Moo Brew's Barrel Aged Stout is one of the great survivors of the modern Aussie beer scene, now around for more than a decade and still rocking the iconic bottles that helped bring the Hobart brewery to early craft beer drinkers' attention back in the day. For their 2022 vintage, they followed their usual path, taking their seasonal stout and allowing it to spend 12 months in French and American oak – but with a wee tweak: the additional of some new oak.
At 8 percent ABV, it sits at the lower end of the alcohol range for such beers, yet you wouldn't know it. Whereas we often comment on the skills of brewers turning out high ABV beers that hide their alcohol really well, here the Moo brewers have put together a beer that, texturally, punches well above its weight. There's no out of place booze awaiting you – no unwanted heat or odd aromas – but it has a density and intensity just begging you to sit back and wallow.
Leading the way are layers of rich dark chocolate, wrapped around dark fruits nudging into sweet liquorice territory. There's a registered bitterness of 58 IBU – the sort of level you might expect to find in a West Coast IPA – but you wouldn't know it, with the time in oak not just fattening the mouthfeel but smoothing out the whole experience too.
As an aside, the brewery did attempt to send me a bottle of the 2021 vintage for a side-by-side tasting experience, but it fell victim to AusPost, so the closest I got to trying it was the remnants they'd not fully cleaned off the 2022 bottle. Still, getting to revisit this longstanding classic even in one vintage is always welcome, and both are available if you head straight to Moo's website.
Published October 9, 2023 2023-10-09 00:00:00