As Easter approaches and that lingering winter seems to be behind us once and for all, we have our next instalment of releases from our barrel-ageing programme. Our first releases explored the individual nuances that barrels with different histories can bring to the beer they hold – we aged one beer, Winter Palace Imperial Stout, in four different kinds of barrel. Our next two releases explore how barrel ageing can elevate and emphasise the character of the beers which age within them.
CUVEÉ DES SIMPLES
In the summer of 2017, we collaborated with Brasserie du Mont Saleve on a Saison with gin and tonic inspired flavours. The beer was brewed with the British Ale yeast strain Yorkshire Square and an infusion of gin botanicals and cucumber. The result, Yorkshire Blanc, was light, refreshing and had an intriguing floral complexity. We got some oak barrels which had held London Dry Gin from a local distillery – previous to this one had held white wine and one Bourbon. We were interested to discover how the gin character retained within the barrels would express itself in the beer, our hope was that it would accentuate the floral notes that we had been so drawn to in the unaged version. The rich and varied history of the barrels translates into a multi-faceted flavour profile – the botanicals are there, in harmony with a distinct white wine character and a discernible oak finish. Although perhaps a counterintuitive way to describe a beer that has such complexity, Simples translates as herbs with botanical flavours.
BOURBON HARD SHAKE
Hard Shake is an Imperial Milk Stout developed from our Milk Shake Milk Stout recipe. The intention was to create something decadent, a stout that was bigger, richer and more luxurious than not only Milk Shake but previous batches of Hard Shake. The beer is brewed with copious chocolate malts and the addition of cacao nibs. We also soak fresh vanilla pods in Bourbon before steeping them in the wort to enhance the headiness and complexity of the beer. Ageing it in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels felt like the perfect marriage. Our hope was that it would accentuate the opulence and complexity of the beer. The result is a lusciously rich, velvety and satisfying Stout with deep chocolate notes.
These barrel-aged releases will be available in bottle in limited quantity at our brewery tap room on Saturday 31st March and on draft at our Brett and Barrel Aged Beer showcase at Small Bar Bristol on Thursday April 4th and Small Bar Cardiff on Friday April 5th. There is also a limited release going to bottle shops across the UK. Cuveé des Simples will be pouring at the Lyon Beer Festival.