Situational Ethics – a look back

Cue the sad music, it’s time to say goodbye to our (that includes you) favorite series. 

A lot of people think the name Situational Ethics is political, but it’s actually an ode to Brewmaster Peter Kiley’s brother Nick. 

“My brother Nick and I seem very different, but in a lot of ways we’re alike—that impression comes from the people we hang out with. Applying that same idea to beer, you can have the same base beer, but it changes depending on the barrel and adjuncts you use,” says Peter. 

This concept led us to release three unique variants all at once, so you can taste the variety of flavors extracted from the barrels and adjuncts. And because we’re overachievers, each variant also serves a different purpose. “We make three beers—one that will push us as producers, one that will push our fans, and one that we all can vibe with,” says Peter. 

In 2017, we started off simple: aging our base beer in three different barrels—maple bourbon, bourbon, and rum. Then, we paired each barrel with an adjunct: maple bourbon with cinnamon, rum with coconut, and bourbon with coffee. “The first year, we really focused on the beer and the execution,” says Peter. 

As the series progressed, we built upon what we did the year before with the added challenge of not repeating barrels. So, in 2018, we added two adjuncts, and for the fourth year, we have four adjuncts in each beer—well, we might’ve added more than four for the Maple Scotch Barrel-Aged S’mores Imperial Stout, but who’s really counting? 

This year, the beers are dessert inspired—a nod to the completion of a meal. “I’ve always thought of this series as courses. As you eat, things should get more exciting. When you listen to a playlist, things should get more exciting. I look at this series the same way. I didn’t want to start with a crescendo, I wanted to finish with it,” says Peter. 

Maple Scotch Barrel-Aged S’mores Imperial Stout

We spent a lot of time thinking about the taste of a s’more and what flavors we wanted to impart on the beer. “S’mores is more of a procedure—it’s a ceremony and something that’s true to you and yours. It’s so personal, yet it’s so public,” says Peter who likes to get really deep when talking about beer. And making this beer wasn’t without its own performance. Let’s just say a blowtorch was involved, but no eyebrows were lost in the process.

Rye Barrel-Aged Rocky Road Imperial Stout

This beer is really going to push people because everyone has an idea about how rocky road should taste. After much conversation and debate, we nixed the marshmallow and settled on chocolate, vanilla beans, toasted macadamia nuts, toasted almonds, and toasted hazelnuts. “It’s probably one of the most cohesive adjunct profiles we’ve ever succeeded in putting together. It tastes like melted rocky road ice, and it’s awesome,” says Peter.  

Vanilla Barrel-Aged Affogato Imperial Stout

Affogato is a classic—that’s espresso pour over vanilla ice cream for the kids in the back. We aged the beer in vanilla barrels, used two different kinds of vanilla, and added coconut and espresso from Batdorf & Bronson. Drinking this imperial stout will illicit pure “childish joy” as Peter puts it.

We’re incredibly proud of this series and can’t wait to share the last installment with you. It’s hitting our Atlanta taprooms tomorrow, 12/11. Order yours from West Midtown or the Garage.