There can’t be too many sour cherry stouts knocking about in Australia. Truth be told, this mightn’t have been one either but evolved there somewhat naturally. The original idea was for a chocolate milk porter, but then they decided that it would be fun to tweak it and pop it in a barrel and see what happened.
As it turns out, the barrel that would have the most impact on this beer wasn’t the whiskey barrel it was housed in. A chardonnay barrel at one end of the cellar had been infected with lactobacillus and pediococcus for the purposes of another experiment and these had spread, literally like a disease, to the other barrels with varying degrees of severity. The one in which this beer was housed was closest to the chardonnay barrel and therefore felt the full brunt of the infection.
What it’s done to the beer is create something sour, dry and tart. Some residual sweetness from the lactose is counterpunched with acidity and there’s little bitterness to speak of (brewer Vince de Soyres was at pains to stay away from anything too roasty, believing the combination with acidity wouldn't be a winning one). Having spent six months in the barrel, the sediment has naturally dropped away and clarified the beer so that, although it’s very dark, when you give it some illumination there’s enough light penetrating through to show up a lovely red hue. It’s a beer that’s part cherry, sherry and mon cheri.
- Barrel-Aged Stout
Flat Rock Brew Cafe