This holiday season, you might not be able to see everyone you were planning to, thankfully, these beers age well. Barrel-aging adds another layer of complexity to a variety of beer styles. You’ll find stouts, sours, Belgian tripels, and porters – aged in oak, bourbon, rum, and wine barrels.
Save a bottle or two for next holiday season to enjoy with the friends you couldn’t see this year – if you can hold off, your patience can be rewarded with a perfectly aged beer to pass around the table. These aren’t for the faint of heart – usually high in ABV and pack a lot of flavour. We normally offer food pairings with the beer round-ups, but most of these are better off on their own due to their big flavour and warmth.
Parry Sound, ON
Firewood • Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Raspberry • 10.5%
Warm-up by the fire with the smokey bourbon nose, chocolate-raspberry notes and smooth caramel finish of this delicious barrel-aged imperial stout. It’s barrel-aged for a year, then aged with raspberry puree to finish it off. Plus, if you’re in the Parry Sound area and visit the brewery in person, they are Feast On certified!
Biere de Noel • Farmhouse Ale • 7.5%
Holiday spice and everything nice! A seasonal favourite returns, with notes of dark chocolate, dried fruit & molasses, with that bourbon warmth. It will reach peak drinkability at one and a half years and can last up to three in your cellar.
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Origin of Darkness • Barrel Aged Stouts & Porters • 9.6%-11.3%
This one goes a little off-topic. Collective Arts saved a few of their collaborative Origin of Darkness series from last year. Four intriguing barrel-aged brews that have been cellared for a year already – so you don’t have to! Get them while you can though, they must be in short supply.
Kentucky Bastard • Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout • 11.9%
This wouldn’t be an Ontario barrel-aged beer round-up without Nickel Brook’s Kentucky Bastard. It’s rich with chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes – plus the full year on Kentucky bourbon barrels bringing together a warm, aromatic imperial stout. If it’s too hard to resist, Nickel Brook also offers a vintage 2016 Kentucky Bastard to open now.
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Donkey Venom • Barrel Aged Dark Sour • 8.5%
Now a regular offering at Bellwoods Brewery, Donkey Venom has changed and evolved over the years into what it is today. As a hybrid of different styles, its flavour profile is a mixture of rich dark chocolate and bright tart berries. It’s a unique beer for an adventurous palate.
Storm Watch • Oak Barrel Aged Sour • 6.7%
Their take on a Dark and Stormy (a cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer, garnished with a slice of lime). It’s tart, it’s spicy, it’s a little smokey – what’s not to love? Lime and ginger add to the complex flavours of their red sour base, creating a pleasing mix of flavours reminiscent of the classic cocktail.
Vankleek Hill, ON
New Lang Syne • Belgian Tripel • 9.0%
A white wine barrel aged beer that’s big on bubbles, New Lang Syne makes for a great champagne alternative. It’s bright and sparkling with tropical fruit aromas and a subtle white wine finish. As with the other beers on this list, it ages well – so save a bottle or two to share next holiday season.
The Revenge of Cthulhu • Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout • 11.6%
Big, bold, bourbon. This beer packs a lot of chocolate & vanilla flavour along with its hefty ABV. It’s aged for 9 months in bourbon barrels, bringing another layer to the complex flavour profile.