In early 2004, Great Divide Brewing Company began oak aging several of its
bigger beers. The first was Yeti Imperial Stout – Great Divide’s 9.5
percent abv, highly-hopped Imperial Stout. “Yeti Imperial Stout is such an
aggressive beer, we thought it’d be the perfect candidate for oak aging”
said Brian Dunn, Founder of Great Divide. “We did a few draft-only batches
for the local Denver market and the response was exactly as predicted –
people loved it” said Dunn.
In the first week of 2005, Great Divide will release Oak Aged Yeti Imperial
Stout in 22 ounce bottles. Aged with two different kinds of oak chips, Oak
Aged Yeti Imperial Stout is Yeti Imperial Stout’s sophisticated sibling.
Although the two beers are from the same clan, they have entirely different
personalities. Oak aging gives the beer a subtle vanilla character,
rounding out Yeti’s intense roasty edges and huge hoppy nature.
Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout adds even more muscle to Great Divide’s big
beer lineup, which includes Hercules Double IPA, Yeti Imperial Stout, and
the recently released Old Ruffian Barley Wine. “The clamor over these beers
is great fun to watch”, said Dunn. “It proves that beer drinkers are
looking to challenge their taste buds and I love to see that”.
The release of Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and Old Ruffian Barley Wine
comes at a busy time for Great Divide, which finished up a hectic 2004.
Dunn explains, “We just switched to a new statewide Colorado distributor, we
recently discontinued two beers, added a couple new ones, and redesigned
every piece of packaging and marketing material in the brewery. Plus, we’ve
seen over 15 percent growth for the year and the brewery is running at full
capacity. It’s been fun, but I’m glad to be finishing some of these
projects – the snow is great and I’d rather spend my weekends skiing.” It’s
safe to say that Dunn’s apr