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Barrel-Aged Beer Program

Lion Rock has been tinkering with a small number of barrels for a while and is now ready to expand our Barrel-Aged Beer Program, planning to acquire a number and types of barrels and age different types of beers shortly. The whole brewing team is excited by the opportunities this will open up to learn and produce great beers through experimentation with different beers, ingredients, yeasts, bacteria, time, oxidation, and gain knowledge about barrel management.

We love the unique qualities that the barrel-aging process contributes to beer. Aging beer in oak produces remarkable results; unique to each barrel, to each beer. It allows our brewing team’s creativity to thrive and bring our beer drinkers original and one-of-a-kind beer.

Just like vintners and distillers have aged wine and spirits in oak respectively for generations, brewers have used wood for fermentation, storage, transport, and serving for as long. It’s not so far fetched to claim oak aging is magical. Keeping beer in steel tanks is a relatively new phenomenon, a practice made possible within the last century. Historically, brewers typically worked to minimize the wood influence on the final product and did not have all the necessary knowledge of why their methods worked so well. Whilst craft brewing is still a mix of art and science, our current aim is to lean into what wood offers our beers, and even though trial-and-error is still considered crucial in the area of barrel-aging, we have substantially more knowledge of the brewing process and biochemical explanations.

Barrel-ageing contributes flavor components that are individual and specific to the barrel. No two barrels are alike, just as no two trees are the same, so each barrel has a unique flavor signature that it imparts to the liquid stored within. This makes each barrel-aged beer distinctive. Barrel-ageing beer changes things - flavors of, for example, oak, vanilla, tobacco, smoke, fruits like cherry or plum, are enhanced or imparted to the beer. Each barrel provides unique flavor contributions. Unique brands of wine, whiskey, port, or rum leave traces behind, soaked into the staves of the barrel, combining with the natural flavors contributed by the wood itself. This combination, melded with different beer styles, creates one-of-a-kind products.

When the key essence from what was originally stored in the barrel fades, we are left with relatively neutral barrels. We will then look to move to the next step of using these barrels to conduct, for example, mixed culture fermentation.

Barrel-ageing beer is expensive, as it often requires months and even years as well as a high rate of wastage. However, Lion Rock Brewery firmly believes the learning through trial and error, and time, are worth the investment as we look to create some wonderful barrel-aged beers in the future. Please keep an eye out on our social media for announcements of our barrel-aged beers!
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