Variants add intrigue to barrel-aged stout releases. Fun add-ons to the base stout let brewers get creative and give beer fans more flavor options. Third Space Brewing found a way to better highlight variants last winter when it released Deconstructed Dessert: Mocha Pie, a barrel-aged stout that was broken down into stouts highlighting its singular ingredients over several weeks. The stout variants culminated with a mix of all five to create the fully formed Mocha Pie on the last week of the release.
This year’s version is German Chocolate Cake, and the first two beers in the series are being released on Saturday (Oct. 30) at Third Space. The Beer, the base barrel-aged stout, and The Chocolate, the base beer with chocolate added, are available for presale and on tap over the weekend at Third Space. The Vanilla, The Coconut, The Pecan and the full German Chocolate Cake will follow. If the first two beers in the series are a good indicator, the German Chocolate Cake Stout won’t disappoint.
“The Deconstructed Dessert concept was born out of necessity during the pandemic in 2020, but we loved the concept so much we have decided to make it a recurring series,” said Third Space co-founder Andy Gehl. “In 2020, the goal was to spread the releases out over multiple weeks to avoid crowding in the brewery and to provide our guests a more convenient process to guarantee themselves each beer without having to wait in line for hours on a single release day. People loved trying the different variations of the same barrel-aged beer and comparing how different additions affected the flavors and aromas in the beer. I think they especially enjoyed trying the single variants and then also seeing how all of the ingredients came together in the final dessert variant.”
I was lucky enough to get a sample of both of this week’s releases, and after tasting them I expect that all of the beers in this year’s six-variant series will be worth the trip to the Menomonee Valley.
The Beer: The base imperial stout has been aged in bourbon barrels for six months. It is slightly boozy with hints of coffee and dark chocolate, and it has a tinge of stout bitterness. It’s good by itself, but because it’s not overly rich it should also work very well as a base beer when combined with some of the sweeter ingredients that were added.
The Chocolate: Go figure, chocolate is big here. But it’s a nicely balanced, rich dark chocolate flavor that isn’t cloyingly sweet. There’s a fair amount of booze going on too, but that’s a good thing. If The Chocolate is any indicator, beers in this series should be in demand.
Preorder for each four-pack of cans begins two weeks before each release date. The beers will also be on tap at noon on the release dates. All six will be on tap on Dec. 18.
“On the final release day, guests will be able to try a flight of all six beers side-by-side,” added Gehl. “However, we don’t expect we will have any cans of these first two beers by the time Dec. 18 rolls around, so we highly recommend people come by this weekend to pick up the first two variants.”
Saturday, Oct. 30
The Beer. The base beer is a Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for six months.
The Chocolate. The Beer with cacao added.
Friday, Nov. 26
The Vanilla. The Beer with vanilla bean.
The Coconut. The Beer with coconut added.
Saturday, Dec. 18
The Pecan. The Beer with pecan.
The German Chocolate Cake. The Beer with chocolate, vanilla, coconut and pecan added.