More than seven years after the limited release of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 5, the recipe for the highly regarded beer is slated to return. Saint Arnold Brewing Co. will first release it in barrel-aged form as Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel No. 8 and then two weeks later as Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 15 (not barrel-aged).
Saint Arnold dusted off the recipe for the Russian Imperial Stout in 2013 and has been aging the brew in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for a year. The latest release in Saint Arnold’s small batch series of barrel-aged beers are available in 12-ounce bottles throughout Texas and Louisiana. Due to the small amount of beer produced from the barrels, Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel No. 8 will be available only at pubs and restaurants.
The brewery brewed the recipe again in September 2014 and will be releasing that batch as Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 15 on Jan. 26. DR15 will be available in bottles in grocery and liquor stores as well as on draft in select pubs and restaurants. Previous releases have sold out in less than a day.
Although Divine Reserve No. 5 was rated among Saint Arnold’s best beers ever and Beer Advocate listed it among the best beers of 2007, Saint Arnold’s brewers believe this version will be even better. Why? Because a major miscalculation was made during the brewing of DR5, resulting in only half of the correct amount of hops being put into the kettle. In an attempt to save the beer, the brewers used hop oil and hop extract – the only time ever in the history of the brewery – to achieve the correct levels of bitterness and hop flavor. With Bishop’s Barrel No. 8 and Divine Reserve No. 15, the proper amounts of hops were added to the kettle.
“I’ve been husbanding my few remaining bottles of DR5,” said Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner. “I’m excited to not only get to enjoy it again fresh but also to compare it with the barrel aged version, which is fantastic. And, of course, I’ll be able to replenish my cellar. These beers are tasting great now but will also age splendidly for five years or more.”
This Imperial Stout is big, black and enormously flavorful. It was brewed with a variety of malts, including two-row pale, crystal, chocolate and roasted barley. Nugget, Willamette and Centennial hop varieties were used, as well as Saint Arnold ale yeast. The recipe was inspired by Houston homebrewer Mike Heniff’s winning entry from the 2007 Big Batch Brew Bash homebrew competition.