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Barrel Room Update

We’ve been open for business for over a year. Hooray Beer!!! When we started this Lost Abbey project, we envisioned a barrel room like no other barrel room we had ever seen in a brewery. With this in mind, we created a sanctuary off to the side of our tasting altar. In this catacomb like room, we stacked row after row of oak barrels inside. It took us almost 6 months to get all 90 barrels full of beer. The good news is that now that all 90 barrels are full, we have acquired some 40 more barrels bringing our total to 130 Oaken Opportunities.

About a year ago, when we opened for business, the questions flowed. “How long does the beer sit in the barrels? How many different beers will you be releasing? Does this mean there will be more Cuvee available?” We still get these questions on a regular basis so I thought I would address them here.

First, we are producing the following beers from the barrel room at least once a year.

Cuvee de Tomme- Currently 9 oak barrels filled- anticipated release date is November of 2007.

Older Viscosity- Currently 10 oak barrels filled- anticipated release date is September of 2007.

The Angel’s Share(the Brandy Version)- Currently 9 oak barrels filled- anticipated release date is September of 2007

Red Poppy Ale- Currently 4 oak barrels filled- anticipated release date is October of 2007.

There are also many unique creations that will see the light of day as they mature. So far, we have released some En Garde, Amazing Grace and shortly there will be a special release for the members of our Patron Saints Club.

There are a bunch of randomly filled barrels that we will experiment with as we work on blending of casks for future projects. But let’s tackle some of the questions.

First, most of the beers in the barrel room will remain in oak for no less than one year. The Angel’s Share and Older Viscosity barrels are typically ready in 6-12 months. The other beers(sour versions) require something more akin to the patience of Job and as such I tell people 12-18 months. For those playing along at home, this is important as we have recently celebrated our 12 month anniversary. The next six months will be about selecting the best barrels and creating awesome blends. I for one am very excited about this.

Recently(at our anniversary party) we tapped a cask of The Angel’s Share that was aged in a Bourbon barrel. It was very well received. So well received that I have relented and brewed a batch of The Angel’s Share that will be finished in Bourbon Barrels and sold next year. This way, we can offer two versions of the same beer but with differing wood finishes.

This notion of multiple wood finishes is quite common in the whiskey world and is something that I had hoped to adopt at The Lost Abbey. It seems that our Angel’s Share was a natural fit. In the future, we may even look at 1-2 more finishes for this beer if we feel it is justified.

This past weekend, our patrons had to duck between the rows of the new oak barrels in order to get to our altar. The questions starting flowing as soon as they were seated. “What are you going to put in the new barrels? Can we expect more Cuvee? What is the first beer you will put in them?”

The answers are Yes, more Cuvee. We will be working on a few new projects(that we aren’t willing to discuss right now) and the answer to the other question is Duck Duck Gooze will be the first beer in the pipeline. Just remember that it will be 18 months before this one gets released so we’re looking at January of 2009.

It’s funny to be talking about beer 18 months out. Not many people and brewers are writing schedules for this far in advance. Most beer takes 9 days to make not 500 plus days. Maybe I will start speaking in terms of seasons like a farmer. (Holding a bottle)- “Now, this one here took seven seasons to get from tank to glass…” Oops. I forgot, we live in San Diego where there aren’t any seasons.

That’s it for the update. Thanks for listening. Apparently, it’s barrel filling season here at The Lost Abbey. We have tons of work to do(nothing new there). And at the end of the day, we won’t even know what these beers will taste like until 2009. Strange But True. Welcome to my World

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