That's Nuts

This Icelandic Beer Has Whale Testicles in It

The testicle
The testicle “gives its flavour to the beer.” Photo: Courtesy of

There are two types of beer-makers in the world: those who go nuts with mad-science brew-kettle experimentation and create things like scrapple beer, and then others who use actual nuts for whale testicle beer like Icelandic brewery Steðji’s Hvalur 2, a 5.2 percent ABV seasonal brew for their midwinter month of Thorri. Co-owner Dagbjartur Ariliusson explains to the local paper Vísir that they lightly salt and smoke them “according to an old Icelandic tradition.” Each individual brewing was allotted its own bona-fide fin whale testicle, and the brewery needed to obtain a special license from the state to sell it — “we put a lot of effort into this and it’s a long process,” he summarizes. It’s possible the English-language description of the beer posted to its website has a few snags, but nonetheless it reads: “What makes this beer special is that it’s [sic] ingredients is Pure icelandic water, malted barley, hops and sheep shit-smoked whale balls.”

As you’d probably suspect, conservationists aren’t huge fans of this brew. As one group argues, “Reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get.” Dagbjartur says he doesn’t expect everybody to appreciate it and it’s not for export, since it’s meant to be drunk during their centuries-old festival of eating cured whale. Last year, though, they made 5,000 liters of Hvalur 1 sans whale testicles — its flavor relied solely on smoked organs — that sold out “almost immediately.”

[Visir, Guardian]

This Icelandic Beer Has Whale Testicles in It