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Brewmaster John Maier’s New Toy

5 barrels for brewing experiments arrived at Rogue this year.


Rogue Brewmaster John Maier first set his eyes on the 5 barrel SS Brewtech system at the Craft Brewer’s Conference held in Philadelphia last May. The brewing technology manufacturers were displaying their products at the conference that routinely attracts pro brewers from around the world each year.

It was immediately clear to John that he needed it.

John cleans up around his new system while brewing the inaugural pale ale.
John cleans up around his new system while brewing the inaugural pale ale.

“​I wanted to downsize and get back to my roots,” John explained. For years, our brewmaster has been brewing on the 100 barrel system. Standards like Dead Guy Ale, Hazelnut Brown Nectar and other Rogue favorites were old hat for him at this point. But having to brew 100 barrels at a time doesn’t leave much room for experimentation.

John worked with SS Brewtech to customize his pilot system with a rotatable kettle racking arm that functions like a typical one would, except that it’s located in the boil kettle. This allows him to brew his signature hoppy beers while still pulling off clear wort.

The interior of the new 5bbl Pilot System.
The interior of the new 5bbl Pilot System.

SS Brewtech delivered the new system in October and it was installed in November. John’s already been brewing up a storm. His first beer? A simple pale ale to test out the system. But he won’t be stopping there.

Plans are in the works for some unique experiments on this system. It could get weird. “I’m weird already,” John admits. “The beers will be adventurous.”

Mojo, the name of the new system, is visible on a panel.
Mojo, the name of the new system, is visible on a panel.

When it comes to unique ingredients, John will get creative. “But nothing gross. And no Citra Hops.” (Our brewmaster love hops but he’s not a fan of Citra. That’s a story for another day.)

John with his Curly Coated Retriever and namesake of his new system, Mojo.
John with his Curly Coated Retriever and namesake of his new system, Mojo.

Before it was even installed, the system was christened with a name. “In the tradition of naming my brew systems after people and my departed dogs, this work of art is called Mojo,” John tells us, remembering his Curly Coated Retriever who passed away in 2015.