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Revolution Head Brewer Jim Cibak Talks Mad Cow (Not The Disease)

By Ben Kramer in Food on Nov 18, 2014 5:30PM

2014_11_mad_cow_portrait.png Let’s face it. Winter is here. As the snow settles on our sidewalks, it’s time to gear up and beer up for these frigid months. Stouts are a must, and Revolution Brewing's Mad Cow is a fitting brew for the winter months. Head brewer Jim Cibak sat down with us to discuss Rev’s milk stouts story, the flavors it holds and its barrel aged alter ego.

CHICAGOIST: Where did the idea for a milk stout come from, who proposed it?

JIM CIBAK: At our brewpub, back in the day, we were trying to touch on as many different styles to brew as possible. We were all fans of the Briess Malting, a company in Chilton, Wisconsin. Their roasted barley is half the Degree Lovibond or half the color of English roasted barleys, and it’s a much softer, roasty character.

We use Pale Ale malt as the base malt, and a few other malts. Little bit of Dark Chocolate malt in there, also some Victory malt and some Aromatic malt, which adds a nice toasty middle to the beer as well.

C: What hops were used and what were their purpose for the beer?

JC: We used Magnum as the main bittering hop in there, and Goldings, which is an English. People get used to the American hops which are big and pungent, and citrusy, floral. English hops tend to be a little more earthy, herbal and we didn't want the hops to be a very big component of this beer. We just were trying to contribute enough bitterness to balance the beer out so it’s not as sweet and malty.

C: I understand that Mad Cow has an alter ego named Very Mad Cow. What exactly is it?

JC: The Very Mad Cow is the barrel aged version of the Mad Cow, which goes into Woodford Reserve and Old Forester barrels that is aged anywhere from six to eight months.

C: When can we expect to see it?

JC: Right now, the Very Mad Cow is slated to be packaged and on sale in February 2015.

Revolution’s Mad Cow will be available later this year. As for the Very Mad Cow, well, you’ll just have to wait till February.