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10 beyond-bourbon barrel-aged beers

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These days, finding a bourbon stout is like shooting fish in a barrel. But crafty brewers have stepped up their game, aging unconventional beer styles in eclectic wood that once held rum, gin and wine both ways.

Coastal Extreme Angel’s Envy

The Rhode Island brewery rests its strong ale in barrels that once held its house Thomas Tew rum, which laces spicy booze and coconut through chocolate and dark fruit flavors.

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask
Irish whiskey barrels lend smoky, leafy whiskey tones to this approachably simple stout’s chocolate and toast.

Allagash Odyssey
A dark wheat ale’s grainy, roasted malts round out after a 10-month nap in toasted American oak; the wood perks up blackberry undertones with prickly tannins.

Nebraska Mélange à Trois
French oak barrels that previously soaked up Chardonnay donate delicate honeydew and a tart, tannic bite to this Belgian-style blond.

Russian River Consecration
The grandfather of untraditional barrel-aging, this sour ale’s black currant notes melt with vinous tones of cab sauv barrels for a fruity, funky swallow that’s both remarkably soft and playfully tart.

Bronx Gin Barrel Aged Bronx Pale Ale
Bright, nearly citrusy juniper and a touch of cool mint adorn this pale ale’s grapefruit-and-caramel base; drying gin and hop bitterness connect in the swallow.

Hitachino Nest XH
After three months inside shochu casks, this Belgian dark ale emerges with a peppery alcohol kick that sharpens the wash of caramel-sweet malts and dark fruits.

Breckenridge Well Built ESB
This nutty, caramel-sweet bitter, named for the Stranahan Well Built oak whiskey barrels that house the beer for six months, adopts the casks’ spicy whiskey and smooth vanilla without losing its hoppy punch.

4 Hands Cuvee Ange
After portions rest in cabernet, merlot and grenache barrels with raspberries and blackberries, this American wild ale wakes up with deep vinous and berry notes that contrast its barnyard funk and wood flavors.

Black Diamond Grand Cru Brandy
The brewery houses a Belgian dubbel in brandy casks for 12 months with currants and figs, giving the beer deep fruity layers and a bit of boozy spice.

 

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