From Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby BC comes their latest release the “Scarlet Red Rye Ale” a Rye Barley Wine that is part of their 2017 Barrel Aged series. The beer pours a deep reddish colour with an off white head. The aroma consists of rye malts and rye whiskey, oak, red wine, dark fruits and some sweetness. The flavour is of rye malts and whiskey, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, red wine, sweetness, low bitterness and an alcohol note. The alcohol content comes in at a healthy 9.5%. This is probably the breweries most complex beer to date and I really enjoyed it. This beer has some good aging potential also.
Commercial Description: This robust Rye Barley Wine was carefully aged for months in Woodford Reserve rye barrels resulting in a vibrant red brew we fittingly named Scarlet. With rich flavours and a warming finish, it’s perfect for rainy days.
From Last Best Brewing & Distilling in Calgary Alberta comes their second ever bottled beer the “A.E. Cross Barley Wine Barrel Aged” the second of their Lineage Series. For the second release they split the beer into two versions one unoaked and then this one that was barrel aged for 10 Months in Alberta Rye Whiskey Barrels. The beer pours a deep amber colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of dark fruits, brown sugar, toffee and sweetness. The flavour is of brown sugar, dark fruits, stone fruits, toffee, honey, oak, rye whiskey, sweetness, mild bitterness and some alcohol in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 11.8% with an IBU of 25. Not having access to Last Best Brewing and having only tried their two barrel aged beers so far I have a very high opinion of this brewery so far. This beer was very well crafted and amazingly full of flavour.
Commercial Description: With our 2nd lineage release, we pay homage to a prairie legend with our riff on a classic style. The Alfred Ernest Goss Barley Wine uses locally sourced barley wheat, and rye as a fitting tribute to the founder of Calgary Brewing & Malting and the embodiment of the Last Best West. We split this release into two: one unoaked and one aged for 10 months in 100% Alberta rye whiskey barrels Layered with subtle, integrated oak and a developing rye spiciness, this beer is characterized by its sweet caramel and barley malt base alcohol warmth, hints of dark fruit and a touch of light malted wheat Serve it at cellar temperature and age for years to come.
Located in Bend Oregon is a brewery that plays it just a little different. This brewery is called “The Ale Apothecary” and its motto is “Vintage-batch, barrel by barrel. Cottage instead of factory. Flavor before efficiency. Love prior to spreadsheets.” The beer isn’t cheap and it is just as hard to find as it is expensive but if you get lucky you are in for a treat! For my second intro to this awesome brewery I was able to get a bottle of “Be Still” a mixed fermentation ale that has been aged in Rye Whiskey & Pinot Barrels. This beer is fermented with no yeast and only lactobacillus culture, brettanomyces and pediococcus and thus is recommended to be consumed within 3-6 months of bottling! The beer pours a deep brown with no head as it is uncarbonated. The aroma is dominated by lactobacillus, brettanomyces, wine, whiskey and a good fruitiness. The flavour has some dominant notes of Pinot wine with lots of lactobacillus, brettanomyces, fruits, tartness, whiskey, oak, tannins, cocoa and some minor coffee notes. The alcohol content of this batch was 8.4% but does range from 7-9% batch to batch. This was a very interesting sour ale with tones of flavour. If you can stomach the price then pick up a bottle or two if you can find it!
Commercial Description: Be Still is our dark sour and presented barrel-still, without carbonation, for optimum mouthfeel and balance. Brewed with roasted barley and biscuit malts, the structure of the beer comes from acid produced by our house lactobacillus culture as well as acid from brettanomyces and pediococcus activity during the 10-month aging period in rye whiskey and fresh pinot noir barrels. Prior to bottling, the rye and wine portions are blended together and allowed to sit on cascara (sun-dried exterior fruit of the coffee bean) and cocoa nibs to add depth and complexity. The beer retains the fingerprint of our yeast culture and evolves in your glass, but is a wild departure from our lively bottle-fermented offerings. Be Still is a glimpse into an alternative beer universe that is just waiting to be explored. Due to the nature of this beer (yeast-free), it is recommended that you consume the beer fresh within 3-6 months of batch date on bottle to avoid oxidation flavors from shrouding your experience.