Jon Seltin, head brewer at Bright Brewery in Victoria, has come up with a big barleywine designed to get you through a cold winter.
What beer are you making for GABS?
A big, rye-and-oat heavy barleywine, fermented on new French oak.
Does it have a name yet?
Not yet, but there has been a lot of debate.
Where did the inspiration come from?
This barleywine is an experiment in just how massive we can make the body of a beer, and how complex and layered we can get it. Think big, chewy body, extremely rich and complex malt profile, coconut and vanilla notes from the oak, and layered hop flavour and aroma. We love seasonal brewing in Bright – we crafted this barleywine to help us survive autumn and the winter up here in the mountains.
How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
In this case, heaps. We had to reconfigure our entire brewing set-up to cope with brewing this beer. We brewed using an old technique called parti-gyle brewing where we collected only the strong first wort, and used the weaker second runnings to make a smaller table beer. We actually had to mash in twice just to get enough of these very strong first runnings to make the barleywine – there is over 700kg of malt used in the making of only 1000L the GABS beer.
Does GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
We tend to try to make as many seasonal releases as we possibly can anyway, but we love GABS because it’s an opportunity for us to taste a bunch of exciting new beers, and talk with brewers about new ideas.
Does the spectapular bring out a competitive streak?
Not really. Craft brewing is a really fun, collaborative industry – brewers are more excited about the beers throughout the festival than they are competitive.
Explanation for the unaware: GABS is Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, from May 24-26 this year where brewers make a beer they’ve never made before and bring it along so the punters can try it. Cool, huh?