Vanishing Point 06 Imperial Stout, Innis & Gunn
Added: Thursday, December 1st 2022
Vanishing Point 06 Imperial Stout
The Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn is one of the most successful craft brewers in Britain. It has carved a unique route to market with beers that are aged in whisky and other casks used for such spirits as rum and Cognac. Its first beer, oak-aged Original, is widely available in supermarkets and other outlets.
It has added to its range with an annual beer called Vanishing Point and this year’s edition, the sixth, is an 11 per cent Imperial Stout aged for a year in casks that held 18 year-old The Glenlivet, an award-winning single malt considered one of the finest whiskies in the world.
The I&G story began when Dougal Sharp, head brewer at the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, was asked by whisky distiller William Grant if he would supply a batch of beer for a new range of Cask Reserve Scotch Whisky. Grant wanted to infuse casks with beer but then dispose of it before filling the casks with whisky.
Dougal Sharp was intrigued to hear that workers at Grant’s distillery had sampled the beer and found it delicious. As a result, Sharp left Caledonian and in 2003 launched Innis & Gunn with plans to produce regular beers aged in whisky casks.
Original, the flagship beer, enjoys a 77-day maturation process, 10 times the average for ale. This includes a 30-day rest period in lightly toasted American white oak casks. After 30 days, the beer continues to age in a “marrying tun”, where the flavours infuse and mellow, and natural carbonation takes place.
The beer that emerges from this long maturation is smoky and oaky on the palate, underscored by ripe malt, vanilla and tart hops. There’s smoky malt on the palate with orange fruit and hop resins while the lingering finish is bittersweet with a Cognac note.
It has become one of Scotland’s major exports with sales in North America, Scandinavia and Japan and has picked up a shed-load of awards, including the Queen’s Award for Industry.
Vanishing Point 06 has been matured for 365 days in The Glenlivet casks and has picked up the characteristics of the whisky embedded in the oak, with powerful notes of vanilla and butterscotch. The dark malts used in brewing the imperial stout add rich aromas and flavours of chocolate and caramel, along with spicy and peppery hop notes.
Dougal Sharp says: “Our first edition of Vanishing Point was in 2016 and since then each annual release of the beer has been an evolution of the last. Collaborating with The Glenlivet to mature this beer in their rare 18-year-old whisky casks has taken Vanishing Point 06 to another level, introducing flavours and complexity that only a whisky skilfully matured in this way could have left in the casks.”
The beer costs £15 for a 500ml bottle and is available from www.innisandgunn.com.