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17 Intriguing Wine Barrel-Aged Beers

Barrel-aging is nothing new for brewers, and it’s no secret why. That time spent in a barrel adds such complexity and flavor to a beer that is impossible to achieve it any other way. And while whiskey or bourbon barrels tend to dominate, aging a beer in barrels formerly home to wine gives a beer a whole new dimension. These 17 intriguing wine barrel-aged beers illustrate that perfectly.

“First and foremost, these beers offer a complexity that only the barrel-aging process can provide,” says Mike Siegel, Barrels and Beyond Beer Innovations Manager at Goose Island Beer Co. “The combination of beer, fruit, yeasts, lactic acid bacteria and oak, with the right amount of time in wood, provide a flavor profile that can’t be achieved any other way, just like a fine wine.” The success of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout led to a drive for more creativity and pushing boundaries resulting in aging and fermenting in wine barrels and foudres for various beers.

Sean Sasscer, Brewer Manager at Cigar City Brewing, approaches aging beer in wine barrels differently than bourbon barrels. "With wine barrel-aging, you have to consider tannins much more so than with whiskey barrels. Knowing the wine, its age and its varietal will guide what kind of beer is appropriate for that barrel," he says.

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