Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon) has officially announced that the 2019 edition of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout will have a special companion when it releases in February: the inaugural release of Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey.
In what is basically a circle of life, “can’t have one without the other” kind of situation, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is aged in barrels – handcrafted at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works facility – that were soaked with whiskey that would eventually go on to become Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey. The process that Rogue employs to create these two incredibly special offerings is quite lengthy, goes hand-in-hand, and spans the breadth of the company from Rogue Farms to the brewery to the distillery and cooperage. It basically breaks down like this:
- Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey starts with barley grown and harvested at Rogue Farms
- That barley is brewed into wash and distilled into whiskey
- While Master Distiller Brian Pribyl is distilling the whiskey, Rogue cooper (barrel-maker) Nate Linquist makes a barrel out of Oregon Oak (Quercus garryana)
- The whiskey is aged one year in these Rolling Thunder Barrel Works barrels.
Towards the end of that aging period, Brewmaster John Maier brews his imperial stout.
- Brian’s whiskey is then transferred to new barrels and John’s imperial stout is transferred to the whiskey-soaked barrels. After nine months, the beer is pulled and released as Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout.
- The original whiskey is put back into the whiskey- and stout-soaked barrels for an additional two years of aging.
- Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey, the final product of all this hard work and time is hand-bottled in hand-numbered bottles and topped with a hand-branded topper.
**This information was sourced directly from Rogue’s press release**
This laborious project ultimately yields a Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey that offers “subtle aromas of smoke and sea air” alongside a flavor profile boasting “notes of dark cocoa, toffee and dried fruit and a coffee and grain finish.” Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey (48.5% ABV/97 PROOF) is available in limited quantities nationally in hand-numbered 750ml bottles.
Rogue President Dharma Tamm explains how the Rolling Thunder family of products sets Rogue apart from other craft breweries and distilleries:
““As the only farmer-brewer-distiller-cooper in the world, we are the only company who can create Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey completely in house. We grow ingredients we use to brew and distill and make the barrels we age those products in. As Rogues, we are excited by the possibility of creating things by hand that no one has the patience to do.”
The 2019 release of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (14.4% ABV) has also emerged from a rest in whiskey-soaked barrels to feature “prominent notes of chocolate and coffee that complement the flavors of whiskey-soaked Oregon Oak.” Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2019) will officially release in February and will be available as long as supplies last. You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in hand-numbered 500ml bottles at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution area. Prost!