Friday, October 16, 2015

Tasting Notes: From End Table to Aging Vessel "An Ocean Between the Staves"

I'll take my barrel fermented farmhouse in the can thank you very much.
It's been six months since a friend of mine handed me his end table (a dry Dad's Hat Barrel) on the steps of his South Philly home. It took quite a bit longer than I had expected to swell the barrel enough to hold beer, then brew that beer, then package it and finally let it condition. But I can now tell you the wait and the amount of work put into it made it all worth it once I poured out that first can. CANNED BEER!

A nice little surprise at the end of this project (its on going, was the packaging of this beer coincided with the day that Philly Homebrew Club brought out a mobile canning company once again to can our beer. I chose to does my kegs, I canned 2 beers, with priming sugar and naturally condition in the can as you would if bottling. A can conditioned, barrel aged, funky, Suburb-house ale is what I'm calling it, also known as...

An Ocean Between the Staves: *Listen to these smooth jams while you peruse the site*

Appearance: Hazy, light bronze-ish in color. Medium carbonation, pouring with a bit of head and significant lacing. Without a doubt picked up some color from the char in the barrel.

Aroma: Light oak, fruity Brett bouquet, a nice faint phenolic note as I swirl the glass. The aroma is very soft, very inviting, and really well balanced.

Flavor: Dry right up front with a tingling pepper note hitting the tip of the tongue. Lingering spice throughout the sip with a slight acidic note on the finish. The oak is light on this beer with some vanilla coming along with it which is balanced with a fruity Brett character and some pepper and spice in the finish. There is a v
ery faint fruity/ethyl acetate note in the beer, some might only find it fruity but I am very sensitive to that. It isn't off putting or distracting at all, it actually adds a depth and complexity to the beer. 
My kids playground makes for a good lighting spot.
Overall: This is a super enjoyable beer, I'm actually surprised at how good this has turned out considering the shape the barrel was in at one point. There isn't really anything I feel like I should be concerned about with subsequent batches, I will monitor that ethyl acetate note I picked up in this can to see if it gets worse with each batch. Other than that I would call this a resounding success. 

Don't be too quick to trash those malnourished barrels out there, there may be life in it yet. Batch #3 is in the barrel now, we will see how long I can keep this series going. I will update on each batch as they are drunk.


  1. Barrel. Funky farmhouse ale. Cans. Philly suburbs. The War on Drugs. This post speaks to me. Brewing Jah-Rod tomorrow morning, getting back into the groove with a simple brew day after becoming a father. Also means I haven't been able to make it to my two new brewpubs yet (2SP and Sterling Pig over in and near Media). Heard anything about them yet? Getting pretty damn spoiled with two Tired Hands and Iron Hills on every block.

    1. I havent brewed that beer i a while, Nelson is so expensive but its totally worth it. Congrats on the tot, I recently had one as well. I havent been to either but have had a bunch of Sterling pig beers and they were all very good.

  2. That sounds awesome! I bet it's sweet to have your beer in cans!

    1. Its pretty awesome. There is some inconsistency in carb levels can to can but that should fix itself with time.

  3. Glad it turned out so well! I am interested to see how many uses you get out of this barrel.

  4. Pretty smooth on the tongue. Carbonation is very nice and light. Obvious malt flavor, and I even get a slightly spiciness in the aftertaste.