Test Kitchen: California Concentrates Co.

Brewer Magazine possesses the only “Test Kitchen” in the craft beer publishing community. This 1.5 barrel brewhouse utilizes current and former clients for the purpose of testing equipment, ingredients and services. Look for our Test Kitchen articles in future print issues and online.

​“The taste is more authentic,” said John Howard, the manager of the Brewer Test Kitchen.

He was referring to the use of concentrate versus extract in our top selling “Blue-Eyed Blonde,” a Blonde-style Aale with blueberry flavor.
In the past year, since the launch of the Brewer Test Kitchen, we’ve utilized numerous concentrates and extracts to bump flavors and design fun profiles.
Typically when we create the Blue-Eyed Blonde we simply add blueberry extract to our Blonde Ale base to give it a nice strong blueberry nose and taste. However with this initial Test Kitchen creation we utilized blueberry concentrate from our client California Concentrates Company.
There are two layers that make this creation interesting. The first has been the development and working with the team at California Concentrates Company. Too many times in the brewing industry we find ourselves problem solving without a lot of help from our supplier counterparts — this is not the experience here.
When we discussed a flavoring we would like to experiment with our initial Test Kitchen creation, we wanted to keep with brews we already had in rotation so that we could get a true idea of what a different adjunct would bring. Initially we thought of our Blue-Eyed Blonde or our “Raspberry Wheat.” Although, after further contemplation, we wanted to see if we could work with California Concentrates to create an extract or concentrate adjunct for our flagship “Pale8” — a well-balanced Pale Ale with ginger additions.
While the latter wasn’t possible for the case of this initial Test Kitchen case study, working alongside our client has been amazingly simple. California Concentrate’s assistance in this development has been above and beyond and we’ll surely use them for further flavor strategies in the years to come, as well as the Pale8 additive they are currently developing.
Second was the change in flavor we’ve seen with this beer. Our manager’s comment alone states exactly what we’ve all experienced. Many times when you begin to utilize a new adjunct you never really know what you might achieve. While I was admittedly scared for what we might encounter, having a beer taste more authentic is an outcome much greater than I thought and one that has our entire team ecstatic.
The Brewer Magazine Test Kitchen is a 1.5 barrel brewhouse that created 40 gallons of our Blonde base. We added the concentrate post fermentation and slowly made additions until we reached a desired flavor profile. Traditionally our Blue-Eyed Blonde has an SRM of 4.1, but the concentrate gave this particular brew an extremely light purple hue that many of our customers have enjoyed.

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