Innis & Gunn Bottled Beer

04 Jun

Innis & Gunn Bottles small

I have for a long time been a fan of Innis & Gunn Original, so recently, when I found a stockpile of different Innis & Gunn beers in a local supermarket, I decided that it would be a good idea to try them all out.

Firstly, I wanted to find something out about the brewer, so turned to my trusty Good Beer Guide. Astonished, I discovered that Innis & Gunn do not brew their own beer, but subcontract that lowly task to Tennent’s. A range of bottled beers is produced, but as far as I can see, none of them ever make it into a cask.

The regularly produced beers are ‘Oak Aged Beer’, ‘Original’, ‘Blonde’ and ‘Rum Cask’, or so it states in the GBG. Frankly, I find that rather confusing, as I have only ever seen one I&G label that does not have ‘Oak Aged Beer’ on it. That was I&G Blonde, which has ‘Lightly Oaked Beer’ on its label. So what is meant by ‘Oak Aged Beer’ in the GBG list? I don’t know, I can only assume that they got the information from I&G themselves.

Be that as it may, I tried out five I&G bottles, and will review them, as ever, in order of increasing ABV.

Innis & Gun Blonde small

The lightest of these beers is 6.0% Blonde. These beers are heavy-duty, and not to be trifled with! Blonde is a light yellow in colour. It has a fresh, fruity smell and is exceptionally smooth. It is very full-bodied, fruity and sweet with sweet vanilla overtones. There is a distinct spirituous overtaste. Excellent.

Innis & Gunn Original small

Next is Original, a little stronger at 6.6%. A lovely golden colour and beautifully smooth, Original has quite a bready aroma and taste. There is the characteristic sweet vanilla and subtle hints of oak from the barrels that it is matured in. There is a slight hint of whisky in the aftertaste. Quite exceptional.

The remaining three beers are all brewed to the same strength, a meaty 7.4%.

Innis & Gunn Rum Finish small

Rum Finish is, as its name suggests, matured in rum barrels. The colour is a deep ruby and on at least one occasion, the head behaved very curiously. It didn’t last after pouring, but then regrew afterwards. I had to try this with another bottle, but this time the head behaved quite normally. Bizarre. Like Original, this beer has a sweet, bready smell. The taste is a sweet toffee malt. There is fruit, a little spiciness, hints of vanilla and an alcoholic zing throughout.

Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Finish small

Spiced Rum is a darkish orange. With the now familiar bready aroma, this beer is quite extraordinary. Finished as it is over oak infused with spiced Caribbean rum, the rum flavour is very evident, along with vanilla and toffee. It is smooth and utterly delicious.

Innis & Gunn Winter Treacle Porter 2 small

Finally, I sampled a Winter Treacle Porter, a seasonal special, I presume. The flavour here is much like Original, but noticeably stronger and with quite an alcoholic overtaste. It is sweet and treacly, so the beer is not misnamed, and there is an engaging dryness.

Overall, then, I found these beers to be exceptionally good. There is a unique set of flavours that instantly identifies every one of these beers as an Innis & Gunn, but beyond that, each one is different, and each one is utterly superb. I recommend all of them to you.

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Posted by on 4 June, 2013 in Bottled Beer


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6 responses to “Innis & Gunn Bottled Beer

  1. musicrab

    4 June, 2013 at 16:58

    Hmm Innis & Gunn bottles. I’ll drink most beers but have never got on with Innis & Gunn. The combination of sweet/vanilla/oak is too much for me. However, judging by the variety on offer in supermarkets somebody obviously likes them, the article author included.

  2. Alebagger

    4 June, 2013 at 17:04

    I do indeed, I think they’re really good. But you can’t please everybody. Good job, I suppose!

  3. bigchinwell

    5 June, 2013 at 09:03

    I love I&G but i have never seen the last two bottles ?!?! What supermarket did you pick them up in?

  4. Alebagger

    5 June, 2013 at 11:31

    The Spiced Rum Finish came from Tesco and was bought towards the end of April. The Winter Treacle Porter was bought in Booth’s a month or so before Christmas. I reckon they’re both ‘specials’ and are probably only occasionally available.

  5. Carl spark

    21 June, 2013 at 20:56

    Absolutely love I&G beers. It’s rare that you can find British beers that are of a high strength with unusual flavours for British standards. They stand upto Belgian and some American beers.

    • Alebagger

      24 June, 2013 at 22:21

      I’m not sure I agree with you about the British beers. What do you mean by ‘unusual’ flavours? I agree that Belgian and some American beers can be very highly (and sometimes oddly and downright foully) flavoured. I do find that American beers (of the craft beer type, of course) tend to focus very much on ramming as much hops into the flavour as possible. It’s become boringly predictable. So yes, I&G is something of a refreshing change. Maybe we do agree after all.


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