The Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh recently launched its first Barrel Aged Jack's Winter Ale (Special Edition). Although Jack's Winter Ale has been appearing regularly every winter for 11 years, this is the first time a barrel-aged version was produced.
Earlier, Shapiro issued its regular Jack's Winter Ale for 2022. [Read about that excellent beer here.] But don't confuse them. That was not barrel-aged. The barrel-aged version has the words right on the label. In fact, it is last winter's (2021) edition that slept for 11 months in ex-whisky barrels from the Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv. While it slept, some of the liquid evaporated through the barrel, boosting the alcoholic volume from 8.5% to 10.2%.
This powerful beer pours out a dark ruby color with a thin head and no visible carbonation. You're overwhelmed by sweet aromas of whisky, caramel, vanilla, and of course, oak wood. On the palate, there is a balance between the whisky bitterness and the sweet caramel from the hops, backed with flavors of molasses, prunes, raisins, and who knows what other dried fruits. As the beer warms up in your glass, expect more flavors to emerge.
The mouthfeel brings a medium body, still carbonation and alcoholic warmth, fading to a lingering, smooth, whisky-bitter finish. People tasting this beer for the first time may find it inexplicable, but it is to our pride that such beers are now made in Israel.