“Whiskey Barrel Aged”

Whiskey Barrel Aged” is a big, dark, malty Brown Ale aged in whiskey barrels.  It comes in at 9.0% ABV and 27 IBU.  We used a blend of six different malts to give this one notes of sweet dried fruits.  The beer was then aged in whiskey barrels to impart big flavors of vanilla, oak, and whiskey.

As with all of our Brewers’ Select Series, there is only a limited run of 12 oz bottles available exclusively in the Weyerbacher Visitors Center and the rest of the beer is kegged and sent into the market for select bars and restaurants.  Whiskey Barrel Aged is a once-and-done beer like the rest of them.


A Lesson in Labels and Names

We sometimes forget, as brewers, that there are lots of questions our loyal imbibers may have with regard to why some things are the way they are on a given label.  To those that have done this for a long time, it’s just business…   get the labels approved so everyone can get the beer!  But as a reasonably new person in the brewing industry, I often wonder what else goes into it.  I’ve overheard hours of debate about the new labels as we transition the core brands and the rest of the seasonals.  I’ve heard some of the roadblocks and the debates about the challenges to overcome.  This beer presented me with an opportunity to understand a bit more about the seemingly crazy label process and this post gave me an opportunity to pull back the curtain for you…  just a bit.

The phonetic letter for “W” in the NATO alphabet is Whiskey.  This should be no surprise….   nor should it be a surprise to see that it would be difficult to name a beer after another form of alcohol.  It is also no secret that getting a label approved with the feds can be a bit tricky if you have to convey a point and stick within a theme which, in theory, runs against the guidelines for label approval.  We thought it would be difficult to figure out how to make a beer called “Whiskey” but we were delighted to receive prompt approval for the name “Whiskey Barrel Aged”.

What we really didn’t count on was how hard it is to explain this quirk of labels to the  public.  So, herein, we will attempt to set the record straight on what “Whiskey Barrel Aged Ale Aged in Whiskey Barrels” really means and why it is worded like that.

The federal government’s label rules state that your labels must meet many criteria.  With this label we had a significant challenge to overcome:  Use the word “Whiskey” in the actual name of the beer yet still clearly indicate that it is a BEER and not if fact a WHISKEY.  There is a requirement to specifically indicate what the product actually is; words like “Ale” and “Lager” and “Stout” are all accepted names for forms of beer.  Well, Whiskey clearly isn’t.  This is where the “fanciful name” and “statement of process” come in.  A “fanciful name” can be nearly anything so we decided to describe what the beer is AS its name.  We then indicate what it is (ALE) and then follow that up with a “statement of process”.   As you look at the label, it says:

Whiskey Barrel Aged


Why does it look like we had a lesson in redundancy from the Department of Redundancy Department?  Because the “fanciful name” is “Whiskey Barrel Aged”, a description of what our beer is, however the requirement to further indicate it is in fact a BEER and further describe how the beer differs from others follows explaining how we made the beer as the “statement of process”.  Here’s where it gets tricky:  The word “Ale” in this case, can NOT be a part of the “fanciful name”…   hence why the name seems to be a an abruptly ended sentence without a subject.   Confused yet?  Me, too.

SO, ON THAT NOTE:  We bring to you the 23rd installment in our brewers’ Select Series:  Whiskey (barrel aged).  LOL!


Bill Bragg






posted by Bill Bragg in Beers,Brewers Select and have Comments (18)

18 Responses to ““Whiskey Barrel Aged””

  1. [...] TTB label approving process for beer labels, check out Weyerbacher employee Bill Bragg’s post over here. Tagged as: Last Chance IPA, seventeen, sour black, weyerbacher, whiskey [...]

  2. avatar Scott Geosits says:

    Tried this last weekend at the brewery – absolutely love the flavor of this. I will be away the next two weekends but will definitely be stopping back in a few weeks to stock up on this one! Home run!

  3. [...] a blog post from this past Monday, Whiskey Barrel Aged has just been [...]

  4. avatar carrie says:

    I got lucky! Someone brought this to my house yesterday. It’s really amazing and delicious. I can’t believe the notes of whiskey, but it’s still totally and thoroughly a beer. Wish I could bake a chocolate cake with this!

  5. avatar Dan says:

    Insanely good. So smooth and subtle that it has the potential to sneak up on you. Great work!

  6. Please please please please please bring Whiskey Barrel Aged back as at least a seasonal? I’m going through fits that I didn’t pick up more… so good!

  7. avatar tim dean says:

    Love the Whiskey Barrel aged. Looking forward to making another trip from NYC for the next release.

  8. avatar Jennifer says:

    I’d love to pickup some of these bottles!!

  9. avatar Mark says:

    Insanity is great, but Whiskey Barrel Aged is different enough that if you brought it back as a seasonal, I don’t think it would cut into sales of Insanity. For me, this is the best of the Brewers Select series, and I didn’t think you could top Tango!

  10. avatar August West says:

    Broke open my last Case of “Whiskey” last night (started w/3) I must say, this stuff is getting better and better with each passing day in my Cellar. I remember being at the Brewery when it was released (about a year ago right?) and everyone commenting how this was like “Baby Insanity.” Well, I must say, “Whiskey” absolutely stands on it’s own! The flavor is way different from Insanity but just as Incredible!!! Now I need to figure out how I’m going to make the last 23 bottles last. But I guess that kind of defeats the true purpose of it all huh??? CHEERS GUYS!!!

  11. avatar Scott Geosits says:

    Just opened my second to last one of these. Still tastes great a year later.

    Do you happen to remember the grain bill for this? I wanted to try my hand at a similar style… Thanks!

    • avatar Natalie says:

      Hi Scott,
      Grain bill- from largest amount to smallest: Muntons Pale, Muntons Caramalt, Muntons Crystal, Gambrinus Honey Malt, Weyermann Melanoidin Malt, Weyermann Carafa Special.
      Warrior Hops. 16 AA

  12. avatar Scott Geosits says:

    Having two of our last three whiskey barrel aged ales tonight. Still so good…

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