Beer Review: Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer

WE begin this post with a greeting to my growing list of readers and respondents. Recommendations of your own, information and advice (especially if you’ve got the authority of actually being from a brewer (thank you Alex from Viru Beer)) are strongly encouraged. If you haven’t left a comment yet, then what are you waiting for! Be part of the phenomenon that is my Bloggy Woggy right after you’ve finished reading this post.

Now onto today’s post. And it is, surprise surprise, a review of a bottle of beer. This time however, it’s the most difficult bottle yet. How can a bottle of beer be difficult to sum up? By being a bottle of Innis & Gun Oak Aged Beer. Let me explain… This is a beer that thinks it’s a Scotch Whisky. Or a Scotch Whisky that thinks it’s a beer. You need only look at the bottle to see what I mean.
Bottle of Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer

The bottle shape, the Innis & Gunn label and the colour of the contents within are all Scotch Whisky-esque.

Let me make something clear at this point. I am not a drinker of Scotch, Whiske, Bourbon or whatever you care to call it. That stuff makes me wretch. But in the interests of beer drinking, I’m prepared to approach this with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is. Even if I will probably never get as much from it as a Scotch Whisky drinker would.

If you are not one for label reading, then make this the exception to your rule. To understand what this brew is all about you don’t just need to read it, but study it. Brewed and bonded (what does bonded mean?) in Edinburgh, this drink was the 2004 International Beer Competition Supreme Champion. I’ve not heard of it either, but it’s the sort of accolade I would want on a beer. So what makes it so special? A process apparently discovered by accident. The drink spends all of 77 days including time maturing in an oak barrel (a la whiskey) and in a marrying tun, whatever that is. It is this that makes this the most complicated smelling and tasting beer I’ve ever tasted.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer front label

Poured into a glass, this has a good beer-like head. That’s one beer trait I’m glad they kept. Here is also where the description on the bottle label comes into its own; in helping you to make sense of that incredibly complicated smell. The label describes aromas of vanilla, toffee and “hints of citrus”. I can’t disagree with that, but without the explanation, I wouldn’t have had a clue what it all was.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer poured into a glass

It’s a similar story with the taste. That is to say, complicated. But once again, the label is there to help you decipher it’s complicated, whisky-ish taste. The label goes with “malty, lightly oaked” and “warming”. There’s no way to expand on that, really. It truly smells and taste like whisky in beer form. Or vice-versa.

At 6.6% volume, it’s also gratifyingly strong. And modestly priced too, at least from my local Tesco.

To sum up then, Innis & Gunn have produced something apparently unique in the beer world with their Oak Aged Beer. Everything about the smell and taste is complicated in a whisky-like way. Even though I’m not a whisky fan, I’m going to try this one again. Even if it’s only to try and make more sense out of this complex brew. A lot like those films that you have to watch more than once to fully understand who did what, and why.

Rating: 4 (or thereabouts)

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12 Responses to “Beer Review: Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer”

  1. Nick Says:

    I was surprised by the refreshing taste and aroma of this beer. After having one bottle it made me crave for more (it’s pretty strong for a beer, 6.6%). It’s expensive though, but worth it.

  2. theculinarybrewer Says:

    I found the beer to be quite bland and dull. It has no real bitterness to balance out the oak imparted flavours. Anyhow you can read my ramblings here (The Beer Diary).

  3. philip Says:

    you want to freeze it,just half way or so then try it,its the dogs doobies
    ive got everyone doing that for the barbies,its a different drink again, lush

  4. philip Says:

    and by the way,BLAND AND DULL we want to know about the bear matey not ya self, WRONG SITE DUDE good name though,lol.lol.lol

  5. Frederic Says:

    It is one of my favorite beers. Where I live (in the province of Ontario, Canada), it is considered to be quite a costly beer ($3.25 in Canadian $ for 330 ml / 6.6% alc.) – a lot more so, in terms of quantity and alc. volume than Crest 10% Extra Forte at $3.05 for 500 ml) – another one of my favorites.

    I don’t find it to be bland. Bland, for me, means a typical blond lager like Corona. There are hundreds of similar tasting beers -that is bland. Mind you, if you want to get drunk without feeling too full, a lager, bland as it is serves that purpose very well. However, if you want to take your time and appreciate theb taste, one gulp at the time, you should consider Innis & Guns.

  6. AB Says:

    It’s far and away the nicest beer I have ever drank from a bottle. I would love to see what it tastes like on draft.

  7. andrew Says:

    Awsome beer easy, smooth drinking texture with wonderful variations in tast. Trully is a magnificant beer and with all the different varieties of taste it goes well with any food. Definitely Recomend it to people.

  8. poplarmark Says:

    This is one of my favourites: not my absolute favourite, which remains Westmalle Tripel, but it’s definitely in my top 5. It is complex, rich, and very satisfying. Shame it’s so expensive, but beyond any doubt it’s worth it.

  9. Larry Says:

    Greetings from Canada, near Detroit but on the Canadian side. I’m as much of a wine drinker as beer. This makes me point out that certain varieties of wine are aged in barrels – lending them a vanilla essence, much like this beer.

  10. Roy Says:

    Just came back from a lil holliday to Edinburgh, this beer is soooo good !! there is also a darker version, that one has matured in a rum barrel. However i prefer the whisky one. The tast is realy suprising. Fresh, but definately a beer to enjoy slowly. This is definateley not a beer to drink like pils and/or lager. Take your time for it. I came to this site cause i’m searching for it here in the Netherlands. Any suggestions ?

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