Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Gentlemans Brew: Ale Matured in Whisky Casks

Is it a beer or is it a whisky or is it both? Ok so it is definitely a beer but how many beers have you had aged in whisky casks? And that being Highland Park Whisky casks at that!

Ola Dubh ('Black Oil') is the marriage between Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park and the child of Head Brewer Stuart Cail. It is, according to the website, "the first ale to be aged in malt whisky casks from a named distillery" (and a good one at that). The brew has been around a few years now, 2007 is the earliest mention of it I have found so far.

Ola Dudh comes in a 12yo Reserve, 16yo Reserve, and 30yo Reserve. Apparently you can really taste the whisky imprinted into the beer and can tell the differences between the ages of the casks. Nice! It is described as "lighter in body that its appearance suggest, Ola Dubh is pithy, oily, salty and bitter". If I was not a single malt whisky drinker I would probably shudder at that description but honestly it sounds right up my alley.

As you can see from the image the bottle clearly retains a certain Highland Park brand about it and wears the badge proudly.

There is just some much into to take in on this beauty I would be here all day touting descriptions to please jump to the site and check it out for yourself. But for those a little more time precious here is a grab of he tasting notes provided on the 12yo Reserve just to get you in the mood to track it down:

Aged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Park's beautifully balanced 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Appearance: A dense, bituminous, oily brown with a gentle tan-coloured, espresso - like head.

Aroma: Appetising toasted cereal notes underscore the gentle tartness of dried fruits. Orange oil and a suggestion of vanilla.

Palate: Immediate, cleansing bitter hops are reinforced by richly toasted malts; finely balanced with raspberry coulis-like acidity.

Finish: Long, with hop bitterness complemented by gentle oakiness. Some cocoa and hints of peat.

Alas I have not had the privilege yet but if I can find some I will surly let you know how I go. At this time the site says Ola Dubh is only available in the US but with the Aussie beer culture being what it is and our tastes for all beers imported I am sure this could be tracked down at a specialist beer importer. If you find one let us all know.

The Baron