We first met with Co-Founder and Brewmaster of Smog City Brewing Johnathan Porter just over a year ago when we first started down our path of barrel-aging coffee. Smog City is an award-winning brewery and an industry leader in the Los Angeles craft beer community. He was kind enough to give us a tour of their facility as well as some insight to the barrel aging process. Though they had many barrel aged projects in the works, both sour and stouts, we knew from the jump wanted to work with their prominent Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout "Infinite Wishes".
Infinite Wishes is an imperial stout aged for 1 year in freshly emptied Bourbon barrels. It packs an intensely expressive bourbon character, yet the finish is a mild warming sensation belying the strength of this beast. Each year Smog City turns a small portion of the regular Infinite Wishes into delicious, limited-run variants. This year Ragamuffin was fortunate enough to be apart of one of those variants.
"Only In Dreams" is a barrel-aged coffee made in collaboration with Smog City Brewing. We decided to use a Colombian coffee from the Finca Villa Sofia farm that was processed with an extended anaerobic fermentation before being washed. We aged the coffee for 25 days in Four Roses & Buffalo Trace oak barrels that previously held Smog City Brewing Co’s "Infinite Wishes”, their annual release barrel-aged imperial stout.
As it is being brewed the strong oak and bourbon aroma from the barrel fill the room. Though the bourbon is strong when you first take a sip, it is quickly replaced with a brown sugar and sweet stone fruit that help balance the cup. The body is then rounded out with bold cocoa nibs as it smooth finish gives you that "warm body" feeling.