This past Friday Backwoods Brewing Company released its latest barrel aged beer when The Stumbler went on sale in 22oz hand-waxed bottles and on draft at the brewery in Carson, Washington. The Stumbler is a Russian Imperial Stout aged for 18 months in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that makes it the longest barrel aging that Backwoods has done.
“Prior to this, our longest barrel aging has been around 6 months,” said Jordan Tanasse, head of sales for Backwoods, in a statment. “We get excited to try the beer and share it, so we have only ever had the patience for a 6-month aging. This time around, we used as much restraint as we could and held out for 18 months. When we finally decided it was time, everyone on our production team was ecstatic!”
The Stumbler is described as offering notes of vanilla, charred oak & brown sugar, and follows with a light smokiness. It clocks in at 12% ABV and 35 IBU. The base stout is comprised of four different malts, including roasted barley and chocolate malt.
Backwoods Brewmaster, Kevin Waters sourced the 12 Heaven Hill barrels that were used in aging The Stumbler. Each barrel were filled with 50 gallons of the base stout and then rested for one and a half years.
“Barrels are getting extremely expensive and hard to find. Generally, you have to do a buy-in with several other breweries in order to meet the distillery’s minimum. For this shipment of barrels, we teamed up with Everybody’s Brewing and Breakside Brewing,” said Waters in a statement. “There is also no guarantee that the barrels will function properly and hold the beer without leaking,” added Waters. “Lucky for us, the barrels held strong for a year and a half.”
The Stumbler will now see wider distribution in select areas of Oregon and Washington in very limited quantities. Don’t delay as there are only 90 cases hitting the marketplace.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.