eight-degrees-brewing-the-fearless-farmhouse-ale-bottle-shotWe all got very excited a few months ago when oak barrels from Burgundy arrived at the brewery. We knew that we had to brew something extra special to age in these barrels. And so we did.

The Three Dukes of Burgundy is our 2016 Barrel Aged Project. All of these limited edition beers will be bottled into 750ml amber champagne-style bottles. See that bottle there on the right? We got so excited when the labels arrived yesterday that we just had to try them on a bottle! No beer in it yet, but that’s coming.

Two of these three winter beers will be released by the end of the month; the barleywine will see the light of day in January 2017. As they’re released into your local independent off licences we’ll tweet / Instagram /Facebook about them using the collective hash tag #DukesofBurgundy. Also check #FearlessFarmhouseAle, #BoldImperialStout and #GoodBarleywine for more info on where they are.

Three Dukes of Burgundy – The Good, The Bold and The Fearless
The Golden Age of Burgundy was from 1364 to 1477, when the Dulchy was recognised as one of the major powers of medieval Europe. John the Fearless was known for defending the emerging Burgundian state but all his scheming couldn’t save him from an axe in his back. Under Philip the Good, there was pomp and ceremony aplenty – along with mistresses and illegitimate children – as he manipulated his strategic alliances into independence for the Dulchy. A lover of luxury, Charles the Bold drained the coffers and when he was killed at the siege of Nancy in 1477 it was the beginning of the end for what had been the wealthiest state in Europe.

We have brewed three beers to celebrate these colourful medieval dukes, aged in oak barrels from their French homeland.

The Bold – Imperial Stout, aged in Burgundy pinot noir oak barrels. (for release in late Nov)
The Fearless – Farmhouse Ale, aged in Burgundy chardonnay oak barrels. (for release in late Nov)
The Good – Barleywine, aged in Burgundy pinot noir oak barrels. (for release late Jan 2017)

The Bold – Imperial Stout, aged in Burgundy pinot noir oak barrels – abv 9.9%
Everyone loves a barrel-aged stout and this, aged in a single-use pinot noir cask, is a very special beer. For our third imperial stout in recent years, we’ve tweaked the malt bill and toned down the bitterness slightly, allowing the tannin from the oak and the wine to take the place of the bittering hops. It’s a huge beer with a port-like quality that has become more marked after a few months in the barrels. Just like Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, this beer epitomises a love of luxury.

The Fearless – Farmhouse Ale, aged in Burgundy chardonnay oak barrels – abv 6.4%
Saisons and white wine are a match made in heaven; in fact, the saison yeast strain – with its hint of spice and pepper – has evolved from wine yeast. We brewed a straightforward, bone-dry farmhouse beer and let it age in chardonnay Burgundy wine barrels. This allows the subtle vanilla, light citrus and a touch of pineapple from the French oak and the chardonnay lees to impart their flavour. Unlike Duke John the Fearless of Burgundy, there’s no backstabbing here.

The Good – Barleywine, aged in Burgundy pinot noir oak barrels – abv 10.9%
Like Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, there was much pomp and ceremony when we chose to age our barleywine in red wine barrels from his native land. We dried out the barleywine a touch more this year, adding a three-hour boil to the brew to intensify the flavours and add a touch of caramelisation to the wort. This beer can be best described as a Caribbean Christmas cake with lots of ginger, spice and orange.

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