The newest version of Surly Brewing Co.’s Barrel-Aged Darkness stout is now shipping to retailers.
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 and Belgian dark candi sugar.
Although a label filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) shows 2019 as the year, the Barrel-Aged Darkness being shipped now 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 2018 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 2018 was 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.
According to a post on Surly’s Facebook page, Barrel-Aged Darkness 2019 is packaged in 22-ounce bottles that are now shipping to retailers across Surly’s distribution network.