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Inspired by Craft Beer, Distillers Debut Beer-Barrel-Aged Whiskey

Craft beer and whiskey have a lot in common, so it's no surprise that distillers are experimenting with aging their whiskeys in barrels formerly used for craft beers. Distillers are now aging their whisky in barrels which were formerly used to store craft beers such as stouts or porters. These whiskies have more flavoursome and aromatic qualities than regular ones, and they're infused by the rich flavours of the beer. Craft beer in London has made such a huge impact on the beer industry that it is now inspiring a new trend in the whisky world. Aging spirits is not an unusual practice but aging whiskeys in barrels which were previously used to store premium brews has made this beverage unique among its peers. This modern approach proves how much power craft beer carries over the alcohol industry, thus leaving no doubt about its huge impact on today’s society and culture at large. Whiskey is typically aged in oak barrels to add flavour and colour to the drink, but when bourbon makers started using wine casks instead of new oak barrels, they noticed that the flavours from the wood were more subtle than before. The process of aging whisky in a cask which previously held another alcohol is called "finishing", and it can have a drastic effect on the flavour of the whisky. Whisky aged in beer barrels, or what is being referred to as “beer-barrel ageing”, has been gaining traction amongst distillers for many years now. While this type of spirit may seem like an oddity at first glance, there are several important reasons why producers choose to use these types of casks from time to time. Beer-barrel-aged whiskey has been around since at least 2014 when Balcones Distillery released Waco Blue Lightning, a Texas whisky made from rye malt barley. One major reason is the fact that used whisky/liquor barrels have already done their job creating flavour and aroma profiles so they can be re-used which will help drive down costs even more than they already have over previous decades. Some examples of beer barrel aged whisky includes Balcones Distillery’s Brimstone, Kentucky Artisan Oak Reserve and Angel's Envy Bourbon. The process starts by soaking a barrel in water or alcohol overnight then filling it with freshly brewed beer. Distillers are also using barrels, similar to those used for wines and bourbons, to make these whiskies that add more flavours into their products. Distillers are adding flavour enhancers into their products by taking inspiration from craft beers as they use barrels commonly found in wineries & breweries such as chardonnay & blue corn bourbon for making malt barley rye whiskey aged six months prior to being bottled. After letting it sit for two weeks, brewers remove the spent grains and rinse out any remaining sugars before filling it up again with more of the beverage. Once this step is done, the brewers move on to the fermentation process which typically takes between four weeks for ales and several months for lagers. During this time, yeast is added to start converting sugars into alcohol while also imparting its own flavours in the mix through fruity esters. At some breweries, you can actually taste different types of yeasts that are available depending on what type of beer they're making, similar to using various strains of hops. Brewers often describe their beers as being either clean or complex with most craft brews leaning towards the latter due to longer fermentation times allowing more nuanced flavours & aromas from both yeast and malt barley. The most popular type of beer being used is porters because they're dark enough to give depth without adding too much bitterness or sourness to the final product. Craft distillers are following the trend of craft brewers and making whisky that is aged in barrels previously used to store their favourite brews. These new whiskeys offer a unique taste profile by combining the best of both worlds, but they also come with an increased price tag because these barrels cost more than traditional oak casks. This interesting phenomenon offers consumers a chance to get their hands on some really special spirits and indulge in something different while simultaneously supporting local breweries or wineries, and this is in addition to the new craft spirit movement which produces some excellent beverages such as The Lakes Whisky.

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