Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPA | Innis & Gunn

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Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPAInnis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPA

Brewed by:
Innis & Gunn
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BlackHaddock on 10-17-2013

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 321
Photo of BRiddoch
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured golden and clear with a very small head. Smell of hops and slightly skunky. a little bitterness with no clear taste of oak. Bubbly throughout. Not a bad beer, but not quite what I expected.

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Photo of biegaman
3.61/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Innis & Gunn claims that by "adding hops 3 times" and then "finishing the beer over toasted oak" that it has the "character of authentic British IPAs from the 1800s". Oh dear. Where to begin? How about with the appearance - IPAs from that time period weren't so clear, let alone daisy yellow. The oak really can't have been too toasted or this would be much darker in colour.

In fact, all spirits begin clear - it's the aging in wooden barrels for long periods of time that give whiskeys, rums and the like their amber complexion. (That, or caramel colouring.) I mention this just to bring up the fact that Toasted Oak IPA, like all Innis & Gunn beers to my knowledge, is not actually aged in a barrel. You may ask: how does it work then?

Barrel-aging is an extremely expensive, specialized and labour intensive process - but soaking oak chips in a particular spirit, say bourbon or Irish whiskey, or in this case simply toasting them, and then throwing them into a batch of beer and letting them float around for a while, that's much easier. With this process you get the wood or spirit but none of their complexities.

Indeed, this aroma has no shortage of freshly-splintered wood to it. It's like being in shop class and building a birdhouse all over again. It has a slight resiny quality, likely teased out by the hops. But that's about all I can say about it, which is disappointing considering oak aging has the potential to offer notes of biscuit, butter, vanilla, smoke, nuts, coffee, leather...

... not to mention toast which, despite being in the name, is curiously absent everywhere else. In fact, the flavour couldn't be further from toasty - it tastes like some kind of tropical island drink. Where's the little toothpick umbrella? It's intensely sugary and vivid tastes of mango, papaya and coconut dominate the palate with virtually no bitterness to keep them in check.

I'll admit to finding Toasted Oak IPA mildly enjoyable - the thing's practically a fruit smoothie! But rating to style, just to recap: British IPAs of the 1800s (or present day for that matter) were not aged on oak chips, did not have pale school bus yellow complexions and certainly did not taste like a Thai dessert. Oh, and they definitely contained at least some bitterness.

Why is it that every Innis & Gunn review I write winds up reading like a kindergarten lesson? I'm not a historian but almost any craft beer drinker could point out what's wrong with this offering or, more accurately, its marketing. Of course, that's just it - marketing is often the best thing about Innis & Gunn beers... unless of course you truly enjoy superficial sweetness.

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Photo of JonCorbett
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those “commercial” ones that I tend to save just for enjoying when I have company and don’t need to really say what has already been said in these reviews. But being my last bottle it’s always good exercise to take a critical look at even the common beer. But, I will keep this one brief as I hypothesize that this is fairly run-of-the-mill brew and probably a good IPA for those who like a mellower hop profile or need to work into the style. So here it goes.

Appearance: Clear, golden amber, decent carbonation and a quick foamy off white head that dissipates fairly swiftly.

Aromatics: Very muted tones, the toasty oak is in there, but doesn’t pronounce itself too much, there are subtleties in sweet floral and malt- the bitter earthy/piney that usually comes from the hops in an IPA is absent, as is any citrus character. So basically, nothing to scare aware the average joe beer guy.

Taste: Very delicate bitter, more earth green flavours than say a citrus peel bitter. Toasted oak shows through though on the finish and likes to sit at the sides of the tongue. There is also a gentle spiciness to it that is probably more psychologically sensed than actual.

Feel: Pretty smooth and unassuming, though light carbonation takes its time to make sure the flavour is delivered across the palate, it is not overly crisp. Fairly light bodies for an IPA, but I kind of like that. Cleary formulated to be modest in its IPA boldness and balanced so there is no competing flavours between the hops and malts.

Overall: I like Innis & Gunn for there quality brew over the common North American offerings. They still have a pretty good respect for the craft of brewing even though their operation is no doubt not considered a micro-brewery but also not as large as a Labatts/Molson. They have the vibe of a Rickards or Sleemans to me. Anyhoo, a decent enough IPA not really lacking anything, but also nothing really extraordinary to give either. Just and overall pleasant brew to enjoy - by North American standards a little shy on the bitter, but it is good for those who want to switch it ups and try something other than a common commercial brew without getting trapped into a school lesson on what an IPA is.

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Photo of Salt-n-Beer
4.24/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Artwork: Identical to pretty much all other Innis & Gunn labels. This one is somewhat easier to distinguish due to the teal-colored details.

Appearance: Amber with decent head that dissipates quickly

Nose: Oak, malts, fresh-baked bread

Taste: Sweet, no hops, some candy notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth carbonation. Quite viscous.

Overall: Another pretty enjoyable beer by I&G. So far my least favorite of their beers is their Original Ale (their flagship) perhaps because it's the one with the most pronounced oak character (which I'm not a huge fan of). The oak in this particular beer is there but it's not overwhelming and complements all the other aromas/flavors really nicely.

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Photo of mmilyko
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

IPA fans don't seem to care for this much, but as a non-IPA fan always looking for beers in that style that I do like, this one does the trick. I find the hoppyness (sic) mellowed considerably by the toasted oak barrel aging. Never had an Innis & Gunn I didn't like, and despite the off-preference "IPA" label, I quite enjoyed this.

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Photo of Sheppard
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a perfect golden hue. Translucent. Not a huge amount of aroma. It's a sweet sappy, with a touch of oak, and not too much bitterness. Not a huge fan.

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Photo of FLima
3.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber orange color with a thin head with short retention.
Aroma with notes of English hops, oranges, mild oak, chamomile and sweet flowers.
Flavor with notes of charred wood, slightly toasted malts, smoke, English hops, ginger, grapefruit-orange citrusy, resin and tobacco. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a mild but lingering woody note.
Light body with appropriate carbonation.
I did like this English IPA. It is refreshing, crisp with nice citrusy orange-grapefruit notes and a smoke-tobacco twist.

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Photo of JPadilla
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Completely loved it the first time I tried it, but I may have been a little drunk back then. This time I found the taste and smell too skunk-like and with a horrible aftertaste... Had it in World of Beer (where sometimes they serve past due date bottles) and I couldn't find the "best by date" on the bottle. I will try it again from a fresh bottle.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.16/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz. bottle, BBE MAY 15. Acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local bottle shop.

Poured into a Duvel tulip snifter.

A - A coppery amber body, one finger of frothy white head, some sediment in the glass.

S - Aroma is comprised of muted overripe green apple & cream and little else.

T - Taste follows the nose: very muted flavorings. No overt notes of herbal / earthy / leafy / piney hop presence, no overt notes of citrus zest or fruit, and no apparent notes of oak aging or caramel / toffee / vanilla. I'm not exactly sure what this tastes like, but definitely not what i was expecting / hoping for.

M - Feel is smooth, crisp, creamy. Medium-light & easy drinking. Crisp carb.

Overall, not what i was hoping for at all. i will try to acquire a fresher bottle in the future.

Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak India Pale Ale -----3/5.

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Photo of janubio
2.91/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Clear golden colour, with a small head that fades soon, almost no lace. Aroma of wood, some citrus, peach, tobacco. Medium body, flat carbonation. Taste is sweet, f peach, citrus, tobacco. I can't find the IPA character. Mild beer.

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Photo of BrewsingBuffalo
3.94/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L-Pale gold, clear, with a creamy white head that diminishes to a thin layer. Not much lacing.

S-A nice amount of oak up-front, some vanilla, earthiness and some citrus notes underlying. Nice, but not overly complex. It is difficult to ascertain all the nuances (a bit muddled)

T- This is a peculiar melding of flavors. Oak,woody, vanilla, and some citrus notes intertwine. Finished with a lingering grassy/earthy bitterness (which is fairly subdued).

F-This one finishes quite dry. Medium-high carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel, which go very well
together. Quite quaffable indeed.

O-I enjoyed this one. The oak adds an interesting aspect to this beer. Labelled as an IPA, this will no doubt be disappointing if one is looking for a "hop bomb". But this is unique, and it's flavor profile brings enough complexity to the table for it to be worth a try.

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Photo of Shpud
3.93/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my third time trying this beer. I'm drinking it on January 15th, 2016 from a four bottle variety pack from the LCBO. The best before date is May 2016. This beer pours a very pleasant straw yellow colour with great clarity and nice carbonation. The head is fairly thin and dissipates fairly quickly. Initial thoughts on aroma are citrus and a light oak or bourbon. This beer is very refreshing and amazingly comes in as one of my favourites from Innis & Gunn. Mouth feel is clean and crisp. I really enjoy the way this beer is put together. I wish I could buy this by the case.

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Photo of josanguapo
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From Alcampo. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 4x11. The oak is noticeable and provides a nice taste and smell. However, I cant find much IPA character here. The oak hides it.

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Photo of matuto
3.94/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle (exp. 05/2016), in a glass mug. Cloudy and yellow to light amber liquid. Dense foam, in good quantity. Faint aroma of malts and the oak wood. Medium to light body and great amount of bitterness on its aftertaste, which is dry too. Great drinkability.

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Photo of TerryW
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Nope. I like a lot of I&G, but this one isn't there for me. It's got no subtlety and comes across as pretty harsh and medicinal on the palate. Has some bite. It needs some tenderizing somehow.

Oak, vanilla, pear(?). Bitter and juicy finish. Noticeable alcohol not comfortably integrated with the rest of the brew. I think this is one I might leave sit for most of a year to see if it improves some.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.28/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I am pulling stuff out of my refrigerator that I had completely forgotten about! I am not kidding when I say that the bottle backlog is out of control. I will be glad to return to The CANQuest (tm) when all is said & done.

From the bottle: "Oak Aged Like No Other Beer"; "Hand-Crafted Scottish Beer"; "Oak Aged Beer"; "Oak Aged India Pale Ale Bursting With Zesty Hop Character"; "This IPA's intense hop character comes from a brewing technique unique to Innis & Gunn. We add hops 3 times, during brewing, each one creating additional layers of zesty flavour and aroma. We then finish the beer over specially toasted oak to give it the rich, rounded character of authentic IPAs from the 1800s."; "Carefully Matured for 41 Days Prior to Release"; "Approved for Bottling [undersigned] Kirsty A Russell [;] Master Brewer [undersigned] Douglas Gunn Sup".

As usual, I Pop!ped the cap to begin a gentle pour. This produced just under two fingers of fluffy, tawny head with much better retention than I expected. Color was a gorgeous Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5) with NE-quality clarity and naturally the Gelt Gang of Croesus, Midas & Mammon stopped by for a taste. Nose held the earthy tones of English hops, think East Kent Goldings or Fuggles, along with the wooden scent of oak. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was key on/in this one. It is unabashedly an EIPA NOT an AIPA and so the question becomes how do the hops meld with the oak. In this case, quite well! The inherent earthiness of the English hops was enhanced by the wooden oakiness, allowing the tastes of both to be perceptible. Oak can overwhelm subtlties, but not in this case. Finish was semi-dry since it was nowhere near sweet, but I have had much drier IPAs, both English & American. This was probably my favorite of the lot (thus far).

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Photo of Svingjo
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden colour with a tin white head that shrinks fairly quickly, leaving a white film suspended on the top. There is some sweet malt, vanilla and wood up front. There is a bit of earthy hop nose to the edges but its very faint. The oak is a there at the front of the taste, which then transitions to that sweet maltiness with vanilla notes. Again the hop flavours are there near the end but are replaced by that oak again on the finish. A nice change from the usual hop bomb IPAs we see more often these days.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

330ml bottle poured into tulip 28/11/15

A bright yellow with lots of very tiny suspended particles and 3 bubbles, that's right 3, not much for head or lace as you might've guessed

S oak, vanilla, some hard toffee that's about it

T orange marmalade comes out strong and that's about it, different from the nose but not much better

M lighter side of medium, many more bubbles then I'd ever guess from looking at still liquid, very fine grit with a woody citrus finish

O this one just never really took off for me, not a whole lot going on and what's there isn't life changing

An oak aged EIPA? its a little lame but nothings offensive, just another one and done

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Photo of Samlover55
3.51/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass
L- light golden color, thin white head
S- going to say zesty even though says it on the bottle
T- has a sweet taste definitely not hoppy like the American ipas, do taste the oak on the finish
F- light bodied but has a nice crisp feel, a little creamy
O- interesting beer was expecting some more hops has unique twist with the oakiness, overall a pretty sessionable ipa

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Photo of JayQue
3.81/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like AIPAs better than English IPAs but this one was an interesting brew. Had one on-tap at Tapped Gastro pub in Virginia Beach. Pours a beautiful crystal clear dark gold color with a small white head. Average o less head retention and fairly good lacing on the glass. With a better longer lasting head, this beer would have high marks for appearance. Aroma is very good, the oak really stands out and there is somewhat of a floral aspect as well. Taste ins pretty good too. The oak once again really stands out. Some mild bitterness and balancing caramel malt, but I like more bitter IPAs. On the whole, this is a worth-while brew especially for those that like oak flavoring.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Two bottles, one poured into a nonic pint glass (b/c its an EIPA) and the other poured into that stemmed pilsener glass I&G makes.
The appearance is basically the same in both glasses, except for the head retains longer in the stemmed pilsener. The color is about a golden orange. Lacing is stringy in both glasses.
The smell is the same in both glasses: grassy hops, light "soapy" to English-esque sort of caramel malts - slightly toasty.
The taste was moderately sweet and bringing in a light grassiness to round out the flavor. Lingering sweet malty aftertaste leading into a semi-dry finish.
The mouthfeel sat about a light to medium on the body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation runs smooth and light.
Overall, where's the oak, I didn't taste any in either glass. Its not bad stuff, just don't expect the oak.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.97/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, pale gold with an average, short lived, white head. Sweet vanilla aroma with oak, citrus, peach and grass. Sweet, fruity, citrus flavour with vanilla, oak, grass and a light metallic, dry, bitter finish.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for around the $3.00 mark for a 330ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a tiny 1/2" head that is gone in seconds. Medium gold color and filtered clear

S- Decent amount of hops here. Slight hint of sour.

T- Not much oak at all if any. Low hops. Very mild brew. Expected a lot more.

M- Dry and tart

O- Disappointing for an oak aged brew. Not much oak at all. Mild flavors and not complex at all. Many better brews from these people.

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with....... Grilled cheese sandwiches.


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Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a clear darker straw body.
The aroma is resin, wood, honey and vanilla. Nice.
The taste starts slow, mildly bitter, then turn vanilla and woody with a mild pine bitter finish.
The texture is soft, yet a little fizzy.
The IPA and oak play well together.

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Photo of chinchill
3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle purchased and enjoyed in Largoward, Fife, Scotland.

The toasted oak comes out most in the aroma; it's suite subtle in tasting although there's a touch of vanilla. Hoppy but with mild bitterness and some caramel from the malts.

O: a nice and distinct English IPA.

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Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak IPA from Innis & Gunn
3.52 out of 5 based on 321 ratings.
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