Lake of the Woods Brewery sinks second year of Deep 6 series beer

Lake of the Woods Brewery is taking a second crack at lagering at the bottom of Lake of the Woods.

By Ken Kellar

Staff writer

kkellar@fortfrances.com

Following a successful first outing, the team at Lake of the Woods Brewery are at it again, sinking thousands of bottles of beer beneath Lake of the Woods to provide beer drinkers with another one-of-a-kind experience.

In 2020 the Kenora-based brewery came up with their Deep 6 line of beer, a series that the team would submerge beneath the lake and let sit out the winter in near-freezing temperatures in a process called lagering. The first of the Deep 6 line was a Russian Imperial Stout, placed into the lake in the fall of that year and finally made available to those who pre-ordered a bottle in late June of this year. However, even back in 2020 the plan was to try new and different things each year, keeping the line interesting and, hopefully, delicious.

Rob Dokuchie is the marketing and brand manager for Lake of the Woods Brewery and explained this year’s batch is a particularly interesting experiment that is sure to catch the interest of any beer aficionado.

“The beer for this year’s Deep 6 is a Belgian Tripel,” Dokuchie said.

“That’s a pretty big beer, it comes in at about eight and a half per cent. This year we did a Belgian Tripel with a twist, we added some Champagne yeast and some Trappist candi sugar. We also added some New Zealand hops, which is not typical of a Belgian Tripel, but we sort of did our own little twist on it. I think it’s going to be pretty good.”

The initial idea for this line of beer comes from a South African brewery that sank some of their product to the bottom of the ocean for a similar purpose, and Dokuchie said that because the actual process is so rare – potentially only two breweries in the world are doing something like this – it’s hard to really say what the impacts of this underwater lagering process are, or how to predict what the final product will finally taste like. The brewery starts off using types of beer that are especially good for the long lagering process. The slowly changing and slightly-above freezing temperatures of the bottom of the lake also happen to be the perfect conditions for this process.

“You get a temperature fluctuation over the six months [the beer is underwater],” Dokuchie explained.

“This style of beer is great for ageing for up to a year, sometimes even two years at a good temperature. Some people do that in a wine cellar environment, or a brite tank at the brewery, but we’re taking it to the next level.”

Dokuchie said there are added benefits to the underwater process they’ve undertaken, particularly as the conditions at the bottom of the lake like the current can jostle the bottles and move the beer around inside of it, something that doesn’t automatically happen in other, more traditional lagering processes.

The team performed a taste test of sorts with last year’s batch, comparing a bottle form the lake against the same beer that had been kept for the same amount of time in storage at the brewery.

“It was definitely a lot smoother,” Dokuchie said of the lake bottom beer.

“When I say ‘smoother,’ I mean the beer gets a lot more balanced as it ages and even though the beer was high in alcohol [10 per cent ABV], you would never know it as you age it. The science behind it, there’s no data behind it because nobody does it, so we’re creating that data right now.”

With one batch of the Deep 6 already under their belts, and another already underwater, Dokuchie shared that the reception to last year’s batch has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We get emails and posts on social media or they’re direct messaging us, everyone’s loved it,” he said.

“We haven’t had any negative reviews, everyone thinks it’s fantastic. A lot of people are sharing it with friends or family or over a dinner, saving it for a special occasion because it is just a nice, special bottle of beer, having been through what it’s been through.

Pre-orders for this year’s Deep 6 Belgian Tripel are available now online directly at deep6.beer, or by heading to the Lake of the Woods Brewery website. Dokuchie said that even though the brewery is producing more bottles this year, he expects the pre-orders will still go quickly like they did last year.

“Last year we had 1,000 bottles and it sold out in three days,” he explained.

Lake of the Woods Brewery sinks second year of Deep 6 series beer