Rare Oak Pale Ale
Innis & Gunn

Rare Oak Pale AleRare Oak Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - English
Ranked #154
Ranked #41,530
3.6 | pDev: 10%
Innis & Gunn
Scotland, United Kingdom
Rare Oak Pale AleRare Oak Pale Ale
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Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 81 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have had several bottles in this series tucked away for some time now, awaiting the moment to strike. I have just been inspired by another site's user and am now embarking on a journey, not of body, but of sight, mind and casks! The eradication of the Bottle Baklog at Chez Woody continues.

From the bottle: "Oak Aged like no other beer"; "Hand-Crafted Sottish Beer"; "Golden Ale with natural flavour matured over Scottish oak"; "Carefully matured for 32 days prior to release"; "Approved for bottling [undersigned] Esther M Binnie"; "Master Brewer [undersigned] Douglas Gunn Sharp"; "Innis & Gunn Rare Oak Pale Ale Oak Aged Beer"; "This refreshing pale ale has been matured over rare Scottish oak which hasn't been used in brewing since the days of the Anglo-Scottish wars, when huge areas of Scotland's forests were felled to build ships. Crisp, fragrant and light, this beer is one for long summer evenings."

As a retired US Navy sailor and a salty dog in my own right, I long to a) return to the open water & b) to do so on a wooden vessel. I used to love, nay, embrace getting underway and I still live for ferry rides and such, but to make a trip on a wooden hull would be the ultimate! Another digression. My apologies.

I Pop!ped the cap & commenced a slow, gentle pour since I have gone off of aggro pours (unless) warranted). Once sufficiently decanted, I gave it a vigorous in-glass swirl that raised just under two fingers of foamy, rocky, bone-white head that hung around briefly before fading to wisps. Color was Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity, summoning forth The Gelt Gang of Croesus, Mammon & Midas, all clamoring for a taste. Nose had a pleasant oakiness that was not overdone. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, not watery, but not much beyond it. The taste was bready, lightly sweet, lightly oaked. I am of mixed minds on this one. The American-mindthink in me wants everything to be dialed up to 11, but on the other hand, that can be both limiting & overwhelming. I think that this fits the Innis & Gunn profile nicely as they have plenty of VERY woody beers from which to choose. Not every beer needs to be over-the-top. Also, it was relatively-lightly aged for (only) 32 days, so to expect extreme woodiness would be unreasonable. Further, at just 11.2 fl-oz & 5.8% ABV, if you really had a problem with it, it would be gone rather quickly. Finish was semi-dry, leaving a lingering, light woodiness that had me smacking my lips & contemplating the next in this small horizontal.

Apr 28, 2017
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The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Artwork: All Innis&Gunn labels look alike and it's sometimes hard to tell what beer you're looking at. I grabbed this one not realizing it was NOT their "Original" ale (which I've had before). It was a great surprise to realize that I was holding a beer I hadn't sampled before.
Appearance: Dark amber, forming a very small head and with little visible carbonation.
Nose: No oakiness on the nose. Whiffs of candy, malts and some faint hops.
Taste: Again, very little oak which came as a surprise. Fairly sweet. Notes of caramel, candy, bubblegum.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth carbonation. Medium body.
Overall: I quite liked this one. The lack of oak aromas/flavors were perplexing but given that I'm not a huge fan of theirs, it was a plus. A rather sweet-smelling and -tasting beer that may not satisfy those who prefer hoppy Pale Ales.

Aug 20, 2016
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EMH73 from New York

3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden color with a thin half inch head. Smell is dominated by oak with some fruit and malt notes. Taste is very oak forward with some fruit sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Light bodied and moderately carbonated. Very drinkable, solid but not spectacular.

Apr 06, 2016
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barczar from Kentucky

3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Big oak and boozy malt notes in aroma, along with floral hops and a biscuity backbone.

Flavor is bready malt dominant throughout, lightly sweet, with a floral hop finish and oak dryness that lingers.

Nov 17, 2015
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a golden color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to almost nothing

S: Lots of wood and graininess up front with some light fruitiness in the back. Quite oak forward

T: Follows the nose, but tones down the woodiness a bit. Fruitiness and light vanilla/oak sweetness come through along with the initial burst of general woodiness. Finishes with lingering oaky notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: The rare oak has a dominating presence over the beer, so it is fairly polarizing. Quite easy to drink, and enjoyable if you're into woody brews

Sep 11, 2015
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Copper colored transparent body, full lacy white head.

S - Slight oak with fruit and malt notes.

T - Flavor follows nose, with oak coming behind an orange and caramel aspect.

M - Feel is light, an easy drinker.

O - A very pleasant, decent brew, with nice fruity flavor, and a very mild feel and close.

Sep 08, 2015
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sjones5045 from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

8/27/15 Home

Pours amber yellow with thin fizzy head. Not much retention or really any to speak about. The smell is decent. Kind of sweet hoppy with a caramel sort of sent. The taste is pretty good too. You can get some of the hops mixed with an oak finish that is really smooth. The finish is almost cream soda like. Overall pretty good beer. Innis and Gunn for some reason is pretty underrated. This is an easy drinking different kind of be that I feel many can appreciate.

Aug 28, 2015
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DudMan from New Jersey

3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Golden color. A little lacing. Light sweet smell. It has that I&G smell and taste. Fruity and smooth taste. It's a light, easy drinking beer. A beer that you could have more than one of. Unique and tasty.

Aug 21, 2015
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DrMullet from Florida

3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden yellow.
Has a slightly sweet aroma.
LIght oak taste with a bit of vanilla or butterscotch.
Even though it's a bit on the sweet side for me, I like it.

Aug 08, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the bottle in a Chimay snifter. This most excellent pale pours a clear golden color with a hint of orange with a nice head of white foam that dissipates to a thick ring and thin pool of foam with spotty lacing. Nose is subtle but prevalent are the aromas of oak, light vanilla, honey, and floral hops. Flavors far surpass the nose with sweet oak, light vanilla, and honey malt flavors dancing on all sides, then coming to rest on a background of mild herbal hops. Smooth carbonated and lively mouth feel makes this one a great session ale with a light sweet aftertaste.
Balanced. A wonderful thing. The Scots nailed it!
This one is a fantastic anytime of the year ale to find and enjoy!


Jul 31, 2015
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Andrewharemza from Australia

4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden copper pour with small cream colored head. Taste of malts, slight butterscotch, vanilla and oak. Medium bodied, medium carbonation, nicely balanced.

Jul 07, 2015
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

3.29/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: poured from a 330 mL bottle into a pint glass, golden colored with a loose white head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing, clear

S: mildy wood smell, oak tannin, peppery noble hops

T: slightly sweet up front, light hop flavors, light oak presence, finish is sweeter

M: light with lower carbonation

O: has a lager like sweetness, lacks some of the complexity of other offerings from this brewery

Jul 01, 2015
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scottbrew4u from Pennsylvania

3.47/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Smell is a bit of peat, oak and toasted malt. Hops are not really noticeable except for a hint of pepper on the nose. A little watery in the taste and mouthfeel but not terrible. Not nearly like APA but an interesting beer from Scotland.

Jun 02, 2015
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StevenMilligan from Florida

3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow with orange tint.

Smells of oak and sweet toffee.

Tastes very okay up front, then mellows out with vanilla and subtle fruits...raisin. the finish is very herbal, medicinal almost. Not a fan of the finish. Falls flat and feels off putting with the rest of the flavors in the beer.

I didn't have a problem with the carbonation as others noted, but the finish was a bit too much for my palate. Overall, some might find it a worthy dessert beer, but I wouldn't down another.

May 28, 2015
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beerdrifter from Germany

3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up at a great beer shop in Darmstadt, Germany, Maruhn Welt der Getränke. Crystal clear yellow-amber pour with a two finger foamy white head with decent retention and lacing. The nose is somewhat subdued with hints of caramel, vanilla, toffee, a bit of oak, and a touch of lemon. The taste is a bit more bold with some nice butterscotch and vanilla along with hints of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, oak, and tea. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy, leaning a bit towards the sweet side, but still pretty drinkable. Overall, I'm starting to get bored with Innis & Gunn. When I first tried their beers I was really impressed, but lately they've all started tasting the same and losing their complexity.

Apr 16, 2015
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SebD from Canada

3.31/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: It has a nice clear deep golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves light lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of caramel, toasted malts, some floral/herbal notes, light oak and very faint vanilla.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some sweet caramel/butterscotch, toasty/buiscuity malts, some floral undertones, light oak and faint vanilla.

Mouthfeel: It has a med carbonation with a decent overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by somewhat bland flavors and aromas. Definitely not the best beer from the Innis & Gunn line up.

Serving type: bottle

Feb 08, 2015
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DaveBar from Canada

3.24/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Purchased at the LCBO for around $3.00 for a 330ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well but pours next to no head. Dark clear gold color

S- Not a lot here. Was expecting something but got next to nothing other than some malt. Not even an hops

T- Way lacking here. Not much of anything. Very boring and uninspired. Touch of bubble gum.

M- Mediocre at best.

O- Don't much care for this ho hum beer. Will not buy again.

Food Pairing

This ok beer would go well with..... Pork chops in a mushroom sauce.


Jan 26, 2015
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TheHammer from Canada

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured with a thumb's worth of head that retained well but didn't produce lace. The body was a dark amber with a solid amount of steady carbonation.

Smell: Rich oak smell with a floral undertone which I do believe is the sweet gale. Notes of toffee and vanilla are found buried in the complex oak. Warming helps it's case but not by leaps and bounds.

Taste: Rich and sweet toffee malt to start us of as the beer takes on the roasted oak taste that Innis & Gunn is known with vanilla notes that help it blend into a very nice herbal hop and gruit taste.

Mouthfeel: A mild caramel and herb aftertaste that does cling just a slight bit too much, but easy transitioning helps it's case out. What doesn't help is the carbonation falling flat half way through the beer.

Drinkability: On the lighter end of medium bodied, and it has a richness about it that when you want dessert beer, you can't help but love it. That being said, I could see this overstaying it's welcome after one or two.

Final Thoughts: An all around solid offering by Innis & Gunn with very little to complain about. I love gruit so the addition of sweet gale was welcome. Perhaps another in the same vein using Heather next time? Either way, thumbs up to this one. A nice, rich, complex but not overly so offering.

Jan 04, 2015
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CrazyDavros from Australia

3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a small head.
Nose shows banana, caramel, some vanilla, very sweet-smelling.
Semi sweet flavours, with more caramel, vanilla, soft herbal notes and a little peach.
Could use more carbonation.

Dec 27, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada

3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle served fairly cold into a Sam Smiths pint glass. Purchased for $3.25 CDN.

Appearance - clear bronze auburn color. Two fingers of head with crazy carbonation. Great retention and mocha coloured streaks of lacing.

Smell - earthy and woody aromas, smell like a used wooden barrel. A bit of a peppery spiciest to the beer as well.

Taste - tons of oak for sure, a little bit of the signature vanilla and oak sweetness from other products by this brewer although toned down greatly. Clean with mild bitterness throughout.

Mouthfeel - starts with very lively carbonation, although subdues greatly by mid class. Reasonably light bodied even for a higher ABV English pale ale.

Overall - a pretty good take on the English pale ale, with the Innis and Gunn signature vanilla and oak. Good fell and well crafted. Will probably pick this one up again.

Dec 21, 2014
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thehyperduck from Canada

3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

330 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; best before June 2015. Glad to see that they've finally started using brown bottles. Served slightly chilled.

This brew is clear amber-orange in colour, with a relatively aggressive pour producing about a centimetre of soapy, off-white froth that recedes quite rapidly. No lace; not even much of a cap or collar is left behind. The aroma is a bit more enticing, though not really anything out of the ordinary for the style - toffee and some buttery notes are the most noticeable features, with some lightly herbal, floral vibes. Oak and vanilla also come through, though in a less-dominant fashion than tends to be the case with I&G products.

The flavour profile follows along the same lines. Butterscotch and toffee sweetness combine with some pear fruitiness and a light hint of citrus. Vanilla and oak become apparent in the latter half of the sip, with the floral/herbal gale notes also coming to the fore. Finishes with a touch of butterscotch and oak. Light-medium in body, with moderate levels of carbonation that provide this pale ale with a reasonably crisp, refreshing feel on the palate. This one drinks much more lightly than many I&G beers - it's not as sweet, and the lower abv helps out as well.

Final Grade: 3.48, a B-. There's nothing particularly wrong with Innis & Gunn's Rare Oak Pale Ale, but at the same time it doesn't really possess any compelling traits to reel me in. For a beer that has been aged on oak AND contains a pretty unusual adjunct ingredient, this one just makes for an unexpectedly mundane glass. Maybe my expectations were too high, but this is not one of the better I&G seasonals that I've had the opportunity to try. I like this more than the oaked blonde, and I'd certainly drink it again if it were being offered - but I'd take the rum cask or their flagship oaked ale over this one, any day of the week.

Dec 19, 2014
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EmperorBevis from England

3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Always so much promise & always so much 'meh' delivery.

A sweet note & a (rare for I&G) taste (vague, though) of hops
Just out of interest do they use oak chips coz batches too big for barrels?

Dec 12, 2014
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flyingpig from Scotland

3.08/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml Bottle from Tesco supermarket, Silverburn, Glasgow (£1.65):
I was quite disappointed by this Innis & Gunn offering, it ranks alongside their Lager Beer and Rum Cask offerings as among the worst of the 12 beers from the Edinburgh brewery that I have tried to date and isn't one I’d recommend picking up. The beer was far too basic and weak in both taste and aroma for my liking, with the exception of sweet malts and the breweries butterscotch calling card there wasn't a whole lot going on with this one and it failed to hit the stop. The fact that some of the alcohol was also noticeable in a 5.8% beer was quite disappointing too, this one doesn't come anywhere near what the brewery is capable of I’m afraid.

Nov 14, 2014
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BeerDrinkersWorldTour from Northern Ireland

4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Deep rish amber colour with busy CO2 activity in the glass. A good finger of white foam head that has average retention and dies to generous cover and leaves ample lacing.

S - Rich malted grain with heavy biscuit leaning leafy oak and wood with a slight musty aroma from the sweet gale.

T - Sweet with a slight boozy nip. This beer has great biscuit flavour with a light woody character that taste like the aroma of a British/Irish wood in late spring.

MF - creamy and medium to full in the mouth with boozy warmth and decent linger.

Overall - this is a very pleasing beer to look at and also to drink. The flavour is well balanced and the sweet gale works well in combination with he aging in Rare Oak barrels. It may not be the best offering from the folks at Innis and Gunn but it is far from a disappointment and I for one will be getting this again as I find it a great beer for an evening by the fire in winter or a late summer evening with a slight chill. In short a good year round beer that will hopefully stand the test of time.

Oct 23, 2014
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biboergosum from Canada

3.44/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. Dubbed as such due to it having been aged over rare Scottish oak (they don't specify which vector), and finished with something called Sweet Gale, which I'm going to take a moment to look up.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and mildly bubbly off-white head, which leaves a bit of overhead coral atoll lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet oaken caramel and vanilla, bready pale malt, a strange vegetal and resinous flora character, soft acetone notes, and muddled dark fruit. The taste is dominated by that sweet, woody, and leafy floral essence, that I am proclaiming to be the Myrica gale in action, over top of a plain grainy pale maltiness, with some neutered bruised drupe fruitiness, and rather subdued caramel and vanilla oak chip notes.

The carbonation is fairly dainty on its feet, manifesting in a mere trilling frothiness, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth, the alcohol (or maybe the gale, I dunno) stepping on a few toes here. It finishes off-dry, in a somewhat bitter, sweet veggie sense, the malt and oak getting used now to playing second fiddle.

Interesting, to say the least - that finishing guest star really elbows the 'rare' (maybe they implied a different meaning of the word) oakiness out of the way - no small task for this brewery's offerings. In the end, this just seems more a way to illustrate the wayback machine method of historical and geeky brewing, than anything else.

Jul 27, 2014
Rare Oak Pale Ale from Innis & Gunn
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 81 ratings