As many of you will know, as well as whisky I am also a huge fan of beers, in particular Belgian beers, with a soft spot for Geuze Boon. I do also have a fondness for a good stout so when I saw the beers from Spey Valley Brewery advertised for sale I had no option but to buy them. I’ve known David of the brewery for many years we would often see each other in The Highlander Inn when he was a stillman at Glen Grant so I’ve always followed his brewery.
Another reason that I had to buy them and try them is that I had a very small hand in these beers –
When I was at Cadenhead’s I gave David the empty casks that were used to make these. After a decent amount of time in cask (one 12 months and the other two 17 months in cask), the results are pretty stunning!
The one that really caught my eye was 9. SVB 72 A17. The reason for this is that this was an Ex-Jamaican Rum cask. The cask had been used for rum that was bottled by Cadenheads and then I refilled the cask for about 4 years with Miltonduff, which was an excellent whisky full of Jamaican funk, before sending the cask up to Speyside.
Bizarrely the only place that I could buy these beers was from another one of my former employers, Duncan Taylor. I bought it through their Spirit Embassy Website although I believe it is now all sold out. Funnily enough Duncan Taylor were involved with cask aged beer when I worked with them too. Martin Dickie of Brewdog worked for a summer in the bottling hall and he filled some ex Duncan Taylor Casks to create the Paradox range of beers (excuse the dodgy photo but quite fun to see how reserved Brewdogs marketing was back then) with Duncan Taylor getting as much billing on the label as Brewdog.
Anyway I really liked the beers and will post my notes below. Having spoken with David recently we hope to be able to do something similar with some ex Watt Whisky Casks, and if the results are any where near as good as these three beers I will be delighted. Watt Beer anyone?
Let us know your thoughts on what style of beer and what cask pairings you think would work well.
Supernova Highland Cask – 8. SVB.11 A17 12.0%ABV
Matured for 17 months in a Tomatin Cask
Stunning, creamy and rich with liquorice and dried ginger. More spice in the finish with treacle and definite malty notes in the finish. Really thick with traces of vanilla and coffee beans.
Imperial Milk Stout – 13. SVB 121 A12 12.2% ABV
Matured for 12 months in an Arran Cask
Lighter with hints of oak, wood spice and some wet malt. More chocolate notes evolve with milk chocolate buttons, creamy and fruity with pears and coconut. Effervescent on the tongue.
Supernova Speyside Jamaican Rum -9. SVB 72 A17 10.1%
Matured for 17 months in a Miltonduff cask that had previously held Jamaican Rum
Malting barley, good fizziness on the palate, wet coffeee grounds with touches of pine resin, plantain, some grassy notes along with more fruitiness. Dried lemons, some blueberries and physalis.