|The 2011 Imperial Rhino Stout Label|
I’ve gotten a few requests to take about the labels I’ve created for my beers and the process for which I create them.
This isn’t going to be a step by step guide to label creation but it will include some insight on how I put together my most recent label for Imperial Rhino Stout 2011.
To start off with let me give you a little background into how I got started creating unique labels for my beers. Really it all comes down to Brew Bakers again. As I was brewing up that first batch of I noticed all the custom labels suck to the walls. Essentially all you have to do is email them the image you want and they’ll print up some labels on Avery shipping labels.
For the first two labels I actually created them with MS Paint and MS PowerPoint (I’m a PowerPoint wizard at work) but after that I felt both programs weren’t letting me do what I wanted. To make my labels today I use a combination of two open source image editors; Paint.NET which is an open source photoshop with lots of plug-ins and Inkscape which is an open source illustrator program. Once I’m done I print on two sizes of Avery shipping labels 5168 and 5164.
Generally I break my labels down into 4 categories
- Custom to the Beer 4.0 x 3.33 or 3.33 x 4.0
- 5 Minute or Standard Label 4.0 x 3.3
- Big Beer Labels 5.0 x 3.5
- Story Labels 3.5 x 5.0
5 Minute or Standard Labels
For awhile every label I did was different, the only thing they had in common where the SNB logo and a series of easter eggs hidden in all of my labels. Sometimes I was less then inspired to create a new label nor did I always have the time needed to create a new label. That’s when I got the idea to create a quick label that I would only need to name and change the background on. I called it my 5 minute label as that’s all it took to do. I have three versions of this; a dark beer, a light beer and one with a picture holder.
Big Beer Labels
It’s almost poetic that this post covers the current version of Imperial Rhino Stout label as the label I made last year for it can really be thought of as the prototype for what I refer to as my Big Beer label. When I completed the label last year I sat back and was really pleased with it, it was clean, simple and looked pretty damn good. I quickly decided that this would be the basis for all of my beers above 7% abv.
When I set out to create a label for my share of the Brewcommune club barrel brew I became inspired by the label for one of my favorite beers, Great Divide Yeti. I decided a label like that could be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do, on one side of the main label I could talk about the background behind the beer and on the other I could give some brief info on SNB Brewing and Brewcommune. The finished label came out great (and won an editor’s choice in the 2011 BYO Label Contest) and just like with the 2010 version of the Imperial Rhino Stout I knew this was a format to move forward with. I like the ability to give a little info on how the beer came to be and it works great for collaborations.
Imperial Rhino Stout 2011
With the label background out of the way let’s dive into the label for Imperial Rhino Stout 2011.
With the beer sitting in a keg being carbonated I knew it was time to get the label taken care of. I’ve really been enjoying the story labels I’ve been doing so I decided to use that format and adapt the old label to the new format.
The first thing I did was pulled up two files, last year’s label and the Strauss IPL label and merged them together so both labels were in the same file and saved. After that I started deleting and merging certain elements from each of them. From the IPL I used the the format, about SNB text and circle. From IRS I grabbed the rhino (with hat) and color scheme.
The hat that the rhino is wearing is the same hat the Stone Gargoyle wears only greatly manipulated to which I then added the crest I found on another image. The way the hat fits on the rhino's head is actually a nice little trick done with layering.
Once I had a general mock up I started filling in other details like the brewstats, bar code (which is the brew date), the other rhino and my sig.
|Initial Mock Up|
Next came a quick text mock up. I must have been channeling Greg Koch as it was way too long and in need of serious cutting. Here is the original text –
Imperial Rhino Stout 2011 marks the second release of a big, thick, dark, creamy imperial style stout from SNB Brewing.Over the last few years I’ve grown a strong fondness for big dark imperial stouts. I love a nice heavy mouthfeel that is incredible silky with the roast in bitterness in balance.Back in 2010 I brewed my first “imperial stout” which happened to be the 6th beer I ever brewed (it was named after the 2nd one Rhino Stout which was an oatmeal stout). It took over 6 months to complete and I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out. I knew I had to do it again in 2011.
When I set out to create the 2011 version I decided to evoke the original Rhino Stout by making it an imperial oatmeal stout. It is also an homage to two of my favorites in the style Surly Darkness 09 and Founders Breakfast Stout.The Darkness thread will come from the selection of hops (Columbus and Simcoe) used where as the FBS will contribute its coffee aroma and flavor. For the coffee notes I used two cold brew extracts (Whole Foods Extra Dark French Roast and Red Sea), one at flameout and the other at kegging.
I ended up cutting paragraph 2 and 3 while slightly changing the wording on what I kept. The final wording is as follows –
Imperial Rhino Stout 2011 marks the second release of a big, thick, dark, creamy imperial style stout from SNB Brewing.When I set out to create the 2011 version of Imperial Rhino Stout I decided to evoke the original Rhino Stout by making it an imperial oatmeal stout. It is also an homage to two of my favorites in the style Surly Darkness 09 and Founders Breakfast Stout.The Darkness thread will come from the selection of hops (Columbus and Simcoe) used where as the FBS will contribute its coffee aroma and flavor. For the coffee notes I used two cold brew extractions (Whole Foods Extra Dark French Roast and Red Sea), one at flameout and the other at kegging.
|Final Mock Up|
Next came the fun part, breaking up every line of text so that I could manipulate them individually. I’m doing this because I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the text to justify. I then I built some blocking boxes to adjust and center the logo. Finally finishing by texturing the hat.
|The Old Final Label|
Update 8-Dec-11: Since I did this post I've ditched the barcode and in it's place put a QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) with a link to the main recipe page on the site. I generate the QR code using Google URL shorter then adding a .qr to the end of the created link (I.E goo.gl/aEmCZ becomes goo.gl/aEmCZ.qr)
|The Current Final Label with QR code|