Gamma is a single barrel packaging, named as a continuation from our previous single barrel releases, 'Alpha' released in September 2017 and 'Beta' released in February 2018. These selections only happen on the unlikely occasion when a barrel presents itself as complete and we feel the barrel would not benefit from blending. Our third one in as many years of blending, this is a scarce happening.
Gamma is the preservation of the unique aromatics, mouthfeel and flavour of barrel number 1842, one of only two American Oak barrels in our cellar. We received the barrel from Clonakilla Winery in Murrumbateman NSW where it had been holding Muscat wine in a solera method. A number of this barrel's siblings were filled with Noel 2018. However, on 9 August 2018, barrel 1842 was filled with freshly fermented Amber Batch #19. We had picked these barrels up very soon after they were emptied and this one in particular was neither washed nor rinsed before filling. Without knowing for what purpose, we left this barrel ageing until during a blending session in early February, it stood out as markedly different than any of the other Muscat barrels, while still maintaining the integrity and balance we seek for our Amber. In a desperate effort to not lose where the barrel was at during that moment, we packaged the beer very soon thereafter.
Upon release Gamma has strong aromatics of sweet berry, vanilla and cellar must with an underlay of the familiar Amber aromatics of chocolate and coffee. The palate evolves with time, opening with dark fruits, forest sap and currant. Its weighty with flavour, but with sufficient acid to keep the finish lighter than the flavours suggest. Along with some of our best blends, this single barrel shows impressive length that lingers with smoky and toasty flavours long after the last sip.
The base beer is brewed entirely with New South Wales cereals: Single Origin (S.O.) Barrellan NSW grown Schooner Munich malt, Binya NSW grown S.O. LaTrobe Vienna malt and Riverina grown chocolate malt from Voyager Craft Malt, as well as Moree NSW grown Gairdner ale malt thanks to Provenance Malt. It is made with filtered Sydney water and Saaz (CZ) hops. Finally, it was fermented with our house culture: brewers yeast, foraged wild yeast and naturally occurring souring bacteria native to New South Wales. It was bottled on 7 February 2019 and naturally conditioned through refermentation for 12 weeks. At bottling it was 6.5% ABV, 18 IBU and 2°P (FG= 1.008 SG).
Like all our beers, Gamma is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).
We have about 200 bottles available with a limit of 4 bottles per customer. Gamma will also be available by the glass poured from bottle at the cellar door while stocks last. Except for special events and festivals, we do not expect this beer to be distributed outside of our cellar door and online shop.