I am of the belief that if you have two awesome things, and you smash them together with enough conviction and black magic, no less that double the awesomeness will be created. I refer to it as the “Fuck Yeah, Awesomeness!” equation. And so, when I found out that Wolf’s Ridge was coming out with a rum barrel-aged version of their One Line Direwolf, I plugged that bitch into the equation. The answer? Pretty damn awesome. And you can trust me because I took some chemistry in college.
On the nose, this beast begins with smooth, rich coffee, bringing roasty notes atop hints of caramel and burnt sugars. Beneath, dark chocolate shows decent power, while underlying malts notes of dark toast and bread crust create a perfect stout base. A touch of alcohol warms and adds some boozey, barrel notes, while creating a slight earthiness in conjunction with the coffee. Wood char grows with each breath, as does faint notes of vanilla and cinnamon. Each breath finishes somewhat sticky with notes of brown and burnt sugars finishing off. One of the greatest aspects of the aroma is that you can smell each part of this beer – stout, coffee, and rum barrel.
Palate-wise, the same strong coffee roast returns in full force, the edges rounded by the sweet maltiness and abundance of sugar notes. It is the perfect sweetness (present but not overpowering), and manages to capture the wood sugars, the malt sugars, and the residual notes of rum. Chocolate is upfront once more, just below the coffee, as are the potent layer of roasty malts. There is booze aplenty, but it is not over-hot, and brings the proper amount of barrel punch to make itself known. As the drink continues, hints of raisins and even a touch of cherries slide in at the sides of the mouth. An underlying sugar vibe is always present – mainly brown sugar – mixes with the hints of rum and vanilla from the barrel, and creates flavor moments of bread pudding. This is further accentend with added hints of cinnamon that appear near the end of each drink. Fuck yeah.
Wolf’s Ridge Rum Barrel-aged One Line Dire Wolf is a hell of a name, which is probably why they call it Rum Line. And it delivers. Big coffee with smooth complexity that brings more than just one dimension; Subtle yet unmistakable notes of rum and barrel sugars; and a big, boozy stout base that has few rivals. It’s the shit. Run it through the equation. Do a proof of that bitch – it’ll tell you the same thing: “Rum Line is the Shit”.
Wolf’s Ridge’s will be releasing bottles of Rum Line Direwolf, as well as Port Barrel Dire Wolf, Sherry Barrel Dire Wolf and Bourbon Barrel Dire Wolf, at a bottle release beginning at 9am on Saturday, January 28, which is also the two-year anniversary party for the brewery’s taproom, where 40 different WRB drafts will be available throughout the day.