The Yeastie Boys and single malt dance card


Curated by Gingerbeardyman

Presented by Stu McKinley of Yeastie Boys

Hop Garden


7 June 2011

“It’s the hardest thing in the world to create a beer and not name it”

Stu McKinley (Yeastie Boys)

There was some anxiety about this tasting among the Thirstyboys as the gingerbeardyman lined himself up to curate a list of beer and whiskey match ups. Some of us wondered whether this tasting would be a stagger, crawl or taxi home affair.

The gingerbeadyman (GBM) is a tall Scotsman, a card player, artist, golfer and family man. He did well to invite and partner up with local brewer Stu McKinley of Yeastie Boys and we are grateful for his commentary and presence throughout the evening.

The gingerbeardyman outlines the development of this memorable tasting:

GBM: It all began one Friday evening with a sniff of Rex Attitude, a love of whisky, a few fortuitous tweets and a mutual admiration for Scottish kitchen sink romantics Arab Strap, all of which led me to persuade Stu, one half of the Yeastie Boys, to join us for a very different session of beer club.

I have included throughout my notes of a few of the tweets that shaped proceedings. We begin below:

Gingerbeardyman @phil_cook just trying the Rex Attitude @yeastieboys and enjoying the challenge, thinking whisky w/beer tasting can work for June, thoughts? yeastieboys @Gingerbeardyman @phil_cook can I be of assistance?

@Gingerbeardyman just working on Tuesday’s tasting, I spoke with Stu the other day and he’s in, and will bring a surprise

Fools Gold (hand-pumped) with Baldnoch 16 year old

@phil_cook @HopGardenWgtn @Gingerbeardyman Bladnoch and Fools Gold seems like a go to me.

Fools Gold 5-6MP

Fools Gold is named after the English alternative rock band Stone Roses’ song of the same name (1989). It has been brewed in a session style and comes in at just over 4%. Based on the Townshends Cathcarts NTA from New Zealand, it is an English inspired ale in its own right.

Baldnoch 16 year old  3-4 MP

This whiskey was not a distillery bottling but rather an independent single casking. It has a rich caramel flavour, and is in fact a bit sweaty. Adding water would make it a bit grassy.

GBM: Unfortunately, this did not work in the slightest. I had it in my ginger nut that my favourite aperitif style dram, full of lovely citrus and spice, would be great match for the Fools Gold. I had the 10 yr old Flora & Fauna bottling in mind but alas there was none.  Instead, this particular expression was stewed in too much marmalade and heavy sweetness that engulfed what is usually a gentle but complex spirit. But on the flip side it did allow the Fools Gold to cleanse our pallets in a most pleasurable manner.

Her Majesty 2010 with Dalwhinnie 15 year old

Her Majesty 2010 7MP

This brew is named after the second full length album (2003) by the Decemberists, an indie folk rock band from the United States. Seemed like a vintage beer, a Baltic porter with a Belgian yeast.  

GBM: This could be called a Dubbel Bruin, a really spicy rummy, raisin beer which from memory past muster with all the Thirstyboys on the night and would probably have gone equally well with some Spring Bank 10 yr  old.

“It is too slow for a  Bond movie, too much brains…” gingerbeardyman

“The best Yeastie beer I have tasted” Stu

Dalwhinnie 15 year old (43% Vol)

“A classic highland  flavour…”gingerbeardyman

The Dalwhinnie is a classic highland heathery and refreshing malt. There was a liveliness in this whiskey. It was not dominated by a single flavour (like an Islay can be said to predominantly medicinal) but perfectly harmonised aromatic and subtle peat notes to produce a superbly balanced dram. It was fragrant, fruitcake-like in flavour.

GBM: This firm, refreshing dram that has yet to disappoint showed all its refreshing hoppy sweetness rounded off in an incredibly long and oily finish which complimented Her Majesty very well.

“Let us not forget that the highlands are not particularly high” Jesuit

(GBM: That said, it still remains the highest distillery above sea level in the world)

His Majesty with Highland Park
12 year old

@ Yeastie Boys @phil_cook @HopGardenWgtn @Gingerbeardyman

I’ve got some homebrewed Saison and His Majesty 2010. The latter might go well with Highland Park 

His Majesty 8.5MP

At the time of drinking this beer was 8 months old and was released at Christmas 2010. Every year’s style is different. This is like an Imperial ESB not a barley inspired wine. It is incredibly Moreish.

GBM: A beer that balances sweetness and citrus flavours admirably while not over playing its high alcohol levels.

Highland Park 12 year old 7MP

The HP is probably the best all round malt with all the highland character of fragrances, spices and heathery notes alongside homely smokiness reminiscent of good Islay but with a restrained  subtlety of character.

GBM: A sigh of relief as we have probably the first truly good match between whisky and beer, as both drinks contain an often elusive balance – a great deal of sweetness while remaining very refreshing.

“A rich malt, its got smoke and ashes” Stu

“Incredibly easy drinking, verging on mothers milk…” Jesuit

Rex Attitude with Ardbeg 10 year old

Rex Attitude 8MP

“The man points are in the enormity of it…” scotty

According to the brewers, Rex is the world’s first beer made from 100% heavy peated distilling malt, with earthy lemony hops. It certainly conjured up a range of reactions.  

GBM: It stinks, in fact reeks of kerosene, dry brittle smoke and bacon fat and it takes a good few moments to be able to get your brain round what it is doing to your nostrils. But given some time to warm, it offers up cereal character reminiscent of a hearty porridge cooked only in water and salt.

“Fire in the hole…”KaroriFryUp

“Very meaty, like bacon/pork…”

“Meat gone bad”

“When I first smelt  it was campfire”

“Like a wet weekend  in the Tararuas” GreasyLightbulb

“The most polarising beer of the year. People will hate themselves for liking this beer!” tvdisko

“Anyone like a ginger ale?” Scotty


Ardbeg 10 year old 8.5 MP

 Oatmeally, gravelly and dry as buggery, yet remaining fresh and clean on the palate. Not as overpowering in its medicinal nature as its neighbour Laphroaig but certainly broody and contemplative.

GBM: I believe I found myself lost in the moment as I quickly plunged my neb deeply in to the glass of one then the other as I searched for different qualities in the smoke. What stood out was how much the Rex could hold up to the Ardbeg in its boldness in the nosing but I believe the whisky offered a greater complexity. On the palate the Rex is far more aggressive and the oily nature of the whisky helps carry its boldness with greater aplomb.

The whole experience was incredible fun and caps should be doffed to the Yeastieboys  for creating such a  unique proposition.

“If I only had one drink every day this would be it…” gingerbeardyman

“You’d get sick of it though…” stu

 This was an excellent match

Bonus beer:

Stu brought a surprise with him.

Fools Farmhouse Gold 5%

This was a homebrew only 5 weeks old. We rated it  6+MP [with advisory]. Same hops as Fools Gold but with Saison yeast – this was  about the 4th beer made with this yeast. It tastes bigger than the 5%. A very clean beer, a “session Belgian” perhaps and “mordant but zesty” in character.

“Huge mouthful, a big rounded beer” gingerbeardyman

“Trenchant” Jesuit

“I held a little for me” scotty

The Yeastie Boys and single malt dance card provided the Thirstyboys with a great nights drinking. There was a little schooling up,  some new tastes, and insights on familiar and emerging brews that would surely turn into favourites. There was a great deal said, but the final word has got to come from Stu himself who offers a comment that speaks of things to come…and beers to look forward to.

“I have a headache of names of beers I have not created yet…” Stu McKinley

@ Yeastie Boys @Gingerbeardyman
@revolucion267 @GeneralZ0d58 I feel privileged to have been invited. So manly. Can we do another in 365 days? All homebrew

To follow Thirstyboys blog click FOLLOW at the right. It’s easy.

Some links:

Phil Cook’s analysis and musings on the Rex Attitude

and Fools Gold

For another perspective on the Rex and some great images

Home of the Yeastie Boys

About the Ardbeg

One thought on “The Yeastie Boys and single malt dance card

  1. […] After an informative tour of the operation (I didn’t really understand how whiskey was made before, and I had never heard of the ‘angel’s share’) and a sample of the product I left with a bottle of 10year old Talisker and a hip flask. For the rest of the trip I had a nightly tipple of the sweet, smokey whikihi, a very nice winter habit (even in a Scottish summer). But I’m just a novice, so for more authoritative account of whiskey (and beer) see Gingerbeardyman’s blog at: Yeastieboys single malt dance card […]

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