Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Tuesday, must be time to blend something

It may not be a black Tuesday here in Orange County, but that's not reason we can't break out some barrel samples of Black Tuesday ale and figure out just exactly how we want to blend it for this year's release.

This will be the third year that we've released the infamous imperial stout that is aged in bourbon barrels and for the third time, it will have subtle differences in it's composition.  With a beer this big that spends so much time in oak barrels, there are many nuances that are hard to control.  Creating a beer of this style is similar in ways to creating a fine bourbon or whiskey.  The reason that companies like Jack Daniels or Maker's Mark can release a very consistent product is that they distill tens of thousands of oak barrels for every release and blend the majority of them together, creating a standard flavor from year to year.  If, however, you've ever had a single barrel varietal or have had bourbon or scotches from one of the smaller producers, you've probably noticed that the flavor and aroma can change ever so slightly from batch to batch.

As we explained a few weeks back as we blended the 2011 Oude Tart, the blending process is extremely important in barrel aged beers and can help balance the different brews.  While one barrel might be particularly sweet and another be particularly hot (alcoholic), finding the perfect blend of batches can result in great balance and the ideal beer to release.

We were quite happy with the final blend we agreed on today and can't wait to hear what you think!

For further info, visit www.thebruery.com/blacktuesday

twitter hashtag #blacktuesday

Tyler measuring out exact blend percentages.

Gotta try the original one of course.

And gotta try last years while we're at it.

Several different blend variations...which one will it be?!


Matt said...

What happens to the leftovers? Blending implies that there will be some barrels that only get slightly used.

The Bruery said...

GREAT question Matt!

The majority of the leftover Black Tuesday barrels are saved for other beers that incorporate the same beer such as Chocolate Rain, Melange #1, Melange #3 and once in a while we throw a very small amount of Black Tuesday into other small batch releases if we think it will add a desired character. We'll also save some of the barrels intended for this year's batch until next year if we think they need more time on the oak for that extra complexity. We have a few barrels going into this year's batch that have been aging for close to 2 years.

It's pretty rare that any goes to waste.

m@ said...

I want to go to there.