Firestone Walker’s modified Burton Union system of primary fermentation in oak, utilized to produce their Double Barrel Ale, has long intrigued our brewing team. Working in collaboration with Barrelworks’ Master Blender, Jim Crooks, we applied this technique to a classic Trillium recipe with the addition of California-sourced Clairette Blanche grape juice.
Switchboard Operator started with a primary fermentation in a combination of 500L neutral puncheons and new 200L Firestone Walker American oak casks. In comparison to our standard cylindroconical fermentation, a pronounced fruit-forward ester profile was created by a combination of lower hydrostatic pressure, natural temperature rise and unique connections of these comparatively smaller oak vessels. Generous additions of our hand-selected Citra hops were layered into the boil kettle, whirlpool, and dry hop to drive home the distinctive traits of this favorite varietal.
This Double IPA pours a soft orange color with an inviting heavy haze. A bouquet of tropical and citrus fruit immediately greets the nose. Fresh pineapple, orange juice, and passion fruit lead the way, with a mix of stone fruit and a bright white wine character washing across the back of the palate. A creamy mouthfeel, gentle carbonation, and crisp bitterness round out each sip.