Wood-aged stout to wow St Patrick's Day
Added: Monday, March 10th 2014
Since launching in 2012, Innis & Gunn’s seasonal Irish whiskey stout (7.4%, 330ml) has become a global sensation, selling out in every market within weeks of hitting the shelves. This potent Celtic connection is being re-established in 2014 as the award-winning oak-ageing brewer releases Irish Whiskey Finish.
Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer Dougal Sharp says: “Ireland is known throughout the world for producing great stouts and Scotland is famed for its whisky. In making Irish Whiskey Finish, we have flipped the two Celtic nations on their heads and produced a stout made uniquely from Scottish malts, which we then mature over Irish whiskey-infused oak. The chocolate malt and roasted barley both give a real depth of flavour to this brew and the Super Styrian hops add an earthy, balancing sweetness.”
A rich, complex brew, IrishWhiskey Finish delivers a smooth and velvety finish that lingers on the palate, the dark chocolate and coffee flavours from the stout marrying perfectly with the honeyed spice of the whiskey and the vanilla from the oak.
Unlike previous releases, the 2014 brew is made using Innis & Gunn’s pioneering oak maturation vessels: the Oakerators. Dougal adds: “It was impossible to get our hands on enough casks because Irish whiskey is surging in popularity across the world and none of the distilleries will sell their casks. We didn’t want to disappoint the thousands of consumers who have been expecting our annual Irish Whiskey release so we’ve matured this seasonal in our Oakerators. I’m really pleased with the flavour of this year’s beer. It’s got great intensity and layers of flavour and I hope consumers will like it just as much.”
Like all Innis & Gunn beers, the new Irish Whiskey Finish can be enjoyed on its own but is also a great partner to a selection of assertively flavoured dishes, including rich beef stew, blue cheese or oysters. For those with a sweet tooth, it goes beautifully with treacle pudding.
Irish Whiskey Finish is available in Tesco stores nationwide, priced at around £1.99.
Malt: I&G Ale Malt, Crystal Malt, Roasted Barley, Chocolate Malt, Raw Wheat
Hops: Super Styrian
Maturation: Over Irish Whiskey-infused American oak heartwood in the Oakerators.
Aroma: Chocolate, treacle, roasted coffee beans and dried fruit
Taste: Earthy hops, rich malt and a nice cocoa bitterness
Finish: Complex and satisfying with a lingering oaky sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel
Drink with: Rich beef stew, oysters, treacle pudding or blue cheese
Innis & Gunn is giving it both barrels with their latest Limited Edition Release, Smokin' Gunn (7.4%), the result of a collaboration with David Ashton-Hyde, head bartender at the famous Hinds Head in Bray, Berkshire, run by Heston Blumenthal. Smokin' Gunn is the brewer’s first smoked beer, made in the style of a Bamberg Rauchbier. The German Spring variety malts are smoked over beech wood to give a light charcoal character to the beer, which is then matured – in trademark Innis & Gunn style – in ex-bourbon casks for a big vanilla hit before being finished with maple syrup for a toasty sweetness.
Inspired by his love of Candian and American whiskies, and a weakness for pancakes and maple syrup, David’s Smokin' Gunn recipe wowed the judges (Dougal Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn; Ben McFarland, beer writer, and Emma Anderssen, editor of premium Swedish drinks magazine, Allt om Whisky) in the final showdown of the inaugural Innis & Gunn Bartender’s Choice competition last year. Seeing off competition from 300 bartenders from the UK, Sweden and Canada, David’s concept was a well-balanced, full-bodied beer that would serve as the the perfect after-dinner drink. The 33 year-old from Bray says: "My hope with the recipe was to create a beer that would encompass both savoury and sweet elements. So, while other beers play towards being paired with food, this is a beer designed to be brought out at the right stage ina meal and enjoyed in its own right.
“The soured mash and the sweet and smoky tones from the maple and bourbon offset one another really well. The charcoal and caramel hints of bourbon barrels married with the dry and fresh minty tones of the Northern Brewer hop make for a really powerful flavour experience.”
Commenting on the challenges of bringing together such strong flavours, Dougal Sharp added: “David’s idea had the creative flair we were looking for but the test for us was to balance the beer’s big, robust flavours so that no single ingredient was allowed to dominate. If you spend time with this one, and give it a chance to open up, you’ll be able to notice the different layers unfolding and the flavours changing as it settles. Drinking Smokin' Gunn from a brandy balloon glass is the best way to enjoy this beer.”
David Ashton-Hyde has worked at the Michelin-starred Hinds Head in Bray for three years, focussing on the development of the drinks side of the business and ensuring guests get some essential Heston Blumenthal flair by bringing new dimensions to the pub drinking experience.
Smokin' Gunn is available to buy on Innis & Gunn’s e-shop for £35 a case (12 x single boxed bottles). www.innisandgunn.com