Podcast Episode 166: Josh Grenz of Verboten on Designing Stouts and Barleywines for Barrel Aging

Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project of Loveland, Colorado, has won multiple medals for its barrel-aged stouts and barleywines. It’s the intention behind the beer design—and the recipes built specifically for long-term aging—that make all the difference.

Jamie Bogner Dec 30, 2020 - 4 min read

Podcast Episode 166: Josh Grenz of Verboten on Designing Stouts and Barleywines for Barrel Aging Primary Image

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Anyone can put beer in a barrel, but brewing compelling (and award-winning) barrel-aged beers requires a more conscious approach to design, brewing, and fermentation. Verboten’s Josh Grenz knows a thing or two about the subject, having won bronze at both the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, as well as golds in 2018 and 2020 at the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers (FOBAB) for three different barrel-aged beers. In this episode, Grenz explains their process around brewing barrel-aged stouts and barleywines—from the earliest recipe considerations for complexity and interest, to their intense hopping regimen that helps the aging process, to using flavorful malts like Special B to ensure that aging and oxidation develop pleasant and compelling flavors.

He also discusses successful high-gravity fermentation (from yeast choice to mash strategies and enzyme assistance), adjusting base recipes for different finishing barrels, and designing adjunct strategies for subtlety.

Grenz says it took years for him to attempt brewing barrel-aged beers, since the deep respect he had for the category intimidated him. But by carefully planning the approach and making nuanced choices to ingredients and process, he’s found a winning strategy.

This episode is brought to you by:

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].