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Celebrating the Dark Arts of Barrel Aging: Introducing INFINITE Barrel Works By Bright Brewery

Emerging from deep in the heart of the High Country comes an exciting new range of beers from one of the country’s pioneering craft breweries.

Infinite Barrel Works by Bright Brewery will celebrate the dark art of barrel aging, with only the most exclusive beers seeing the light of day.

Whilst Bright has released highly-acclaimed barrel-aged beers before, like it’s 16th anniversary Pioneer Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, a formal barrel-aging program has long been on founder Scott Brandon’s wishlist.

And now, under the watchful eye of Head Brewer Lewis Kerr, Infinite Barrel Works sees a curated selection of hand-picked barrels reserved only for Bright’s most premium beers.

“Barrel aging is something quite special that all brewers love to work with,” Kerr said. “There’s a bit of black magic to it, and you have to give up a bit of control of the beer that you’re working with to the elements and to nature and to the barrel.”

THE STORY
The first Infinite Barrel Works release will be a Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout – but it wouldn’t do the beer, or the barrels, justice, to just stop the explanation there…

In fact, we have to go way back in time to that peaceful pre-COVID and pre-Russian War on Ukraine period of 2019 when we were blissfully unaware of how the world was about to change.

“This beer was derived in the depths of the High Country with our good friends at Backwoods Distilling,” Kerr said.
“In 2019, we sent off a batch of our Stubborn Imperial Stout (then called Stubborn Russian) to Backwoods for distillation into a whisky. That whisky was then aged in these barrels, and both the whisky and the barrels were given to us when the whisky had matured.

“We then aged another round of imperial stout and whisky in those barrels, and the cycle continued, creating a closed loop of barrels that are infinitely used.”

To be more specific, the beer in barrel is Bright’s 2023 Stubborn Imperial Stout – the notorious 16-percenter brewed by Kerr and his team in the Autumn of 2023. So what has a year in a whisky barrel done for it?

THE BEER
“It’s definitely still boozy, as you’d expect from a 16-percenter, and it’s picked up a lot of the whisky characteristics – a lot of deep plum, raisin and prune characteristics, and the heat has mellowed out,” Kerr said.

Due to its high ABV (16% and 5.6 std drinks per can), this beer is definitely designed to share with other beer lovers, not to consume solo.

“Practice responsible drinking and share it with some mates. Take it to can-share night, take it as a gift, open it with a couple of friends, sit down and take your time,” Kerr advises. “When you finish the beer, you will see it evolve and become a new beer when it’s warmed up to room temperature.”

THE BARRELS
So what can beer lovers expect from future Infinite releases? Kerr is excited but he isn’t giving away all his secrets. “We’ve got an incredible array of barrels, like Madeira, coconut rum, cognac, mead, banana brandy so there’s some exciting things on the cards,” he said. Infinite Barrel Works beers are expected to be scarce and extremely limited in quantity, due to the small-batch nature of the style.

They will be available exclusively online from Bright Brewery.

THE ART
Bright fans will notice that Infinite beers look remarkably different to the rest of its very distinctive, colourful cans. “This beer is so special to us and so unique to Bright that we wanted the can art to reflect that,” Kerr said. The can artwork for Infinite Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout features a beautiful photo of Mount Buffalo, Vic, captured by local photographer Sam Walklate.

“I’m pretty lucky as I live just down the road from Mount Buffalo,” Walklate said. “And from where I live, I can see the conditions up on the mountain. On this day, I saw the cloud sort of dancing around the mountain and I decided to just drive up the road and grab a shot. I just stayed there for about 20 minutes while the clouds danced around the mountain and I came out with this image.”

Subsequent Infinite releases will feature equally beautiful High Country landscapes and photographers keen to see their work on an Infinite can are invited to lodge an Expression of Interest to have their art featured on future beers. There is more information on that process here.

THE DETAILS
Infinite Barrel Works Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout will be available by pre-sale to Bright Mash Club members from Wednesday May 1 and will go on sale to the general public on Friday May 3.

To join the Mash Club and get early access to the beer, head here. Or join Bright’s Brew Crew mailing list to be the first to know when Friday’s release goes live.

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