Nine years ago, Barrelworks unleashed its first bottled offering – Feral One. In the years since, the beer has become our celebratory anniversary release, and it’s our ode to the terroir of fermentation and those traditional farmhouse beers found in the lambic brewing regions of Belgium. This year’s release of Feral One is now available for a limited time in 750mL bottles at our three California locations and our online store.
Ahead of the beer drop, we sat down with Barrelworks Master Blender Jim Crooks to learn more about Feral One and discover why it has become an annual release to mark another year of beer blending. Keep reading for more.
Jim explained: “Feral One presents itself as an idea. We start with a specific spicy aroma, one of musky citrus rind and pith, melded with fresh hay. These distinctive flavors are what define a chosen Feral One barrel from the 1,800+ barrels we have at our facility. These are flavors that are inspired by the famous Lambic Geueze beers centered around the brewing area of Brussels, Belgium.”
“This flavor could be described as a lean, bracing earthiness, followed by freshly zested lemon rind layered on oaky vanillas with a dry finish,” Jim continued.
The team at Barrelworks is always tasting barrels, keeping their most important tool – their palettes – at work. Throughout the year, they earmark barrels they find stunning for their individual character and set it aside for Feral One. When time permits, all reserved barrels are removed from their lofty racks and returned to the floor for retasting.
Jim explained: “Sometimes, barrels that initially had pure Feral One character evolved from their peak “lambic” state, and are no longer ideal for the beer. On the flip side, sometimes the barrels that were leaning towards this character blossom beautifully.”
— Jim Crooks
In a pure sense, Feral One is created from putting beer in a barrel and letting time work its magic, to the point where that barrel is ‘discovered’ to be in its sweet spot of aroma, flavor, and harmony.
This year’s release, landing at 6.6% ABV, utilized a unique blend of beers aged between 36 and 48 months in specially selected oak barrels. The 2022 Feral One is a blend of:
- 60% Wild, Unfiltered DBA
- 15% Lil Opal
- 15% Flanders Red
- 10% Pivo Pilsner