The third release in Firestone Walker’s Leo v. Ursus Chronology is Inferos—an unfiltered imperial rye IPA that is fiery in color, hellacious in hoppiness and loaded with spicy rye goodness.
Inferos (Latin for “underworld”) will be unveiled at all Firestone Walker locations this Saturday, and will roll into Firestone Walker’s national markets for a limited time starting next week. It is brewed with 4.7 pounds of hops per barrel and with a malt bill consisting of 25 percent rye.
“Inferos is a perfect example of how the Leo v. Ursus Chronology has turned our brewing team loose to push the envelope and explore new possibilities,” said Brewmaster Matt Bryildson. “The result is something entirely new from Firestone Walker, and a beer that is perfectly suited for that transition time between summer and fall.”
Inferos marks the third release in the Leo v. Ursus Chronology that was launched in March. The chronology is composed of limited one-off beers released on a quarterly basis. Inferos will land in different Firestone Walker markets at variable times in both draft and 16-ounce can (four-pack) formats. It will be available for a short period before yielding to the next release in the Leo. v. Ursus Chronology.
Inferos features five times the amount of rye malt compared to Firestone Walker’s previous foray into the rye beer universe, Wookey Jack.
“Rye is infamous for being a gummy grain and for causing sticky mashes,” Brynildson said. “We weren’t sure we could pull off a 25-percent rye malt bill, but we did some pilot batches at our Propagator brewhouse in Venice that gave us the confidence to go forward.”
He added, “Rye is known for its spicy or rustic grain characteristic in brewing and baking, and I think it really adds a distinctive personality to this beer.”
The remainder of the malt bill includes ESB from Gambrinus malting, as well as Weyermann Carafa malt. Carafa is a specialty malt that is roasted yet pearled (de-husked) prior to milling, allowing it to contribute deep color without making the beer notably roasty or astringent.
“Carafa malt allows us to get this rich reddish color without the beer becoming sweet and cloying,” Brynildson said. “So we get the color we want while maintaining a clean, dry canvas that allows the rye character to really pop.”
Inferos is massively dry hopped with Galaxy and other Southern Hemisphere hops to ratchet up the intensity scale.
“We’ve long been excited about this idea of brewing a heavily rye-infused beer, and then just hopping the hell out of it,” Brynildson said. “This was our chance.”
He added, “Inferos is our next step in the exploration and experimentation process afforded to us by the Propagator pilot brewhouse and the Leo v. Ursus Chronology. The door of possibilities is wide open.”
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located on the coast of California. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings.