Continuing the Education for Consumers on Barrel-aged Products

‘Basking in Bourbon’ Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout is the fourth beer produced from Saranac Brewery‘s barrel-aging program. Before this, Pilot Brewer Scott Grenier said the New York brewery made two barrel-aged Scotch Ales and an Imperial Porter aged in Rye Whiskey barrels.

“For this beer, we wanted something bigger than anything we had done before and a beer that we could lay down and re-release after aging,” he said.

At the end of the day, the more the consumer knows about the beer they are drinking, the better off Grenier and his brewers are when it comes time to create and sell new products, he said.

“Education gives us the chance to try new recipes and put out products that might otherwise be confusing or unfamiliar,” he said. “With barrel-aged beer in particular, many consumers are familiar with the styles and are vocal about what they want to see in a barrel-aged offering.

“Ten years ago, we were trying to convince the craft consumer that a barrel-aged Stout tastes good and is worth the increased cost … we are now trying to convince the same consumer that not every barrel-aged offering should include coffee, maple, and other flavorings. The educated beer consumer is both harder to appease and more willing to try new things.”

The recipe for the beer was developed within the brewery’s pilot brewhouse. A unique feature of of the beer that Grenier pointed out was that it was made entirely from the first runnings of two separate mashes.

In a newsletter the brewery sent out to subscribers on December 7, 2017, a chart was added to the information about the re-release of Basking in Bourbon.

“While the chart isn’t perfect, it at least shows the consumer some of the changes that happens to beer as it ages,” Grenier said. “Obviously, not all beer should be aged and not all aged beer ends up tasting like cardboard, but it is important to know that aging beer is trade off; you lose some good flavors and develop better ones.”


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