Barrels on barrels on barrels
** Note: I meant to post this on August 15th.....lololol*
Happy Tuesday everyone!! Thank goodness we're almost half way through the week! After my fantastic weekend it makes it 1000x harder to be at work. Speaking of last weekend, I had the pleasure of heading up through Wisconsin for a friends wedding. Thankfully, I had enough time to stop at Central Waters Brewing Company in Amherst. I had seen their name floating around on Untapped so I knew it was worth stopping by. And fortunately, Untapped wasnt wrong! This place had the best barrel aged program I have ever seen! Pretty much half of their taplist was rare bourbon barrel aged beauties that more than lived up to the hype! I think my favorite part is that their prices were SO reasonable! I was able to taste 7 fantastic rare beers for $15! You definitely cant do that in Chicago!
After trying all these beers, I really wanted to know what exactly made a barrel aged beer so great and what goes into making one. So here I am, writing this blog post about it! As you probably know, the whole point of barrel aging a beer is so that the beer can take up some of the wood's character into its own taste. This can vary depending on what type of barrel you decide to age in. I've mainly seen wine, bourbon and whiskey barrels, but you could also just use an unused barrel as well! Another important aspect of barrel aging is the time that the beer spends in the barrel. This helps to determine just how much of the wood flavor that the beer will pick up. When done for the right amount of time, the beer can pick up the perfect flavor, but when done too long, it can be pretty bad. I've had some beer that tastes like straight up whiskey....if you like whiskey this could be great...I don't. I like my barrel aged beers to taste mainly like a beer, with a touch of other flavor in it.
One of my favorite barrel aged beers is Miaou by Whiner Beer Co here in Chicago. First of all, its cat themed...you cant go wrong with a cat theme. This beer is a barrel aged, dry hopped Belgian wheat and boy is it fantastic! It tastes first and foremost like a wheat beer with a bit of funk imparted by the barrel. It really makes for a great beer.
On the other side of the barrel aged spectrum is the Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout by Central Waters Brewing. They add 75 lbs of cherries into this bad boy and age it for 6 months in oak bourbon barrels. It comes out at 11% ABV and 40 IBU. This beer has such a great smooth finish to it with a punch of cherry tartness. You can definitely taste the touch of bourbon but it adds to the beer flavor rather than masking it.
Well, that's all I have for today!