Maumee Bay Brewing Co. set to debut bourbon barrel-aged stoutWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By David Kubacki, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
How do you make a local beer rated “world-class” by Beer Advocate magazine any better? For brewer Clint McLaughlin and Maumee Bay Brewing Company, the simple answer was to put it in some bourbon barrels and let aging do the rest.
On Dec. 3, Maumee Bay Brewing Company will release its first group of bourbon barrel-aged beers, which includes three versions of its popular Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout.
Dubbed “breakfast in a glass,” Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout is brewed with copious amounts of oats and lactose for a smooth mouth-feel. In addition, it is infused with espresso beans from local roaster Flying Rhino. The massive imperial stout has an alcohol by volume of 9.1 percent prior to barrel-aging, which typically adds 1 to 2 percent alcohol by volume.
The typical brewing process for Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout introduces coffee at two different occasions, creating complexity and enhancing the flavor profile, McLaughlin said.
“We add coffee to the beer during the actual brewing process where the coffee grounds are steeped with unfermented beer while still hot before we cool it down and put it into the fermenter,” he said. “This gives you your normal brewed-coffee flavor. After it’s done fermenting, but before going into the conditioning tank, we get some cold-brewed coffee together, which has a sweet flavor and lacks the bitterness of hot brewed coffee. I transfer that into the conditioning tank at the same time I transfer the finished beer.”
According to McLaughlin, there were slight changes to the brewing process now that Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout would be barrel-aged.
“For the barrel-aged beer, the beer never goes into the conditioning tank,” McLaughlin said. “It doesn’t get that infusion of cold-brewed coffee. To supplement that loss of flavor, we just added a bunch of whole coffee beans to the barrels to let it infuse since it is resting at room temperature. Then, with the barrel-aging, you have those added flavors of vanilla and bourbon.”
For its first foray into barrel-aging, Maumee Bay Brewing Company purchased 12, 10.8-gallon Woodinville bourbon barrels, which should yield approximately 32 kegs of beer. The Dec. 3 release, which will take place at the Oliver House’s Mutz, will be a three-tiered release, starting at 5:15 p.m. with the release of Total Eclipse aged in bourbon barrels. At 5:45 p.m., the second variation of bourbon barrel-aged Total Eclipse, featuring vanilla, cacao nibs and coffee beans, will be released. At 6:15 p.m., the brewery will release its bourbon barrel-aged Total Eclipse Mole, which was brewed with chipotle peppers.
Maumee Bay Brewing Company Manager Shannon Mohr said the brewery had been looking into barrel-aging for quite some time.
“The brewers and I are such fans of barrel-aged beers,” Mohr said. “With as well-received and well-rated as Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout is, it was just kind of a natural one for us to try.”
The smaller bourbon barrels actually sped up the barrel-aging process, McLaughlin said.
“The cool thing about these little bourbon barrels is that they picked up so much flavor in the time the beer spent in the barrel that we actually had to blend some un-aged stout back into the beer because honestly, it was a bit over the top,” McLaughlin said. “Because the barrel was smaller and had a honeycomb pattern on the inside, there was much more contact between the beer and the wood. This actually sped up the aging process quite a bit.”
While this was the brewery’s first foray into barrel-aging, Mohr said everyone is excited about how the variations turned out.
“We started out with a small number of barrels because we hadn’t really worked with barrels before,” Mohr said. “We wanted to figure out the best way to bring these into the market. They ended up turning out really well and we had a lot of fun with creating them.
Maumee Bay Brewing Company is in the process of adding some additional and larger bourbon barrels for future releases. As for now, fans of Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout looking to try the barrel-aged version will have to wait until the Dec. 3 release.
For more information, visit www.oh-maumeebaybrewingco.com.