Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A rum do

Innis & Gunn’s beers take a little bit of getting used to at first. As they’re brewed in Scotland, and oak-aged, you expect them to have some of the peaty, smoky character of Scotch whisky. But they don’t, and that takes you aback a bit. What I eventually decided they most resembled was a beer equivalent to American Bourbon-style whiskeys, smooth and slightly sweet, with pronounced oak, vanilla and toffee notes to its flavor. Once you understand what it’s getting at, you can appreciate it more.

A variant that seems especially suited to the style was the Rum Finish variety that I recently picked up in Tesco. (The photo says “Rum Cask”, but it was “Rum Finish” on the actual bottle) This was a rather steep £1.99 for 330 mls, but was available in a 3 for 2 offer covering a wide range of “world” and “craft” beers. It’s 7.4% ABV, so just coming under the HSBD threshold, and in the glass looks very much like Coke – dark but translucent with a thin but lasting head.

The typical I & G vanilla character is fairly subdued, but the toffee comes through strongly, and it is mixed with distinct fruit and spice notes. There’s a definite alcohol kick, but it’s relatively smooth and light-bodied and so is easy to drink – it’s not a heavy, chewy beer like many ales of this kind of strength. An ideal beer to sip and savour on a cold winter’s night, and probably the best I have sampled from this brewery.


  1. Like with American Bourbon, I&G use unaged oak casks, and in fact they're seasoning the casks for use by other drinks, the beer was originally to be ditched. I quite enjoy them too, even though a lot of people seem to dislike it. Would love to try some beers aged in different unused woods, how would beech affect a beer's taste for example?

  2. the other half and I have been enjoying the Rum version for a while - it's definitely a welcome addition to the fairly poor beer range in our local Tesco superstore (mostly the the big name 'boring brown beers').

    the 1.49 Finest Porter (Harviestoun i think) is pleasant too, they often sneak their way into the trolley

  3. I think the rum one's the best of the bunch.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.