Strawberry and Whisky Cask Mayhem........
filling very old casks with fruit and imperial ipas
We are fortunate enough that Martin's grandmother owns a lovely little Scottish strawberry farm, last summer we decided to take full advantage of this.
We had 2 Invergordon 1965 whisky casks, Invergordon is a fantastic grain whisky with amazing coconut, vanilla and toffee flavours. The fact the whisky had been in the cask for 42 years prior to use getting it made it even more special. We decided to combine 3 of our favourite things; old whisky casks, Martin's grandmother's strawberries and Hardcore IPA.
We filled both casks with our 9% Imperial India pale ale along with a whopping 30 kilos of fresh strawberries, or maybe 29 kilos - James seemed to eat alot of them.........
The above picture was taken on the day we filled the casks with the strawberries and the beer.
After the beer had been in the barrel for 2 months we decided we could no longer wait to sample the beery treasures held in the old oak. And what better time to open them than when 2 of our customers came to visit? James' gently tapped the cask only for the bung to explode skywards followed by a 6 foot high volcanic eruption of strawberry beer, completely soaking everyone in the vicinity with sticky strawberry seeds and hoppy ale. It had been fermenting in the cask - alot! The sugars in the strawberries had triggered the yeast still in the beer. It continued to ferment away slowly for another few weeks - this time with a proper pressure release fitted to ensure no more strawberry showers.
It is still in the barrel today - it has now been in for 13 months and we are pretty sure it must be close to 13% alcohol. It looks and tastes amazing. It is a bright, translucent, fluorescent almost transparent pink colour - it is unlike anything I have ever seen in a glass. The hops of the India pale ale have died down a little but still give it a reassuring bite, the strawberry flavours dominate the nose and the coconut, vanilla and oak flavours of the cask hold it all together.
It will be a special, limited edition, bottle conditioned release probably in November this year, if we don't have t all polished off by then!
Oh and it will be called Zephyr.