Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Highland Cask | Innis & Gunn

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Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Highland CaskInnis & Gunn Limited Edition Highland Cask

Brewed by:
Innis & Gunn
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ricke on 09-13-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 135
Photo of biboergosum
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hmmm...'Highland' malt does not necessarily equal 'Speyside' malt, but this is a sidestep into beer, so let's have a look at the proverbial pudding...

This beer pours a clear, dark copper hue, with one finger of fast-disappearing soapy pale beige head, which leaves no lace in its wake. It smells of caramel, vanilla, nougat, a bit of floral fruitiness, and oaky wood. The taste is nutty caramel/toffee malt, some tangy butterscotch, a concentrated orchard fruitiness, a subtle oakiness, with the inherent vanilla and honey standing as one, and a soft floral hoppiness. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body medium weight, smooth, fruity, and a little slick. It finishes quite dry, the mild warming alcohol and latent fruity hops coming to bear.

While I've always found the I&G beers to be interesting, none so far have stood out that much. Well, they couldn't go wrong by putting their starter ale in a 21 year old Speyside barrel, and this result is testament to that.

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Photo of Sammy
3.31/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brewery has been at barrel aging for a long time. This is a mediocre attempt, but it is different. The appearance looks OK, with a fruitiness to the colour, along with a minimal head. There is a lactose aroma, and that of milk going bad. The mouthfeel is easy, a bit creamy. Butterscotch and rum tastes. Purposely like this? Apparently, very sweetish.

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Photo of EsoxLucius
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I very much enjoy I&G's packaging for their Limited Edition's.

A: light amber with a white slick for a head, lacing is decent and retention is also good.

S: sweet toffee mixed with tree fruit, i got appricot, i don't smell hops or grain at all, and alchohol is very faint. perhaps the fruit smell comes from the casks.

T: the casks are finally noticed with a slight woody taste dominated by malt and sweetness. it finishes with a strong butterscoth esque taste. it's honestly too sweet for me.

M: very thin, i was quite surprised. if you swish it around it does thicken up, but who really does that anyway? it was lackluster for what i thought it was going to be.

D: i'm not into super sweet brews and this one would definately attract wasps on a deck.

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Photo of strangemusic
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

These I&G aged releases are always fun. Here's a new one! It pours beautifully, though with little head. Lovely, lovely warm coppery orange sunset kind of colour.

The smell isn't big, but it is deep. Sweet and malty, caramelly, with very subtle fruitiness and woody spice, smoke, and some vanilla. Kind of "meh" though.

Tastewise it's quite sweet and malt-forward, loads of butterscotch and some woodiness, alcohol but no real whiskey bite despite such a purportedly long cask aging... not really my cup of tea, as there's nothing to really grab you unless you really like that buttery flavour.

The mouthfeel is where this beer really falls flat. It's... flat! Thin, though buttery-smooth, it basically disappears down your throat leaving little to savour and a cloying aftertaste.

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Photo of cratez
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle from the LCBO. Part of the 2010 Autumn Ales release.

Pours a burnished amber gold with a deep orange hue, thick ring of white froth, and strands of lacing on the footed pilsner glass. Smell is butterscotch, cream, faint apple, very light whisky aroma, alcohol, oak barrel, golden raisins, white wine, and malt vinegar. Pretty complex nose, though not overly pleasing. Taste is sweet toffee-like malts, slight cola flavour, mildly spicy hops, some woodiness, caramel, butter, and a boozy sting on the back end. Better than I expected, but still unimpressive. Mouthfeel is smooth, thicker than medium, average carbonation, drying finish borders on chalky.

Although it's a decent quaff, Highland lacks bold and enjoyable flavours and the malts figure too prominently for my liking. The barrel aging adds depth yet fails to save this from being a mediocre beer. I also think these special releases, with their expensive packaging and high price points, are getting quite gimmicky. A ho-hum offering IMO.

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Photo of kwjd
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a copper orange colour with thin white head with some lacing around the glass. Smells incredibly sweet of caramel, apple and pear. Flavour has lots of sweetness. I don't really notice any hops at all. A little bit boozy and uncarbonated. Just ok, I prefer some other Innis & Gunn beers. For being aged in scotch barrels, I am not really noticing it much.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.65/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Comes in a 330 ml clear bottle. Pours out a brilliant clear amber with healthy carbonation and a creamy off-white head that settles to a thick cap.

Aroma of toffee, caramel and light alcohol, basic but very enjoyable.

Holy crap, this is as good as it gets, or at least from what I've experienced so far. Smooth and flavourful, it's all about clean sweet toffee malt, light mild toastiness, hints of rounded whiskey, very faint grassy hops on the finish. Sweet malt and liquor linger long in the aftertaste.

Full-bodied mouthfeel, smooth and creamy texture with moderate carbonation.

For some reason this hits all the right buttons with me. I enjoy Innis and Gunn, yet have been disappointed with some limited edition releases in the past, so am far from being a biased banner waver. This is the best I've tried from them yet, and if it wasn't for the abv and price tag this would be my regular go-to beer and session beer of choice. I thought I was an incorrigible hophead, but this offering from Innis and Gunn has shown me the joys of the other side again.

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Photo of rarbring
3.09/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer is clear - but with quite a lot of sediments - copper amber toned, a firm off-white head that settles slowly and leaves lots of lacing. Plus for color and head, minus for sediments.

The smell is very much wood/oak and sawdust, a bit sour.

Initially very much sweet toffee and caramel, fruit, pears and apples. A very weak, nearly imaginary, whisky or alcohol sense.

Very low carbonation, a somewhat bland feeling.

As most times very mixed feelings for me when it comes to cask aged beer. I would like to like it but often miss hops and freshness. Sometimes it feels like a watered down barley wine.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I feel very privileged having been able to enjoy a few bottles of this very special Innis & Gunn. The geniuses at Innis & Gunn are becoming known for brewing specialty beers for some of their most loyal customers - only last week I wrote about the Canadian Cask Innis & Gunn which was specifically designed for Canadians to celebrate Canada day. Now though, I feel privileged because I had the opportunity to enjoy the 2009 Innis & Gunn Highland Cask, a beer specially brewed for Sweeden that was aged in 18 year old scotch barrels. Thank you very much to my friends at Innis & Gunn for making this happen!

Like all Innis & Gunn beers, this one has been aged in oak barrels - but this time, in barrels that previously aged Single Malt 18 year old scotch. Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is a highly sought after prize among spirits aficionados (as well as myself), and it is yet another foam of oak which Innis can now add to their repertoire. This adds more very unique and exciting flavors and layers of complexity to the Innis & Gunn, and put this Highland cask up in the best I have ever enjoyed.

The Highland Cask was aged and matured for 71 days, and comes out at 7.1% abv. Like all Special edition Innis & Gunns, the Highland Cask comes in a decorated box, this time, a green one with reindeer relaxing by the mountainside depicted on it. Only 150 barrels of this beer were produced.

I opened it up cool at 8C (39F) and poured it into a proper Innis & Gunn glass. It poured smoothly and gently showing very little carbonation, but a tall pour did raise an airy egg shell colored one inch head. The beer shone red and brown with a pearl haze and golden hues. It has tints of burnt orange, honeycomb, copper and red brick. The beer sat there with a cool content sigh of relief. The short, but mountainous head gently rumbled as soft carbonation floated up through the calm haze of the amber brown and red beer. It is so far one of the deepest Innis & Gunns that I have ever seen.

Reaching in for the scent was like a warm massage for my nose. It is very smooth and elegant showing classic Innis caramel and oak, but is much creamier and more balanced. Rather than coming right out with malt sweetness and rich caramel, the Highland Cask caresses your senses with soft toffee, smooth warm caramel and vanilla, soft bread dough, mellow fruits like melon, plums and a soft mashed banana, and then a very distinct wave of ancient oak. It is hard to pin this one. It is smooth and buttery with notes of spice and herb and a touch of pepper. A big floral arrangement is easily noticeable, but plays deep in the background lightly teasing you. Again, much depth and complexity is to be found in the nose - it shows greater maturity and sophistication than the original.

Bring the Highland Cask to your lips, breath in with your nose as you tilt the glass, and let it pour into your mouth. The flavors here are now fully engulfing and mesmerize my palate. It is very reminiscent of the nose showing warm malt sweetness in a smooth balancing act of soft caramel, light and creamy toffee, then gentle vanilla, which does bring with it light hints of oak. Fruit is ripe across your cheeks and against the top of your mouth bringing raisins, melon, banana, hints of blood orange and soft muddled spices.

The overall character of the beer shows a great herbal and floral flavors - it is soft and elegant and really dances gently along your tongue. The hops are relaxed and fresh and add gentle hints of bitter, herbs and spice. But the big player here is the 18 Year Highland Cask. Most Innis & Gunns have a unique and distinct Oak flavor in them which is imparted by the barrel ageing. It is somewhat separate of the flavors of the beer. This though is married perfectly. The Highland Casks have imparted their flavor effortlessly onto this beer in a smooth and round manner showing amazing complexity that is built into every sip.

This is why it is so hard to pinpoint that flavor characteristic; because it is softly ingrained into the entire beer. It shows a mellow woody char and the earthy soft smoke of a rich 18 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy showing less carbonation than most Innis & Gunn's. Bright touches of bubbles show life, but overall it is a silky smooth treat.

The finish is smooth and silky with warming notes of fruit, oak and toffee. It is not supremely quenching, but extremely satisfying. It was an extraordinary experience for me, and I can't wait to try the next one. Innis & Gunn does have plans to craft a Highland Cask aged in 21 Year old barrels rather than 18; this version may reach our shores as early as October!

Truly remarkable, and upon reflection after trying three of these bottles, I am claiming it as my most favorite Innis & Gunn to date!

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Photo of ricke
2.76/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Shiny copper color with a small off-white head that leaves plenty of lacings.

S: Toffee, bread, malts, plums and a surprisingly prominent note of banana.A hint of vanilla. Something about the smell seems artificial. Not very impressive.

T: The taste is on the sweet side, to say the least. Actually, it's very sweet. Plenty of sweet fruit flavors. The strange banana aromas are present in the taste as well. Raisins, some leafy hops and a hint of oak barrels. Lots of malts, butterscotch and toffee, like every other beer I've come across from this brewery. The finish is mildly bitter with a minimal peaty note and a lingering mix of minerals, raisins and orange. Kind of a weird taste, it's too sweet and some of the flavors seems really out of place. Unbalanced.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

D: This is not a terrible beer, nor is it impressive. My main question is: Where's the barrel-aged character? Where's the whisky? Seems like they've barrel-aged this one for about five minutes.

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Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Highland Cask from Innis & Gunn
3.62 out of 5 based on 135 ratings.
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