Craft Brewery Debuts Barrel-Aged Line

The new offerings from Pirate Life Brewing were aged in Barossa Valley wine barrels

Wine barrels are an unconventional storage place for beer.

In a whole new take on craft beer, South Australian beer makers Pirate Life Brewing will launch a line of beers aged in wine barrels, in collaboration with Tomfoolery wines. The line will feature a black ale aged in tempranillo barrels, a saison in grenache, and a stout in shiraz.

The process of aging beer results in a taste unlike anything previously brewed by Pirate Life, explained chief executive Mick Cameron. The beers will be sold in bottles, a notable shift for a company that to date has only sold beer in cans.

“You get mouthfuls of the beautiful ripe plums as well as a little bit of the hops and a little bit of the beer so it’s a very interesting beer to drink because there’s so much going on,” Cameron said. “This is not a hop driven product, it’s more about the flavor.”

That’s because the effect of aging a beer in a barrel is not universally known: “You’re not sure what elements [the beer] is going to pick up from the barrel and you don’t know how the beer’s going to react after sitting for four or five months,” Cameron explained.

The Australian brewery is not the first to experiment with aging beer. Popular Scottish brewers BrewDog previously created a series of beers aged in Scottish whisky barrels. The founders of Pirate Life, Red Proudfoot and Jack Cameron (Mick’s son), previously worked together at BrewDog.


Pirate Life has quickly grown from having only 17,000 liters of beer to setting its 2016-2017 goal at 1.2 million liters. The company also will begin managing its own distribution across Australia.