Category Archives: Barrel Aged Beers

Tullibardine Whisky Beer, 7%

Any whisky distillery that displays a row of beers proudly bearing it’s name always endears itself to me.

Tullibardine is one such distillery.

1488 Whisky Beer is a collaboration between Tullibardine Distillery – who provide the barrels – and Black Wolf Brewery – who make the beer.

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I do like a dark ale! c/othewhiskeynut

1488 is the year a young James IV ordered some beers from a local Tullibardine brewery.

This modern ale celebrates that long tradition of brewing & distilling in Tullibardine.

Alas there is no longer a brewery in the town – so nearby Black Wolf Brewery of Stirling do the honours.

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Let the wolf howl! c/othewhiskeynut

A dark brown ale colour & consistency.

A malty, bready nose.

Quite light on the palate with mild carbonation.

The whisky barrel ageing gives a heavier treacly undertow to the proceedings.

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Back story c/othewhiskeynut

An enjoyable pour that symbolises the rich history & craftship of brewing & distilling in the Central Belt of Scotland.

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Black Donkey Double Barrel, Barrel Conditioned Rye Ale, 10%

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the shocking amount of booze I’ve accumulated – as well as the opportunity to enjoy it!

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel was today’s choice.

Wow – it’s lively!

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There she blows! c/othewhiskeynut

Immediately frothing over!

I’d to wait a while before a lovely red hue settled.

Now I know rye can be a temperamental grain to work with in distilling – is it the same for brewing?

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The back page. c/othewhiskeynut

A welcome dry maltiness greeted me offering that sweet biscuity aroma I associate with rye ale.

This followed through on the palate – which wasn’t overly carbonated – before deeper, darker notes of molasses from the whiskey barrel ageing gave an earthy solidity to the lighter rye experience.

Elements of farmhouse saison – which Black Donkey excel in – were evident.

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Savage ales from Black Donkey. c/othewhiskeynut

I’m growing to love barrel aged ryes.

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel certainly hit the right notes for me!

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Dawn Of The Red, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Rye, 9.4%

Did I ever mention I liked a rye?

Well it’s making a welcome appearance in the beer world too.

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Packs a punch! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf‘s Dawn Of The Red is one example.

The rye element is more fruity – wholesome in a saison type way – with a kind of biscuity malt note to it in a beer – in contrast to the dry peppery spice I expect in a whiskey.

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Exceptional indeed! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf’s  Imperial Rye is surprisingly refreshing & light in comparison to the heavier stout style normally associated with barrel aged beers.

There’s still those sweet treacly undertones – just to remind you this is a high strength ale – but with a top layer of dark fruitiness.

It went down very well with me!

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DOT 12, Barrel Aged Imperial Rye, 9%

The Irish Craft Beer scene continues to grow.

Partly by innovation, collaboration & the exploration of new tastes & styles.

This latest barrel aged beer does all three.

It uses rye – a relatively unexplored grain for Irish Beer – as well as Irish Whiskey.

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Collaboration c/othewhiskeynut

It’s also a collaboration by 12 Acres of Co Laois and DOT Brew in Dublin, who give this  grain a further twist – by ageing it in Irish Whiskey barrels – as well as other finishes.

I got a pleasantly sweet orange note on the nose – which complemented the beer’s attractive colour.

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Lovely! c/othewhiskeynut

The carbonation was relatively light – & suited me fine.

Rather than the dry signature spice I expect from rye whiskey – a wonderfully rich combination of earthy rye, biscuity malt & a fresh fruity element greeted me on tasting.

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Nice! c/othewhiskeynut

At 9% – this is no shrinking violet.

Heavy in flavour – but light on the palate.

Very entertaining.

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Rascals, Barrel Aged Old Fashioned, Blonde Ale, 6.3%

This is a barrel aged beer with a bit of a twist.

To begin with – it’s a blonde ale.

Most barrel aged beers tend to be porters, dark ales or otherwise ‘heavies’.

But the real twist of this Rascals brewed ale in collaboration with Dubliner Irish Whiskey is – well – it’s orange!

Both in colour,

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An orange twist! c/othewhiskeynut

And taste.

A bright, refreshingly zesty blood orange aroma greeted me on first acquaintance – shortly followed by a biscuity malty base on the palate – all wrapped up in a delightfully lagery mouthfeel.

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Beer info c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a twist I really enjoyed.

Best served lightly chilled.

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Porterhouse Celebration Stout, 4th Barrel Aged Release, 12%

An unexpected serve at Dingle Distillery for the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 event was this Celebration Stout from Porterhouse Brewery.

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It’s dark and it’s heavy. c/othewhiskeynut

I say unexpected as I’d not come across this one before – and obviously missed the previous 3 offerings.

Rich & dark, the sweet malty notes on the nose from the ex bourbon barrels used to mature this beer pulled me in.

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Drinking beer in the distillery. c/othewhiskeynut

The palate had a dark fruitiness to it – ex port casks (a favourite of Dingle Whiskey) contributed to this element – and the carbonation being light suited my tastes.

Full bodied & bursting with flavour this isn’t a shy stout – I certainly warmed to it’s delights.

Clearly the judges thought so too – as Celebration Stout went on to win the Best Irish Whiskey Barrel Aged Beer category .

A worthy winner!

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Eden Mill, Oak Aged Beer, Whisky Barrel, 6.7%

On my last visit to Eden Mill – which is a combined Brewery & Distillery operation on the banks of the Eden River in Guardbridge, Scotland – the opener for the distillery tour was a bottle of their fine Whisky Barrel Aged Beer.

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Whisky Barrel Aged Beer c/othewhiskeynut

It certainly loosened up the tongues of the mixed bag of visitors on the day – and was a novel way to introduce the rich variety of drinks including beers, gins & whiskies made at the facility.

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Art Of The Blend series c/othewhiskeynut

Bottled at 6.7% the dark beer delivered a gentle aroma of malt. The carbonation wasn’t too strong – more in the style of a traditional Scottish Heavy Ale – with a great outpouring of flavour comprising of caramel, burnt molasses, a hint of dark chocolate & coffee too.

There is also a limited edition Bourbon Barrel offering – slightly sweeter & heavier if possible – with a younger 68 day age statement as opposed to the 93 of the Whisky Barrel Beer.

Whatever your poison – Eden Mill have a drink to satisfy.

These Oak Aged Beers satisfied me.

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Dolmen Irish Whiskey Stout, 7.6%

A few years ago you’d be hard pushed to find an Irish Craft Beer – let alone one aged in Irish Whiskey Barrels – yet this growing category continues to expand.

Western Herd – based in County Clare – recently re-released their Dolmen Irish Whiskey Stout. I was lucky enough to secure a sample.

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McHugh’s in Ennis c/othewhiskeynut

Western Herd also release a wide range of craft beers – best sampled at one of their bars – like I did at McHugh’s in Ennis – or perhaps Flanagan’s in Lahinch is more your style?

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Western Herd beers in McHugh’s c/othewhiskeynut

You can always top it off with a glass of Chapel Gate’s JJ Corry Whiskey – the source of the barrels that enhance the flavour of this stout. ‘Hon The Banner’ certainly went down well with me!

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JJ Corry at McHugh’s c/othewhiskeynut

Using the branded tasting glass provided – I poured myself a Dolmen.

A gorgeously dark stout with a lively head.

Aromas of coffee, malt & burnt molasses. Mrs Whiskey also discerned blackcurrant & chocolate. Very inviting.

I must admit to finding the stout a bit too gassy for my palate. My preference is for a creamy flatness – but there’s a good combination of flavours within. The coffee was still present, initially the sweet honey malt made itself known, then faded slowly into quite a light feeling stout which belied the 7.6% ABV.

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Flanagan’s in Lahinch c/othewhiskeynut

Now this isn’t a beer to swig down. It’s one to be savoured & sipped – which is how I approached it over the course of an hour or so.

By then the ‘fizz’  I’m not a fan of had dissipated. The stout tasted more fuller bodied with darker, treacly notes coming through – much to my satisfaction.

A worthy addition to the barrel aged beer canon.

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Dubliner Whiskey, Beer Cask Series, Blends, 40%

The recently opened Dublin Liberties Distillery launched a trio of beer cask finished whiskeys at a highly enjoyable & entertaining event held in the fabulous bar at the distillery itself.

Based on the original bourbon cask matured Dubliner Whiskey the limited edition Beer Cask Series have been finished in casks formerly maturing a variety of Irish Craft Beers.

I managed a small taster of those beers.

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O’Hara’s Leann Folláin Irish Stout c/othewhiskeynut

O’Haras Leann Folláin Irish Stout at 8.1% is a full on bourbon cask matured belter of a brew. Full of heavy dark chocolate & molasses this appealed to my tastes.

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5 Lamps Brewdolf c/othewhiskeynut

5 Lamps Brewdolf at 9% is a worthy contender too. Based on an amber barley wine finished in bourbon casks there were sweet fruity notes balancing the darker & heavier elements.

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Rascals Irish Coffee Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Rascals Irish Coffee Stout at 4.8% has a wonderful coffee aroma on the nose that doesn’t quite follow through on the palate. Having said that – I’m not a big fan of coffee – so this offering isn’t to my palate.

A variety of cocktails were served on the evening – some tasty titbits – a compered introduction to the whiskeys (and the collaborative beers) by none other than Darryl McNally, Master Distiller of Dublin Liberties Distillery himself – as well as the folks behind the craft beers too – all seamlessly guided along by the dulcet tones of Today FM DJ Ed Smith of Ed’s Songs Of Praise fame.

Rebels, Rascals and Raconteurs indeed!

Sampling the whiskey had to wait for later as I was driving – but this is what I found.

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Samples at the ready! c/othewhiskeynut

Oh, my test bottles were kindly filled by Dublin Liberties Distillery on the evening.

Dubliner Irish Coffee Stout Whiskey

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The blue one c/othewhiskeynut

Lovely warm bourbon cask notes with a subtle depth & clean fresh grainy sweetness. Bit spirity but enjoying the clarity with underlying warmth. Soft prickly spice on a long finish.

Dubliner Irish Stout Whiskey

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The golden one c/othewhiskeynut

Deeper, darker & more malty nose. A heavier mouthfeel. The malt has been accentuated & grain mellowed. Long smooth finish.

Dubliner Irish Red Ale Whiskey

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The red one c/othewhiskeynut

Slight sweet fruit off the nose which follows through on the palate. The malt comes through cleanly. Long lasting flavoursome finish.

Well well well!

In a reversal of my findings on the beer from which they came – I think I’d go for the Irish Coffee Stout Whiskey as my favourite!

The combination of the clear sweet grain with a nice depth on the malt & just a hint of coffee in the background proved a winning combination over the smoother & darker elements of the others.

All were very enjoyable blends & quite distinctively different in the ways they presented on the palate.

Just goes to show what a few months in wood can achieve!

What is your favourite?

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8 Degrees Blowhard, 12% vs O’Hara’s Irish Wit, 4%

It’s an unfair comparison – but if your gonna try a few Irish Beer/Whiskey collaborations – these 2 occupy the extremes of the growing genre.

8° Brewing Blowhard Imperial Stout at an eye watering 12% just wipes the 4% O’Hara’s Irish Wit off the counter.

Neither are bad beers – it’s just down to preference – but if I’m going to do a whiskey influenced beer –  I tend to go for something I can get my teeth into – and Blowhard certainly provides that.

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Blowhard Imperial Stout, 12% c/othewhiskeynut

Aged in Jameson barrels, Blowhard is rich, dark & heavy.

Solid notes of malt, caramel & burnt molasses assault the palate & demand attention. The whiskey element adds to the complex mix of flavours with a decadent flair that makes you sit back, sip & enjoy.

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Irish Wit 4% c/othewhiskeynut

Using Tullamore DEW yeast, Irish Wit is subtle, easy & light.

Appreciable malt on the nose merely hints at the whiskey connection. The body is thin – but would make an enjoyable session beer. It’s one to enjoy with friends.

The contrasting approaches to the style are entertaining to explore.

Which one would you go for?

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