In November 2012 Mikkeller launched Mikkeller Spirits with its first brands of our 17,5% Imperial Stout "Black", the first hop vodka, gin and white dog. Now Mikkeller Spirits has made its first travel out in the world to meet other equally minded distillers. The intention is to get inspired, get better, get wiser and get social.
Our first stop on our tour was at Corsair Artisan Distillery in Nashville Tennessee, that over the last 4 years has approached spirits in a way you don't see very often. The owners are all old home brewers and has always had an extreme passion for hops. Therefore they have over the last 4 years been building a library of spirits done with different varieties of hops. Over 40 different hops has been done in over 40 different White Dog-style spirits resulting in what probably is the greatest single hop spirit library in the world (the picture is a part of their single hop library). As being hop heads our self we of course adore this approached and has for a long time been wanting to do a collaboration with these guys, so when we planned our tour this was one of the first we contacted. The plan was to do a distilled Black IPA, so this monday we brewed a stout as a base beer at Corsair that is fermenting as we speak. This will then be distilled through a gin basket packed with hops and aged for 6 month on charred oak barrels.
Now, when adding hops to the spirit, the hops aromas transfers in a very different way than when adding it to beers. Many of the New Zealand hops get this clear earthy mushroomy addition. Some american hops like Citra and Amarillo gets this spicy addition to it etc. So when doing a hop brand or distilled Black IPA the key is to figure out the perfect hop combination and here the Corsair hop library came in handy. By sampling through somewhat 30 different hopped White Dogs and combining here and there we got a real powerful yet balanced hop profile through combining mosaic, centennial and galaxy hops. Mosaic gave this very balanced round subtle hop profile, the centennial gave a really grassy and more typical hop dimention and the galaxy rounded it all of with just adding a tiny bit of spices.
So now that the hop profile is settled we only have to wait 6 month to get our first Black IPA brand.