Barrel-aged craft brews are the perfect way to combine a love for both beer and spirits, experiencing the best of both worlds. The production technique is a simple one. Start with an excellent base beer. Then age it in a previously used whiskey, rum, tequila, bourbon or brandy barrel. The resulting beverage imbues the original flavors of the beer with the wood, alcohol burn and unique essence of the barrel’s former inhabitant.
While many brewers choose to withhold the name of the distillery that provides its barrels, others see it as an opportunity to lend two recognizable names to one product. Take for example the recent Barrel Aged Gangway IPA collaboration between Jose Cuervo and Red Hare Brewing. Across the Atlantic, another all-star team-up has formed between Ireland’s Teeling Whiskey and Galway Bay Brewery.
Related Post: A New Era of Irish Whiskey with Teeling
Dubbed Two Hundred Fathoms, this imperial stout was brewed by the Galway Bay team and then aged in Teeling Whiskey barrels. Bantry, Ireland bar Ma Murphy’s called the 2016 edition “delicious and a true sipping-by-the-fire beer.” At a burly ten percent alcohol by volume and capped with a festive seal of green wax, this is the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day brew, celebrating all things Ireland, whiskey and beer.
Galway Bay’s new head brewer Will Avery was kind enough to give us more information about the history of this beer and what we can expect from a tasting:
This is the third annual release of Two Hundred Fathoms, our whiskey barrel aged imperial stout. The recipe was designed & brewed by our old head brewer Chris Treanor – now at White Frontier Brewery in Switzerland.
Back in 2014 we hooked up with our friends at Teeling Whiskey who supplied us with freshly emptied whiskey casks, which had previously held their beautiful Small Batch Whiskey. Before the Small Batch they held Rum, & they started their lives as Bourbon casks so they have a nice history & flavour profile. Teeling then ages their Small Batch Whiskey in the empty Two Hundred Fathoms stout casks (the first batch of this whiskey should be available soon as their master blender Alex Chasko shared a bottle at the beer launch last week).
This stout is brewed with 8 different malts & a big hop charge to balance out the malt sweetness. It’s fermented in steel until it’s ready & then aged in the Teeling casks for 3 months before being packaged in bottles with what is now a signatory green wax seal on the crown.
It pours jet black with a lush mocha head. It’s so thick that it almost wants to stay in the glass. It’s got legs. The aroma is vanilla, sweet malt with fruits like raisins & dates & a touch of whiskey on the finish.
The taste is sweet caramel, dark chocolate, coffee cocoa with soothing whiskey warmth as it goes down. At 10% ABV its superbly balanced & drinkable. It’s a 30 second sensory experience with every sip.
Galway Bay Brewery’s Teeling Whiskey collaboration Two Hundred Fathoms is available in a limited edition bottle series throughout Ireland.