The Fourth Beer of Christmas: Innis & Gunn Rum Aged

See, I told you this list of beers was all over the map. Today’s selection harks from Edinburgh, Scotland, and was chosen over its siblings because we hadn’t tried it yet. Also, because I’d be a rummy if home liquor distilling were not banned by the Bureau Against Things Fun. In any case, on with the review.

Pour/appearance: (Meagan) With a vigorous pour into a Belgian ale glass, this Scottish ale produced a cream-colored head of two fingers. The bubbles weren’t particularly fine, but who’s looking for champagne-like bubbles in a Scottish ale? The head was fairly long-lasting. The brewers describe the color as “ruby red,” which I’d agree with, in the right light.

Nose: (Ben) Right off the bat, it has a unique, oaky, slightly sulfurous smell as soon as the bottle is cracked. It smells like oak, with a hint of strong British rum in it. Don’t give me that, it does smell faintly of strong rum, I’m not just overusing adjectives.

Taste: (Ben) Quite a bit of DMS in this bottle. A bit butterscotch, sweet and caramel. Similar to the original I&G, but the oak has more bite. Trace of bitter, burnt biscuit, but not unpleasant.  Vanilla and piloncillo in the aftertaste. Not cloying, and has a non-hop bitter to ‘er.

(Meagan) Malty, as expected of a Scottish ale. The rum-soaked oak comes through fairly strongly, imparting some pleasant wood tannins and phenols, and of course, rum flavor. Not like Captain Morgan, though. Something more robust; a real sailor’s liquor. I can taste the age on this brew; it’s a mature beer, not some whipper-snapper fresh out of the fermenter. There’s a fair amount of malty sweetness, with some toffee notes. But it’s not overwhelmingly sweet, and the beer flows smoothly over the tongue, leaving a hint of oak tannin and maybe a tinsy bit of hop bitter.

Mouth feel: (Ben) Thin, as one would expect. It has a lingering aftertaste similar to the original.

Overall: (Ben) While I like I&G, and I like this beer, I actually prefer the original and the toasted oak IPA more than this one. I think it’s delicious, but I don’t feel a need to recommend it over the other ones. On the other hand, it is a stinking neat idea, and the flavor is drier than the original.

Would I buy it?
Mmm… maybe not again, but who knows? It’s tasty.

Would I brew it?
I would be more likely to brew than buy. Why, you say? Because it’s session-able, clean tasting (unless you are DMS super sensitive, which I am not. Can’t smell it, can only taste it), and the fact that it’s cask aged is super cool. Wood aged beers are way fun to make, and I swear I can taste the lignin in oaky beers. Plus, have you ever looked into how Innis & Gunn is made? Super cool.

(Meagan) This is a delicious beer that doesn’t taste much like Caribbean rum, which was what I expected. Once I realized the rum used was probably something much more British, I settled down to enjoying the unique characteristics it imparts. At 6.8% ABV, this is a wee heavy. It’s lighter than many other beers in this series, but I’d still watch it if I weren’t drinking it at home. Beer Advocate gives it a score of 86, and the Bros give it 90. I’d have to go with the Bros on this one. All of Innis & Gunn’s oaked offerings make me wish I had an oak barrel or two to age rum in; yeah, chips might work just as well, but barrels are so much cooler. But if I were trying to reproduce an I&G brew, it would probably be the toasted oak or original versions. Still, the Rum Aged is an outstanding Scottish ale.

Resources:

Beer Advocate: Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer

Innis & Gunn: Our Beers-Favorites-Rum Aged

Innis & Gunn: Our Process

 

 

 

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monsterid
Meagan loves words, and frequently combines them into stories and articles, very often involving tasty libations. She enjoys writing about the intersection of beer (or spirits) and life. This is her blog. You can find her on Twitter @meagwil, or shoot a regular ol' email to meaganwilson@burntgraphite.net.

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