Bourbon Barrel Porter - Oregon Trail Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

62 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 62
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.88%
Wants: 22
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Oregon Trail Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ElGordo on 04-15-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 62 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by Chris-MOC9:
More User Reviews:
Photo of daveytheformer
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce poured into a snifter.

Pours deep black with a brownish hue when held up to the light. Thin tan head that recedes to the edge of the glass. A few tiny spots remain.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, and a little oak.

Tastes like dark fruit, sweet cocoa, and a little booze. Vanilla does shine through at the end.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium with a light amount of carbonation.

Overall is really good. The smell and finish are great but the taste falls a tad flat but is still well worth the money and is really good.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Don't be in a rush to open this... the fussy wax coating might take a few hours to grapple with. Okay, a few minutes for a numbnuts like me. Once it's open and poured you're presented with a deep chocolate brown color and a thin crown for a head that is ready and willing to leave plenty of small lace dots on the glass.

Aroma is fantastic, a mixture of milk chocolate (think Tootsie Rolls), caramel, cherry, coconut (I swear) and a woody bourbon nip.

While the chocolate and bourbon aspects come out strongly, it's the coconut flavor that's most interesting (perhaps showing some skewed tastebuds on my part?). I'll have to check other reviews, but it seems the barrel/wood flavors that have rubbed off in this porter take on a fairly exotic dimension. As I sit and contemplate, that coconut flavor shifts toward a more vanilla type character, but even that is an odd vanilla. Sherry-soaked dark fruits also appear, finishing with a kind of grassy tartness, and chocolate. A loooong finish, too. Burp, and you'll swear you swallowed a chunk of fresh-cut wood.

Mouthfeel is buttery and light, although a little too carbonated methinks. But that's a minor complaint, so medrinks.

This site says 11%, my bottle says 9.1%. Whatever the case, this is one to take slowly. I appreciate this one, and even though I'm not insane for bourbon/whisky-barrel aged beers, I can taste the beauty here.

Photo of ElGordo
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottling #3, received directly from the brewer in April 2007. Poured from the 22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Deep, rich brown - almost black - body is topped by a fairly small, dark tan head. Aroma of rich sweet malt, bourbon, brown sugar, and a touch of dark fruit (figs?). Palate is sweet, malty, and redolent of bourbon. Mildly sweet malt up front builds to a very sweet - but not excessive - finish. The bourbon flavor increases along with the sweetness of the malt. A bit of warming alcohol is also present on the finish.
Body is admittedly a little thin for such a strong beer, and is altogether unlike most porters. Still, this is a very unique and tasty offering from a brewery that is emerging as one of the better small micros in Oregon.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.19/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown, not quite black. Medium khaki head.

Smell - Smells a bit like maple syrup, but I did have a mead in this glass before drinking this. Chocolate. Doesn't smell much like bourbon. Tingly booze in the back end.

Taste - Milk chocolate. Kinda nutty. Still no barrel. Mild sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Not very heavy or viscous. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Where's the barrel?

Photo of russpowell
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBD of Dec 24 08, I'd say add a year easily

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of tan head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla, dark fruits & coconut rum , weird

T: Bourbon, a bit of booze burn, vanilla, & singed toffee up front. Dryness, dark fruit mixed with rich chcolate surfaces as this warms. Finishes dry, with dark fruit & chocolate

MF: Medium bodied, with low carbonation & not as much smootness as I was hoping for, this has been in my basement 6 months+, smooths out good 1/3rd of the way through the bomber

Drinks great for the ABV, but one bomber makes a great night cap, as opposed to the start of session to be sure! A lot to like here, worth seeking out, thank you Bottletrek!

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A wax-capped 650 mL bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions over a year ago.

A: The porter is a deep red color, looking black from a distance. Little head emerged from the pour and no trace of it remains.

S: The nose is full of sweet bourbon, vanilla and pepper along with oak buttery notes. There is a non-bourbon sweetness from the grains that is almost reminiscent of a Baltic porter.

T: The first sip tells me that aging this beauty was a brilliant idea. The porter has not lost a step and the bourbon aging is impeccable. Vanilla beans and pepper kick things off, sweet but not too sweet. Bourbon bite is evident throughout, showcasing hints of buttery oak flavors as well. Try as I may, I can't find any porter flavors as I sip this. While I am not disappointed because the bourbon is awesome, I'd like to see some roasted chocolate emerge.

M: The mouthfeel is somewhat thin at the end (once the bourbon bleeds off). I think that a solid porter presence would correct that.

D: The abv is high and the bourbon sweetness is intense, so this bottle is enough for me. Some more body would improve the drinkability substantially.

Photo of Docer
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally cracked a bottle that I purchased maybe 6 months ago... been sitting on it in the cellar awhile. No. 5 Bottling. This one is sitting at 7.5% Alc. Which for me is better.

- Fuzzy bit head.. light mocha colored... and a nice murky dark brown color..

- Very aromatic... light wood, bourbon, vanilla.. spicy hop, clove... sweet brown sugar.. so many well blended scents, this stuff smells amazing.

- Wow.. certainly some bourbon there, oak woodiness... light creamy chocolate malt... certainly nice not being so much of an imperial.. but just a fine porter. Little bit of toffee.. caramel.... cream..

- Sweet, slight dryness.... great aftertaste....

- Overall the scent and flavor is tremendously good. My only issue is the amount of carbonation... it's just too heavy and fuzzy... but overall its one of the better porters I have had.

Photo of claspada
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle lists 9.1% ABV, no idea on the year but it's not recent that's for sure.

Pours a coffee brown color with a small beige head that recedes immediately leaving some solid spotty lacing.

Aromas begin extremely barrel forward highlighted by sweet vanilla and coconut from the Bourbon barrel. Slight ethanol and oxidation emerges as it warms along with a light roasted maltiness and light dark cocoa but I mean this really just smells like a fresh juicy barrel of bourbon but it is not offending which is surprising.

The tastes begin with a dark chocolate and mocha flavor that is quickly overtaken by vanilla from the barrels; after the swallow, the mocha flavor returns again for a brief moment but there is a burst of bourbon, oak and vanilla that returns and lingers for quite some time. One of the lightest porters in terms of roasted flavor which I enjoy, but I attribute to age and I imagine it was quite robust when it was released.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation. The finish has a small bit of warmth from the barrel aging but the vanilla is really the major lingering flavor.

Overall I have no idea what this tasted like fresh, but now it is drinking quite fine. Not sure what happened to this brewery or why it closed but I can say it was not because of the quality of this beer as I really enjoy the dark chocolate bitterness mixed with the vanilla imparted bourbon barrel flavors.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

what a coool porter. best by 12-24-08, consumed 12-29-08. I can't follow directions regardless of.... but I digress.

A - nice mahogany colored brew, solid khaki head
S - vanilla, oak and delicious mellow bourbon
T - vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, dark fruit / slight classic porter tartness.
M - velvet.
D - velvety smooth sipping beer. a great balance of smoothness, bourbon and porter. they nailed this one IMO.

If I had a few more around I'd be happy. as is, that was a treat!

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is different than the Bourbon Porter listed here as "retired". The label states "Bourbon Barrel Porter", has 11% abv, and is currently listed on their website...

Waxed-top 650 ml bottle:

Pours dark brown, almost black, with a thin, dark tan head. Lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of vanilla, wood and bourbon... Not bad at all for a whiskey drinker...but, the "porter" part needs some searching for...

The taste is of whiskey - vanilla and oak...with dark malt - almost oatmeal-like. Cherry notes come through. Alcohol is present. Tastes like Kentucky Bourbon (JD?) was poured right in. Woody, earthy notes balance out some of the sweetness and the heat.


A tough one - not for the feint of heart - For the whiskey and beer lovers out there.... If I didn't like whiskey so much (though I do stay away from it for the most part), I wouldn't like this so much...Interesting brew here...If it were a bit "softer", it would be more "drinkable". It is a tasty sipper, though.

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.74/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


The sight of it in my wide-mouthed stemless wine glass was nothing special; not bad, but not extremely eye-catching. To me it looks like a nice stout or porter: very dark red/brown with a creamy tan head. However, pick up your glass, put it under you nose and that's when the fun starts...

This beer is VERY aromatic. It smells like bananas, caramel, and scotch. (I know it's aged in bourbon barrels so I'm probably smelling bourbon, not scotch...but given I have zero experience with bourbon my nose says scotch)

After being blown away by the smell, I had my first sip: Wow! Very sweet--but not too sweet--and nicely tempered by the other flavors. The bourbon/scotch whiskey flavor along with caramel and bananas are the first and strongest flavors to hit you, ending with prominent coffee and toffee flavors. The taste of this crazy beer is so huge that 5 minutes after the first sip the flavors were still lingering. After about the 4th sip my taste bud acuity started to diminish and the previously undetectable roasted barley started to rear its head, although the bourbon/scotch flavor continued to dominate. Towards the end of the second glass it was still very enjoyable but was becoming less drinkable as the novelty had begun to wear off and all I could think about was eating some chocolate to battle the raging flavors of this sucker.

Like any beverage with this much alcohol there is a noticeable warming effect in your body, but the 10.2% that is in this beer is masked quite well by all the flavor. It could probably be passed off as 7% to an unsuspecting drinker.

After finishing the bottle with my wife I concluded that perhaps this isn't even beer. Seriously. It doesn't smell like beer and, with the exception of the faint roasted barley, it doesn't taste like beer. It sounds gross, but drinking this was more like drinking a coconut and banana cream pie smoothie--if someone was crazy enough to make such a thing. Very smooth, very interesting, and absolutely delicious!...but only vaguely resembling "beer."

CONS: There is no way anyone in their right mind could drink a whole 22oz bottle of this stuff by themselves in one sitting--it's way too rich and stimulating. "Big as the West," as written on the label, is an accurate description for this wonderful creation. Also, regardless of your connoisseur'ing instincts, I recommend enjoying this one ice-cold as its intensity teeters on overwhelming as it warms up.

Photo of womencantsail
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this, Gil.

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with a small khaki colored head.

S: Definitely a bit of bourbon with only a mild vanilla aroma. Plenty of oak with just as much roasted malt to go along with it. There's some hints of dark chocolate and coffee there, too.

T: The flavor is somewhat watery, though you can certainly still taste the bourbon. Lightly sweet with some toffee malt flavors and hints of plums. A bit of coffee, some chocolate, and very minimal vanilla.

M: Light bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: Had some okay traits, but too many flaws to be all that good.

Photo of Wasatch
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice clean/clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tannish head, which only leaves some small islands around. The nose is a big bourbon bomb, some malts, toffee/caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, big on the bourbon, some malts, and toffee/caramel. This sucker really warms the body up quick, lol Medium body. Very drinkable, I really like this one, highly recommended.

Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a sturdy beige head that sticks and laces well

Smell: Bourbon and vanilla, and it is hard to sense anything beyond

Taste: Opens with a chocolate and mocha flavor that is quickly subsumed by vanilla from the barrels; after the swallow, the mocha flavor returns again for a brief moment but there is a burst of bourbon, oak and vanilla that returns and lingers for quite some time

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to low carbonation; a lot of warmth from the ABV

Drinkability: For bourbon lovers only as there is nothing subtle about the relationship between the bourbon and this beer, particularly after the swallow

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to VoodooImpStout for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and band-aid like aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a bourbon presence that is slightly better in the smell.

Photo of Hojaminbag
2.93/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Oregon trail has a body that is dark brown, but the color is truly dark brown and not just a dark color that borders on black. The tan head is large and does have good retention and lacing.

The aroma is sweet with a good bit of bourbon.

The bourbon isn't powerful, but it does dominate the beer. The flavor isn't quite what I would expect though, as the bourbon is very sweet and has a touch of sourness to it. The sourness isn't powerful or puckering, but it is there. I don't like it. After that comes a hint of oak, dark bread, a bit of grain and some caramel sweetness. Just a little bit of warmth from the alcohol, but nothing that is too unpleasant.

The body isn't as hefty as I would expect, but the beer is well-carbonated.

I had never heard of this one when I grabbed a bottle in Portland, but the name Oregon Trail brought me back to the video game of my youth and I couldn't resist. I think the name might be the best part.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.41/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared by Joey at ramnuts' house back in May. From notes.

A: Pours a pitch brown body with a thin mocha-colored head. It retains shortly before collapsing into a donut, and leaves no lacing down the sides.

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla. And something else... what is it? Oh, booze. Not a very porter-like smell.

T: Strongly bourbonic (yes, Cascade made this a real word) at first, introducing oak and vanilla later. Some caramel, some chocolate, even a hint of roast. I also detect dark cherries. But before they really develop, it gets hot again and finishes that way.

M: Cloying, heavy. Full-bodied. Hot.

D: I didn't think much of this one, to be honest. For a 10%er it's simply way too boozy, and for a porter it's too strongly bourbonic. It could use a little more balance and a little less barrel.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with brownish highlights with a thin head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I could definitely detect the bourbon in the aroma with a bit of oakiness, some chocolate sweetness, hints of vanilla and caramel.

T: the chocolate sweetness was more apparent on the palate alongside oaky bourbon character, caramel, hints of toffee and vanilla accents.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, oaky, mild bourbon boozy, and silky finish.

O: I thought it was decent all around and was glad my boy brought this down to socal to crack..

Photo of mtep13
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: This porter pours a very opaque dark brown.

Smell: There is a good amount of chocolate and bourbon on the nose.

Taste: There is a good balance of complex chocolate, vanilla, oak, and raisin notes. This porter has a good smooth bourbon flavor that comes on later and lingers on the palate. The bourbon tones are not hot or boozy like other bourbon barrel aged beers.

Mouthfeel: This porter is smooth and easy drinking but somewhat thin.

Overall: This is a well rounded and enjoyable barrel aged porter. I would pick this up again if I had the opportunity.

Photo of ccrida
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bomber (bottling?) No. 4, 10.2% ABV, poured into my Meantime snifter, Oregon Trail's Bourbon Barrel Porter is a deep, dark brown, letting zero light through, with a few visible streamers rolling up the near the sides of the glass forming a tight tan head with moderate last, leaving lots of foamy lace. I dig the retro (wild west) black and white label, which incidentally bleeds when wet - did they print this at Kinkos?? I take the wax sealing to imply the brewers think this one will age nicely, even though it states best before Dec, 24, 2008 (and just came out this year)...maybe state law?

Smell is pure bourbon barrel. You get an obvious smack of bourbon (they clearly didn't drain those barrels before filling them up with porter), as well as the vanilla and coconut oak aging notes that I so adore. Frankly, I could use less bourbon, which gains in potency as warms, but nevertheless, it's pretty good.

Taste is perhaps not quite as one-dimensional as the aroma, but is nevertheless dominated by boozy bourbon and too many plasticy phenols, over-powering the oak aged flavors that are more prevalent on the nose. Slightly astringent black malt and some grassy hops state the presence of the base porter, but the fact is, the overall experience is much closer to drinking bourbon then beer, complete with the slight burn when swallowing, and lingering hobo breath! This beer begs to be paired with a cigar, maduro or even oscuro wrapped. At this point, my wife's gonna keep her distance anyways, so why not?

Mouthfeel is thinner and dry, like, umm...bourbon!

Drinkability was low for me, I like the smell, and while the first sip was a disappointment (compared to some of the stellar bourbon barrel brews I've had lately, like Top Sail), it started to grow on me, but quickly peaked and then strait dropped off a cliff. At the end of the day, I just don't want to drink 22 oz. of weak bourbon, which is what this feels like. Geeze it was slow going towards the end, the last gulp was too big and really pruned the nuts. If your a fan of boilermakers, this is the beer for you. I don't exactly remember the cost, I want to say 12 or 13.95, which is pretty steep 'round here, and why I didn't immediately grab a few extras to cellar - good thing! Try draining the barrels next time, Oregon Trail. BTW, WTF is up with the party pig add on your website's brews page? I don't know much about this brewery, but their web site makes them seem disgustingly commercial...

Photo of mnapier
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #3, Served in a German Balloon Glass (12oz). Service Temperature 50 degrees. 22oz

Bottle purchased 5/20/2007 from John 's Grocer in Portland, OR. 11.00% ABV

Appearance overall is black with no light whatever shining from my tabletop lamp. Swirling the glass around I can only determine the head retention to be light and with a faint amount of lace within the glass. Lifting the glass to my nose I sense the usual oaked aroma, intercepted by some dark molasses, and sweetness. A quick sip of the black crude seeps its way across my tounge, allowing for the sweet slight tart flavor to cross my tounge before allowing the alcohol warmth chase it all away. Overall mouthfeel is mild compared to what I would expect from not only a porter but a strong one such as this. Still something I would age for at least a year.


Photo of Gyle41386
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark cola pour. Some nice foam sits on top, and there are some nice sheets of lacing on the glass.

Nice, sweet aroma. Chocolate, bourbon, and a light woody smokiness stop just short of being too sweet like a lot of bourbon barrel beers.

The flavor is even better. Some vanilla comes in from the barrels, and the chocolate and smoke really work together well.

Excellent beer. Didn't see a date on the bottle. After reading through past reviews, it appears ours had a little age on it.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Cola coloured liquid and 1/8" tan head that dissipated quickly.

S: Bourbon, oak and chocolate malt to a lesser degree.

T: Powerful bourbon and oak taste up front that lingers and a chocolate and coffee malt finish which comes on mid way through.

M: Thin viscosity and low carbonation.

O: A nice tasting beer but the mouth feel really detracts from it.

Photo of gpcollen1
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown to black into my DFH snifter. A moderate pour gets nary a sniff of head on this luscious looking brew.

Light aromas of bourbon wander around amongst heave wafts of vanilla chased by hints of oak. There is a light sweetness constantly entwined in the body of bourbon.

Hits the palate with a hint of alcohol and with mish-mosh of flavors that sometimes seem distinct and other times combined in that they are all individually muted. Rich toffees and caramel dance with vanilla and oak and usher in the body of the bourbon. Finishes rich and chocolaty with a slightly odd and unexplainable finish - a hint of hops but may be just the oak.

Live and playful on the mouth with a moderate body - maybe a bit on the thinner side of the middle - with a slightly creamy finish on the lips.

This is as drinkable as an 11% brew gets - that has been BBBL aged and longs to be sipped. Thanks to someone - as it has been a while since I got this...

Photo of Lothore
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep, dark brown hue with a gigantic, uncontrollable chestnut head which leaves tons of lacing on the way down.

S- Lots of bourbon, roasted malts, creamy, caramel, hints of an underlying floral character.

T- Very full, starts with lots of silky smooth caramel and malt sweetness that moves into a mellow bourbon character and is topped off by an aftertaste of roasted malt.

M- Thick with low carbonation.

D- This beer was delicious. Just the right amount of bourbon to compliment this strong porter.

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Bourbon Barrel Porter from Oregon Trail Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.