In this event at the barrel store we were treated to special barrel aged beers that were not generally available (yet – there were hints that some of these would be released to the wild) . The format was we were greeted with a drink from the taps and then served a small glass of the barrel aged goodness.
These beers were literally fresh from the barrel! See picture of Al tapping barrel #1.
Al was there to answer questions alongside another Cloudwater employee who was well versed with the technology of brewing and part of their flavour panel.
While the beers were why we walked in the door, listening to them explaining the issues around barrel aging (space, barrel supply) and other things they experienced learning about the process was brilliant. There were funny stories about when it goes wrong, and the story of the ‘ghost’ barrel where it was found to be empty apart from the yeast when it came to testing. There were also hints about the future of the barrel store and the brewery, and how it will improve their ability to produce more great beer!
All of this is personal opinion obviously, and I’m still trying to work out my vocabulary to describe the beers.
Clausenii Stout. Red wine barrel aged. Dark with a tan head. Quite fresh and fruity initially giving to a caramel finish. Surprisingly light in the mouth. 8.8% 3.5/5
G197 Belgian Pale. White wine barrel Dekkera anomarus wild yeast. Aged for 6 months then wild yeast added. Smells of white grape juice, tastes like a chardonnay smells. Soft winey white grape juice finish. 6.5% I liked this a lot, but it was bit too fortified wine for my companion. 4/5.
G197 Belgian Pale. Same batch as previous beer, stored in a similar white wine barrel. Pitched with a different wild yeast Brettanomyces Brux. More winey on the nose. Less sweet / fortified feeling. Sharper finish, much closer to belgian beer in the middle. 4 / 5
G154 Pale Ale in red wine barrel. ‘Russian River Yeast’. Sulphur and fizzy sherbet on the nose. A slight sharp sourness, made me want chips. Fruity finish on the mouth 3.5/5
G200 Gosweisse. This beer had an emotional history, being brewed with someone who has since died. The name is based on the style of beer and his internet name. Crisp apples and elderflower on the nose. Gentle sour finish. So drinkable at 4%. 4/5
Islay Imperial Stout. Aged in Arbeg and other whisky casks. Mixed with american imperial stout to improve body. Boozey nose. Toasted nuts and whisky. Dark chocolate and a hint of licorice. Not too fishy/medicine from the whisky cask. Very round mouth feel. 11.7% 4/5