Innis & Gunn Original Oak Aged Beer

Original Oak Aged Beer 6.6% ABVInnis & Gunn Original Oak Aged Beer
Scottish Export Ale
Innis & Gunn

Pouring this beer into a classic hearty mug, I was a bit surprised.  The beer has a light golden color, that produces a thin white head that lingers for only a couple of minutes.  I was expecting a darker brew.  The aroma is that of an american lager with notes of toffee and vanilla.  The flavor of the beer follows from the aroma — light and crisp ale flavor up front with subtle notes of toffee, vanilla and oak in the finish.

With each sip the beer grows on me, becoming increasingly enjoyable.  For a 6.6% ABV beer it is very light and easy to drink, while still providing good flavor.  While the toffee and vanilla flavor come through in the finish, it is not at all in the same ballpark (or should I say cricket field) as say the Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat.  This is not a dessert beer as the sweetness is not overpowering.  I recommend grabbing a pint of this brew at a pub, and would even purchase a 6 pack for myself.

I assumed based upon the name of this beer, that it was an old recipe, when in fact it was born only 13 years ago.  The beer wasn’t even made for consumption initially.  A distillery approached Innis & Gunn asking them for help.  They wanted to season their barrels with good old malty beer flavor.  All their previous attempts had failed.

In 2002, Innis & Gunn went to work and created a special beer recipe just for this task.  The resulting brew was then put into whiskey barrels for 30 days.  Horror of horror, after the 30 days were up, the beer was unceremoniously discarded from the barrels so the whiskey could be put in.

Unsurprisingly, after a few months1 a most intelligent person at the distillery decided to sample some of the beer before throwing it out.  Not only was the beer drinkable, it was downright delicious.  Innis & Gunn sampled it and came to the same conclusion.

This beer takes on great qualities from the oak as it provides character to the barrels which enrich the whiskey.  What a wonderful symbiotic relationship!  Thanks to that smart and curious individual at the distillery, Innis & Gunn have a wonderful beer to sell, and we all get to enjoy their tasty creation.

Special thanks to an associate of mine for giving me this bottle.  Nothing better than a free bottle of tasty brew to review.

  1.  Maybe it is surprising that it took a few months for someone to sample the beer.  That would have been the first thing I did before dumping it.  All that good beer wasted, what a shame. 

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