St Thomas is an Australian Wild Ale refermented with cherries. It is named for Chris and his wife's first son. Saint Thomas Aquinas was an immensely influential 13th century philosopher and theologian.
In 2018, the beer was made from 3 barrels of amber mixed fermentation, barrel aged beer. 1720 (9 month old barrel of Amber), 1710 (a 10 month old barrel of Amber) and 1764 (a 6 month old barrel of Amber). On January 15, 2018, 1710 and 1720 were racked onto 200kg of fresh, tree ripened morello cherries from Thornbrook Orchard in Orange, NSW. The fruit took us three days, and a whole lot of help from our friends, to destem. These cherries had some of the most amazing flavour we have ever tasted in fresh fruit. They were brimming with juiciness that paired perfectly with their clean tartness. More than a few did not make it into the beer.
The two barrels and beer were then blended into the tank (see photo above) with the cherries and left in contact together for 10 weeks to allow for near-complete fermentation by cultures both off of the skins of the cherries as well as those still alive in the beer at racking to fruit. On 21 March, we blended in 1764 based on needed structure. This is our preferred method to fruit referments. Overshoot the fruit rate initially, and blend to taste after the referment. It was packaged on the same day and allowed to go through a tertiary fermentation for carbonation and conditioning for 15 weeks. At bottling it was 6.0% ABV and 2.0 P (1.008 SG).
St Thomas pours an earthy garnet red colour. Sweet lifted aromas of cherry and red creaming soda dominate before opening up with spice, marzipan and bretty funk. Seamless palate, the sour cherries have integrated fully with the Amber. Red fruits upfront meld with the richer textured mid palate complementing each other perfectly. Brett funk and nuttiness draw the palate out to a wonderful completion.
Like all our beers, St Thomas is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).
This beer, along with our other fruit re-ferment beers this year, was packaged in 375ml quarter-magnum bottles. There will be a 4 bottles per person limit to purchase online and at the cellar door. We will make around 400 bottles available online while the remaining 600 will be sold at the brewery. We have plenty of bottles so there is no rush to be at the brewery when we open. Outside of special events, we do not expect to distribute this beer outside of the cellar door and online.
This beer is likely one of the richest we have released to date and is very well suited for wintertime drinking. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!