The Friday Fermentable: Open Source Blog Beer

I can’t believe I missed this earlier in the year: Colorado’s Flying Dog Brewery created a beer based upon a basic recipe together with reader suggestions in what was called The Open Source Beer Project:

You are holding what we believe is the first Open Source Beer to hit the market in the United States. We started with a basic Doppelbock recipe and solicited suggestions from homebrewers on our blog. We took your comments and crafted this Doppelbock, aptly named Collaborator. The blog, the recipe, and the label are online at, if you’d like to brew some yourself.

The May 2007 archives of the blog have most of the information on the basic recipe for a Doppelbock followed by requests from commenters for suggestions about malts, hops, and the yeast strain to be used. This October post shows a video of the Wild Dog Doppelbock release at the brewery during the famed annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver. (The video begins with comments from beer guru, Stan Hieronymus.)

What resulted from this project were 5000 750mL bottles of Wild Dog Collaborator Doppelbock, one of which was purchased today by your humble blogger for the price of US$12.79. Not really a bargain, even at a respectable 8.3% alcohol, and I’ve seen others pay $14 or more for it.
Within the bottle was a fine, copper-colored lager (yes, Doppelbocks are lagers, not ales – superb diagram here), lightly carbonated with a malty aroma offset by some sweet fruity tones. The taste, however, was somewhat unexpected, especially as I have been drinking German Doppelbocks as of late. The flavor was more one of roasted grains and hops rather than the malty sweetness I expected from the aroma. However, the flavor resolved quite nicely with some sherry overtones and a crispness that said, “more.”
Even though I am a former homebrewer with about 11 years experience, I was never a “hop-head.” So, I really do seek out sweeter, malty beers, especially when I am buying a German style that I expect to be so. However, I am somewhat in the minority as some seventeen reviews at The Beer Advocate give the beer high marks with some even reporting that they liked the lack of malt blast. Also notable was that some reviewers suggested that the beer was a bit “green” and needed some time for the alcohol to settle a bit; I found that the alcohol was now balanced quite nicely with the other flavors.
For those of you still reading, Flying Dog touches a very soft spot in the heart of your humble blogger. Unbeknownst to many, Flying Dog started in 1990 as a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado, as the brainchild of George Stranahan, a now 76-year-old activist, rebel, and artist. Mr Stranahan was a lifelong friend of Hunter S Thompson who, among other things, coined Flying Dog’s motto, “Good people drink good beer.” Thompson was also responsible for introducing Stranahan to the inimitable British artist, Ralph Steadman, whose gonzo art graces the labels of Flying Dog ales.
The original Flying Dog brewpub was also the site of one of Pharmboy and Pharmgirl’s first dates but, alas, the brewpub closed and large-scale brewing and bottling operations moved to Denver, Colorado, two blocks from the then-newly constructed Coors Field. Even more sad is that we have just learned that all of Flying Dog’s production operations will be moving to Frederick, Maryland, where 70% of their ales are already brewed.
So, Colorado’s loss is the East Coast’s gain.
In the meantime, I’ll be grabbing a Kulmbacher Eisbock next to satisfy my malt jones.

3 thoughts on “The Friday Fermentable: Open Source Blog Beer

  1. Thanks for writing about our Open Source Beer! $12.79 is a great deal, considering we sell it out of our tasting room for $18, as well.
    By a strange stroke of luck, your blog entry is very timely. Today is the first Friday of the month, and every first Friday, beer bloggers everywhere write on a common theme (we call it “The Session”). I think it’s a unique thing in the blogger world, and love being a part of it. This month’s theme: Doppelbocks! So if you want to be included in our little deal, leave a comment with a link to your blog entry here:
    Josh Mishell
    Creative Manager
    Flying Dog Brewery

  2. Hey Abel,
    I work for the brewery and just thought I would thank you for writing about our brewery and our Wild Dog Doppelbock! I’m glad you enjoyed it–I know I do! Cheers to good beer!

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