They didn’t say it couldn’t be done, because no one even had the audacity to dare and contemplate the possibility. However, when it comes to daring audacious contemplation, few do it better --- or more -- than Scotland’s Brewdog and Southern California’s Stone Brewing. The two breweries are both known for unique approaches to the brewing industry, Stone for the last fourteen years, and Brewdog for the last two. Yet, despite the twelve years difference between the founding of the companies, and the thousands-of-miles-plus-an-ocean that that separate them, the two companies have formed a unique friendship based on creative brewing innovation.
But this latest collaborative brew turns up the amplitude on the audacity meter. To 11.8 (percent abv) to be exact.
Think about everything you know about beer. Then cast all of those preconceived notions out of your head and close your eyes. Breathe in. Deeply. Rich, full aromas of dark fruit, coffee, roastiness and dark chocolate. Open your eyes, and you are certain that your nose was just fooled. But it wasn’t. And the flavour is there to back it up. Big-time.
“At both of our breweries we’ve been having some fun with style-bending brews,” said Stone CEO Greg Koch. “In the past year we’ve gotten together with our friends at Brewdog two times…once to create a double black pilsner, and another time to brew a black double Belgian IPA…so collaborating to create Luciferin was a natural choice.”
Today, the two breweries unleash the world’s first Golden Imperial Oatmeal Stout on the unsuspecting public. This wolf in sheep’s clothing is anything but as innocent and quaint as it appears in your glass. Its clear golden colour belies the darkness in its soul.
“Perhaps we’re crazy to have thought we could do this. So What? ,” said Brewdog Head of Stuff James Watt. “Taste the Brewdog / Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Oatmeal Stout and we are pretty sure you will agree that the fine line between genius and sheer insanity have just became a little more blurred.”
However, it’s clear that there was indeed a method to this particular madness.
The beer was brewed with intense amounts of extra pale malt for body. Additionally sack loads of oatmeal were utilized to provide the rich and supple mouth-feel. Loads of cocoa nibs were thrown into the brew kettle to give the beer demonic bitter chocolate flavours, which intertwine menacingly with liquorice which was added during the boiling of the golden wort. English Noble hops provide an herbal, earthy and spicy backbone, which perfectly compliment the rich, dark flavours. A late addition of Galena hops giving the beer a satisfying twist of a poached pear and plum finish.
To add the classic imperial stout roastiness and fullness one would expect, the beer was aged after fermentation for six months in specially-selected Lagavulin casks stuffed with two pounds each of dark roasted Jamaican Blue Ridge whole coffee beans. The fact that the beans remained whole meant colour pick up was negligible, but the six months allowed for significant pick up of rich coffee and roasted flavours.
“This was a true collaborative effort,” said Koch. “James (Watt, Brewdog’s ‘Head of Stuff’) selected the perfect Scotch whisky casks when we visited Scotland this past summer, and had them shipped immediately over to Escondido to allow for the six months of aging.”
“Truth be told, I’m revelling in this beautiful beer,” said Watt. “I feel like we’ve been able to bring this intense classic beer style into the light.”