Bellwoods - Fireplace Channel (17 Month New Oaked Aged Imperial Stout) / 500mL
Bellwoods Brewery (Toronto, ON)
This journey began with a top notch Imperial Stout that then made its way into barrels. Though Bellwoods often choose these vessels based on what alcohol they previously housed (bourbon, cognac, rum, etc.), this time they sourced three new oak barrels. The three barrels they selected each had a different toast profile, which is the degree to which the oak staves that go on to make up a barrel were carefully fired by the cooper. They filled a light, medium and heavily toasted barrel with Imperial Stout, kept a patient eye on the trio for 17 months, blended them together and — bam! — Fireplace Channel was born. Expect aromas of smokey burnt sugar to open up to cherry and red liquorice, all of which are present in the first sip, along with notes of Spanish sweet sherry and Liquorice Allsorts. Finishes smooth and relatively quick for a stout of this size thanks to the drying tannins the new oak. In summation, it's a complex and delicious expression of oak barrel aging uninhibited by the influence of spirits.