Thursday, April 28, 2011

Imperial Stout Refunds

I'm not usually a party to reprinting press releases or letters or things like that. But, this one seems somewhat important so I'll just give you Boulevard's words without comment:
To All Boulevard Fans:

The 2011 Limited Release of Smokestack Series Imperial Stout has recently been the subject of some consumer comments and forum postings. We’d like to take this opportunity to explain what happened, and to offer monetary relief to any dissatisfied consumers.

Prior to the March release our tasting panel sampled several bottles of the new barrel aged beer. Some turned out as expected, while others displayed the unique characteristics of wild Brettanomyces yeast. We immediately posted tasting notes to our blog, announcing the deviation and noting the differences in flavor profiles. Because our tasting panel very much enjoyed both versions, we decided to proceed with the release as usual.

It is Batch #2 of the 2011 Imperial Stout that exhibits the Brettanomyces trait. In retrospect, we should have called attention to this Brett character on the label. Because we didn’t, and because some consumers got a beer that was different from the one they had a legitimate right to expect, we’re offering a refund to anybody who feels shortchanged, and who can reasonably demonstrate that they did in fact buy a bottle of Batch #2 of our 2011 Imperial Stout.

Batch information is located on the back label of the bottle, in the upper right-hand corner (click here to view image—batch number is indicated by the number “2” at the end of the top line.). To receive a full refund, please send us the name of the store where you purchased the beer, the purchase price, your name and mailing address, and one of the following:
• The actual front and back labels removed from a bottle of 2011 Imperial Stout, Batch #2
• A scan or photo of the front and back labels from a bottle of 2011 Imperial Stout, Batch #2

You can e-mail this information to or mail it to “Imperial Stout Refund, Boulevard Brewing Company, 2501 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64108.” You should expect a check within 2-4 weeks of your submission.

We apologize for any confusion or dissatisfaction. Thanks to everyone who shared comments or concerns. We sincerely appreciate your support, and we pledge to learn from our mistakes. If you have any additional questions about this release, or any other Boulevard offering, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Your Friends at Boulevard Brewing Company
 You can find the links included in the letter here.


  1. If anybody has some of that batch #2 they don't want, let me know. I'll pay full price...

  2. So how does this effect the aging? I love sour beers and a sour stout seems interesting. I have 4 bottles of batch #2. I'm going to drink the one in the fridge as soon as possible, but would should I do with the others? Can it really get so bad that it's undrinkable?

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  4. Hey Jason,

    I actually have 2 bottles that I would love to part with or trade for batch 1. I purchased them at Lucas in OP, I think they were 10.99 each. contact me @ and we can work something out (yes its an alt email. im not crazy

  5. Good for Boulevard. I'll be disappointed in anyone who takes them up on this offer.

  6. Good for Boulevard? They knew about the contaminated product prior to shipping it off to stores, yet didn't change the labels to reflect the different taste profile. I personally don't care for the Bret yeast characteristic of many Belgian ales. Had I purchased a bottle from batch number two I would have been gravely disappointed and would have surely complained. Only after receiving complaints did they offer this refund. They should have changed the label prior to shipment,or hell, put a sticker on the neck to notify consumers who were about to shell out over $12 for a beer that it was not going to taste the way the label describes. Boulevard did exactly what many other companies do: They noticed something was wrong with the product, shipped it out anyway, then (and only then) offered a refund after numerous complaints.
    Why be disappointed in someone who takes Boulevard up on their offer to CORRECT a faulty product? That makes no sense. That's like congratulating Toyota on making a recall and then saying consumers shouldn't take them up on the offer to fix the faulty brake system (yes, I know this is an extreme example.)

  7. Agreed Nick. This is exactly how AB-Inbev would deal with release flawed product (lets define for now flawed as other than intended, not something fanboys aren't willing to fap to).

    Maybe Boulevard can learn something from their partnership with Deschutes on how to respond to releasing infected stout without waiting a few months to survey the damage.

    This is what happens when a brewery is not run by brewers.

  8. Luckily for many of us, they released it anyway. The "infected" version is fantastic.

  9. I say "infected" because that's what it is: a wild yeast infection. Whether the resulting beer is great is irrelevant. My point is that they knew of the mistake prior to releasing it yet attempted to pull one over on the consumers by selling a completely different beer than what the label advertises. They could have saved face by waiting a month, then releasing it as a "special edition" of the the imperial stout. Boulevard missed a great marketing opportunity here considering they could have sold this for a premium. This is, as John puts it, sign that they are a brewery run by non-brewers.

  10. And I'm glad they didn't charge a premium for it. Also, I'm not sure how many breweries are run by brewers. Usually they brew beer.

  11. On a related note.......i'm up vacationing in portland and found a store with 3 cases of chocolate ale.

    Missing out on the launch in Kansas City, very excited to finally get to try it.

  12. Lot's of breweries are run by brewers. There may be a lot of things you don't know.

    35 times watching that Boulevard video about how they don't use any adjuncts while you are standing next to a pallet of sugar doesn't make you an industry expert.

  13. Giving opinions about beer or making 15 gallons of homebrew in your garage doesn't make anyone an industry expert either.

    I'm assuming Deschutes is run by brewers since Boulevard could "learn something from their partnership with Deschutes on how to respond to releasing infected stout without waiting a few months to survey the damage."
    The thing is it took weeks of complaining before Deschutes offered to buy back bottles of 09 Abyss. And making you send back your bottle is more work than sending in the label. I'd boulevard handled this as well if not better than Deschutes.

    Here is a bit of info on the whole abyss/mirror mirror situation.

    And I too would be interested in knowing what breweries are run by brewers. I'm sure there are some, just curious as to which ones.

  14. Founders, Russian River, Jolie Pumpkin, Urban Chestnut etc.

    My comment on Deschutes clearly does not apply to Mirror Mirror, which is not a stout, but yeah, I think responding in two weeks is a lot better than responding in over two months. I think that is exactly the kind of delay you expect from a brewery that can't make a decision without the signatures of 5 guys who never put on boots and are career marketing or sales people.

  15. The Sass Monsters have beer reviews and much much more!!! Get another opinion now!!!