Upland Brewing Co. to release Barrel Chested Barleywine


By: Eric Strader

Image supplied/Upland Brewing Co.

A new beer from Upland Brewing Company is set to arrive in Michiana around January 1. Barrel Chested Barleywine is the latest of Upland’s barrel-aged beers.

Long before metal kegs, beer was fermented and stored in oak barrels. Now many breweries are going back to their roots and aging beer in oak.

Other breweries are using spent wine and spirit barrels to age their beer and impart other flavors. For example, brewers discovered that they could add vanilla overtones to their beer by aging it in bourbon barrels.  

Upland Brewing Co. has been brewing with barrels for some time now and has gained quite a reputation for its barrel aged sours.  

Another bourbon barrel aged English style barleywine that Upland has brewed in the past is Bourbon Barrel Warmer (9% ABV). The brewery has used different bourbon barrels over the years for this beer:

  • 2009: Pappy Van Winkle barrels
  • 2010: Buffalo Trace barrels
  • 2011: Wild Turkey barrels
  • 2013: Willet barrels

I still have a bottle from the 2013 vintage and although I’m not sure which barrels were used for Barrel Chested Barleywine, I’m thinking of tasting these side by side.

From press release:

The relationship between cooper and oak barrel has long been respected and revered. The honored tradition of aging bourbon and wine in recent years has inspired brewers to experiment with barrel aging beer and the results are exquisite. At Upland Brewing Co. we’ve just scratched the surface of our barrel aging program and we’re proud to share our latest endeavor…

Barrel Chested Barleywine (9.5% ABV, IBUs 50)

This complex strong ale pours a beautiful deep copper with hues of bright mahogany and a creamy tan head. The essence of rich caramel, biscuit, toffee, and fig are coalesced during a long maturation period in oak barrels previously used by the Willett Distilling Company which arrive at the brewery still dripping with bourbon (which our brewers didn’t let go to waste). Over time, these barrels add their own flavor contributions of vanilla, toasted oak, and sweet bourbon undertones. At 9.5% ABV, this beer is a gentle giant with a seductive sweetness and intriguing complexity.

Upland Brewing Co. has announced that Barrel Chested Barleywine will be available on draught in all Upland retail locations by December 19th. It will also be available in all markets in both 4 packs and draught January 1.

Beer Description:

A traditional Barleywine aged in oak barrels, this beer is almost black in color and has a heavy malt character (British and American malts). A proprietary Upland blend yeast strain is used to elicit flavors and aromas of rich fruit. Dry hopping with Hallertauer gives a powerful hop punch.

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