Chaka | Sun King Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Sun King Brewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 64
Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received as an extra in a trade a long while back. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a deep, dark mahogany hue with a nice two finger creamy white head that faded slowly to leave a thin bubbly blanket and light halo.

S - Aromas of cloves, bananas, generic dark fruit, soft grains, nice belgian yeasts.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, the cloves are more restrained, as are the darker fruits. Very prominent belgian yeast notes and cloves. Good bananas too and the alcohol is hidden very nicely. Quite tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, alcohol very well hidden. Impressive.

O - Overall a well crafted beer. Did not expect much from this particular offering but yeah, really happy with this. Well done!

Serving Type: Can

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Photo of homebrew311
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep maroon with off white head, a collar of head retains throughout. The nose features dark fruit, clove, banana, and grapes. The taste starts with moderate level of sweetness with notes of bubblegum, clove, and bananas. Features the flavors yyou would expect in an abbey ale or a BSDA. Finish is spicy with a lingering sweetness. Mouthfeel is well carbonated with somewhat heavy body. Overall, a nice dark belgian. Reminds me of New Belgium Abbey ale.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer was a handsome reddish brown color with an off-white head. The lacing on the sides of the pint glass was evident.

Smell - I thought the aroma was fairly muted for something with the Belgian notation. There was a sweetness to the aroma.

Taste - On the initial, I detect banana, clove, cinnamon, and a certain bread/biscuit flavor. The banana grows progressively more sour toward the back of the tongue in the aftertaste. The sticky thick mouthfeel really allows this one to linger.

Mouthfeel - I think the most remarkable aspect of this beer is the mouthfeel. The manner in which it coats the tongue makes me want to call it a sticky beer.

Overall - I do not think the taste in this one is as full as I would like it to be. Still, it is a very good beer.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to cocoapuph for this CAN!

Pours a medium dark colour, with a light tan coloured head. Dissipated very quickly.

The aroma is fruity, and spicy, with a Belgian yeast kick, no alcohol noticed, some brown sugar and figs. Smells paler than it looks lol.

The taste is somewhat candied figs, with a herbal spicy note, more fruitiness, and nuts. Hints of booze with a warming finish.

Feel is somewhat light, but slick and creamy. Minimal carbonation.

Not sure which iteration I like better, but both are treats.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Can (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, barkingelectron!

Hazed amber brown with a quickly fading dark khaki colored head that leaves the glass with an oily sheen.

Aroma of distinct, pleasant Belgian yeast, banana, mild clove, and sweet toffee malts. Unexpected, and quite nice.

A very classic BSDA: dark fruits, sweet malt and bread, mild banana, Belgian yeast, low to moderate bitterness, and a bit of burnt sugars. Really quite nice.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

I've been very impressed with Sun King's Belgian offerings. I think this beer is better than the sum of its parts, and comes together remarkably well in the end.

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Photo of BrewerB
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to aasher for sending a four pack of Shaka out in a recent trade. Cheers, Al!

Pours a slightly hazy amber brown with a thin off-white head that collapsed quickly.

Initial tart/sour faded quickly to a rock candy sugar sweetness. Dried prunes and vanilla/caramel at the end.

Spicy/sweet mixture of flavors greet the palette initially. Phenolic yeasty qualities playing a prominent role but there's also some caramel candy. Modest earthy/dirt notes weren't expected but not unpleasant or out of place.

Mouthfeel is moderate-light with a medium-high carbonation level. Smooth alcohol warming.

I'll admit my initial desire to sample this beer came from wanting the novelty of drinking a craft beer from the aluminum pint packaging. But, knowing Sun Kin and Oskar Blues combined reputations, I figured the beer would be well worth tasting. Not sure what the shagbark syrup lends to the equation but perhaps it's the earthy qualities I picked up along with some sweetness and color. All in all, an enjoyable brew and I intend to leave a small amount out of the glass for drinking straight from the bottle.

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Photo of JamesS
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a single from Kahn's Fine Wines on Keystone. Poured a very nice deep golden color with some very nice initial head and some decent lacing throughout. Nice thick strong peppery and sweet scent, lots of spices in the nose. Same with the flavors, a huge malt sweetness with a huge clove, peppery spicy, and slight dark candied fruits. Hugely thick and sweet and creamy going down. Very nice Belgian strong ale.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for this extremely cool looking 16oz aluminum bottle(?) can thing, Mark!

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a rather thin light tan head that quickly faded into nothingness. This is pretty dark for the style, and definitely seems under-carbonated.
S: Very spicy and sweet smelling with notes of spiced fruits and Belgian yeast. Pears, apples, cloves and holiday spices fill my nose.
T: Big spicy and fruity notes of apple juice, spiced pears, red grapes, coriander, clove, bananay esters, and an assortment of Belgian spices come through nicely. I get a touch of bready yeast and earthy hops in the finish, and the aftertaste is sweet and fruity. Spiced pears dominate in my opinion, and flavors are rich and spicy. Did I mention the spice?
M: Despite the pour the carbonation is done perfectly. The body is fairly thick and the mouthfeel is soft and fluffy.
O: Flavors are awesome. This is a very rich beer, however, and it took some time to get through the glass. Thanks again, Mark, for this delicious treat!

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Photo of brentk56
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a very modest head that delivers some wispy lace

Smell: Slightly vegetal, with a big malt bill that delivers molasses-dipped bananas; bready and yeaty, almost like a sticky bun

Taste: I have never tasted Shagbark hickory syrup but I am guessing that this beer provides a good hint as to what it tastes like - sweet, molasses and banana tones, leathery and earthy; slightly fruity, with a sweet apple character; the finish is the same as the start as the sweetness really doesn't permit for any other elements to shine through

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Certainly a very different beer and an interesting collaboration but I am not really a fan of shagbark hickory syrup in my beer; I probably would like it a lot more on my pancakes

Thanks, TheGordianKnot, for the opportunity

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A re-sealable aluminum can is just what I’d expect from the can-only brewers Sun King and Oskar Blues; it’s just unusual enough to pique interest.

A: The body is a ruby red with an amber overtone, shining gleefully in the light. The head is quick to form and even quicker to dissipate, leaving only a trace of foam around the glass. The retention is nothing but an island of white film over the nucleation site, as if someone dropped a bit of wax paper into my glass. Lacing is nice and stringy, though.

S: HUGE malt aromas in this one, much more than anything else: lots of corn and leafy grain, so crisp you can almost taste them. Still, it’s a more-than-prominent Belgian character, rich in banana and a dry background of estery Band-Aid, chamomile, coriander, and lemon-lavender. The brightness is not lost, but subdued as a strawberry and mango profile – gentle but juicy. An appetizing first impression.

T: This is one big, bold Belgian ale. Upon first sip, it wanders all over the tongue, coating the entire palate with a vanilla syrupiness. Brown sugar, molasses, roasted dates, crisp corn husk, coriander, blueberry, dried banana, and whipped cream come out in this malt-fest of a brew. It’s a complex sweetness, but syrupy all the same. The yeast is not necessarily funky, but herbal with a bit of dry white bread. It finishes with some dark vinous fruit and a taste of pure, unfiltered yeast.

M: Mouth-coating and syrupy; wow, what a presence. The thickest out-of-can beer I’ve had yet.

O: This beer caught me completely off-guard. This is one of the best collaborations I’ve tasted – bar none. These two breweries have put out an admirable, if not enviable Belgian strong pale ale; what a beer.

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Photo of robboyd
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful screw top aluminum pint poured into an Upland pint glass. There was absolutely no head on this beer upon my first fill of the pint glass, which was about 90% to the top. Typical pour of 1/2 down the side and 1/2 right down the middle. After a few sips I dumped the rest of the beer into the glass and a small 1/8" off white head did appear. Never had that happen before so I thought it was strange. There is a constant fizz of small bubbles throughout the drinking experience however. Nice deep amber in hue.

It smelled malty and yeasty with vanilla undertones. Baking bread with a touch of mild sourness to it.

It's a pleasant tasting beer. Not over the top with the belgian yeast, which is a good thing in my eyes. There is a mild tartness to the finish but it's nice and toasty on the front end. Toasted vanilla is what I get the most of, reminds me a bit of creme brulee but in a good way.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. It's moderately carbed, which I think makes it more pleasant to drink because it does feel a bit weighty overall.

Overall it's a good beer. I'm not a huge belgian fan but I think this is one I'd have more of. I really like the pint can although I paid a premium to buy a single rather than a 4 pack. It's not often that this happens with me but upon my first sip I thought this beer would make the absolute perfect pairing with some pan seared foie gras. I'm craving it as I'm finishing this fine beverage.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an aluminum screwtop can, Chaka pours a medium bodied hazelnut brown in color with a soft and light light beige lacing around the glass. The nose is sweet and malty with a good amount of candied Belgian yeast. There is plenty of brown sugar. It's somewhere between a dubbel and a tripel, yet more on the side of a dubbel. The flavors are sweet and malty as well. There is brown sugar, maple syrup, candied yeast, and light raisin. It's definitely in dubbel territory. The alcohol isn't present at all. It drinks lighter in body, somewhat similar to Leffe Brune. Overall this is a nice Belgian. I would say that it's sessionable if not for the 8% abv. This is a well done collab.

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Photo of farlieonfootie
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Billed as a "CANlaberation between Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colorado and Sun King Brewery of Indianapolis, Indiana, Chaka Belgian-Style Ale marries the king of craft beer in a can (Oskar Blues) with a true up-and-comer in the brewing world (Sun King), and represents the first -- to my knowledge -- of Oskar Blues' new 16 ounce line of cans. With it's bold new shape -- including a resealable cap, which can be screwed back on to save some beer for later-- and four extra ounce of quality product, this is an advancement that will be warmly greeted by the craft beer drinking public. With that out of the way, let's get down to the taste:

Chaka pours a clear-as-a-bell reddish brown, almost amber, with a lively off white head.

The smell is yeast and bready maltiness. A certain sense of Belgian candy sweetness also comes through, as well as a tangy sourness that reminds me of apples -- it could be the Shagbark Hickory Syrup, which was added to the beer by Sun King.

Chaka has a rich and tangy flavor -- definitely reminiscent of the many Belgians I've drunk over the years, but also representing something new. It's got some cidery notes upfront, and a bit of sourness on the tail, but in between it's all rich, yeasty and spicy sweetness.

Chaka's got a medium mouthfeel and sufficient carbonation to keep the taste buds involved.

At approximately $16 per 4-pack, it'll be interesting to see how this relatively rare beer is received, but I've made up my mind already: I'll have another. A-

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Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - dark reddish amber in appearance with a half inch of off white foam on top that is quick to sink. Pretty cool to pour this beer out of this container!

Aroma - as this filled the glass there was a very apparent Belgian-yeast arom and some sweetness like caramel and cotton candy. Sticking a nose in the glass you can pick out some spiciness and sweet, bready aroma. There is also the essence of apples and pears present. Very aromatic and quite obviously Belgian-esque.

Taste - from the first sip the spiciness from the Belgian yeast strain presents itself and stays in the background. There is a tangy sweetness to this beer as well as a hard to define sour or tart flavor that comes at the end of every sip. Perhaps that's the hickory syrup? Not sure. Regardless, it is a positive. As this warms and settles the flavors tucked away in this beer come out. The sweet, soft fruit flavors, the spiciness (ripe bananas and cloves) and the maltiness all meld together very nicely.

Overall - calling a beer simply a "Belgian-style Ale" certainly leaves a lot to be discovered by the consumer. There are so many options that fit the category. This is a great example of two well-established breweries sharing a passion for trying new things and bringing in some special ingredients to make a special beer. Packaging certainly plays a part in today's craft beer world but irregardless of how this is presented to you, what is inside is truly exciting and altogether fantastic.

Note - The story behind "shagbark hickory syrup" is a modern Americana legend that has roots in a 200+ year old mysterious recipe. You have to read THIS to really appreciate how unique this product is to the state of Indiana and to two people in particular. You can check also check out the Hickoryworks website if you want to know even more about shagbark hickory syrup. I had no idea just how special of an ingredient this was in this beer.

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Chaka from Sun King Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 64 ratings