Barrel-Aged Beers Are Pricey. Which Ones Are Worth It?

on 29/03/11 at 5:50 pm


A year ago, a second-hand bourbon or brandy barrel was running a brewer a hundred bucks on the American market. As of March 2011, the price hadn’t changed, according to an industry source.

But the beers that go into these casks, spend a few months there, and leave in fancy bottles are more expensive than ever. A recent stop at City Beer Store (1168 Folsom, at Eighth St.) found North Coast Brewing Company‘s bourbon barrel-aged Old Stock Ale priced $24.99 for a 16.9-ounce ceramic bottle ― that’s $25 a pint. And an 11.2-ounce bottle of BrewDog‘s Paradox Macallan, aged in sherry barrels, was listed at $14.99. Brewers may say these beers are costly to make, that they must sit in a barrel and take up precious basement space for half a year or more before they can be set loose.

This blogger is skeptical. What does it cost to stash a barrel in the corner, anyway? Still, we doled out some cash for a few of these beers. Okay, so we’re not happy that these brews now cost twice what they did two years ago.

So why do we put up with it?

Take a whiff from your wine glass (no, we haven’t purchased a set of snifters), have a sip, and you’ll see. The flavors that develop when beer is aged in booze-soaked oak are stunning. Bitter, harsh stouts can turn seductive and smooth as silk, and sweet, malty barleywines emerge tasting like vanilla and coconut.

{Full story via San Francisco Weekly}

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