Style: Belgian Ale? (Rum Barrel-Aged)
Cost: $15 (22 oz)
Glassware: Belgian Snifter
Serving Temp: 55°
Availability: Limited (Brewed Once)
Purchased@: Weyerbacher Visitor Center
Quick Take: Really impressive beer that is wonderfully blended and benefits from a high ABV without becoming a rum-boozed mess. I think this could pleasantly surprise the ABV chasers and craft beer snobs if they are given the chance to try it. Make no mistake, this is a rum forward beer and the tropical/coconut qualities dominate the base beer elements. That said, it’s a fine example of a barrel-aged beer with a nice emphasis on the rum.
Brew Facts: Rhumpshaka was aged in rum barrels for 9 months and given a small release on April 18th, 2014. It’s only available at Weyerbacher (Easton, PA) and they produced 200 cases worth, so get there in a hurry if you want to score one.
Appearance: This pours a deep gold/brown with red amber hues when held to the light. Viewing from the top of the glass, the edges are a pale yellow. A thin white head flairs up and quickly bubbles out. Closer scrutiny reveals tiny plumes of rising bubbles that contribute to a tiny bubble island floating on the surface. Swirling the beer coats the glass in a clear oil slick that can leave a soapy white residue.
Aroma: Rum dominates with a coconut undertone and light, fruity esters, maybe kiwi or passion fruit. Slightly sugary malt mixes with a deeper dark rum cane sugar to make a pleasant, near piña colada aroma. I’m not a fan of the smell of coconut normally, but it blends well with the fruity sweetness and boozy rum.
Taste/Mouth Feel: The mouth feel is slick, coating the tongue and throat on the way down. Not quite olive oil level, but if a slicker mouth feel is an issue, you may want to be cautious with this one. Carbonation is small to non-existent and works well with the rum overtones. The taste goes through a wave of dark malty sugar to a coconut mid point and ends with a mellow agave/rum finish. After the rummy heat passes to the belly, there is a buttery, coconut and boozy spice left on the tongue. It numbs a bit, and can flair into the nostrils if you aren’t careful. Others that tried Rhumpshaka complained of a burn on the finish, but I didn’t find it to be offensive or disruptive. The rum finish does come through stronger as this warms, so plan accordingly based on your rum preferences.
Final Thoughts: Many casual beer drinkers look at a cost versus ABV and grab whatever hard hitting $5 turpentine they can find. Occasionally, you’ll find a cheaper beer that hits a high ABV that is worth a damn, and this is one of them (though putting this into distribution would raise the price). Really impressive beer that is wonderfully blended and benefits from a high ABV without becoming a rum-boozed mess. This is a VERY limited release that I hope enters their normal release schedule. I think this could pleasantly surprise the ABV chasers and craft beer snobs if they are given the chance to try it. Make no mistake, this is a rum forward beer and the tropical/coconut qualities dominate the base beer elements. That said, it’s a fine example of a barrel-aged beer with a nice emphasis on the rum.
Second Thoughts (Chris): For something rum barreled, this has just the right amount of sweetness and is a great beer to bridge the winter to spring beer seasons. A good compliment to Merry Monks, which seems to be the beer that Rhumpshaka is based on. My vote is to make this a year round release and it’s a big beer that everyone should try.