On August 13th, we talked all about barrel aging.
We covered the history of barrel aging, then talked about the two most common types of barrel-aged beers today:
(1) sour and wild ales
(2) strong ales aged in barrels that previously held wine or spirits
Finally, we chatted about some of the controversies and legalities surrounding barrel aging.
Listen back here:
Barrel aging overview
This article from Craft Beer & Brewing is a long one, but it’s a great overview of barrel aging covering a bit of the history and both modern approaches (sours and boozy barrel-aged beers)
Bonus reads on the history of aging beer
(Feel free to come back to these if you have time.)
If you’d like to learn more about the historical beer styles that were long aged, check out this article from Ron Pattinson in All About Beer mag:
And this one from Will Hawkes in Beer Advocate on porter:
Sour & wild ales
Start here with this helpful overview on what a foeder is:
Then check out this piece by Lily Waite in Good Beer Hunting for more on how they’re used by breweries across the US and UK:
This article talks through the history of the first bourbon barrel-aged beer from Goose Island Brewery and how the style has since taken the craft beer world by storm:
Controversies & taxation issues
(These aren’t a must to read, but we’ll talk through some of the points they cover towards the end of Thursday’s session.)
We chatted about this briefly in a previous week, so I thought I’d do some digging to learn more about the legalities of mixing spirits and beer, as some of the spirit in the wood will indeed enter the beer as it’s aged.
This article covers some of the tax hurdles Fuller’s faced with HMRC when making a barrel-aged beer back in 2008:
And a much more recent controversy took place in 2017 when Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn called their beer ‘barrel-aged’ when it had been aged on wood chips, but not actually within a barrel. Does that constitute barrel aging to you?
Bonus reading if you want to get really geeky
It’s quite long, but I found this presentation pretty interesting, if you want to have a quick flick through to dig a bit deeper: