From Barrel to Bottle to Wax

By Adam Ritterspach

“Do not wear nice clothes or shoes,” was how Amira Maher, Graphic Design supervisor at Great Lakes Brewing Co., started her email. “Gloves, goggles, aprons, and masks will all be provided for you.” This may sound like a warning to some, but Amira wanted to make sure her team was ready when they attempted something GLBC had never done before: hand dipping every bottle of the highly coveted Barrel Aged Blackout Stout.

Released only once a year in limited quantities, the rich, complex flavors from the six month-long barrel aging process have given BABOS its world class reputation, “and we felt it was time our packaging truly reflected the handcrafted aspect of BABOS,” Amira says. 

Over the course of three days, countless pots of coffee, and a 24+ hour long Spotify playlist, a dozen GLBC employees stood over five slow cookers as they melted down nearly 165 lbs of black wax to help give this year’s batch of BABOS a look that complements the extraordinary beer found inside. 

Making its triumphant return to the 22 ounce format, every bottle of BABOS has been screenprinted, hand dipped in wax, and tagged. Each numbered tag was proudly signed by a GLBC brewer, our way of showing that pitch black liquid goodness you’ll be sipping is the real deal.

Attendees of the now sold out BABOS release party on February 8th will have the first shot to pick up a bottle of this barrel aged specialty, with an extremely limited amount going on sale in our gift shop at 10AM on February 9th (details here). 

According to Amira, hand dipping every bottle in hot wax wasn’t as easy lighting a candle. Finding the right kind of wax, melting, dipping, and tagging each bottle took a lot of time, but it was “totally worth it,” said Amira. “Inside and out, this is one special beer.” 

But after all of that hard work, how does the beer taste?  “Absolutely incredible.”