"Murray's Anniversary Ale is a very big beer that pushes the limits on hops, alcohol and flavour," said Head Brewer, Graeme Mahy. "It's an American-style barley wine with our unique addition of wheat. The wheat adds a spicy character and greatly improves head retention.
"It's also a very quirky and challenging beer to make, combining modern technology with age-old brewing methods. Most popular beers are fermented for only 1-2 weeks, but this beer has spent two months in Merlot Oak casks. Fifty per cent of the beer is aged in used Oak casks, which is then blended with 50 per cent fresh beer, before being bottle conditioned and released."
And with an alcohol content of 10% alc/vol, Murray's Anniversary Ale is intended to be sipped, not skulled, cautions Graeme.
"This is a beer that should be savoured in the same spirit as a special wine and can be set aside to age," said brewery owner and company namesake, Murray Howe. "With a limited release of around 800 bottles, we're expecting the Anniversary Ale to be popular with home brewers, real beer lovers and adventurous wine connoisseurs."
Murray explained that while he expects the Anniversary Ale to represent only a fraction of the company's sales, he considers it to be one of his brewers' highest achievements so far, and essential in the fight against bland beers. "It epitomises the spirit of our company - brewing interesting and adventurous beers that we love to drink! The brewers relish the challenge of making such an extreme beers, while I'm confident beer lovers will relish the opportunity to taste something that's world class, locally brewed, and so different."
With its huge character, high alcohol content and bottle conditioning, Murray's Anniversary Ale can be enjoyed now, or cellared for up to 10 years from release. With a recommended retail price of $30, Murray's Anniversary Ale will be sold in 750ml champagne bottles and available direct from the Pub, online or through select premium beer outlets in Sydney and Newcastle from February.