The Abalus project began in 2019 with various trial brews of Baltic Porter, a departure from the Belgian styles we normally brew. Our favourite was potent – 11.5%. The beer was rich and deep, hence the idea to brew it in a commercial batch and barrel age it to farther develop flavour. Red Tripel was selected to be the companion beer in the series. After some searching, we found reassuringly expensive Cognac casks from France and Whiskey casks from Ireland (gratitude is due here to Grace O’Malley Spirits for their support) allowing us to demonstrate the effects of different barrel types on the same beers.
Barrel-aging is a complex process. At Mescan Brewery, the beers are first fully matured in bulk – this can take six months or more. The barrels are filled and aged for many months to allow the magic to happen. The whole procedure is expensive and time-consuming but also very exciting. At the end of the aging period there was always a chance that the beer would not match our expectations. The first tasting was an anxious moment. In the case of all four incarnations in the Abalus series, our expectations were not only met but exceeded.
Abalus beers will be very suitable for maturing at cellar temperatures for the next 10 to 15 years and will continue to evolve over time. We dropped the level of carbonation somewhat as this allows the full flavours to be experienced. The Baltic Porter aged in Cognac casks, turned out to be the most complex of the four and we decided to present it with an even lower level of carbonation so that its rich flavours can be fully appreciated.
We hope you enjoy these beers as much as we do.