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Bourbon Barrel Porter - AleWerks Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

358 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 358
Reviews: 135
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: 358 | Reviews: 135 | Show All Ratings:
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
Photo of brystmar


3.23/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dtmets84 for sharing!

Black body, plenty of tan head leaves beads of bubbles on my glass. Aroma is exceptionally sweet: smells like sticking your face into a vat of liquid caramel. Taste is equally sweet, akin to drinking a jar of caramel ice cream topping. Supremely imbalanced, though I actually like overly sweet stouts.

Glad to try this but it's not a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 00:51:06 | More by brystmar
Photo of birchstick


3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours chocolate brown without much of a head on it. Nose is chocolate malts with nice vanilla bourbon notes. The taste is sweet chocolates up front. These fade to a nice vanilla flavor and some dry bakers chocolate flavors. Mouth is creamy and full. Solid barrel aged porter on display here - packed full of rich flavor!

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 03:05:09 | More by birchstick
Photo of philbe311


4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition #4295

A - A finger's worth of slightly slanted lush thick khaki colored head... Modest at best retention gives way to a full rich lacing and a slight creamy collar... The color is an inky aubergine... Still with no discernible carbonation...

S - The warm booziness of the bourbon barrels is first to great the nose... Beneath the surface lies a refined sweetness... Milk chocolate... Caramel... Also some very faint notes of coffee and roasted malts... Very nice...

T - True to the nose... The bourbon barrel aging is ate the forefront, but never overpowering... The rest of the flavors compliment one another perfectly and create wonderful layers of complexity... Milk chocolate... Roasted malt... Coffee... Raisins... Marshmallow... Caramel... Each sip yields something familiar, but something new as well...

M - Medium to full bodied... As sleek and as smooth as they come... A bit chewy... Very light carbonation... A slight boozy dryness lingers on the finish...

D - Another outstanding offering from Williamsburg Alewerks... Any barrel aged offering of theirs that I have tried has been stellar and this is no exception... Highly recommended and I only wish I had easier access to their offerings...

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2012 01:40:50 | More by philbe311
Photo of joefuzz

New York

4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

pours a very deep brown with a tiny thick head. smells of vanilla oak and some slight chestnut, bourbon is present but not overpowering. taste is just as the nose lets on....well blended bourbon up front that gives way to an amazing porter underneath roasted malts dark chocolate and a slight smoke character 9%abv is nowhere to be found. mouthfeel is a little thin for the style I feel but not bad, carbonation is pretty on point. Overall very good beer wish i had more. I got this bottle around October of last year I have no idea why it took so long to drink it.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 02:25:46 | More by joefuzz


4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Format: Bomber
Glassware: Tulip
Batch #: 2011 - 0844
Sampled: 23JUN12

[A] Pours with a small, semi-dense half finger high head, medium-light brown in color. Below average retention leaves a bubbly collar behind. The body is nearly black, rather opaque, but very dark brown edges can be seen when the glass is tilted. Random patterns of lace.

[S] The nose is exceptional. Clean bourbon with lightly charred oak and vanilla in the background. Medium roast coffee scent plus notes of chocolate syrup, caramel and brown sugar. Well layered

[T] The flavor follows the nose closely but a little less intricate. The bourbon, coffee, and chocolate stand out and there is light astringency on the backend. Caramel is a bit more prevalent. Slight warmth after the swallow with lingering notes of bourbon.

[M] Starts creamy and thick, then the carbonation sets in a bit early and thins out the last 2/3rds of the mouthfeel. Fine, tingling, overly-present bubbles seem to detract from the flavor

[O] Very nice beer overall. Williamsburg AleWerks has shown a lot of potential recently and has been putting out more and more beer that is worth seeking out. I have no problem recommending this beer to beer aficionados...or Coffeehouse Stout or Bitter Valentine, plus others. Keep doing your thing WAW.

3.5, 4.5, 4, 3, 4

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 21:54:30 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of Spider889


3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and slightly thinner than average.

The aroma is built of strong bourbon notes. Clean and fresh, the bourbon presents sweet vanilla and melds with the porter to produce some toffee. The base beer is providing nice chocolate aromas as well.

Tastes sweet - brown sugar, molasses, bourbon, vanilla, and some coconut booze.

Nice strong carbonation with a medium body.

Overall this is a well done beer, but nothing exceptional, though the potential is certainly there.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 05:05:59 | More by Spider889
Photo of DCon


3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a 1 Pint 6 Fl oz. Bottle of this w/ friends @ the Royale in St. Louis, MO. Poured from the Lightest Tan Labeled bottle w/ a Barrel behind the lettering into a 12oz Shaker Glass. Has 2011-1900 on the front but no bottled date.

Aroma- has a huge bourbon aroma upfront with quite a ton of sweetness as well. Porter though?


Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 18:54:56 | More by DCon
Photo of n2185

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown with half a finger of khaki head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: roasted malts with sweet chocolate notes at first. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon follow, though they're a little muted.

T: loads of bourbon on the palate with oak, vanilla, and some caramel flavors. There are slight roasted malt characters as well with a decent alcohol burn.

M: medium-thick body with medium body, this beer has a pretty lively carbonation for the style. It's like a soda, almost.

O: a good beer overall. Very bourbony, though somehow not too boozy. Simple, but good.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 00:37:57 | More by n2185
Photo of areich6


4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this with my good friend and fellow Beer Advocate pschul4.

A: Pours pretty dark with very little light coppery head. The beer itself is pitch black which looks pretty inviting.

S: The smell of sweet bourbon wanders pleasantly into the nostrils, as one would expect from a bourbon barrel aged beer. Im excited to try this.

T: Strong delicous bourbon taste along with a bit more sweetiness than other bourbon barrel aged beers I have had. It tastes as though there is more alcohol than there actually is, which is a very small negative to me. Overall, very good.

M: Good mouthfeel for the style, not too light, not to heavy. Almost perfect.

O: This is a very good bourbon barrel aged beer. It has a bit of sweetiness to balance out the bite of the alcohol and feels so smooth going down the throat. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2012 04:35:29 | More by areich6
Photo of pschul4


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

Beer #3 in mine and areich6's Fat Tuesday tasting

Thanks to Axic10 for the extra!

A- Pours a dark cola brown with a miniscule tan head that dissipates quickly into a ring around the meniscus

S- Lots of smooth bourbon on the scent but not a whole lot else.

T- Oh boy... This is good. Lots of bourbon (more bourbon flavor than you'd expect for a 9% abv). This tastes like a porter version of Central Waters BBS which means it's in good company

M- Quite light on the palate could benefit from some thickness but no one said this was a stout

O- This is awesome! I am very greatful to Axic10 for allowing me to try more bourbon barrel aged beers as they are my favorite!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2012 04:31:54 | More by pschul4
Photo of Sean9689


3.2/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours a brownish/black, tan-colored head, thin ring.

S - Very sweet upfront, chocolate, caramel, oak, and light booze. A lot sweeter then I expected, but not too sweet for me. The booze is pretty smooth and enjoyable but not as roasty as I would like.

T - Not nearly as good as the nose. It's just cloying sweet but the booze is nice and smooth. Too sweet for me to really enjoy much of this in one session. Not much balance, no roast at all, which is a disappointment.

M - Light to medium, a bit too thin, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Not a huge fan of this porter, but not terribly bad either. I'm not a fan of the huge sweetness and the lack of roast is what really hurts this beer for me. I wouldn't try and obtain another bottle, and I'm not really sure if I'd even go for another pour, if offered.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 20:34:12 | More by Sean9689
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN


4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Slentz for this one.
Pours almost black with some brown edges and builds a small light tan head that fades quickly lacing the glass nicely. The nose is big with bourbon, chocolate, roasty malts and a hint of coffee. The taste has a pretty big wood flavor from the barrel, I love that. There's bourbon present with the chocolate and coffee as well as some roastiness and alcohol burn. It has a light to medium body with carbonation providing some sting and some burn. Very good beer, thanks David.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 21:47:37 | More by BdubleEdubleRUN
Photo of TheGordianKnot


4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this want, John. Poured from bottle 2315 into stemless chardonnay glass (and I didn't stab anyone for arguing about it)...

A- Pretty damn close to black in appearance with a half finger of pale tan head. Tight bubbles. Head dies quickly leaving not much behind.

S- Definitely get a nice bourbon aroma and wood. Has a background of smokiness and some trail baloney. Vanilla sweetness for balance.

T/M- Bourbon bomb! Porter really lets the barrel shine. Vanilla, coconut, bourbon, roast/coffee and finishes with some slight growing heat. Nice chocolate presence here as well. Love the complexity and that barrel really is the shining star of the show. Medium body, silky smooth and slick. Carbonation on the lower end of spectrum.

O- Balance definitely leans toward being bourbon forward. The base porter has a nice supporting role, but unlike other -bal beers, this one lets the treatment do the talking. Considering I have heard this is close to $6 on shelves, damn I'd take this any day! Wouldn't mind having one or two to age..

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 15:20:36 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, goblet.

Opaque, but appears cloudy. Great thick tan head that stays creamy looking and fades slowly.

Bourbon and oak in aroma are there but not overpowering. There is a nice dark fruit aspect that works well with the oak, complimenting while adding another dimension.

Taste is dominated by a warm booziness that is initially off-putting. A host of flavors accompany this though and are worth searching for. Some rich chocolatey notes, dark and fruity spice, vanilla, a mild woodiness. Lots going on here, a great beer to sip and turn inward to.

Smooth and creamy, with nice body and moderate carbonation. Easy o the mouth even as it challenges the palette.

An excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 20:14:22 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle received courtesy of BigTomZ. Bottle #124 from 2011 was taken out of the fridge a little bit before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter pours a solid black. About three and a half fingers of caramel foam rise up and sit atop the beer, displaying decent head retention, and lacing that's probably a step above "spotty". The nose is absolutely killer, waves of vanilla accented milk chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, bourbon, and oak crash across my nose, with the former two taking the lead in intensity. The flavor profile plays with those same notes, but displays them in a different (and less successful) balance. Specifically, woody oak and bourbon take the lead here and leave chocolate and caramel flavors relegated more to secondary players. The mouthfeel is the only area where the beer takes a bit of a hit. It's full bodied enough, but rather than having a creamy edge to it, there's a bit of astringency in the finish. I'd also argue that the carbonation could stand to be a touch higher. It's not perfect, but Williamsburg Alewerk's Bourbon Barrel Porter is a pretty good beer, and one I'd gladly have in my glass again.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 05:56:02 | More by axeman9182
Photo of CuriousMonk


4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage (#5206). This is a porter, to which rapadou (Carribean unrefined cane sugar from Haiti) was added (but not caramelized rapadou as in the Rapadou Porter) and aged for two months in Virginia Gentleman bourbon barrels. Pours black with thin receding tan head. Some bourbon, vanilla, coffee, oak, and marshmallows in the nose. Flavor has a rich malted base, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee bitterness yet some sweetness all around. There is that light bourbon heat throughout. Medium-heavy mouthfeel along with good carbonation. This was an excellent and complex porter from Virginia. I will definitely seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 18:07:11 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of Reagan1984


4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to forcedlaughter for providing this in trade. (as a sweet extra!)
Bottle marked 2011 -4994.. (not sure how many bottles there were but I love #’ed bottles)

Very thin light tan head forms and fades quickly. The beer is a straight brown color like shoe leather. Deep color with no light getting through… No lace to speak of.

Aroma is mild but nice. Caramel and bourbon.. not a strong sense of alcohol here.

Bourbon first and foremost. Nicely rounded and not hot. This melds into a moment of malty sweetness which has a slight note of molasses. Then you are hit mid palate with a good dose of chocolate and bourbon again. In the finish there is a mix of dark roasted malt and bourbon once again. I see this came out in the spring and I can only imagine that the heat has cooled off a bit. It’s still there in the finish, but clearly softened. As a bourbon fan, I love the aftertaste and there is a lot of oak there. Less vanilla than most bourbon aged beers.

Thanksfully the body matches the flavor profile here. Not bold, but smooth and velvety enough to smooth out the bourbon notes.

Very good little beer and quite a treat considering I’ve never even heard of it. I’ll have to see about getting another bottle next spring! Well Done.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 21:30:55 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of Rifugium


3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from writerLJberg's cellar, consumed at Beermongers, Portland, OR
Thanks for the share!

Poured a dark brown color, nearly opaque, with a small cap of tan head. Aroma of oaky bourbon, roasty malts, a bit of coffee, notes of vanilla and maybe a hint of diacetyl. Bourbon-soaked oak and sweet vanilla in the taste, roasty malts and cocoa, with a bit of coffee. Medium body, maybe just a little thin, with moderate carbonation. Pretty good overall.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 09:59:24 | More by Rifugium
Photo of ShanePB


3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a few months back, 22 ounce bottle shared with family. Poured into a tulip.

A: Dark brown on the pour, black as night in the glass. Some brown highlights where the tan head meets the body. Nice retention cap and really nice lacing on the glass. Impressive looking beer for a Porter.

S: Plenty of dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate, toffee, well roasted coffee beans and musky bourbon notes. The oak notes come out subsequently after you get past the dark, malty profile. The bourbon smells strange though, sort of like it's old, or stale (even though this isn't really possible).

T: Semi-sweet and dry bourbon that is seriously integrated with the oak flavors is up-front. Not necessarily overwhelming the entire flavor profile, but it makes itself known. Roasted chocolate malts, vanilla and touches of burnt caramel towards the back end. Finishing dry with a lingering bourbon element.

M: Fairly well carbonated but it's not overdone although a bit more than I'd like. Somewhat thin, either due to style or the barrels, finishing with some lingering heat in the chest.

Well, I really like this beer. I do remember enjoying it more when I had it on draft as the bourbon tasted more pronounced and "fresh." This isn't much different but I don't think I'll be letting the bottles sit in the cellar anymore.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 14:54:42 | More by ShanePB
Photo of justintcoons


4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours black with ruby around the edges. 1/2 finger of khaki head dissipates quickly leaving behind a thin layer of webbed lacing.

N: Huge chocolate notes that are a mix between Hersheys and a rich dark chocolate, brownie and subtle bourbon notes along with big sweet vanilla and maybe even some raisin.

T: Sweet chocolate, raisin, warming booze and fruity esters upfront. Mid-palate brings in dark chocolate, boozey bourbon, roasted barley and vanilla. Finishes with bitter bakers chocolate, dark roast coffee, earthy oak and a decent citrusy hop bite.

M: Medium-full bodied, creamy, smooth, warming, semi-chewy and dry.

O: A tad boozey but I love the warming effect. Loads of chocolate and vanilla throughout along with some raisin notes. Bourbon barrel aging is done just right. Stick one of these in your cellar and I can guarantee you a treat. Excellent!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 16:45:42 | More by justintcoons
Photo of kawilliams81

Yukon (Canada)

4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes from stout tasting.

A- dark brown, light tan head.

S- wow! Lots going on, mix of bourbon, vanilla and oak.

T- vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, coffee and bitter chocolate.

M- full body, lots of bourbon but not hot.

O- very good, reminds a bit like parabola actually. Great bourbon barrel characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 04:54:27 | More by kawilliams81
Photo of Duff27


4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a half inch tan head on a dark brown/black beer. Above average head retention and lacing. Nice alcohol legs.

S- rich chocolatey booze, barrel influenced.

Yum! Big time chocolate notes, bourbon. Would guess at a higher ABV than 9%

Chewy mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation.

Holy underrated beer! What a treat! Wonderfully intergrated -bal.
I don't know much else to say...seek out if you're a big beer fan.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 02:53:19 | More by Duff27
Photo of BeerImmediately


2.73/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 - 4646 bottle into Chimay goblet.

Pours w/short brown head over deep brown body with amber edges. Head fades quickly, and body leaves no lacing to speak of.

Aromas are heavy on the bourbon and oak/vanilla, but backed up by molasses and maple syrup sweetness. Inviting.

Thick on the palate. Flavors are ... whoa. They're thick with bourbon, real maple syrup falls to the background, and the alcholic heat just takes over the finish. Some burnt bark-like bitterness also accompanies the finish. Tastes like I'm eating a burnt bourbon barrel.

Rich and chewy mouthfeel - a little much, but not unexpected given the style, ABV, and barrel aging.

Overall, I can't recommend this unless you are simply in love with bourbon. It takes over the beer, and does not let go. Maybe a couple years of cellaring will smooth things out? Had to drain pour the last half of this $10 bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 03:01:45 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of corby112


3.15/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a half finger mocha head that immediately settles into a very thin ring. Minimal lacing.

Sweet, slightly roasted aroma with a nice bourbon barrel presence that's countered by the dark malt notes. Subtle toasted oak with lots of sweet bourbon and vanilla followed by some chocolate cake, toffee and coffee bean. Bourbon well integrated into the nose without overpowering the other characteristics.

Medium bodied with a blast of sweet, boozy bourbon that dominates the flavor lingering over the other barrel notes and roasted malt into a fiery hot finish. Bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon along with some dry wood and very faint vanilla. Could use some more to balance things out a bit. Underneath the bourbon there is subtle sweet and roasted dark malt. Hints of chocolate, coffee, toast and oatmeal but the bourbon really overwhelms and overtakes these notes. The oak compliments the roasted notes, lingering into a dry finish.

Overall this beer started off nice with a decent pour and an impressive aroma but it's very one dimensional with too much bourbon flavor and lingering heat for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 07:54:28 | More by corby112
Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 358 ratings.