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Black Swan New Zealand Barrel-Aged Belgian Ale started out as Sweet Bippy in 2017 for our GABS Festival beer. We reserved a portion of the beer and aged it for 12 months whisky casks.
The beer pours very dark with a light tan head and delights the nose with malt, treacle, dried cherry and sweet apple. It tastes of burnt sugars, coffee, chocolate, and dried fruits with a subtle blend of Belgian and English yeasts, with a rich and malty finish that tails away with hints of single malt whisky, port, and oak.
These beers will age gracefully for many years, but are fabulous right now. Do not serve cold! Treat it like you would a port or red wine and serve it in an elegant glass. Enjoy it in your bubble for any reason to celebrate.
Want want to try more than one variety? Choose 3 different barrel-aged beers!
Cheese: blue, aged gouda, sharp aged cheddar
Mains: risotto, mu-shu pork, beef Wellington, venison, lamb
Dessert: fresh figs, fruit cake, steamed pudding
Kereru obtained 140 unique oak barrels from the NZ Whisky Collection, a company founded around the stock of the former Wilson's Distillery in NZ. The stock was lost for many years and was then found and the whisky had aged to perfection. Some of the casks were 60 year-old American oak ex-bourbon barrels which contributed vanilla, oak and hints of maple to the whisky. Some of casks were French and American oak ex-red wine barrels from Mills Reef which contributed red wine and port notes to the whisky.
The casks arrived in small lots as they were decanted of whisky, and were wet and sloshing with a bit of magical spirits still inside. Each cask can impart its whisky character into a beer only once. After that the cask can be used again, but will only offer oak barrel character. This makes all our whisky barrel-aged beers unique and never to be repeated. Each bottle is hand numbered.