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


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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 GABF and the World Beer Cup, as well as 2018 and 2020 golds at the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers (FOBAB), for three separate barrel-aged beers. In this episode, Grenz talks through their process around brewing barrel-aged stouts and barleywines, from the earliest considerations of recipe design for complexity and interest to their intense hopping regimen that helps the aging process, and using flavorful malts like Special B to insure that aging and oxidation occur in pleasant ways that develop compelling flavors.

He 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.

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

*This episode is brought to you by: *

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