The only brewery-distillery-cooperage in the country will release its latest beer today when 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is released at all Rogue Meeting Halls. A few years ago Rogue Ales & Spirits set up its very own in-house barrel cooperage and began using these barrels to age its growing spirits line in.
Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is truly a completely Rogue experience. First off the stout is brewed with ingredients grown at Rogue Farms. It is then aged in Oregon Oak barrels produced at its very own Rolling Thunder Barrel Works that once had Dead Guy Whiskey aging in them.
For the past couple of years Rogue has been using its very own coopering equipment to make its own Oregon Oak barrels. Rogue’s cooper Nate Linquist assembles, raises, toasts, chars, hoops, cauterizes, sands and brands one barrel a day, all by hand.
Rolling Thunder Barrel Works General Manager Dharma Tamm said in a statement, “At first it was a creative challenge to see how we could incorporate our brewery, distillery, cooperage and farm into one beer. However, our brewers, distillers, coopers, farmers – and even graphic designers turned it into a quest to create a world class beer that exemplifies the Rogue spirit of challenging the norm and pushing creative boundaries.”
The following video features Rogue innovation brewer Michael King, distiller Jake Holshue, and head cooper Nate Linquist, detailing every step of the process that goes into the making Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout.
HOW ROLLING THUNDER IMPERIAL STOUT IS CRAFTED FROM BARREL
Rogue acquired vintage French WWII-era coopering equipment before knowing where to put it and who was going to make the barrels. Longtime employee Nate Linquist was tapped to be Rogue’s first cooper and spent a year and a half apprenticing, learning the ancient art form of barrel making.
Using Oregon Oak, Nate assembles, raises, toasts, chars, hoops, heads, hoops again, cauterizes, sands and brands each barrel, one at a time all by hand. At full capacity, he makes one barrel a day.
The barrels are soaked first with Dead Guy Whiskey, which is distilled from Dead Guy Ale mash. During the aging process, the Dead Guy Whiskey imparts its flavor into the oak, getting the barrels ready for the next step in the journey.
Eight different types of grains, including oats and Rogue Farms barley are brewed with Rogue Farms hops, brown sugar, sweet dark cherries, vanilla and chocolate to create a bold character that is perfect for aging. The Rolling Thunder barrels that once held Dead Guy Whiskey are filled with Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout and aged in the rich, salty air of Yaquina Bay on the Oregon Coast. After nine months in the barrels, the beer is ready for the final step.
As the final step from barrel to bottle, the imperial stout is poured into 1-liter bottles. Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout can be enjoyed immediately or can be cellared for years to come.
ROLLING THUNDER IMPERIAL STOUT STATS:
STYLE: Imperial Stout
DESCRIPTION: Black with a creamy head, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout features deep sherry notes accentuated by hints of coconut, cherries, dark fruit and vanilla held up against a dark roasted malt backbone with earthy hops.
17 INGREDIENTS: Rogue Farms Dare & Risk Malts; Nate’s Smoke, Brown, Kiln Black, Roasted Barley, C40 & C75 Malts; Oats; Rogue Farms Liberty & Freedom Hops; Brown Sugar, Sweet Dark Cherries, Vanilla & Chocolate; Free-Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.
The official release of 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout will take place today from 5:00-8:00pm at Rogue Ales & Spirits – Brewer’s on the Bay & Brewery in Newport, Oregon. Limited quantities of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout will be available on draft and in 1-liter swing-top bottles at Rogue public houses starting July 21, then at select retailers nationwide on August 1. For more information visit Rogue.com.
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.