We’ve been playing around with oak barrels for a few years now. We’re enchanted by what the simple storage of liquid in oak can do for a beer (or indeed a whisky or wine). So, after smuggling some Lark whisky barrels up from Tasmania late in 2014, it was time for us to send some of the biggest beers we’ve ever brewed into oak, then wait and see what happened.

These French oak barrels had been used for many years delivering their seductive colour and flavour characters to whisky. Once the blenders were finished, and the whisky went to glass, there remained several litres of whisky still trapped up to an inch into the oak. This is the brewer’s cut!

As we age our beer in these barrels, the heavily oaked whisky is drawn into the beer, imparting distinct vanilla/whisky sweetness to both the nose and palate. It also lifts the alcohol content of the beer.

This is Barrel Breed #3, our Christmas Ale. The beer style is a Belgian Quadrupel. It’s a big, subtly sweet, spicy brew that will sit perfectly alongside your plum pudding on Christmas Day.

It’s a rich beer, high in alcohol (10% abv). It will age until next Christmas if you wanted to cellar it. But there’s no reason to not drink it this year either!

Release date: 7 December 2015

Availability: Limited release – 1 keg per state, 900 bottles.

Style: Belgian Quadrupel