Back in March, 3 Ravens were out in the Yarra Valley helping their mates at Payten & Jones pick chardonnay. The team from Four Pillars are always a mainstay of the picking party, and one of their staff asked half-jokingly why they hadn’t done a collaboration yet (to which 3 Ravens didn’t have an answer). A few weeks later they were picking up the spent shiraz skins used to make their latest vintage of Bloody Shiraz Gin - a sloe-gin inspired sweet gin macerated on fresh Yarra Valley Shiraz skins. 3 Ravens knew exactly what they needed to do with these skins - make a Negroni - and they even had a three year old imperial wild witbier that had been resting on an unreasonably large amount of orange zest for at least a year or two to use as a garnish.
The fresh shiraz had been soaked in high proof gin for a number of weeks then pressed, so the resulting skins still contained a lot of sugar. When they added them to the horehound beer, presumably due to the remnants of gin, the beer failed to re-ferment. After a few weeks of patiently waiting (and sampling), they realised they’d have to blend the beer to reduce the alcohol if they wanted it to referment, so the first beer was taken off the skins, blended in tank with a light red ale (with sweet berry notes) and a small portion of intensely orange-zested witbier. A relatively light tart wheat beer was transferred out of a puncheon and onto the skins - and fortunately for 3 Ravens, both the shiraz-sweetened beer in tank and the beer on the skins finally started to referment - and quite vigorously.
Once everything had settled down, the sugars had been well and truly fermented out and the beers had clarified, the resulting components were blended and bottled in July 2020. Despite their efforts to curb the ABV by using lower ABV beers, they still ended up producing their strongest wild beer release to date, and 3 Ravens hope you enjoy (responsibly) the complex, wild and wonderful journey this beer has been on to create their version of the classic Negroni.
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