Bourbon barrel-aged beer? That’s so 2013. Rum, on the other hand, brings something new to the table. Okay, so I love a good bourbon-aged beer as much as the next person, and honestly, I find that many other barrels that brewers use create flavors that can be more distracting than good.
Rum King, the annual imperial stout from Indeed Brewing, is an exception to that rule. The rum barrel adds a sugary, alcoholic kick without turning the stout into a spiced or syrupy mess. The beer itself pours a jet black that’s so dense, it’s almost reflective, shining under the light.
It’s got the thickness in mouthfeel you’d expect from an imperial stout. As for the barrel effect on the actual flavor of the beer, the rum stings the nose in a first impression but wanes afterward. While it’s a huge and dangerous beer at 10.5% ABV, the booziness isn’t overwhelming, and essentially presents itself mostly on the front end. With an almost cognac sweetness that’s deeper and richer than typical rum, the alcohol hits first, followed by a big, bold range of complexities. There is a heavily roasted bitter dark chocolate followed by the dark fruit raisin character that imperial stouts are known for, ultimately fading with a salivating sweet creaminess like a rum-tinged crème brulee. All of this goodness is burned away with a quick and final alcohol sting.
If I’m cutting to the chase, I’d say Rum King is a rich and semi-sweet imperial stout with a strong rum aroma. The long description would be better served with a flowchart of flavors that starts and ends with the rum barrel but with a half dozen other elements within. It’s a smooth blend between it all and, despite the heavy bouquet and high ABV, it’s a beer that successfully mixes bitter and sweet with a rich and bold oomph. More creamy than dry, more roast than raisin, all big and delicious, and best served in a small pour closer to room temperature.
Brewery: Indeed Brewing Company
City: Minneapolis, MN
Style: Barrel aged imperial stout
Availability: 750 ml bottles, draft (limited)