The Adventures of Akimbo in Her Search for Consumption (and Some Lesser Tales)
Hello everybody. After more than a year we’re finally releasing the second blend of Akimbo, our Masumoto peach sour aged in Chardonnay barrels and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin.
Both blends of Akimbo have had quite the journey. Around July of 2016 we started brewing our first large 15bbl batches of wort and filling barrels. Around that same time we bought a few hundred pounds of Masumoto peaches which we processed and froze with the intention of adding them to beer later in the year or early the next year. But things don’t always go as planned, and we were about to suffer some of the most difficult months of our journey starting Cellador. On July 13, 2016, our entire building lost power, and we wouldn’t get it back for almost 3 months. We continued to fill barrels and operate using gas powered generators; but we could not run our freezer 24 hours a day on the generator. So, exactly 1 week into the fermentation of our first large batch, we added all the peaches we had into those barrels. I was never in love with those peach barrels. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the frustrating memories of cramming extremely cold fruit into a tiny bung hole in the pitch black of night. Also, the acidity was flabby, the peach flavor muddy, and the phenolics too high for my liking. I was worried about pitching rates on our first batch so added some dry Saison yeast. I definitely over pitched and the acid and brett characters from our mixed cultures didn’t develop to my liking. In short, I hated those barrels.
Eventually we tried blending it with some Berlinerish base, which really rounded out the beer and brought the flavors together. We racked the blend into Chardonnay barrels and eventually did a light dry hopping to increase the complexity just a bit more. The end product turned out really nice, and was definitely our most popular beer for a while.
Fast forward to this summer. We actually still had one puncheon left of that original first brew peach disaster mocking me at the brewery. We also had 1 barrel of peach wild ale that was the first barrel filled at Cellador. We had done a couple smaller test batches before getting our production started, and this was one of those beers. It had started off really nice, and we racked it onto some Masumoto peaches, but after a few weeks it became extremely cheesy and not good. Instead of dumping it, we just put it in a corner and forgot about it. And 16 months later, surprisingly, it tasted fucking awesome. So, that was also included in the blend of Akimbo 2. Like the first blend, we added some Berlinerish to get the acidity where we wanted. We purchased 4 brand new Chardonnay barrels to do Akimbo again. We racked this new blend into those barrels with even more fresh 2017 harvest Masumoto Gold Dust peaches (same variety as Slide Down My Cellar Door this year), and aged for a while before doing another light dry hopping with Nelson Sauvin (thanks to Matt at Homage for hooking us up with the hops!).
A quick notes on the beer names we choose. I abhor shitty beer puns. 99% of our names will have nothing to do with the beer itself. I choose words and phrases that I either like aesthetically or have some sort of meaning to me. Most our names are inspired by linguistics, literature, philosophy, Latin, science, music, movies, history and religion. I love obscure words and even more obscure references to things I like. Akimbo is just a word which means to stand legs spread with hands on your hips and elbows turned outward; basically the Peter Pan stance. I typically like it when you have no idea what a beer name means, but can Google it and learn something new. And feel shadenfreude whenever I hear people stumbling to pronounce some of our names.
I’m extremely proud of the new Akimbo. It has so much more complexity and is much cleaner than blend one. And also less sediment in the bottles (sorry about that last year). Akimbo 2 is a little more than twice the size of the 2016 version. Plus we did some kegs this time which have been around including at Tiger Tiger, Beachwood, Toronado SD, Glendale Tap, Southland Beer, Backyard Bottle Shop, and at the Extreme Beer Fest in Downtown LA. We also did some 750ml bottles this time. Snag some bottles for yourself here. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Cheers!
-Kevin and Sara Osborne