Saturday, March 24, 2012

Innis & Gunn Highland Cask

The story behind the Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn seemed kind of weird to me.

Apparently, a whisky distiller was looking to produce a whisky with an "ale finish" so they contacted brewer Dougal Sharp to brew beer to be placed in barrels that would then be used to age whisky. After many batches someone came up with the great idea to actually taste the beer that had been aging in the barrels. Prior to this the beer had simply been dumped! What?! If I were the brewer, the FIRST thing I would have done was taste the beer. Why on Earth would you simply dump it? Anyway, the beer tasted great and they began to brew beer, age it is barrels and then NOT dump the beer. Crazy, I know.

There have been many variations since the first batches back in 2003 including a particular favorite of mine, the Highland Cask aged version:

Innis & Gunn Highland Cask

11.2oz Bottle into Innis & Gunn Cervoise

Amber orange with a delicate off white head.

Maltiness in the aroma is toffee-like with hints of caramel. Vanilla from the oak with just some faint whispers of Scotch, merely a hint.

Again, the malt comes off a bit toffeeish with hints of vanilla and caramel. You really get the character of the Scotch in the finish with a lingering bitterness.

I've enjoyed all of the Innis & Gunn beers that I've tried thus far. Really just differing degrees of oakiness and hints of what was left (or not) in the barrel. I'd be interested to try the beer before it goes into the casks, actually. I think this may be my favorite of the bunch. The Scotch gives it a bitterness in the finish that the others lack. Very well done.

Nothing could go better with Scottish beer than Scottish Whisky, right? The blending of the flavors just seems to work. I have a bottle of their Scottish Stout aged in Irish Whiskey casks sitting in the fridge—can't wait to give that one a try soon.

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