Winter Is Here: Urban Renewal Brewery's Sagittarius Imperial Stout
He rolled the barrels right past the still, along the bottling line, and right out the doors to his brewery. James Moriarty’s newly claimed KOVAL Four Grain barrels were to become the home to store the first barrel-aged project by Urban Renewal Brewery. My time at KOVAL was coming to an end, and Moriarty’s journey with his new brewery was just beginning. He’d already brewed a few beers, including a delicious IPA and Kolsch, but it was now time for him to wait.
More than six months later, Moriarty crossed the fifth floor of the Dank Haus with a opaque beer in a glass. The evening session of Winter Brew was halfway through, and Urban Renewal had just tapped their Sagittarius Imperial Stout. Moriarty handed me the glass. I took a long sip, and immediately recognized flavors from the barrels.
Craft distilleries are routinely scrutinized for their spirits tasting similar because of their widespread use of smaller barrels and shorter age statements. Yes, the barrels Moriarty purchased from KOVAL were 30-gallon casks––aging the four grain mash bill for just over two years. Yet, the whiskey itself, has a delicious mouthfeel of a buttery, creamy spice with a slight smokiness. The aging process added an impressive savory, honey quality to the dried fruit and chocolate tones to the imperial stout.
The selection of casks, the wait, the decision of collaborating with a fellow neighbor in the craft alcohol industry paid off for the newest member of Malt Row.