Beer at Joe’s header image 2

“Whiskey starts as beer”

By Joe Ruvel · July 8th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Well yeah – I knew that, but did I really know that? When I drink whiskey, I am not thinking about beer – it is a different drink – the flavor notes are close but I don’t know it just fits in a different part of my brain. But does it need to? No, of course!

The great folks at St. George Spirits write this:

 Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Whiskey starts as beer. I know that it sounds a little weird, but it’s true. So, bearing this in mind, it’s not that big a leap of logic to say that if you distill a more interesting and complex beer, you’ll end up with a more interesting and complex whiskey.

Our whiskey starts as a smoky brown ale. Heavily roasted barley provides a mixture of dried cocoa and hazelnut in the aroma, while a measure of the barley has been smoked over alder and beech for added complexity.

Boy would I love to try that beer. At least I can try the whiskey. And possibly even pair it with a fine brown ale.

Tasting Table has a run down today of whiskey that starts life as beer good enough to drink.

Tags: Around the Web

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Bru // Jul 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Is that really true??? Doesn’t sound right. Whisky definetly does not have any hops in it.

  • 2 Joe Ruvel // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:49 am

    So i think you are getting to the real heart of the matter – it usually doesn’t but why not – they are making this “distillers beer” that isn’t very good – why not make a good beer then distill that – even with hops – i bet over the years the hops will soften and give you some real surprising tastes. So i think with the ones above they do have hops.

  • 3 Luke E. // Jul 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Thanks to good ol’ Emerson, I knew this. jAfter brewing a few batches of beer, he got all excited and started creating a still. I think he wanted it mainly for the experimental beers that turned out poorly (mugwart beer, yarrow beer). Even though they were poor beers, they might have made some really interesting whiskey.

    Unfortunately, we had to move before he finished it, and I guess never found the time or space to try a batch of whiskey (what with living out of the back of a truck for a few months and all before moving into a boat).

    I would have been pretty interested to try it out, but only after Emerson had drinken copious amounts and not gone blind.

  • 4 kyle // Jul 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    really want to try some of these. was reading about them yesterday.

  • 5 mike // Jul 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Hey Joe,

    This is actually one Whiskey I tried form the last trip to Belgium. The first batch was done as a test and was a hit. We tried our best to get our hands on a bottle from the owner but it was all sold and he said we where drinking one of his personal bottles. It was really amazing to get all the esters from the mash. From what I hear they should have the next round ready soon and may ship out a few bottles to the importer to share.

    http://www.hetanker.be/en/whisky/belgian-brewery-whisky.html

  • 6 Joe Ruvel // Jul 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Wow – I can only imagine how good that is. I hope it surfaces around here. Thanks for the link!