Australia’s first Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel and Oyster Stout headlines Murray’s Dark Beer Month winter lineup
What started as a bit of fun, has led to a highly unusual beer being bottled and chosen to headline Murray’s Craft Brewing Co’s winter release of three imperial stouts and the brewer’s first Strong Dark Belgian Ale.
Auld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep Imperial Stout is a Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel and Oyster Stout, originally conceived for the New Zealand Beervana festival Media-brew beer challenge. The beer is a collaboration between the team at Murray’s and The Crafty Pint beer blog, brewed to reflect the origins of the parties involved and utilises 100 Port Stephens Oysters for Murray’s Brewery (based at Port Stephens); 100 blue lipped mussels from Victoria for Crafty Pint; and 100 green-lipped mussels, native to New Zealand per batch.
In case the beer wasn’t complex or out-there enough, the team added peated distilling malt to the grain bill and fermented it with a Belgian yeast originally sourced from a Trappist monastery!
“It was a crazy beer to brew with a great set of out-there ingredients,” said Murray’s Head Brewer and Australian Brewer of the Year, Shawn Sherlock.
“As strange as it may sound the result was a really well balanced and rounded Imperial Stout with a twist, and a beer we were all very proud of. It was a lot of fun to brew – and ultimately too good a beer not to brew on a bigger scale.”
“The original pilot batch of the beer won its class at New Zealand’s Beervana Festival with a perfect 45/45 score – much to all our surprise! The judges obviously knew a great Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel and Oyster Stout when they tasted one,” Shawn said.
Murray’s Dark Beer Month runs across June and July, incorporating a total of four dark beer releases, dark beer-inspired dishes at its restaurants and special events at its venues.
“The program is bigger and wilder than ever, upping the ante on last year with the release of four pretty out-there dark beers,” says brewery owner, Murray Howe.
“In addition to the three Imperial Stouts, we thought we’d brew another dark style to show there’s more to Dark Beer Month than stouts! We’ve released a lot of Belgian inspired beers over the years but have never before released a Belgio Strong Dark Ale, so we are very excited at the brewery.”
“Dark beers are becoming more and more popular in Australia, but the trend naturally becomes more prominent in winter. We’re giving people some great reasons to celebrate these cooler months.”
Murray’s Dark Beer release program for 2013 is:
Murray’s ‘Wild Thing’ Imperial Stout in the bottle and draught – this is a massive, intense drinking experience inspired by the great stouts favoured by the Russian Imperial Court. The colour is intensely black. The flavour is an intense hit of mocha with some malt sweetness but an aggressive hop bitterness and roast grain bite to balance. Available now in bottles from Murray’s Brewery (online and at the Port Stephens Brewery), Rubber Duckie Taphouse (Manly) and The Pub With No Beer (Taylors Arm) – then progressively through leading craft beer retailers. 10% abv.
Auld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep Imperial Stout in the bottle and draught – brewed in collaboration with The Crafty Pint, this is a truly out-there beer. Strong chocolate character underpins the beer with peaty smoked notes from the distilling malt present, especially when the beer is young. The high abv and Belgian yeast character combine to add even further complexity to the beer, before a minerally, briney finish from the the mussels and oysters takes the beer in yet another direction. Rich, complex and fun. Bottles will be released in July at Murray’s Brewery (online and at the Port Stephens Brewery) and Rubber Duckie Taphouse (Manly) – date to be announced on Murray’s website once the beer is ready. 10% abv.
Murray’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ Belgio Imperial Stout in the bottle and draught – this unique beer is a mix of styles concocted by Murray’s brewers. An Imperial Stout in basic style, but with a stronger accent on the chocolate malt over the roast barley, some rummy notes from the dark brown sugar, and underpinning it all, the classic Belgian esters and very light phenolics from the yeast. 9.6% abv.
Murray’s ‘Hell of the North’ Strong Dark Belgio Ale, draught only – “I can’t wait to brew this beer, which will be a first for us. The beer will reflect the name, and be full of attitude. We’ll have more to say on this one once I’ve actually brewed it!” says Shawn. Draught will be released Saturday 27 July at Murray’s Brewery (Port Stephens), Rubber Duckie Taphouse (Manly) and leading craft beer venues.
The three Imperial Stouts on draught will be released at Murray’s Brewery (Port Stephens) and Rubber Duckie Taphouse (Manly) on Saturday 6 July, then progressively through leading craft beer venues.
About Murray’s Craft Brewing Co.
Port Stephens-based Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. is one of Australia’s leading craft beer brewers and recently named Australia’s ‘Brewer of the Year’. From humble beginning in Taylors Arm (population 50) on the NSW North Coast seven years ago, Murray’s Brewery relocated to larger premises at Port Stephens in 2009 where today it runs a microbrewery, Cellar Door and one of the region’s best restaurants. It also runs a craft beer taphouse at Manly Beach in Sydney, Rubber Duckie. Murray’s beers are available nationally.