NJ ABC Permits

Posted in Updates, on 29 March 2016, by , 0 Comments

Bureau of Bureacracy

The Worst Task: Waiting

You might have wondered where we have been as the posts have definitely slowed down.  Well, that is exactly our feeling as the responses and movement has slowed down with the Federal Government and their TTB Permits as well as the State Government and their ABC Permits.  As of February 24th 2016 our (50 Page) Federal Application was read and moved out of the triage stage, but the month since has been deafening silence.  Similarly the (70 Page) ABC Limited Brewery Permit was submitted on February 25th, with us only receiving  confirmation of receipt a mere few days ago.  To add some synchronicity between the two, neither have let us know who our assigned Inspectors/Specialists will be, but I can promise you whoever they assign will be my best friends for the next few months.  Hopefully the glacially slow pace on these are just because of the sheer amount of gold stars and smiley face stickers the Inspectors need for my applications.  bureaucracy

How we Speed up the Permits

So far I have reached out to our local Senators and Assemblymen in Lakewood to insist to the State that our Permits cannot sit in limbo forever since we have a lot of thirsty mouths that are craving our beer and I’m not trying to disappoint a single one of them by not having beer ready to serve.  They have seemed very receptive to helping “carry the flag” to New Jersey for us in speeding up what can be an extremely long and arduous process of sitting and waiting.  Otherwise, all we can do is sit and wait for a call or email from our eventually assigned specialist, ready and waiting to respond with any documentation or questions they might have to ask.

Progress we can Believe in: Equipment

While there is not that much we can physically do to hurry up the speed of the State or Federal Government, their is plenty we can and are doing while we wait.  As important as having permits to brew the beer is, so is having everything setup to brew, and having a place to serve you.  Our equipment is all either finishing up or en route currently.  In the next few weeks we will be scheduling the delivery of our Brewhouse, which will be coming over the road from Ridgway Colorado.  Meanwhile, pieces of our Fermenters/Glycol Chiller keep arriving day by day from various places like Georgia and California, but the actual Fermenters and Bright Tank are currently somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, making their way to New Jersey by the end of April.

Starting the Equipment pile

Exhaust Fan, Air Louvers, Cold Room Compressor, and a mystery box


We’re Gonna Build A Wall

But we’re going to pay for it.  Finalizing pricing and bids with a few different Contractors so we can get the best price for the best work in building a tasting room so each of you can sample our work in a temperature controlled room on days that we just can’t allow you out in the warehouse other than for tours such as our brew days and when its just way too hot outside for anyone to want to stand in a hot warehouse.  For us building this tasting room is what makes “this house a home”, as we design everything to our dreams (that our bank accounts will allow).  As soon as we have our contractor picked we will be applying for our local building permits, which will hopefully be that much easier than anything we’ve seen on the State and Federal level.  This will allow us to pretty up everything in the warehouse as well, getting every water connection, gas connection, electric connection, and lighting all in place so the day our equipment arrives it can snuggle up in its place and be ready and waiting to brew the day our approvals get their final sticker of approval.



Beers on Deck to be Brewed:

Oatmeal American-IPA
Smoked Pilsner

Ginger-Grapefruit Witbeer

Chipotle Porter

Currently in Fermentation:

Irish-American Red Ale

Currently in Barrels:

Imperial Coffee-Rye Porter


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Lakewood Porter

Posted in Craft Beer, on 4 March 2016, by , 0 Comments

Porter: Certainly, but why?

Wooosah, no don’t worry I’m counting down from 10, woosah.  Sorry about that but sometimes these Federal Brewers Bond Applications and State Tax Applications require a quick moment of zen paired with something strong, possibly whiskey, possibly beer, also known as our inspiration for our Imperial Coffee Rye Porter which clocks in at 10% ABV.  While we were definitely aiming for 11% ABV originally, a combination of coming in just under gravity and barely missing our attenuation goal left us at 10% with a hint more sweetness which will help balance all the rich flavors from the coffee malt as well as the spice of the rye malt.  A recurring theme with our brews is rather than settle with a very good beer, we decided to kick it up the next notch, this time with barrel aging.


The Barrel

The barrels we selected for this project are once used Medium Toast American Oak Barrels made by Kelvin Cooperage aged with Catskill Distilling Buckwheat Whiskey.  Seeing how special and unique this beer is to us, it only made sense to use barrels that are equally special which have been used for a unique Whiskey made with 80% Buckwheat and 20% “small grains”.  From our tasting of the whiskey we pulled  some notes of vanilla, grain, and plenty of smoke, all flavors we would like to see in the Porter.

Oak Barrel

Kelvin Cooperage Medium Toast American Oak Barrel

The Process: Barreling

These Barrels were recently dumped of their whiskey, which is advantageous in two ways: rehydrating the barrel to swell the wood is much easier as the wood is still moist, and the whiskey notes should follow through to the beer added.  We filled each barrel with 180°F water, then rolled the barrels on their sides constantly looking for any leaks.  Luckily there were no leaks to be found.  After leaving the hot water in the Barrels for a few minutes we dumped the water from barrel to barrel to conserve on the amount of water wasted.  If Smell-O-Vision was a thing I would plug each and every one of you into the intense aromas coming out of the barrels after we poured out the water: Caramel, Smoke, and Vanilla, heavenly.

Hydrating Oak Barrels


Once we had our barrels hydrated and clean we were ready to transfer over the Porter, which had already been fully fermented and cold crashed.  We pumped it in as slowly as possible to reduce any risk of splashing and oxidation which could negatively effect the beer over time.  As soon as we saw a full 25 Gallons in the barrel, on went an airlock to make sure our little Porter could enjoy a safe and sterile environment over the next few months of its aging.  The plan is to let this beer sit in the barrel for the next 3 months, around which point we will run this process again with fresh poured barrels so another batch of Coffee Rye Porter can be barrel aged, except this time for Icarus Brewing with the full blessing of the Federal and State Governments.  The race is on, will we be brewing in Lakewood by the time this beer is ready, or will we still be waiting on the same permits that New Jersey and the Tax and Trade Bureau should be looking over right now?



Porter Barrel Fill



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