This probably the first review on this blog of a whisky finished in former beer casks. There have been a few of these types releases in the past 5 years or so, most notably from big producers such as Glenfiddich and Jameson. Teeling has also dabbled in beer maturation, previously releasing a Stout Cask expression. Their latest is the Teeling Amber Ale, a Small Batch Collaboration with Irish craft brewer DOT Brew.
Now when I’m visiting a pub in Scotland or Ireland I often order an amber ale — or red ale, as the Irish refer to it. It’s usually a balanced beer with an amber or red (duh!) colour. A moderate amount of kilned malts and roasted barley is used in the recipe, which gives the beer the colour for which it is named. It usually has a fairly sweet, caramel-like flavour while the hoppy bitterness is rather approachable.
Teeling’s Amber Ale has been finished in casks that have previously held DOT Brew’s Rum Red Dark VII. The whiskey barrels used for the Rum Red Dark VII are ex-rum barrels that previously held Teeling (both peated and unpeated). Once DOT Brew was finished with their beer maturation, they sent the barrels back to Teeling. The distillery then finished their standard Teeling Small Batch in these casks for about 12 months. The result is captivating.
Teeling Amber Ale Small Batch Collaboration (46%, OB, 2021)
Nose: Notes of caramel-glazed apples and toffee as well, but also some hoppy pineapple and powdered sugar. A touch of varnish and orange peels, but also some menthol and pine needles. Taste: Whisper of anise, burnt caramel and ripe red apple parts, but also some bitter hops, lemon and furniture polish. Finish: Lingering grassy notes, vegetal and some more varnish.
Charming nose, closely followed by the palate. Good and mostly just very interesting. The Amber Ale influence is very noticeable. A successful marriage between an amber beer and Teeling's Small Batch.