Wild Ballyhoura: The Legend of the Oak King & the Holly King

Eight Degrees Brewing - Wild Ballyhoura - Holly King Imperial Stout Last year was the first time we released our barrel-aged beers in 750ml bottles with the Dukes of Burgundy series.

For 2017, we’re bringing out a new duo of 750ml bottles, The Oak King and The Holly King, which will be part of our new Wild Ballyhoura Series.

Wild Ballyhoura Series
We’ve got a new pet at the brewery and his name is Brett. This wild yeast is a curious and mischievous little creature and we recently introduced him to our oak barrel-aged beers. There’s a whole shipping container of French oak barrels, formerly used for pinot noir and chardonnay, tucked away in a corner where we can age our very specially brewed ales. While they’re sitting there, we bring Brett to the party. Wild yeasts equals wild flavours; we hope they play nice.

His full name is Brettanomyces Clausenii, or Brett C, the earliest strain of brett to be classified by a chap investigating funky flavours in British breweries (Brettanomyces = British fungus). We can assume that all pre-modern beer would have picked up brett in storage over time; by playing with Brett C, we’re getting a good indication of how beer brewed and aged in the Ballyhouras, over one hundred years, ago would have tasted.

Naturally adventurous.
It’s the Eight Degrees way.

These beers are due to be released in the next few weeks – brett can’t be hurried and we’re waiting on the brewers to give us the thumbs up so that we can put these beauties into bottles.

The Legend of the Oak King & the Holly King

The Holly King Imperial Stout Aged in French oak with Brettanomyces C
ABV 9.5%

In Celtic mythology, the Oak King and the Holly King were warrior twins, engaged in a never-ending fight for supremacy. At Midwinter the Holly King – representing darkness – is at the height of his strength, while the Oak King, which represents light, is at his weakest.

To celebrate the Holly King’s midwinter dominance, we have brewed one of our favourite winter styles, an imperial stout, aged it in pinot noir barrels and added a dash of wild yeast Brett C for good measure. There a rich cherry and vanilla presence with undertones of dark roast coffee and brett. It’s the dark side of the year and the Holly King is finishing strong.

The Oak King Belgian Pale Ale Aged in French oak with Brettanomyces C
ABV 6.5%

In Celtic mythology, the Oak King and the Holly King were warrior twins, engaged in a never-ending fight for supremacy. At Midsummer the Oak King – representing light – is at the height of his strength, while the Holly King, which represents darkness, is at his weakest.

At the Winter Solstice we celebrate the birth of the new sun, the renewal of light, and the return of the Oak King’s strength. To celebrate this re-birth, we have brewed a golden Belgian-style pale ale, using local pale and lager malts, and aged it in our oak barrels along with our new friend, wild yeast Brett C. This Golden Vale Pale Ale is light, complex and tart, followed up by a wild funk aftertaste. In the battle of light and dark, the Oak King stands tall.

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Eight Degrees Brewing, Unit 3, Coolnanave Industrial Park, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, Ireland. P67 RW84. Tel 025 84933

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