71 Brewing has teamed up with Tullbardine, one of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries, to develop and launch a new barrel-aged Scotch ale called Illuminate Electric.
The collaboration is a natural extension of 71 Brewing’s circular economy philosophy, and takes Tullibardine back to its 15th century roots as a brewer of beers, before it evolved into a whisky distiller.
The casks provided were freshly available having previously contained liquid from Tullibardine’s Signature 228 Burgundy Cask Finish, matured in former Pinot Noir barrique casks.
The result is Illuminate Electric, a deep amber Scotch ale, showcasing a complex malt bill with notes of brown sugar, molasses, treacle, caramel, and toffee, with whisky character shining through.
“We’re delighted with the results of this first collaboration with Tullibardine,” said 71 Brewing founder Duncan Alexander. “It’s created the perfect ale for winter drinks.
“The whisky casks have given the ale a depth and maturity that has a richness and complexity of flavour. We’re delighted to be returning the casks to Tullibardine where they will be used to mature a fresh batch of liquid gold.
“To our knowledge, this is a rare thing to do. There are examples of whisky casks being used to mature beer, but rarely being returned to mature whisky. It may take a few years to taste the results, but it’s a very interesting development nevertheless.”
Michael Elliott, general manager at Tullibardine, added: “This is a really interesting project for us. We’re always fascinated by how our wood and liquids work together, whether that’s through our whisky finishes or sharing casks with other categories entirely.
“We were delighted to collaborate with award-winning 71 Brewing to bring some new additions to their exciting portfolio, and we’ve been impressed by the results. The casks provided were freshly available having previously contained liquid from our 228 Burgundy Cask Finish.
“We will now get one of each cask back to refill with our liquid and discover the effect the time with beer has had on the cask, and in turn what it will do to our liquid to create a potential single cask release.”
International Beer Challenge
71 Brewing has received medals for three of its core beers at the International Beer Challenge. There were two silver medals for Light Wave in the session IPA category and 71 Lager in the pilsner category, together with a bronze medal for Haze Halo in the class for New England/Vermont-style IPAs.
Soft, juicy, fruity, and hoppy, Light Wave (3.8% ABV) is a session IPA which packs in flavour and aroma from generous additions of Citra and Mosaic hops. The brewery’s signature crisp, golden 71 Lager (4.4% ABV) is single hopped with Saaz to showcase the aroma and bitterness of the unique Noble hop, and paired with a classic pilsner malt profile. Haze Halo (5% ABV) is a hazy IPA with tropical fruit aromas and a rich, smooth mouthfeel.
Duncan Alexander said: “We are incredibly proud to be awarded these medals from the most highly prized of all the beer competitions. This was the first time we have entered this competition, so to receive medals for all the products we put forward, and that these are part of our core series, makes it even more gratifying.
“We have an incredible team of professionals who work tirelessly to craft the very finest beers, and to get this recognition is a testament to their hard work.”