The holiday season is one of our favorite times of the year to gather with friends and family, grab a beer, get cozy and watch our favorite holiday movies. Classic Christmas movies often involve two people from different backgrounds meeting under unique circumstances in a holiday setting. We watch as the two unlikely characters finally get together in a match made for the season. Often, there is a lesson to be learned along the way.
Let’s rewind the tape for a minute.
You might remember that last year around this time we released a beer inspired by traditional Belgian holiday ales. Last year’s Holiday Ale was big and complex, with a hefty malt bill and an addition of brown sugar. Not content to let the hops alone bear the burden of balancing the sweetness derived from the malt and added sugar, our brewers employed the use of coconut water. The coconut water was added to the mash and provided a rich, umami character that countered the intense sweetness, while still allowing the myriad of delicate nuances to be present on the palate.
Around the time of production of this classic Belgian-style ale, our barrel aging program received a shipment of freshly emptied Jamaican rum barrels. Like any holiday-inspired romantic comedy, the beer and the barrels experienced what the film industry calls a “meet-cute.”
- (in a film or television show) an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them.
Fast forward to the present.
After the initial “meet-cute”, the beer and the barrels spent a magical time in our barrel aging facility, getting to know each other more and more until finally, 13 months in the barrel, the marriage of wood and beer was finally celebrated. Cue Mariah Carey over the credits.
During fermentation, dosed with our house Belgian yeast strain, the brewers added more than 120 pounds of Turkish figs and jumbo Johnson seedless raisins to the fermenter. The fruit complements the rich flavors already found in the beer and provides the senses with extra layers of complexity. The combination of Belgian yeast esters, complex malt bill, fruit, and spice creates a harmony of layered aromas. This incredible base was then added to the rum barrels and left to rest for over a year. The end result is closely akin to a rum-soaked fruit cake. Sweet and boozy and remarkably rich and fruity.
The Beer Details
14.4% ABV / 12 IBU
Dingemans Cara 120
Dingemans Cara 300
Jumbo Johnson Raisins
And the lesson we learned along the way?
At 14.4% ABV, Rum Barrel-Aged Holiday Ale is perfect for this festive season.