Brew Review

Beer Review – Innis & Gunn Rum Cask

Innis and Gunn Rum Cask

Recently, after meeting G-LO for lunch, I stopped in The Foodery and put together a mixed six. One of the bottles was Innis & Gunn’s Rum Cask. I selected the bottle as a result of the beautiful amber color that beckoned through the clear glass. It didn’t hurt that I was looking for something that I hadn’t had and I am a fan of Scotch Ales. Innis & Gunn is renowned for their oak aging process and went from using American oak barrels to maturing their beers in former whiskey and rum casks. This has taken good beer and imparted the characteristics of the oak, whiskey or rum barrels to elevate their beers to something special. The Rum cask is a Scotch Ale that is aged in recycled rum casks for 57 days. This beer was awarded a bronze medal at the 2011 International Beer Challenge. Other well regarded beers are the Irish Whisky Cask (a stout aged in Irish whiskey barrels for 60 days) which took the Gold Medal at the 2012 International Beer Challenge and the Winter Treacle Porter (a porter aged in oak for 39 days) that took the Silver at the 2012 World Beer Championships.

Here is what Innis & Gunn has to say about the Rum Cask:

We are delighted to present this unique limited bottling of Innis & Gunn finished in oak barrels which previously contained navy rum. Maturation in special oak barrels imparts Navy rums with the sweet, spicy character for which they are renowned. We have long wondered what flavours might be imparted to our beer by finishing it in these same barrels and earlier this year we decided to find out.   We brewed a special batch of Innis & Gunn beer and matured it in oak for 60 days. Every single drop spent half of that time in American oak barrels before being refilled into selected navy rum barrels to finish the lengthy maturation. Once the beer had absorbed the unique character the barrels were emptied, the beer blended and then maturation continued for a further 47 days until all of the flavours had married together and mellowed. We think the result is absolutely delicious!

I found this beer to be…

  • Appearance: Deep Amber with little foam.
  • Aroma: Yeast with a blend of buttered rum, caramel and maple flavors.
  • Taste: A little flat, a little woodie or earthy with a sweet malty flavor and slightly tangy finish.
  • ABV: 7.4%

This was an interesting beer. I had expected it to be a little boozy and it really wasn’t. But for me, that was a good thing. It was a well-balanced blend of flavors that might be a little too sweet for some. Was it great? Probably not. But I enjoyed it enough that it has piqued my curiosity, and I will look for more of Innis & Gunn’s offerings.

13 replies »

  1. I think we’re on the same page about this one. It was pleasant for sure, but definitely not mind blowing. For whatever reason, I was expecting more from the rum cask finish. Perhaps a bit of rum spice. We’ll have to explore these guys further.

    What I don’t get is why they use clear glass since from what I’ve read, light will definitely spoil your beer. Perhaps the good people at Innis & Gunn will stumble upon us and offer some insight…


    • While the Scotch Ale was good, I thought the Foodery was awesome. If you can get beyond the price (my mixed six was $27), you will find an incredible selection, ice cold and ready for drinking. When I met G-Lo, I had a half-hearted thought to stop in on the way to the train and came away with six beers from around the world that I was dying to try.


  2. I tried some of this in a hotel recently, and enjoyed it so much that I bought a case after I got home! I really appreciate the rich complexities in the flavour: a hearty winter drink, great with strong-tasting meats.


    • I enjoyed it enough that it makes me want to try the Winter Treacle Porter and the Irish Whiskey Cask. Of course, they might be a little harder to find.


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