A Tempranillo barrel aged strong pale ale. A malty little number, savoury sweet with plum, cherry and oak from the barrels all balanced by dank pine and wood with Chinook and Sabro freshly dry hopped.
The unfortunate result was a gross ball sack of mega oxidation and today we decided to turf the batch. Devo. But simply, it didn’t meet our quality standards and no amount of blending or tinkering would make this one anything more than subpar.
We take some care with how we handle barrels. Using a “rackenteer” we can softly purge barrels with CO2 and fill under a slight blanket of air free gas. We even had access to a temperature controlled barrel space for ageing, so the breathability of the barrels was low. However, I was not diligent in topping up the barrels as the small amount of inevitable evaporation eked out over time. The barrels were then transported from the barrel store across town. In hindsight it obviously picked up oxygen during this process. The liquid went into a purged fermenter and CO2 was further streamed in when the tank was full.
To put an interesting spin on barrel ageing I wanted to freshly dry hop this beer with just a small amount of hops. Facepalm. The oxygen attacked the hop compounds instantly. And that all too familiar “IPA from America that took six months to get here” flavour was dominant.
To be honest we did discuss blending it with fresh beer. But the realisation was that, flavour preferences aside, if we’re not super happy with the quality, we won’t put it out. Regardless of the emotional and fiscal damage.
I’m not giving up on this concept though. It just didn’t work out this time.