The Next Big Thing – “Randalized” Beer

, The Next Big Thing – “Randalized” BeerThere’s another new trend popping up in craft beer bars and hopping up our beers. So if you’re asked if you’ve ever had a randalized beer, here’s what you need to know to not look like a craft beer noob.

Not to be confused with Randall Beer, the Cognitive Science Professor at Indiana University (thanks Google), the beer Randall – or Randall the Enamel Animal as it is officially named – is an organoleptic hop transducer module. If your head just exploded, our apologies. In non-geek speak, it is basically a chamber that can attach to any tap. Fresh whole leaf hops are added to the chamber and, as the beer passes through the hops, the alcohol strips the hops of essential oils, called lupulin. The effect is a beer hop character that supersedes that of dry hopping in both flavor and aroma.

The Randall was invented by Sam Calagione and crew over at Dogfish Head in 2004. Originally, it was created to beat the Pacific competition in an East Coast vs. West Coast uber-hopped beer competition called the Lupulin Slam. In 2010, Dogfish Head’s “head” engineer debuted the Randall 3.0. The new version is double chambered to reduce foaming. It also has an ice chamber to keep beer cold in the process and vent chambers to correct a vapor lock effect, which were all issues with the original Randall.

Since the debut of the original Randall, crafty crafters have been hitting the hardware stores and coming up with similar versions of the Randall, which have been found as far as China and Australia. Locally, DeLand’s craft beer destination, The Abbey, has had one for two years now. Head bartender Blair Willaker and the crew at The Abbey are definitely NOT lacking in imagination with the use of their Randall – infusing everything from fruit to spices to herbs to wood chips. English barleywine infused with rum-soaked raisins? Yes, Please!

, The Next Big Thing – “Randalized” BeerRandalls have also been spotted on loan from Dogfish Head’s Florida rep, Chuck Hatcher, at several Orlando locations, most recently Oblivion Taproom. Tap takeovers and other Dogfish Head sponsored events are a great way to get the Randall in front of the consumer and it is driving up interest.

I spoke with Dogfish Head’s Janelle Miley to get a feel for the reason behind the recent uptick in popularity. Since the debut of the Randall 3.0, they have sold over 300 units. Recently, the brewery collaborated with a manufacturer to take over the construction, so the Randalls are much more readily available. They simply couldn’t keep up with demand before.

If you haven’t found any Randalls in your favorite pubs, hop-heads rejoice! There is a Randall Jr. available through Dogfish Head’s website for home use. But we think that if you haven’t stumbled across a Randall or a Randall clone yet, you will soon – if we know one thing about the craft beer community, it’s that our imagination and ingenuity to create new and exciting beers literally knows no bounds.

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