A Night to End All Dawns


August of 2011, at least in the Kane Brewing universe, seems like an eternity ago. We had just delivered our first handful of kegs, had half the employees we have now, and had only brewed each of our styles once. In retrospect it seems very ambitious to have brewed as one of those early batches a massive imperial stout. A metric ton of grain went into the mash, 120 pounds of Belgian candi sugar into the kettle and, having just arrived on our loading dock, 12 bourbon barrels express-shipped from Kentucky awaited the finished product.

The brew day was exciting, despite knowing another eternity awaited releasing the finished product. You cannot “brew” a barrel aged beer of course, you have to brew a beer and, depending on your desired result, age it…and age it…and age it some more. And in the case of A Night to End All Dawns, we had some very specific goals that required a significant amount of aging.

We are not the first to brew an imperial stout and age it in bourbon barrels of course, but we knew we could still put our stamp on the style. The long term aging means that while familiar barrel aged stout flavors remain, they are smoother and more subtle than you might expect, and the addition of Belgian candi sugar adds another dimension not typically encountered when exploring these complex beers. The notes on the back of the bottle sum it up:

A Night To End All Dawns began life as an imperial stout and was transformed into a massive dark ale during 15 months spent in bourbon barrels. The extended aging allowed seasonal temperature fluctuations in the barrels to draw bold flavors from the oak that can only develop with time. The heat of the bourbon gave way to a subtle caramel sweetness, and the bold, sharp edges of the roasted malt mellowed and married with notes of vanilla and oak. Belgian Candi Sugar in the kettle created a layer of dark fruit complexity and a dry finish.

We call A Night to End All Dawns an “Imperial Dark Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels” because of these unique characteristics. It is certainly recognizable as an imperial stout that was aged in bourbon barrels, but the process by which we brewed it, aged it, and bottled it makes it an experience all its own.

750 ml bottles are available now during regular tasting room hours at the brewery and are shipping out to bottle shops this week. We will post updated lists of stores receiving cases on our facebook page.

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