebrations.

We will be releasing the first run of cans exclusively at The Koelschip on August 20th at noon.

Hey New Guy! Welcome Adam Schick

2016 has been an incredible year so far and we can not express in a single post how much we appreciate your continued support. The success of cans allowed us to purchase a second 30BBL fermenter in mid-June. The second 30BBL fermenter ensures that we can continue to produce our standard beers on a year-round basis while producing new beers at a scale where we can send them across our full distribution footprint. We will have announcements about new beers (and returning favorites) through the remainder of the year.

As we looked at where we need to focus for the last five months of 2016, we determined that we need someone to get out in the field and better support our distributors and retail partners. So, with this post, we are happy to announce the expansion of our Full-Time team from one person (Josh) to two people. We have gotten to know Adam Schick over the past few months and believe that he is the person for this role. He is smart, snarky, and willing to hustle to make sure we are having fun while working hard.

Adam’s primary responsibility is working with our distributors in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky to ensure that we are doing the best job possible to support the accounts that choose to carry our beer. When he is not visiting accounts, Adam will help Josh with operational responsibilities. He will also spend some time bartending at The Koelschip, so if you see his luxurious beard and glasses behind the bar, ask him about his cats, Booker and Squeaky Fromme.

Welcome Adam!

While we will strive to do a better job of updating our blog, the best way to see what we’re doing is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Koelschip

Oh hey there! We've had a busy few months. Lazer Raptors. A few other new beers pushed out. Beer available year-round in cans. We opened a bar. Anyways, we've let the blog slip a bit.

All that hard work on getting The Koelschip open and running has been noticed, it seems. Draft Magazine included us in their annual list of America's 100 Best Beer Bars. This is a HUGE honor to be included on this list alongside so many locations we love visiting. Admittedly, it's also a lot to live up to for a still only five-month-old project. 

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of you who have patronized The Koelschip. Thank you.

For those that haven't made it in, stop by and grab a beer and an Underberg!


Same As It Ever Was: A Case for Variation in Beer

There’s a joke that gets tossed around the beer geek scene a lot. You take a pretty well renowned beer, one people always look forward to the release of, and you say, “It was better last year.” Every year, you say that. That’s the joke. Because, in a lot of cases, it should taste the same, right? That’s the point of beer—that it tastes the same, over and over again. An old familiar friend who never changes, that same old guy you’ve always known who’s always just as bitter and fruity as he’s always been.

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Two New Brews

Across our distribution footprint, you should be seeing a couple of new beers popping up on tap.

First, there’s this beauty that we’re calling Totes McOaks (blame Bly if you can’t say it). It’s a Brettanomyces-fermented pale ale aged on medium toast oak honeycombs from Black Swan Cooperage. Oak honeycombs are an alternative to cubes and spirals, and offer a ton of surface area. Josh let this one age for three months, and you’re going to get plenty of oak in the flavor, as well as some traditional Brett funk and more traditional hoppy flavors.

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Calling the Kettle Sour

People are calling sour beers “all the rage” right now. Major news outlets are writing articles about them—about what they are and why they’re so suddenly popular. Sour beers encompass some of my favorite styles when done correctly, and they’re also some of my favorites to brew because they require an entirely different skill set than traditional, “clean” beers. A note, though: a “sour beer” is generally referred to as any beer with tartness derived from a lowered pH. However, sour beers are not necessarily a style unto themselves; rather, there are several beer styles that might be traditionally sour.

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CSB is heading south

It is with great excitement we want to announce that we are entering Distribution into Kentucky beginning this week. 

Distribution is a tricky game because once you agree to work with a distributor, you become what we call "business married". As with most relationships that are built on capitalism, things can get tricky when you speed date. The best relationships involve taking the time to get to know each other and making sure that the personalities mesh. As one man once told me, "You have to truly know that your inner-crazy will get along with his/her/their inner-crazy." which is why we are so happy to be working with Dauntless Distributing in Kentucky. We've known Michael Minton and his crew at Dauntless for a while and are excited to party with them on a more regular basis.

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It is never easy to say goodbye to a family member. In some cases, it is even more difficult to say goodbye to a loyal pet. Josh and Robyn had to say goodbye to their dog of eight years, Paz, last night (6/11/15). Her health was fading and it was her time. 

Paz could be a complete terrorist. She often greeted me with a well-timed punch to the balls (thanks to our height differential) and she had to wear a harness because if you tried to convince her to go in a different direction on a walk, she would slip her collar and just chuckle. That is, a terrorist until she liked you.

Princess Pazy Von Noodle-Stroodle Butt Esquire

Once she liked you, she was a complete cuddle monster with a pair of the kindest eyes. Her little nub tail wagging and that scratchy howl became part of our planning meetings over the past two years. It was comforting to snuggle her during some of the intense discussions on what we wanted this brewery to be. What we wanted it to mean.

As you, dear reader, get to know us, you will see our absolute devotion to dogs. Chris has brewed a holiday beer for the past few years and hand labeled (and waxed) 22oz bottles to honor the dogs of his family. Josh and Robyn recently added Lemmy to the family when Robyn saw him darting through the Target parking lot on a dreary night. Meghan and I plan to open a dog rescue as part of retirement. Dogs are awesome. 

Our love of dogs is why this post sucks to write. So, Rest in Party Paz. We'll see you on the other side.

The Four Species of Brettanomyces

Currently, there are four species of Brettanomyces that are recognized by science. With the various mutations that exist of these species, it’s quite a task to nail down precisely what each will do when introduced into a beer, but I’m going to try to do just that.

As a reminder, the four species are: B. anomalus (also called B. claussenii), B. bruxellensis (also called B. lambicus), B. custerianus, and B. naardenensis. (To quell this right now: the yeast formerly known as B. nanus has since been reclassified as Eeniella nana, much like The Artist Formerly Known as Prince has been reclassified as that funky symbol. So, in short, it’s not Brettanomyces.) As noted in an earlier post, the two species that are most common in brewing today are B. anomalus and B. bruxellensis, but some have begun to experiment with the latter two, as well.

First, lets answer the question that’s been nagging you (or at least, nagging me): Why do B. bruxellensis and B. anomalus have aliases? According to Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave (who literally wrote a dissertation about Brettanomyces and its viability as a primary fermenter), it’s old nomenclature, and geneticists have since looked harder at the DNA of each species and determined they’re not so different after all.

Of course, that begs the question, “Then why does White Labs sell both a B. bruxellensis (WLP650) and B. lambicus (WLP653)?” That’s where it gets more complicated, and why the above statement, about this entire venture being foolhardy, comes more into play. These two yeasts, which are the same genetically, still produce different results in the beer. Introduce Wyeast’s two versions (5112 and 5526) and realize that these, too, will produce even further different results.

To make sense of this, consider Saccharomyces cerevisiae: it is the general species of “brewer’s yeast.” It encompasses every type of that yeast, from the Saison DuPont strain to the West Coast Ale strain, all of which have different impacts on a beer’s flavor. Yet they’re all the same species, genetically speaking.

Another example: my wife and I are of the same species. Yet we are different in very distinct (and pretty obvious) ways. I’m the bruxellensis to her lambicus. Get it?

With all of that out of the way, how about we look at some of the flavor profiles that can be produced when using these various species of Brettanomyces and just really muddy the waters a little further, huh? (Conveniently enough, you can find a table that makes much more sense of all this compiled by Levi Funk of Funk Factory, which he has compiled with help from Brandon Jones at Embrace the Funk, and Al Buck from East Coast Yeast.)

B. bruxellensis

Like mentioned in the post pertaining specifically to B. bruxellensis, this species is known primarily for producing the “barnyard,” “horse blanket,” and generally funky flavor profiles when used in secondary, and much fruitier notes when used as a primary yeast. It’s worth noting again that the Wyeast and White Labs variants are seemingly different, producing different (albeit similar) flavor profiles. Wyeast claims “sweaty horse blanket,” while White Labs only claims “medium intensity” character. Like mentioned before, Central State’s house yeast is a mutation of B. bruxellensis, which can provide fruit, peppery notes, funk, or a completely clean beer depending on its use (primary versus secondary, fermentation temperature, etc.).

However: Wyeast’s B. lambicus boasts a distinct cherry flavor in addition to the traditional Brett funk, and White Labs’ Lambicus has “high intensity” character, being “horsey, smoky, and spicy.” The differences in all of these strains, even though they’re the same biologically, goes to show the distinct differences you can have between the same species, akin to the differences in vastly different Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

B. anomalus

The B. anomalus strains tend to be big producers of esters. Some strains produce leathery notes, while others provide fruit forward flavors, pineapple specifically (from B. claussenii-named strains). Wyeast no longer produces their anomalus, but White Labs’ claussenii is their low-level character-producing Brett. Depending on their use in primary or secondary, you may get some mild funk, and maybe even a bit of acidity.

B. custerianus

As far as my research shows, there aren’t many (if any?) commercially available strains of B. custerianus. The last available was from East Coast Yeast, and it seems to have last been produced in 2013. Michael Tonsmeire (aka The Mad Fermentationist) is the only account I can find of having used this species. He claims when used in primary that the yeast is “lager-like” when young and fruitiness emerges when aged. In secondary, it’s the opposite: fruity when young, becoming much cleaner as it ages.

B. naardenensis

There also aren’t many species of B. naardenensis available commercially, either. The one that may be most well known is from East Coast Yeast, and that particular version is known to produce some intriguing flavors, including ripe fruit, honey, and some acidity after six months or so of aging. However, Tonsmeire has also noted that the finish might taste “goaty,” which…well, whatever floats your boat, I guess.

We can hope that as more breweries focus on Brettanomyces fermentation, we’ll see more commercial examples of what these species are capable of producing. And like Tonsmeire notes in his book American Sour Beers, there may be species floating around in the air all around us, just waiting to be captured and examined and tossed into wort.

What Exactly is Brett Brux?

If you spend time around beer these days, you’re hearing a lot about Brettanomyces and its various strains. One of these more classic strains is Brett brux, and no doubt you’ve heard it discussed with a lot of words like “funk,” “barnyard,” and “horse blanket.” But there’s a lot more to Brett brux than its funk, and it all depends on where it gets used.

First, the science. There are four primary (or at least scientifically recognized) strains of Brettanomyces: B. bruxellensis (a.k.a B. lambicus), B. anomalus (a.k.a B. claussenii), B. custersianus, and B. nardenensis. Each one produces different flavors in beer, though brux and anomalus are the two most commonly used to date.

Brett brux in long-tail form is Brettanomyces bruxellensis. It’s commonly found in lambic-style beers, which still leads many folks to believe that brux is the agent that sours a beer. That’s not true. In sour beers, bacteria (specifically Lactobaccillus and Pediococcus) are responsible for producing acids that cause sourness. Brett brux is a wild yeast, one that occurs naturally in all parts of the world, but perhaps most famously in the areas of Belgium where lambic is produced. Brux is capable of producing acid (most frequently acetic—the same that’s in vinegar) by metabolizing oxygen and ethanol, but it’s not usually responsible for the bulk of acetic production in any beer.

B. bruxellensis is a single type of yeast, but it’s really more than that: it has a family of mutations. In the same way that Saccaromyces cerevisiae (traditional brewer’s yeast) encompasses all ale strains, B. bruxellensis can provide that same kind of variation. Just like a beer fermented with American ale yeast will taste different than one fermented with a Belgian trappist yeast, so will two beers fermented with different mutations of B. bruxellensis.

While different commercially available strains of B. bruxellensis do different things, brux is most traditionally known as the species that produces the infamous barnyard character.

B. bruxellensis as a Secondary Fermenter

Brettanomyces is often used as a secondary fermenter. That is, it’s pitched after or at the same time as Saccharomyces. In these cases, the two yeasts compete. But B. bruxellensis is a slow-growing yeast, which means Saccharomyces, eating much faster, gets its choice of most of the easily fermentable sugars in wort. B. bruxellensis, then, chews on long-chain sugars called dextrins which Saccharomyces is incapable of fermenting. And as Saccharomyces eats, it produces byproducts that B. bruxellensis is able to feed on. This produces many of the trademark esters and phenols that mark a beer as “funky.”

Brettanomyces is very tolerant of—if not encouraged by—acidic environments. This is why it is so important in the production of sour beers. Low pH is toxic to Saccharomyces, but Brettanomyces can survive (and even thrive) in a lactic-heavy or otherwise acidic wort.

B. bruxellensis as a Primary Fermenter

Brux doesn’t need to be used only as a secondary fermenter, though. And while there hasn’t been a significant amount of research (or brewing) done with brux as a primary fermenter, there are some significant differences that occur. When brux has access to the easily fermentable sugars in wort, it produces much fruiter notes. While some funk may still be present, it won’t be as abundant as it is when used in secondary.

This is important because the primary house yeast at Central State Brewing is a mutated strain of B. bruxellensis that has been culturing for over a year. Over this time, it has become a quick attenuating (which in non-brewing lingo means the conversion of sugars to alcohol and CO2 via fermentation) yeast and provides fruity, tropical notes when used with hops, peppery notes with a hint of funk on drier styles, but when fermented at cooler temperatures, it provides a clean tasting and smelling beer.

It is also important to note that B. brux and Brettanomyces in general is a super attenuating yeast when used in secondary. Because it eats slowly, it will continue to eat and break down sugars long after packaging. Beers fermented in secondary with Brettanomyces will change over time, often becoming dryer and continuing to produce esters and phenols. However, when used as a primary fermenter, though it will continue to chew on residual sugars over time, it will also reach a fairly stable final gravity within a matter of a weeks.



Who Is This Cy Wood Character?

I suppose I should introduce myself, since Central State is touting me as a collaborator and I will be writing about something you all hold very near and dear to your hearts.

The thing that I imagine will matter to most is that I am a homebrewer, and still a fairly recent one at that. I’ve brewed for about the last four years, first with friends who are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am, and then more recently I’ve ventured out on my own (though I still brew much larger batches with three friends). Mostly, I focus on sour beers and saison/farmhouse styles—the styles I enjoy drinking most—but I’ve been known to pull together a decent IPA. I like experimenting with bacteria and Brettanomyces and barrels. I have two fifteen-gallon rye whiskey barrels and one sixty-gallon wine barrel in my basement.

Otherwise, I’m a writer, the Creative Director at a content marketing agency in Indianapolis, and any other ridiculous number of adjectives and descriptors you can assign to me.

I haven’t won any awards, no medals. I’m not a best-in-show winner. I’m not a BJCP judge or a Cicerone. (I also don’t submit to beer festivals [yet] because I prefer to drink my beer myself and I’m forever tweaking my recipes to my own tastes. Not to say that I would win, but like the lottery says…) I haven’t worked as a brewer or a cellarman in a brewery—though I did tend bar at one for a while. I’m not a scientist, have no degree in chemistry or molecular biology.

No, I’m just some schmuck who took a liking to beer in my latter college days and let that grow. And I’m someone who thought it was a good idea to get a college degree in Creative Writing and is trying to do something worthwhile with that. And someone with a wife understanding enough to let me store all of my brewing equipment in the house and visit a few breweries when we travel.

Most importantly to the purposes of this blog, however, is that I’m someone who reads a lot—about beer and otherwise—and is generally unsatisfied with the kinds of coverage you find in mainstream culture about beer. And there will be plenty of you who read the things I’ll write for Central State and say, “Jeez, I don’t really give a shit. I just want to drink a beer.” That’s totally cool. I’m not here to be highfalutin’. I just want to write about a few of the elements of beer that I find fascinating. I’m interested in both the flavor profiles present in beer as well as the processes that create those flavors.

I’ll be learning as much as I’ll be writing. Learning from the Central State boys and whoever else is foolish enough to give me any time of day. And I hope you’ll all learn a little something too, whatever that might be.

New Collaborator: Cy Wood

One of our core tenets at Central State is to collaborate and serve as an incubator for the brewing industry. We have a bunch of ideas that will come to fruition through the coming year(s) and I am excited to share one of those steps as we welcome Cy Wood as our first digital collaborator. We have known Cy for a couple of years and I have gotten to know Cy on a more personal level through various bottle shares over the last year. I respect the hell out of his writing and the intellectual way that he approaches beer so we met and agreed that he will post a couple times per month on our blog with more in-depth pieces. 

 Cy enjoying a boot of Stiegl Radler at Zwanze Day 2013

Cy enjoying a boot of Stiegl Radler at Zwanze Day 2013

Throughout our planning, I have read (and re-read) the blogs from The Bruery and Chad Yakobson's Brettanomyces Project. My hope is that our blog will become a source of knowledge for anyone interested in opening a brewery, looking to learn more about Brettanomyces or are just curious about what we are doing. 

You can expect a blog post from Cy soon introducing himself. Welcome Cy!

Palm Sunday Tornado - Collaboration with Good Beer Hunting

Its not officially a Collab until you get a shot of the visitor adding hops.

All three of us have been big fans of what Michael Kiser has created with his Good Beer Hunting project for quite some time. Such big fans that we decided to work with Michael to develop our branding, along with designer and fellow GBH collaborator Kyle Fletcher.  Thus started a relationship with GBH that we hope will continue well into the future as we've come to respect Michael even more through this process but more importantly we've come to call him our friend. 

We've often said that part of our vision at Central State is to brew collaboratively as often as possible. Such collaborations have a near magical ability to bring out the best of all parties involved, leading to an end result  greater than our independent contributions. Even prior to having beer in our own tanks, we have had the honor to brew collaborations with some great breweries including 18th Street Brewery, Mash Craft Brewing, and Black Acre Brewing.  We have a great deal of respect for each of them and look forward to working on new projects with them again in the future.

We wouldn't want to limit these collaborative projects to working only with brewers. We also want to also reach out to like-minded people in other fields and find great ways to create something special combining all of our talents. So when Michael broached the possibility of working together to brew a beer for the Lupulin Carnival hosted by 4 Hands Brewing, we immediately jumped at the opportunity.  After a silly amount of emails flying back and forth with ideas, we developed a plan to brew a 100% Brett Wheat IPA called "Palm Sunday Tornado". We fermented this batch with our house Brett Brux strain and hopped the bejeesus out of it with Pacific Jade, Simcoe, and Citra hops.  We are incredibly excited to pour Palm Sunday Tornado with Michael this coming weekend in St. Louis!


In the next few weeks we will start production on full scale batches at the Irvington Coal Factory alongside our host brewery, Black Acre Brewing. It has been a long journey preparing to get these first batches of Central State beer into the tanks, and all of us are incredibly eager to start sharing these beers with all of you. More to come on this soon.