St Thomas is an Australian Wild Ale refermented with cherries. While the beer is named for Chris and his wife’s first son, the Saint Thomas Aquinas was an immensely influential 13th century philosopher and theologian. In 2019, it was made from amber mixed fermentation, barrel aged beer and 1000kg of tree ripened, whole fresh Morello sour cherries from Thornbrook Orchard in Orange, NSW.
We made a bit more of Thomas this year than we had planned for due to us taking a whole load of hail-damaged cherries that Thornbrook couldn’t sell as first class. The flavour and skin integrity was on point, but the majority had small dents in them that knocked them out of contention for the markets. I picked up the fruit in Orange on 2 Jan ’19 and drove back to Sydney in time to fill a stainless vessel with the fruit and rack barrel 1717 (9 month old Amber) into the vessel for a refermentaion. Due to the volume of fruit, we were forced to leave the fruit whole, not even destemming the fruit, which I was confident about after speaking to some friends who do similarly in the UK. We believe this lends to the digestif character which we love. Over the next 3 months, the fruit macerated and fermented with Amber from our cellar from barrels 1716 (5 month old Amber), 1755 (9 month old Amber), 1767 (6 month Amber), 1768 (11 month Amber), 1773 (15 month old Amber), 1821 (10 month old Amber) and 1826 (11 month old Amber). We packaged it on April 17th and aged for in bottle for 11 weeks before release.