Fifteen Years, One Beer

Surly built its brewing reputation on not necessarily brewing to style. Our 15th anniversary beer embraces that ethos with a vengeance.

There is a lot going on with this one, so we called in Surly Head Brewer Ben Smith to write about Fifteen’s development:

The primary base beer is a Belgian Quadruple brewed with German and Belgian malt and fermented with Abbey Ale yeast.  The beer was aged in Heaven Hill Parker’s Heritage heavy char 10-year bourbon barrels and put to bed last winter.

We then brewed a small batch of fresh Quad to blend as part of the final beer.  We also blended a small amount of a Brettanomyces-fermented dark ale that’s been aging in High West Rye barrels for the past 4 years to add a kiss of funkiness and some acidity.

Overall, we ended up with about 80% barrel-aged Quad, and 10% each of the barrel-aged Brett beer and clean, fresh Quad.  We’re calling the finished anniversary beer a Grand Cru – a term borrowed from the wine world that literally translates to “great growth,” but is used to represent a special blend of the highest quality.

Expect cocoa, milk chocolate, and dark fruit notes with a hint of tartness beneath, plus honey and vanilla from the barrel, and a little spice from the Belgian yeast for good measure.

Like the beer itself, the concept is fluid, unclassifiable, and wholly unique. Fifteen is a true celebration of following the road where it leads. Thanks for coming along on the ride.

Fifteen is available to all U.S. Surly markets beginning the week of September 6th.

The particulars:

  • Style: Blended Barrel-Aged Grand Cru
  • Hops: Warrior
  • Malt: Pilsner Malt, Munich, Special B, Acidulated Malt, Aromatic Malt, Carafoam
  • Yeast: Belgian
  • Bitterness: Medium
  • Pour: Amber
  • ABV: 10.3%

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