It turns out that Surly Brewing Co. has at least one more variant of its 2018 Barrel-Aged Darkness stout to release, but fans won’t see it until April of next year.
Rye Barrel-Aged Darkness 2018 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.
Barrel-Aged Darkness 2017—which was actually released in February of this year—was aged in rye whiskey barrels that previously held High West Rye whiskey.
Although a label filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) shows 2019 as the year, the Rye Barrel-Aged Darkness being released in April is actually the 2018 version. In fact, for the past couple of years the barrel-aged version of the 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.
However, unlike in years past, Darkness Day 2018 also included three different barrel-aged Darkness variants:
- 2018 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cherry Vanilla Darkness (12 percent ABV) — Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with cherry and vanilla beans added
- 2018 Rum Barrel-Aged Coconut Darkness (12 percent ABV) — Russian imperial stout aged in rum barrels with coconut added
- 2018 Fernet Darkness (12 percent ABV) — Russian imperial stout aged in Tattersall Fernet barrels
The Darkness Series started in 2007 and has featured a different monster on the bottle every year since it was first released. Past years’ label art have included depictions of Baba Yaga, “a screeching bat nightmare,” a mummy, the Devil, a vampire, a werewolf and the Grim Reaper. The monster for this year is the Minotaur, a mythical creature in Greek mythology that is portrayed with the head of a bull and the body of a man, with art produced by Michael Iver Jacobsen.
In an email, Tiffany Jackson, pr and communications manager for Surly, told Tenemu that Rye Barrel-Aged Darkness 2018 will be packaged in 22-ounce bottles that are currently scheduled to be shipped to retailers “across all Surly markets” in April 2019.
Update (Dec. 12, 2018) — This post was updated to include release details and distribution information. It was originally published on Dec. 11, 2018.