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Indri and Fort City Brewing launch India’s first barrel-aged stout

Piccadily Distilleries-owned whisky brand Indri and New Delhi-based Fort City Brewing have launched Dhumri, a stout aged in whisky casks, to appeal to whisky and beer drinkers alike.

whisky barrel-aged stout beer India

Barrel-aged Imperial Stouts have existed for decades, but it is only in the last few years that beers aged using this special technique have gained momentum all over the world. Now Indian producers are jumping on the trend.

Dhumri is the first drink in the ‘Barrel Aged Beer Programme’, made by ageing Fort City Brewing’s Imperial Stout in the wooden barrels that previously housed Indri’s single malt whisky, Indri-Trini.

The Barrel Aged Beer Programme is a joint venture between the two drinks brands intending to bring flavour to the beer by ageing it in whisky barrels.

Piccadily Distilleries founder Siddhartha Sharma said that the trend for ageing beer in ex-whisky barrels has gained popularity in recent years, “due to its ability to impart unique flavours and characteristics to the beer”.

Fort City Brewing co-founders Gautham Gandhi and Ashish Ranjan said they hoped the collaboration with Indri would produce “beers that will captivate the palates of beer and whisky enthusiasts”.

Ranjan explained that the brand “wanted to appeal to the wine and whisky drinkers and expose them to a more diverse universe of craft beers”.

India has traditionally been a whisky-drinking nation. Ranjan explained that since there is a lot of overlap between single malt whisky drinkers and beer consumers, a collaboration like this would introduce more people to the brand’s craft beers.

Indri’s Indri-Trini single malt whisky

The brewery’s Imperial Stout spent three months resting in Indri barrels in order to make Dhumri. The wood allows some of the alcohol and water to evaporate from the beer, and more oxygen enters the beer to give the beverage its complex taste profile.

Indri, which is based in Haryana, uses three different barrel types to make its signature Indri-Trini single malt — ex-bourbon, ex-french wine and ex-sherry casks.

Dhumri was launched in March at Fort City Brewing’s brewery where it will be exclusively available on tap. With an ABV of 7.8%, the limited edition craft beer is served in half pints, priced at around 595 INR without tax.

As pioneers of barrel-aged beers in India, Fort City Brewing’s Ranjan explained that he would be thrilled to see more brands follow suit and mature beers in ex-whisky barrels. However, certain challenges in logistics and availability are likely to cause issues for other brands.

The ageing method comes with its own cost. According to Ranjan, brands will need to spend as much as US$300 (238 GBP) for one barrel, and shipping in small batches of three or four barrels drives up the price. Fort City Brewing was able to avoid said difficulties because Indri supplied it with a couple of barrels for free for this collaborative launch.

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