Beer Blast for November 29, 2018
2017 Vintage of Barrel Aged Dark Muse Imperial Stout Makes its Debut
A Dark Indulgence for the Holidays
After months of waiting, sitting patiently in bourbon barrels stashed away at Worthy Brewing, the 2017 vintage of Dark Muse Imperial Stout has emerged with rich flavors of chocolate, vanilla and caramel- and is now ready for enjoying.
Worthy’s holiday staple, developed by Worthy’s original head brewer Chad Kennedy, is a nod to the barrel aging tradition, stowing a full-bodied beer in bourbon barrels to mellow and develop new flavors.
“We start with a pretty huge Imperial Stout that we age in bourbon barrels every year,” explained Zach Brenneman, Worthy Brewing’s Head Brewer. “We do a limited amount. One batch off of our production system, then hand-wax the bottles for your drinking and aging pleasure.”
While the recipe varies slightly each year based on the barrels acquired, this 2017 batch was tucked away in 30 Kentucky Bourbon barrels to age for 10 months. In the dark, it matured into Dark Muse.
“We lovingly neglect this beautiful beer in a deep, dark, cold corner of our cellar,” said Kelly Ward, Worthy Brewing’s Beer Educator. “Aging this way allows this already luscious beer to mellow. You’ll notice a melding of flavors like bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and coffee,” explained Ward.
Time is the ultimate ingredient for this specialty brew. On first sip, you’re hit with the taste of bourbon and oak, but then the flavors melt into caramel, chocolate and vanilla with a full, warm, boozy mouthfeel. There’s no mistake that there’s alcohol in this holiday indulgence, especially since it clocks in at 11.3% ABV.
Every aspect of Dark Muse is decadent, especially the hand-dipped gold wax topping the bottle, which is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The waxed top creates a stronger seal for the cap and prevents oxidation of the beer as it ages in the bottle. So, when aging at home, be sure to keep the bottle upright and away from light.
“We encourage you to age our Dark Muse,” said Ward. “Set a couple bottles aside for holidays to come. When properly cellared in the cold and dark, the flavor profile of this luxurious beer mellows and melds into divine drink-ability. The rich notes of chocolate malt and bourbon achieve true harmony rounding out the flavors in this gorgeous beer.”
Regarding how long to age your Muse, Ward recommends setting a bottle (or two) aside for one to two years. “It’s not like it’s going to go bad if you let it go longer,” explained Ward, “I think the arc of flavor peaks around two years.”
If you’re looking for another way to enjoy your bottle of Dark Muse, Ward recommends a dark take on a White Russian.
Dark Muse White Russian (The Dude)
1 oz Dark Muse
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlúa
1 oz cream or eggnog
Pour over ice and enjoy
To get your hands on this seasonal batch, swing by the Worthy Brewing Pub where 22oz bottles of the 2017 and just a few 2016 bottles (which were recently discovered hidden away in the brewery), are available for a limited time.