The Spirit of West Waterford

January 31, 2015

If you don’t know the background to this story, then read this and that

Sorted? Excellent.

Cormac never goes any where without a large beer
Cormac never goes any where without a large beer

Well the largest round I ever ordered, all 800 litres of Oatmeal Stout arrived at the distillery earlier this week. The lads at Dungarvan Brewing Company cooked up this batch for us leaving out the hops. We weren’t sure what to expect, but the nose was wonderful as for the taste…

Kieran resists the temptation to down the entire glass in one
Kieran resists the temptation to down the entire glass in one

It was hard to believe there were no hops! The texture of the stout was soft almost silky, the sweet oats well to the front, but supported by the bitter bite of well toasted barley. Without the hops the beer was slightly heavy and served at a robust 6.5% abv.

Getting stuck in.
Getting stuck in.

Kieran and I got stuck right in running the beer through a small stripping still. We played it safe, remember not only was this the first spirit ever to be produced by Blackwater Distillery, it was the first time anyone had been stupid/brave enough in Ireland to distill out a stout.

Any moment now...
Any moment now…

I am happy to say that after the first distillation the character of the oaty stout was still there, and it smelt as you’d expect new make whisky should – remember this was only the first pass through the still and we nosed it at around 28%abv – so it was weak but not shabby.

It took us a couple of days to work our way through the wash but now phase one is complete and next week we switch stills and do a spirit run. The sherry casks also arrive from Spain, so the Spirit of West Waterford will go straight into wood where it will do its thing for a whole two months before being bottled in time for the West Waterford Festival of Food.

The back door to the distillery is a rare place for a cup of Barry's tea.
The back door to the distillery is a rare place for a cup of Barry’s tea.

We had a blast and learnt a lot this week and let’s face it, a spirit made from Oatmeal Stout is a fitting first from a distillery too cranky to bottle someone else’s whiskey.