Aldergrove Empirical Staught: A Brewery 99% Of You Have Never Heard Of.

This brew I had the other night is from the smallest commercial brewery I have ever tried.  No doubt in my mind.  Maybe ever in the world.   Is a matter of fact I’m certain that many of you have greater brewing capacity than Aldergrove Brewery in Marysville, Washington.  It is a commercial venture located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation in what else…an Alder grove.

There they brew their beers in 10 gallon batches.  I can’t believe I had a brew from a bottle that was brewed in a ten gallon batch.  This is one of Washington State’s Nano-Breweries.  The State of Washington has very liberal laws that help brewers go commercial with their ventures.  To the point that a 10 gallon batch brewery can be a money making venture.  Now thats a progressive state and the other 49 should follow suit in my opinion.

Idaho has been cold so far this year.  It really hasn’t warmed up much and today is actually the first day that we are supposed to get more seasonal temps into the upper 90s.  So being as it was cooler, and I had these brews that a friend had sent to me from Washington I thought I would give it a go, and let you know my thoughts…

First thing that tipped me off that there was something different about this brewery was the label on the bottle.  As you can see you can’t see the entire name of the beer or the brewery from a head on view.  That is marketing 101 stuff.  Second there is no bar code on the label.  This looks like some guy made it up on his home computer and glued it on himself.  I’m pretty sure I’m not too far off in that assessment.

So, ok the place is small, but I’ve always heard that good things come in small packages.  So how was the beer?  Well it was ok.  Lets start with the pour.  It was promising and substantial.  Inky black as it poured I thought I was in for a real treat.  The nose was full of roasted malt, a little honey tone, and toffee, and chocolate.  Mild, but very nice.

The flavor was less impressive.  There was maltiness, and that kind of nutty, slightly bitter coffee tones, but not great complexity, and not a great mouthfeel on this 7.5% ABV beer.  When drinking porters or stouts (or Staughts) I like a big creamy mouthfeel.  It really adds to the experience.  This was almost watery, a big turnoff in my book.  And I was hoping for some better complexity and it wasn’t there either.

Basically my assessment of Aldergrove Empirical Staught is this:

Its pour, look, and nose write a check that its flavor and mouthfeel fail to cash.  I’d like to try a different batch of the same brew.  I’m pretty sure that brewing 10 gallons at a time there is pretty huge fluctuations in quality.  I bet there are honey bottles of this brew out there if you get the right batch.


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15 Comments on “Aldergrove Empirical Staught: A Brewery 99% Of You Have Never Heard Of.”

  1. June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Really sorry to hear that the beer was mediocre. I’m always looking for new beers to get out to the world and this nano brewery concept has great promise. The one thing that brewing in batches that small allows is tweaking. Let’s hope these guys keep working to perfect these recipes and turn out some world class beers.

    • Don
      June 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      I agree Rick. I was hoping it would be everything the pour and nose implied. I think some of the flavors were just too subtle to get through the maltiness. Let’s hope the tweek it. Even if they improve the mouthfeel it would be much better.

  2. Evan
    June 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Hrrmmmm…. Doesn’t sound at all like the bottle I drank two weeks ago. Mine was very creamy, chocolatey, and nutty in the best of ways. Big stouts are my favorite of favorites, andt his one easily ranks in my top I’ve ever had. Perhaps I need to get a few more bottles sent over just in case yours was an off one.

    • Don
      June 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

      I didn’t pick up on any off flavors Evan, but it definitely was underwhelming. I imaging quality control isn’t a huge issue with a 10 gallon batch brewery. I’m guessing if they brew it they bottle it, even if it is a little off. I probably just got one of those bottles. Like I said I think there would be better batches of the stuff out there. It would be interesting if you had it a few times in a row with a few weks inbetween if you wouldn’t pick up on flavor and consistency differences.

      • Evan
        June 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

        I’ve only had the one bottle, so I’m not sure about inconsistencies. I for one like my stouts to have some serious girth to them, so I would have definitely been turned off if mine was watery. I’ll have to do some investigating, and if I find a good batch, I’ll see if I can get you a bottle from that.

        • Don
          June 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

          Sounds Great Evan, and I can do an update to this post if I get a good bottle. Thanks! 🙂

  3. June 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Marysville, WA… that’s just north of me. Where might I find this stuff?

    • June 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

      Google is wonderful.

      • Don
        June 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

        Well Tex, you should try to make your way up there one of these days. Based on what Evan said, I might have gotten a bottle that was a little tainted. He said his was wonderful, so we will see. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

  4. June 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    C’mon Don, cut ’em some slack. I’ve seen crappier beer labels than that – the guy is probably a one-man show and is also doing the accounting, web design and taking out the dog too. Its a small operation.

    Too bad the sample you got wasn’t up to par and I think you’re right about the variation in such small batches. Other people seemed to have good experiences with this beer though which is good.

    • Don
      June 24, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      I wasn’t being mean, just constructive criticism. The label needs a little fixing up, perhaps this will get back to him and he can fix it up.

  5. June 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Is that an actual pic of the brewery?

    i love the idea behind it…

    Consistency would be difficult on a system like the one in the pic., possibly explaining an off bottle.

    • Don
      June 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      This is not the actual brewery in question Nate, but I expect that the system is somewhat similar, because he says right on his website that he brews in 10 gallon batches. So, move to Washington, get a label maker, and set up a few 10 gallon pots, and there you have it! Voila you have a Brewery!

  6. Evan
    June 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    I made nicer labels for my wedding beers 🙂

    • Don
      June 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

      Much better! I think they could use your talents!

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