Our annual release of our Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian imperial stout is one of our favourite beers to make, it spends 3-6 months in bourbon barrels, we constantly monitor it and track how the flavour is progressing, we weed out any barrels that have issues and we then test out the blending to determine which barrels will make the cut. We brew this beer once a year and spend a lot of time making sure it's just the way we want it.
Well bourbon barrels are typically pretty stable due to previously having high proof bourbon in them, they are not completely immune from potential issues that can spoil beer. Typically that spoilage happens during the barrel aging process and we easily identify it prior to bottling. This beer comes in at around 11% and the high alcohol usually keeps unwanted microorganisms from multiplying and causing issues.
Unfortunately rarely something makes it through all the testing and monitoring and can cause the beer to sour after it is packaged. This is one of those times. Here at Moody Ales we have an extensive quality control program where we store and test bottles of beer from every batch we produce at regular intervals. Recently we discovered the development of some off-flavours in our 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout. We have traced these off-flavours back to a wild yeast strain that was in one of our barrels used for aging this beer. The yeast is causing unwanted flavours and extra carbonation to occur in the bottle. The beer is completely safe to consume, however it is not up to our strict standards. As the beer ages more and more carbonation will occur, especially if not stored refrigerated, eventually making the beer extremely difficult to pour and drink and if left long enough, may cause the glass bottle to fail from excess pressure. this mainly affects warm stored bottles, so if you have a bottle in the fridge, you likely will not notice anything at all.
We were really excited about this release as it was tasting amazing, which makes this all the more unfortunate. We will be replacing all of our barrels and starting with a brand new batch of barrels for the 2019 release and cannot wait for next year.
We are asking anyone with bottles of the 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout to either return the bottles to the brewery for a refund, or to email pictures of the full bottles and emptied bottles to firstname.lastname@example.org to have a refund sent to you.