The wonderful thing about brewing and aging 63 gallons of beer in a whiskey barrel is that you can save a couple of uncarbonated kegs worth of the beer and use these portions as a canvas to create further iterations down the line. August 2015, a portion of our Westland whiskey barrel aged Flanders style red was added to wild picked blackberries (detailed here). Additionally, this past July I crafted two more versions of this beer — another wild picked blackberry version (using over two pounds of fruit per gallon), and a cherry version which I’ll detail in this post.
We brewed the base beer on 06.12.14 (detailed here: Barrel Project #02). On 07.07.16, I took a six gallon portion of that beer and aged it on 6 LBS of Red Cherries (store bought, fresh) for seven weeks and five days. I kegged the beer on 08.30.16 and have been enjoying it ever since.
As you can see in the photo on the right, after aging on the cherries was complete, the beer had a lovely pellicle dusting the surface of the beer. “That looks gross,” you say; however, pellicles are very important in the production of funky and/or sour beers. “What is a pellicle?” you ask. Check out this blog post from A Ph.D. in Beer to learn all sorts of great information on the topic: What is a pellicle?
The actual brewing process and recipe can be found in the linked post above. Below I will only detail the cherry additions, kegging date, and the tasting notes.
Whiskey Barrel Aged Flanders Style Red With Cherries
07.07.16 — Red cherries added to Flanders Style Red (6 LBS — one pound per gallon)
08.30.16 — Kegged beer and began force carbonating for approximately 2.5 volumes CO2
Gorgeous deep burgundy color with a moderate pink-white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin. Aromas of cherry preserves, oak and whiskey. The cherries are certainly present, but they meld fantastically on the palate. Juicy-ripe stone fruit note in the middle followed by a sharp lactic acidity. Drying oak tannin with hints of vanilla, earthy fruit pit, and barrel char follow. Finishes with a clean and strong lactic sourness, no vinegar notes detected. Woody notes linger.
Calculated OG: 1.076
Calculated FG: 1.000
Approx. ABV: 9.99%