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Who was the 1st to put a beer in a bourbon barrel?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dogfishandi, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. dogfishandi

    dogfishandi Savant (465) New York Jan 24, 2009

    So I was just thinking after sampling a few beers, who was the very first brewer/ brewery to put beer in a bourbon barrel? What kind of beer was it? What did it taste like? After a quick google search all I could find out was that Sam Adams and goose island were ONE of the first commercial breweries to sell a bourbon barrel aged beer, but I'd like to think they weren't the very first. I could be wrong.

    So hopefully someone can shed some light on what the very first barrel aged beer was as it seems to be all the rage these days.
  2. Knapp85

    Knapp85 Champion (830) Pennsylvania Dec 25, 2009 Beer Trader

    I think it was Goose Island
  3. mellowmark

    mellowmark Advocate (630) Minnesota Mar 31, 2010 Beer Trader

    It's hard to say, but with commercial beer the popular idea is that it was Goose Island with their BCBS back in the 90's.
  4. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    not the first to put beer in a barrel, they may have been the first brewery to sell barrel aged beers?
  5. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    john from goose said himself they are not the first.
    RobertColianni, Zach136 and yamar68 like this.
  6. klaybie

    klaybie Savant (295) Illinois Nov 15, 2009

    I would like to think that since people drank both bourbon and beer many years ago that this was done well before GI. Surly there weren't so many generations of drinkers to come and go without thinking of that until the 1990's.
  7. mellowmark

    mellowmark Advocate (630) Minnesota Mar 31, 2010 Beer Trader

    Who was then?
  8. russwbeck

    russwbeck Savant (450) Virginia Aug 3, 2010

    I was always under the impression that the first real Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout was BCBS. I realize that's probably not the case, and it's more likely that BCBS was the first to really succeed, but to track down the first ever brewer to put beer in a liquor barrel? I don't think that's possible to know. Some really small craft brewer probably got the idea, tried it, spread the idea, and it became the delicious monster it is today. Just my $0.02.

    That said, I really hope somebody makes me look like an idiot and says they know exactly who did it first, because I'd really like to know.
  9. dogfishandi

    dogfishandi Savant (465) New York Jan 24, 2009

    The question remains. Google seems pretty useless on this topic...
    RobertColianni likes this.
  10. Pahn

    Pahn Champion (850) New York Dec 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    the 50/50 guy names goose island, and i think both of them say some people did it in brewpubs before them. that said, oak barrel aging occurred in belgium and britain before the USA craft beer revolution, so it's a bit moot unless you're hung up on the spirit being bourbon.
    Etan likes this.
  11. dogfishandi

    dogfishandi Savant (465) New York Jan 24, 2009

    I'm aware they've been putting beer in oak barrels in Belgium and what not for years. I'm strictly talking about bourbon barrels
  12. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    watch at 2 minutes, I know he said barrels and not particularly bourban barrels, but still...
  13. MichPaul

    MichPaul Champion (780) Michigan Jan 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    Where's Jesskidden when you need him?!?! :)
  14. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Subscriber

  15. yamar68

    yamar68 Champion (910) Minnesota Apr 1, 2011

    I challenge you to find a brewer that aged their beers in bourbon barrels before Goose Island.
    BlastBeats and steveh like this.
  16. Samuel Adams Utopias which is a unique blend of liquids, some aged nearly 20 years in a hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks, actually confirms for drinkers that many of the greatest things in life are best when perfected over time.
  17. yamar68

    yamar68 Champion (910) Minnesota Apr 1, 2011

  18. If Sam Adams is using 20 year old, bourbon barrel aged beer, that would pre-date Goose Island.
  19. yamar68

    yamar68 Champion (910) Minnesota Apr 1, 2011

    No it wouldn't.
    loony4lambic and RobertColianni like this.
  20. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (680) Illinois Nov 10, 2012 Beer Trader

    I believe BCBS was just named one of the top 20 beers of all time because of it being the first BA brew.
  21. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    lol they didn't age a beer for 20 years in a barrel, they may have used a barrle that held bourbon in it for 20 years then aged the beer in said barrel for a few years.
  22. woosterbill

    woosterbill Champion (915) Kentucky Apr 6, 2009 Beer Trader

    It seems clear from the quote "Samuel Adams Utopias which is a unique blend of liquids, some aged nearly 20 years in a hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks" that the "liquid" that has been in the bourbon cask for "nearly 20 years" is indeed beer, not whiskey. Yes, it's insane. Yes, it's WAY longer than anyone else even dreams of barrel-aging beer, but that's why Utopias isn't like any other beer.
    Knifestyles and Schmittymack like this.
  23. Did you find that funny enough to LOL?

    Quote from Sam Adams:

    The 2012 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias is a blend of liquids, some of which have been aged in a variety of wood barrels for 19 years. This long aging process enhances the beer’s distinct vanilla and maple notes, and its high alcohol content creates a heated aroma of ginger and cinnamon. As a result, Samuel Adams Utopias invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate. The brew has sweet flavors of honey, toffee, caramel, cocoa and vanilla, balanced by distinct notes of molasses, raisins, plums and berries.


    Goose Island started their BA programs in 1992 so it appears that I was mistaken on the dates and they pre-dated Sam Adams.
    alexipa likes this.
  24. brewbetter

    brewbetter Savant (420) Nauru Jun 2, 2012

    I thought GI started Bourbon County in '94.
    Maybe it was the first Bourbon Barrel beer, maybe not, but it definitely was not even close to being the first barrel aged beer.
  25. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    did you find it that annoying that you had to put lol IN BOLD??? sheesh man lighten up, im a little tipsy right now so sue me!
    davey101 and MichPaul like this.
  26. gtermi

    gtermi Champion (790) Texas Apr 21, 2010

    Thanks for sharing that video, that was pretty cool.
    BlastBeats likes this.
  27. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    I'm going to clear all of this up, right here and now. It was me.
  28. Sam Adams was aging Triple Bock in large quantities in 1992 for the 1993 release. They were doing this at the Champale Brewery in Ceres, CA. Though Goose Island claims they started Bourbon County in 1992 there is little evidence of it until 1995. It would have been at the brewpub for which there was little room for such endeavors.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    The name of the winery in California where Triple Bock was barrel-aged was "Bronco".

    The Champale breweries were in Trenton, NJ [formerly Metropolis, also one of the US homes of Black Horse Ale] and Norfolk, VA. Champale was a malt liquor - well, still is apparently, marketed by Pabst now and brewed, last I looked, by The Lion.
  30. The home of '2 buck chuck'!
    grrrah likes this.
  31. Is it possible that BCBS was first put into barrels in 1992the but wasn't bottled and released until 1994 or 1995?
  32. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Champion (875) Michigan May 30, 2005 Subscriber

    Surely doesn't look like you're from Minnesota, so you can't get away with using this grammar. ;)
    klaybie likes this.
  33. Nope, this was the Goose Island Brewpub...no bottling of BCBS until Fulton St. (or hand bottled for competition). Back then it was an absolute novelty.
  34. MichPaul

    MichPaul Champion (780) Michigan Jan 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    For this reason??? I would hope it would reach a top beer list because it's really really good...
  35. thebigredone

    thebigredone Advocate (665) Wisconsin Dec 19, 2011 Beer Trader

    I think I remember that Randy Mosher writes in Tasting Beer that the first people he can recall aging beer in Bourbon Barrels was a hombrewers association in/around Chicago. Major props to those guys for starting something awesome. If I remember correctly, that is.
    ThirstyHerf likes this.
  36. Back when this started...brewers were under the watchful eye of the ATF, and state liquor control boards. So, for many brewers it was taboo to barrel age in used spirit barrels. The ATF/TTB didn't really go on record per se that "aging in used Bourbon Barrels" was 'ok' until 2004...

    Greg Hall's inspiration came from the homebrew club 'Brewers of South Suburbia' in Beverly IL. They would do a club brew of Imperial Stout and Ferment it in a used Jim Beam barrel. This gave Greg the idea to put GI imp stout in a barrel and age 100 days...
  37. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (680) Illinois Nov 10, 2012 Beer Trader

    Agreed, but I believe it was based on its influence as the other beers in the top 20 were as well.
  38. dvelcich

    dvelcich Savant (370) Illinois Feb 6, 2008

    This is completely wrong. They have a barrel cellar that resides underneath the bar that is still used today to create the unique brews they put on tap there.
    steveh likes this.
  39. misterid

    misterid Savant (270) Wisconsin Apr 3, 2009

    whatever it was, it doesn't hold a candle to the previous years batch. i got off taste from the wood and some char from it probably sitting in the barrel too long.