When the Northeast Minneapolis-based Indeed Brewing Company released its notorious imperial stout Rum King in a seasonal 12-ounce can, it brought an erudite collector’s beer down to the level of the masses.
Formerly the fifth entry in Indeed’s now-defunct Derailed series, Rum King has outlasted its peers and become an emblematic Minnesota beer. Every year, its arrival—and ever-increasing distribution—are anticipated with fervor, with past batches traded at bottle shares like handshakes. How it got to that point is one story, but why it did is eminently clear.
Obsidian greatness: Rum King flows out of the can like a molasses milkshake. There’s a very slight separation at the top. A near-translucent cola brown film sits atop the creamy body, indicating that this is a heavily boozed stout with plenty of depth.
Much like its sister brew Whiskey Queen, Rum King gleans so much of its aroma from the barrel in which it’s aged. You get quick and early nosefuls of sugarcane and molasses, scents familiar in rich, sweet Caribbean rum. That’s followed by the emergence of dark fruits like figs and dates. Ultimately, it’s the hot, boozy flavors that overtake—continuing a theme that will follow this beer through the drinking experience.
Rum King brings together everything that’s good about rum and everything that’s good about stouts.”
Again, Rum King leads with sweetness. Immediately, raisin and toffee flavors coat the tongue. The first sip sits in your mouth like syrup, a quality that amplifies the more you age the beer. That sweetness transforms into more rum-like flavors on repeat sips: molasses, then rum cake, then brown bread. At the end of every swallow is that tongue-sweating booziness, reminding you that these flavors aren’t an illusion.
The 10% ABV isn’t anything absurd for a barrel-aged imperial stout, but every single unit in that measurement does major legwork in Rum King. Rum King brings together everything that’s good about rum and everything that’s good about stouts. Hot and cozy, this is a glorious warmer of a beer. It doesn’t need to bother with horchata or chocolate cake. It lets the booze lead the way to greatness.