It’s that time of year again – when Irish craft brewer Eight Degrees unveils its special seasonal barrel aged beer.
This year, the Cork-based brewery has released an Irish oak-aged barleywine. “The barleywine was brewed in early July 2021. It always feels strange brewing such a high ABV beer in the middle of the summer but it’s worth it by the time we get to winter,” said Daniel O’Shea, Head Brewer at Eight Degrees.
“This was a double brew to produce a big bruising OG wort, about as strong as we can get out of the brewhouse,” continued Daniel.
“It fermented normally for about four weeks until we got to a finishing gravity. In early August the fermented wort was transferred to barrels – amazing aroma in the brewery that day! – for a closely monitored rest so that it could soak up all the flavours of the Irish oak for three months. We transferred it for packaging then in early November.”
Original Gravity Irish Oak-aged Barleywine is aged in especially rare Irish whiskey barrels. The barrels have been made from native Irish oak.
“It was in wood for three months but we had to keep a close eye on it, monitoring it regularly to get the flavour just right. We’re very proud that we were able to use rare Irish whiskey barrels made from native Irish oak. The flavour that they contributed to the barleywine party is just incredible,” said Daniel.
On recommended food pairings, Caroline Hennessy, Head of Marketing and Communications at Irish craft brewer Eight Degrees, said: “This is fabulous paired with dark chocolate, blue cheese or a chunk of delicious toasted almond paste Christmas cake, stuffed full of dried fruit, nuts and spices.”
The can design features unique artwork from Coireall Carroll Kent, as part of the Eight Degrees Original Gravity Competition. The competition came about as part of the brewery’s 10 year celebrations and showcases Irish artists. The winners, each of whom won €1,000, have featured on this Original Gravity series of five limited beer releases. The campaign gives emerging artists a can-sized exhibition space.
Only 3,000 cans of this once-off brew are available. It is available now in independent off licences nationwide whiel stocks last.