Drink This Now: Jack’s Abby Framinghammer Baltic Porter Series

This year's bourbon and brandy barrel-aged bottles came out this week, and coffee, vanilla, mole, and more flavors are on the way.

Jack's Abby Framinghammer bottles

Photo provided

If you’ve never had a peanut butter and jelly-flavored beer before, you’ll have that chance this month.

The nostalgic flavor combination is one of several that Jack Hendler and his team at Jack’s Abby have created for this year’s release of Framinghammer Baltic Porter. The first bottles, classic bourbon and new brandy barrel-aged varieties, are now available at the Framingham beer hall, and another release happens every Tuesday in April. See below for the full schedule.

Framinghammer, a classic Baltic porter, has been in Hendler’s repertoire since he and brothers Sam and Eric debuted Jack’s Abby in 2011. Barrel-aging happened that first year, too.

“We just happened upon these barrels. I think they just showed up one day through a friend. We thought, ‘We have a beer that would probably age well,'” Hendler recalls.

The brewers put just more than 100 gallons of the Framinghammer into two barrels that year, aged it for a couple months, and served it at their former taproom. “It was really popular, so we’ve been scaling it up since.”

This winter was their first at a massive new facility, which, at the moment, has about 1,000 square feet of space designated for non-sour barrel-aging. They filled it with about 170 wooden barrels of Framinghammer this winter.

For the first time, Jack’s Abby had brandy barrels to work with this year, thanks to Copper & Kings in Kentucky. “We sent them barrels we’ve aged beer in, and they’re going to age brandy in them. In exchange, they sent us 24 [brandy barrels]. We’re hoping we’ll get the barrels we used back to the brewery, and age beer in them again. It’s a really cool relationship,” Hendler says.

Jack’s Abby will also refill some of the barrels they’ve emptied to bottle this year’s Framinghammer throughout the year. While this month is the official release, the brewers are constantly playing around with different Baltic Porter add-ins.

We have all kinds of different experiments we do throughout the year, just to have fun in the beer hall,” Hendler says. “We have some barrel-aged Framinghammers [resting that] we haven’t announced yet. Expect some kooky concoctions.”

Jack’s Abby taste-tests these trials with its guests, and the releases that get positive feedback could end up in next year’s bottle collection. This year’s mole, for example, was one such experiment. It’s flavored with a blend of chocolate, cinnamon, and chili peppers. Peppermint bark was not such a hit, Hendler says.

Peanut butter and jelly was an early experiment, but it has proven appeal. “It was kind of a crazy concept. Again, it was a thing where we had one barrel, and we thought, ‘What’s the worst that will happen? We’ll have to drink this barrel ourselves if no one buys it.’ But it’s become popular.”

The beer contains actual natural peanut butter, plus real fruit. This year’s batch is raspberry.

These flavors were picked to blend with the flavors of the base beer,” Hendler says. “It’s a strong, dark lager. It has a roasty, chocolatey, big, sweet flavor to it.”

Each Tuesday release commences when the beer hall opens at 11:30 a.m., which, unsurprisingly, is not a very busy time at Jack’s Abby, Hendler says.

“Part of the reason is to make sure people in Framingham have access,” he says. He anticipates more beer tourists coming by on the weekends to try the 2016 Framinghammer releases, but he says the bottles should stick around for a couple weeks.

The beers range in alcohol by volume from about 12-13 percent. On draft, a 6-ounce pour is $6, and 500 mL bottles range from $8-$12.

Jack’s Abby, 100 Clinton St., Framingham; 508-872-0900 or jacksabby.com.

2016 Brewery-Only Framinghammer Release Schedule

April 12, in bottles and on draft:

  • Coffee Barrel-Aged Framinghammer, aged in bourbon barrels with Red Barn coffee
  • Vanilla Barrel-Aged Framinghammer, aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla bean

April 19, draft only:

  • Double Barrel-Aged Framinghammer, a blend of brandy and bourbon barrel-aged Baltic porters
  • Cordon Rouge Barrel-Aged Framinghammer, aged in brandy barrels with orange

April 26, in bottles and on draft:

  • Cocoa-Nut Framinghammer, aged in bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs and toasted coconut
  • PB&J Framinghammer, aged in bourbon barrels with peanut butter and raspberries
  • Mole Barrel-Aged Framinghammer; aged in bourbon barrels with cinnamon, cocoa nibs, and ancho chilis