Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask Scottish Stout - Review
Better With Age
Wines and spirits are often aged in oak barrels in order to bring out their full flavors, which evolve and mature over time. Beers, however, are more often enjoyed as soon as fermentation is complete. Yet, with the rise of craft brewing, brewers are increasingly experimenting with aging in order to distinguish their small-batch products from those of their mass-producing competitors.
Among these, Innis & Gunn, founded in 2003 and based in Edinburgh, Scotland, makes a number of aged, limited edition ales in addition to their Original, Blonde and Rum Cask. Their limited edition Irish Whiskey Cask, as its name implies, is a rich Scottish stout matured in barrels that formerly contained triple-distilled Irish whiskey. It represents an ironic reversal of the process that gave birth to Innis & Gunn Original. While we do not detect any whiskey flavors in this aged brew, we do taste a whiskey-like bitterness on the long finish. At 7.4 per cent ABV, Irish Whiskey Cask makes for an excellent sipping beer and is almost a meal in itself.
Unlike other independent brewers, Innis & Gunn claims to have discovered beer aging by accident rather than by design. Brewer Dougal Sharp was originally contracted by a whisky distillery to make an ale that would flavor the barrels in which their Scotch could be finished. Surprisingly, workers had been throwing out the resulting ale for months before it was finally tasted and judged to be not only drinkable, but quite good. Sharp then quit the distillery and soon developed a line of aged beers!
by Barnaby Hughes
For more information, visit www.innisandgunn.com
Price: $11 (12 oz. bottle)