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Imperial Oak Ragnarok | The Culmination of Craft in One Rum BA Baltic Porter

Imperial Oak Ragnarok

The physical manifestation of American Craft Beer’s evolution exists with Imperial Oak Brewing Ragnarok Rum-Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter. It’s not just a craft beer; it’s a crafted lager. It’s not just any lager; it’s a Baltic Porter. It’s not just barrel-aged or aged in the bourbon barrels; it’s aged in rum barrels. I doubt even Ken Grossman could have envisioned a beer such as this back in the late 1980s. But, this is 2017, and this is how far craft beer has come.

Imperial Oak Brewing, a brewery showcased by in 2017, enthusiastically embraces its small-batch business philosophy… To distribute is to meet external demands. To rely on customers walking through means creating a beer portfolio that’s marked by both high quality and diversity — fans have fun looking at frequent menu rotations. 

One of those beers happens to be Ragnarok, a Baltic Porter aged in Rum Barrels.

ABV: 8.5%

Imperial Oak Ragnarok Rum Barrel Aged Baltic Porter
Imperial Oak Brewing Ragnarok, by Mathew Powers

For those unfamiliar with the Baltic Porter, it’s a beer style — a lager — that’s often more robust than its ale friend, the standard porter. Then again, it’s usually less robust than an Irish or Milk Stout, and certainly Russian Imperials.

In short, it’s a beer style Goldilocks might choose.

Meanwhile, while “BBA” beers usually involve placing stouts and porters (ales) in bourbon barrels, the style has grown immensely diverse the past few years, involving a bevy of spirits, wines and syrups.

Imperial Oak placed its Baltic Porter in Jamaican Rum Barrels for a year, which is no easy task given rum barreling’s propensity to create a mess in the brewhouse. The result is a beer that is sophisticated, yet approachable, great with a meal but also good on its own. 

The malty nature of Ragnarok remains prominent even as plenty of rum flavors, gentle booziness and oak come along for the ride.  The chocolate flavors meld exquisitely with the vanilla, space and familiar rum flavors.

*  *  *

The convergence of the North and Caribbean Seas within one beer personify the creativity that’s driving the craft beer industry to more than 6,000 breweries, according to the latest Brewers Association report. The Imperial Oak version is divine, yes, but what’s truly special about the beer is its existence in the first place.

Cheers to the evolution of American Craft Beer!

I mean, let’s remember what once constituted a “special beer.” 

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