"Do a barrel roll!" - an update
It's been a minute since I last made a post here. These past few months in particular have been a whirlwind. This past weekend was the first time I hadn't brewed since February. Oofda. Sounds like a good time to get you up to speed on what I've been working on, and what's in the works. Let's start with barrels!
I consider barrel aging one of those "next tier" brewing practices. Barrels introduce so many variables into the brewing process that a new brewer absolutely should not jump right in. Thankfully, I'm not a new brewer. I have had a 5 gallon bourbon barrel in my home cellar for a few years that generated a few excellent "clean" beers before becoming a sour solera. I love the extra flavor and depth you can pull out from a barrel in a relatively short time. So I was pretty excited when Mississippi River Distilling Company just up the highway from us offered some of their barrels. The first beer to barrel age was easy - Ryetoberfest already had a significant amount of rye malt in it so why not add it to a rye whiskey barrel? That proved to be an excellent idea and beer.
Next up, I added a dark braggot I've named Panna Moon to one of their bourbon barrels. The first resident in my home barrel was a mead that was phenomenal. If you like honey whiskeys, this was sort of the inverse of that - honey up front with whiskey notes. That beer is still hanging out in the barrel, and I've kept myself out of it the past month or so in order to prevent me from "over-sampling".
There's another bourbon barrel hanging out, waiting for some of the behemoth Quad City Quad to come over and hang out. Soon, friends. Soon.
In the middle of starting this barrel program, John from nearby Cat's Eye Distillery reached out and asked if we were interested in using their barrels. With eclectic whiskeys like Krupnik and their Obtanium series, these guys definitely have the mad scientist mindset so many homebrewers excel at. We recently stopped by to pick up a barrel and got a tour and a few samples. There are barrels of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages looming over a collection of homemade and retrofitted gear. Big homebrew energy in the best way possible. The samples we tasted were all excellent and the barrel we picked up is a beauty. It started its life at Heaven Hill well over a decade ago, then hosted Toppling Goliath's ultra popular Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout. It then hosted Cat's Eye Kentucky Whiskey. That's quite the pedigree to live up to but I think we can put something tasty in it. Something for our 1 year anniversary perhaps...
There's a lot more to catch you up on, but that's it for now! Cheers!