November 1, 2010 by Crafty Pint
Of all the barrel-aged beers to roll out of Victoria’s breweries last year, perhaps the most exciting was Holgate’s Beelzebub’s Jewels. Taking their 8% Belgian Dubbel style Double Trouble as its starting point, it spent several months in French Oak pinot barrels from Curly Flat Winery, undergoing two additional fermentations to finish as a rich, sweet beast of a beer registering at 12.5% and presented in 210 eye-catching, wax-sealed champagne bottles.
And now it’s coming back. Earlier this month, the brewers transferred a specially concocted batch of beer into barrels, kickstarting the process ready for release next Easter. Whereas last year, Double Trouble was used as the base beer, this year it’s something altogether new.
“This year it’s a batch brewed in its own right,” says brewery founder Paul Holgate. “There’s been massive tweaking of the recipe and using Belgian candi sugar and abbey malt. After fermentation and and a short lagering stage it’s transferred to the barrels for aging, prior to bottling towards the end of summer. Due to the recipe changes and other factors it is going to be significantly more expensive, and I can say, significantly better – it’s going to outstrip the original try by far and will be a very drinkable smooth drop!” [EDITOR’S NOTE: The original article stated that they used a base beer of Double Trouble again this year. Now updated.]
The “Devil’s Balls” by any other name is due to become an annual release at that time of year for Holgate and, to mark the barreling, they’ve posted photos and a short video of Paul on their newly launched Facebook page.
The 2010 version retailed for between $50 and $55 a bottle, making it one of the most expensive beers ever produced in Australia and one that has been used in place of champagne to celebrate engagement and births. The Crafty Pint was lucky enough to secure a couple – with one still left awaiting a suitably special occasion, perhaps a vertical tasting with the 2011 release when it arrives.