Drinking a cold pint of beer is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you’re enjoying a beer with friends or on a night out, there is nothing quite like that first sip of a freshly poured pint. However, there are times when you may end up with a bad pint. If you have ever experienced this, you know it can be a disappointment. So, how can you spot if your beer has gone off before you take that first sip? 

In this guide, you will learn the key signs to look out for when it comes to a bad pint of beer. We will cover the different types of off-flavors and aromas that can indicate a bad pint. You will also learn how to distinguish between a bad pint and one that has gone flat. By the end of the post, you will be able to recognize a bad pint of beer, and in most cases a good bartender will replace it for you.

Does it smell of butterscotch?

If you’re about to take a sip of your pint and it smells of butterscotch, then this is a clear sign that the beer has gone bad. Butterscotch is one of the more common off-flavors that can occur when a beer has gone bad. It is usually caused because something has gone wrong in the fermentation process. This just means that it contains too much diacetyl. Diacetyl is present in all beer, but if there’s too much it can leave a foul taste. 

The smell of butterscotch can indicate a number of different issues, such as contamination due to bacteria or a lack of cleaning of the brewing equipment. In addition, it could also be caused by a beer that has been stored for too long or has been exposed to too much heat. 

Does it taste sour? 

Note: This does not count if the beer is meant to be sour

If you take a sip of your pint and it tastes sour, it is likely that the beer has gone bad. Sourness is another common off-flavor that can indicate a bad pint. This sour taste can be caused by a number of different factors, such as the presence of wild yeasts or bacteria in the beer, or improper storage or handling of the beer. This sour flavor can be unpleasant and can also give you an upset stomach if consumed. Therefore, it is best to avoid a beer that tastes sour and opt for a fresh pint instead.

Does it look cloudy? 

Note: This does not count for unfined beer

A cloudy pint of beer is another warning sign of a bad pint. Cloudiness can be caused by a number of things, such as improper fermentation, improper filtering, or bacteria in the beer. The cloudiness can also be an indication of a beer that has been stored at too high of a temperature or for too long. A cloudy pint of beer can also have off-flavors, such as sourness or a metallic taste. If you notice your beer is cloudy, it is best to avoid drinking it as it could be a sign of a bad pint.

Does it look flat and listless? 

A bad pint of beer can also appear flat and listless. This is usually caused by a lack of carbonation in the beer, which can be caused by improper fermentation or storage. If a beer is flat, it is likely that it has lost its natural carbonation, which can lead to a flat and unappetizing taste. A flat beer can also taste stale and have an off-flavor, but before you even take a sip you should be able to tell just by looking at your beer if it’s flat. 

Does it look too cold?

If a beer is too cold, it can also indicate that it is a bad pint. Cold temperatures can cause a beer to become flat and listless, as the cold inhibits the natural carbonation of the beer. Additionally, when a beer is too cold, it can mute the flavor of the beer, making it taste bland and unappetizing. Whilst many might think a beer being too cold is a myth, the ideal minimum temperature for most craft beer is in the low to mid-40s. For hearty yeast or hop-forward ales, a bit warmer. For even more adventurous styles, arguably as high as the upper 50s.

It’s a good idea to be aware of these signs and take the time to inspect your pint before drinking it, as this will help ensure that you only drink a fresh and flavourful pint of beer, but don’t let one bad pint put you off the drink completely. It’s likely to just be a bad batch, so it’s always worth trying again, but asking to try the beer first before buying a full pint.

We had the pleasure of tasting this milk stout at Camra’s Great British Winter Beer Festival in Burton-upon-Trent, the home of brewing, where we saw it get Bronze in Strong Stouts and Porters. This beautifully rich and smooth drink is a full-bodied, creamy stout that is perfect for those looking for a bold beer with a touch of sweetness. 

Whilst we easily could have more than one pint of this, at 6% this is extremely moorish and quaffable. The good news is that with just one glass, you can enjoy the creamy and smooth texture that lingers on the palate after each sip, so you can enjoy the creamy sweetness of this 6% ABV Milk Stout, and you’ll be sure to come back for more!

AromaCoffee / Liquorice 
TasteChocolate / Dark Chocolate / Bitter Sweet
AftertasteCreamy / Milky / Coffee
Overall (Star Rating)⅘ Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste 

Clarity –  Traditionally a stout is black and this drink is no different. They are usually dark in colour, with a thick and creamy head. The dark colour of a traditional stout is derived from the roasted malts used during the brewing process. The roasted malts also contribute to the flavours of the beer.

Aroma – The aroma is full of rich chocolate and coffee notes, while the taste is creamy, smooth and a little sweet. We also smelled notes of liquorice briefly as well.

Taste –  Similar to the aroma, we easily tasted heavy amounts of chocolate (and dark chocolate as well). It was a little bit bitter sweet, but enjoyable. According to the actual tasting notes though, there should be hints of caramel but this is something which we didn’t pick up, however, we will agree it was sweet. 

Aftertaste – As with any good stout, it was exceptionally creamy, milky and left the taste of coffee on your tongue, leaving you wanting more (although we recommend limiting yourself to one or two pints in order to drink responsibly). 

Do we recommend it?

This is a stout, which is a one off, was highly enjoyable, incredibly flavourful and one that we would happily drink again. It is delightfully sweet and full of flavour, that we think the majority of beer drinkers will enjoy sampling. 

The reasoning though for the four out of five star review is simply down to the fact that this is a stout that you can’t enjoy several of in one evening. It’s certainly a treat and one that you will undoubtedly enjoy, but you should limit yourself from consuming too much. 

As stouts go though, it is clear why this received bronze for the Strong Stouts and Porters according to Camra’s Great British Winter Beer Festival in Burton-upon-Trent and whilst we might not have tried the silver and gold winning stouts, this one is high up on our leaderboard. If we see it down our local, we will be trying it and encourage others to do so as well, as it’s well worth enjoying as a pint if you like a good stout.

Whisky has often been referred to as the “nectar of the gods”, but the origin of whisky production has often been forgotten. But to truly enjoy whisky, knowing its history and the different types of whisky can be a big help. 

The earliest reference to whisky dates back to the late 1400s, but it’s been around for centuries in Scotland and Ireland. Whilst both countries might argue that they created it first, there is no solid proof for either, although it is thought that Irish monks brought distilling techniques from Ireland to Scotland. What we do know though, is that back then it was distilled from barley, wheat and rye and this was only the start of whisky production, as it became increasingly popular by the 16th century.  

What is the difference between “whisky” and “whiskey”?

There is a lot of confusion for people who have just started their whisky journey and that all comes down to the spelling of the word. Whilst different regions in the world developed their own unique type of whisky, they also decided to confuse everyone by disagreeing on the correct spelling. 

The short answer is that whisk(e)y refers to grain spirits distilled in Ireland and the United States. Whilst whisky (with no ‘e’) refers to Scottish, Canadian or Japanese grain spirits. The difference between the two terms is largely semantic. While they both refer to the same spirit, the spelling of the term is determined by the country of origin.

Whichever spelling though, the origin of the word clearly goes back to both Ireland and Scotland and comes from the term ‘Uisge beatha’ or ‘usquebaugh’ which is Gaelic for “water of life”. It was translated from the Latin aqua vitae, used to describe spirits. So despite the different spellings, they all come from the same term. 

How is whisky made?

Whisky is made through a process of distilling fermented grain mash. This is made by combining malted barley, wheat, rye, or other grain with hot water and fermenting it with yeast. This then produces alcohol, which is distilled in order to concentrate the alcohol content. 

The distilled alcohol is aged in either a bourbon, sherry; port, rum; or a wine cask, which helps to develop the complex flavours and aromas of the whisky. The time required for the ageing process will vary between spirits. For example, Scotch whisky must age for at least three years, whilst American whisk(e)y only needs two. 

Many premium whiskies will need to be left for much longer in the ageing process. But once the whisky has been aged to the desired flavour profile, it is bottled and ready to be enjoyed. This is a process that has been around for centuries and for many, is one of the finest drinks that many can have. 

What are the different types of whisky?

1. Single Malt Whisky is made from malted barley and distilled in one single distillery 

2. Blended Whisky is made from a blend of two or more grain whiskies, usually from different distilleries, and sometimes from other spirits, including neutral grain spirits.

3. Irish Whiskey is made in Ireland from a mash of malted and unmalted barley.

4. Rye Whiskey is made from a mash of at least 51% rye.

5. Bourbon Whiskey is made in the United States from a mash of at least 51% corn.

6. Scotch Whisky is made in Scotland from a mash of malted barley.

7. Japanese Whisky is made in Japan from a mash of malted and unmalted grain.

8. Canadian Whisky is made in Canada from a mash of corn, rye, wheat and barley.

9. Tennessee Whiskey is made in Tennessee from a mash of at least 51% corn.

10. Corn Whiskey is made from a mash of at least 80% corn.

Chris Walster, Whisky Connoisseur further comments…

“Whilst we can agree that whisky is a popular alcoholic beverage that is enjoyed for its flavour and aroma, the huge number of styles can be daunting. Reading the bottle label for what cask it was matured in, the nose, palate and aroma will provide guidance. If it sounds like you’ll enjoy it, you probably will.  Exploring whiskies’ rich tapestry and history is part of its appeal. Drinking something that goes back centuries can make history feel alive. People may drink whisky for its taste, its social aspect, or simply as a means to relax, but no matter people’s reasons, it’s easy to agree that this is one special drink.”

With Open That Bottle Night occurring this Saturday 25th February 2023, we thought this would be a good event to highlight in people’s calendars. Created by the then-Wall Street Journal Wine Columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, this is an event that is seen worldwide. 

It is the perfect opportunity to open that special bottle that you may have been keeping for a while in your pantry or cupboard, to share with friends and family and enjoy the experience of drinking what is in the bottle, instead of letting it continue to sit hidden away. Whilst traditionally this is a day to make sure those fine bottles of wine aren’t forgotten about, there’s no harm in opening up any bottle that you have in your home. 

History of Open That Bottle Night

The event first started in 2000 and is usually celebrated on the last Saturday in February. The event is a celebration of drinking good wine with friends and family that has been saved for a special occasion. It is a time for people to reconnect with loved ones whilst enjoying the pleasure of good company and good wine. 

Since its creation, Open That Bottle Night has grown in popularity and is now celebrated around the world. It is seen as an opportunity to celebrate the past, recognize the present, and look forward to the future. Whilst this day is predominantly meant for wine after all good wine is made to be consumed, but great wine is made to be shared. We believe that day can be used for any type of drink that you’ve been saving up, be it wine or even whisky.

How to Celebrate the Day

Open That Bottle Night is a great excuse to get together with friends and family and open a bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. To get started, pick out a special bottle from your collection that you’ve been saving. You can also pick up a bottle from your local wine shop or order online. 

Once you have your bottle, invite your friends and family over for an evening of celebration. Be sure to take time to share stories and memories about the wine you are about to open. You can also create a special menu to pair your wine with. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures so you can look back on the evening and remember the special occasion.

What does Open That Bottle Night Teach Us?

Open That Bottle Night teaches us the importance of taking the time to celebrate special occasions. It is a reminder to take time to enjoy life and the special moments we have with our loved ones. It can also teach us to savour the moment, as we never know if it will be the last time we get to enjoy a special bottle of wine.

Wine is obviously more than just a liquid in a bottle and when you finally do open that bottle that you’ve been saving, you’ll remember those milestones, births, deaths, marriages, and long-lost loved and treasured holidays. These memories are far too precious and significant to forget about, so they should be celebrated and shared. 

Eagle Brewery’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Beer is a unique specialty beer. It is a sweet, creamy, and smooth ale that has all the flavours of traditional sticky toffee pudding. The beer has a rich, deep flavour of toffee and caramel that is balanced out by a slight bitterness of hops. The beer has a light body and a low to medium carbonation, giving it a smooth and refreshing finish. 

This beer is the perfect accompaniment to any dessert, but it tastes especially good with the traditional sticky toffee pudding. The beer’s low carbonation also allows the toffee flavours to linger on the tongue, making it a truly decadent treat. 

TasteCaramel / Sweet / Spongy
AftertasteSticky Toffee Pudding
Overall (Star Rating)⅘ Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste 

Clarity – The only way of explaining the colour of Sticky Toffee Pudding is imagining that elegant, sweet treacle sauce being poured into your glass. The red, ruby colour that elegantly shines through the glass and ultimately brings this beer to life. 

Aroma – Having a sweet tooth is most definitely a match made in heaven when it comes to inhaling the aromatic flavours of this beer. Furthermore, the pleasant lingering smells that float at the top of the glass instantly reminds you of eating that old sweet shop favourite, Bonfire Toffee!

Taste – The palate is so welcoming from this sweet treat, you’re greeted by delicious malty textures which are combined with a treacly caramel syrup. On the other hand, it’s not just the caramel that makes this beer beautiful, it makes your mind think that you are tucking into that classical, British favourite, Sticky Toffee Pudding. 

Aftertaste – There is only one way how this beer can be described, it’s simply Sticky Toffee Pudding in a bottle, most importantly though this beer is completely sweetly balanced and to be truthfully honest once you’ve had the first bottle you literally just want to go straight in for another bottle, which then makes this British pudding classic extremely quaffable. 

Do we recommend it?

The Sticky Toffee Pudding Beer by Eagle Brewery is an ideal choice for those who want to enjoy the flavours of the classic British dessert in a beer. This beer has a deep, malty, toffee-like flavour that is complemented by a smooth creamy texture. It has a rich, caramel aroma and a hint of vanilla that makes it a delightful choice to enjoy. 

Whilst this was an easy beer to drink, we only gave it four out of five stars as it’s not one that you could have a few of in one night. It was certainly enjoyable and one that we easily recommend trying. It’s a great choice for those who want to enjoy a flavorful beer without being overwhelmed by a heavy, hoppy taste. 

With its unique flavour and smooth texture, it is an excellent choice for those looking for something a bit different from the typical craft beers. This beer is sure to be a hit at any gathering, and it will be sure to bring a smile to the faces of everyone who tries it.

First Editions Auchroisk 2010 11 Year Old, 46% ABV, Cost: £80, bottled 2022, one of 312 bottles from a bourbon barrel.

The First Editions range is part of Hunter Laing & Co. It offers good single malt, single barrel whiskies usually at 46% ABV but occasionally at cask strength. Price varies from £70 to £120+ depending on age and distillery. Overall, I’ve never had a poor First Edition, all have been very drinkable, although occasionally I’ve felt the whisky was somewhat overpriced and not offering good value. 

Auchroisk was constructed in the early 1970’s with completion in 1974. It was built to supply malt whisky for the J&B blend (Justerini & Brookes) and is a significant component of it. J&B is currently owned by Diageo. J&B is the fifth best selling blend in the world with major markets in southern Europe. 

Auchroisk is an “industrial” distillery producing over three million litres of pure alcohol per year and there is no visitor centre. It produces a light fruity spirit that is probably best enjoyed during the summer months. There is a 10 year old bottling as part of the Flora and Fauna series (£50, 43% ABV) but mostly it comes to market through independent bottlers.

The tasting took place in mid-January 2023 at the Green Man, Milwich. A pub with good beer and whisky! Although we’d had a couple of beers prior, it was not felt this affected the taste of the whisky. 

I’m a fan of Auchroisk, it’s a light, approachable, slightly sweet, fruity whisky that seems made to be matured in bourbon barrels. It certainly compliments, and evokes, sitting in the garden on a summer evening. Its biggest negative is it is too drinkable, and slightly too spicy to act as the perfect “palate trainer” or “starting whisky” if part of a whisky flight. Maybe as the second whisky would be better? 

Overall, the description on the bottle label reflects what the two tasters experienced, although both of us missed detecting almond flavours and differed in the emphasis to apply to the various characteristics. This is not unusual or unexpected as “tasting” is a personal experience and can be influenced by a variety of factors which we will discuss in another post. 

Taster One – Luke SlaterTaster Two – Chris Walster
CaramelVanilla and fruit
Fruity – orange rindFruit & Christmas Cake
Fruit and Christmas CakeReasonably long Christmas cake & spice
Overall (Star Rating)Overall (Star Rating)
3/5 Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑4/5 Stars🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Overall: 3.5 Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

With World Bartender Day fast approaching on Friday 24th February this year, we thought it was high time that we share the love and support that bartenders deserve. Our very own Luke Slater started off his career in this industry as a bartender, so this is definitely something close to our hearts. 

Whether you’re a bartender yourself, you know someone who is or you just want to celebrate bartenders in general, this is the post for you! 

History of World Bartender Day

World Bartender Day is an annual celebration of the bartending profession. The day was created to recognize the hard work, dedication and skills of bartenders everywhere, particularly as bartenders are responsible for creating unique and delicious drinks, as well as providing excellent customer service. 

In addition to recognising the work of bartenders, World Bartender Day is an opportunity to showcase the history of the profession, in which the first official bartending job would have been held around the 1400s, but certainly bartending emerged several thousands of years ago with innkeepers and owners of alehouses. So although a little different to how we perceive it now, they still would have made their own brews and served customers.  

Back then this profession would probably not be thought of very highly, but times have certainly changed and now we can’t imagine a hospitality establishment without them. Which explains why in 2018 World Bartender Day was created by Australia and New Zealand during a cocktail-making event and thanks to this we can celebrate the creative genius and talents of all those who work in bars across the globe.

What activities can you do to support your bartender?

There are several ways you can show your support to bartenders. If you are planning on going out this Friday, then just remember how indispensable bartenders are to this industry – we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a pub, bar or nightclub without them. 

They are there to help make sure that you are having a good time, and that you have the beverage (normally the alcoholic kind) that you are after. If you don’t know what to drink, then you can even ask your bartender for recommendations and they’ll be more than happy to offer you their thoughts on the drinks that would suit you such as this Island Hopper whisky to try.

You never know, by simply talking to your bartender you might discover a new favourite drink, so just remember to talk to them, engage with your bartender and simply appreciate them, you’ll be grateful you did. If you’re not sure what you can do to help appreciate your bartender on World Bartender Day, you can find five suggestions below:

  1. Appreciate your bartender by being friendly
  2. Tip generously and appropriately 
  3. Spread the word about how awesome them are
  4. Ask them what their favourite drink is 
  5. Support them throughout the year and not just on this day

What else does World Bartender Day teach us?

This is a profession that has been around for years and it’s something that should be celebrated and appreciated. There is so much hard work that goes into bartending (or even being a cask connoisseur), more so than just pulling a simple pint. There is a wealth of knowledge in this industry and is something that deserves to be celebrated and remembered for its long and rich legacy. 

Even if you’re not one for the history of bartending, World Bartender Day acts as a simple reminder to just be kind to one another. We’re all human at the end of the day and a kind word can go a long way, particularly when someone is having a tough time behind the bar (or just life in general). It also doesn’t go amiss to say thank you for all those late nights that the bartender will have worked to ensure that you have enjoyed your party night. 

This is the beer that anyone will appreciate if they fancy something sweet. Aunt Bessie’s Jam & Custard Pale Ale brewed by the Northern Monk is a take on the old school classic pudding – the jam roly poly (with custard). Whilst this is no longer being brewed by Northern Monk, it is still available exclusively in Morrisons. 

The best way to describe this beer is that it is a dessert in a can. When people fancy something sweet, they normally opt for a chocolate-y malt, by doing that though they miss out on Aunt Bessie’s childhood favourite treat. Made with plum, apricot, strawberry and custard, the same fruits used in Aunt Bessie’s recipe, it’s certainly not one to miss. 

on Aunt Bessie’s childhood favourite treat. Made with plum, apricot, strawberry and custard, the same fruits used in Aunt Bessie’s recipe, it’s certainly not one to miss. 

AromaRhubarb / Custard 
TasteStrawberry / Plum
AftertasteRefreshing / Sweet
Overall (Star Rating)⅗ Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

About Northern Monk Brewery

Northern Monk is a brewery based in Leeds that originally started its journey in 2008 when its co-founder Russ Bisset entered a young entrepreneurial competition with the idea of Northern Monk. It wasn’t until a few years later though that this brewery got going and it officially became a reality in 2014. 

What makes them a valuable brewery in the UK is their personal message, in which ‘[they] want to give people the best beer experiences in the world [and] that is something that will never change, and hasn’t changed since day one.’ They have a very clear message about what they want to achieve in the beer world. 

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste 

When you first start looking at this beer, you’ll instantly notice how cloudy the beer looks, this is nothing to be alarmed about, this is purely down to the fact that the beer is unfined which basically means a hazy style beer, which is still very drinkable. 

As soon as you pour this beer into the glass, you’ll instantly notice its colour which is a vivid red. It looks great in the glass, but you’ll notice the lack of head on the top, which might be down to the beer being unfined. 

On the nose, you’ll be greeted with pleasant flavours of rhubarb and custard which certainly makes you think of that old-school dessert, the Jam Roly Poly. 

The first sip of this beer brings out the vibrant flavour of fresh strawberries which quickly turns this beer into a glass full of punchy goodness. 

The aftertaste of this beer delivers a sweet, refreshing and fruity texture. This is not a drink to have during your Sunday Dinner, but will go perfect afterwards, as your palette is craving a sweet treat.

Do we recommend it?

Whilst we enjoyed trying this drink, it’s not one that we will be buying again any time soon. The drink is best enjoyed as a novelty gift or for those looking for something a bit different one evening. 

If you haven’t tried it yet, we recommend buying one can first and then you can decide if this sweet drink is for you. What we can say though, is that Northern Monk have definitely gone above and beyond by creating this interesting take on Aunt Bessie’s Jam Roly Poly. 

This iconic limited edition ‘Maiden Voyage’ is a blended malt scotch whisky from Colonsay Beverages from their home at Scalasaig, Isle of Colonsay. The flavouring of this whisky takes you on an adventure, similar to the design on the bottle. Whilst you can’t judge a whisky by the bottle design, we’re agreed that at £50 per bottle it is certainly worth a purchase and is an easy introduction to the flavours of island and coastal whisky, particularly if you’re new to peat and worried it might overwhelm your senses.  

Read more: Setting Sail with The Scalasaig – Island Hopper Review

This whisky will transport your palate through a sherried and smoky journey, that has been well melded together. It provides a rather pleasant experience in a glass, being well balanced and a fine sweet finish throughout. Whilst there are several different flavours in this bottle, you’ll easily be able to taste the caramel malty goodness. 

ColourRed / Dark Brown
NoseRich Sherry
PalateSmoky / Warming
Overall (Star Rating)⅘ Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Whilst we can’t be 100% sure on which distilleries provided the ten casks this blend is said to be made from, our best guesses are likely to include distilleries from Orkney, Islay, Mull, Ayrshire and possibly Skye. Thinking of which specific distilleries the casks might come from, our guesses would be either Highland Park or Scapa (Orkney), Ailsa Bay (Ayrshire), Tobermory (Mull), Caol Ila (Islay), and possiblyTallisker (Skye). If you have any thoughts, let us know in the comments! We’re certainly struggling to identify them, but that is part of the mystery of this blend, what are its components, what are the islands and coasts you’re visiting on your journey?

Thoughts on the colour, nose, palate and finish 

Colour – Initial thoughts were that this whisky appeared as a sherried red, but upon further reflection could be a dark brown. It feels very autumnal in colour and it clearly comes across as a rich and warming drink. 

Nose – The splendid aromas of rich sherry greets you as you bring this glass to your nose, it is incredibly heavy in our minds, evoking ideas of the journey that this whisky has been on. 

Palate – This is a very warming drink that makes you feel like you’re sitting on a beach with the campfire blazing, whilst watching the sun go down. You can just picture the Island Hopper travelling across the sea in front of you. The smokiness hits you as soon as you take the first sip. Smooth and well balanced, you’ll be ready to take a second sip in no time. 

Finish – To really heighten your taste buds, the ending will remind you of cinnamon sticks, cloves and spices. It’s like eating a fruit cake which has been filled with a sherried spice to delight your tongue. 

Do we recommend it?

This is certainly a drink that many will enjoy, particularly at the £50 price point. Whilst it is described as a peated whisky, it’s not overly strong and is quite smooth. If you have never had a peated whisky before, then The Scalasaig – Island Hopper is a good one to try. It’s not too expensive and it might just encourage you to try another. 

This is a whisky that you can have in your cupboard and bring out on those occasions where you fancy a trip to the beach but are unable to travel. It’s the perfect addition to your collection, and is one that can be enjoyed round a roaring fire or with friends and family, you can’t go wrong with that.

It is with great delight that I can announce that Chris Walster has joined The Cask Connoisseur as its in-house whisky connoisseur. Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed my solo journey as the cask connoisseur, it is time to take this website to the next level. 

My own personal knowledge and expertise comes from my love of beer, brewing and Burton-Upon-Trent (The Brewing Capital of Britain). It was only when Chris introduced me to whisky back in 2018 that I started to dabble in the whisky world. 

Together I believe we can provide the ultimate beer and whisky reviews, comments and insightful articles. Along with further commentary on gin, wine and other alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverages. You will learn about the different flavours, tastes, aromas and even what food pairs best within this website, plus so much more. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris and personally say thanks for his help and guidance these last few years and here’s to many more to come. 

Read more: The Relaunch of The Cask Connoisseur 

Chris’s welcome message below:

Thank you Luke for that welcome and for letting me join you on this journey on The Cask Connoisseur. I’m excited to see where this takes us and can confirm that I do at least know a thing or two about whisky. 

I’ve been a whisky drinker since the 1980’s and have been lucky enough to try some iconic whiskies at a time when they were not necessarily cheap, but certainly more accessibly priced than they feel now. I do have a smallish collection from across the decades, either because I bought the bottle for a specific occasion, or it got forgotten about at the back of the cupboard.


My personal tasting notes run to ~2500 different bottles of scotch, so I’ve easily tried over 3000 different expressions over the years. That is still only a fraction of the number produced annually.

My favourite whisky of all time is probably a Rare Malts Mortlach, distilled in 1978 and bottled at 20 years old in 1998 at 62.2% ABV. Although I suspect my “fond remembrance” has more to do with the location and time it was drunk. I’d love to get another bottle of it and compare. I’d suspect my opinion will be different. 

My current favourite distilleries would be Ledaig of which there are some brilliant examples available at present, Springbank where their 10yo core range bottle hits the spot (if you can get hold of it!) and Glen Scotia who provide a Campbeltown style with reasonable cost and availability. But give me a whisk(e)y from anywhere around the world and the chances are I’ll enjoy it so long as I’m in good company. After all, whisky is for drinking with friends. 

Whilst I know that I do have some favourites, this won’t affect my opinion on any future samples that we try and I will be honest when it comes to the colour, nose, palate and finish.

The Cask Connoisseur is thrilled to have you join!

It’s brilliant to have someone as passionate about whisky as Chris on The Cask Connoisseur, with our two brains (as well as our palates) we can create the ultimate connoisseur on all things brewed or distilled. But for now all I can say is watch this space – there will be some exciting new posts coming your way soon!