Brewer's Blog

I'm wasn't gonna say it but...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

... I told you so. That's really the last time I'll say it.

Shortly after last years Burly Wine sold out, there was a rumbling amongst Half Pints fans that we had given beer lovers in Winnipeg something to be proud of. "Please hold onto a bottle or two for next year," we urged. Some beer lovers listened, and others still itched to crack open the tasty goodness.

And then, over the next year, we slowly saw the bottles with the tan beeswax caps come back home to the brewery through the vendors, or even the people who returned the bottles to the brewery wondering "do you have any more of this?" More recently, they've slowed to a trickle so that when we do get one, we immediately want to know what you thought of it.

In its youth, the Burly Wine exhibited a raw, biting hop flavor with a peppery alcohol burn down the middle. And now, those of you with patience have been rewarded as the 2006 vintage takes on the rum-raisin flavours and the slightly sweet caramel backing of a classic English Style Barleywine. How many of you can keep it up for another year to see if it starts to show its wisdom?
When we released the 2006 vintage of Burly Wine, it was many people's first experience of just how big we were willing to go with our beers. I think you've all seen that even that boundary can be challenged with a little imagination and insight.
And isn't that really what craft brewing is all about?
So, what can you expect from the 2007 vintage?
The description is the same but there are some differences in how this year's brew came together. The first being that on brew day, I fell asleep at the kettle and forgot a portion of the final hop addition (d'oh!). Being the hophead that I am, we simply decided to take that addition and add it to the final tank in the form of a dry hop addition. Seems simple enough, until you take into account what it did to the finish of the beer.
Oddly enough, it's smoother with less of an up front hop bite. Hooray! I can't say that's a bad thing.
This year's version was also bottled a little sooner at the brewery to help us deal with the initial crunch of orders that we will invariably see on Monday morning. So a little extra time in the bottle will help to smooth out some of the peppery alcohols a little earlier, too.
We also gave the new vintage some snazzy burgundy waxed tops, so that if you're one of the few who did manage to keep stock on hand, you can tell those from the previous year's bottling. And, as I said previously, the first 40 cases contain 1 bottle of the 2006 vintage for those of you who missed out, or prematurely enjoyed your stock.
I'd just like to say thank you to our fans. It's keeping up with your expectations that makes it fun for us at Half Pints Brewing Company.
If you find yourself in Winnipeg this Saturday December 8th, 2007 stop into the brewery for our open house, take the tour, and taste the 2007 Burly Wine with a slice of fruit cake.
See you there,
Brewmaster David Rudge

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