Bourbon Barrel Warmer - Upland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel WarmerBourbon Barrel Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

40 Reviews
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Reviews: 40
Hads: 127
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 11.98%
Wants: 25
Gots: 19 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SirSketch on 05-02-2010

Aged for 6-8 months in bourbon/whiskey barrels

2009: Pappy Van Winkle barrels
2010: Buffalo Trace barrels
2011: Wild Turkey barrels
2013: Willet barrels
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 127
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at Oneinchaway's tasting.

Bottled 12/2014.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel toffee, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of sticky sugar and bourbon characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.54/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had-ed this initially but after having it felt it was worth a review. Single finger off white head with decent retention although greater than most barrel aged beer though on a relatively clear amber body. Aroma is very full on the nose with vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel and brown sugar. Flavor is similar and complex with vanilla and caramel dominating. The sweetness is very well balanced by earthy oaks and flavors. The flavor takes a few sips to get used too. The initial sample was very metallic in the finish. Medium to full body, coats the palate a bit with light to moderate carbonation. Very good beer, wish I could try previous years in succession to see how they change.

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Photo of brentk56
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottling

Appearance: Pours a hazy mahogany color with a frothy tan head that leaves a nice trail of lacing all around the glass

Smell: Caramel and Bourbon dominate the aroma, with vanilla and fig underneath

Taste: Caramel and Bourbon also dominate the front-end, with the fig and vanilla building, in the middle; vanilla flavors round out the finish with the Bourbon adding a boozy touch to the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth down the gullet

Overall: I suspect that this beer will improve with age, though right now it is a bit raw in the Bourbon-dominated booziness that masks any Winter warmer spicing subtlety

Thanks, fredmugs, for the opportunity

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Photo of largadeer
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Womencantsail shared this one. Thanks, Andrew.

Hazy light amber with a reddish hue. A finger of foam rises and quickly recedes.

Caramel and brown sugar are evident on the nose. Integrated bourbon, light alcohol, berry preserves. It's pretty light for the style, and there isn't much to it.

Toasted malt, brown sugar, berry-like fruitiness. Grainy, a little alcohol, though it's mellow overall. The body is pretty thin, and the flavor profile a bit simplistic, though it does nail the key notes of the style.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

another night of epic tastings before i have to take a forced long break. i decided to go with six more new beers last night and had a really fun time with them. served in pint glass and consumed on 11/05/2010.

really enjoyed this one as it was not at all what i was expecting as it pours a wonderfully clear ruby color with a nice head of about an inch in height that settled down slowly and left a decent amount of lacing all along the sides of the glass.

aroma of deep vanilla and coconut, a rich balance of oak and warming alcohol notes welcomes me into its wonderful grip. really a wonderfully complex and sublime mixture of scents here. light feel was a little bit of a distraction as opposed to the big barrel aged beers i am used to. moving along though the sweet vanilla, coconut, maple flavors set this apart from anything else i have had in a long time! smooth and warming only evens it out even more, it was just sublimely drinkable and really just a wonderful way to end a night.

overall near perfection and a great offering overall.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for this one, Mark. Shared at the BABATT.

A: The pour is surprisingly clear amber/copper color with a short lived off-white head.

S: The nose certainly lets you know this one is barrel aged. Bourbon and vanilla start things off. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar follow. There's a bit of cardboard/oxidation going on too.

T: Surprisingly light in flavor for a -bal aged barleywine. Again, sweet vanilla and bourbon along with the typical brown sugar and caramel flavors of the style. A bit of warming alcohol is present as well.

M: The body is certainly on the thin side with a fairly lively carbonation to it.

D: Not at all bad, but not a homerun either (maybe a long single). I didn't find it bad, just sort of uninteresting.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared at a tasting, not a very good beer. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head, low retention.

Aroma is bourbon and malt, smells fine.

Beer is sort of a mess, it is malty and sweet with an odd finish, not much going on worth mentioning though. An interesting beer I suppose but not a repeat for me.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a brownish-orange color with a white head. The aroma is bourbon, brown sugar and oak. The flavor is dark fruit - mainly cherries - as well as toasted coconut, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Very nice.

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Photo of aasher
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. This offering from Upland poured a very smooth and murky, muddied cloudy medium to dark brown. It's almost caramel in color. It had a slight white head to it, which laced the glass. The smell was a very intricate collaboration of bourbon, malty sweetness, alcohol, and candied fruit. The taste echoed the aromas. It was very sweet with hints of vanilla and featured a moderate amount of bourbon barrel at the same time. It left a bready taste in my mouth, almost like a raisin bread or perhaps something with figs. It was well carbonated and crisp. It was delicious. I can't wait to see what this one matures into in a couple years. I'd recommend trying it.

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Photo of rudzud
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured into a Kate the the Great tulip a clear honey hue with a thin head that fades quickly to leave sticky lacing. Thin wisps.

S - Aromas of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, light malt sweetness.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, caramel, vanilla, oak, no booze. Smooth, caramel sauce, nice bourbon notes.

M - Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, not slick or boozy.

O - Overall this beer was really tasty, smooth. Super surprised

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled in December 2013. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head light tan head that stays around for a while. There's also a lot of lacing. The brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, molasses, and dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's the addition of some caramel, nuts, brown sugar, bready malt and a bit of booze. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall I liked this brew, and it's certainly worth a try at $6.99 a bomber.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for handing this one off in our massive in-person trade last year! Thanks buddy! 2010 Vintage (Buffalo Trace)! Served from bottle into a Green Man snifter. Poured a deep brownish red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount very slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, wood, vanilla, sweet alcohol, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, dark fruit, vanilla, sweet alcohol, wood, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and raisin. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. Upon first pouring it into my glass and taking the first hit of aroma I knew I was in for a treat here. Loads of complexity and a very nice balanced bouquet going on. The Buffalo Trace barrel is definitely still shining on this bottle just as you would hope. The flavor was more of the same with a nice balance that made it rather easy to drink and quite enjoyable. I really love how the citrus aspect on this one mixes so well with everything else going on in this massively complex brew. An absolute must try if you have not done so before especially if you get the chance to try the Buffalo Trace version!

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Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Delirium Tremens glass. Thanks to HosP for this generous extra!

A: Pours a clear dark ruby with a thick light brown head that faded rather quickly into a fuzzy film leaving a sheet of very sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of rich dark fruits, black cherries, vanilla, coconut and musty wood. Whiffs of bourbon and maybe currants and bready dough come through on the back end. Rich fruity vanilla and coconut dominate. Very good smelling.
T: Follows the nose with delicious flavors of vanilla, oak and dark cherries. A bit more bourbon comes through, especially in the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste is sweet with just enough spicy hops to make things interesting. Very caramely and fruity, almost vinous.
M: Silky smooth with a medium-full body and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol and bourbon are very well integrated and never hot or overpowering.
D: Extremely easy and dangerous to drink. My two friends and I were very impressed with this bottle. I love the coconut-vanilla scents and flavors that are soaked into this one. Thanks again Mark for the great brew!

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Photo of Stevedore
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle of the recent winter 2013 bottling. Thanks Shaun. Poured into a Hoppin' Frog snifter today, 3/20/2014.

App- Dark caramel brown body with a nice one-1/2 finger white head that retains quite well and drops slowly. No lacing, looks darker than a typical scotch/wee heavy.

Smell- Initial nose impression is almost cologne-like, kind of a minty and even a bit chemical-like. It's interesting and a bit different. Also a very sweet toffee nose from the base beer, a little bit of vanilla and oak barrel.

Flavour- Caramel, toffee, hints of vanilla, a bit of oak barrel and sweet bourbon. A touch of dark fruits. But this is definitely a toffee-forward beer. It's solid, nothing mind-blowing. Would have expected a bit more barrel here.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, fine carbonation, on the thinner side of what I'd expect of an a BA English Barleywine. A bit hot and boozy.

Overall- Decent BA English Barleywine, nothing too special but certainly still a treat in of its own. I don't get any spices which you'd expect from a "Winter Warmer".

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep brown almost in glass, a clear amber when pouring.

S-Mild bourbon, good deal of coffee and caramel. Earthy notes as well.

T-Starts with caramel and toffee, some bourbon, tad bit of oak. Dark fruits (cherries and plums) as well.

M-Medium bodied, tad velvety with nice carbonation.

O-A decent BA Barleywine, and even more importantly a cheap one.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, barkingelectron!

Murky, cloudy dark brown with a small half-finger's worth of dark brown bubbles. This leaves small ribbons and dots of stick down the glass.

Caramel, toffee, some chocolate, well-integrated bourbon, and definite oxidation make up the aroma. Pleasant, though less complex and interesting in practice than it sounds in theory.

The chocolate flavors are more pronounced in the flavor than they are in the aroma, combining nicely with caramels, raisin, toffee, just a tiny bit of char, bourbon, and lots of oak. All the usual characters are here, and this is certainly very flavorful (and the alcohol's hidden well), but the oxidation acts as a definite intrusion on the integration.

Medium bodied with moderate, somewhat prickly, carbonation.

Good, but not great.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am splitting a 22 oz bomber with Stopper, the bottle is part of my winnings from the EPL league last season.
Pouring into a snifter at cellar temp the beer pours a rich mahogany hue with some light fluffy beige head foaming up about 1 cm and fading gradually to an edge layer.
The aroma is all malt, anticipated for an English b-wine. I get caramel and brown sugar with bourbon and vanilla hits as well, not cloying sweet but I dont find any hops in the nose.
First sip reveals a smooth textured fairly hefty bodied brew with average tingly carbonation. The flavor is as the nose advertises with caramel and brown sugar but mostly sweet bourbon notes and brief hits of vanilla. The hops dont show up anywhere and the alcohol is EXTREMELY well hidden for 9.0%. I think this beer could be in the category of dangerously drinkable!
I really enjoyed this one and wish I had a few more as I think this beer would be outstanding on a cold evening in front of the fire place. To be honest I would drink this one almost anywhere, very enjoyable beer!

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.43/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a clear, caramelly color with a light foam cap.

S: Light aroma of bourbon and nuts. I pick up elements of toffee, vanilla, and toast. It's not very pungent, but the range is nice.

T: Bourbon, nuts, small elements of grape, toast, and brown sugar. Nothing offensive, but nothing outstanding, either. It nails everything I'd expect in a barrel-aged barleywine, though the flavors aren't very pronounced.

M: It's thin-medium bodied, with a watery finish. The flavor falls off surprisingly fast.

D: I know I'm in a minority here, but I thought Perfect Storm was barrel-dominated and sweet. I think this beer falls far below that one, and so I can't give it anything higher than a C. I suppose I'd have it again, but I wouldn't seek it out. This was one of the first dumped bottles of the evening. No one cared to drink it.

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Photo of portia99
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (bottled 3/10) poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

A - Pours and orangey amber color, with a low off-white head and leaves behind some nice webs of lacing.

S - Malty sweet with bourbon, molasses and brown sugar on the nose. Little bit of booziness...overall smells sugary sweet.

T - Brown sugar, boozey alcohol, bourbon, surprisingly still a bit of hoppy bitterness, toffee, sugar

M - Medium body with a low, smooth carbonation. Overall sweet and caramelly...almost candy-ish.

O - Overall a good English style barleywine, barrel aging seems to complement the beer nicely...not overdone.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. English barleywine aged in Wild Turkey barrels.
Bomber into Founders snifter.

This was tossed in as an extra by Khumbard-- thanks brother!

Pours clear orangey colored from the bottle but appears plum-colored and a bit murky in the glass. Tan head of 2 fingers settled quickly to a nice little collar.

I actually pick up a touch of dark fruit amongst the malt bill aside from the huge booziness to go alongside.
The flavor is surprisingly smooth considering how boozy I initially felt this beer smelled. The nose made me expect something unpardonably boozy, but I'm pleasantly surprised.
I actually want more caramel and toffee malt notes, as well as more vanilla and oak from the barrels, but this beer isn't bad at all as it is.

Feels a slight thinner than I'd expect for a BA version of the style, but good carbonation.

Overall-- not bad. Improved tremendously as it warmed up. I normally HATE winter warmers, but I enjoyed this despite the local temp being damn near 100 degrees this afternoon.

Other than the sours, this is EASILY the best Upland beer I have had-- is it world class? No. But it is very solid nonetheless.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.72/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany and caramel with just a slight off-white head, a little lacing and some bubbles.

You can tell the barrel had an impact here. Sweet booze in the nose, but not overpowering. Rich vanilla notes with some wood and caramel as well.

Starts out with a sweet boozy whiskey flavor. Unlike the nose the booze dominates this. The vanilla and oak are barely present as everything tastes like sweet wild turkey. A few more flavors came out after warming, but still Wild Turkey shone through.

A tad light on the mouthfeel, but not too bad. Medium carbonation. Maybe a bit higher than others in this style.

The regular version is one of my all time favorites and I've loved this one the last few years, but the Wild Turkey barrels ruined a good beer IMO. It overpowers everything. Maybe it'll mellow out a bit and let more of the wonderful base beer shine through after some aging.

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Photo of robwestcott
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a golden / dark brown from a bomber to a dogfish head signature glass with a 1/2 finger light tan head that left spotty lacing.

nice strong caramel, bourbon nose that lasted throughout. very smooth, somewhat thick and bourbon forward. initially felt a little more carbonation than i expected, but it didn't distract much.

very mild, not excessively 'boozy', yet very warm on its way down. super malty, no hint of bitter hops.

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Photo of Etan
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark mahogany with a small off-white head.

S: Lots of tannic bourbon and molasses and caramel in the nose. Dripping with barrel. Lightly figgy, vanilla.

T: Taste brings charred oak, mild roasted grain bitterness, caramel, bourbon, tannic vanilla, plum, creme brulee. Gets nutty with lots of honey notes as it warms.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with light carbonation.

O: A tasty beer that doesn't hold back on the barrel. Hints at the profile of top-tier BA barleywines but not quite there.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

2010 bottle poured into a tulip glass ,

A: Clear chestnut brown with minimal head, slight tiny hiss when opening. nearly perfectly clear. Time in the bottle has let this one settle out.

S: Aroma of sweet cherry, caramelized sugars, plum, subdued barrel and barely present bourbon, I would hesitate to know how much time passed prior to the barrel being used again, or however long it was, the bourbon is very faint.

T: This beer starts like a nice english barleywine, very faintly hopped with a very low alpha hop, abundances of caramel, vanillin, some stale carboard / oak barrel flavors in the background. This was apparently the Buffalo Trace barrel year, which is a whiskey i have not had, and makes me curious to know where the flavor notes are in the whiskey itself.

M: Relatively flat and seems basically appropriate for an english barleywine, but just a little too flat for my liking. Based on reviews from years following this batch, it seems like they may have taken care of that item as it seems the 2013s are drawing a full finger of head. Maybe worth reviewing again, but then again.... I have a lot of barleywine in the cellar and I dont know when I will be trading again for more from out of state in IN.

O: Overall, there are some good characteristics here. I have been sitting on this bottle for a few years in my cellar and it is a good barleywine, but not overly impressed with some of the flaws that are going on here. Slightly stale, slight cardboard hints, not much bourbon flavors. Other than that, it seems like the body is on par, color is nice and I would have to assume has improved with more recent batches.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very much like Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

Pours a muddy water into a tulip, with a beautiful head serious lacing.

Bourbon and pancakes (with syrup!). Smells delicious. Plus vanilla and brown sugar and prune.

In the mouth a lot of vanilla and a courteous bourbon that greet the taste buds. The sweetness has a somewhat overly-rich brown sugar element, you know, that umami component in molasses. A hop bitterness emerges on the finish.

Creamy and medium- to full-bodied.

Very much like CW BB BW, but not quite in the same league.

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Bourbon Barrel Warmer from Upland Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.