The final beer review in Hoppy Boston’s barrel-aged beer week is Yankee Swap 2014, Slumbrew’s imperial stout aged in rum barrels from Turkey Shore distilleries. The first iteration of Yankee Swap (2013) used the same type of barrels, but was a completely different beer, an American strong ale instead of an imperial stout. I was a little hesitant to try Yankee Swap, I can have a bit of a taste aversion to rum. Many people I know had a period in their life where they occasionally over-indulged, and usually had a particular type of liquor that was the culprit. Mine was rum, Bacardi in particular, and after my first two years in college I swore off the stuff. As I have grown older my tastes have changed, and while the smell of Bacardi Superior still turns my stomach, I have enjoyed an occasional Dark and Stormy or other cocktail made with higher quality dark rum. So I decided to be brave and give Yankee Swap a shot. I was also encouraged by numerous very positive reviews of the 2014 batch from beer drinkers I respect. Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2014 has limited availability in 22 oz. bombers and on draft. It is also a good beer to age, so grab a few bottles if you have a cellar!
Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2014 pours pitch black with a minimal tan head. The scent is a pleasant mixture of dark roasted malts, rum and a little alcohol. The taste is very malt forward, notes of milk chocolate, caramel, plum, toasted bread and roasted barley. The rum is evident but not strong, you get some sweet molasses and vanilla. The barrel aging adds a lot of complexity here, but doesn’t overwhelm the underlying beer. There is no real hop character however the beer isn’t overly sweet either. This is a full bodied and boozy beer at 12% ABV, and you get just a touch of warming alcohol in the flavor. Despite my mild aversion to rum I really enjoyed this beer. If you are a fan of barrel aged imperial stouts, it is a unique and complex take on the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Slumbrew Reviews: