Stormy Monday Barley Wine – Bush Pilot Brewing

From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Stormy Monday” a Barley Wine aged in Calvados Barrels.  Unfortunately my bottle was leaking when it arrived and had lost some of its carbonation.  The beer poured a deep cloudy brown colour with a small head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, apple, clove, spices, hint of chocolate and some brown sugars.  The flavour is of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, dried apple, orange peel, orange, cinnamon, clove, spices, brown sugar, syrup, mild coffee, bitterness, vanilla, wood and a hint of what I can only guess is Calvados.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.3% without being super boozy.  This beer was a blend of barrel aged and non barrel aged versions of this beer.  With the unfortunate leakage of the bottle the carbonation was basically lost but the flavour was still really tasty.  I am really enjoying this beer and I hope that if you get a chance to try it you let me know what you think of it with a full carbonation!

Commercial Description:  We started with a clear mission that our first beer had to be a drink that we ourselves would want to seek out and enjoy. See, we are a bit spoiled – an almost decade long background in craft beer importation blessed us with access to some very fine and unique beers. Therefore, when we decided to embark on this long and turbulent journey we knew we had to create something very different. Needless to say though, we had a few Stormy Mondays along the way… With the help of our experienced mentors and collaborators, we managed to pass through some nasty looking clouds.  Our Stormy Monday is a spiced barley wine aged in Calvados barrels. Legendary Danish craft brewer Anders Kissmeyer (of Nørrebro Bryghus fame) created the recipe and supervised the brewing/aging process. We prepared a huge cargo of spices consisting of star anise, bitter orange peel, cocoa, cinnamon, dried fruit (quince, apple, dates, raisins, figs), real vanilla beans, cardamom, juniper berries and the list goes on and on… We also used pure maple syrup from our long time supplier and friend Frank Higgins of Combermere, Ontario. It is fair to say we logged quite a few hours sourcing some of these ingredients all over the world.  The resulting beer was aged for over seven months in Calvados barrels sourced from Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France. A second, non-barrel aged batch was brewed in order to create a rather harmonious presence of oak and Calvados notes. At the end, we settled for the 60:40 blend (barrel vs. non-barrel batches).  Special thanks go to our collaborators Jon Downing, Sam Corbeil, John Romano, Ryan Morrow, Matthew Howell and everyone at Niagara College Teaching Brewery and Nickel Brook Brewery.  Hope you enjoy your bottle of Stormy Monday.

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