Earlier this year, Darling Brew released a new seasonal beer that quickly grabbed the attention of South Africa’s craft beer community. Darling Brew Arrow Head is an unfiltered Russian Imperial Stout infused with real Madagascar bourbon vanilla seeds resulting in rich, dark, velvety smooth coffee and vanilla flavours with a hint of chocolate and a touch of hops.

Darling Brew Arrow Head is a collaboration with our sister brewery in Brazil, Sunset Brew, and an adaptation of the recipe for their Imperial Black Rhino: a Russian stout with nibs of cocoa and coconut.

Darling Brew’s Russian Imperial Stout was inspired by the rugged softness of the Namaqua Arrowhead – a butterfly that thrives in the hot, dry Richtersveld region of the Cape West coast. A fitting choice for a beer that underwent a metamorphosis and became something uniquely delightful.

Our brew master, Rene du Toit, secreted away 240 litres of Darling Brew Arrow Head to be aged for over 3 months in a bourbon barrel. Not just any beer can be barrel-aged. High alcohol content and strong flavours are needed so that the process adds depth to the aroma and flavour of the beer instead of overpowering them.

The result? A velvety smooth beer with the vanilla flavour of the original Arrow Head reduced and replaced with a smoky, woody bourbon flavour.  The beer will continue to age, becoming even smoother, in the bottle but our brew master feels the bourbon barrel aged Arrow Head is at its peak and ready to be enjoyed over the festive season.

It was essential that the outside match the exquisite contents and the search for an “old-world style bottle with a classic shape” ended in Italy with an elegant bottle one would almost expect to hold champagne. The bottles have been capped and then sealed with wax to complete the look.

Darling Brew Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrow Head was launched at the 2018 Cape Town Festival of Beer where it was awarded gold and judged the Best Dark Beer of the event. Only 500 bottles were produced, making this limited-edition beer the perfect gift for a craft beer connoisseur.

Available at Darling Brew Tasteroom and at select outlets from December 2018.