4

Lugene Chocolate Stout turns Odell Brewing into Willy Wonka's factory

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Chocolate is sweet and sultry and delicious. Chocolate tastes great, smells great and looks fantastic. Chocolate is supposed to be fun. But Bill Beymer of Odell Brewing wasn't having much fun in late 2012, when he was trying to figure out how to melt hundreds of pounds of chocolate into the brewery's then-latest creation, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout.

"We had to hang a colander down into the brew kettle from a chain," he says. "I made it myself from a stainless steel pot. Then we put thirty pounds pounds of chocolate into the colander at a time and lowered it down into the kettle."

See also: The thirteen best new Colorado beers of 2013

But that was more than a year ago, when Odell was using using its old fifty-barrel brewing system. Since then, the Fort Collins company has undergone a multimillion-dollar expansion that included a new taproom, new storage tanks and a two-story, 120-barrel brewhouse.

Odell made its first batch of this year's Lugene -- a seasonal beer that will be available in six-packs from late January into April -- last week. And the process was much easier.

With the new system, Beymer and his fellow brewers can add 250 pounds of chocolate to a 100-barrel batch of Lugene within twenty minutes, and then accurately control the temperature of the kettle so that the chocolate melts at the right time.

The wort (which is beer before it has been fermented with yeast) "came out very chocolatey, creamy, just unbelievable," Beymer says.

"It was amazing. It smelled like a chocolate factory in here," he adds. "I had images of Willy Wonka in my mind. We don't have any oompa loompas, though. Maybe we will try to get some for the release party." That's set for Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26 in the taproom.

Over the next few months, Odell will use more than 2,000 pounds of chocolate -- one third of it dark chocolate and rest milk chocolate -- to make Lugene.

Another challenge for Beymer was figuring out how to scale up Odell's recipes from the old fifty-barrel brewhouse to the new one -- and it's not just a matter of multiplication. "Because the new brewhouse is so much more efficient and we get more extraction out of the grains and the hops, we had to adjust," he says. "There was also some luck involved, but we were able to nail it within the first couple of brews and replicate exactly what we were making in the old brewhouse, but in larger quantities and much faster."

Of course, he points out, after Lugene is brewed, the kettles have to be cleaned extra well to get all the chocolate out. And no one gets to lick the spoon.


Follow

Westword

's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.