After nearly a year of waiting, Spiteful Brewing has bottled and released a trio of barrel-aged beers: Barrel-Aged Malevolence Russian Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged G.F.Y. Stout, and Barrel-Aged God Damn Pigeon Porter. The three beers are Spiteful’s first barrel-aged offerings available in bottles.
“These beers are roasty and rich. The barrels had a big influence on all three of them,” head brewer Brad Shaffer said. “We’re releasing them in summertime, but who gives a fuck–the beer was ready.” Malevolence Russian Imperial Stout, G.F.Y. Stout, and God Damn Pigeon Porter have been previously released in 22-ounce bottles. These iterations of Malevolence and G.F.Y. were aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels for nine and 11 months, respectively; God Damn Pigeon Porter was aged in rye whiskey barrels for 10 months.
Spiteful art director Luke Snobeck set out to distinguish the new labels from their originals. “I reworked the original artwork to fit a minimalist aesthetic,” Snobeck said. “We chose a different label stock, one with texture, with weight.” Available in limited quantities across the Chicagoland area, Spiteful’s new barrel-aged beers carry the essence of their non-barrel-aged counterparts, while bearing a new look and flavor. “They look nice next to one another,” Snobeck admits. “They look special. They taste good, too.” Each of the barrel-aged beers is packaged in 22-ounce bottles. As of press time, deliveries for the three beers were completed.
Last week the brewery filled five bourbon barrels with new batches of Mrs. O’Leary’s Chocolate Milk Stout and Malevolence Russian Imperial Stout. Early next month, Spiteful will begin aging Klutzy Buffoon French-Style Saison in a barrel that previously held absinthe. The charred American oak barrel barrel comes courtesy of Spiteful’s neighbor, Letherbee Distillers, whose absinthe was aged in the virgin barrel for five months.
While Spiteful’s barrel-aging program will remain small-scale, Shaffer looks to build on the success of their first bottled barrel-aged releases: “We’ve aged beer in five gallon barrels before, but these beers were aged in 53 gallon barrels,” he said. “It was a challenge to maneuver around six barrels in our small space, but we didn’t want to rush the beer,” he said. “I think it was worth the wait.”