St. John Malt Brothers Releases Highly-Anticipated Journeyman Barrel Aged Tsenturion

St. John Malt Brothers Releases Highly-Anticipated Journeyman Barrel Aged Tsenturion

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The St. John Malt Brothers – Jim Estry, Dan Cox, and brewer Dan Breed, are at it again in northern Indiana. Their very popular Russian Imperial Stout called Tsenturion has been sheltered in Journeyman whiskey barrels for the last four months and is now ready to be let loose upon the world. Two hundred bombers will be in the brewery Monday, June 12 for sale. But they won’t last long.

The Tsenturion RIS is a special beer which contains molasses and maple syrup to smooth the mouth feel, increase the body, and add a bit of sweetness to the roast of the dark malt. Jim allowed Walter and I to have a taste of both the base beer and the barrel-aged version before the bottle release. The Tsenturion itself is a powerful beer, with bold flavors and good warmth from the 11.9 % alcohol, but it mellowed a bit and became more complex after its time in the Journeyman barrel.

The barrel-aged version retains the malt backbone and roast, and if anything, the molasses and maple syrup flavors are accentuated. However the overall effect of the Journeyman whiskey barrel is to add levels of complexity to the beer. There is a slight tannin dryness, but not to the point of losing the smooth after taste of the unfermented sugars. The whiskey flavor is there, but not overpowering; it complements the roast of the malt. The barrel also adds to the ABV, but BA Tsenturion still drinks like it is the original ABV, there is no more warmth on the throat.

Jim told Walter that he does have a couple of kegs of BA Tsenturion for pouring at the taproom, but let’s face it – those are going to get drained quickly. Our advice is to get over to the taproom right now and pick up a couple of bottles; one to enjoy now, and one to cellar. I think the positive oxidation products could add even more to the complexity of this beer.

However, even if the bottles are gone by the time you get there, you will still be able to taste the BA Tsenturion, the original Tsenturion (in bombers), and many of the other fine offering from St. John Malt Brothers. Walter was a big fan of their Bolder Burnt Bottom Brown (4B) and the German blonde with coffee called Heidi’s Kaffee. I was partial to the Game Over Man Kolsch, named in honor of the late actor Pill Paxton, and the Belgian tripel called the Tripel Dog Dare. With a good ten or more beers on tap, everyone can find several to make their day just that much better.

Note: As of 7:00 pm local time, approximately 165 of the 200 bottles had been sold, suggesting two things; 1) this is a popular beer, and 2) you still have time to get some.

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