Barrel-aged beers are a bit like time capsules. As time marches on in the outside world, the boozy wood slowly imparts flavors and aromas inside the cask until the brew is eventually done. In the case of Green Flash’s Ochre Frumento, a lot happened during the six years it was sleeping.
When this brandy and bourbon barrel-aged barley wine first hit the wood, Anthony Weiner was still a year away from his first sexting scandal. Goose Island was still a privately-owned craft brewery and Four Loko was the bro nectar of choice. The Black Eyed Peas were gaining speed for their big shark jump with “Imma Be,” and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was killing it at the box office. Speaking of the boy wizard, the name of this beer sounds like a Potterverse spell that will land you with the dementors in Azkaban for completely incapacitating your opponent.
Freshly extracted from its cask coma by barrel-aging guru Pat Korn, Ochre Frumento is the second entry in Green Flash’s Barrelmaster’s Reserve series of micro releases. It would be appropriate to pour this rich brown barley wine into a snifter, because aromas of brandy and bourbon are the first things that hit your nose. Don your favorite smoking jacket, park yourself by a roaring fireplace and engage in an appropriate amount of swirling to unlock the flavors of this complex brew. Your first sips are definitely brandy-forward, but caramel, toffee and stone fruit emerge as it warms up.
Clocking in at a whopping 17.5%, this liquid haymaker is the biggest beer that Green Flash has ever released, which is why it’s packaged in a convenient 750ml fun size. Seriously…share it with a friend or two. I made the genius decision of drinking this one during a fantasy football draft, which probably explains my decision to enter the season with Jameis Winston as my starting quarterback. Despite the heavy punch and spirit-forward flavor, Ochre Frumento doesn’t have an excessive amount of burn from the barrels.
If you’re hoping to try this beer and you live outside of Southern California, your best bet is to make friends with a San Diegan, as the only place to buy an allotment from the 600-bottle batch will be at the brewery’s Cellar 3 facility on September 17. With a 2-bottle limit and a $24 price tag, expect it to go relatively quickly, as the first entry in the series only lasted a few hours before it sold out.
Brewery: Green Flash
City: San Diego, Calif.
Style: Barley wine aged in brandy and bourbon barrels for six years
Availability: Extremely limited. One-day release of 600 bottles on September 17