Brewing pressures prompt recall fears

Following this week’s announcement that a beer is being taken out of the Canvent beer advent calendar due to refermentation issues, the spotlight has been placed on the pressures brewers are under to deliver.

On Monday, Carwyn Cellars announced that it had been alerted by one of its Canvent advent calendar partners that its beer was prone to refermentation issues, which can cause pressure to build up in the can, leading to explosions and lids popping off.

It was limited to a small number of beers, with only a quarter of customers having received the calendars already, whilst the rest remained in the warehouse prior to being sent out.

“Obviously the situation sucks, especially for Dollar Bill, I was so looking forward to featuring them in the calendar,” said Ben Duval, general manager at Carwyn Cellars.

“A quarter of them went out and they will have the affected can, so [those customers] have been contacted individually to dispose of the can.

“Safety is the most important thing, so we’re sending a new can to those people, then we’ve had a whole lot of calendars waiting to be shipped, waiting for a new can which we will repack and shop the remainder of them. We’re not divulging what it is just yet, but it will be an exclusive can.

“We pack the calendar ourselves so we were able to catch it early enough, not everyone is so lucky.”

The Canvent is not the first beer advent calendar to face this problem. Last year, Black Hops’ Extra Eggnog in Beer Cartel’s 2019 Advent Calendar was recalled, due to unintended refermentation industries.

It’s not the first issue in recent weeks either, after Funk Cider recalled one of its products and last week Six String Brewing Company issued a recall for its Mr Black Coffee Milk Stout.

Dollar Bill Brewing in Ballarat, which brewed the beer for the Carwyn Cellars Canvent, said that unfortunately some of the cans provided for the Canvent calendar were overcarbonated.

The team said that it was due to a “non-homogenous blend of priming sugar for carbonation in can”.

“The timeline to provide this product for Carwyn was pretty tight especially for a wild sour packaged product,” they said.

The brewery said it would normally retain packaged products for two months to ensure the stability of the product, but due to scheduling, they were only able to give the beer two weeks in can.

It was cold shipped and stored, they said, but on a 30-degree day, the cans that contained the more concentrated priming solution pushed the pressure beyond safe levels.

“The resulting cans would not change the ABV beyond the allowable 0.3 range, however soggy boxes and gushing beers are never a good look,” the team said.

“As this was our first foray into the canned packaging realm teething problems are to be expected. East Coast Canning did a fantastic job ensuring everything on their side was done to perfection. The whole responsibility lies with us as the product was not blended correctly before packaging.

“This style of product being wild, unpasteurised and quite variable in nature would usually be packaged in heavy champagne-style bottles for this exact reason with potential carbonation creep over time and the pressure release point being the tirage closure.

“The most valuable lesson that we can take from this is to ensure homogenous blending of product prior to canning and to leave a safe margin of error for potential carbonation creep and always respect time. Wild things just don’t like being put in cages.”

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