Bourbon Barrel Porter - AleWerks Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

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515 Ratings
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Ratings: 515
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 8.67%
Wants: 155
Gots: 120 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 515 | Reviews: 154
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.77/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared with steepH2O. Bottle number 1184 of 2009.

Chestnut brown with red highlights, some oily legs, and set of puddled islands along the edges.

Sweet bourbon, dark chocolate, roast, and vanilla. A very nice smelling bourbon barreled beer.

Uncertainty around the bottling date leaves me to believe this is a 2009 bottle based on the bottle number. If so, the taste seems to make sense: bourbon is sharp and abrupt leaving a short hot finish. Base porter is shattered by the barrel, leaves mostly a "bourbon delivery vehicle" says Chris.

Body is thinned and watery. A good barrel aged stout that I had higher hopes for.

Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly during the bella vista bash

Pours a mostly blacked out color, slightly tanned head, decent retention while drinking and some filmy lacing on the glass.

Stiff scents of bourbon with vanilla and oak, nuttiness, faint dark fruit and booze, some chocolate as well.

Roasted malts with bourbon soaked notes, oaky wood and vanilla sweetness. Dashes of cocoa and chocolate with some nutty qualities. Decent malted base with sweet tones, finishes boozy and warm.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, a bit creamy, pretty smooth. Drinks nicely, not as good as their Cafe Royale but a pretty solid bal aged beer.

Photo of liamt07
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591 in a BIF way back. 22oz 2010 vintage, but the fill barely even came up to the neck on the bottle. Batch 1108.

Pours a few shades off black, with some mahogany transluence. Creamy khaki head, good lace and medium retention. Nose has some vanilla and oak, mild bourbon notes and subtle notes some ripe plum (among other non-descript dark fruits). Taste holds alot of oak and dark chocolate, brown sugar with some roastiness coming through midway through the mouthfeel. Bourbon shows up around that point as well and lingers with the roastiness out into the finish. Adequate carbonation and medium heavy body, with some creaminess in the feel. I felt like this took on alot of the character of the barrel, and would've been curious to see what the base beer tasted like to put things in perspective. Pleasant but not fantastic.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pulled from the back of my cellar, been aging since last spring, since the trip to Williamsburg.

Pours jet black with an thin tan head that leaves very little lacing.

Nose is pretty strong bourbon, some chocolate & roasted malts. Some smokiness comes through as is warms.

Taste is bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts and some woodiness an a faint hop bitterness. More chocolate and a little smokiness as it warms.

Mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation. ABV is well hidden here, can't believe this is 9 ABV

This is a nice bourbon aged porter, lots of flavor, nice body, worth picking up.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bottle, sent at some point in mid-2010 by beer bud Metalmonk (thanks, Jeff!), and opened/poured/consumed in March 2011.

'2010 - 1732 LIMITED RELEASE'
Imperial Porter Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels for Two Months

A: Opaque pour, very dark/'black'. An inch of fluffed almond foam fades in a couple minutes to a sticky cream. Terrific lace in wide dripping bands, like frilly garters.

S: Pleasant intensity: fudgy chocolate in waves, the sweetness tempered by mild wood char (with a little 'smokehouse', too). Sweeter and fruitier as it warms, lush berries mixed with toffee/caramel.

T: Sturdy porter with plenty of dark coffee roast, surprisingly potent given the chocolate-y sweetness in the aroma. After a year or so since bottling and many months in the cellar, a slight astringency and oxidation may be just creeping in, but the result is a mild grapeskin/tannin and tangy/bittersweet cocoa. Some sweetness in the finish, caramel and brown sugar, and a tamer smokiness.

M: Sits pretty heavily on the tongue, fills and coats well. Lasting sweet bourbon, cinnamon spice, and a dirty char. Medium-full body and kinda chewy, smooths after an initial carbonation eruption.

O: Lots to like from the more savory, slightly dry porter. Barrel-aging works well and a year of cellaring probably doesn't hurt. Still, a surprising alcohol warmth, though, which knocks drinkability down a little. Very good and worth a recommendation.

Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/25/11 notes. Thanks to jslot38 for sharing this one. 2010 vintage, bottle number 0558.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, chocolate, oak, roasted malts.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, bourbon, oak, and light vanilla. Very nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

o - Overall this was a really nice bourbno barrel aged stout. I thought the taste was very balanced and complex; I really enjoyed it. Would like to have again.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle

A- Body is a dark brown nearly black opaque color. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy off-white head. Head quickly fades to a thin collar but some lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Caramel and toffee are most dominant in the nose-this is followed by hints of oak and a slight alcohol astringency.

T- A lot of alcohol and oak initially. Hints of caramel, toffee, and chocolate in the background. The bourbon really kicks in for the finish and leaves a big alcohol heat as well as a hint of alcohol astringency and roasted malt.

M- Medium carbonation and a body with slight alcohol astringency.

D- This one is still a little hot and boozy-but has nice complex undertones. Decent and a great bourbon barrel brew to try overall- but nothing that really amazes me. Overall good job done by this brewing co.

Photo of ChristianBlack
3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A friend sent me a bottle of this. The appearance was good. Good head and okay lacing.

The smell was nice for what it was.

This is where I may differ from most. I didn't really like it all that much. Maybe it was an old bottle. I'm not sure. But, there was something off about this beer.

Mouthfeel was good.

And, the drinkability I put as average. But, I had to pass it off to another friend to finish. I just wasn't as impressed as others here I guess.

Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recieved this in the quick and easy hight card BIF. The beer was poured into 2 oversized wine glasses, jet black pour with a slight white head, light lacing. The aroam is full of sweet vanilla, bourbon and oak. The bourbon and oak are up front in the taste, without being overwhelming. The vanilla hits midpalate and it has a lingering bourbon finish. The body is medium, carbonation is light. The alcohol is there but in balance. A damn fine ba bourbon beer.

Photo of StormKing47
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with cmurren25, Jwiss22, JayW73 and Lane23. One of the surprises of a little tasting that went like this...

A- A very rich, dark black almost to the color of a stout, but some light is actually visible. Already looks like it's good just sitting there. Has a little carb that leads to medium dark brown/ tan head. A very appealing beer that looks more like a stout than a porter. Must have spent some time in the barrel to achieve that rich color.

S- Right away a nice refined smell of sweet chocolate, bourbon heat, earthy wood notes and a cooling vanilla to keep the bourbon in check. There is a nice roastiness and caramel sweetness in the background as this one warms up that balances the soft undertones of the vanilla and subdues the bourbon heat. Very pleasant.

T- A nice opening of bourbon coated sweet chocolates with a subtle charred woody taste. As it warms the soft complexities of this one come to the front for a great experience. Has a nice roastiness that is accompanied with a vanilla and caramel sweetness that is a great counterpart to the bourbon and wood flavors.

M- A nice and semi-viscous full bodied porter. Has a nice slight chewiness with a very good coating. This allows you to taste all the nuances and is a welcomed aspect of a well done porter. Also detect a little syrupy character that is reminiscent of fine stouts.

D- Definitely. A complex, full bodied and delicious barreled porter. Everything you could ask for and more. Great aroma, complex taste, warming feeling from the high abv that is well hidden. Definitely a must try.

My first beer from Williamsburg Aleworks and one that everyone should try. A limited batch that is definitely under the radar.

Photo of Chaney
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My 200th review!

I had this on tap over at the Fair Lakes Whole Foods in Fairfax, Virginia.

A: Dark, Dark brown, almost black, with an awesome 1.5 - 2 inch head, and carbonation that only God could see. Lacing was surprisingly minimal, given the high octane of the brew.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, and wood were present.... also, vanilla, and sweet caramel notes hit the nose substantially.

T: This was very dark beer in taste. The roasty, woody, chocolaty notes get buried by the bourbon (once again, a theme!), but that was a great thing here. A bit of subtle candy sweetness hit the palate, but this definitely was not overwhelming in any way.

M: Thick, chocolatey, and melted candy-like. The carbonation was about as bubbly as it could have been to balance out the extremeness of the brew itself. The ABV was undetectable due to the bourbon, but here is a thought: even though the "burn" was not there, aren't we just cancelling out one form of alcohol out for another (bourbon)?

D: I love it when a local brewery shines! I remember when Williamsburg Alewerks used to disappoint in beer after beer. Not anymore! They are the best brewery in Virginia.... hands down!

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Whole Foods in Fair Lakes, Virginia.

The beer appears a near black shade. The head is about an inch thick and leaves a thick sheet of lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly bourbon and alcohol, with roasted malt and chocolates following behind. The beer is a little hot, but not so much that it ever becomes a distraction. Subtle oak notes add a nice touch of complexity. This is a good beer and seems to fly under the radar. It's definitely worth a try.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly opaque with a black body except for the deep ruby hues at the foot of the glass. A foamy tan head generously appears from the body leaving a sticky lacing clinging to the glass.

Aromas of rich roasted malt and even chocolate waft from the glass. Additional aromas include caramel, vanilla, wood, and bourbon as it warms.

The flavor is similar and features generous roasted malt, vanilla, wood and bourbon, hints of chocolate and caramel. They really got the wood aging right with this beer.

The mouthfeel includes a rich, thick, yet smooth body with medium carbonation and a nice warming sensation.

This is a great porter. The abv is buried and the barrel aging is just right with the other characteristics of the beer. One of my favorite barrel aged beers.

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 2010 - 1817, from Grape and Gourmet. Poured into a tulip.

A: The porter is a fully black color; even at the narrower base, the color remains black. An off-white, egg-shell head of three fingers on pour left patches of lace all around the glass.

S: Sweet bourbon, chocolate and warmly toasted malts greet me on first sniff. The bourbon strives, and comes close, to completely dominating the ale. Luckily balance prevails and the roasted porter side gets a turn in the spotlight.

T: Lots of porter, the first sip is teeming with dark roasted flavors. Burnt toast and chocolate, coffee along for the ride, all set the acrid table. The bourbon, strongest midsip, packs all the right flavors. Vanilla is prominent, as is the woody oaken taste. The bourbon, though, is quick to disappear back into the body of the porter. The light bourbon and ample porter showcases the ale with just enough barrel to keep me happy.

M: The mouthfeel is porter-centric, lots of roasted malts and chocolate flavors. The bourbon, mid-sip, is a light break in the action.

D: The ale doesn't feel like 9%. It does, though, nicely combine the base beer and the barrel. I've really been impressed by Williamburg Alewerks' offering lately; they're knockin' 'em out of the park.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours from a 22oz bottle into a slender Harpoon pint glass. Emerges a sort of hazy, dark chocolate color with an impressive, creamy and milky tan colored head. Looks so creamy it could be a nitro pour.

Aroma is fantastic. A perfect amount of bourbon mixed with bitter bakers chocolate.

Nice flavor too. Bourbon, oaky, vanilla, chocolate, roasted grains, alcohol, licorice, figs, cardamom. This one runs the flavor gamet.

I wasnt sure what to expect from this one. I had high hopes and those hopes were most certainly met. A perfectly crafted bourbon barrel aged beer.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Opaque black with about 1 finger tan head that quickly diminishes to island foam in the glass. Great lacing and head retention.

S: Strong aroma of bourbon (duh!), dark chocolate malts, vanilla, and hints of roasted coffee.

T: BOURBON! Well that's a given. Rich flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, burnt caramel, and vanilla. Has almost a smoke flavor, but all in all very balance. Have to admit, this taste more like a stout then a porter to me, but a great tasting beer none the less.

M: A warming sensation from the high ABV, but a rich, creamy, and smooth texture makes this very drinkable. Full bodied with little carbonation.

D: Please sir may I have another.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slips out a clearish, dark brown body with ruby-hinted edges and a frothy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: A robust choco-vanilla union leads in the aroma with a smokey whiff of lightly charred malts, small traces of dark fruitiness, and all the usual bourbon barrel accents.

Taste: A dark chocolate flavor blanketed in good amounts of dark brown sugar and vanilla sugar. It's a sweet drink, but not overly so. Modest date-like fruitiness. Roasted malts provide for a hint of smokiness. Well-integrated bitterness. Bigger bourbon presence on the back half (and as the beer warms), lending more vanilla, brown sugar, oak wood, and even a touch of coconut cream. Finishes dry, warming, and still with an ever increasing bourbon quality until it all just ends.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body, with a mouthfeel that's both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An inviting, likable BA Imperial Porter, which is something I think we could all use more of.

Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its not a tasting unless there's a bourbon barrel aged beer in the mix. This is a "local" beer from Virginia. Lots of good beers in Virginia, they don't get enough attention in my opinion.

Beer is black with a brown tight head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Looks fine.

Beer is kind of sweet and bourbony in the nose. Smells good.

This beer is a medium body and a creamy mouthfeel. There is some minimal bitterness from the roasted malts. Drinkability is good, it is pretty easy going. Bourbon barrel character is nice and not overwhelming. Minimal oakiness, interesting overall.

Photo of newk340
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

split with hu5om (who received this as an extra in a trade) in guiness glasses.

A: inky black pour with hints of brown, with a thin ring of tan foam around the edges.

S: exceptionally smoky, a slight bourbon burn as a mild after-aroma.

T: front heavy smoke flavors, nearly overwhelming the faint bourbon aftertaste that is noticeable as it slides down the throat. also a mixture of caramel, toffee, and vanilla lost in the abundant smokiness.

MF/D: quick sizzle of carbonation that fizzles on the tongue for a smooth swallow. tastes eerily similar to a stout, but isnt that what an imperial porter should be? leaves a subtle tingling sensation as it warms.

Photo of nickd717
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber via trade thanks to billab914.

Pours darkest brown with a small quickly fading tan head and some decent lacing.

Aroma is good for a bourbon -bal aged porter, and that's saying something. Bourbon, oak, roast, chocolate, and coffee. Maybe some vanilla or earth.

Flavor is also awesome. Rich dark chocolate with roast and coffee as well as great barrel notes of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

Very nice slick mouthfeel with medium-full body and low carbonation.

A really solid -bal aged beer overall. Better than expected.

Photo of hu5om
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

thanks to BigTomZ for sharing this delicacy with me! split with newk340 in guiness glasses
a- jet black, thin khaki ring of foam
s-bourbon smokiness and darker malts. chocolate and caramel.
t-very smoky and fairly sweet. chocolate, caramel, toffee, and lingering vanilla smokiness. yum.
m-not that heavy on the palate, really. smoke lingers nicely, a bit viscous. slight, slight heat. what's the abv, because this is going down very easily?
d-i could drink numerous. a most excellent beer. too bad we can't get it in WI very easily. thanks again, Tom.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Nick. Mocha brown, nearly opaque but not quite there. It has a solid tan cap that settles to a collar. Pretty nice aroma, the barrel is well-integrated, lending some caramel sweetness to the roasty base porter. A bit tootsie roll-like as it warms, this smells good. Chocolate-caramel candy flavors are prominent, plenty of barrel, but it's at balance with the dark malts. Medium in body with a slightly fruity, roasty, sweet finish. This is great stuff.

Photo of levifunk
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - black as expected. light brown head.

s - bourbon and sweetness. very nice.

t - big bourbon flavor with porter deep underneath.

m - medium to heavy body. thick creamy feel.

overall - very smooth and tasty. not a huge porter fan, but this is very enjoyable.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 release, # 1730 (of how many? Don't know.)

Pours a golden-tan head, like a marshmallow toasted just right. Color is an extremely dark brown, edging into total blackness. Head doesn't stick around very long, which could mean higher alcohol. Leaves lots of lace splats and strings and splotches on the glass.

The aroma indeed offers a pretty big alcohol bite, although that could also be the very forward bourbon smell playing tricks. Although there's a little bit of roasted grain pushing through, this is basically a bourbon-dominant nose. As advertised, and good, but would be great to have the rest of the beer show itself. Maybe the flavor?

Oh yeah, no problem there. A big mass of gooey melted chocolate is what comes to mind first, while the whiskey and wood props it up and adds depth. It's like dunking a chocolate cake donut into a vat of chocolate fudge frosting then chasing it with a shot of fine bourbon...while sitting in a newly built log cabin (smell that wood!). What needs to happen in a beer like this is balance, and this totally achieves that. Dessert/sweet spice comes through subtly and carries into the finish. The alcohol is present but hardly overbearing. I'm guessing 8-9% range here.

Mouth is creamy and maybe even a little sticky, but never too thick. Does very well by the flavors, matching them nicely. Very smooth.

This is a big-flavored beer, and because the nature of the flavor includes pretty assertive sweet/chocolate, wood and bourbon/alcohol characteristics, it may be a little too bold to consider extremely drinkable, but I'm drinking it and liking it very much. On a hot summer day no less. One of this always-improving brewery's best so far...

Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one thanks to msulinski, and shared with the Central New England BA Meetup.

A: Light creamy darker head over a pitch black beer.

N: Chocolate my friend! Chocolate is the key word here. Chocolate malt, chalky chocolate milk, bakers chocolate, nibs, etc. Some roasted malts, a slight fluffy malt, chewy nougat malt and some bitter hops with that, and a slight booze. A slight hint of oak and bourbon, but barely.

T: Again chocolate on the taste, lots of bakers chocolate, choc milk, malt, chewys malts with some caramel and nougat again. Then comes a strange wood flavor, woody esthers and like chewing on an old wooden shelf. A slight oak and bourbon that some out a bit more as it warms. Some vanilla too, with creamy flavors too. It starts to get bitter too with some roasty earthy charred malt flavors, but a little spicy earthy hop presence too. Slightly sweet in the flavor as well.

M: Semi thick and creamy, with decent carbonation.

F: bitter earthy charred malts, with lingering creamy chocolate milk and bakers chocolate. Somewhat malty finish too, a little more roasted malt and the slightest hint of warming booze. Semi dry as well. Again just a slight hint of oak and bourbon that seems to come out a bit more as it warms.

Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 515 ratings.