Billionaire Pierre Ferrand
Tasting: June 25, 2015
Style: Barley Wine Aged in Cognac Barrels
Beer # 765
The number of breweries in the United States is fast approaching 4,000. A far cry from 1983 when there were only 80 breweries operated by just 59 brewers. I was twenty at the time and I can tell you that most of the beer in 1983 was simply carbon copies of the same style – American lager. If you wanted something different, you’d be lucky to find some German import.
While the craft beer revolution was born out of the clamoring for something different, I’m finding most of the new breweries popping up are not cutting new ground but rather carving another era of the carbon copy model. Sure, there are the Grimm Artisan Ales and Other Half Brewing but for each one of those we get ten breweries that crank out the 5.5 % ABV pale ale and maybe something like a black wheat or a blond Belgian ale. Ho-hum. Look around – shelves are littered with these types of beers and with 4,000 breweries the competition grows everyday.
In a market where one needs to stand out, brewers are introducing (or re-introducing old styles) from wild ales, kolsch, gose, adding fruits, spices and much more. This bottle of Billionaire Pierre Ferrand is a great example. We’ve seen a number of barrel-aged beer and this version takes a very good barley wine in Billionaire and ages it for six months in barrels used to age thirty-year old Cognac from legendary producer – Pierre Ferrand. I bought this bottle for $11. Good luck with your mediocre 5.5% pale ales and the sea of other mediocre 5.5% pale ales waiting for a someone to come along and “try” it out. There are way too many options to be ordinary.
Anyway, let me get down off my soap box before I hurt myself.
From the label:
What could be more distinguished than our Director of Operations, Matt Smith, gracing a billion dollar bill with a smirk and a neck beard? You! With this rich beer in your belly. The Billionaire is an English Style Barleywine Ale, aged for six months in 30 year old Cognac barrels we got from friends at Pierre Ferrand. Here’s to rare beer wishes and caviar dreams!
I get cherries, brown sugar, raisins and some nutmeg. Does have some booziness. I’m not a cognac drinker but I suspect that cherry and nutmeg are the barrel influence. Not thick and syrupy but has a nice body. Really smooth and turned out to be an all night sipper. I have another bottle to age and I’ll circle back in a couple of years. 93 points.