Double Up

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Scottish Beer | No Comments


Well, all those emails and calls certainly paid off. A tweet, linked to Instagram, plops into the timeline in the middle of the afternoon, with a mere six words of fanfare. In a single moment, that announcement carries the suggestion of a beer that many people have been wondering about for a long time. Fyne Ales are going to make an Imperial version of their all-conquering 3.8% Citra pale ale Jarl. Turbo Jarl. The legend, doubled.

Alright, it’s not the second coming or anything – but for a serious amount of time I’ve wondered what a ramped-up Citra hopped beer from Argyll’s finest would be like. Sure, they have Superior IPA – but that’s an India Pale Ale; and it has Cascade pitching in with the Citra. The sheer joy of Jarl is in its sessionability – it is the perfect first sipper. Any beer brewed to 7.4%, nudging under the duty threshold, can’t possibly have the same ideal as Scotland’s Summer Classic, can it?

But just think on for a minute. There are no better hands for this project to be in. Fortifying something that – since it first appeared at the debut FyneFest of 2010 – has been cemented as one of the outstanding beers of Scotland in recent times, winning SIBA awards and being crowned Champion Beer of Scotland in 2013. Maybe now is the perfect time to push out the longship boat a little and see where it lands.

Why the hell not? I know many roll the eyes at the craftification of brewing, and the rush for bigger, stronger, slower. Balsamic barrel-aged sour tomato beers and the like. But these things are all the product of experimentation, fed through the skill of our brewers – and that keeps the industry going, attracts great young talent and the interest keeps them there. If there is a market for the end-result – and by goodness, will there ever be a market for high-abv Jarl – then absolutely good on them.

Now, before I write something utterly ridiculous like high-abv beers are brewers’ Himalayas – here are five other Scottish beers that it would be interesting to see a ‘double’ version of…

Cromarty AKA IPA – While we’re on the subject of beers that captured the Zeitgeist – Cromarty’s tub-thumping IPA (no slouch at 6.7%) would be boosted into the stratosphere with an extra third again on the abv. Except, this one has already been done – Cromarty Man Overboard was released in January. People power!

Cairngorm Black Gold – The dark to Jarl’s light; a stunning and multi-award winning beer (not to mention the current Champion Beer of Scotland). At 4.4% it has fantastic depth – but what would it be like at 7.5%? Cairngorm rarely venture over 5% – for fans of bigger beer, this could be a real winner.

Stewart 80/- – Let’s push the flipchart here – an imperial 80/-? Ending up like a bastard lovechild of an old ale and a wee heavy, this might put the cat amongst the pigeons. Doubled up, at least Loanhead’s finest would know what to call it, even if Stewart 160/- would require an extra digit on the pump clip.

This. Is. Lager. – Well Ok, I guess I could whisper this upstairs but imperial lagers are few and far between and – when delivered well – really bring something interesting to the table. Avery, Brown, Dredge was a similar vein, but doubling-up TIL would raise a few eyebrows.

Pilot Ultravilot – Just to see how much of this Leith’s finest could take.

What other beers from the UK would have a totally different outlook placed on them, if they were doubled up?

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