The Harpoon Brewery here in Boston issued a consumer warning today regarding the release of its most recent ‘100 Barrel Series’ offering. The advisory reads a little like the welcome speech given to new bomb squad employees.
Since offering the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Pêche, a limited edition product, in May, Harpoon has been notified by a few loyal customers that a small number of the 22 ounce Pêche bottles have broken under pressure, creating a potential hazard to handlers and consumers. The risk is not from the beer, but from the added pressure in the bottle caused by the secondary fermentation. To protect the safety of our loyal customers and beer lovers everywhere, we have decided to issue this warning along with safe-handling instructions for all 22 ounce Pêche bottles. In addition, we have removed existing inventory from wholesalers who carry the Pêche, our brewery stores in Windsor and Boston, and have instructed our wholesalers to pick up any remaining bottles at retail outlets throughout New England and New York.
If you have any 22 ounce Pêche bottles, please carefully un-cap the bottles – if possible without moving them. We would recommend wearing protective eyewear and/or shrouding the bottle with a hand towel while un-capping. The beer itself is fine. Once you safely remove the cap and release the pressure, feel free to enjoy it. If you choose not to consume it and would like us to refund your purchase price, simply send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, mailing address, the location and the approximate date of your purchase and number of bottles purchased; and we will promptly send you a refund.
If you have any additional questions, please call Jaime Schier, Quality Control Manager, at 888-427-7666 x-538 or email at email@example.com.
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your loyalty to Harpoon.
Al Marzi, VP of Brewing Operations
Harpoon’s Quality Control Manager, Jaime Schier, elaborated about the problem on BeerAdvocate:
Some details about what happened: the issue involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle that was conducted by our own house yeast: unfortunately the bottles we use for the 100 Barrel Series aren’t designed for such a product, and there is a very small number of them that have cracked under the added carbonation pressure. If you like the beer, we want you to know that it’s character hasn’t changed from the time we bottled it, it just has a higher carbonation level than we intended, so if you want you can just remove the crown to release the pressure inside, chill it and enjoy. In the vast majority of the bottles there’s no problem whatsoever, the beer tastes just as it did the day we packaged it with the exception that it’s more highly carbonated.
Harpoon’s had a bit of a rough go with its specialty beers recently. Some may recall that the Pre-Prohibition Lager, offered as ‘The Official Beer of the 2007 American Beer Fest,’ had to be dumped prior to sampling at the festival due to autolysis. So if you’re interested in the light-flavored Peche, check with your local beer bars.