McHugh's Off-Licence kindly sent me the latest in their Roadtrip series. These are the collaboration beers they do with other breweries. The last one was with Kinnegar and it was an American IPA. Here are my thoughts on it from last year. This year, they have teamed up with Independent Brewing in Galway to produce two stouts. One of them is barrel aged in Teeling Whiskey casks.
First up, the Extra Stout. It's a 6.3% beer that's quite like a black IPA. There's a strong citrus and pine hop character on the nose with a hint of coffee and plenty of chocolate. Some dark honey and treacle make up the sweeter notes.
It tastes intensely bitter but not only from hops, the dark malts provide their own bitterness. There are some serious coffee notes which starts to move it out of the Black IPA genre and back into stout. It's slightly astringent but not overly so. This is not a balanced beer. It's a beer for people who like big bold citrus and bitter coffee notes.
The slightly bigger brother is the Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout at 7% ABV. On the nose, there's some wood and dark chocolate with a little vanilla and caramel to keep things sweet. A hint of citrus but just the barest whiff. On tasting, I got a rich burnt wood followed by espresso and dark chocolate. There's a little reminder of the whiskey but it's subtle. Surprisingly, it's eminently drinkable but then again, it's only 7% and the belief is that they simply took the extra stout, put it in some whiskey barrels for 3 months and ended up with this. The hops were mostly lost but were replaced by whiskey and wood notes.
I think of the two, I slightly preferred the first one. It was edgier and slightly easier to drink. I prefer my whiskey aged stouts a little stronger and slightly harder/longer to drink but decide for yourself.