Bees come in all colors of the rainbow, from the red mason bee to the blue orchard bee, but sometimes the most potent contents come in the simplest packages. Carpenter bees, genus Xylocopa, are some of the biggest, most powerful bees out there, and the majority eschew vibrant colorings for a simple, deep black. We set out to brew a beer befitting this namesake: a potent stout in the darkest shade of black.
This beer is built around a potent combination of dark roasted barley and black patent malt. The black malt is toasted as dark as possible, pushed right to the edge of burning, but quenched at the last second to prevent combustion. This intense roasting process develops the black color in the malt and the dark roasted flavors, but also paradoxically drives off the harshest aspects of the toasted character. What remains contributes a smooth, focused, coffee-like flavor to the beer.
The roasted barley we use is made in a similar fashion, but instead of being malted before roasting, it is roasted raw. This slight change in process gives the roasted barley a wilder countenance, with more aggressive bitterness and a rough dark cocoa type of flavor. When paired with the black malt, its edges serve to add both depth and excitement to the roast character of the beer.
These dark grains balance their layers of roast, cocoa, and coffee against the rich backdrop of malt sweetness and the smooth, creamy texture provided by flaked barley. Tie it together with a subtle whiff of alcohol and and you have an intense yet alluring package that the Xylocopa can be proud of.