La Boussole is the first release from our barrel ageing program.
Its a very limited edition, as we have released 600 bottles only. They will be available at Frenchies and in our usual bottle shops from Friday 26 July.
La Boussole (the Compass) was explorer Lapérouses first ship. All our Biere de Garde are named after Lapérouses epic explorations. Like a compass this beer will show you the way into our barrel aged beers.
La Boussole is the barrel aged version of our Astrolabe. Back in January, we sourced 3 French oak barrels from the Bird in Hand winery in Adelaide Hills.
As we took them back to the brewery we gave a good rinse to 2 of them to get most of the Shiraz flavour out. We kept one still wet of Shiraz, curious to see how will impact the beer and keen to impart some shiraz tones.
We then casted 400L of freshly fermented Astrolabe into 2 barrels, a clean one and a shiraz soaked one. Before filling the last barrel we clarified the Astrolabe in the stainless steel tank. This means that the last barrel would have bright beer with no yeast left. We then had 600L of beer in 3 barrels, each having its own character.
Barrel 1: clean barrel, beer with yeast
Barrel 2: Shiraz soaked, beer with yeast
Barrel 3: Clean barrel, clean beer
As we filled the barrels we inoculated them with fresh brettanomyces, pediococcus and lactobacillus. Those 3 strains would bring extra complexity, depth and acidity to the beer.
The beer sat in those barrels all summer, slowly maturing, extracting oak flavour, souring and forming new flavours through the work of the microorganism we pitched. In spring we were happy with the amount of oak flavour in each barrel. We started running blending trials to achieve the best flavour.
Finally a little after 3 month in barrels we blended, primed and bottled the lot. It took a good month to referment in the bottle at ambient temperature. But a few more month were needed to refine the aromas and flavours. Early June we tasted the first bottles during GABS. We were blown away how much it had evolved. We thought, if it has gone that far since bottling, let’s leave it one more month to see how far can still go!
Frenchies La Boussole is a beer for storing, and just keeps improving over the years like a fine wine. This dark red beer displays wonderful aromas of caramel, apple, rhubarb, cherries and malt. On the palate you will find hints of apple and cherries, combined with woody notes, while the aftertaste hints at nuts and dried raisins. With a mildly acidic taste this beer fits perfectly on the dining table to go with juicy beef rib eye, roasted duck breast, venison and blue cheese.