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Bourbon Barrel Porter - AleWerks Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

356 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 356
Reviews: 134
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.18%

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerSox on 08-03-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 356 | Reviews: 134 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2014 02:03:18 | More by tbeckett
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 23:53:41 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of silverblaze540


4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 20:35:15 | More by silverblaze540
Photo of JandJMD


4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 19:22:36 | More by JandJMD
Photo of lurpy1


4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 13:11:16 | More by lurpy1
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Love this one. Had it in the pay but must've not reviewed it? Enjoyedbfrom an alewerks snifter.

a - brew pours a silky black with a finger of creamy of white head. Spotty lacing.

s - nose is fantastic. Decadent booze soaked chocolate. Not very porter since any char is overtaken by the wood and rich chocolate. Roast and kind of stouty.

t - gorgeous and lush as the nise advertised, but even better. Really tasty and again the barrel takes the char and kicks it into stout territory. Chocolate is the star and the booze glazes happiness over the top.

m - mouth is the highlight here. So silky smooth. Lush from the wood hides any porter char but this one stays light and fluffy and not heavy like a stout.

o - overall, this beer is a highlight in a catalogue of many amazing beers from alewerks. Truly a brewery to keep an eye on. Very worth picking up and or trading for. You will not be disappointed in this beer unless you hate amazing beer. Fantastically done.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2014 21:14:42 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of jbaker67


4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The pour is deep brown with a small head. The nose is cocoa, dark chocolate, a bit of sweet marshmallow and vanilla. The taste is dark chocolate. Roasted figs, dark fruits. More vanilla. A touch of boozy wood. Full body, moderate carbonation. Smooth, quite drinkable, pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 13:58:33 | More by jbaker67
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

$8.50 bomber from Abe's.

Perfectly black body, no highlights. Dark tan foam went from three fingers to oil slick in under a half minute. No lace.

Incredible bourbon aroma - oak, vanilla, licorice, booze - that entices even while you're just letting the beer breathe a bit at arm's length.

Taste follows the nose, with the oak, vanilla, licorice, and then adds a big dollop of Hershey syrup to he mix. Bit of booziness.

Thick and rich mouthfeel, but with a good deal more prickliness tha the typical bourbon barrel beer.

A terrific if somewhat unsung beer. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 05:00:53 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of teromous


4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black body with a quickly fading coffee-cream colored head that leaves a ring and a few islands on top. No real lacing.

S: There's a very rich chocolate smell to the beer. The scent of oak leaps out of the glass as well, and is very pleasant. I get no alcohol scent, and I don't pick up the scent of bourbon either. If it had a more "bourbon-esque" scent then it would be a perfect 5.0

T: Right off the bat I get a bit of coffee and chocolate. The oak creeps up around the sides but is unobtrusive. It's fantastic. Again I don't really get that bourbon touch. At this point it just tastes like a very excellent oak aged porter.

M: The beer is completely drinkable. It is smooth and easy going down. It's not something that you'd have to sip to enjoy, which can be dangerous, so watch out! The beer has good carbonation and a decent slickness to it. It is full bodied but it feels like it could use a little more. It's like a V8 that needs a little more torque for the heavy car (flavor in this case) that it has to pull.

O: Overall I thought the beer was very outstanding. Bourbon barrel beers usually run the gambit of very light to an in-your-face bourbon explosion. This one is on the lighter side of things. If you like oak aged beers but aren't a fan of bourbon, I'm confident you'll enjoy this beer. Some bourbon barrel beers will also have dark fruit flavors, but this one has more of a coffee and chocolate edge to it. It's very interesting and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 19:33:42 | More by teromous
Photo of RacerX5k


4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. My first bourbon barrel beer from 2011 and still my favorite (after BCBS of course). Thrilled to see this make an appearance in Philly again after 2 years. Lucked out last week, walked into my local Whole Foods to get my wOOtstout, only to find this gem sitting there. I could do this review in 3 words. Chocolate bourbon bomb. That's what it smells and tastes like, with notes of dark fruits from the base beer in the finish. Thin but appropriate for a 9% abv. So drinkable its scary, this bomber dissapears in no time at all. Easily one of the best beers Ive had this year.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 14:38:02 | More by RacerX5k
Photo of jd18

New York

4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a surpringly delicious barrel aged beer. Stouts get all the hype but this porter was a pleasant surprise. Wonderful bourbon, malt aroma. Mouthfeel for a porter was near perfect. Appeared black as night, consistent body for a porter and a thin tan head of a fingers width that dissipates to a thin layer of foam. Taste is warm bourbon and malty deliciousness. I would recommend and drink again.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2013 00:21:38 | More by jd18
Photo of beerloverofbham


4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ksurkin for this one. Shared this 22 oz. bottle with a friend in some stout-esque glasses. Pours very rich and very dark--darker than I expected, even for something that's been sitting in a Virginia Gentleman bourbon barrel for a while. Smells strongly of bourbon, oak, and toffee. Initially, I taste dark chocolate, coffee, plums and dark cherries, and later, vanilla, caramel. Very rich, with a lot of layers--the flavor of the bourbon is included in there but is only one part of a complex profile. Velvety.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2013 23:21:37 | More by beerloverofbham
Photo of JayQue


4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good Bourbon Barrel beer. Pours a dense black color with no light coming through. A hard pour produces a big light tan head with decent retention. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is vanilla and bourbon/wood. Strong, pleasant.

Taste still features the bourbon barrel influence and vanilla, but there is also some good roasted malt as well. The bourbon may be a bit too dominant but the other flavors are prominent as well.

Mouthfeel is rich. The bourbon provides a little harshness, but the roasted malts smooth things out after the initial bourbon blast.

A good slow sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 03:07:08 | More by JayQue
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigSexy410 for sharing a vertical of this. I'm reviewing the 2011 version.

The beer pours a nice nearly black color with a decent off white head and lacing, not super thick looking and with certain light it reflects some reddish notes back.

The first thing I notice is a nice sweet palpable bourbon oak barrel that seems to pair really well with the fudge and semi roasty porter base. As I get my nose in there, I get some baking supply sort of vibes like vanilla extract, cake batter. Nice.

The flavor is very close to mimicking the smell almost exactly, and has a nice lingering bittersweet and roasty finish with also a bit of rounded out barrel tastes too. Not the thickest beer,it is actually a little thinner than most porters of this abv and barrel influence. Definitely some big alcohol burn to this, more than expected and its a little off putting.

Good stuff, definitely tasty and decently easy to drink for a bourbon aged beer, nice.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 22:51:30 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sam and Russ for this one. 22oz. bomber into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger rich mocha head with good retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is layered and sticky. Very nice.

Nose is chocolate, molasses, lactose, fudge and bourbon. There's a bit of an off ethanol smell that lingers in the back a bit. Aromatic.

Opens chocolate, roasted malt, fudge, and molasses. Some smoke and bourbon in the middle. More molasses with notes of liquorice and a touch of leather at the end. Finishes sweet and syrupy with the same aftertaste. Really good. The flavors are appropriate and they complement each other very well.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down with a touch of heat but very smooth overall. Finishes messy with a lingering, sticky sweet aftertaste. Perfect.

Another winner from Williamsberg Alewerks and easily one of the best porters I've had to date (though this drinks more like an Imperial Stout). Definitely worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2013 02:16:47 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of AlexFields


4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black color, with almost no head. Other pours seem to develop more head after the beer warms up, but at first the beer looks almost flat.

Smell is huge sweet vanilla and oak. Hints of chocolate too, but mainly the vanilla. Pretty one dimensional really, but that's definitely not a bad thing. Smells amazing.

Taste is similar but slightly less astounding. Tons of vanilla, woody oak, strong bourbon character, a bit of milk chocolate. Very sweet, very tasty.

Mouthfeel is a little thin--definitely not flat as it appeared to be, but could use some more carb for sure.

Great porter, reminds me some of Birth of Tragedy.


Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 13:41:15 | More by AlexFields
Photo of jasoncheb


4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a dark black, with a two finger yellow-hued head which dissipates rather quickly.

S: Bourbon is really heavy on the nose, same as previous years. Some sweet malt smells come through once the beer comes up to room temperature.

T: Bourbon from the initial taste through a very smooth aftertaste.

M: Strong bourbon burn, with medium carbonation.

O: Exactly what I have come to expect from this beer. Alewerks has done a great job with consistently putting our a beer that tastes exactly like what you would expect. If you love bourbon, you really need to get your hands on this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2013 18:03:17 | More by jasoncheb
Photo of ckollias


4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this bomber bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick, 2-finger, brown head that slowly dissipates, leaving a great trail down the side of the glass and leaves a solid persistent lace.

S: Malty bourbon aroma. I try to smell anything else – but the bourbon is heavy on the nose.

T: Very sweet malt and bourbon flavor that has a smooth middle and finishes on the dry side.

M: Very strong - heavy body - med-high carbonation.

O: This is an excellent bourbon porter. Great aroma and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 02:57:57 | More by ckollias
Photo of jvillefan


4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: a dark dark brown with a deep mocha head.

S: Harsh bourbon with subtle dark malts.

T: Bourbon is dominate here. There is dark malt, chocolate, oak, and subtle coffee here.

M: Excellent carbonation and excellent viscosity and retention.

O: Excellent. A must get.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 08:15:53 | More by jvillefan
Photo of AltBock


4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz. Bomber bottle with a simple classic beige label of an oak barrel. Right on the front is where you'll find the vintage date and a bottle number. This is a 2011 with a bottle number of 4972. To the left of the barrel is a description of the beer and to the right is the Government warning. 

I poured this barrel aged Porter into a Cigar City Snifter. This Porter poured a solid midnight black with no highlights. I held it up to the light to make sure it was a solid black and light just bounced off the beer. Not much of a head of foam on this beer. The head of foam was very fizzy, about 1/4 of an inch in height, and coffee brown in color. It quickly fizzled away. It only managed to leave behind about 2 spots of lace. It was clearly on the weak side. Great color, but the head of foam wasn't much to look at.

This beer had a nice roasted bourbon aroma. The first aroma that emerged was the bourbon. That was quickly followed by the dark roasted malt and dark roasted coffee beans. After all the roasted aromas had their fun, the aroma then finishes up with some dark chocolate, charred oak, vanilla, and a splash of black cherry. Great aroma! Nothing got out of control or completely took over the aroma.

The taste was a little like the aroma, but not as well balanced. The taste came on strong with bourbon, charred oak, and dark roasted malt. There was plenty of bourbon in the taste, but it wasn't boozy. After the strong flavors, the beer then goes into the roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, and a subtle pinch of vanilla. I would have liked more sweet flavors like the vanilla to round off all bourbon and oak. I know, I can't have everything. It was still pretty good where it stands.

This was a full bodied barrel aged Porter with a good strong aftertaste. Strong bourbon aftertaste with some charred oak, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, black cherry, and a little vanilla. The bourbon and oak will linger on for a little bit.

I would like to thank my good friend Vince who gave me this beer in a trade. Great aroma and with a strong not boozy bourbon and oak taste. The only down part of this beer was the head of foam and it's easy to get over that. Worth a shot? I'd say so. 

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 03:16:29 | More by AltBock
Photo of russwbeck


3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The most striking part of this beer is how it pours without any head. Even with a vigorous pour, nothing rises up. Otherwise the beer is really dark black. No light getting through this one.

S: The aroma is full of bourbon and rich chocolate. Some vanilla and a slight amount of roast come out as well. Definitely a bourbon-forward aroma, I hope the taste brings a little bit more balance.

T: The taste delivers. Still bourbon-forward, the taste is bolstered by a nice hit of chocolate that lingers on the palate seemingly forever. The very backend leaves a hint of booze to remind you the bourbon is still there. The roast isn't really anywhere to be found, making the beer pretty sweet. Some vanilla and maybe a slight amount of oak are also left over from the barrel. The taste is balanced, but not particularly wowing as a porter aged in bourbon barrels.

MF: The body is thin at times, but it's also very drinkable. I wish it was a bit thicker just to hold the body together a little more. With that said, I simply had no problem drinking the whole bottle. I also enjoyed the smoothness of the beer.

O: I liked this a lot, but thought it could have been better overall. It's hurt by an average look and smell, but the taste does stand on its own. I'd say it's worth your time if you see it.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 19:40:45 | More by russwbeck
Photo of AndyAvalanche


4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber (labeled 2011-4220) poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Liquid comes out about as dark brown as possible before turning black. Initially a nice tan colored head comes out and, it stays with the session for quite a while, but not much in the way of lacing.

Smell is outstanding. Plenty of oak, fudgy chocolate, vanilla, and absolutely some bourbon. Very roasty and a nice warm tickle from the alcohol. If I wasn't reading the label, I'd say it was an imperial stout.

Taste is equally as excellent. Super roasty and on par with the smell. The oak and vanilla sort of blend together. Coffee and sweeter than bitter chocolate come out and it's followed by the bourbon. Well balanced blend of all the flavors, I love it.

Mouthfeel is as close to perfect as one can get without actually being perfect. I'm sure there is SOME room for improvement. Full bodied and a great carbonation level. The warmth from the alcohol has a nice finish. It has nice drinkability, a perfect sipper on a cold evening like tonight.

I love this beer, and definitely want more. Thanks Ron for the KILLER extra!

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2012 02:59:54 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of raffy313


4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into my NB globe. Shout out to eriktheipaman for an altogether awesome trade. Thanks Erik!

Pours a dark brown, almost black with very little to no head. Minimal lacing. Lots of bourbon, sweet carame/vanilla, some chocolate and abit of smokiness in the nose. Also a hint of oak. An altogether great aroma. Taste is absolute BOURBON heat initially, with a dark chocolate bitterness and vanilla. Not as sweet as the nose, but that's really a good thing. A nice smoky oak flavor rounds out this beer as it warms and mellows out the overall flavors. A medium body with an appropriate amount of carbonation for this style. A dry/bitter finish.

Overall, this beer is an absolute hit once it warms, and not bad at all to begin with. Nicely balanced and quite complex. Under the radar BB Porter here that holds it's own against the more well known BA porters. Would definately recommend and absolutely love to try again. Thanks again, Erik!

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 02:52:14 | More by raffy313
Photo of Knapp85


4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out with a nice black color and light tan colored head. The lacing is pretty nice looking and the retention is thin but there along with the lacing. The smell of this beer as It warms up gets better and better. The aromas of bourbon and wood shine through with a moderate boozy note on the nose. The taste is sensational, it's got some of the best natural vanilla flavors I've ever had. There is a spicy note in there too probably from the bourbon. The beer has a light dry roasted finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and slick feeling. Moderate carbonation also. Overall it's a beautiful beer. Very very good stuff here.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2012 22:35:39 | More by Knapp85
Photo of WillCarrera


4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a very dark brown, produces a thin head that quickly dissipates to a few wisps, leaves little lacing.

S- Lots of barrel aroma, vanilla is very prominent. Also getting some nice bourbon, oak, caramel and chocolate.

T- It tastes pretty damn nice, there's an initial rush of sweet booze and bourbon, as well as some chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark fruit. Once this subsides some more dark chocolate and roasted grain emerges, as well as some smokey charred barrel flavor and dry roasted bitterness. Leaves a bit of lingering vanilla, caramel/toffee flavor.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel with a dry, slightly boozy finish.

O- A very nice BB porter, this is the first I've had from Williamsburg Alewerks but I'm impressed and will be on the lookout for their brews in the future, this is some really tasty, drinkable stuff.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2012 05:53:00 | More by WillCarrera
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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 356 ratings.