Tipple of the week: Põhjala Rukkivein

For my Pulse debut and Tipple of the week, I present to you, Rukkivein from Põhjala in Tallinn, Estonia. The Rukkivein is one of their Cellar Series brews, where you will encounter a surprisingly smooth 12.9% ABV Rye Wine. Yes, you heard me 12.9%. Packing a 70% rye grain bill and aged in American rye whiskey barrels, really hits every high note in this style category. You may be saying, “it’s just another high abv craft brew with an added barrel flavor.” However, you would be misled.  I implore you to hear me out on this.

Estonia’s craft beer has gone from a standing start in 2011, to become one of the most consistently exciting and high-quality beer markets. Almost every beer I’ve tasted has been nothing short of brilliant. This could be because of head brewer Chris Pilkington, a Brewdog alumnus and if you have not read up on Põhjala’s humble beginnings, you should over a glass of their beer.

The Rukkivein Rye Wine is perfect for some celebratory cheers or just contemplating the meaning of life.

Poor this deep, dark chestnut brown brew in a shaker or tumbler and you should get a slight red hue and beige head. Carbonation is almost nonexistent making this heavy water velvety smooth. Your nose will be flattered with its bold yet inviting aroma of rye, figs, prunes, and chocolate. Hints of winter spice, vanilla and tobacco comes later but still demands to be noticed.

Once you’re brave enough to down its dangerously high ABV beverage you will have rewarded yourself with a chewy liquid, richly sweet enough to be nourishing, whilst being balanced by a peppery spice from the rye.

My most memorable moments with this beverage is its underlying spicy molasses like body with a touch of blackcurrant like fruitiness. Not to forget the charred oak barrel ageing which gives an additional layer of complexity adding more spice, balance and smoothness.

If you love bold, dark, barrel-aged beers this is a must try. Põhjala has unleashed the best of dark and aged beers that sometimes can be over baring. Absolutely amazing and delicious masterpiece…an experience worth every drop.