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Moss on Barrels

Ask A Brewer | May 30

Dan Moss demonstrates the prestigious Brooklyn Barrel Hop…

Every couple of weeks, we’ll be soliciting your brewing questions on Facebook for Brewer Dan Moss to answer here on Here are his answers to Round Four.

Dominic Hughes (@SorStrappo): Which of your brews is the biggest seller? What’s really up and coming?

Lager has always been our biggest seller, but East India Pale Ale and Summer have been nipping away at Lager’s heels. A few upcoming jammy’s you might want to look out for include our latest Brewmaster’s Reserve, Gold Standard; Centerfold, Rob Lemery’s celebration of Pacific hops and rose hips; or Doc Pomus, our GoogaMooga exclusive lager.

@iFancyaPint: How do you decide what flavours will work with a new recipe? Temptation to just “go for it” must be tough to avoid?

When we develop a new recipe, we take cues from the food and cocktail world, so if you’ve been waiting for that hot dog water and boot leather beer that folks have been whispering about, keep waiting. When we do have a finalized concept we will brew a batch on our original 25 barrel brewhouse, and fine tune the recipe from there.

Simon Bartle: Do any of your brews focus heavily on late hopping – for bitterness? I’ve read discussion of brewers claiming that the majority of bittering can be gained from late hops and a shorter boil, but others stand firm and say bitterness can’t be extracted without the long boil time to properly isomerize (I love that word) the acids in the hops. It’d be nice to hear what a professional thinks.

I’ve heard of that technique as well, but we haven’t done a whole lot of experimentation with shortening our boil and how it relates to hop character. Theoretically, it sounds good and if maximizing the use of time is important, it certainly is a worthwhile technique to use, but here in Brooklyn, we take a lot of pride in our artisanal efforts and the depth of character they’ve continued to produce in our beers, so take solace in the fact that that glass of Lager you’re drinking was boiled with love for just over an hour.

Mike Conner: Do you guys use pearl hops at all? Have you tried Pearl Snap by Austin Beerworks? I would love to try your version of that beer. Is that something y’all would try?

I assume you’re referring to the Northern Brewer variant, Perle, which in fact we use frequently. It makes up the backbone of the hop profile for many of our beers including Local 1, Local 2 and Radius.

As far as Pearl Snap from Austin Beerworks, no, I’ve never had it, but the description sounds like it may be in the vein of our latest BMR, Gold Standard. We also like the bitter snappiness of a Gilbert Gottfried joke. Say, have you heard the one about the aristocrats?

Pauly Walnuts: Yes – it’s me again. When the brewery comes up with a concept for a new recipe, how do you try it out? I.E. do you make a 5 gal batch for taste testing? I assume you don’t fill those giant fermenters up for a sample run? Do you ever take one of those ‘giant brewer tasteless light beers’ and add spices/etc. to experiment and come up with ideas? PS – my daughter took me to the brewery for my birthday in March. It was fantastic and that place was packed! What a gold mine – I hope they pay you enough…

We only have fermenters with four different capacities; 25bbl, 50bbl, 100bbl, and 200 bbl, so our preliminary batches are usually 25 or 50 bbls. After we figure out exactly what we want to add, we focus on what the most effective way to add each unconventional ingredient and at what stage. Besides, if we just added stuff to light lagers, we wouldn’t know how those flavors worked with the other ingredients in the beer.

By the way, how was your visit? I hope Monster didn’t try to eat all your pepperoni…

The Beer Guerilla: What new beer ideas are you guys kicking around for small or larger batches? Any Saisons?

We’ve got some saisons, have you had Sorachi Ace, or perhaps Radius? We do have some other beers in the works, as well as a few new barrel projects. Stay tuned!

Brendan McHenry: For the British influenced beers that Brooklyn has, do you have a preference for a particular yeast strain?

We do have our very own ale yeast that we use for all our British and American influenced brews. It was gifted to us a long long time ago, and has since evolved into its own unique creature. It’s actually the yeast we use in things like Pennant, East India Pale Ale, and “BLAST!”.

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