My post yesterday previewed Innis & Gunn’s Blood Red Sky, a strongish red beer using the company’s new Barrel Aged system which puts the barrel in the beer as it puts it, and discussed the new system.
The revamp applies to Innis & Gunn The Original as well, and I was provided, without cost, I mean, a can and bottle each to preview as well. Original comes in both formats.
The beer retains the same medium-gold colour as before, and the same maltiness and non-aromatic but evident bittering. But the oak flavour is better, cleaner and more natural-tasting to my mind.
I’m not sure the typical drinker would notice, but as someone closely attuned to the beer palate I feel I see a difference and it’s for the better.
Generally I drink almost any beer now at the lightest chill possible and I tried the Original both that way and cold. I actually preferred the latter, the maltiness seemed to come out more.
The beer retains its 6.6% ABV, not weak by any means. Maybe draft Original features a lower abv, I’ll check the next time I see it here. Anyway I’ve never been shy to pour in a few ounces of sparkling water to knock down the abv, I wouldn’t do it for the first beer but I would for the second, as in general I find 5%, or between five and six percent abv, an ideal strength for beer.
The company states in the website that the barrel pieces are toasted to different levels. I think probably a deeper toast is used for Blood Red Sky than Original. The BRS has a lightly smoky aroma and undertone in the beer, whereas in Original the wood notes seem milder. I don’t think the type of wood taste in BRS would suit Original, though. There is also the factor that Original uses bourbon barrel wood and rum barrel wood was used for BRS.
I’ve often said that new breweries usually get better over time, refining their recipes and just getting better at the technical job of producing consistent, high-quality beer. Innovation and change are the key here, especially in today’s fast-moving environment.
In the pre-craft era producers often said little or nothing about their products. Today, it’s different as consumers are more engaged. Companies see that consumers want information and most, at least in the craft space, provide it today.
I&G are right to do it especially here as the results redound to the quality of the products, IMO.