Today is the penultimate day of the Beer Advent Calendar, and it is also my birthday! Because of that I always self-indulge a bit for the 23rd day of the calendar and select a beer that I personally would like to drink rather than a strict Christmas-themed beer. Accordingly, today I’ve picked a beer than is just over-the-top and is one of my favorite styles, from Portland, Oregon’s Gigantic Brewing: their MASSIVE! Barleywine. Other than Gigantic’s flagship IPA, this is the only beer they brew every year, and it’s quite a brew:
MASSIVE! Barleywine is released every year. What makes this beer so distinctive, and gives it the great depth of flavor, is the 8 hour long boil technique. The kettle at Gigantic is heated by a burner, essentially a blow torch under the kettle. This high heat caramelizes the wort, and the long boil intensifies that caramelization. The recipe changes every year, using different malts and hops, but the technique remains the same.
That’s right: the boil is 8 to 9 hours long! That borders on a ridiculous amount of effort for a commercial beer, but if you would like to try brewing a version at home Gigantic helpfully offers up a recipe for you.
MASSIVE! comes in at 12% alcohol by volume, and in 2013 they released a bourbon barrel aged version clocking in at a massive (pun intended) 13.5%. I have a bottle of MASSIVE! in the “cellar” but to be honest I don’t remember if it’s a regular or the barrel aged version.
Cheers to a MASSIVE! holiday!