Yesterday we received a shipment of Bourbon Barrels! These arrived freshly emptied from the amazing Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky. As I popped the bung, sweet aromas of bourbon filled the cellar. I’m very excited about the potential these wooden treasure chest hold. Excellent notes of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet cured tobacco.
Upon inspection I found that each barrel had 1/2 pint of bourbon at the bottom. The staves hold an additional 1-2 gallons, adding about 1-2%alc/vol to the beer. When barrel aging beer, the temperature fluctuations cause the beer to enter and exit the staves, carrying the bourbon along with it. Last year we took in four barrels, this year a baker’s dozen. I really, really, love bourbon barrels for aging beer. Some of our most memorable beer has been aged in bourbon barrels: “Pappy’s Dark”, “Super Nebula”, and “Hypnosis”. As our brewery evolves I see us heading in the direction of even more barrel aging in bourbon, wine, and oak. These are the beers that we are very passionate about, demand more time, and maximize our skills and artistic ability as brewers.
Here is what I have planned for this run of bourbon barrels. Each batch will fill four barrels and each barrel holds 53 gallons. Barrels can be used up to four times with bourbon notes still shining through. We will use each barrel only twice to maximize the intense & fresh character.
Pappy’s Dark for Draft
Pappy’s Dark to be bottled
Super Nebula, Imperial Stout
Hypnosis, Barley Wine (potentially a small amount hand bottled)
“Imagine” 14-15% Belgian Imperial Stout
“Pappy’s Wild” Pappy’s Dark refermented with raspberries, inoculated with Brett and Lactobacillus
This last picture is my attempt to show you the inside of the barrel. Note the amazing charred character and the pool of bourbon at the bottom.
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