Packaging typically finishes dead last in the features of a beer I’m interested in discussing. I’m not a fan of gimmickry, and I hate most forms of what I’d deem “aesthetic-first” or “unnecessary” packaging—wax bottle seals, corks and cages, all of that stuff. In short, anything that makes it more unnecessarily complex to reach the contents of the bottle.
And yet, Sun King’s Bourbon Barrel Timmie Imperial Stout is a special case. Not just because it’s the rare imperial stout you can find in a can. And not just because it’s also bourbon barrel-aged. But it’s also the one and only bourbon barrel stout in a 16 oz. aluminum can that I’ve even heard of in some eight years of intently following craft beer, and it’s not often that I can say something like that in such absolute terms.(Editor’s note: We just received a sample of Upslope’s new bourbon barrel aged imperial stout in a 16-ounce can. Maybe it’s a new trend?) But that’s Sun King for you—the Indianapolis brewery has always maintained a quirky, independent identity.
Now then—on to the important stuff. The barrel-aged “Timmie” pours a jet black with minimal carbonation and a quickly-dissipating tan head. There’s quite the bouquet of aromatics here: Faintly sour tang, oak, fudge brownie and a very deeply caramelized sugar-like blackstrap molasses. Booze and dark fruitiness are also apparent in equal measure. A very classic RIS arrangement of flavors, sans a bit of hop presence, which is replaced with that oakiness.
On the palate, Timmie is very rich, quite boozy and just a touch hot for its 10%, but in the appreciable sort of way you likely expect from a barrel-aged stout. There’s plenty of fruitiness, with notes of figs, raisin and sherry/whiskey booziness that doesn’t quite overpower things. If it’s lacking in any one expected flavor note, there’s not a ton of roast, which pushes it further in the direction of richness/sweetness, but it stops short of cloying. In the end, this BA stout is actually a bit more well-balanced than I would initially have thought, and will certainly appeal to drinkers who enjoy the richer, fruitier side of this spectrum.
And at the very least, it will probably remain the best barrel-aged imperial stout I’ve had from an aluminum pint can for quite a long, long while.
Brewery: Sun King Brewery
City: Indianapolis, IN
Style: Barrel-aged imperial stout
Availability: Limited, 16 oz aluminum cans