The Aging Cellar – The Components: We blended together 235 oak barrels containing four different beers to create something rich, complex and 100% original.
Following are descriptions of key components with their names:
Parabola (13% ABV) Aged in Bourbon Barrels
(33.33% of the final blend)
Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout
OG=30P FG=7.5P IBU=80 Color=Black / Hopped with Magnum, Styrian Golding and Hallertau Tradition
Stickee Monkee (12.3% ABV) Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels
(33.33% of the final blend)
Central Coast Quad
OG=27P FG=5.4P IBU=45 Color=34 / Brewed with Belgian Candi Sugar and Mexican Turbinado (Brown) sugar
Bravo (12.9% ABV) Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels
(16.66% of the final blend)
Imperial Brown Ale
OG=26.5 FG=3.7 IBU=35 Color=32 / Hopped with Bravo and Styrian Goldings
Velvet Merkin (8.5% ABV) Aged in Bourbon barrels
(16.66% of the final blend)
Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout
OG=15+P FG=5.5 IBU=32.5 Color=Black / 15% Oats / Hopped with 100% US grown Willamette
Distinguished winemakers who came together for the 2015 blend:
Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan – Thacher Winery (Winning Blend
A Note from Brewmaster Matt Brynildson
Our 19th Year!
2015 was another exciting year for the Firestone Walker Brewery and our amazing team! We came out of the gates screaming and pushed our little brewery into maximum overdrive trying to keep up with orders while maintaining our trademark quality and ever-growing lineup of beers. A big shout out to our fans for keeping the fire lit and pushing us to new heights! Just three years ago we installed our beautiful new German-built brewhouse and by March we were running it to the top of its capacity, brewing up to 16 brews per day and operating 24 hours, seven days a week! Brewing at this pace requires a lot of concentration, malt, hops and teamwork. When you drink a Firestone Walker beer, always remember that amazing beer is made by amazing people and we are blessed with some of the very best folks in the business. Our brewery family continues to grow while the core of our staff remains the original employees who have grown this brewery brick by brick – brew by brew.
As busy as we have been, we have continued to innovate and create. Part of the innovation piece comes from our continued travels, exploration and connections with other brewers. 2015 marks the year of a very important international alliance born out of these relationships. We partnered up with the Moortgat Brewery family from Belgium who are the brewers of Duvel – the world’s most famous Belgian Golden Ale. For a brewer, this is a dream come true. To have the opportunity to collaborate at this level with our brewing idols is something I thought would never happen. This is the kind of thing that will create mind-blowing beer of unparalleled quality! One word to sum that all up – stoked!
I have always said that a busy brewery is a happy brewery and a happy brewery brews the very best beer. When a healthy brewery is busy, the team is in top shape, the brewhouse and cellar are in perfect sync, the yeast is fermenting well, the packaging crews are one with their machines, the maintenance crew is in the zone and the logistics center becomes a buzzing brew traffic control bee hive. My theory is that the beer always tastes the best in these moments. That theory was once again tested at the Great American Beer Festival this year. As busy as we were, we got our beers off to the big dance and they performed pretty darn well. We managed to pull down 5 medals – three for our beers brewed in Paso Robles and two for our Barrelworks operation in Buellton, CA. Having scored the most points, we were awarded the Mid-Sized Brewery of The Year for the fourth time in 10 years!! Wow – we are truly blessed.
It has been a good year and this barrel-aged, blended beer is a perfect way to celebrate it!
Back to the basics
For this blend we decided to go back to the basics. We offered the winemakers a smaller number of barrel-aged beers to work with and eliminated the option of blending in our hoppy stainless steel finished beers. It resulted in a rich and complex beer that is centered on barrel-aged flavors. In many ways this beer reflects more of what a typical wine blend would be in terms of the number of components and how those components can work together and I believe it truly embodies what this project is all about. I don’t believe that it was chance that Sherman Thacher and his assistant Daniel Callan’s blend won the blending competition this year. Sherman brewed beer for many years for Los Gatos Brewing here in California and understands beer flavors well. He left brewing to follow his passion for wine and he and his wife Michelle own and operate a beautiful small winery on the west side of Paso on the site of the historic Kentucky Ranch. Sherman has a love for a hoppy Pilsner much like myself – that’s why we get along so well.
The Final Blend
As a finished beer, XIX is a rich, chocolaty, chewy brew with brandy-soaked raisin and holiday fruitcake flavors. The blend is anchored by equal parts Stickee Monkee and Parabola, which combine to create a dense chocolate truffle-like base. Velvet Merkin and Bravo lend their spicy oak, leather and fruity accents to complete the brew. The beer is unfiltered and unfined so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XIX is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass the true complexity of this blend is revealed, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect, like our other Anniversary offerings, that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our 10th oak-aged blend! The journey continues and it continues to be just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996.
This beer is dedicated to Michel Moortgat and Duvel Moortgat family of breweries! We are very proud to be brewing with you!
Barrel Aged Blend