Ramjet 2019, plus a weekend of new releases
Sometimes we're of the mind that we can't decide our favourite time of year. Then, Ramjet Day rolls around and we know without a doubt that this is it! Tomorrow, July 27th, is the annual release for this year's vintage of our infamous Starward whisky barrel aged imperial stout.
Along with Ramjet 2019, this weekend also sees another 3 NEW BEERS join the Boatrocker lineup.
New vintages of a couple of favourites – Apricot Wild Ale & House Red, plus a fresh tin release – Coffee Brown, a delicious Winter warmer. All three are available now, and Ramjet will be available at 7pm on Saturday night.
Apricot Wild – 2019
We wanted to make a beer that was like biting into a fresh, ripe apricot, but also had wonderful funk from the Brettanomyces. We selected a range of barrels to blend together; a 24 month old puncheon (500L) of pLambic, a hogshead of 18 month pLambic and a 12 month young plambic barrique (225L). Combined, these had a gorgeously 'Bretty' aroma and a punchy acidity that would complement the apricots' acidity nicely. As with all of our fruit suppliers we choose local farmers -these fresh apricots were from an orchard in Victoria's north east. The brewers hand sorted and manually split each apricot in half, removing the kernel from every second apricot. We added 150kg of apricots to 1000L of beer and let it sit for 2 months. During that time, the wild yeast on the fruit created a secondary fermentation, resulting in delicious apricot aromas and flavours being extracted. The beer was then bottled and left to naturally bottle condition.
House Red – 2019
We currently have one of Australia's oldest and most established sets of unique 'wild yeast' cultures that have, over time, been pitched again and again, adding new yeasts, some known and some unknown. We call this our 'house culture'. Often we employ a method of production called solera, whereby we re-pitch fresh wort onto a portion of mature beer in barrel. This helps accelerate production (sort of... ) but also allows us to capture the flavours and excellent characters these mature yeasts yield. So, what's in this blend? The oldest and smallest portion is 4 years old; it gave us a beautifully bright acidity as well as firm acetic acid. The next portions is 24 months old and showed a good balance between malt and acid. The youngest and largest portion is 12 months old and provides the bulk of the aciditygood clean lactic character with lovely, fruity Brettanomyces notes. So, when we said 'accelerated production', we're still looking at a minimum 12 months for the bulk of the volume.
The blend of this beer is all about delicious Brett. aromas with tart cherry on the nose and palate. The acetic note is firm and ideal for the style.
We know a roasty, toasty stout is one of the best things you can ask for on a Winter afternoon but sometimes you want to mix things up a bit! Coffee Brown is a delicious Winter warmer. Using classic English malts we crafted a nourishing malty ale and then complemented the malts with whole dark roast coffee beans.
Ramjet – 2019 **Available after 7pm, July 27th**
To many, Ramjet may need no introduction, but for the uninitiated, it's a beer that has, at times, defined Boatrockerchallenging perceptions and breaking new ground. Back in 2013, we wanted to create a truly Australian barrel aged imperial stout. Sure, we could've used bourbon barrels, but we wanted an Australian spirit. We approached Starward in the hope of obtaining some of their barrels. Thankfully, they said yes, and the rest is history. Every year we release a new batch, and every year they're same same but different. A variety of barrel types (Ex Red Wine, Ex Apera, Ex Pedro Ximenez), and variance in wetness (the amount of spirit that remains in the oak) means every barrel is unique. The constant with each release, to an extent, is the base beer, whereas the main variable is the barrel and how prominent the oak and the whisky become.
This years Ramjet has a touch less booze that last year which gives the beer a bigger body, and more palate weight. This year it's all about balance, and will reward earful cellaring. The red wine Starward whisky casks are showing both their previous inhabitants well in Ramjet 2019, complementing the luscious chocolate, coffee and rich malt character of this vintage.
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In Season 3, Episode 4 of James Atkinson's podcast, 'Drinks Adventures', Matt Houghton discusses a decade of eclectic drinks
From the gypsy days to building a brewery, from helping launch Good Beer Week to the evolution of our own brand, from working with food, wood and spirits and to balancing commercial necessity with our passion it seems we covered it all. Read on to have a glimpse into the 10 Years of Boatrocker.