This marks our third year of brewing Pappy’s Dark, a specialty bourbon barrel matured strong ale. As with Super Nebula, we tinker with the recipe and process each year in hopes of presenting a better beer to you. Pappy’s Dark is designed to display the bourbon that was once matured in the barrels. By maturing Pappy’s Dark for about 3 months, the beer picks up more of the liquor character and a small amount of the barrel.
20 yr old bourbon barrels from The Rip Van Winkle Distillery. Last year we matured in 10 yr old barrels. The 20 yr barrels provide the usual notes of caramel, coconut, bourbon and vanilla. One very nice additional note I detect is graham cracker, intriguing!
The Grain bill
We upped the specialty malts roughly 10% for more background depth. This provides a balanced base for the bourbon character to stand on. You will notice that this year’s version is deeper in color.
We changed our yeast from American Ale yeast to British yeast. I felt that the American Ale yeast in the past was too attenuative, leaving it too dry to be well balanced. I like my strong ales on the drier side; many I feel are too sweet. However, the American Ale yeast was not leaving enough residual sugar to balance the alcohol in the beer.
We increased the carbonation in the bottle slightly. This provides more lift in the beer releasing the wonderful aromas, and balances the body.
Overall, I am very pleased with this year’s Pappy’s Dark. It has all the character of the past years versions but with a more balanced presentation. The beer is ready to drink now for nice upfront bourbon character, and will evolve gracefully allowing the characters to meld.
On tap now at our Pub! Bottles go on sale at our pub this Saturday the 4th @ 11am. $14.95/bottle with a 4 bottle limit.
Outside of Block 15
Official PDX release Saturday February 11th at The Hop & Vine. We also will be selling bottles and draught to several beer taverns and bottle shops in Portland and Eugene. I will post the distributions list on Facebook as soon as we know where you can find it.
Nick and the Block 15 Team
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