My brother-in-law and nephew have been in town from Tampa, FL all weekend. So, we’ve spent most of our time this weekend hanging out with them. It’s also snowed more, as we got another 4 inches to add to the 10 or so inches we got last weekend. So, I’ve also been outside in the bitter cold (the high today was 12 degrees) blowing snow. We’ve got a little bit of downtime before heading out to dinner with them, so I decided to crack open this beer. I can’t remember exactly where I got it, but I really like bourbon barrel aged stouts.
Location: Poured from the 22oz bottle into a snifter glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 7% ABV, ~270 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s very black in color with some deep brown and ruby highlights visible when held up to the light. It has a very nice, thin, but creamy, khaki colored head on it, which left some great lacing on the glass. The aroma is dark maltiness with some smoky smells, which reminded me a bit of dark roasted coffee.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium, and the mouthfeel is quite smooth, with a little bit of creaminess from the head. The flavor up front is mostly dark malts with hints of char and smokiness, although there’s very little sweetness. The dark malts are almost dark-roasted coffee-like in the middle with hints of dark chocolate, smokiness, and roasted malts. In the finish, the char and smokiness grows quite a bit and the dark roasted malts add a fair amount of dark malt bitterness. The coffee-like dark malt roastiness is what lasts for a couple minutes in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This beer has a lot of dark roasted coffee flavors with char and smokiness, which would complement a medium-t0-well done stake quite nicely. I also think adding something with vanilla or caramel flavors would bring some complementary sweetness that I feel this beer is missing.
Overall Impression: The thing I like most about bourbon barrel aged stouts are the flavors that come from the bourbon barrel – the vanilla, booziness, etc. – mixed with the caramel from the maltiness. However, this tasted like a regular, solidly-made stout, with the bourbon barrel only contributing more of a charred roastiness and smokey flavor. This is a solidly made beer with good barrel contribution, but it’s missing the bourbon character I expected from the name. It was a good beer, but I don’t know if it stood out enough for me to pull it off the shelf again.