Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer 7.4%

29 09 2010

Innis & Gunn limited edition rum cask oak aged beer, well whatever there is to say about the beer it’s name is a bit of a mouthfull!

As the overly wordy moniker implies this is a beer that has been aged in oak casks which previously contained rum, navy rum to be precise (at least thats what Innis and Gunn say!)

It is a well known fact that maturing beer in particular barrels will impart  a particular flavour to the beer, hence we have whiskey cask aged beers, oak aged beers etc.

In this particular instance Innis and Gunn have given this beer a 60 day maturation period in oak, half of that in American Oak barrels and the remainder in barrels which previously held navy rum.

After this initial maturation the beer was left for a further 47 days for the flavours to mellow and blend together.

Now off the top of my head I would be expecting anything that has been oak aged and has absorbed some rum like flavours to  have a fruity sweetness and a rich smokiness from the oak, maybe some tobacco notes.

Now normally I try very hard not to pre-judge a beer but the combination of a 7.4% a.b.v and what I would imagine to be an awful lot of sweetness didn’t fill me with much confidence that this is a beer I would wish to do anything much with other than sample…. lets find out if I was right!

The aroma when you open the bottle is quite pleasant there are notes of rum, raisins and vanilla with a slight spicy maltiness in the background. If I had to make one over-riding observation in relation to the aroma of this beer it would have to be that the rum notes are really strong and perhaps a little overwhelming, especially as this is supposed to  be a beer, not actual rum.

It pours a pleasing amber/ruby colour and is quite clear, the head is rather thin but lasts reasonably well.

You can really taste the rum in this beer, there is a raisiny fruitiness, a hint of vanilla and some smokey spiciness as well, luckily this beer isn’t as tooth rottingly sweet as I had imagined nor as sweet as the aroma had suggested, there is some hoppiness to the beer but it is doing a really good job of hiding behind the sweetness.

The body of the beer is very light, particularly in light of the high a.b.v and the big flavours in the beer, to be honest it was a little too light for my personal tastes.  I have tried this beer twice now and both times I have thought that there is far too much diacetyl present for my liking.

Diacetyl is a by product of the fermentation process that gives a slick mouthfeel if it is present in small amounts and when present in larger amounts gives a buttery flavour to the beer, but not in a nice sense. To give you an idea as to the properties of diacetyl it is what is used to give artificial butter or margarine its “butteriness”  – not what I want in my beer.

I had been hoping with the second bottle not to get as much of that diacetyl taste coming through as it can sometimes just be the result of an bacterial infection in a particular bottle but alas that was not to be and there it was in all its slippy glory in my second bottle.

To sum things up this was an interesting beer to try but far too sweet for the relatively light bod and buttery taste from the diacetyl just doesn’t sit right with me. All in all a dissapointment.


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