Round Guys Brewing Company’s 35th Annual National Homebrewer’s Conference Commemorative Beer “Custer’s Last Stand” Pilsner: A Real Explosion!


UPDATE: via Twitter Scott Rudich owner and brewmaster of Round Guys Brewing reached out to let us (and you) know he will be appearing on an upcoming “Sunday Session” on the Brewing Network to discuss this issue in more depth. Here is the full content of the tweet: @RoundGuysBrewer: @BeerLovesCo @HomebrewAssoc I will be on an upcoming episode of the Sunday session to discuss in more depth @brewingnetwork

As some of you may know or perhaps had the misfortune to experience first hand, Round Guys Brewing Company, produced an infected and explosive commemorative beer called Custer’s Last Stand for the American Homebrewers Association’s recent 35th annual National Homebrewes Conference in Philadelphia. We had a great time at the NHC this year and were very happy to bring home some quasi-free beer. What we did not realize at the time was that the cans of Round Guys Brewing Company Custer’s Last Stand were essentially ticking yeast time bombs waiting to blow up all over the place.


We were able to quickly catch up with Round Guys via Twitter due to the magic of the Inter-web and our exchange was as follows (we are assuming you can guess who’s who):

@BeerLovesCo: And while on the #craftbeer canning “craze” topic, @RoundGuysBrewer WTF? #FAIL #AHA #NHC2013 http://t.co/eNNy2DhsTy

@RoundGuysBrewer: @BeerLovesCo have a formal statement coming out via NHC/AHA. Simple issue that will not repeat itself. We have some here if u want to try

@BeerLovesCo: @RoundGuysBrewer @HomebrewAssoc a formal statement is nice a heads up would’ve been better. Glad it’s all sorted, we’ll have to plan a trip.

@RoundGuysBrewer: @BeerLovesCo @HomebrewAssoc we did not expect the cans to do that.

@BeerLovesCo: @RoundGuysBrewer @HomebrewAssoc Ha, we’d hope not! Eager to hear what happened and seeing how you all handle it. #CraftBeerProblems

@RoundGuysBrewer: @BeerLovesCo @HomebrewAssoc first time canning with a mobile canner. Learned our lesson. Very acutely

@BeerLovesCo: @RoundGuysBrewer @HomebrewAssoc well we look forward to making it to the brewery to try the beer out! #BeerLovesPA

This issue was also a big conversation piece at the Homebrew Talk Forum, as many NHC attendees also went home with an exploding surprise. We even had a few friends whose cans were not courteous enough to wait until they got home, and blew open in the car on the way home from Philly to NY.

And on a more formal note, here is the official statement from Scott Rudich, owner and brewmaster of Round Guys Brewing Company Scott Rudich’s official statement via their blog.

You may ask, what did we learn from this sour experience? To that we’d say a few things:

1) It is in fact okay to look a gift horse/can in the mouth.

2) Make sure your beer is fully fermented/not over carbonated before packaging.

3) If you get a free beer drink it immediately.

Yes, our cans ended up exploding because they were (most likely) infected but they lasted the entire NHC and for a few days after their journey back to NY. If we popped them at the conference they would never have had a chance to blow up on us. They still would have been infected but at least we would not have had to clean up a giant beer explosion, right? So it could be said that some blame lies with us, at least a little bit.

Obviously this post should be taken mostly in jest, as we all make mistakes, but it is interesting to see first hand some of the problems that can be associated with canning, especially with it’s increasing popularity. Breweries looking to can their beers for the first time can definitely learn from this ordeal, so that is a positive takeaway. Also, we bet there were plenty of conference attendees who didn’t sit on their free beer and drank it right away, none the wiser that they avoided craft beer disaster. This experience did not at all deter us from our enjoyment of canned craft beer, and we will be reviewing many of them over the next couple weeks, though those tastings were slightly less eventful.


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