Exclusive: Guinness Is Rolling Out a Bourbon Barrel–Aged Beer for the Holidays

Guinness Stock Ale
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Guinness’ innovative U.S. brewery is releasing a new ale aged in bourbon barrels before the end of the year. Baltimore-based Open Gate Brewery will release a limited supply of Guinness Stock Ale. The cool part? It’s aged in Bulleit Bourbon barrels.

Stock Ale is a blend of two existing Guinness beers: Guinness Barleywine and Guinness Imperial Stout. They were brewed and aged separately in bourbon barrels, and blended afterwards to create a bold, potent beer—the kind of bottle you want to open just as the temperatures start to drop.

The term “stock ale” is one of beer’s more ambiguous definitions, but, generally speaking, it refers to high-ABV beers that were usually designed for long-term aging, often in casks, so it’s a fitting experiment for a brewery that, for many years of its existence, shipped its beers worldwide using wooden barrels.

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“One of the really cool things about brewing a stock ale,” Senior Open Gate Brewer Sean Brennan tells Men’s Journal, “is that you actually get to brew two completely separate beers with unique traits and their own identities, and then blend them together to create a beer that takes on some of both, but also has a life of its own. When you consider all of the flavors coming from the wood of the barrels thanks to Bulleit’s subtle spice and oaky richness, there’s a lot of powerful influences to take note of and process in the final beer. As we say: It’s one to sip.”

Guinness Stock Ale aged in Bulleit Bourbon barrels
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The new stock ale weighs in at a staggering 10 percent ABV. According to Guinness, you’ll notice aromas of coffee, ripe fruit and vanilla, and notes of nutty chocolate, raisins, roasted barley, and sweet dark fruit on the palate.

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This is Guinness’ second barrel-aged beer for the U.S. market: Last year, the brewery released a batch of its stout, which was also aged in Bulleit barrels (Bulleit is also owned by Guinness parent company Diageo). This is also the second Guinness special release this season. Last month, Guinness released its first American-made Over the Moon Milk Stout to limited markets.

This new Guinness Stock Ale, however, will be available nationwide in extremely limited quantities, unlike the regionally released Milk Stout. You can order the Stock Ale starting November 7 at the Brewery and around Baltimore for International Stout Day. And you can pick up some four-packs when it reaches the national markets on November 15, just in time to stock up for some holiday gatherings.

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