The Season of Stout Beer
For awhile, there was a lonely, empty five gallon barrel in the brew house. We debated for a couple months as to what beer to put inside. Barrel age some odd style, like an IPA or a saison? All we could agree on is the fact that it made a nice, splintery seat on a brew day.
Jim from Liberty Pole Spirits aged their outstanding peated bourbon in that barrel. We decided to fill it with Recliner. The barrel is small enough that we could move it around, and often did. You probably saw it sitting on our back bar for a time.
Small barrels are used because there is a larger ratio of surface area to liquid. Basically, aging anything in a five gallon barrel for three months is comparable to aging in a full size barrel for one year. Well, we aged our five for over ten months. So, that’s like over three years in barrel years. I think part of the reason it sat around so long was because we forgot about it. It ended up sitting on top of a filing cabinet and you know, as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
I’m happy to admit that we (sort of) lost it for a bit. The beer isn’t big in alcohol, at only between 6-7% ABV, it’s on the low end for a beer to age. However, it is big on flavor. Lots of peated bourbon flavor, tons of vanilla from the oak. Mellow. Super easy to enjoy. Think chocolate and coffee.
Now, I love stout. The mysteriousness, the blurry history, the varieties, and how well it works with food. It’s no secret that I love Recliner, and it’s no secret that I love adding flavors to it. Now that cooler weather is upon us, we’re planning a Season of Stout.
Recliner is our oatmeal stout that really lends itself to small batch conditioning. On its own, Recliner has copious amounts of chocolate and coffee flavor. That sweetness and bitterness works well with many flavors. Think of how a chef uses chocolate. Chocolate and coffee pair with so many awesome things. I’m not going to give them all away, but look for a coffee stout with cold brew from Commonplace Coffee coming soon.
Well, we bought two more empty barrels that held peated bourbon off of Jim. They’re bigger so it will take longer to age, but I’m good with that.