It may be a bit more than two months into 2020, but that is not stopping Surly Brewing Co. from shipping one of its most anticipated releases from last year.
Barrel-Aged Darkness 2019 is a 12 percent ABV barrel-aged version of the Minneapolis-based brewery’s Darkness Russian imperial stout that has been aged in rye whiskey barrels and packaged in 750ml bottles. The base Darkness stout is brewed with pale ale, golden promise, crystal, dark crystal, oats, black, chocolate, and roast malts, as well as Amarillo, Columbus, and Simcoe hops plus Belgian dark candi sugar.
View this post on Instagram
When we ask the brewers what the timeline is on the barrel-aged version of Darkness, the response is usually “It’s ready when it’s ready” or “Quit f—ing asking, Stu.” The good news: It’s ready. This special edition of our massive Russian imperial stout matures in rye whiskey barrels, lending it notes of chocolate, vanilla, dried fruit, and cherry, all enhanced by the oak and spice of the barrel. In stores beginning this week. #surlybrewing #darkness #barrelaged #shutupstu
Interestingly, for the past few years the barrel-aged version of the base stout has been sold in the first few months of the new year following the release of the regular version of Darkness at the brewery’s annual Darkness Day. In fact, four different versions were released during Darkness Day 2019 that took place on Sept. 27-28 at the Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wis. The four variants conditioned on different adjuncts were:
- Darkness 2019
- Double Stuffed Darkness 2019 aged in rum barrels
- Molé Darkness 2019 aged in bourbon barrels
- Darkness Old Fashioned 2019 aged in rye whiskey barrels
The Darkness series started in 2007 and has featured a different monster on the bottle every year since it was first released. This year’s monster is a “six-limbed savage” drawn by artist Tim Chapman, while past years’ label art have included depictions of “a screeching bat nightmare,” a mummy, the Devil, a vampire, a werewolf and the Grim Reaper.
In addition, Surly has already announced the artist who will be producing the art for next year’s release, namely Minneapolis-based comic artist Barbara Guttman, whose work has appeared in publications by Vertigo, IDW, Dark Horse, and Image Comics.
According to a post on Surly’s website, Barrel-Aged Darkness 2019 is packaged in 22-ounce bottles that are now shipping to retailers across Surly’s distribution network.