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The Dogfather (Bourbon Barrel Aged) - Laughing Dog Brewing

Not Rated.
The Dogfather (Bourbon Barrel Aged)The Dogfather (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

166 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 166
Hads: 455
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 25.4%
Wants: 19
Gots: 104 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.85% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brownbeer on 12-21-2009

Over 11 months in the making some of the Dogfather is bourbon barrel aged.

71 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 166 | Hads: 455
Photo of pkalix
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

super creamy, chocolate-milk head. nice coating along the sides. roasty and toasty malt, chocolate. slight nuance of bourbon in the aroma. definite bourbon-chocolate flavors, kind of like those little chocolates you get at Christmas time, yet without the sweet liquid center. maybe a little coffee bitterness, but not a lot of coffee flavor.
the appearance and the aroma are the highlights of this one. the flavor isn't bad, just a little chalky and bitter, but it does drop off from the excited expectations after the pour. maybe it's the abv coming through.... I was eager to try this one after tasting the Mogli! overall, it's still a very decent brew.

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Photo of Flopjack
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter

Appearance - Pure black, 1 finger white sandy colored head leaving a ring once settled

Smell - Roasted milk chocolate, coffee with cream and bourbon.

Taste - Dark chocolate to start, leading you in to a roasty coffee flavor with bitterness from the initial chocolate flavor. Alcohol at the end with definite bourbon flavors. Woody, smoky and balanced nicely.

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy carbonation, full bodied, thick, satisfying but not quite refreshing.

Overall - I thought this beer was good. I was surprised to find out how much this beer carries chocolatey characteristics in the nose and taste. It's the first time I've had a Dogfather and I will defintely be buying it again.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

a - poured a three-fingers thick coffee-colored head into a snifter that left great lacing throughout. the body was dark black.
s - chocolate and oak with a little bourbon heat.
t - woody with dark fruits. slight booziness.
m - slick, medium mouthfeel.
o - solid RIS.

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Photo of cdf1991
2.82/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A: Poured very dark into a Belhaven pint glass. Head was about an inch and a half thick and light brown

S: Coffee and bourbon

T: Bitter with lots of coffee/chocolate flavor and definitive notes of bourbon whiskey. Slightly sweet on the finish

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and kind of thick. Typical of most ales of this type

O: Not really my cup of tea. I have friends who absolutely love this one (the 10.85% ABV doesn't hurt), but I prefer hoppier beers like IPAs. If you're in the mood for a really dark beer to warm you up, this one might be for you

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Photo of cjgiant
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Once the beer achieved a more-proper temperature, I began to enjoy this beer a lot. Is there anything exceptional (by definition different) about this beer? No, but to me it is a solid stout (to my liking) that is not overpowered by the flavors of barrel-aging.

The pour is the typical dark, with tan-to-brown edge head. The smell is classic roasted malt mocha chocolate, maybe some roasted hazelnut, and a bit of wood. Very solid.

The taste follows the nose pretty well, perhaps a little more bitter - the mocha is more dark-roast coffee in nature. This lasts more or less throughout the taste, but is eventually joined by a light by encompassing feel/taste of the barrel aging, heavier on the woodiness than the bourbon, which works for me. My only downside to this is that the wood tastes "green", our young. There is also a hint of alcohol that starts early and lingers, but is far from overpowering.

This fits my definition of stout fairly well. It was bourbon-barrel-aged, and if you like the bourbon side of the style, this may disappoint. I prefer the more subdued notes from such aging, so rate this highly (for me).

Edit: had 2014 version of this, smell and taste had more bourbon bite, and even though my tastes have also changed, I re-iterate need this to be basically near room temp. Also I reduced rating slightly, mainly because feel wasn't as good as I'd want.

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Photo of SlothB77
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the 2012 and it was not good. Too thick, too bourbony, too bitter, too heavy.

So I was naturally hesitant to have the 2013. But I got a free sample and I was blown away. Much more sessionable/ drinkable this year. It is much much improved. The nose pops with bourbon, malts, chocolate and vanilla. The taste has a creamy dark chocolate, malt and surprisingly strong notes of coffee.

The feel is lighter and smoother than last years, but as a bourbon barrel stout it is naturally heavy-bodied.

When given the option to have this or the goose island BCBS, I would think twice.

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Photo of sleepyteacher
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

If you like the taste of bourbon, this beer will deliver a mouthful. The low price, name, and label made me really want to appreciate this bourbon aged imperial that no one was talking about.

S: You can practically smell the sweet booze from this guy across a room. My girlfriend took a whiff and didn't want to try it (not unexpected); I took a smell and couldn't wait to try it.
T: Taste was full on pancake syrup like bourbon (I mean that in a good way), very sweet and boozy. Unfortunately, there are not many layers of flavors here.
M: It's mouth feel was that of a milk stout, very light wash on the tongue.

That being said, I am very curious to see how this beer ages, so I picked up three bottles.

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Photo of Brenden
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

There's an interesting contrast between this beer fresh (so to speak) and with 2 years more age on it. There may be the most difference from aging of all the beers I've thus experimented on to date.

The pour reveals a thick and viscous beer, easily judged as likely to be an imperial Stout just from the look. it also reveals a fat, heavy, rocky tan head almost two fingers tall with good retention that deposits lacing in creamy patches that spread, leg and web out pretty nicely.
The smell is giving me roast, dark barley grains and something almost like malted milk balls with a creamy sort of sweetness. A bit of smoke and char peek through. Initially, the bourbon isn't as noticeable as in many similarly aged beers aside from a bit of wood and slight alcoholic warmth. Masking of alcohol, so long as it's not overdone, works better in the original than in a bourbon barrel-aged rendition.
This beer has a big base of strong malts, lots of roast coming through with unbrewed coffee grounds and a bit of dark and milk chocolate. Roast is the main event, though, even as some wood brings a little char into the finish. Alcoholic warmth is present but low, and the barrel provides a little vanilla but not too much. Hops are subdued for what's claimed, though there's more bitterness than just what the roast and char provide that works well to integrate itself and does balance well.
There's a mix of sweetness contributing to the body and dryness from wood as well as alcohol. Fresh, it doesn't get to express everything there is and there's slightly too much bite. Further aging smooths it out beautifully and provides a rich, creamy texture. Honestly, they would produce a better beer if they let it sit after the barrel again for two years in steel (or even bottles) and then releasing it, though it is good.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz into a CS snifter.

A- Black non transparent. Thin layer of lacing around the glass. Some head in the middle of the glass.

S- I can't put my finger on it, but it is a sweet smell. Charred dark fruits, chocolate, molasses and I think the sweet is from the bourbon I guess.

T- Again, it comes off sweet; almost like some honey was in this. The taste isn't bad, it is just so different from all other BA stouts that I have had. Chocolate, molasses and bourbon heat top this off.

M- Pretty thin, but not that big of a problem. Some carbonation follows down the throat.

O- I probably have this rated higher than others. I did not have a big problem with this one. Would much rather have than Dragon's Milk.

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Photo of BB1313
3.09/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottled on 10/28/13. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with barely any light getting through; fluffy dark khaki head that slowly fades and leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are very malty. Lots of dough. Very roasty. There's a nice amount of dark chocolate. Hints of vanilla as well. The bourbon character is very subtle and basically goes unnoticed. The flavors aren't too interesting, but not bad. Tons of roast and smoke. Hints of ash and char. Some black coffee in the mix. Lots of chocolate. Some hints of anise. Slightly bitter. Very earthy. Once again, there's basically no bourbon presence at all. There are hints of oak/wood though, especially in the finish. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied; creamy, fluffy and smooth with moderate carbonation. Not a bad sipper.

This isn't a bad stout, but the barrel characteristics are pretty bland. I never would've guessed this was a bourbon barrel aged beer if it wasn't for the label.

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Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

At least a year old. I'm not sure exactly when I bought it.

Pours black with a deep, chestnut brown, fluffy head that leaves nice thick coating down the glass. Full on bitter chocolate on the nose with molasses and hints of vanilla. Hit the back of my throat as I breathed it in. On the palate: bittersweet chocolate and toasted brown bread, touch of coffee, slightly boozy with a bitter finish, a hint of pine. Smooth with a bit of carbonation across the top of my mouth and quickly on the sides. Overall it's a little too sweet at times even after a bit of aging, but it's complex and well layered.

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


Pours opaque black, one inch of tan head is fine and dissipates slowly to a film.

Smells of cocoa, brown sugar, oak and a bit of roasted coffee.

Tastes of cocoa, oak, bourbon, brown sugar and a bit of figs and coffee.

Full viscous body with stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth. Light booze numbness.

A pretty good and tasty stout, well worth trying if you can find it. Can't compare to the non-aged version but this is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of taylor714914
2.42/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25


If you like fresh oak and cheap bourbon, this is for you.   The beer reminded me of a stout which had fresh oak chips and cheap bourbon dumped in it.  Nothing imperial about this, as the mouthfeel was super thin.  The tannic oak and boozy bourbon dominated the flavors, with some toasted malts and cacao powder fighting to be seen.  There are many many better bourbon barrel stouts out there.  Avoid this one.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Date on bottle says 10/3/12.

Appearance: Pours an oily dark black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid three fingers of deep tan head which slowly fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very rich and sweet dark roasted malt driven aroma. Dark roasted barley malts with a huge scent of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs along with hints of coffee, cream, toasted bread, burnt caramel, toffee, and smoked malt. Big presence of sweet molasses. Barrel hints of vanilla, charred oak, and bourbon. Subtle dark fruit hints of raisin, cherry, fig, and prune. Light hints of earthy hops as well. Very big on the burnt malt and chocolate scents. Pretty good aroma.

Taste: Like the scent, a big rich and sweet dark malt driven taste with lots of chocolate. Roasted barley malts with a big taste of dark chocolate and sweet cocoa nibs. Notes of coffee beans, cream, burnt toast, caramel, toffee, and a good kick of smoked malt. Lots of sweet molasses and a slight kick of anise. The barrel presence is kind of subtle for an aged beer but there are some notes of vanilla and charred oak along with a slight note of bourbon. Undertones of dark fruit with some notes of raisin, dark cherry, prune, and fig. Slight earthy hop presence in the background. A very good imperial stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy, rich, and somewhat syrupy. Alcohol heat is hidden very well.

Overall: A very good tasting imperial stout. Has several months on it so don't know what its like really fresh. Bourbon presence is kind of lacking but as an imperial stout it is very good overall.

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Photo of Roman5150
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

bottle into tulip

appearance: black, 1 finger mocha head

smell: roasted malt, smokiness, some oak, espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, alcohol

taste: earthy bitter hops, dark chocolate dominates the palate along with roasted espresso notes and oak, alcohol warmth is present, lots of smokiness, but like other have said, not getting much "bourbon". Pretty smooth, finish is hoppy for a stout.

mouthfeel: medium carbonation, thick and syrupy

Overall: A great imperial stout, but not exactly a bourbon stout. Don't taste it, it resembles a cross between a chocolately imperial stout and a rauchbier, lots of smokiness. Still, a very good beer for what it is, would buy again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to snifter.

A - Poured deep black with a thin layer of medium brown head that immediately receded to a thin ring around the edges of the glass.

S - A massive charred oak aroma dominates the nose with some sweet bourbon and vanilla notes also present along with some chocolate and roast.

T - Lots of charred oak and not much else. The oak tastes almost burnt and is somewhat astringent. Some roast, cherry and chocolate notes are also present but no bourbon or vanilla notes translated from the nose to the palate. The finish is very oaky and astringent.

M - Medium body with medium to high carbonation. Too heavily carbonated for me.

O - This was barely drinkable due to the astringent oak profile that completely dominated the palate.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.14/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

A dog-themed beer in a dog-themed glass. Done. Anyway, this stuff pours a dark black-brown topped by a more-than-healthy few fingers of sandstone foam. The nose comprises dark cocoa powder, light coffee powder, and a strong, yet vague, sense of fruit, primarily black cherry. This does not bode well... The taste confirms my anxiety as dark chocolate-covered black cherries dominate my tongue, with a small bit of wood and watered-down whiskey flowing in a tiny rivulet in the distance. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, I can't quite conclude that this stuff is infected, per se, but it certainly tastes similar to other infected stouts I've had. It may just be that this stuff ages piss-poorly, but I have no way of knowing how old this bottle is, so it's all just speculation. What isn't speculation is the strong fruit flavor and thin body, making this stout completely unenjoyable. Even as a sour stout it fails, frankly, as it's more metallic than tart. Shame, really...

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Photo of themind
3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not bad, the Dogfather is a good starting place for someone getting into BA brews. It's fairly easy to get and is not a bad brew. If you want to try a BB stout or need a BA fix...here it is. I enjoyed it and as it warmed it became more mellow and drinkable. Poured a small head, the aroma could be more pronounced. I could taste the barrel but it's weak. Would I purchase it again, nah but it was worth trying.

Bottom Line: Worth trying.

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Photo of charlzm
2.08/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.5

Consumed April 9th, 2013 in a Klokke Roeland snifter.

Beer pours a deep, clear brown with mahogany highlights. A two finger tan head forms and provides decent sheeting throughout the drink-down, which was not a very long time (details below).

Aroma was oddly tame for a bourbon-barrel aged stout; just a little hint of bitter chocolate.

Flavor is just awful. No bourbon apparent at all. Sour, metallic coffee flavor with some cocoa powder and woody bitterness at the end. Chaotic melange never finds its way.

Mouthfeel is somewhat on the thin side with a touch of creaminess. For a beer with this ABV,it was underwhelming.

This $10.00 bomber wound up going mostly down the drain. Undrinkable.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22 ounce bomber into perfect pint glass.

Pours dark black with tick brown foam. Hearty looking. Rich chocolate malt nose. Espresso too,. Vanilla as well. Taste is a hearty full coffee chocolate blend with a whisky background. Quite boozy. Whisky flavor builds as the beer warms. packs a wallop, with a lot of flavor.

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Photo of Brabander
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I drank this bottle when I was in Austria last week in the lovely village of Neustift in the Strubai valley together with an American Facebook friend who was there @ the same time.

Poured out of the bottle into a wine glass, did not have the appropiate glassware with me. Nice and creamy head which gives this beer a very nice look. Little lacing. The smell is normal; stoutlike with nice coffee notes. Taste is good but not overwhealming strong. A good stout when you want to try out the stout. I did my very best but could not find any hints of the barrel aging of this beer

Glad i got to try this one!

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours jet black with a dense, one finger light brown head.

S: Powdery cocoa, some wet forest floor, roasted malt, charred oak, and some milk chocolate. Definitely improves a ton as it warms up.

T: Opens with some roasted malt and then fades to some dark chocolate, anise, unsweetened baking chocolate and some faint hop resin. A pretty substantial bitterness comes through on the finish, which reminds me a lot of sucking on unsweetened baking chocolate. The mouthfeel is rich and chewy and easily the best part of this beer. I really wish I got some bourbon barrel out of this, but it's still a decent enough beer.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- pours black as night, not a bit of light escaping through the glass, small somewhat foamy dark tan head that quickly reduces to a thin layer skimming the top, leaving a few rings of lace

S- dark and deep roasted malt in the aroma, notes of smoky charcoal, a bit if vanilla, melted dark chocolate, booze, and just a trace of oak at the end.

T- smoky and charred malt profile dominates up front, a bit of coffee, vanilla and chocolate pop up mid-palate, the finish brings some of the woodsy oak flavors along with just enough hop bitterness to be noticed. Finish is sweet with a charred oak linger.

M- heavy bodied with low carbonation, almost syrupy mouthfeel leads to a creamy mid- palate, finish is smooth and silky with a touch or warming alcohol that escapes through the nose upon exhaling.

O- this one has a lot of smoky roasted character. The alcohol is contained quite well considering the ABV, and the mouthfeel is ideal. The main problem I had was the lack of bourbon character. The oak was there but I couldn't really pick up any bourbon. If this were a regular double stout, I would have rated it higher, but considering the style, I would have liked a little more assertive bourbon character. Overall an enjoyable beer, but probably won't purchase again given that I paid $14 for it.

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Photo of scratch69
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I poured a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance- Pitch black in color with two fingers of lingering, dark tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Dark roasted malt and chocolate. I detect no bourbon or boozy smell whatsoever.

Taste- Char and roasted malt flavor with notes of chocolate . Very faint hint of bourbon at the finish with a bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied and creamy with some alcohol warmth after the swallow. Low level of carbonation.

Overall- Decent enough beer but I doubt I will try it again.

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Photo of BeerSocrates12
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed at home in a Lakewood Temptress snifter. This is the Bourbon Barrel aged version poured from a 22oz. Bomber.

Bottle was set out of the fridge to warm to a cellar serving temp.(about 20 min.)

A: Pours dark yet slight redness. A lighter tan head for an imperial stout. Lesser carbonation as expected from a barrel aged beer.

S: smells of a slight "roastiness" and a surprisingly smooth bourbon and cheery nose. Not as much of a roasted nor cocoa aroma I'd prefer in an imperial stout but still pleasant.

T: Subtle roast....a lot of Bourbon and almost no oak...I often find barrel aged beers to have more of an oak flavor...nice sweet complexity from the bourbon. This stout is very well balanced.

M: very smooth mouthfeel for 11%. Little to no alcohol burn. I like the way this beer finishes sweet...

O: Laughing Dog really surprises me. This is a really great Barrel aged Imperial Stout. Very smooth and well balanced. Caution: at 11% don't let this beer get ahead of you....its very easy.

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The Dogfather (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Laughing Dog Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.