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Icelandic beer made from smoked whale testicles angers conservationists

Conservationists are angry after an Icelandic micro-brewery announced its new beer will be made from smoked whale testicles.
The Hvalur brew made from smoked whale testicles

Left: The Hvalur brew. Right: Icelandic whalers dissecting a whale carcass.

Conservationists are angry after an Icelandic micro-brewery announced its new beer will be made from smoked whale testicles.

Nordic brewery Stedji revealed its limited edition Hvalur 2 beer will be sold to mark Iceland’s midwinter month of Thorri, the Visir website reports.

It is understood the testicles of fin whales – which are the second largest species of whale and on the endangered and threatened marine species list – will be prepared “according to an old, Icelandic tradition” before being smoked and then added to the brew at one whole testes per batch.

“What makes this beer special is that, its ingredients is Pure icelandic water, malted barley, hops and sheep sht-smoked whale balls,”* reads the Stedji website.

“Icelanders have used this method of smoking for centuries, so we choosed [sic] to handle the whale balls the same way before we use it in the brew. Because a lack of trees in Iceland, we use dry sheep sht to smoke.”*

Beer brewed from “whale balls” that have been smoked in sheep sh*t are sure to have people screaming, ‘I’ll have two pints please’, right? Well, Hvalur’s makers reckon so.

“We want to create a true Thorri atmosphere, and therefore we decided to use smoked testicles from fin whales for flavouring the beer,” says Dagbjartur Ariliusson, a co-owner of the brewery. “We put a lot of effort into this and it’s a long process.”

But conservationists are up in arms and anti-whaling campaigner, Vanessa Williams-Grey at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, told The Guardian that the beer’s creators were not only dishonouring a “beautiful and endangered creature” by making the product, but sending “a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales.”

“Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves,” said Williams-Grey.

The Hvalur 2 brew comes one year after Steoji controversially launched Hvalur Thorri, a beer which contained whale bones and intestines – ingredients which caused the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group to describe the product as “immoral and outrageous”.

Initially the Hvalur Thorri brew was banned by Vesturland Public Health Safety due to the whale flour ingredient but after a few days, Fisheries and Agriculture minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson approved its sale and it immediately sold out after a week.

Helgi Helgason, the director of Vesturland Public Health Safety, confirms that this time around the new Stedji brew, which contains 5.1 per cent alcohol, is authorised to sell a product containing whale testicles.

“Whale testicles and blubber are removed by the relevant control authority on behalf of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. However, the content intended for whale flour is a by-product not meant for human nutrition and has not been certified as such.”

Hvalur 2 will be available from January 23rd – just in time for Iceland’s Husband’s Day celebrations.

In 2013 Iceland recommenced commercial fin whaling after a two-year ban – with most of its whale meat is exported to Japan.

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