Thornbridge Brewery has released a small batch of its new brew, Necessary Evil, an imperial stout which has been aged for eight months in bourbon barrels.

Having introduced a barrel-ageing programme and produced World Beer Cup winners Love Among the Ruins and Days of Creation, co-founder and owner of Thornbridge, Simon Webster, and head brewer, Rob Lovatt, had a desire to create something even more bold and beautiful.

Rob took his inspiration from a trip to the US for the Firestone Walker Invitational, last summer, bringing back beers such as Parabola, Bourbon County, and Speedway Stout. Having tasted and dissected each of the beers, he made the decision to brew a very strong, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.

The brewing team made sure they started with the best blend of grist to create the body and mouthfeel, and developed the right combination of yeast strains. Freshly emptied Jim Beam barrels were sourced from the US and carefully filled. The ageing process took about eight months and, after numerous tastings, the beer was packaged.

Layers of complexity and flavour

Aromas of sweet bourbon, vanilla and oak from the ageing process combine with rich chocolate, roasted malts, and caramel from the base beer. Soft and silky, Necessary Evil has layers of complexity and flavour, says the brewer.

Lovatt said: “For me, it’s a truly formidable beer that hits all the right buttons. The perfect body, mouthfeel, and enjoyment. We’re delighted with how the beer has developed and hope this is one people will be talking about for some time.”

Webster added: “We’re incredibly proud to have what we consider to be the best brew team in the UK here at Thornbridge and they have surpassed themselves in producing a beer which we believe will hold its own against some of the best beers in the world. Necessary Evil is a simply stunning beer.”

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