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A trick overhead valve conversion was the ticket to victory in the day, transforming side valve racing engines by tripling power output through cunning design.
We've taken this same approach when brewing our limited-run 9% ABV barley wine. We doubled the quantity of grain in the mash tun, with the first sparge producing a wonderfully heavy, rich and malty wort that is deep and complex in flavour. We've then aged this beer in vintage whisky casks (borrowed from our friends over at the Oxford Artisan Distillery) for six months before carbonating and bottling by hand.
This process isn't one for every day. It's time consuming and we best keep the accountants from studying the grain invoices too carefully, but every so often we like to let our brewers loose. The result is a strong yet sublimely smooth ale with notes of vanilla on the nose and warming hints of porty whisky to finish.
Open a bottle and share it in the garage with good friends, musing over your own overhead valve conversion and the many victories to come next summer.