Forest of the Trees’ recent creation, a barrel-aged Red Ale, was one of the most challenging beers he has brewed according to brewer Brad Rogers.
Rogers told the Beer is a Conversation podcast it was the first time he and his team has attempted the style, and so he looked at each stage in the brewing process in a different light, knowing that the beer was going to go into a barrel.
Having spent time with the brewmaster of Rodenbach Brewery, Rudi Ghequire, Rogers said that the ruby red beer was modelled on the red beers of Belgium.
“The Red Ale was stored for twelve months, in forty, fifty and sixty year old fortified barrels from the Barossa-based, Seppeltsfield Winery.”
Rogers said it took several rounds of testing different ingredients and his team tasting 20 different barrels individually before finding the perfect recipe and deciding on the beer that would be the official Red Ale.
Rogers said while it was a tough process, it was about bringing the people around him on a journey and learning as a team.
He said it took hours of researching, reading books and shared knowledge from other brewers for the team to tackle the new style.
Along with challenges barrels can add to the brewing process, they completely change the taste of the beer, Rogers explained.
“You can source barrels that have been used to mature rum, whisky, brandy and they will add completely different complexities to your beer.”
What the kegs previously stored, the material they are made of and how long the beer is stored all makes a difference to the end product.
“There’s already a lot of people doing a lot of really cool things with beer and barrels.”
The Barrel Aged Red Ale is just the beginning of barrel-focused releases to come and follow a trend of experimenting with barrel aging that has been growing in Australia.