Each year Byron Bay’s Stone and Wood brewery makes a batch of “stone” beer, emulating a technique from the middle ages. The brewers heats large stones on a wood fire, then drops the stones into the kettle.
Brewer Brad Rogers writes, “apart from the obvious heating effects, the brewing stones also caramelised the brew to create subtle but rich toffee-like flavours”.
Rogers adds that as they make just one batch of stone beer a year, “you have a long time to contemplate the results of your efforts, and take those learnings and start to formulate what evolutionary steps the next year’s creation will involve”.
The evolutionary steps in 2011 included variations to the malt selection, boosting the toffee character, and adjustments to the hopping regime (Tettnang and Hallertau varieties), countering the extra maltiness. It worked. See the review below.
Stone and Wood Stone Beer 2011 500ml $9.90
This small-batch, one-off, copper-coloured brew leads with toffee, roasted grain and spicy hops aroma. The smoothly textured palate reflects the aroma, delivering rich, toffee-like malt flavours with a roasted grain edge and assertive, but well balanced, clean hops bitterness.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 2 November 2011 in The Canberra Times