Church Street Brewing Brings Home a Medal in FoBAB’s Barrel-Aged Beer with Holy Moly Milk Stout!

Holy Moly: We are proud to offer this traditional English sweet stout that’s bursting with notes of chocolate and a hint of coffee. A dark ale, milk stout has just a touch of sweetness provided by an addition of non-fermentable lactose sugar. Aged in Buffalo Trace barrels.

Our Buffalo Trace Barrel version of Holy Cow Milk Stout brought home a Silver Medal from this year’s 2018 FoBab, the Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, the world’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition held in Chicago with 100’s of Craft Breweries from all over competing.

Whew! We’re excited. A few words brought to you by Church Street’s Head of Brewery Operations T.J.:

“Milk stout has become a craft beer staple for breweries across the country in recent years, as well as in my personal drink-a-day life.  When we decided to start brewing Holy Cow a two years ago, it was exciting for the entire brewery to embrace the new tradition that milk stout has carved for itself in the industry.

Last year we were able to arrange for approximately 7.5 hectolitres to be set aside for barrel aging, in what was, and still is, a barreling program that is in its infancy.  Holy Cow’s alcohol content averages just over 6.5% with a lot of residual sugar from the lactose used to achieve its namesake.  Considering this, we knew we wanted to experiment with the timing of barrel-aging to see how more or less time affected the overall character of the beer.  With four fresh Buffalo Trace barrels, we decided to split them up into pairs, aging the first two barrels for 3-4 months, while letting the other two barrels go for 6-12 months.

When three months was up, we were pleasantly surprised by the result.  The beer had developed a strong chocolate note, supported by a smooth, woody finish.  We considered it a success and before we knew it the beer had been bottled, kegged and sold. 

When 10 months rolled around, it came time to check on the second batch.  To be honest, I was a little worried.  At 10 months I’d kind of forgotten about those last two barrels.  I feared that what we’d be in for would be a beer that had thinned out too much, gone too boozy, or picked up some other astringency. 

Much to my relief what exited the barrel was different, but great!  The chocolaty notes were more subtle but were now supported by notes of burnt fruit, light roast, and more oak than before. 

We decided that this batch of Holy Moly would join our barrel-aged Cronenbier as our entries for 2018 FOBAB, and to our great surprise and joy Holy Moly walked away with a Silver medal in the “classic beer” category!! 

Alongside two additional Silver medals awarded to breweries that we contract for (Käretäs), our brew crew is on cloud 9 at the moment! 

I’m so thankful for our stellar team and for the support of our Righteously Good patrons, who’ve supported us through thick and thin over the past six years as we find our place in Illinois beer community and beyond. 

Here’s hoping that this is the first recognition of many more to come as our barrel-aging program expands in the months and years to come!


T. J. Bachorz, (in middle on picture)

Head of Brewery Operations, Church St. Brewing Co.

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