Locavore Autumn 2023 is a beer that champions Wicklow terroir. A Barrel Aged Irish Barleywine aged in ex bourbon, Fercullen 21 year old Single Malt Whiskey Barrels for 12 months and brewed using our own barley.
We sowed the field behind the brewery with our very own Wicklow malt. Malted by our friends in Athgarret Malt and Craftsman Malt we were super excited to showcase this malt in a beer. We sourced some ex bourbon, Fercullen 21 year old Single Malt Whiskey Barrels from our friends in Powerscourt Distillery to age the beautiful barleywine.
Brewing a Barleywine with 100% of our own barley did not come without it’s challenges. Brewed with 50% Pale Malt and 50% Munich Malt, the challenge was that Barleywine’s typically use crystal malts and caramel malts to get the colour and sweetness and depth of malt character, but we only had two lightly kilned malts with not much colour or flavour.
How did they overcome this? Our Head Brewer Andrew Hamilton described the process:
“It’s all about concentration, concentrating the gravity, colour, sugars and flavour while developing new flavours through caramelisation from the Maillard reaction.”
“We collected the 1st runnings of the mash and mashed in a 2nd brew and collected the 1st running of that to get the highest possible gravity before the start of the boil.”
“The wort was then boiled for 6 hours (Andrew even went to the trouble of taking samples at every hour mark to show the concentration occurring over time). Boiling for this long concentrated the gravity to get us to the starting gravity for a beer this big without having to add any sugars into the kettle, this was all from our own malt.”
The most import reason for this process was the maillard reaction which developed the colour created and caramelisation of the sugars to great a depth of flavour that gives the toffee, caramel and dried fruit notes of speciality malts used in traditional barleywines.
A complex, full bodied, uncompromising barleywine which pours a viscous mahogany. On the palate it is full of toffee, rich caramel, red wine, dried fruits, marmalade and Christmas cake. All of this is rounded off with the dry tannic finish of a dessert wine, making this decadent beer incredibly moreish.
Releasing into the wild this week. Find it in all good independent off licences and at the Wicklow Wolf Taproom.