Stout Cask Maturation – A Future Wire Works Whisky Release

White Peak Distillery and Thornbridge Brewery

We’ve worked closely with our local friends at Thornbridge brewery since we started in 2018.  From the start, our plan was to use live brewers yeast in our fermentation to achieve a unique flavour profile and we were fortunate to find a willing partner in Thornbridge.  Every week, we collect live yeast from the brewery in Bakewell which, as well as helping with our focus on flavour and provenance, also provides a link between the regions first whisky and its long-standing brewing heritage.

First launched during lockdown, our Boilermaker Gift Sets are another example of our local collaboration. Designed jointly with Thornbridge, the gift set contains a fortifying combination of Thornbridge IPA and our single malt spirit. It’s believed the drink takes its name from the blue collar workers who built and maintained steam locomotives in the 1800s. These workers were known to head to the bar at the end of the shift, and a shot of whisky with a beer became a staple for quickly easing the pain that came from a hard day of back-breaking labour.  Along with Thornbridge, we’re delighted to support the great work of the volunteers at Derby Mountain Rescue Team through a donation for each gift set sold; the DMRT keep us all safe on our visits to some of our beautiful Peak District landscape.

Whisky, stout and some future releases

Amongst our planned Wire Works Whisky future releases is a stout-finished single malt, involving a dozen well-travelled ex-bourbon barrels.

The barrels were originally used at Heaven Hill Distillery to age its Evan Williams bourbon. The barrels then travelled to Derbyshire where they were used by Thornbridge brewery for its barrel-aged award-winning Necessary Evil imperial stout. Through our close ties, we were able to collect some of the freshly-dumped barrels from Thornbridge to refill within 48 hours with our single malt spirit.

We’ve filled six of the barrels with our new make spirit for a planned full maturation, and we’ve filled the other six with minimum 3-year matured single malt for a stout cask finish. We’ve opted for a lower fill strength with all these ex-stout barrels, which should help highlight the fruity esters (flavour compounds) and extract some sweetness from the cask.

Stout finishes are not common and we were keen to try, as it offers another opportunity to experiment with, and build on, the flavour profile of our Wire Works Whisky releases. Furthermore, it adds to the Derbyshire provenance of everything we do at The Wire Works.  With flavours including chocolate, caramel, and dark roasted malt, we thought that the flavour profile of the stout would complement our whisky and early samples are supporting this hunch!

The six barrels that we’ve filled with our new make spirit are more of a long-term project and we’re excited to see over time how these barrels will interact with our spirit – how the stout flavours mature over time is a bit of an unknown.

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