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Extinction Ale. 8.3% abv.

Extinction is a strong barley wine developed as an historical investigation by Brewlab and produced commercially by the Darwin Brewery. It is a recreation of the barley wine from the now closed Scarborough and Whitby Brewery.

Extinction Ale as we know it arose from the analysis of a bottle recovered from a cellar near Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors. The new owner of a property discovered a crate of twelve champagne bottles in the cellar. The bottle corks had the were dated 1928 and, believing the contents to be a valuable vintage from the year Champagne appellation was initiated, the bottles were brought to Brewlab.

However, expectations were redirected when the liquid was found to be a strong ale rather than sparkling wine. One possibility is that the beer was a 'coming-of-age ale', a tradition of laying down the bottles on the day of birth of a family member - in this case possibly of the Scarborough and Whitby Brewery - who may have owned the premises. Such heritage beers were typically strong and designed to last 21 years to celebrate the future coming of age.

Analysis at Brewlab allowed the malt and hop character to be assessed and a recipe formulated. Microbiological observations indicated that the yeast was still present and after some effort was re-constituted to allow an authentic brew of the beer. These were sold at the Scarborough Hoe in the Wall pub and at the Maltings in York.

A larger brew was conducted for Christmas 1998 and has developed popularity and acclaim since winning recent awards for Best Strong Ale in the 2015 CAMRA Winter Beer competition. At the time Bill Broadmoor of Scarborough CAMRA commented:

“There will be much interest. People travel the length of Britain to taste beer like this. It’ll be great.”

Extinction Ale has now travelled around many outlets and festivals in Britain and really does taste great!