Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2013 | Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew)

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Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2013Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2013

Brewed by:
Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
You could gift this bottle as a reflection of your fine craft beer taste, drink it now to ease your holiday tension or cellar for the long winter ahead. For our first year of our Yankee Swap beer series, we selected rum barrels from our friends at Turkey Shore Distilleries and dark maple syrup from North Hadley Sugar Shack. This Strong Ale is a big beer with hints of maple and complex notes of oak and rum from the Old Ipswich rum barrels.

Added by BrewEngland on 11-13-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 111
Photo of JebBeerFish
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this in vertical tasting with 2014 Yankee swap. Pours a Sunday school dress shoe light brown, 1/4 inch head on light pour. Mild sweetness on the nose. Most maple syrup forward beer I have had. Was expecting it to be sweet but not this sweet. Not cloying, but more of a dessert beer.Glad I split the bomber; two glasses would have been too much.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.47/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Weak Brown body with Coca Cola highlights, topped by two fingers of level dense off-white foam.

Aroma is hints of rum vanilla, oak, dark fruits, licorice, plenty of alcohol, maple.
Very boozy.

Taste is rum, vanilla, oak dark fruits, maple and a whole lot of booze. Bit of belly burn. Getting plenty of the barrel, not much from the base beer.

Full, chewy, but not very smooth or slick mouthfeel.

Ok, but too much booze, not enough beer.

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Photo of Damian
3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 22 fl. oz. - 1 pint, 6 fl. oz. - 650 ml. bottle purchased at Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

The deep, mahogany colored liquid was topped by a super tight, creamy, inch-tall crown of light tan foam. Decent retention. The head slowly faded to a film of bubbles. Spotty, odd shaped patches of sticky lacing trickled along the glass.

There was not a lot going on in the aroma. It was somewhat boozy and spicy with subtle notes of ginger. A bit of reminiscent of Christmas cookies. Toward the drink's end, the nose became a bit fruitier and much boozier. Somewhat cordial-like.

The flavor profile however was definitely more interesting and intense. A thick, chewy, caramelized malt presence led things off on the front end. Somewhat toasty. Loads of brown sugar and spices. Subtle maple notes. Touch of oak. Fruity. Raisins and plums were noticeable. Quite boozy but not at all hot. The finish was slightly hoppy and contained strong notes of candied orange peel. As the beer warmed, the sweet maple notes intensified.

The mouthfeel was solid. Medium to full bodied for the style. Super creamy and frothy. The liquid contained a fine, zippy effervescence that gave the beer a nice fluffiness.

Slumbrew's Yankee Swap is a flavorful and astonishingly drinkable strong ale. It was difficult to believe that this weights in at a whopping 12% ABV. Even with such a muted nose, this beer was still quite impressive.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.56/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew) - Yankee Swap, poured into an Otter Creek pint glass.

Look - Pours a hazy brown and settles quite thick, maple brown if you will, with a one inch foamy head that retains well. Good lacing.

Smell - Aroma is almost Belgian funklike with maple and oaky rum, some chocolate and caramel.

Taste - Oaky maply rum with a sweet rich malt backbone. Slight rum bite at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Malty mouth coating, the oak coats along with it, vanilla. Surprisingly smooth for 12%.

Overall - This is a great brew. One hell of a take on an old world ale. Haven't had anything quite like this.

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Photo of ChrisL24481
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Poured a dark caramel/brown color into the snifter. A one finger width tan and frothy head sat atop the beer. Carbonation/bubbles were visibly seen climbing the edge of the glass into the head.

Aroma - Full of flavors; including oak, vanilla, a touch of rum from the barrels, brown sugar, and caramel.

Taste - Hints of maple syrup come through on tongue along with the rum and oak from the barrels it was aged in. Vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel also come through in the back ground.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, thick and sticky. Very light bitterness as expected with a 27 IBU brew. Carbonation can be felt throughout.

Overall - The reason I wanted to try this one is mainly due to the fact it was aged in Jamaican rum barrels. As my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Jamaica last year, we had quite a bit of Jamaican rum and really enjoyed it. Overall, a nice full and flavor beer. However, it reminded me more of a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy rather than an English Strong Ale. But the types of barrels the beer was aged in may have had something to do with it.

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Photo of Durge
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This hefty brew is a dense dark brown with just a ring of off white head but decent scattered splotches of lacing. The aroma is very much like a wheat wine with deep red grape, fig, prune and malt interspersed. Nice although not exactly what I expect from the always elusive strong ale category. The flavor dives deeper into all the same ideas noted in the aroma. Lots of dark fruit and merlot with earthy malt wrestling for attention in the first mouthful. This includes a certain alcohol quotient as would be expected at 12% ABV. But it works as you adjust. Raisin, prune, chocolate fig, and a bit of root beer / toffee-maple candy. Plenty tasty with a pretty full body and very little carbonation for a particularly wine-like feel. Quite a brew from the lovable slum lords!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into DFH snifter, formed a 3/4" tan head over the cloudy red brew. Thick head holds superbly, with solid thick coating lace. Aroma is sweet dark fruits and alcohol.

Taste starts with sweet dark fruits, dry alcohol in the middle, tannins and more warming through the close. Lingering booze character. Mouthfeel is so smooth, and drinkability is pretty good. Maybe not as wrapped up and put together as I would hope, some might say a bit harsh, but overall a good brew.

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Photo of JamesStreet
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into snifter
Bottled on 11/2013

A - Brackish brown looking liquid with a slight off white head. Foamy though. Minimal lacing left on glass. Head dissipates quickly with very few bubbles.
S - Breadiness, booziness, rum. Some of the maple syrup comes through. Woodiness as well as raisins and other darker fruits but not too much.
T - Strong rum-alcohol taste upfront. Toffee, caramel with a malty breadiness as well as the dark fruit. Faint hop bitterness tries to come through but this malty, boozy beast slams it back right away!
M - Medium mouthfeel with boozy heat that lingers till the end of the sip and beyond. A little slickness on the palate as well.
O - Not a bad brew and a bit unsuspecting. Really like the boozy heat from the rum. Would have liked a little more oakiness from the barrel come through in the taste. Syrup was faint could've came through just a bit more, but overall a nice beer. Slumbrew seems to "hit" more than "miss" and that's a good thing!

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Photo of bmwats
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Dark brown. Pours a half finger, foamy, brown head. Settles quickly, leaving a smattering of bubbles on the surface, and a distinct beer ring. No real lacing.

S: Roasted malt grains, rum and maple are prominent. Plum and molasses also.

T: Raisin, licorice, and rum. Yeasty.

M: Syrupy feel on the palate. A bit "hot" and boozy. Bittersweet aftertaste lingers.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good, Nice head, effervescence, but very little lacing. Nose is malty and sweet, with fruit and rum. Yeasty fermented fruits, with some bitter licorice, and a distinct flavor of rum. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very deep chestnut brown. The color makes it hard to judge the clarity, but it looks to be mildly hazed. An eighth of an inch of cream colored head settles shortly. Lacing is comprised of small spots.

S: Brown molasses. Thin, runny, sugary maple syrup. Molasses bread. Brown sugar. Juicy plum esters. Whiff of buttery rum and alcohol. Oak just barely creeps out from behind the sweetness.

T: Very sweet with tastes of maple syrup, molasses, and brown sugar. Molasses bread. Hints of crust and chocolate. Vague berry and stone fruit flavor. Rum raisin. Buttery rum draws some focus away from the sweetness. Oak does not have much of an impact, but imparts some slight woody flavors toward the back end. Brown sugar, syrup, and rum on the finish.

M: Thick body with a syrupy and coating feel. Chewy. Warming.

O: This is great stuff. Rich and rib-sticking. Perched heavily toward the sweet side of the spectrum, but it works. Lots of rummy flavor. Very evocative of old-time New England. Food pairing? Boston baked beans all the way. Hearty breakfast meats like Canadian bacon and sausage too.

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Photo of BigOldOaf
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, light brown with a bit of head and no lacing.

S - Smell is real nice: maple syrup and brown sugar with some dried fruits mixed in.

T - The taste matches the nose nicely: lots of brown sugar with hints of caramel. Dates, raisins, and other dried fruits round out the sweet flavors. Reminds me of a quad. Booziness starts to really kick in about midway through which is a bit of a detractor.

M - Nice, silky mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

O - A well-executed beer. Try it.

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Photo of Maxwell
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours like dark maple syrup; rich, dark brown with amber highlights. It sits in the glass as deep mahogany with a little head of creamy white bubbles that fade into a nice scrim around the glass. In body, the beer appears thick and nearly opaque, with just hints of ruby/amber light escaping from the sides. When washed against the sides of the glass, the beer leaves a very slick and quick pair of legs that drizzle and dissolve. On the nose, this beer is an awesome boozy beast. Rich rum coats the nose beautifully with a wisp of maple syrup, and a healthy dose of toffee-like malts. The boozy rum in this beer is not hot, per-se, and is really quite inviting, suggesting a thick slow sipping delight in the glass. Molasses and rich oak can also be sensed as you shove your nose into the glass, adding further complexity to the nose. On the tongue, the beer tastes sticky sweet, but never cloying, with a quick, strong alcoholic heat just at the close of the throat, but little to none in the finish. Very gentle herbal, hop bitters can be sensed, blending with the tannin from the oak to bring a nice balance to this rich and decadent beer. Alcohol presence is surprisingly middling, and while definitely there, it blends with the rich sweetness of the beer to create quite a decadent treat. In flavor, the beer begins as fresh oak, quickly moving into boozy rum with a touch of cola and lots of toffee malt. Herbal bitterness and oak tannin balance the sides of the mouth, giving a light grassy sense as the rich malt steamrolls over the middle of the palate. Warm maple syrup candy comes into play on the finish along with just a touch of roast malt, smoked oak, and a good batch of bready malts that morph into toffee. Herbal grass and rum balance out the aftertaste, though a very faint sense of maple syrup can also be sensed. As the beer warms, more rich oak, toffee, and rum (not booze) flavors can be sensed on the tongue. In the mouth, the beer feels full bodied with a flatter carbonation and a nearly syrupy mouthfeel that still slides down the tongue nicely, but grabs on as it goes and lets the mouth know that this beer has some body and should be contemplated, not chugged. The mouth is left a little sticky with a faint sheen of saliva on the mouth, and a boozy dryness that lingers over the middle of the tongue. Overall, this is a decadent holiday delight that I intend to buy more of, and to age for years to come. The Yankee Swap is planned as a yearly beer that changes up its barrel by the year, which will surely make for an interesting tasting down the road! The rum barrel blends beautifully with the maple syrup and the beer and makes for a great in-front-of-a-fire beer to contemplate the holiday season. The beer also makes a perfect yankee swap gift!

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Photo of Dope
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 11/08/13

A: Dark, dark mahogany pour with a tall and fizzy medium brown head. Head fizzes quickly but then slows - overall at a medium pace (thank you Adam Sandler). Thin and sparse tendrils of lacing. Halfway decent retention.

S: The smell on this is pretty inviting. Lots of rum and maple syrup (obviously). Notable brown sugar too with some heavy breadiness. Very malty and sweet.

T: Nice sweet rum up front, followed by a big maple syrup presence. LOTS of maple syrup along with brown sugar/toasted sugars. Kind of a dry, maple candy type taste in the aftertaste along with quite a bit of lingering oak, rum and toasted sugar. Nice candy-like presence between sips. Once it fully warms there is a decent spicy alcohol sting on the back end.

M: Big and somewhat boozy but more than accepted for a 12% barrel-aged beast.

O: Well, pretty much exactly as described. Lots of rum, lots of maple and lots of oak. Very sweet, very malty and just enough barrel presence to cut it a bit. Not overly hot at all for 12%. Candy (third time I've used that word in this review) sweet but not cloying. Big beer but not overly complex. Still quite tasty. It does get a bit tiring to drink after a while due to the sweetness and alcohol content. Be sure to share!

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Photo of Mikecap
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a murky, amber brown with a thin whitish head that sticks around, leaving some splotchy lace.

Smell: A bit of oak from the barrel and lots of sweetness, caramel, definite maple, and some toffee notes. Alcohol is present and inviting in the aroma without dominating

Taste: Perfectly balanced sweetness and I get lots of maple, sweet malts and a touch of alcohol burn and oak. The rum provides a solid complexity and character to the base beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied but extremely smooth and very little heat despite it's freshness and the high alcohol content. Pretty sweet but not cloying or being a syrupy bomb.

Overall: This beer is a tremendous sipper and I thoroughly enjoyed the half of the bottle I split with my brother-in-law. I'm certainly planning to grab a bottle to age and share down the road. Absolutely worth grabbing a bottle while its still around!

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Photo of 00trayn
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This beer pours a deep, dark reddish-brown with a hint of transparency. There's a head that lingers for a while.

S - The scent is rich, sweet and a tad boozy, but it smells like a delicious rum toffee flavor. The sweetness of the maple certainly comes through in the nose.

T - A very rich flavor comes through at first with toffee and maple notes, not overpoweringly boozy with a nice lingering sweetness at the end. It reminds me slightly of a hot buttered rum.

M - A thicker beer with just the right amount of carbonation. It definitely lingers in your mouth for a while, but it doesn't come off as syrupy.

O - This is an excellent winter beer and a great example of a barrel-aged beer done right! It's definitely a sipper and I can see this being the perfect beer to pair with a cold night sitting by a warm fireplace. The ABV doesn't come across as too strong. This seems like a great beer to age for a while, as I can only imagine it will improve even more with time.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 12/13/2013 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of rum, caramel, honey, brown sugar and dark fruit. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. There is a slightly alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, very strong kick, not too filling, decent representation of style, this is a solid high-ABV to sip on for a while if you’re looking for something a bit different.

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Photo of thatbentleyguy
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is really something else! It will keep you warm, inside and out - the dark malts and maple syrup imbue it with a silky sweetness, the oaky rum barrel character gives it a sharp, yet understated boozy edge, and somewhere in there you might just vaguely sense that it's STRONG! Yep, that 12% abv is warming you up too!

A - Deep brown with a delicate, not overzealous head.

S - sweet malts and hints of rum!

T - Out of this world - dark sweet malt characteristic of an old ale, then the maple syrup hints, mix with just the right rum character (I often find whiskey barrel aging overpoweringly boozy - rum barrels was a genius compromise on this one!) and a warming alcohol afterglow.

M - Creamy, full, slightly syrupy even - but not in that Aunt Jemima way - in that Connecticut River valley maple syrup kind of way!

Slumbrew is making some of the absolute best beers in Massachusetts and the New England region today, taking traditional styles and leaving their unmistakable fingerprints on it. This has to be my favorite from them yet. I'm not a fan of seasonal beers in general - too often gimmicky spices clash and don't come together well. Eschewing the common trap of "Winter Warmer" = potpourri spice, was a good move on this one! English strong / old ale plus an additional dose of natural sweetness, plus oak and booze? Brilliant. I'm off to the store to buy a few more for the cellar. This is one for ageing!

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Photo of Juggernaut929
4.84/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance is perfect to style, with great legs. Normal head retention. Aroma is fantastic barrel, coffee, vanilla. Taste and finish is smooth dispite the impresive alcohol content. A real deceiver this one is. Overall finish is clean and warming, the perfect winter/fall beer. Very satisfied.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bomber of Slumbrew Yankee Swap at Craft Beer Cellar, Newton on Thanksgiving eve on the recommendation of one of the store clerks. Another fine tip. Thanks, guys! Served in a Firestone Walker snifter–the perfect glass for such a big beer.

Appearance (4/5): A decent amount of khaki head atop the dark red-brown body. Impressive alcohol legs.

Smell (4.5/5): The rum barrel is very present in the nose. Great caramel, vanilla, and toffee notes as well as a slight underlying toasted grainy smell. Just smells delicious.

Taste (4.5/5): Taste follows the nose. Lots and lots of barrel character shining through in this one. Huge, intensely malty flavors of caramel and toffee, rum-soaked raisin and toasted coconut contributed by the barrel, and dark bread. The noticeable alcohol presence serves to cut the sweetness and cleans the palate, readying it for another sip.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): Smooth, not viscous or chewy. Low carbonation as to be expected. Not the most drinkable ale because of its strength but it doesn't feel like a 12 percent beer. Not harsh in the least; actually it's quite mellow. It packs lots of big flavor but they never end up tasting sharp. The mouthfeel is nicely rounded.

Overall (4.5/5): Yankee Swap is an impressive first whack at barrel-aging for Slumbrew. Loads of toffee, dark bread, and rum-soaked raisin flavor explode from this big, yet mellow, English Strong Ale/Barleywine. A thoroughly enjoyable sipper of a beer meant to be shared along with or following a hearty meal. Great. One of the best New England beers I have had this year, for certain.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark brown. Thin head is born from the pour. Head is fizzy and it pops away to a thin ring aloud the outer edge of the body. Light lace.

S-The aroma is heavy and humid. Hot, rum induced booziness. A deep sweetness which I will equate to the beer's robust malt and infusion of maple syrup. Softer barrel notes .

T-Rich flavors of brown sugar, caramel and toffee are augmented by a hot rum flavor. This beer is pretty boozy. Some woodiness. I do get some maple here as well. It's quite a punishing sip but it's tasty nonetheless.

M-Not as viscous as I was expecting. Quite hot obviously. A slow sipper. Sticky.

O/D-A neat beer. I appreciate the uniqueness here. I think this one would be better enjoyed withy some time to mellow out in the bottle.

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Photo of Ego
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap from joe canals in Iselin (or is that woodbridge.... hell, its on rt 1) $19.99 for 64...not bad
a quick head gone in a blink, immediately reminds me of a darker aventinus (the way the carbonation rolls when you roll the glass, the subtle o-ring and of course the brown-ish hazy tone), more legs than lacing but of course that speaks to the ABV lurking

banana with a maple surge, a slight dry graininess, you can just get a hint of the alcohol underneath

taste etc...
without knowing I would have bet this was a weizenbock aside from the carbonation signature on the tongue, smooth and pretty boozy without being overly hot, the banana notes seem the most prominent, in the aftertaste there is almost a note of barleywine flavor at the end before a nice little warming burn in the stomach

a tasty beer that almost gets too sweet at times but manages to balance the banana tones/sweetness/high alcohol, definitely a sipper. Worth your while to whet your whistle or your flute, if that's your thing...

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Photo of jaycar06
4.84/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Cloudy, reddish brown

S - RUM, toffee, malty, sweet

T - Subtle rum flavor and maple flavor, no alcohol burn, very malty/toffee tasting, slight sweetness

M - Creamy, with slight carbonation. Lingers slightly.

O - Overall, I found this to be a fantastic beer. I'm disappointed I bought I only one. The high ABV is muted and goes down smooth. It's easy to drink this and have it "sneak up" on you. Very impressed.

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Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2013 from Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew)
4.07 out of 5 based on 111 ratings.
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