Our barrel aged beers are carefully executed and brewed with intent. From the time we plan them out on paper, until the time we serve our barrel aged beers, we brew with focus. These are typically strong beers with high alcohol content and low hop additions. Many possess a variety of caramel malts or even dark roasted or chocolate malts. We find the hundreds of chemical reactions happening inside of the barrel, over the course of 12-18 months, best match these malty characteristics.
Our barrels are hand selected. We inspect and analyze the aromas residing within them. On occasion, we’ll even taste the spirit that came out of them. We make sure the dregs are still sloshing around in there. We carefully inspect the staves and the hoops, making sure they are tight. We look at the head of the barrel and the croze, analyzing their engagement. We then purge the barrel with carbon dioxide and rid them of oxygen. Our perfectly executed, high gravity still beer is then slowly pushed into the barrel, as it is counter pressure filled. From here we wait. We analyze. We top- up on occasion. We do blending sessions when the time is right and then we make our final blend.
Sometimes we’ll serve these barrel aged beers straight to our customers without blending. We find that blending helps with rounding out the intensity of the oak, and spirit and the reactions happening within the barrel. Blending also allows newer beers to be mixed with older beers. Differing oak complexities and charring within various barrels can interact differently with the same beer and certainly do with differing styles of beer. There is some uncharted territory here and the element of surprise inspires us to continue.