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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer:

Boy, that's beer alright. The aroma is spiced with oak and a bit of vanilla. The oak is perpetrating an olfactory illusion on me, making me think I'm smelling whiskey, but it's not really the case. Many oak aged beers just crash down upon you like a ... well, like a barrel full of whiskey. So many of these brews (which I happen to enjoy, btw) are aged in barrels that had previously contained whiskey. I get the feeling, however, that Innis & Gunn's Edinburgh Ale is aged in the oak barrels that may someday contain whiskey, and has imported the oaky, earthy flavors to this sharp brew.

Many brewers do the barrel-aging thing, but one has to think of Weyerbacher when discussing big beers gone huge by aging in whiskey barrels. I would typically rate accessibility of these beers low and style and very high, but Innis & Gunn is so smooth that the playing field is leveled quite a bit. It's a fine example of an oak aged brew without the burning sensation of "I've just taken a shot of whiskey" at the end.

The flavor and effervescence remind me of some other Celtic lagers like Harp and Tennent's. The flavors are a bit warmer and softer when poured into a glass but this beer-drinker's beer is fine right out of the bottle (and a handsome bottle at that!). It has a medium body with tons of soul (oak can bring out the soul in a whiskey or tequila in a wonderful way) but Innis & Gunn is much more accessible than its more potent relatives, the whiskey-barrel aged brews.

Beginners, try a sip before picking up a whole one. Beer snobs, go for it! Whiskey drinkers, give it a shot. Just remember that 6.6% abv doesn't bust you up too badly unless you lose track of how many you've had. Ooh, here's a thought: use this beer to chase a shot of Patron. Yum.

Note of interest: I reviewed this beer about a year ago, but misplaced my notes. I found them, though, and parts of that original review made their way into this final work. Just for fun, I reviewed the beer again without looking at my original scores and came up with a new set of numbers. So both scores are listed here and the final score will be the average of the two.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer:

Original scores: Representation: .95 Accessibility: .90 Style: .90 Preference: .95 Total: 3.7

New scores: Representation: .95 Accessibility: .925 Style: .97 Preference: .97 Total: 3.815

Final Score:
(3.7+3.815) /2 = 3.7575 Flags

1 comment:

ToastMaster General said...

I love this beer. Just a damn tasty, classic, english ale. Had it on tap a year ago in Phoenixville, PA. I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. I haven't seen it in bottles, though. Looking forward to finding this again.

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