Letterkenny – My Irish Warmer

letterkennySince I’m part Irish and a homebrewer I felt compelled as St. Patrick Day approached to make an Irish beer.  In American there aren’t that many beer styles that scream “Ireland”.  Aside from stouts and reds there really isn’t a whole lot out there.  I wanted to brew something different.  I took a page from the Strong Scotch Ale BJCP category and added a few Irish twists.

First and foremost I used Irish ale yeast.  I mean, can it be an Irish beer without Irish yeast?  Probably, but not for me.  I use WLP004 as one of my “house yeasts” and wanted to toss it into this mix.  I dusted off a recipe I used in the Fall of 2014 for an Irish Warmer.  I was totally satisfied with it and to boot it was recieved well by the folks I shared it with.  The third component I kind of stumbled upon.

The Irish side of my family comes from Donegal County in Ireland.  All of the Irish beers I have brewed are named after towns in Donegal.  I’ve also been trying different scotches and Irish Whiskey lately.  One day I was looking around and found “Donegal Irish Whiskey”.  I was about $25 so I couldn’t resist.  I had saved some from the bottle for this warmer.  How more Irish could I get?  Now it’s time for the recipe.

Grain Bill

  • 6.25# Maris Otter
  • 5.5# American 2-Row
  • 1.25# Caramel 20L
  • .75# Roasted Barley
  • .25# Chocolate Wheat


  • 1.5 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5% AA) @ 60
  • .75 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5% AA) @15

Boil Additions

  • 1 oz Corriander Seed @ 15min
  • 2# Table Sugar
  • Whirflock tab


  • WLP004 Whitelabs Irish Ale Yeast (from starter)

2016-02-25 20.07.49Overall impressions:

Color: Dark red.  You can barely see through it under a bright light.

Head retention:  This is not something I normally note but, there was quite a bit of head retention to this beer.  I attribute that to the chocolate wheat that I tossed in, but there is no science backing that up.

Aroma: The aroma was sweet and chocolate.2016-02-25 20.07.49   As it warms I could pick up some oak and hints of that whiskey.

Taste: I gave it to someone who liked an earlier iteration of this beer and she said, “it tastes like a Toostie Roll”. And indeed it did.  One of the reasons why I like this beer was that as it warmed it changed it’s flavor.  The oak, whisky and spice started to come through.

Mouthfeel: It has a surprisingly thick mouthfeel for the style.

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