There is just something mystical about the imperial stout. And well . . .one aged in bourbon barrels, that transcends into magical territory.
That thick, dark, viscous liquid more akin to the black blood of the earth then a lager or pale ale. That dark stormy glass in which no light can escape, always drawing your eye in deeper like an event horizon. A beer truly best served in a brandy glass or tulip paired with a warm fire, good friends, and maybe even a little self-reflection.
I’ve long heard the siren’s song of the original hype-y boi beer. A passion builds over time as the opportunity to sample quality grows! I spent many years trying every imperial stout I could get my hands on and then as with all things, elevating to the next level of drinking the dark side with stouts long aged in barrels of various origin. From Jamaican rum barrels to the single malt barrels from the island of Islay, I’ve sampled many, but not all. And though some of these flavours just explode off your tongue. One barrel in my mind stands above all of the others.
There’s just something special about getting some of that oak out of the backwoods of Kentucky. The home of bourbon. It’s almost romantic; that spirit aging away in its wooden vessel with those sweet, sweet vanilla, coconut, and tannic flavours giving you oak and that sultry colour. There’s nothing quite like aging an imperial stout in a Kentucky bourbon barrel.
And so, four months after we started brewing at our new home in Glen Iris, we laid down ten barrels of Imperial Stout into a mix of Jim Beam and Heaven Hill Barrels. And we waited.
And then we tasted some imperial stout barrels. . . and we waited some more.
And then again we tasted some imperial stout barrels. . . and then we waited a little longer.
And then we tasted some imperial stout barrels and there it was. 13.3% ABV. Thick, luscious, oaky, vanillin, coconut, bourbon. There it was…
Once More into the Fray. A beer to be reckoned with, both in its boldness and it’s nuance. An intense journey akin to walking into a blizzard and facing the elements. Perhaps this poem is the motto of all you Survivor Types out there. Once More into the Fray, to the last good fight I’ll ever know.
This is the first of many.
More barrels are coming and we won’t be limiting our releases to just winter. The Barrel Aged Imperial Stout program is on its way. I hope you are as excited as we are.