The collaborative brewing partnership between Brooklyn Brewery and Kentucky-based bourbon brand Four Roses Distillery dates back to 2019 and stems from a longstanding friendship between Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and Four Roses COO and Director of Operations Ryan Ashley.
“Collaborating with Garrett has led to extremely unique, high quality releases over the past four years and the new edition of Black Ops is no exception,” Elliott said.
The fourth vintage of their collab, Black Ops, is a Russian Imperial Stout that was aged for around 9 months in Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon barrels that were hand-selected by Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott. (It is also the second vintage to be canned.)
“Black Ops is unlike any other barrel-aged imperial stout. Rather than being thick, sweet, heavily roasted, and cloying, this beer is brisk and light on its feet, despite its 11.5% ABV,” Oliver explains. “On the nose, we have coffee, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, caramel and toasted oak. A light tang of roast acidity on the palate is followed by layers of caramel, chocolate and a slight bourbon bite. I think it’s fair to compare this beer to ‘third-wave’ coffee, showing less roast and greater balance, structure and elegance.”
The result, I can report, is a beer with just the right hint of bourbon character and a very smooth finish. Black Ops calls forth big chocolate and coffee notes with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak. This vintage delivers depth and complexity with layers of oak, malt, and fruit flavors.
“The mellow fruit, spice and oak tones of the Small Batch Bourbon barrels perfectly complement the rich, malty character of the Russian Imperial Stout, creating layers of complex flavors that both beer and bourbon drinkers will appreciate,” Elliott says.
Connoisseurs can now enjoy the 2022 Brooklyn Black Ops in a limited edition snifter glass exclusively-designed with the brands’ logos to celebrate the continued partnership. It will be available to purchase via Brooklyn Brewery’s website, as well as in person at Brooklyn Brewery’s Williamsburg Tasting Room and Four Roses Distillery’s gift shop in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky while supplies last.
Sprecher Brewery unleashes XII Dragons
After a year of aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels, Sprecher Brewery‘s Belgian Quad XII Dragons has been unleashed. XII Dragons is a massive mouthful of malty goodness balanced by bourbon warming and playful spice: perfect for cooler weather or late evenings. Fire-brewed for bold flavors that include caramelized sugar, toffee, and complex fruit flavors of raisins, dates, and figs.
Kentucky bourbon barrel aging adds notes of vanilla, oak, and toasted caramel to this Belgian style ale, creating a velvety smooth, rich, and complex treat for beer lovers. Mahogany in color, and semi-dry to sweet, this is a strong beer at 14.0% ABV.
Tröegs brews a grand variant of Mad Elf
Tröegs Independent Brewing relishes the chance to produce special winter releases. The just-released Mad Elf Grand Cru, for example, is a limited “director’s cut” of its iconic holiday ale, Mad Elf. Like its counterpart, Mad Elf Grand Cru starts with chocolate, Munich and Pilsner malts and features a large addition of local Pennsylvania wildflower honey. It’s also fermented with the same spicy Belgian yeast strain as Mad Elf, which lends flavors of cinnamon, clove, and allspice.
Whereas Mad Elf features five different varieties of cherries, Grand Cru exclusively showcases Balaton cherries to impart notes of tart pie filling. Mad Elf Grand Cru clocks in at the same 11% ABV as Mad Elf, but instead of a ruby red glow Grand Cru pours a lovely deep burgundy.
“Putting this beer in cork and cage bottles helps give it that extra special touch,” says Tröegs co-founding brother Chris Trogner. “We use the same bottles for beers like LaGrave and Jovial that we bottle condition, and we know the corks are great at keeping that extra pressure in. It also means they’re great at keeping oxygen out. Since Grand Cru is a beer many people like to age, that’s a big plus.”
WeldWerks with two new Medianoche variants
Medianoche is a tremendous American Imperial Stout style beer brewed by WeldWerks Brewing Co., and the Greeley, Colo. brewery just released two Medianoche collaborations to know about.
Little Man Salted Oreo Medianoche | This is WeldWerks’ latest collaborative effort with their good friends at Little Man Ice Cream. It starts with a blend selected from batches of Medianoche-aged for 22-36 months in freshly emptied Blanton’s 15-year and seven-year bourbon, Thomas H. Handy six-year rye, Sazerac 15-year rye, Weller six-year wheated bourbon, and New Riff four-year bourbon barrels. After barrel-aging, the beer was finished with Oreos, sea salt, and Madagascan vanilla beans.
MedianocheZZZ | After sampling a handful of barrels with friends at Austin’s Forager Brewery, they landed on a blend of eight-year-old Thomas H. Handy Rye barrels and Henry McKenna 10-year Bottled in Bond Bourbon barrels. Following in Forager’s footsteps, WeldWerks chose three varieties of vanilla beans from around the world that would each bring its own unique vanilla flavors to best fit the barrel profile of our final blend. Their selections of beans come from Uganda, the Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
Exhibit A is gonna need you to come and try this Scotch Ale
Indie Massachusetts brewery Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co. has its winter releases set, and we wanted to highlight the Office Space ode: We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday Scotch Ale. This full-flavored, malt-forward Scotch Ale is made for after-work sipping. Saturday Scotch Ale features big flavors of biscuit, toffee, and a hint of fruity esters, helping it land with a sweet finish and medium carbonation, at 8.4 % ABV. We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday is made with locally-grown, peat-smoked malt from Valley Malt (based in Hadley, MA) for an added touch of smokiness. Better yet? One case of Saturday Scotch Ale supports 41 square feet of local farmland.
OMF teams with coffee roaster pals
Our Mutual Friend Brewing Co. (OMF) and brand new coffee roaster Color Drop Coffee are teaming to both release something tasty for the season: Boundary Beyond, an Imperial Coffee Stout, as well as a dark roast coffee.
Boundary Beyond is a 13.5% ABV Imperial Coffee Stout brewed with Color Drop Coffee and Troubadour Malt. The combination of specialty malt and craft coffee provides big, bold flavors of fresh espresso, dark chocolate, and caramel. This limited-edition release will be available on draft at OMF, as well as in 12-ounce cans.
The coffee version of Boundary Beyond, Color Drop’s darkest roast yet, has a full body, notes of chocolate, a bit of nuttiness, and light red fruit on the finish. This super limited release will be available at OMF on the 19th in 12-ounce bags. The collaboration coffee will also be available in early December on Color Drop’s website.
“Coffee and beer go well together like grilled cheese and tomato soup,” says Rosenberg. “ If we dig into it, the roasted malts and the coffee are going to come together and create something greater than their parts, without the coffee dominating the beer. The coffee has to be good enough to not distract from the quality of the beer, while not being too noticeable that it takes away from the flavor profile.”
Huss Brewing shows what Arizona winter is all about
Huss Brewing‘s Brown Cow Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout (8.0% ABV | 28 IBUs) is a seasonal addition to the Huss family — a big, bold American-style Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout brewed with over 40 pounds of cacao beans, making it the perfect beer for chilly Arizona months.
“We love to get creative in the brewery, and we knew there was a need for a flavorful stout in the Arizona market,” says Leah Huss, who owns Huss Brewing Co. with her husband Jeff. “We put our heads together to come up with the perfect recipe to bring this seasonal beer to life just in time for the winter months in Arizona.”
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