If you really enjoyed the special-release Marshall 5 Imperial Red Ale and want to score a few more bottles, don’t fret that the liquor store shelves are empty right now. I caught up with Marshall’s Wes Alexander this week, and he confirmed a second, larger, round of 5 is due for release this fall.
Here’s what Alexander had to say about the impending release, and about 5′s overall success:
“I would call the release of 5 a tremendous success. There were only 150 cases (1,800 bottles) released in Oklahoma — none in other states. The beer evaporated off of shelves almost immediately. As you are aware with the release there have been some issues.
“First we submitted our label and process of approval as we normally do for new beers. However, with all of the new breweries that are trying to get started I believe that the dates for approving new labels and processes is somewhat delayed by the (Tax and Trade Bureau). The beer was ready to go May 15 for our fifth year anniversary party, however the label was not yet approved.
“As such, the beer was conditioning for us in a bright tank until it was able to be released. If you tasted the beer at the Craft Beer Festival in Oklahoma City, I believe that it had a bit more bourbon character than what was placed into bottles. With the additional time to condition the beer became a bit more balanced. We have received excellent feedback on all fronts.
“This beer offers balance over just offering a large amount of whiskey aroma and flavor. In my opinion the beer benefited by setting in the conditioning tanks for the three months it took to receive approval.
“Upon the release of 5 to the market in Oklahoma, there was much anticipation built over the last three months. This clearly showed in the removal rate of the beer as it hit the marketplace and almost immediately was gone.
“We have a second batch of 5 that has been brewed and is currently aging in whiskey barrels today. We are looking for a release date of mid- to late fall. With this release there should be more availability. We believe there will be roughly twice as much, or approximately 300 cases.
“We have seen the demand in the last year increased in Oklahoma for limited-release and barrel-aged beers. Partly, this is due to the increased focus of our industry on these types of beers, including our good friends at Prairie Artisan Ales. With this new demand, brewers are having trouble keeping up with demand. Barrels are a finite entity. There are only so many available, and only so much beer can go into the barrels for aging. Capacity for barrel aging is tiny compared to traditional conditioning. In addition, the time frame for aging is significantly longer than traditional conditioning.
“I am very proud of our team of brewers at Marshall Brewing Co. for the execution of 5. It is truly remarkable beer in my honest opinion. Worthy of the celebration of our fifth year of business.”
Cheers to that. Can’t wait to see what Marshall turns out at their 10-year anniversary.