Aw yeah aw yeah! An entirely new Innis & Gunn! Available both as part of the Summer Mixed Pack AND as a tallboy, this beer represents a change for Innis & Gunn (at least in terms of what we have available in Ontario), as this is not barrel-aged or conditioned with wood. This is a departure but a logical cashflow-positive change for the brewery, which makes a lot of sense. It’s also sort of in keeping with Innis & Gunn’s association with the whisk(e)y industry, as we’ve seen distilleries release unaged new makes to keep the money coming in while they wait for the good stuff to steep.
The tallboy can makes reference to being “brewed with Golden Naked Oats”. A quick search on that name shows you that most (if not all, there may be a trademark) golden naked oats are provided by Simpsons Malt, a malter in the UK. Their available wares are detailed on this product list and describe Golden Naked Oats as
Huskless oat crystal malt. Exotic ingredient for subtle nutty difference
So there’s a couple of new terms in there. Let’s break it down:
huskless – the outer, protective but less flavourful shell of the grain.
crystal malt – high in nitrogen, these malts do not requiring mashing – their sugars are typically partly pre-converted by roasting and kilning
Okay… cool… very informative. Well, not really. The husk part makes sense but there’s some chemistry questions posed by the crystal malts.
Typically when you make beer, you use malted grains. Malting simply means to allow the grains to germinate slightly. This is a literally eons old biological process – grains are essentially carbohydrate loads with a DNA charge. When the seed begins to germinate, it starts by turning the starches into sugars so that the subsequent biological processes (replication, expansion, establishment of various plant organs and functions) will have fuel with which to do their jobs.
In whiskey and in beer, this process is halted, so that the grains are stalled in a sugared state. A wort of ground malted grains and hops is boiled, for flavouring and to reduce the microfauna in the wort. Yeast is added, and it is this yeast that turns the grain sugars into alcohol. Now you’ve got a nasty, warm, yeasty, unpasteurized wort. Pasteurize it, filter it, bottle it and chill it, and you’ve got yourself pretty decent drink. You can also distill the wort to produce grain distillates, like all whiskies, vodkas and most gins.
That’s the broad strokes of beer making. Obviously, like whisky, the make up of the mash bill dictates much of the final taste, as does the selection of hops and yeast, and the timings of the various processes, hold times, temperatures, etc. But very simply, beer is grains & hops & yeast & water. Whiskey is grains & yeast & water. These are some of humanity’s oldest drink recipes. And we’ve never had more access to the world’s varieties of beer and whiskey, so please, as an homage to your ancestors, try as much as you like!
Here’s what we thought:
Dan – light cider
Simon – lighter amber
Ryan – rosey mix orange
Dan – bar soap
Simon – light hop pop, candy
Ryan – swedish berries, fruits
Dan – sweet, apricot, angry
Simon – grapefruit
Ryan – unexpected, fruity, smooth
Dan – fresh
Simon – clean, hoppy
Ryan – clean
Try it? Yes! Buy it? Yes!