About a year ago we set a goal, a lofty goal, to become one of the foremost producers of barleywine in the country. The road to seeing this through is long, it may take years, it may take an entire career, regardless, we have identified some key steps to starting the process and, hopefully, seeing it through.
Over the last few months we’ve had some major milestones, a medal at FoBAB, a blowout release of our bizarre concept for oxidized barleywine, and most recently, some collabs we’re incredibly excited about (more on those in a year or so). This week we’re taking another step towards our goal as we introduce the latest development in our barleywine program, Dagon.
One of the keys to building a world-class, barrel-aging and blending program is a diverse range of blending components. Over the last few years we have built an inventory of barrel-aged barleywines with various base philosophies, some containing an heirloom focused, single grain malt bill, others layering in some of our favorite specialty malts. We’ve also created some oxidized barleywine components, which we can use to blend “age” into some of these beers where more oxidative maturation is desired. This week we introduce yet another blending component. A barleywine modeled after some of the original English strong ales, lower in both initial and final gravity, giving us a “dry” blending component, and a beer that has potential to develop more noticeable character from barrel aging, while retaining the bright and lively flavor components of the fresh version.
Enter Dagon. Born from the depths of our desire for two things, the younger, drier blending component that we feel will be essential to our long term blending program, as well as a more approachable, fresh barleywine that can be consumed on more regular occasions. It’s a beer with a diverse purpose and we couldn’t be more excited about it. The foundation of this beer is built from our Colorado grown and malted barley, with layers of medium and high range crystal and a touch of chocolate wheat, a nod to the style's origins, but with a noticeable push towards the darker end of the SRM range. To give this beer balance and drinkability in its fresh form, we used a carefully curated selection of English and American grown hops that lend a robust, yet gentle bouquet of floral and spicy (think cinnamon, not chili) flavor notes that both contrast and compliment the depth of caramel and warm grain that the base provides. The ABV is far from sessionable, but remains casually robust, and with a relatively dry finishing gravity, you can indulge without having to sail full send into the sugarverse.
While a portion of this beer is going out this week in cans and kegs, we are stowing away a hefty volume for maturation in casks. We’ll be checking in on these over the next year or so while they soak up flavors of spirit and oak and we look forward to showcasing what this base can do with some time in oak.
So for now, come try this beer at the start point and stay tuned for the journey. This rabbit hole is only getting deeper.