The last time we took a look at Scottish brewers Innis & Gunn, they had just collaborated across the pond with Tullamore Dew to age their stout in the distillery’s Irish whiskey casks. While that bottling, dubbed Kindred Spirits, was a rare partnership with a particular distillery, it wasn’t the first time Innis & Gunn had offered a limited-edition Irish whiskey-aged stout. In fact, the beer was introduced to the portfolio over a decade ago, and the brewery has brought it back stateside again this year, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. For this year’s release, the stout in question is a Scottish oatmeal stout and it has been aged in Irish whiskey casks for an oddly specific 51 days. Let’s check it out.
This one pours a browner shade of black with ample coffee-colored carbonation that dissipates quickly into a thin, but still quite effervescent, head. The aroma shows those classic Innis & Gunn malts, a rich cereal quality from the oats, and quite a bit of dark roast evoking notes of struck matchheads and pipe tobacco. The palate is classically light and well-carbonated with soft vanilla, dark raisin, and chocolate notes. The finish is clean and malty, if a bit short, with just a touch of smoke. While I appreciate that this stout isn’t syrupy and heavy like so many barrel-aged beers, it’s hard to place it even in that category. What evidence I detect from the Irish whiskey cask maturation is subtle (and that’s being generous). The vanilla notes, marshmallow-y and thin, are perhaps the biggest contribution, but I’m left wanting more depth, sweetness, and spice.
6.1 % abv.
B / $15 per six-pack / innisandgunn.com