We originally decided to brew The Ferryman after concluding The 12th Labor was better suited as only a barrel-aged beer, but we still wanted an imperial stout that wasn’t entirely barrel-aged. For the first two years of its existence, this beer was brewed with vanilla and hazelnut but this year we decided to change things. We completely rethought every part of its make-up.
We loved the rich, silky, dark fruit character of the yeast we’ve used on big 13%+ ABV stouts like The 12th Labor, so that’s what we used on The Ferryman. It just didn’t give the same character on the smaller, 10.5% beer, so we considered changing the yeast. Instead, we just decided to go big. At 11.8%, The Ferryman puts the yeast in its optimal zone.
While rethinking the beer, we decided to drop the old flavor profile and work with our friends at Java Lords. We were looking to create as much aroma as possible from the coffee while leaving behind the astringent bitterness that can come with using brewed coffee. So instead, we added over 150lbs of freshly ground beans directly to the fermenter, giving our new stout a huge coffee nose, with decadent, roasted flavors and a smooth finish.
We happened to have an excess of bourbon barrel-aged stout from 2016 stored away and realized that we loved the balance created when added to this year’s big new version of The Ferryman. So we blended the stouts together for a 30% barrel-aged beer. We’ve always done long boils on our stouts, but we took it to an extreme this time, averaging about 32 hours per batch. This helps to develop a fuller, more viscous body and intense melanoidin flavor compounds. The refined, velvet mouth-feel that is complemented by a rich, slightly bitter finish.
The Ferryman is now available on draft in the tasting room and should be hitting your favorite bars in the next week or two.