Rough Draughts: Copper Kettle’s Well Bred Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is Very Well-To-Do

Copper Kettle's Well Bred

The “barleywine” beer style dates back to the 18th century, developed in England as a special drink for aristocrats. The upper class thumbed its collective nose at the peasants below them, reserving this deliciously strong and complex brew for themselves¹. Thankfully you won’t have to prove your lineage to enjoy a glass of Copper Kettle Brewing‘s new Well Bred Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

Although its name is tongue-in-cheek to pay tribute to the barleywine’s history, Well Bred is indeed a very well made beer. The third beer to be bottled by Copper Kettle and second in its Barrel Aged series, this English-style barleywine is amongst many brewed before by Copper Kettle but is the first to be aged in Breckenridge bourbon barrels and bottled.

Well Bred pours a perfect tawny copper color, with a nose of sweet malt mixed with smooth bourbon. With less hoppiness than an American barleywine and having been aged for nearly a year, there is little bitterness to notice despite its 75 IBUs. What is left is a perfect marriage between bourbon that kisses your tongue and sweet malty vanilla and caramel characteristics that excite all of your taste buds. And for 10.2% ABV, this treat of a beer is incredibly smooth. If you’re a fan of port wine, try savoring a pour in a snifter glass after a nice filet or Colorado lamb dinner. Whatever you do, don’t rush your enjoyment – Well Bred is best consumed slowly, with the bourbon and notes of dry fruit becoming more pronounced as the beer warms.

Well Bred is slated to be a fall seasonal, being released around GABF each year. But you don’t have to wait until next October to enjoy this beauty, as Copper Kettle is releasing a small amount of bottles for purchase this Saturday, December 14th at 12PM noon at Copper Kettle’s brewery and taproom (1338 South Valentia Street, Suite #100, Denver, CO 80247). I recommend getting at least two if you can, as this beer will age beautifully over the next year or so. And arrive early, as there are less than 500 bottles available and only one keg will be served.


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¹ “A Winter’s Ale” by Michael Cogliantry

About Shea Suski

Transportation planner by trade, craft beer and BBQ enthusiast by life. And scotch. Oh, and live music. Maybe some biking and hiking between beers. He'll beat you at bowling too.