Lakefront Brewery’s Black Friday Lineup Includes a $100 Beer and We Tried It

What to expect from Lakefront Brewery’s Black Friday lineup

On Black Friday (Nov. 29), Lakefront Brewery is hosting its most ambitious beer release yet with five different barrel-aged brews. The lineup includes what just may prove to be the most sought-after beer any local craft brewer has produced.

The highlight of the day is Black Friday V, an imperial stout that’s been aging in brandy barrels for more than five years. There are roughly just 250 of the 750-milliliter bottles available with a hefty price tag of $100 each.

Milwaukee Magazine executive editor Chris Drosner and I were part of a group invited to Lakefront Brewery to give a bottle of the rare brew, and four more available variants, a try. Here’s what we thought of Black Friday V, and the rest of the barrel-aged collection, which includes 2019 Black Friday Stout, 2017 Rye Barrel-Aged Black Friday, 2019 Fruit Cake Black Friday aged in rum barrels and 2019 Black Friday Barleywine.

Bottle of Lakefront Black Friday V
Photo courtesy of Lakefront Brewery

Black Friday V

DM: Should we start with the big one?

CD: Yeah, I think so. I had some questions about this beer. I couldn’t find any beer that was aged in spirit barrels this long. The obvious question was why? Which I think is a legitimate question. Is it just not good?

DM: I was curious too, but the barrel really played well here. It’s a huge factor in aroma and flavor.

CD: Some of the concerns you’d have would be oxidation. There was some of that, but not in a way that hurt the beer. That barrel character was so intense – a huge, long vanilla finish. It’s just amazing.

DM: Yeah, I got big barrel notes, hint of tobacco, those sort of things. And the mouthfeel is significantly thicker than most. Lakefront said they lost 40% of the beer due to evaporation, and you can tell.

CD: The big question with a $100 bottle of beer, is “is it worth it?” I’d say yes. And this is a beer that you can share. It didn’t seem ridiculous to spend $100 on this beer.

DM: It’s unique. It’s extremely complex and balanced. But the one thing I’d stress is to drink it now.

CD: Yes. It has aged long enough.

Lakefront Brewery Black Friday V

The Variants

CD: Let’s start at the base, the new Black Friday. I don’t drink it very often, but every time I do I think, “damn, that’s really good.” It’s chocolate, boozy and pretty damn close to the perfect really big barrel-aged stout. We had the two-year old rye barrel version first, and I thought that was really good.

DM: Yeah, I’ve never been disappointed by standard Black Friday. I thought this one had a little bit of heat, but it’s ready drink now too.

CD: But, if I’m buying two, I’m putting one down for sure.

DM: I liked the rye variant too, the hint of rye spice was great.

CD: Two years in a barrel, especially a rye barrel, is a long time. It comes through. There’s a really intense oak/vanilla character, but a spicy note at the finish that’s great. It showcased the base beer really well without overwhelming it.

DM: I’m usually partial to rye barrel-aged beers anyway for that reason. It was excellent.

CD: As far as the barleywines go, let’s start with the standard version. First off, it’s beautiful. Copper and bright. Not something you think about a lot with a beer like this, but it’s gorgeous.

DM: I’m on the record with the fact that barleywines aren’t always my favorite, but I loved the big toffee flavor and the fact it was a little boozy.

CD: I thought it was a lot boozy, but it had that caramel, dark fruit and big malt character that’s so good with those beers. I would sit this one down for six months to a year, but I thought it was great today too.

DM: I was a fan of the Fruit Cake. The rum barrel came through at end and I liked the cherry hint. It was a nice surprise.

CD: I thought the fruit and base beer melded together very well. It all worked together. But it didn’t taste distinctly “barleywiney” to me. Where the Black Friday Barleywine was an exceptional barleywine.

Want to try for yourself?

Get to Lakefront Brewery early on Nov. 29. Sales start at 8 a.m. Here are the details:


Buy up to eight bottles of various Black Friday beers with no more than one of 2014, two of the Barleywine, two of the Fruit Cake, two of the Black Friday aged in Rye Barrels or up to four of the regular Black Friday bottles to make eight.

Black Friday V

Bottle Amount: 250 | Price: $100 | Limit: 1

2019 Black Friday Imperial Stout

Bottle Amount: 5,000 | Price: $20

2017  Black Friday Rye

Bottle Amount: 2,000 | Price: $20

2019 Black Friday Barleywine

Bottle Amount: 3,000 | Price: $20

2019 Black Friday Fruit Cake Strong Ale

Bottle Amount: 3,000 | Price: $20

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the type of spirit barrel Black Friday V was aged in.



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.