Innis & Gunn’s Rum Finish (oak aged beer) is reviewed by Craig Heap
Innis & Gunn Rum Finish (oak aged beer)
Innis & Gunn
“Born by accident… brewed by design.” Apparently, Innis & Gunn set out to make ale flavoured whisky rather than oak aged ale. They took on Master Brewer Dougal Sharp to make it happen and he designed a special beer to flavour the oak barrels. The crime of it was, after this beer had sat around and seasoned the oak barrels for awhile, it was chucked away to make room for the whisky. Luckily, a few of the workers tasked with pouring the beer down the drain had a few wee sips (or as much as they could pour into their faces, the anecdotal evidence is unclear on this point) and discovered it tasted great.
Along with the original oak and a lighter blonde expression, Innis & Gunn also do a Rum Finish. This strange, happy breed pours with a dark brown body and matching dark tan head which fades fast. On the nose it’s oaky, with pepper and spice, and a sweet malt undertone.
The taste profile is like one of those Japanese restaurants where the food goes round on a conveyor belt, the dishes eventually repeating. At any moment it tastes of iced rum cake, and then root beer, and then a coke ice cream float, with more sweet dishes coming round. Here and there, sarsaparilla and pepper balance the sweetness, probably. It is definitely sweet, so it won’t appeal to all on this front. In the finish it quickly kicks up a rummy, oak finish and disappears just as suddenly.
For me, this is a great drink, and a perfect example of how to infuse a beer with a spirit quality. If you like rum, then this beer may find a niche in your heart (and your liver and wallet). If you prefer your beers to be face-wrenchingly bitter, nuclear hop bombs then leave it on the shelf for someone who will appreciate it.