A special event for an extra special beer.
The launch of The Kernel's Imperial Brown Stout (London 1860) Whiskey Barrel Aged will take place from 5pm on Thursday 29th February 2024 (a date as rare as this beer!)
Imperial Brown Stout (London 1856), Whiskey Barrel Aged, 10.8% abv
Malt – Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt, Amber, Brown, Black,
Hops - Magnum
Yeast – our house ale yeast (Cal Ale).
Barrel – 500 litre oak barrel, freshly emptied of Irish Whiskey
The beer here is our Imperial Brown Stout, sequestered away in an ex-Irish whiskey barrel for 15 months.
The base beer, as always, follows our well worn groove of using recipes from the archives of extinct British breweries, this one from London’s Barclay Perkins, from 1856. The Imperial Brown Stouts developed into what became known as the Russian Imperial Stouts, and this particular recipe developed into the Courage RIS, which is most notable because a) it was an excellent beer, and b) it continued to be produced until 1992, as the only surviving link to a certain brewing tradition that was huge in London, and made London famous, for over 200 years. And of course, a tradition which is now itself almost extinct.
We have a strong farm of barrels here at the brewery, but we mostly use them for the wood that provides a home for our wild yeast and bacteria that make our bieres de saison what they are, and not for the flavour that the barrels themselves impart. Over the last few years we have been moving our barrel stock entirely over to a larger format 500 litre barrel, which are quite hard to find, so when we had the opportunity to procure 12 of them, we jumped at the chance. They had freshly been emptied of Irish whisky (provenance unknown, it’s a trade secret we were not made privy to). These barrels will impart flavour to a beer; we filled 2 of them with Imperial Brown Stout.
And the beer is black, not brown. Words meant different things in those days. This is not a beast of a beer, despite the abv. It is round and smooth. Gentle. Well behaved. You could happily introduce it to your mother-in-law. All cream and chocolate after the cocoa aroma, overlaid with a warm and spicy caress that carries a hint of something darker. The texture provided by the alcohol and the wood give the first sip over to velvet, which precedes the bifurcation into light on one side - dried fruits, raisin, fig, prune, even plum (umeboshi?), sour berries - and darkness on the other - dark fruits, cane sugar / molasses, a booze more rum than whiskey, herbal bitterness, with hints of lightly roasted coffee.
There will also be a tap takeover of some of The Kernel's other magical creations to make a real night of it.
Entry is free & there is only 1 solitary keg per venue so we do not recommend that you leave this until the next day.