Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Inc. (BMD) and Samuel Adams officially announce their collaboration in a multi-year project to distill two world-class craft beers into two never-before-tasted spirits, further pushing the boundaries of beverage innovation. The two brews – flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager and smoky, complex Samuel Adams Cinder Bock – will both be triple distilled at BMD’s distillery in Great Barrington, Mass., then barrel-aged in wood. The aging of whiskey is a very complex and multi-faceted process making it difficult to pinpoint an exact release date; however, BMD feels that they should be ready for release by 2015.
Both BMD and Samuel Adams share great passion for the art and science of beverage-making, and also the same philosophy – use only the highest quality ingredients to produce award-winning, innovative craft beer and spirits. The brewers at Samuel Adams and BMD founder Chris Weld together tasted several beer styles and their distilled products from trial distillations before deciding to use Samuel Adam Boston Lager and Samuel Adams Cinder Bock, two distinct beers, for this project. The two brews differ greatly in taste profile and will each be distilled – a process using heat to separate liquids according to their volatility – three times to allow for the creation of two very unique spirits. The distilled Samuel Adams Boston Lager, noted for its upfront malt and earthy hop flavors, will then age for two years in vintage wooden bourbon barrels, generating a smooth whiskey with sweet fruity ester notes and a very slight bitterness. The distilled Samuel Adams Cinder Bock, a fiery rauchbier/bock combination, will age for two years in wooden, oak barrels, some previously used for extreme beer, Samuel Adams Utopias®, producing a very rich, bold whiskey.
“One of the best things about being a brewer is that the learning never ends. It’s been fun to share my knowledge of brewing with Chris throughout this process, and he has certainly taught me more than a thing or two about distilling,” says Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch. “There are many parallels between making spirits and brewing beer. Marrying the two not only makes sense, but will also produce a drink that beer- and spirits-lovers alike can enjoy.”
Due to the distillation process and barrel aging methods, 12,000 gallons of beer yields about 500 gallons of whiskey, making the final product a unique and rare find. Though exact pricing and availability of the final products are yet to be determined, the spirits will be available through Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ distribution network. The barrels, once emptied, will make the trip back to the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston, where they will be used for a yet-to-be-named barrel-aged beer.
“It has been a privilege to work with Jim and the brewers – their knowledge and infectious enthusiasm has found its way over to us here at BMD,” says Chris Weld, founder and distiller of Berkshire Mountain Distillery. “Jim is a pioneer in the field who has paved the way for many artisans to follow. We are looking forward to working with Samuel Adams to produce two excellent whiskies from two stellar beers. The only difficult part will be waiting for the final product to be released.”