Posted: 11/10/2021

Preserves producer experiments with barrel-aged chutney

GingerBeard’s founder Harry Calvert

Bristol-based Ginger Beard’s Preserves has been using barrel-aged beer in its Christmas chutney since it first launched the product in 2015, but now the producer is taking things a step further.

The award-winning brand is barrel ageing 240g of its Fig & Sour Cherry Christmas Chutney in beer barrels from brewery Wiper and True which also provided the beer that went into making the festive chutney.

The preserve is now being aged for between two and four months, and the producer said it “expects the chutney to take on a range of complex flavours from the oak barrel as well as a stronger boozy flavour from the beer and wine which the barrel previously held.”

Founder and director of Ginger Beard’s Preserves Harry Calvert said that this was the first time he had barrel aged chutney, and believes it to be the first product of its kind in the UK. 

“It’s been a dream of mine since we first started making this chutney in 2015,” he said. “We have always been involved with the local beer scene, so it feels like a natural step forward.”

He said that after initial tasting, the product had already begun taking on flavour from the barrel. “There are hints of oak and red wine, as well as a proper boozy tone from the beer the barrel previously held.”

It seems Calvert has caught the barrel-ageing bug as he now plans to make this an annual tradition, as well as barrel-ageing a wholegrain beer mustard in an old imperial stout barrel and a fermented hot sauce in a former sour beer cask.

“It’s slow food, but we reckon that, going on the samples from the current chutney, the flavour is going to be bonkers and it will be well worth the wait,” he said.

The barrel-aged Christmas chutney is available to pre-order now, as is Ginger Beard’s usual Fig & Sour Cherry Christmas Chutney, and will be ready to ship on 12th November. The barrel-aged chutney will cost £3.29 per 284g pot wholesale and is available in cases of six. Calvert reports that around 30% of the expected 800 jars have already been sold.

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