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Brewer Q & A – Summer 2016 (Issue 25)

For beers that receive a score of "Exceptional" or above (91+), we've asked the brewer a few questions regarding that beer's origins.

97 Rating – Jester King Brewery – Ol' Oi

Responses from Jester King founder and head brewer Jeffrey Stuffings.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I think the lactic character is my favorite aspect. It somewhat pushes the boundaries of lactic acid in a beer for me, but ultimately, it presents itself as balanced.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
We make a beer inspired by English Mild called Commercial Suicide. The label art has an English punk rock theme (think Sex Pistols). In some ways, Ol' Oi is the older, more mature version of Commercial Suicide. So we pictured an aging rocker and gave it the name "Ol' Oi" as a nod to the subgenre of Oi! music from the UK in the 70s. 

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Barrel-aged sour brown ale. 

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Ol' Oi was one of the highlights of our first-ever sour beer event at Jester King (the original Funk n' Sour Fest). A lot has changed at Jester King since then, so Ol' Oi has a lot of sentimentality attached to it. 


97 Rating – Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Parabola

Responses from Firestone Walker head brewer Matt Brynildson.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
Parabola is a 10-year-old recipe that was one of my creations. It was one of the first barrel-aged beers we brewed at Firestone Walker and it was originally created to be just a blending component for our very first Anniversary beer, which is always a blend we make with local wine makers.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I'm a huge fan of stouts and Parabola is a huge Imperial Stout. The roasty, espresso, chocolate flavors of the stout pair perfectly with the bourbon barrels that we have selected to age the beer in. After a year in the barrel, all of the sharp edges fade away, beautiful vanilla and coconut flavors start to emerge and the roasty dark chocolate notes turn into milk chocolate goodness. We focus on clean barrel expression and try to limit the sherry and heavy oxidation notes that can come along with warm-cellar barrel programs.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Parabola is an interesting word that seems to encapsulate the size and feel of the beer and a brewing project like this. Remember that we built the Vintage Barrel aging program over 10 years ago and we were trying to make a mark in a relatively new frontier in craft brewing. We are close friends with the folks at Three Floyds, Bell's and Goose Island so they were big inspirations when conceiving this beer. I was also listening to and seeing a lot of heavy metal shows at the time so that comes into play as well.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
Oh no way -- Parabola is my ultimate dessert beer and certainly not my desert island beer. Pivo would be the desert island beer. 

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Massively gorgeous. Huge, roasty malt married with American bourbon oak.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
This beer has been known to challenge even the best brewers. It is not easy to make in any way, shape or form. Most of the stories about this beer involve long nights and excessive overtime of impossible lautering sessions and temperamental barrel-racking, which leads to excessive bourbon drinking and sore backs.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
All things chocolate and rich. I love pairing Parabola with a simple dark chocolate like a Vosges sea salt, bacon- or chili-infused dark chocolate bar. Pairs well with Elijah Craig 12 year Bourbon (on a single rock) as well.

Photo Credit: Little Films


96 Rating – Founders Brewing Co. – KBS

Responses from Founders head brewer Jeremy Kosmicki.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe? 
Founders began brewing a chocolate and coffee-infused oatmeal stout back in the early 2000s that was known as Breakfast Stout. It was based on a homebrew concept that then Head Brewer Nate Walser and myself had worked on prior to our professional brewing careers. It was the first beer we tried aging in bourbon barrels, and though it came out great, the body seemed a bit thin and the chocolate and coffee flavors had become muted due the extended time spent in the bourbon barrel. So the grain bill was increased and the chocolate and coffee amounts were doubled. That recipe has never changed since.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I personally love the balance of flavors in this beer. There is so much going on, but they all play very nicely together. I like the way the coffee and bourbon jump out in the aroma and first sip, then the chocolate and oak finish up in the aftertaste.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The beer was originally called Kentucky Breakfast Stout, since it was basically an imperial version of our Breakfast Stout and Kentucky is home of the best bourbons. I believe there were some legal issues though, something about the beer not being made in Kentucky, so we just went with KBS. It’s what everyone was calling it for short anyways.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
No way! If I’m on a desert island I’ll need something pale, hoppy and sessionable. It’s more like my “weekend transition from breakfast to afternoon when I’m feeling fancy” beer.


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