22 June 2009

A curate's egg

I don't remember why I thought to buy a bottle of Innis & Gunn Triple Matured last October. As I recall it was relatively expensive at £3 for 33cl, and I didn't particularly like the original Innis & Gunn. Plus I'm always a bit stand-offish about contract-brewed beers which don't state clearly where they're made. Anyway, I came home from Newry with it and it's been sitting about the house ever since. Time to bite the oaken bullet.

The colour is a rather attractive dark red gold, and the nose is enticing, packed as it is with sweet, rich woody notes. The fun doesn't last long, however. Even from the first sip the sweet-sour oakiness is just too much -- filling the palate with nasty cloying flavours, with none of the subtle fruit or toffee promised on the box. There's some pleasant warmth from the high alcohol, but also a bit of a nasty stale cardboard buzz as well. And then it just stops: after swallowing there is no virtually no aftertaste. I'm amazed that such a whoppingly overflavoured ale, possessed of 7.2% ABV, is completely legless.

It's certainly a complex beer, but only a small proportion of its many elements are any way positive. Perhaps I would have been better off with some of what Lars had.

13 comments:

  1. Oaked beers. An interesting one. I find I can't get enough "sweet-sour oakiness", although I know that others find it wrong in beer.

    "virtually no aftertaste" doesn't sound right.

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  2. I enjoy most oak aged beers - though a few are a bit over the top when it comes to vinegar.
    I skipped the Innis & Gunn tasting in Oslo - with no character in the beers themselves it is too much vanilla for my liking. I'd rather have another BrewDog, please!

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  3. While I am usually a fan of oak beers, I can't say I like Innis & Gunn. I know a lot of people who do like it though.

    This beer sounds terrible and that cardboard flavour tells me that they shouldn't be maturing this beer, as it's obviously oxidizing in the bottle.

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  4. Why are beers coming in boxes now? Is it shorthand for we are classy? Are any of these vintage reserve triple matured oak bethrothed beers good?

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  5. I'd like to think that this one was in a box 'cos the bottle was clear, but I'm naive. It's just a cost-effective way of adding 20% to the price tag. And you can give it as a gift without looking totally scabby.

    Fuller's Vintage is pretty good, but not €10 good.

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  6. I agree that boxing bottles helps with the fact that they might not be in the ideal colour of bottle.

    Also it's "added value" for the gift market. Yes, shorthand for classy if you like. Why do some Belgian beers get champagne corks? It probably makes the beer no better but gives the drinker a subliminal message that more care might have been taken in it's production.

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  7. After the revolution we'll all be pouring from uniform grey cardboard cartons with BEER on the side. I will see to it personally.

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  8. Superb presenatation box, mind. I'd say quite a few will be lured in by it.

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  9. I guess it's true that the box is "a cost-effective way of adding 20% to the price tag", by acting as a "shorthand for classy". But then, with that process they probably have no choice but to up the price a bit.

    The "sweet-sour oakiness" sounds a bit like the I&G Rum Cask gone wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for the link. :)

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  10. Bang on with the "no aftertaste" - I find that a big problem with Innis & Gunn - looks great, smells great, initially tastes interesting then there's absolutely no substance to it. Their posh ones as well as their "normal" ones. But I think that might be what makes them popular? I'm reminded of Gordon Ramsey deciding it was perfect because "it had no bitterness".

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  11. Yeah, as soon as the legs fell away on this I immediately though of Ol' Walnut Face and his bizarre I&G fixation.

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  12. Garthicus1:25 am

    I&G seem to be crazy about brewing stuff for the Canadian market, seems like every few months we get a new product. This month in honour of Canada day we got I&G limited edition Canadian cask oak aged beer.

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  13. Yeah, except they don't actually brew anything.

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