We were very pleased to be recently sent a selection of Limited edition Cask aged beers from Scottish experts in the field Innis and Gunn. Coinciding with their twentieth anniversary of launching the range of “specials” has enlarged a little and some truly interesting evolutions have arrived. There are perhaps two paths a brewery can tread in deviating from it’s core range. One is to regularly cast around for different Malts and different Hops and see what you can make of them. This often creates some interesting beers but they can be a little variable. Innis and Gunn take the other pathway and concentrate on pouring their skill and talent into creating one or two very finely crafted and honed products taking the time, and putting in the effort.
This second route can, in the right hands, deliver beers with beautifully balanced, smooth yet complex flavour profiles. This is what Innis and Gunn do, and do very well! There are beers that you might want to drink heartily at a BBQ in the summer heat, but there are beers that you will appreciate best by sitting down perhaps in the evening, with a nice glass and take the time to look at, appreciate the aroma, and savour the taste of. This is what Innis and Gunn’s limited editions are made for.
The Original, and The Original XX.
The Original is as it’s title suggests the original Cask matured beer from Innis and Gunn. Award winning it launched the company in 2003 and has remained the lynch pin of the range. A smooth drinking beer with notes of Vanilla, Toffee and Oak it goes as well with rich food as it does drunk on it’s own. The Original XX is a ramped-up version that gains a degree of alcohol, and has been matured in 20 year old Speyside single malt Whisky casks and has deeper flavour profiles, and a longer finish.
Caribbean Rum Cask.
As you might expect, this Red beer has been matured with Rum casks. With Rum one expects a little sweetness on the palate and there is a slight hint here of that “Rummy” goodness. Also hints of Chocolate and of course the slightly spicy fruit notes also. This is just delicious post-meal, perhaps after you’ve had a richly sweet pudding.
Irish Whiskey cask.
No it’s not spelt wrong, Scottish Whisky has no “E” but Irish Whiskey does. This is a Scottish Stout that has been matured with Irish Whiskey Casks as you’d expect. Vanilla and Coffee are in evidence here and sitting aat 6.1% ABV there is a little bitterness to it which it stands very well with. This would go very well with Curry or post dinner cheese.
Islay Whisky Cask.
This red Beer is a collaboration with Laphroaig distillery, well known for their strongly Peated Whisky. Peated Whisky is perhaps the Whiskey that you either love or hate. Personally I love it! This Beer is on it’s third iteration, with slightly different Laphroaig barrels being used. 2023’s edition has been matured first in Laphroaig ten year old second fill Bourbon casks meaning the barrels were Bourbon barrels before Laphroaig used them. Thereafter they were moved to Port barrels. This brings a remarkable complexity to the beer. It’s a little difficult to relay what the tasting notes should be as people will perceive it differently but expect to find a hint of Peatyness, Chocolate and spices. Fruity sweetness and caramel are also there and at 7.4% ABV the alcohol is not really in evidence. It’s very easy drinking but definitely packed full of flavours.
That rounds up the selection sent to us but other limited editions are available. A year long matured Lager and a Cherry Kriek are currently showing on the Innis and Gunn website and one can expect more limited edition beers to appear over time.
Beyond that there are of course Innis and Gun’s core range of Lager and IPA plus an alcohol free Lager.
Innis and Gunn beers are also available in many of the large supermarkets also.