Back in May, in the midst of the rush of our first month operating as a brewery, our brewery team started work on our first barrel-aged beer to be released in time for the Holidays. After ageing for 7 months in Niagara Pinot Noir wine barrels, we released what is now our first annual barrel-aged beer: Hibernator. Hibernator 2016 became a blend of a Barrel-aged orange stout and Brett cherry Imperial Stout.
“Hibernator 2016 really started as two separate imperials stouts,” says brewer, Ben Morris. “After our first tasting we knew blending was the way to go to get something complex that would also change over time”.
The process to choose a blend over the original bretts was a long but *very* fun one. Our brewing team started with 2 barrel aged beers and 2 of our heavier beers to start with blending. After going over couple dozen permutations of blends, we finally narrowed it down to 8 beers to choose from. We did a blind taste test among the team and the winner was Hibernator 2016. We bottled what was in the barrels and released a limited number (500) of bottles at the bottle-shop. Its smooth roast character and notes of orange peel, wine and oak won patrons (and staff) over immediately as it reflected the type of beer we Bandits love to drink.
Our plans for Hibernator 2017 are even bolder, especially given the fact that we now have a full year to barrel-age.
Ben tells us, “Our plans for 2017 are a little bigger. At this point, we’re looking at a 10% imperial with some sourness and seasonal fruits”
You can expect our Hibernator 2017 to hit the bottle shop in December 2017. Stay tuned for updates!