An ale has been brewed from Islay single malt for the first time. Micro-brewery Islay Ales, on the Hebridean island of the same name, has hooked up with neighbouring distiller Bruichladdich to produce a powerful and heady brew. By interrupting the whisky–making process at the stage of mashing, 600 litres of the prefermented liquor known as ‘wort’ was shipped to Islay Ales brewery.
Here, using brewer’s yeast, the ‘wort’ obtained from a maceration of Optic barley, was fermented to a knee-trembling 9% alcohol ale. Brewer Paul Hathaway added Challenger and Bramling Cross hops for extra flavour: “The distillery usually gets a 7% alcohol using different yeast strain – but I managed to get a thumping 9% alcohol.” “It’s a crossover drink: it has the delicious malty richness of Bruichladdich’s wort and the bitterness of hops. You can drink it now – it will get even better with time.”
1,800 bottles (33cl) entitled “Worts n’Ale” will be sold at £3 each exclusively by Islay Ales. Twenty-five pence from each bottle will go to the RNLI. The debut for this monster was Sunday 28th May at the opening day of the Islay Whisky & Music Festival “Feis Ile” at Bruichladdich Distillery. “At 9% alcohol this is a beer for savouring and certainly not for session drinking.