Well, the RFT review dropped this week. The beers went over well and now the pressure is really on. Can I make enough beer? The answer seems to be 'barely', 'maybe' or 'no'. So, we are in the hunt for equipment to upgrade...already!
This Friday (yesterday), we tapped 1849 Irish Red Ale, based on Jeff Harbaugh's recipe. It was a bit different than his original, but equally delicious in its own right.
Neither of these tidbits hardly justify use of 'funky', though, do they? This does: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dubbel de Flanders.
I'll let that sink in for a moment.
Funky Friday the 13th, it is.
Courtesy of our good friends at Schlafly (my other employer, as well), we picked up some Jim Beam barrels used to age some Imperial Stout to turn our back patio into a proper 'Biergarten'. Those three will see out their useful existence as planters for some hop vines this spring (hints at a fresh hop ale at some point, doesn't it?).
One lucky barrel, however, has become the incubation vessel for Mattingly Brewing Company's first sour ale. This Flanders-style Dubbel is being refermented in the oak by Wyeast's Roselare Blend that I've grown up to handle this volume. Roselare blend is a mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria from the Rodenbach brewery in Belgium. Rodenbach is world famous for their complex sour ales.
Fellow Taproom brewer Brennan Greene and I recently shared a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru which I had stashed away in my cellar for the last several years. It was damn near miraculous, a fantastic beverage. I can only hope that our little adventure now under way will produce something worthy of its pedigree. I'm willing to bet that it will, in time.
Since I started this odyssey on Friday the 13th, we will visit our Funky Friday the 13th every time the calendar lines up accordingly.
So, without further ado, I present the release schedule:
2009 November Friday the 13th (This is the only one which may not happen, but, if I deem the beer 'ready',)
2010 August Friday the 13th (It should certainly be funkified by then)
2011 May Friday the 13th
2012 January Friday the 13th
2012 April Friday the 13th
2012 July Friday the 13th
2013 September Friday the 13th (My 30th Birthday...Wow...that's weird to think about...)
2013 December Friday the 13th
Now, I bet some of you are wondering "He filled one barrel, that's eight releases for only 50 gallons? What is he thinking? I'm thirsty!"
Well, I plan to adopt a truncated 'Solera method' here. Common in Sherry production and high end rums, in these scenarios a cascading blending of aged and fresh Rum or Sherry is blended with older, more mature wine or spirit. Here, it will be significantly more simple. I will pull some out of the barrel for drinkin', at the same time, I'll top the barrel up with fresh Dubbel, and keep the wild yeast and bacteria well fed.
The beer will certainly change over time. I would expect it to become more sour and less oaky will the progression of time, but we won't find out until we get there.
Souns like fun to me.