Bourbon Barrel Porter - AleWerks Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

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152 Reviews
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Reviews: 152
Hads: 519
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 4.53%
Wants: 154
Gots: 122 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerSox on 08-03-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 152 | Hads: 519
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a slow flow of carbonation bubbling and a thin, sparse, tan surface coating of head. Aromas of vanilla, molasses, coffee, chocolate, booze, toffee, and subtle earthy tones. Flavors are rich and tangy sweet vanilla crème, chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, booze, molasses, woody spice, and earthy tones. Amazingly balanced, with rich and sweet overtones providing the perfect accent. The body is robust, full, and smooth, with a rich chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon aftertaste. There is a subtle building warmth as you drink, which is very nice. Smooth, layered, velvety finish with a sweet, roasted, chocolatey linger. This is a great beer. (706 characters)

Photo of lupercmda
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black color with a nice 1 inch head. Awesome oaky vanilla Bourbon smell. Excellent vanilla notes in the finish with just the right amount of alcohol taste. Vanilla lingers in the finish. (200 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a bit of transparency at the edges. Small khaki head and a very thin collar.

Smell - Bourbon is strong. Oak behind it. Vanilla rounds it out. Some milk chocolate and roast.

Taste - Bourbon is equally strong. Dark chocolate. Coffee roasted malts. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Impressive. Great bourbon flavor that works well with the beer. (455 characters)

Photo of tjmiller718
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: very dark brown, light black, mild carbonation, skimming brown head.
N: warm burnt sugar, vanilla, caramel, boozy bourbon, roasted malts, light coffee w/ heavy cream, low hop presence.
T: vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar, oak, bourbon, roasted malts, dark fruits, creamed coffee, boozy burn finish.
B: creamy, full bodied, low carbonation. (341 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black color with almost no head. Small patches of caramel colored foam manage to cling to the side of the glass.

S: The aroma is that of strong bourbon vanilla and oak notes, with roasted malt in the background. 

T: Hits with an initial bourbon heat that subsides into a fantastic coffee/chocolate experience with subtle vanilla and oak hints. More bitter then sweet, but very well balanced. 

F: Feel is smooth and creamy, full bodied, with a surprising little carbonated tingle. 

O: Super pleasant to drink, I'll have no problem finishing the bomber in no time at all. A little more bourbon forward then some of its counterparts, but in a good way. That heat would probably fall off slightly if given more time, but I see no reason to go there when it's this smooth already. Very impressive.  (817 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 6 month old aged 14 bomber into a snifter. Pours oily dark brown with a full finger of tan head that dissipated within a minute. Smells of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, toffee and maybe cherries. In the mouth it is lighter than it looks. Not as full in the mouth as I would have hoped, a little thin. Tastes are all of the above with the bourbon present but not overpowering. Very smooth. Pleasant aftertaste of bourbon and cherries with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Excellent porter. Tried another one 6 months later and it had mellowed and improved. Going to age another one longer and try it 18-24 months out. EXCELLENT PORTER. (656 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber (no date, but bottle itself is '13) at cellar temp into a snifter.

Look: pours a robust, slightly oily brown with a short-lived light brown head.

Smell: bitter chocolate, booze, toffee, cherry, vanilla.

Taste: the bourbon isn't shy, but as someone who doesn't drink strong liquor, I don't find it offputting or overwhelming at all. Milk chocolate, cherry, oak.

Feel: very light feel for the style. Medium-dry, not much carbonation (but okay for style).

Overall: reminds me somewhat of something like Velvet Merkin. Better than a random BBA beer, very enjoyable, but nothing really kicks it to the elite level. I don't mind the thinner body, but people who need used-motor-oil thickness in their BBA beers should look elsewhere. (739 characters)

Photo of WallingBrew
4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

In my opinion this is on par with Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Ok - the review, like a dark chocolate tootsie roll dipped in bourbon and smooth as silk. Well done Ale Werks. Well done. (190 characters)

Photo of hophugger
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep chocolate brown that doesn't want to let any light through. Aroma is very strong bourbon and not much else. Taste is, well......bourbon, with a beer back. The bourbon is strong and takes away from the actual porter flavor, too much bourbon. I do agree, though, that this a is a good beer, but I wish the bourbon is less. A nice alcohol burn on this one and a bourbon lover's dream !! (388 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap at brewery:
Pours just lighter than black, hard to notice any light through at edges. Head is soapy light tan. Lacing is nice. Agitation brings back a froth that quickly collects at edges. Nose is bourbon, wood (oak?), cocoa nib side of roasted malt, and maybe a hint of licorice.

Taste follows the nose, the barrel coming through a bit more than the bourbon. Chocolate Werther's candy like sweetness. Perhaps a tad too sweet, but the barrel and bourbon are balanced nicely into the beer. At the end, there is a slight cherrywood tartness in some sips, but so fleeting, I may be imagining it.

Feel is smooth, light carbonation despite visual evidence of carbonation. Medium to fuller bodied.

Probably my favorite beer in the lineup I tasted at brewery that day. I liked a few others, as well, but this had that bourbon/wood/porter balance that works well for me. (880 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Umberto tonight.

Pours a fairly dark black, with a half inch foamy mocha-colored head, with a little bit of lacing.

Smells great, big bourbon waft, with big flashes of chocolate and vanilla.

This is surprisingly awesome, really hit the spot. The barrel comes through fairly strongly, some vanilla, oak, and a lot of bourbon, with chocolate, and a bit of roasted malt bitterness.

This has an amazingly full mouthfeel, creamy, silky and velvety, with a lower amount of carbonation. Utterly and amazingly drinkable.

This was a big sleeper hit of the night, really tasty. (589 characters)

Photo of rpjordan
5/5  rDev +19.3%

I've only rated 95 beers on BA, and only given a 5 to one other beer. The complexity and smoothness of AleWerks BBP put it at the top of my list. I'd match it against any other porter for flavor, but it's so smooth that it remains very drinkable. Suitable for drinking by itself or having with a steak or big burger. (319 characters)

Photo of d5001986
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%

22oz bomber poured into Spiegelau tulip.
Bottled 7-5-13

A: Thin and dark, but not quite black. A finger of tan head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S: Molasses, black licorice, bourbon, alcohol.

T: Booze forward. Molasses, bourbon, a hint of vanilla and cherry. Alcohol in the finish.

M: Smooth with low carbonation, but not enough body.

O: Too boozy and just lacking overall complexity. Can't recommend this one. (428 characters)

Photo of sierratwohearted
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%

a- dark amber, completely opaque/no head. s- at first the smell of bourbon shot out of the bottle, now i'm smelling alot of chocolate notes. a little sweet maltiness. t- heat up front. bourbon-definetly, alot of chocolate. very full-bodied and smooth. heat in the finish- i can feel the heat at the back of my throat(like drinking bourbon). is this a porter or a stout? come to think of it: whats the difference anyway? This seems to lean more towards a 'stout porter' in my opinion. this is my first beer from Alewerks since i moved to VA, a very enjoyable porter(stout). (573 characters)

Photo of blbarnett3
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

From a growler filled six days ago, poured into a large tulip. One finger (well, a pinky, anyway) mocha head that subsided fairly quickly, leaving no lace. First, let this beer warm up before you form an opinion. Cold, it's boozy and a bit harsh. Nearing room temperature, it's still alcoholic, but much smoother. The bourbon is very apparent on the nose, along with coffee and a bit of chocolate, along with something a little bit funky that I can't quite put my finger on. This beer has a gorgeous mouthfeel, thick and a bit oily. The bourbon is still there on the palate, as well as the coffee, and maybe a bit of plum or prune - fairly significant sweetness - and a faint tinge of bacon fat that my favorite porters seem to evince. Just my opinion, but this is a beer that you might want to go out of your way to find. Among local offerings, it isn't quite up there with Lickinghole Creek's Enlightened Despot (different style, Imperial Russian Stout), but it's in the same ballpark. Extremely enjoyable! (1,008 characters)

Photo of doremite
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Nice bourbon presence with a deeper porter mouthfeel to help balance it out a bit. Slightly hot but not over powering. Makes me curious about the base beer as this is a fantastic BA Porter. First from Alewerks for me. Def bourbon forward but worth trying if you trend toward more bourbon heavy BA beers. (304 characters)

Photo of RacerX5k
5/5  rDev +19.3%

My favorite beer. So damn complex and drinkable, huge aroma and flavor. As good as any beer I've ever had. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark northwest cherries, freshly picked blackberries, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, butterscotch, oak, and bourbon. Yea I said all that. One bottle I swear tasted a little coffee even. Beyond smooth, and drinks much bigger than the listed 9%. Must be some damn good barrels, and the base beer is also amazing. Reasonably priced and overall perfect every time. Yes, perfect. (520 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 07-20-2014
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Nonic pint
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance: Dark brown beer, nearly black, with reddish highlights. The tan head is thin and leaves small traces of lace on the glass.

Smells: Oak and vanilla, dark cherries, and aromas of alcohol, including some bourbon sweetness but also fruitiness of something like a cognac.

Taste: A wide variety of flavors include licorice, roasted malts, dark bittersweet chocolate, cherries, raisins, figs and vanilla. I don't taste much in the way of hops.

Mouthfeel: Very thick in body, with low carbonation. The finish is sweet of dark fruits, molasses and vanilla notes.

Overall: Quite a hefty brew, I found it to be a delightful sipper although maybe a tad too sweet for my tastes.

Thanks to Treyliff for the beer! (861 characters)

Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22-oz bottle served to chalice. Acquired in trade back in September 2013. 7-2013 bottling date, consumed 5-24-14.

dark brown appearance, minimal head, but the lacing's decent

typical porter aromas at work, with very faint oak barrel undertones (understandably, the latter are more prominent as the beer warms). dark chocolate; toasted coconut (much more prominent with warmth and swirling); caramel; vanilla notes

the opening salvo's oak and bourbon, but then, even cold, there's a delicious dulce de leche sweet caramel, with toasted coconut to boot. the alcohol's noticeable, but not off-putting

the mouthfeel's not the thickest, but this is a porter, so I wasn't expecting sticky sweet. lingering caramel on the tongue though

I'd yet to have a truly enjoyable bourbon barrel porter . . . until now. This demonstrates what a good barrel can do. I dig the toasty, roasty coconut sweetness. Alcohol + Mounds. Yum. Want another. (932 characters)

Photo of slusk
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: This beer pours black with a healthy copper head. Good head retention with a fair amount of lacing.

S: There's a pleasant alcohol aroma with a good bit of oak. The bourbon comes through and is well complimented by a woody, earthy hop note. There's a lot going on here, dark fruits, chocolate and dark caramel. a bit of raisin.

T: Up front there's a strong but pleasant alcohol bite, quickly followed by a big dark malt presence. I get a good amount of chocolate and a bit of dark roast coffee with a background sweetness. The oak and bourbon are present throughout the beer but don't overwhelm the balance of roasted flavors. The earthy hops aren't in the forefront but lend themselves to the oak flavor.

M: full body with medium carbonation. A nice chewy porter.

O: I had this beer on a recent trip to Williamsburg and what can I say, this is one of my favorite porters ever. It has everything I like in a difficult style to master. Barrel aging tends to be a subtle science but Alewerks has proven they have mastered the wood. This is by no means a session beer, I wouldn't be able to drink a lot of it, but I would drink it every day. I suspect the only thing that is keeping this brew from being on the BA top 250 is a limited distribution, but as has been shown by other small breweries (The Alchemist for one) it's just a matter of time before their secret is out. Well done Alewerks. (1,400 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at ChurchKey in DC. From notes.

A - Black pour with a two finger fluffy light brown head. Spotty lace rings and a film of retention.

S - Bourbon up front, sweet sugary notes, dark fruit, nice chocolate. Really nice.

T - Woody, mild bourbon notes, leather, drying coffee, chocolate, cola. Lot's going on.

M - Frothy, strong carbonation, medium to full body, sweet boozy finish. Too much carbonation for the style.

O/D - Body is off and the intense carbonation held it back. Nice aroma though, and a nice flavour with the barrel playing a good role. Good stuff. (571 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

how phenomenal is this? my first alewerks brew is a winner to say the least. downright delicious. new cork and cage 750 ml bottles different from what is pictured here. obsidian luster to this impenetrable coffee brown liquid. a two inch dish soapy khaki head sits permanently on top. a nose od sweet vanilla bourbon and oak, above a dense charred barley base, which is both viscous and light, which is uncommon and even paradoxical, but a lovely interplay. bourbon first on the taste, with layered porter background. i taste a nice robust ale yeast in there, lighter than a stout in grain, but still incredibly sturdy. vanilla is there, oaky density too, but an airy feel and a long sweet finish make this beer seem far lighter than it really is. amazingly delicate on the palate, rounded edges, no heat. the bourbon highlights this beer really well, accentuates what is already beautifully brewed. im wishing for nothing but another pour. carbonation levels are only medium, but thats all that is necessary. more would be too much. porters dont get enough barrel love, and in this arms race of huge stouts, there seems room for more beer like this. highly impressed. (1,168 characters)

Photo of silverblaze540
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Motor oil black. No head

S - Sweet and sour with chocolate notes. Almost a soy sauce smell.

T - Sweet front with barrel flavored aftertaste. Hints of bourbon.

M - Silky smooth, medium feel, and mild alcohol burn.

O - Very pleasant overall. No single taste element is overbearing, and the aftertaste and burn are very mild. An enjoyable beer. (349 characters)

Photo of JandJMD
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally found a bomber while traveling through Williamsburg. Usually can only find Bitter Valentine and Café Royale.

Nice dark color, a little lacing on the glass, but little head or carbonation. There is a bit of a bourbon scent, but not too strong. Chocolate with more of an oak flavor than an overpowering heavy bourbon taste, more vanilla and a sweetness like toffee. Light alcohol burn on the finish, but a great aftertaste. Silky smooth and creamy. Very happy to finally pick one up. This might change my mind and replace Café Royale as my favorite from Alewerks. (572 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Kwaide for sending on this underrated beer in a recent trade. Expert use of the barrel complements a solid base beer. In terms of taste and smell, tough to distinguish this from other BB dark beers. But it is differentiated by a thinner body and lower ABV. I've come to appreciate both, allows for more endurance drinking!

Great beer, but go ahead and keep rating this beer as just very good. Makes it easier for me to acquire! (438 characters)

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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.