I recently got a chance to ask Dave Johnson, one of the brewers at O’Fallon Brewery, some questions. I’m going to try and make this a regular feature so if you have anyone you’d like me to interview or any questions you’d like me to ask feel free to contact me.
STLHops: How much creativity are you allowed in this profession?
DJ: In a production brewery you have to brew all your beers very consistent. We only get creative when we come up with a new beer. Then we’ll throw around ideas for weeks, till we come up with something we think will be great.
STLHops: If I’ve heard correctly you guys are only allowed to brew up to a specific ABV, are there any plans to get that changed?
DJ: Currently we can only make beers up to 5% ABW (6.3%ABV), we are in the process of getting it upped to a “wine” license.
STLHops: Do you have any styles or ideas in mind once you do up it to a “wine” license?
DJ: That’s when we can get creative. We have too many ideas right now, but the first one that comes to my mind would be Imperial Smoked Porter- “Barrel Aged”?
STLHops: As a brewery in a small space, how do you pilot out new beers to develop?
DJ: Lately we have homebrewed them. It gives us a idea of the malt profile and the hop profile. Then we can tweak it and scale it up to 15 bbls.
STLHops: I’m sure I’m not the only homebrewer interested, but what equipment do you guys use to homebrew?
DJ: We use Brian’s converted keg for a mash tun, and my converted keg for a kettle. We have a 30bbl. hot liquor tank. We ferment in a 6.5 gal carboy in the temp. controlled Firkin cooler. Then we keg it in a corny.
STLHops: Your beer styles range from the Smoked Porter to Wheach, do you have a theme in mind with all of your beers?
DJ: Except for Gold, all our flagships started out as seasonal or limited offerings. Our Unfiltered Wheat started out as “Summer Wheat”. The seasonal usually have a theme in mind, like Pumpkin Ale in the fall, and Wheach for summer. Our newest is Goats Breath Bock Ale for winter.
STLHops: Why just one strain of yeast? Is it now considered a house strain?
DJ: We don’t have a lab. You have to be careful that different strains don’t mutate. Without a lab you can’t monitor that. Kolsch is our “House” yeast, and what we like about it is it’s versatility.
STLHops: What kind of hops do you use for the 5 Day IPA and when do you put in your hop additions?
DJ: The hops we use in the 5 Day are:
Summit, 90 min. and 60
Centennial, 30 min.
Cascade, 10 min., end of boil, and end of whirlpool
Cascade and Glacier dry hop in the fermenter
STLHops: Thank you Dave for your time.