Aging beer in barrels is one of the projects our crew get around with a lot of enthusiasm. The complex interaction between beer and wooden casks can transform ordinary brews into something completely different.
Due to our proximity to some of the nations best wine regions we are lucky enough to have access to a huge selection of wine barrels. Late last year we got hold of a stash of reconditioned red wine casks and decided to change it up and do a few experimental batches. So rather than the the usual stout or sour suspects we filled 8 barrels with IIPA and added 50 kg of fresh South Aussie strawberries.
The beer aged on oak and strawberries for a year until early November when we hit the barrels up with another dose of fresh strawberries. After a few more weeks we transferred the beer back into the fermenter, chilled it slightly and decided that it needed a little blending. We topped up the tank with fresh as IIPA and 25 kg of Strawberry pulp. It was then dry hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, Centennial and German wunder hop Huell Melon – known for its distinctive Strawberry character.
The result is a beer with an intensely strawberry nose backed by fresh, fruity hop characters. The pallet is complex, with hints of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging and a fresh, tart fruitiness thanks to a generous helping of strawberries every step of the way.
Big shoutout to AMJ Produce for hooking us up with the fresh strawberries!
The 9% ABV Pirate Life Strawberry IIPA will be pouring around Australia throughout January.