What's Going On?

Becoming the Brewery

Posted in Craft Beer, on 7 September 2017, by , 1 Comments

Where we Are: Chasing Dreams Brewing

In our last 7 months we’ve brewed 41 different Beers (Averaging 1.5 per week… not bad), and offered an absurd amount of varieties through the ever changing Randall in the tasting room (How else would we offer Jons Birthday Suit: Black Mass thru Raspberries, Cherries, Cacao, Vanilla, Anise, and Sprinkles) or Joes most recent creation: Cool Summer Nights (Heatwaver Session Saison thru Cucumbers and Lemons)

Icarus Brewing Randall

Heatwaver Session Saison thru Cucumbers and Lemons. Unbelievably refreshing.

When we first opened we set out to do something ambitious and put out massive amounts of variety, the styles that typically do not receive nearly enough love from most Breweries.  We figured this ambitious project would take years to acclimate everyone to our eccentric love for beer (Smoked Pilsners, Habanero Pale Ales, Blueberry Mojito IPAs, etc.), but we quickly realized every single person who ordered a flight in the tasting room or a pint at a bar was our biggest source of inspiration.  This intense love has allowed us to consistently pump out the ever changing taplist you’ve come to expect.

Where we’re going: Big Things Brewing

We can finally happily announce that we are growing.  We have two new tanks on their way (30 BBL Fermenter, 30 BBL Bright Tank) which should arrive mid November.  The addition of these two tanks will increase our capacity from 60 BBLs in Fermentation to 90 BBLs in Fermentation (50% increase).  The additional Fermenter/Bright Tank allows us to Can far more often as well as increase our number of varieties offered freeing up our flagship beers (Panic/Yacht Juice) for larger scale production.

Before Brewing you need a brewhouse

#tbt to when we first stood up the tanks, also flash forward to what we’re going to have to do again.

Upcoming Brews:

Chili Squash Porter with NJCB for Central Jersey Beer Fest.  Using Mikes (President of NJCB) trademarked Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup as a way to push this Porter over the top with added Chiles/Chipotles.

Russian Imperial Stout w/ Local Coffee – Big and Dangerous, just how we like it.  With cold brew from a local Ocean County Roaster (yet to be named).

Not a Schooner.  Bringing back our favorite Pilot yet, a variant of Yacht Juice fermented with Brux Trois yeast leaving a tart yet dry Pineapple finish to an already great beer.

We Want the Gold DDH w/ Galaxy – Taking our Existing We Want The Gold utilizing our Magical Leprechaun Flute, and fine tuning the malts for a bigger body, and doubling down with Double the El Dorado and far too much Galaxy for our own Good.

Upcoming on Draft:

Kiwi Habanero Pale Ale: One-off on our Pineapple Hindenburg switching out Pineapple for Fresh Kiwi.

Weizenboggs.  We’e had this barrel aging in Buckwheat Whiskey, Wheat Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, and Bourbon Barrels for the last 3 months and is just about ready for your consumption.

Kalashnikov: Our Russian Imperial Stout has been sitting in Bourbon Barrels, Buckwheat Whiskey Barrels, as well as Maple Syrup aged Bourbon Barrels and is also nearing its time to be kegged.


El Dorado NEIPA

Unofficial Can Logo announcement

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Our first Can Ella Ella

Posted in Craft Beer, on 26 June 2017, by , 1 Comments

Where We Were – Baby Brewery

Ever look back on old pictures and think wow, that’s not me, that couldn’t, oh wait, yes it is.  Well that’s what we do a lot lately when people show us pictures of the first time they visited the warehouse or of opening weekend, or the day the Brewhouse was first delivered.  A little over a year ago, our brewhouse was just being delivered, and we had a vague idea of what we were doing, as all the planning in the world could only slightly prepare us for the monumental amount of work to come.  At that point all we could think about was getting our Permits finalized, construction, and one day Brewing, anniversary thoughts just weren’t a thing yet.  We finally ended up opening Friday January 13th.

Baby Joey

Joey (The Boss) with his Apprentice Joe (Master Electrician/Do it all Engineer, Friday night Beertender).

Where We Are

As of today (6.26.17) we have brewed over 300 BBLs of beer (Almost 10,000 Gallons) and are on tap at 55 Bars/Restaurants across Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We have released 28 Unique beers and countless other variants (Randalls/Barrel Aged), and this continues to grow every day (new Randall testing every taproom day) and every week (churning out a new beer a week on average).  We’ve managed to cement our place in the community for both having great beer and doing things in a completely different way (Pineapple Habanero Pale Ale, Smoked Pils, Weizenbocks, etc).  We’ve also made sure to give back to the community through events raising money for both Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Department as well as Island Height Volunteer Fire Department, and hosting fundraisers for Extended Arms of Toms River, and local chapters of the Police Unity Tour as well.

Icarus Beer Locator

Where We’re Currently on Tap, 55 places across Ocean/Monmouth County and growing daily

Where We’re Going – Anniversary

On July 12th we’ll be running our first canning day, canning a Double Dry Hopped version of Ella Ella Australian IPA.  This was our first IPA we brewed and has consistently been one of our favorites with a ton of grapefruit and tropical flavor typically packed in Australian hops meshed with a clean American IPA.  In honor of our 6 Month Anniversary (and Christmas in July) we’ll be releasing cans at the Brewery that weekend as well as multiple barrel aged releases which we’ll be announcing a little closer to the weekend.

Whiskey barrels

4 Different beers aging in 5 different barrels: Buckwheat Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye, Wheat Whiskey, Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Barrels.

Currently In Fermenters:

The Real Blonde Ale

Double Dry Hopped Ella Ella Australian IPA

Yacht Juice NEIPA

On Deck:

Loral Saison

Double Dry Hopped Ella Ella Australian IPA

Pineapple Hindenburg

Growing Baby Growing Brewery Anniversary

Bonus Picture!


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Icarus at Lakewood Blueclaws

Posted in Craft Beer, on 22 May 2017, by , 0 Comments

Where We’ve Been: Everywhere

Its been a while since the last big update, and we’ve been busy, real busy.   We’re currently prepping for Brewday #20 and we’re already on tap at 50+ Bar/Restaurant/Growler Stations including at the Lakewood Blueclaws (Tebow abstains from Alcohol, maybe that explains his poor performance last week…).  In the last 4 months we’ve went from the new guys on the block to the grizzled old… new guys on the block.  We’ve served our beer at Atlantic City Beerfest, Beer on the Boards, Point Pleasant Boat Races, and Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Departments Festival.  We’ve also managed to raise money for lots of local charities including the Police Unity Tour, Extended Arms of New Jersey, and soon to be the Lakewood Educators Union as well as had our merchandise represented at Charity Gift Auctions all over the area as we continue our commitment to be a strong part of the community.

Drinking for a Cause

Raising money for the Police Unity Tour

Whats Currently Going On: Brewing

Right now we’re transitioning our taplist to a more Summer ready version (lots of IPAs, Blondes, Saisions, Wits, and fruit-friendly beers).  This week we’re brewing a new version of Melt (Mango Habanero Pale Ale) as a Pineapple Habanero Pale Ale as well as an Orange Belgian Wit.  Next week we are brewing a second batch of Sunwalker Smoked Pilsner to bring back a crowd favorite as well as a new French Saison and a new version of Panic Pale Ale

We also have our Ekuanot IPA waiting on dry-hopping as well as our Russian Imperial Stout (14% abv) waiting to move to Barrels, so many barrels, transitioning us into whats coming up.

Icarus Barrel Aging

Brew Crew after the haul from Catskill Distilling

Whats coming up: Cans and Barrels

Barrels, lots of Barrels.  We made two trips to Catskill Distilling company for the freshest barrels possible for our Russian Imperial Stout.  These barrels include: Bourbon Barrels, Rye Whiskey Barrels, Buckwheat Whiskey Barrels, Wheat Whiskey Barrels, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Barrels.  Yeah, Maple Syrup Barrels.  These barrels will be filled and aged for 3-9 Months (depending on barrel size).  While in barrels the beer will slowly absorb some of the flavors of both the oak as well as the whiskey/syrup that was in the barrel last.  The additional aging time allows for flavors to develop in the Stout with some of the bitterness mellowing out and the heavy malt flavors developing into rich fruit flavors over time.  Its crazy to think that this is prepping for our 1 year anniversary already while opening our doors feels like just yesterday.

Cans.  We’re currently in our final stages of interviewing mobile canning companies to see who we would like to bring to Lakewood for our Summer Can releases.  Our plan is to start releasing a can every other week all through the summer beginning with a Double Dry hopped version of Ella Ella IPA

Ella Ella IPA

Beer Soon

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Posted in Craft Beer, on 4 April 2017, by , 0 Comments

Where We’re At – 10 weeks in

We’ve officially been open to the public for 10 weeks now (time flies when you’re having fun), and it has been a wild ride so far:  We were just exhibited at a local Beerfest in Point Pleasant (Beer on the Boards) as well as the second largest beerfest in the country (Atlantic City Beerfest), we’re constantly brewing, constantly adding new bars we’re on tap at, and consistently opening people up to new styles of beer they might not have ever thought of before (Looking at you Sunwalker Smoked Pils, Sour Cherry Black Mass, Melt Mango Habanero Pale).  Our most recent Brewday wasn’t some long lost style found at the bottom of a 600 year old Aztec Ship from when they decided to invade Spain, but instead one of the newest styles out there: North East IPA.  North East IPAs might just be the weirdest thing I’ve ever brewed, every tip and trick they taught in school needs to be thrown out the window for this style as clarity and “clean” flavors are thrown right out the window in favor of haze and juiciness.

Atlantic City Beer Festival

Atlantic City Beerfest, Kevin watching Streetlight Manifesto warmup, hard to tell but this is the happiest moment of his life

Brewday: So far Still an IPA

The Brewday started like any other brewday.  Grain bill was assembled (2 Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, Malted Oats, Cara Pils, Acidulated Malt), already starting to get odd.  Oats are a standard for me in a lot of beers (Malted oats in Panic Pale Ale) but normally at a small enough percentage that it exists just for mouth-feel, we’re already talking almost 20% total oats, but I do love oatmeal so what could go wrong.  Normally when I’m brewing an IPA I make sure to start with a nice large hop charge up front to get the base bitterness, a combination of First Wort Hopping for a soft hop flavor as well as the standard 60 minute, well not today.  This brew started with a minuscule First Wort Hop as the total bitterness of the batch is only calculated at 39 IBU (Which is high compared to some NEIPAs on the market).  Where the hops really came into play is toward the end of the batch with massive charges at flame-out as well as whirlpool which still constribute bitterness but far less with flavor and aroma beginning to come into play.

Removing the malt from the mash tun

Happy Brewer makes for a happy beer

Things are starting to get weird, think its still an IPA

Fermentation is where things begin to get real weird.  Good thing I’m a sucker for trying new things because I tried them all with this batch.  First of all I decided to test out Lupulin Powder (Cryo Hops).  Lupulin Powder is a new form of Hops offered by our supplier.  The hops are processed at a colder temperature without their stems leaving a highly condensed and efficient powder that is around twice as potent as standard pellet hops.  Typically we would add these hops after fermentation finished and the beer was soft cold crashed so that the yeast could be saved and clarity could be achieved, but this is a NEIPA and all standard conventions needed to be broken here.  We began dry-hopping as Fermentation was still active and finished dry-hopping after Fermentation finished so hops and fermentation could become one, binding as much hop to the beer as possible at the expense of clarity.

Knowing that the Lupulin Powder we were adding would be twice as potent, we decided to hop as much if not more than any other IPA we have brewed previously because #yolo.  In went 20 Pounds of a combination of Cryo Hops (Mosaic, Citra) and standard T90 pellets (Columbus).

Tower of Hop Power

Most recent hop delivery, might have over ordered a little bit

Whats next, things that might not just be an IPA


All the Juice

The release for our (Still unnamed) NEIPA will be tied in next week with the opening of the Lakewood Blueclaws Season (4/13).  But knowing our love for keeping it weird we have plenty of other beers on the horizon.  One of the next Brews we’re working on is our German Weizenbock which is a perfect marriage of estery alcohol flavors, slight spice, and heavy malt/dark fruit characters (think a Hefeweizen but 100x bigger and better).  The next is our Belgian Blonde, a light colored but medium bodied beer with a hint of spice and a fruity ester that makes it an easy drinking warm weather beer.  The final one from this batch is our Russian Imperial Stout, I promise you this is not a summer beer but instead one we plan on aging in every barrel we can get our hands on for down the road.



Beer Soon

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Posted in Craft Beer, on 14 March 2017, by , 0 Comments

What’s in a name? The short answer is hours upon hours of agonizing, usually. It is a group effort that goes into giving the beers at Icarus their unique names, as well as making sure they sound as delicious as they taste. A great name has levels to it, but is most importantly memorable and unique. We thought it would be fun to show you the origin story behind naming some of your favorite Icarus brews as you hide inside from Snowmageddon.

Singed Wing Black Ale

This is our classic naming tale that is most often told on tours and behind the bar. For a little backstory, a few years ago Lagunitas Brewing was brewing a new batch of their beloved Brown Shugga Ale. Somewhere in the brewing process, the recipe was messed up, and whatever this new beer was, it wasn’t Brown Shugga. The kicker though was that it was delicious. So they decided to name this new concoction “Lagunitas Sucks.”

We loved that story at the brewery, and when our Citra Sirius Black IPA didn’t have much of a Citra taste to it, our resident painter Josh said, “Welp, we flew too close to the sun and singed our wings.” The rest is history.


Naming Singed Wing and the Flight of Icarus

Joshs’ actually impression of Icarus’ Singed Wings (Painted with Singed Wing Black Ale blended in)



Naming Jean Valjean

No bread was stolen/hurt in the taking of this picture

Valjean French Saison

We feel that the key to a great Icarus name are levels, and the Valjean French Saison is a perfect example of this. Jean Valjean is the main character in Les Miserables, one of my favorite operas. Valjean is a fantastically written character that shows the entire human condition in one man, and we felt like he needed a beer.

Strength, redemption, resurgence, forgiveness, and peace: who doesn’t want to have these characteristics coming to mind while drinking a brew?

The icing on the cake though is the literal name “Valjean.” What sounds more French than that? Perfect fit for a French Farmhouse Ale. It is always fun to hear people let their fake French accents fly while ordering a pint at the bar. And if you ask who Valjean is, I happily sing the entirety of Act I for them. Everybody wins (Brewmasters Note: I do not Win, Please no more singing).

Birdman Brown Ale

We are big on tying our beers into the actual myth of Icarus whenever we can. Calling a beer “The Birdman” has been on the docket for a while, and when we could throw a little alliteration into it when the Brown Ale needed a name, it was a perfect fit.

On another level though, movie nerd Spence feels that Birdman is about as good as a movie can be. It is beautiful, elegant, visionary, and a deep examination of the meaning of life without ever embarrassing itself: these were all things we felt were awesome to have in the back of your head while drinking a Birdman.

Also, in the film, Michael Keaton’s character refers to the fictional movie Birdman as an allegory for the myth of Icarus. If you want to flex some of your AP English muscles, then the whole film works as an Icarus allegory too. *blown mind *.

Harvey Birdman Brown Ale

Brewmasters Note: I thought this beer was named after Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law


Ela Umbrella

Brewmasters Note: Ella in Greek means “Come” as in “Come Here”, so our IPA is also our invitation.

Ella Ella IPA

-When we were naming our Ella hopped IPA, we immediately wrote off any references to “Umbrella” by Rihanna and Jay-Z. It had to be done already, right? After kicking around a few less-than-stellar name ideas, someone decided to pull up Untappd and see what the song referencing beer names were.

None. Zero. It was meant to be. We threw the name on the beer immediately. If you somehow aren’t familiar with the song or somehow haven’t listened to it in the last ten minutes, here is a link to the music video: Youtube – Umbrella Ella Ella Ay Ay.


Black Mass Foreign Extra Stout

A sneak peak at your new favorite Icarus beer. In two days, the Black Mass will officially be pouring in the Icarus taproom, so how did it get its name?

Well, most literally, it is a liquid mass that is the color black. Pretty straightforward, right?

On another level, we thought about the book Black Mass and the Johnny Depp movie inspired by it. The movie was about Whitey Bulger, Boston gangster who ruined the working class’s lives and was a free man for an unbelievable amount of time.

At Icarus, we love people. Big ones and small ones, rich ones and poor ones, but we love people. Standing in solidarity, we feel, is one of the most important things you can do, not just as an Icarus fan, but as a human. People always need help, hope, and a friend.

Bulger was unstoppable, until he wasn’t. Justice was finally served for the good guys of Boston and all of America. This St. Patrick’s Day, we thought honoring the Irish-Americans who stood tall in tragedy would be a cool idea. Naming a beer doesn’t feel like enough to honor and help these people, but it brings up the philosophical idea of the importance of standing in solidarity. Help whenever you can however you can. As Gandhi once said, “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.”

Naming Black Mass

Whitey Bulger, at least he helped us out with the name for a great beer…


Currently in Fermenters:

FV2: Melt – Habanero Mango Pale Ale

BBT – Black Mass Export Stout

Pilot FV1 – Hazlenut Black Mass Export Stout

Pilot FV2 – Mint Cocoa Black Mass Export Stout

Brews On Deck:

Belgian Blonde


Citra North East IPA

Russian Imperial Stout

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Barrel Aged Birdie Scotch Ale

Posted in Craft Beer, on 27 February 2017, by , 2 Comments

Around half a year ago when I was still posting our bi-weekly updates someone commented to me:”You know Jason, there’s no way you’ll still have this blog going once the Breweries open, you’ll just be too busy and lose any care to explain to us the tiny details of whats going on”, well mysterious commenter: You’re both right and wrong, I am extremely busy, but everyone still deserves to be an integral part of building the brewery with us, and today that is by brewing our first Stout.

Developing the Stout:

After living  and studying in England for half a year I learned two major things: The English loved their Stouts, and also that they had the most brutal love-hate relationship with the Irish.  Based off of this I decided to focus on the love for Stouts rather than delve into their geopolitical strife and attempt to understand what the differences between United Kingdom, Great Britain, British Isles etc all meant.  To do this I broke down the most important parts of a Stout: roastiness, chocolate, and almost a sweet molasses backbone.  Rather than brew a true Dry Irish Stout I figured we are in the Jersey Shore, the land of an entire month of St Patricks Day Parades, where most people are descendants of Irish Immigrants, lets brew an “Irish Extra” stout.  Irish Extra Stouts tend to be a little bit stronger and have a slightly more pronounced roasted character than a standard Dry Irish Stout.


Brew sheet

Putting together the recipe sheet

Roast Barley swirls

Mashing in the Irish Extra Stout

Malt Bill

Irish Extra Stouts are direct descendants of English Porters, using things like Flaked and Roasted barley as using the grain unmalted was a cheaper prospect than using all malted grains.  Trying to stay as true to style as possible we used a base of Maris Otter malt (English Malt), and a healthy amount of Flaked Barley for body as well as Roasted Barley for its dry roastiness and bitterness.  Rather than just stop there we also used both Chocolate Malt and Coffee Malt to add a depth and character to the roast reminiscent of dark chocolates and black coffee as accents.  While this is an extremely simple recipe, it is often the simplest recipes that offer the most character.


True to what would be used in the UK (or is it the British Isles???) we used East Kent Golding for both bitterness and for a slight amount of Aroma.  East Kent Golding is probably the most English of English varieties of hops but seeing as how hops in Ireland were imported from England, well that is our best option.

Learning to use a scale.

On the Left: What Spence believed to be 48 ounces of East Kent Golding, on the right: what 48 ounces really are.



We pulled the Yeast from our American Brown Ale (London Ale III) and reused it for the Irish Stout, and is still fermenting at this point quite happily.  We are keeping the fermentation temperature at 67F for the majority of the Fermentation and hoping the gravity drops far enough for the alcohol to end around 6% abv.

Whats Next

Our end-goal for our Irish Stout is to release it on St Patricks day weekend (Not Belmar St Patricks Parade weekend nor Seaside St Patricks Parade weekend, but instead March 17th).  Planning to have the entire tasting room dedicated to Stouts/Porters/Irish Reds/one-offs of each for the weekend to celebrate like only the Irish (and certainly not the English) would.  Currently working on the next round of brewdays which should include: Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Blonde, Northeast IPA, Weizenbock, Coffee Saison, and maybe even a nice big Russian Imperial Stout.

As of right now we’re currently on tap at 22 bars with more added every week as well as in planning for a few upcoming beer festivals including Atlantic City Beer Fest, as well as Beer on The Boards.

Currently in Fermenation

Fermenter 1: Australian IPA (Release Date: 3/3/17)

Fermenter 2: American Brown Ale (Release Date: 3/4/17)

Fermenter 4: Foreign Extra Stout (Release Date 3/17/17)

Currently in Barrels: Birdie Scotch Ale on Rye Whiskey

Birdie Scotch ale on Bourbon Whiskey

Imperial Yukon Cornelius Coffee Porter on Buckwheat Whiskey

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Icarus Brewing Sales

Posted in Craft Beer, on 13 February 2017, by , 0 Comments

During my travels across the Garden State, customers and clients often tell me that I have the coolest job in the world. I think back to when I was a bartender/waiter/ house painter and only dreamed of getting to hang out with beer for a living. Now that it has somehow happened to me, I remind myself of how awesome it is at the beginning of each day and every time I get stressed. The truth is that it might just be the coolest job in the world, and I try to earn it and never take it for granted.

My days and responsibilities are all over the place, just like I hoped. I’ve helped epoxy our bar, come up with names for our beers, painted our chalkboard wall in the warehouse, juiced up all of the oranges by hand for our house soda (we have a juicer now, so things are looking up for my hands), cut out our tap handles and spray painted them, kegged numerous batches of our beer, and trekked out across the greater Monmouth and Ocean County area in search of bars and restaurants to get our beer on tap.

Making Ginger Ale

Some of the projects that fall into the title of “Salesman”

When I took my job with Icarus, I was between this offer and a tech start up. I knew I wanted to be at a start up because I wanted to see something from the beginning and do something different every day. Icarus was the road less traveled in this case. A tech start up would have been the safer choice, but something about working in a place that had so much room for creativity (and beer) made me unable to resist. Icarus also has Chewie the Golden Huskie, which was a big selling point for me (and everyone who sees him during tasting room hours, I’d like to think.) Needless to say, I hope to be with Icarus Brewing for a very long time.

Since I was brought on, a lot has changed. During my second interview, I tried my first Icarus beer, the still fermenting and then unnamed Yukon Cornelius Coffee Porter. Now we are almost sold out of our first batch, and you can currently get the Yukon at many of the sixteen locations where we are currently on tap.

Spence Learning how to fill kegs

Spences first Kegging run

Even my meetings are drastically different from when I started. At first I was just meeting with people telling them that beer was coming and to trust me that it was good. Then I was carrying around samples of Yukon in repurposed Grolsch bottles. Now I have seven different beers to sample for people (six since the exciting moment this weekend when the first batch of Panic Pale Ale kicked), and I now have non-Grolsch bottles that I sample from…okay one of them is still a Grolsch. The Icarus motto is: Work in progress.

I have now been an assistant brewer, worked out deals to get us on tap all up and down the Jersey Shore, let my beer snobbery run wild, and I get to say the word “vorlauf” on a daily basis. Life is pretty cool.

Tap listing plot

Where We’re Currently on tap in Ocean County, I swear its our taplist and not something nefarious























And since brevity is the essence of wit, I will leave you with that for now. Things coming up on the Icarus docket include Atlantic City Beer Fest, a canning run of the Panic Pale Ale, hats, and our first IPA. What will the future hold for Chewie and the Icarus gang? Tune in next time to find out in my sequel blog post, 2 Fast 2 Icarus.


Our first taste of a beer Brewed at Icarus

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Posted in Craft Beer, on 12 October 2016, by , 1 Comments

Construction & Final Occupancy Permit

Its been a while since our last blog post, and that’s because we’ve been pretty busy (Not that we aren’t right now, I promise you we are, we only just Passed our State Permit inspection).  Since our last update we’ve:

Finished the Glycol Piping

Refrigerating the Fermenters

Beginning the Glycol Piping, just a short 150 foot run


Welded a Brewing Platform

Making lots of shiny sparks

Grinding down the railings, safety first

Mounted our Control Panel to the New Platform

Mounting the Control Panel

Railings going up, control panel mounted, starting to look like a brewery

Built our Tasting Room Bar

Building the tasting room

Building and leveling the bartop, just ask us how level this Bar is now

Started some more artwork

Tasting Room artwork

Etching in the Labyrinth to bring in the story of Icarus’ father Daedalus and his ever changing maze.



New Jersey Limited Brewing Permit

This was the big day we were all waiting for.  We already have our Federal Tax and Trade Bureau Permit as well as our Lakewood Township Certificate of Occupancy, we just had New Jersey to wait on.  There was a massive checklist of things we needed to get done by the time we opened as well as by the time we went for our inspection, well the inspection checklist was finally all checked off and we invited New Jersey to check on our work.  Success!  We have our Limited Brewing License and the steps were laid out for everything we still need to get done to open our Tasting Room as well as how to operate within their guidelines.  The big takeaway from our meeting was: Follow the rules.  And if you have an issue with the rules: Follow the rules anyway.  Also, Paperwork is coming, so much more paperwork.  But at least when we fill out all the paperwork to come, we can drink a freshly brewed Icarus beer right alongside it.


Brewing and Whats to Come

Now that we are a licensed Brewery, and now that we have all this beautiful artwork and a phenomenal looking tasting room, and the shiniest Stainless Steel all around our brewhouse we only have one thing left to do to truly become a Brewery: Brew Beer.  We’re finishing out the last of the things we need to do to get that done: Order valves, order hoses, Plumb in the Heat Exchanger, plumb in the grist hydrater, passivate the tanks, and then maybe just maybe: Brew.

Its finally beginning to smell less and less like construction around here, Beer Soon.



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Progress becoming the Brewery

Posted in Craft Beer, on 26 July 2016, by , 0 Comments

Where we Were:

Progress Keeping us Busy

It has been a long road so far, with Icarus becoming more than a dream the day we started looking at Brewhouses back in June 2015, and then solidified when we signed our lease in November 2015.  The site where our Brewery is today was just a construction pit, just an idea, just dirt on the ground waiting to be built on.  But what we saw there was much more, a place where we could brew delicious beers, a place where  people could come in and enjoy these delicious beers, whether from local areas like Lakewood, Brick, Toms River, Howell, Point Pleasant, etc, or from afar.

Progress has to start somewhere

When the roof was first going up, still just the framework.

It was hard to tell looking at the construction site then but we knew right away this was the spot we wanted, completely open and completely free to design however we would like.  As much as I would like to say opening a Brewery is all about Brewing, it has proven to me mostly construction, permits, a lot of learning, more permits, and a little bit of brewing just to keep myself sane.

Where We’re At:

“Without Struggle There Can be No Progress” – Frederick Douglass

As of 10:57 AM on July 15 we are Federally Approved by the TTB to begin brewing, or more accurately we are now allowed to pay taxes to brew according to the Federal Government.  Unfortunately that approval still requires New Jersey to approve us as well, but it is still a major step toward being a fully licensed Brewery.

Permit Progress

Federal approval , one step closer to becoming a brewery

In order to finalize our State Permit we need to receive our Certificate of Occupancy from Lakewood, which we are spending every day rushing toward.

The construction has moved from:

Taproom progress

Taproom Framing is up, HVAC is going up

To this:

Taproom wall progress

Sheetrock is up, Room look a bit different with walls

With the Brewery also starting to come together, as we spend our days now working on the Refrigeration piping, getting the Fermenters ready to chill and piping ready for the Cold Room when it arrives.

Brewhouse Progress

Right before we started hanging refrigeration pipe, still plenty to do.

What’s Next:

“Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” – Kahlil Gibran

Construction and getting the Brewhouse ready are our two focuses right now.  On the construction end this week should see the ceiling tiles in the Tasting Room hung, the final coats of paint applied, and then whatever finishing touches before we start dressing the room up with lights, our bar, tables, chairs, and a lot more as we try to turn this “house into a home”.  As for the Brewhouse there are multiple projects progressing at once these days and many more upcoming.  Some of these projects include:

  1. Refrigeration Plumbing: While we’ve made progress, we need to finish hanging and insulating the Refrigeration pipe headers (2″ Schedule 80 PVC) as well as the drops (3/4″ Pex) to each Fermenter/Bright Tank/Cold Room
  2. Refrigeration Control: We decided to wire up our own control panel based on the Embedded Controls BCS-462 for maximum control and data logging as each Fermenter temperature will be able to be adjusted remotely as well as logs created of all of the temperature changes and fluctuations so successful batches can be repeated with ease.
  3. Brewhouse Ventilation: Since our Brewkettle is Gas Fired it will need to be vented using similar chimney piping to a residential wood burning stove/gas heater.  We will also need to ventilate the steam coming out of the kettle, but that will be at much lower temperatures, and easier to manage.
  4. Brewhouse Platform: Its a lot easier to stand on a platform than it is to constantly work off ladders, we will be welding together a platform big enough to view each Brewhouse tank.
  5. Cold Room: Once the cold room arrives (in approximately 3 weeks) we will begin to set it up, this is a “fun” process similar to building a big Ikea set, and by big I mean a 14′ tall Ikea set.
  6. Miscellaneous:  Still need to purchase and setup an air compressor to use in conjunction with our Keg Washer
  7. Brew: Its why we’re all here, isn’t it?  Once these projects start slowing down I am hoping to rapidly start brewing again, have to stay sane somehow.

Oh, and there might be a new logo to announce very soon.


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Chipotle Peppers Roasting

Posted in Craft Beer, on 22 June 2016, by , 0 Comments

Developing an Idea

Any free time I get right now (however limited that might be) is being put toward developing new recipes,  whether that be entirely new ideas or just tweaking an old recipe with something new and exciting.  For todays Brew, we are tweaking an old Robust Porter I had brewed plenty before.  As just a Robust Porter this beer was profoundly Malty, Roasty, and with a full punch of Chocolate and adding a new variable: Spice.

Creating a beer tends to be a lot of educated guess & check: Create a recipe based on tried and tested ideas, and slowly change the recipe over the course of multiple batches, finding out what you like about the recipe and what can be left out.  The base recipe for the Robust Porter started as a very simple Maris Otter and Chocolate Malt based beer, which while good, was nowhere near where the base is today.  But that is the joy of homebrewing, brewing, and cooking in general, just as you would make a pasta sauce you add a little more basil on first taste, maybe some black pepper on second taste, and a bay leaf afterward.  Unfortunately unlike making a pasta sauce, we cannot simply adjust our recipes at every taste, as every taste comes after a day of brewing, 2 weeks of fermentation, and possibly additional aging time rather than every 5 minutes of simmering.  Luckily this is batch #9 of Robust Porter, so our ideas are dialed in to the point where I feel comfortable throwing a complete monkey wrench in the process by adding Smoked Chipotle Peppers.  While this beer was terrific on its own, it could definitely handle additional flavors to pair with the rich chocolate and roast.  Typically when I make a Chili, especially one with a huge pack of heat I tend to throw in a few pieces of dark chocolate chips to add the extra mouth-feel and help round out the flavor, and that was my inspiration for taking this chocolatey beer and giving it that Chili


Building the Recipe: How to Pair Spice

Like most beers I tend to make I went with a very English base: Maris Otter (56%), which gives more character, nuttiness, and biscuit flavors than a standard American two-row malt.  The second major contributor is Crystal 60 (12%) which gives a defined toffee flavor and an amber hue to an otherwise jet-black beer.  Equal amounts of Roasted Barley (10%) and Chocolate Malt (10%) help pack the flavor you would expect from Cocoa Nibs (Bitter, roasted, nutty, dry).  To make it a true English Robust Porter Brown Malt (8%) is also added to give an additional toasted and nutty flavor that can only be achieved using this unique malt which used to be the base malt of every English Porter before modern malting techniques were perfected.  Unlike previous iterations of this recipe I decided to add Flaked Barley (4%) in addition to give an even deeper body to really make sure the spice is paired well rather than being overbearing.  This is then mashed all the way up at 154F, leaving behind a ton of unfermented sweetness which is normally perfect for a winter night, but instead to be paired with the heat for a Summer night.

Since this is an extremely sweet base beer it also needs to be paired with a fair amount of hops to add complexity and to avoid a cloyingly sweet beer.  The Hop profile for the Porter is relatively simple with Columbus as the bittering hop (Relatively standard for a lot of my beers, and adds a little pine and spice in this case), Saaz at the 15 minute mark for a clean herbal taste, and a big punch of Centennial at the end for a Citrus and spice kick, rounding out at about 50 IBU.  We are not aiming for anything funky with the fermentation profile so we settled with American Ale yeast which tends to not add anything of note to the beer, but also does not subtract or overly complicate.


Spice: Baby Spice

Spice is the variety of life, and there are many ways to spice a beer.  Well for this batch I decided Roasted Chipotle was the direction I wanted to go in, giving it a safe level of smoke and spice.  These will be added by making a “spice tea”: first we’ll coarsely chop the peppers (with seeds) and boil them until softened.  After the peppers are softened the liquid will be poured through a cheese cloth, saving the liquid to be added into the Bright Tank, or in this case directly into kegs after fermentation.  This allows for a consistent addition of spice/flavor so this beer can be scaled up from the pilot system to the full system (thats a lot of peppers).

Chipotle Peppers

Before and after Smoking/Drying

Putting it all together

This will be the next beer brewed, with an update on the Brewday and on the final taste.  Really hoping this is the beer to bring to Chili Kickoffs and a generally good beer to pair with Barbecue, Ribs, and anything smoked.

Building the Brewery

As you have probably seen from the Facebook / Instagram posts, the Brewery build is finally coming together.  We have the tasting room completely framed out, one of the two bathrooms built, and rapid progress being made to move forward.  This week I’ll be ordering the PVC pipes and all the valves, solenoids, and controllers necessary to get the Glycol System (Refrigeration system) put together to get the Fermenters are hooked up and ready.  As soon as the Fermenters are setup my next step will be moving onto the Brewhouse, getting a platform welded, ordering my Control Panel, and setting up a Mill and auger.

Icarus Warehouse Build

The view of the tasting room from the Brewhouse


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