The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

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Barrel aging beer isn’t just a hot new fad in the beverage world but a century’s old tradition that requires time, dedication and an amazing amount of skill. Learn firsthand the art and science behind crafting a complex and nuanced barrel aged beer.

Students will learn the history of barrel aging beer and how the process works; including how the anatomy of a barrel contributes to the flavors of a beer and the subtle art of blending barrels. Class will be held in the Goose Island brewery’s wine barrel warehouse and student will get the opportunity to sample aging beer directly from the barrels. The unique qualities and life cycles of yeast strains and bacteria cultures that are used in barrel aging will be discussed at length.

Class content is intended for the more advanced beer enthusiast but even the fledgling beer fan will leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of barrel aged beer.

Student Reviews

5 | 7 reviews
  • Default user photo
    Frank C.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    Very informative and tasty educational experience. Mainly focused around barrel-aging facility with emphasis on "classroom" time. As a homebrewer, I wish there was more of a hands-on teaching aspect, but I understand with health codes and all, why that is not possible. Kudos to Suzanne and the crew for putting on such a good time.

  • Default user photo
    William G.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    This class was really interesting and enjoyable. A must for Beer Nerds, but seems like it'd be enjoyed by anybody.

  • Default user photo
    Viktoria R.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    This class not only explained the stages beers go through while aging in barrels, it gave us an opportunity to taste beers in 3 different stages of aging in both bourbon and wine barrels. This was a great way to learn about which beers may be better suited to which types of barrels, as well as a tasty way to learn to identify different flavors that the wood imparts at various stages in the process. Starting out on the brew deck, as well has having class in the wine barrel warehouse were both nice touches!

  • Default user photo
    Tarsicio D.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    Awesome class for anyone with an interest in barrel aging beers. Either from a homebrewer point of view or just an avid fan of barrel aged beers. You get information for both Bourbon barrel aging as well as wine barrel aging for sour beers.

  • Thumb bti photo
    Marty N.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    The class was fairly laid back and most of the information I was expecting was eventually covered, but I would have preferred a bit more structure.

  • Default user photo
    Donald A.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    Fantastic class! Excellent overview of Goose Islands Barrel Aging program, and sampling of beers from different barrels.

    Highly recommended.

  • Thumb fkr
    Jeremy R.
    The Art & Science of Barrel Aging Beer

    For the distinguished and discerning Craft beer connoisseur this was a great adventure into the Barrel Age beer process. And. A few good drinks too !

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Suzanne Wolcott

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Suzanne is the Head of Education for Goose Island Brewery; a position that requires the tedious job of tasting beer all day and then talking about it ;) Before starting her career in the brewing industry, Suzanne worked in specialty food retail as a managing cheese monger, restaurant consultant, and craft beer buyer. She is an avid homebrewer and home cheese maker and has earned the titles of Certified Cicerone® and Certified Cheese Professional.® With numerous beer-centric trips to Belgium, England, and Ireland already under her belt, she continues to seek experiences that will expand her knowledge of all things food and drink.