Heretic Brewing Collab - 2021 Edition

The latest instalment in our Nakama 'Friendship' Series of collaborative brews is a new one for us on many levels. While we have brewed with our partners Heretic Brewing in Fairfield, California, many times, this is the first time to brew remotely and our first attempt at the dessert stout style.

As we discussed in a recent post, Heretic Brewing, and especially owner Jamil Zainasheff, hold a special place in our hearts. While we have collaborated each year beginning in 2017 on his annual trips to Japan, scheduling difficulties in 2019 followed by the global pandemic in 2020 means it has been nearly three years since we have worked together. Visiting each other to brew is one of the most rewarding parts of collaborating, but we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to attempt our first remote brew with Heretic in the last week of 2020.

We chose a style that was new to us here in Kyoto and that would force us to learn completely new techniques and approach our beers from a new perspective. As the name suggests, the style is essentially dessert in a glass, which in addition to a high ABV also typically means high sweetness. This, in addition to ingredients like chocolate, coffee, and lactose, are quite foreign to a brewery that normally focuses on dry beers and high drinkability.

In working with Jamil and the Heretic crew, we came up with a theme of Mocha Thunder, a coffee version of the beloved Black Thunder chocolate bar available throughout Japan. The coffee is sourced from long time friend and collaborator Dai-chan at Kamogawa Coffee and showcases the rich and roasty coffee flavours of the dark roasts he is known for. Instead of using cacao nibs as we have in past brews, we added 12 kgs of cocoa powder to impart a flavour more in line with candy bars. A small addition of lactose combined with the poly-gyle brewing technique create a rich and luscious mouthfeel. The malt recipe is approximately 35% specialty malts and a combination of toasted, roasted, and crystal malts to imitate the sweet cookie character of Black Thunder. Despite being a 10.0% ABV stout, the roasted flavours of dark malts balance the sweetness of the lactose and prevents the beer from being overly cloying.

Mocha Thunder can be purchased on our online shop.

We look forward to sharing this unique brew with you!