We barrel age some of our beers to bring about additional flavor, aroma and greater complexity. Whether aging in spirit barrels or fully fermenting in wine barrels, as beer seeps into every crevice of these wooden barrels over time, it absorbs the flavors and adopts the character of the wood, including remnants of what was present before. These residual flavors and lingering microflora from the previous tenant can enhance and deepen the beer’s aroma and taste. Throughout the process, some of the beer is lost to evaporation, a portion called “the angel’s share” by our forebears.
This concentrates the flavors inherent in the beer and makes for a richer drinking experience. Whether producing beer matured in bourbon barrels, or wild ales fermented and aged in wine barrels with yeast cultivated from the air, barrel aging is an enormous gamble, and it’s impossible to predict what may happen when a living ale spends months or even years in a wooden vessel under constant temperature. That said, we think it’s a risk worth taking.