There’s a new trend in whisky drinking that’s been emerging in the last few years, and one we’re totally behind; Beer Cask Finished Whisky.
Who’s doing it?
Maturing whisky in beer casks is becoming more and more common. The big names like Glenfiddich and Jameson are getting in on it with their IPA cask Whisky and Caskmates, respectively. Teeling also has a beer cask finished whisky, with their Kith & Kin collaboration with Innis & Gunn Brewery. Grant’s have also released an ale casks finished malt together with the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh.
There are plenty more in the US as well, including Polly’s Casks, which is created with Firestone Walker Brewery casks and Tullibardine Single Malt. There is also New Holland Distillery in Michigan that produces a Bourbon matured in beer casks.
What’s the point?
Maturing whisky with beer casks is a great way to reach new audiences. The craft movement is at its peak so it makes sense for bigger whisky distillers to collaborate with craft breweries to create new innovations.
Whisky at its most basic is essentially a distilled beer. The processes are very similar up until the point of distillation and the ingredients are similar as well. The flavours found in most beers (malt, fruit, sweetness) are also found in most whiskies. Bringing the two together enhances the flavour, as it would when finishing with any treated casks.
Different types of beer will bring out different flavours. Stout (as used in Jameson’s Caskmates) will bring out sweeter, molasses, coffee and a malty notes. Indian Pale Ale, as used in Glenfiddich’s IPA matured malt, brings out more citrus notes with hints of pine, malt, hops and herbs. Ale is similar and brings out hops, herbs and fruit.
We highly recommend that you have a try for yourself and see what notes you pick up. Beer cask finished malt is a really exciting trend in whisky making, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
What do you think of beer casks finished whisky? Let us know in the comments!