Epic starts not with the brew kettle, but earlier, when the Roots men smoke 55 pounds of Munich malt in a smoker of their own creation ("a special stainless perforated contraption"). The fuel for the fire is cherry wood that has been soaked in 18-year-old Glenlivet, cognac, rum, as well as cherries. They spend a week smoking the malt, hand turning 3-pound batches every 15 minutes for four hours. They use a massive amount of malt to brew the beer, resulting in a 14%, 80 IBU monster ale.
Maybe it’s just me, but that’s just mouth-watering.
This is one of the new breed of American strong/extreme/call-’em-what-you-want beers, sounding truly worthy of the name. This year Roots is selling 22-ounce bombers—very limited in quantity, but $22 a bottle!—and larger Magnums. Otherwise, you can only get it on tap at Roots in Portland, Oregon.
Of course, I’m sure scarcity adds to the cachet. But I’m picking it anyway.