Tomorrow we are releasing our ‘Baby Maker’ Lager Wine. This beer is a 14% abv golden lager that was aged for nine months in Framinghammer barrels. It is named in honor of the recent births of Myles, son of head brewer Mike Gleason, and Molly, Jack and Abby’s daughter.
What precisely is a “Lager Wine”? I have no doubt that the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will be asking this exact question, if they ever open again. Traditionally beer styles that end in “wine” describe the strength of the beer, comparing in abv to regular wine.
In order to complete this feat, we needed to pull out all the tricks in the brewer’s book. On a normal brew day we need to brew two times to fill a fermenter. Since we needed so much grain, our mash tun could not hold all of it in only two mashes. To create a beer this strong we used a triple mash to fit all the grain. This means we brewed three smaller volume batches totaling the volume we normally would get from two batches. Even adding an additional mash wasn’t enough to extract the amount of sugars we needed. To boost the strength further we added sugar directly to the kettle and employed a longer boil to concentrate the gravity.
Beers of this strength need to condition for extended periods of time. Primary fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks before aging in Framinghammer barrels for nine months. Aging strong beers in wood allows the flavors of the beer to smooth out and, in addition, absorb the flavor characteristics of the barrels.