By Father John Rayls
Delaware’s Painted Stave Distilling and Fordham & Dominion Brewing Co. have gotten into the thing, not new but not altogether well-established either, in producing a whiskey distilled from beer, in this case an Imperial IPA. The result is Double TroubleD, initially released in 2015.
My particular bottle came from the October 2016 release, bottle number 2 out of 179. Obviously, it’s a limited release, but a seasonal once taking place every Spring and Fall. Originally, it was aged for 10 months in two 10 gallon barrels, but is now regularly aged in 30 gallon, charred American oak barrels for 18 months. It goes into the barrel at 115 proof and ends up being bottled at 94 proof.
Distilling whiskey from beer is nothing new. In fact, all whiskey is distilled from beer. It’s just not the kind of beer you would ever want to share with a good friend on a warm summer evening. Have you ever taken a distillery tour? You are often encouraged to dip your fingers in the beer and taste it. Very, very few ever ask for seconds!
Double TroubleD Whiskey is distilled from a very drinkable Imperial IPA and ends up as a very enjoyable whiskey experience. Imperial IPA’s tend to be very hoppy, much higher in ABV percentage, a little less malty and are created to grab your attention. If you truly love the whole Imperial IPA flavor profile (as I do!), you are going to love what Painted Stave Distillery has done with Fordham & Dominion Brewing Co’s original creation. This is definitely a beer drinker’s whiskey. Think in terms of Boilermaker only much, much better…
I don’t know who designed the badging, labels or bottles, but it is certainly appealing. It is sold in the half-size 375 ml bottle, and despite that will instantly grab your eye. The label is a real piece of art reflecting back on Alberto Vargas. The whiskey color of light to medium brown fits perfectly with the bottle label, giving off a very classic vibe. There are golden highlights which makes the in glass appearance seem lighter or even brighter. The legs are readily observable on a gentle swirl and after each taste.
The nose is definitely hoppy. However, it’s a tame hoppy aroma. It’s not subdued, but is simply a gentle aroma that blends with the pine, oak and even some dark chocolate deep down. The initial aromas may remind you of a cleaning agent, but stick with it. It’s worth it.
There is a very light creaminess to the mouthfeel. On the palate, the hops make their presence known. It comes across as a woodiness mixed with a slightly sweet Sasafras tea with a distinct fruitiness. In addition, there is a very light presence of chocolate as the finish begins to kick in. The entire tasting experience takes place in the back of the mouth.
The finish is medium to long as Double TroubleD drinks just slightly hot. You might expect the hops to overwhelm everything else, but it doesn’t. This is a nicely balanced whiskey tasting. Even for non-beer drinkers, this is a fun whiskey and particularly for comparison and tastings purposes.
It’s definitely unusual. It’s certainly novel and it absolutely attracts attention. However, this isn’t just some marketing ploy or other gimmickry. It’s legit and worthy of your time. You’ll find it priced around $35.00 for the smaller 375 ml bottle. Share it with some friends and compare notes. It will be an evening you won’t soon forget.