When Dry Ground Brewing finalized their first offerings, they already had plans in mind for future beer creations.
All along, the brewery intended to craft a bourbon barrel-aged series. As destiny would have it, both Roof Brothers and Wagner Wine & Spirits had hand-selected bourbons from storied distilleries, and both had barrels.
Barrel aging is perfect for stouts such as Dry Ground's Imperial Stout Rapture. Lending itself to bourbon's influence and the drying of the oak, some argue that is the best way to age Imperial Stout.
Beer is usually aged in tanks, but that does not impart any additional flavors beyond its ingredients. In the barrels, the maturity of bourbon and charred oak are infused into the beer, creating a complex fusion sought after by beer enthusiasts.
"I have been hand selecting bourbon for 12 years," says Kane Roberts at Roof Brothers. "So I know when I get a great barrel. I happened to get a good Four Roses barrel with exceptional whiskey inside, so I thought it would make a really great bourbon beer. I asked the guys at Dry ground if they wanted it. Of course they said yes!"
The Wagner family selected bourbon from Jim Beam (Knob Creek) and Wild Turkey (Russell's Reserve). "The empty barrels accompanied the bottles delivered to us, and we briefly showcased the barrels at Wagner Wine & Spirits alongside the respective bottles," says Ross Wagner. "We thought Dry Ground could put an empty bourbon barrel to better use than us!"
The barrels sit prominently at Dry Ground's entrance, allowing time and chemistry to create another unique Paducah beer.
If you are like many others and eager to sample bourbon barrel-aged Ratpure, you'll have to wait until the time is right. The Dry Ground crew will sample it each month, deciding when it's ready to go public. It is estimated that aging will roughly take about three months. Some has already been released with more offerings to come.
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