Once More into the Fray.
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live and die on this day.
Live and die on this day.
Once More Into The Fray 2021 has arrived.
How quickly things come back around again. It seems like only a few short months ago, we were packaging our first Once More into the Fray in early July of 2020. Now, a year later, we’ve been busy – both brewing and racking brews into barrels. Since that batch last year, we’ve filled 90 barrels with imperial stout. A broad range of barrels house this most delectable liquid, everything from Heaven Hill to Buffalo Trace.
Though many styles of beer exist with an ever increasing range of flavour, the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout reigns supreme in my heart. The original hype train, long before hazies crisscrossed the States on the secondary market.
Back in June of this year, there was great excitement, but also trepidation when we began identifying barrels to run sensory trials on what would become the 2021 vintage of Fray. We found ourselves deep in the back of the oak cellar, excavating barrels that have been sitting for 12 months. Tools in tow, we began pulling nails.
After three days of sensory analysis, nineteen barrels were selected as ready to be blended and consumed.
These nineteen barrels exhibited characteristics that stood above the rest in out humble opinions, which is exactly what Fray was meant to emphasise. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and coconut notes blending seamlessly with our thick, heavy bodied chocolate, toffee imperial stout. A marrying of flavours that were not only bold, but layered with nuance.
Ned and I worked through the selected barrels and ultimately earmarked fourteen for Fray and five for the Fray Variant – a tasty small volume project combining our BBA Imperial Stout with vanilla and coffee (more on this later).
The 2021 Vintage of Once More Into the Fray is the natural evolution of a dream and a labour of love for many years now. And it to be quite frank, we were all humbled when we tasted the first cans off the line. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I certainly feel like we are lurching into the fray again, weapon out and belly in!
Unfortunately, the taproom is closed and we’ve had to hold off on lining our taps with all kinds of darker beer offerings as a celebration of the second run of Fray. But do stay tuned, as once things turn around, we will be ready.
Also, if you are around, we will be doing a live YouTube tasting of Fray with our mates over at the Stepbrewers on Saturday, July 31st at 8pm. Please check it out as I reckon we will get real deep into the nitty gritty of everything Fray.
Finally, some people have messaged asked about cellaring the beer. When we selected the barrels, we felt the beer was ready to consume now. That being said, I imagine cellaring it will potentially smooth the flavour out even more and the flavour profile will evolve. I personally wouldn’t cellar it for more than 3 years. Just long enough to do a 5 year vertical!
Cheers to the whole Deeds Team that brought this beer together. I am forever grateful. And cheers to everyone out there that tries this beer! You are the reason we are able to keep making it!