Monday, 26 December 2011

Some More Innis & Gunn Special Releases

This season's Innis & Gunn pack contains two new (or limited?) releases as well as the original and a glass.  The first is a winter warmer style ale, entitled Winter Beer 2011 (at 7.4% ABV), while the other is a Spiced Rum Finish on the original product (at 6.9% ABV).

The Winter Beer 2011 pours a decently thick, fizzy white head with light-to-moderate lace and fair to light retention.  Color-wise, it presents a festive dark copper/reddish color with little visible carbonation outside of the head.  Aromas of fruity malt, orange rind, and toffee are more present than the faint traces of vanilla, cloves, oak, nutmeg, and butterscotch (appearing in diminishing strengths in that order).  The flavor is much more balanced than an original I&G'S with a drying finish to a sweet but fruity smooth flavor that evens out with equal parts of oak and winter spices, such as nutmeg and cloves.  It is, indeed, warming, but not excessively so and is mostly smooth on the tongue without excessive carbonation.  Similar to the original but more of a 'beer' for those who feel the original is not enough of one to count.  Grade: B+ (though admittedly this is less of a true winter warmer than it is an I&G, so as a WW it would be more like a B-)

The Spiced Rum Finish offers a nice creamy, yet frothy white head with moderate retention yet negligible lace.  It is amber in color, while clear with only thin wisps of visible carbonation, darker than the original but much lighter than the Rum Cask product.  Aroma-wise, this ale is only slightly more spiced than the original, but this goes along with the expected caramel, vanilla, toffee, and oak notes that are essentially this brewery's signature.  The flavor starts out similarly but finishes more spicy and balanced.  Yet, part of what makes Innis & Gunn exciting is its extreme imbalance and this may be slightly more akin to other beer, but also less remarkable, since there are many better 'other beers' as there are many better Innis & Gunns.  Not as rum-like as the Rum Cask, but spicier, so if you think that is what the Rum Cask product lacks, this beer might be perfect for you.  Fairly light-bodied and crisp.  Nice but not incredible.  Though I would gladly drink it again, I prefer both the Rum Cask and the whiskey notes in the original, though its spiciness almost gives it a festive winter-warmer resemblance.  It might have better fit that style than the one above, oddly enough.  Grade: B

Apologies for being brief, but my two-month old needs me.  (It is actually his exact two-month birthday today!)

Watch for tomorrow's pending reviews of two fine beers: Lake of Bays Mocha Porter and Dieu du Ciel's Péché Mortel, which are both very, very good beers to say the least!

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