On the last weekend of Good Beer Week 2014, 3 Ravens opened its brewery doors and invited 200 guests in to sample barrel-aged beers of their and their peers' creation. One of the beers it debuted that day was Black Mass, which has since remained under wraps while collecting a gold medal at the Australian International Beer Awards. Only a handful of kegs were ever produced; little surprise, perhaps, when you understand the lengths that went to in order to fill them. The base beer - essentially a porter featuring some peated distilling malt - was brewed in February then transferred to a Starward whisky cask. While it did its merry thing in there, brewer Adrian McNulty steeped some vanilla pods and chipotle chillis in vodka, ready to be added to the beer once it left the barrel. The result is a fiercely complex dark beast - black with a ruby (blood?) tinge - that's simultaneously smoky and oaky, with vanilla and whisky aromas and a distinctly throat-tingling chilli heat completing the picture.