Two get into spirit of 'whisky' beer

31 October, 2008

Two new whisky barrel-aged beers have been released on to the market.

After a long battle with Revenue & Customs, London brewer Fuller's finally launched a whisky-beer hybrid.

Brewer's Reserve is the result of four years' work by head brewer John Keeling to create an ale that could assume some of the characteristics of a single malt. It has been matured for more than 500 days in 30-year-old Scotch whisky casks. The whisky used has not been named.

Much of that time has been taken up in negotiations with Customs, which was quibbling over whether the drink would count as a beer or a spirit for duty purposes.

Now officially a beer, though weighing in at a hefty 7.7% abv, Brewer's Reserve is available in 25,000 individually numbered bottles and presentation box.

"The idea of ageing beer in whisky casks sounds simple, but we had to work hard to make sure we were in line with Customs," said Keeling.

Brewer's Reserve is first in a series of special beers from Fuller's which will be released annually.

Meanwhile, Innis & Gunn is releasing a triple-matured version of its whisky barrel-aged beer. The 7.2% abv beer has gone through three separate maturation stages - in casks, a marrying tun and in bottle - and will be listed by Sainsbury's with a bottle price of £2.19.

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