In 2009 we got the idea to make a bigger version of our Louie’s Demise Amber Ale, age it in bourbon barrels for two months and call it Louie’s Resurrection. Although we’ve only started making the Louie’s Resurrection recently, barrel aging beer is nothing new.
Wooden barrels have been around for a few thousand years, the Bronze Age Celts, Vikings and similar tribes have been attributed with the invention of barrels. Wooden barrels have been perfect for holding liquids, withstanding large amounts of pressure and travel. Belgians seem to be the first to take advantage of the wood flavors aging their beers to create sours.
Malty beers are typically great candidates for barrel aging beers, as their natural characteristics blend nicely with the strong oak flavors barrels give to the beer. The wood contains chemicals that dissolve into the beer. One of these chemicals is lignin, which transforms into vanillin and thats why a lot of barrel aged beers pick up a vanilla flavor. These extra flavor dimensions that the barrels give to the beer have sparked a fad across American craft breweries. A really delicious fad.
From the Brewer
In 2009 we got the idea to make a bigger version of our Louie’s Demise Amber Ale, age it in bourbon barrels for two months and call it Louie’s Resurrection.
The Louie’s Demise uses a multitude of malts, which is amplified to create the bigger, stronger beer for the Resurrection. That malt presence gives off the aroma of tobacco, toffee and figs during the brew.
It’s been fun taking a recipe that we’ve been brewing for 15 years and turning it up to 11 on the dial, making it bigger and bigger every year. The biggest challenge is allowing the beer the right amount of time in the bourbon barrels. We want the flavor to compliment the malt character. The aging adds a warm, smooth, vanilla flavor while enhancing the caramels and roastiness from the malt bill.