Home Whisky & Scotch Innis & Gunn

Innis & Gunn

Photo by Luke of aspiringgentleman.com
innis and gunn
Photo by Luke of aspiringgentleman.com

The official whiskey drinker’s beer, especially if you’re a Canadian with yuppie-ish tendencies like myself. Aging beer in oak barrels seems ostensibly extravagant, even pretentious in a world of highly fashionable oaked wines.  Innis & Gunn is really quite thinly veiled, a very sexy drink, targeted at the same market as those California Cabernet drinkers as well as whiskey drinkers. The key to this delicous concoction is human cat-nip: vanilla. No other flavour is as friendly. It gently massages the tongue with hints of earthy sweetness making alcohol taste very low. Much like strongly oaked wines, Innis & Gunn beers use the vanilla effect to cover up a whack of alcohol, starting at 6% in the Blonde. If you’re thinking “but it’s really quality beer!” check out the colour of the glass it comes in. Oh, and that will be $20 for a six-pack please.

I recently had a house warming event that left me with 2 of their beers as leftovers in my fridge. A third is available at the restaurant I work at. Unfortunately, I could not track down a sample of the Rum Cask, a special release from Innis and Gunn that I really enjoyed about a year ago. I actually really enjoy drinking these beers in reasonable quantities; after 1 or 2 the oak becomes tiring.


Aged 77 days in new American Oak casks, featuring bold oak flavours of toffee and malt. A hint of hops and citrus really save this beer, giving it a respectable balance. The oak character is actually quite intriguing, carrying a fresh from the barrel yeastiness that I recognize from wine tours, a smell that often dissapears from bottled products but is intact in this beer.  Read some other reviews of this beer at Beer Advocate, Acts of Minor Treason, epinions, Boozecouncil and GreatBeers GreatBars for a nice picture.


Aged a mere 37 days in oak, this is every bit the little brother. Both the malt character and oak are toned down in this Innis lite. The result is a little less like dessert, a bit more like beer. The hop character is more apparent here and the malt has more bright fruitiness than the sweet original.  Reviews of the blonde: The Misc Blog, Beer Blog, Blogobeer

Canadian Cask

If you’ve been to Alberta and seen rubber testicles hanging from the hitch of a big truck you’re probably not far from the inspiration from this beer. 71 days in Canadian Oak casks, of which only 150 barrels were made.The aroma of this beer actually carries hints of malted barley, much more whiskey like than the first 2 offerings. This beer is amped up a little, featuring high 7.1% alcohol and a bitterness acompanying the expected vanilla. I love my country but not this beer. I can only wonder what St. Ambroise beer would taste like from cask? Read more at Love Good Beer and The Beer Beat