Australian Wild Ale refermented with cherries.
While the beer is named for Chris and his wife's first son, the Saint Thomas Aquinas was an immensely influential 13th century philosopher and theologian. In 2019, it was made from amber mixed fermentation, barrel aged beer and 1000kg of tree ripened, whole fresh Morello sour cherries from Thornbrook Orchard in Orange, NSW.
I am stoked with this year's version... it reminds me of the best parts of being in Emilia Romagna drinking naturally-fermented-bone-dry-fizzy lambrusco. It's aromas have us thinking of the darkest of dark chocolate, cedarwood undertones and rich digestifs while its flavour flows from a chocolate covered cherry served with mint through to a concentrated cherry juice finish. We're in love with it.
We made a bit more of Thomas this year than we had planned for due to us taking a whole load of hail-damaged cherries that Thornbrook couldn't sell as first class. The flavour and skin integrity was on point, but the majority had small dents in them that knocked them out of contention for the markets. I picked up the fruit in Orange on 2 Jan '19 and drove back to Sydney in time to fill a stainless vessel with the fruit and rack barrel 1717 (9 month old Amber) into the vessel for a refermentaion. Due to the volume of fruit, we were forced to leave the fruit whole, not even destemming the fruit, which I was confident about after speaking to some friends who do similarly in the UK. We believe this lends to the digestif character which we love. Over the next 3 months, the fruit macerated and fermented with Amber from our cellar from barrels 1716 (5 month old Amber), 1755 (9 month old Amber), 1767 (6 month Amber), 1768 (11 month Amber), 1773 (15 month old Amber), 1821 (10 month old Amber) and 1826 (11 month old Amber). We packaged it on April 17th and have left it to condition and referment in bottle for 11 weeks. At bottling it was 6.7% ABV and 2.3 P (1.009 SG).
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