Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter - Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's PorterAtwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter

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BA SCORE
77
okay

153 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 153
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.35
pDev: 17.31%
Wants: 4
Gots: 23 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DrDoitchbig on 09-28-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 38
Reviews by jzeilinger:
More User Reviews:
Photo of mchegash
3.37/5  rDev +0.6%

Appearance - 3.75/5
A dark, almost black color, lets no light through, except you can see some shades of dark red near the sides of the glass. A tiny bit of head.

Smell - 3.5/5
An unexpected spicy breadiness, as in a saison. Some whisky/boubon smell, along with a fairly strong alcohol smell. Not really what I was looking for or expecting here. The smell isn't terrible, I just don't want my porter to smell like a saison.

Taste - 2.75/5
A darker roasty malt taste along with strong levels of smoke and alcohol flavor. Perhaps some molasses or licorice as well. Can't really taste any of the spicy-breadiness here, which is good, because I don't want that taste in my porter, but bad because I would rather this beer taste like the smell then how it actually tastes, since it doesn't taste that good.

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
Medium bodied, medium level of carbonation, fairly smooth. The beer has a decent feel and consistency.

Overall - 3/5
This would be an okay beer if it tasted totally different. Anyway, I was not very happy with the taste of this beer. Atwater always let's me down, but I keep trying their stuff for some reason.

Weighting: Appearance 15%, Smell 15%, Taste 35%, Mouthfeel 15%, Overall 20%

Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown. Moderate amount of bubbles and a big three finger tan head that settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A roasty and sweet dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. Dark roasted barley malt with hints of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, biscuit, dough, caramel, nuts, and yeast. The barrel is kind of subtle but there are some hints of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Also some hints of brown sugar and subtle hops. A pretty decent aroma.

Taste: Like the nose indicates, a roasty and sweet dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate and bourbon. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, coffee, caramel, and yeast. Some barrel notes come through with some bourbon whiskey, vanilla, and oak. Subtle notes of dark fruit and hops. Also some brown sugar sweetness. A solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, silky, and smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a Porter. Nice roasty malt flavor. The barrel presence is subtle but I wouldn’t expect a small beer like this to be boozy.

Photo of mdaschaf
2.73/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Tony412 for this one!

A: Pours a dark brown with a thin mocha colored head on top. Very little retention, settling to a thin cap. Thin lacing forms around the sides.

S: Some roasted malt, a little caramel, and if I make myself believe, there is a hint of bourbon and vanilla, but very faint.

T: Rather boring..tastes like a very generic porter. No bourbon influence at all. Some roasted malt and a little bit of chocolate.

M: Light to medium bodied for style. Medium carbonation.

O: Not very good. Would never have guessed this had a bourbon influence. Even compared to regular porters this beer is boring.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Champane's Cellars. Underrated Baltic porter. Some decent taste. Black coloured body and some retained head. Roast aroma. A little much roast but liked the bourbon and chocolate, nothing overpowering. A bit thin for the description, but good drinkability.

Photo of SFNC
2.38/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Most likely my last beer from Atwater. I dont know why, or if it's just me, but all their beers taste like chemicals. This looks good in the glass, dark blackish brown with slight ruby highlights. A minimal head that leads to moderate lacing. Smell is light, not bad, some roasted barley, a whiff of wood and a slight chocolate scent. Then you taste it. Ugh. Cola like on the fromt end, followed by the oak, followed by Lysol. The aftertast is harsh, bitter and not of the natural world. The mouthfeel is thin for a Baltic Porter, low carbonation. I feel my liver retract with each sip. Sorry, this one sucks.

Photo of n2185
3.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that fades into a thin ring with barely any lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet cocoa up front followed by vanilla and a touch of licorice. There are also hints of oak and bourbon, but they're faint.

T: Roasted malts with semi-sweet cocoa and coffee at first. Licorice and vanilla come through here as well along with just hints of the oak and bourbon.

M: Medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer could use a creamier body or more carbonation to avoid feeling watery.

O: An alright beer overall, though not great. The licorice notes are a bit weird and the bourbon is almost undetectable. Still, it's far from undrinkable.

Photo of Kain05
2.67/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip at fridge temp and drank over an hour to experience the full range of flavors.

Love the look. Nice and dark

Smell is medicinal, burnt coffee. Doesn't change over time.

Taste changes over time, but for the worse I am afraid. Initially, after the first taste of burnt marshmallow, it gave way to some nice butter toffee flavor. I was hopeful that this toffee flavor would become more prevalent as the beer warmed, but was disappointed. No real bourbon/vanilla taste. Bitterness increases as the beer warms and I'm reminded why I bring water from home when I am in Detroit.

This is a miss. There are just too many barrel aged (non-whale) beers of significantly better quality to come back to this one. Not to mention the plethora of amazing beers available from Michigan.

Photo of DrDoitchbig
2.1/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Atwater Block we meet again. $1.59 for a single of a bourbon barrel aged beer? It's worth a shot.

Appearance: We're off to a good start. An aggressive pour yielded an impressive 1 1/2 fingers of creamy mocha colored head. The beer itself was jet black with minimal garnet hued edges when held to the light.

Smell: And the downward spiral begins. The aroma is nearly non-existent. There is a faint whiff of dark chocolate coupled with some roasted malts and perhaps a bit of booze hiding in there but nothing that specifically points to bourbon.

Taste: Sweeter than the smell would suggest but the taste still consists of mostly dark chocolate and roasted malts. If this stuff was barrel aged it was only done for an extremely short period of time. I do pick up some vanilla towards the finish which could be a byproduct of aging but that's about it. It's not horrible but it does misrepresent itself.

Mouthfeel: I wouldn't call it watery but it is too thin for the style. Carbonation is at an acceptable level but that hardly saves the experience.

Overall: Does Atwater have no quality control? Did anyone taste this beer before it made it to the bottling line? Calling this bourbon barrel aged is a joke. I didn't expect much at the cheap price point but I still managed to be underwhelmed.

Photo of ThickNStout
2.39/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

12oz bottle from waston (thanks!). Bottled 11/2013. Served in a goblet.

Pours dark, near-black brown with an out of control four finger biege head. The bubbles slowly reced to a respectable layer of froth that leaves some decent sheets of lace.

Smells of sweet cocoa extract, cherry skins and a vague vanilla. Ok.

Strange flavors for a bourbon barreled porter. Semi sour cherry, bitter woodsy char, cocoa powder and cheap bourbon. Having never tried the base beer I'm not sure which is worse- the beer or the barrel taint. This is just a weird mess.

Fairly thin body with a little too much carbonation. Acrid imitation vanilla, cocoa and old dark fruit linger in the rather unpleasant finish.

Just strange all the way around. Not sure why they decided to barrel age such a thin, weak brew and why they chose whatever seemingly suboptimal barrels that this atrocity had apparently been wallowing in. I'm going to need to agree to disagree with the folks of Atwater. This is the fourth or fifth dark beer I've had from them and I just don't care for their take on things. For my tastes I say pass on this and perhaps on the brewery in general.

Photo of StoutHunter
2.28/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

I picked up a bottle of Atwater's Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter last week for $4.29 at The Lager Mill. I reviewed this beer a few years ago when it had a different label that didn't really say anything about it being barrel aged, at the time I gave it a 1.86, so lets see what I think of it now. 2014 Vintage Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, but i don't see how it goes with the name and I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a dark brown color that was a little close to being black and it didn't let any light come through with a finger and half of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some patchy lacing behind. This a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with a light roasted malt aroma being the first to show along with a little bit of chocolate and some coffee showing up in the background. Up next comes a watery aroma with a slight fruity aroma that goes right into the barrel which is really light and only imparts a light oaky aroma. This beer didn't have a great aroma, it was very light for the style and the barrels hardly showed up,

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and just as light, it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they only impart a light roasted malt and chocolate flavor with no coffee showing up this time. Up next comes a light fruity yeast aroma that leads right into the barrel s which show up more than they did in the aroma and they impart some somewhat lighter oak, bourbon and vanilla like flavors. On the finish there's a slightly higher amount of light bitterness with a light roasted malt and fairly like bourbon barrel like aftertaste. This wasn't a great tasting beer, the barrel showed up a little more than they did in the aroma, but the porter base was just as light and bland.

M- Smooth, fairly clean, crisp, a little prickly, sticky, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel wasn't bad, but i wish it was less carbonated and a little less sticky.


Overall I wasn't a fan of this beer and I didn't think it was a good example of a Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter, the barrel was pretty light, but that wasn't the deal breaker, the deal breaker was how light and bland the porter base was, the barrel didn't have a nice base to be showcased. This beer didn't have the best drinkability, it was smooth, fairly clean, crisp, a little prickly, sticky, not too filing and the taste didn't do a good job at holding my attention, I got bored half way through this beer so one would be my limit. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance, it was a pretty nice looking beer and it was the highlight of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was the how light the porter base was, it really didn't bring much to the table and the barrels only showed up a little more than the malt base. I wouldn't buy this beer again, I should have just stuck with my original review, I don't thinks this beer changed much. I wouldn't recommend it since it's just not a good example of the style. All in all I still don't like this beer, for some reason I thought Atwater might have done a better job with this beer since last time I tried it, but that didn't happen and it's just as bad as I remember. It's one of my least favorite Atwater beers and it's my least favorite of the style. Better luck next time guys, I think you need to go back to the drawing board.

Photo of mntlover
3.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black some red brown showing around the edges. Finger and a half dark tan head that falls ring fairly quickly with some sparse lace.

Aroma is light bourbon barrel, burnt malts or maybe more toasted and a good ripe dark fruit aroma.

Taste is bourbon upfront then toasted malts little bit of the burnt notes along with earthy hints and a good smoke notes. Finish seems little watery but for a regular porter that seems fine.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation seems peppy but does not come off fizzy. Fairly smooth just light on back end.

Overall not bad brew bourbon is on the light side but it is a regular porter so that seems fine also. A decent enough brew not one to seek out but worth a try for sure.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is pretty much everywhere and even though these guys suck I still try their new offerings in hopes its better than the last.

A - Fairly good carbonation well over an inch of deep mocha hue head. The beer itself is very dark almost pitch except for a bit of ruby hue in the base.
S - Slightly sour (oh no infected?) dark fruits, mild bit of chard oak, and just the slightest hint of bourbon but a lot of sour cherry.
T - Well it taste better than it smells very mellow oak mostly caramel and porter like roasts. It surprisingly not to dry with yeasts which is nice yet the barrel character is faint if anything just giving me wood flavor and sweet caramel. Not bad at all actually.
M - Medium bodied kind of thin for a "Bourbon aged" beer but not too bad to have a couple.

Overall the flavors are lacking and the smell is not super desirable but the overall beer is decent enough to finish. Wish it had more barrel character maybe they should make an imperial version of this?

Photo of GrinkoN
3.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

L- Dark burgundy, lasting head
S- overroasted coffee, malts,
T/F- felt like a porter but no bourbon, medium body
O- No bourbon for a barrel aged

Photo of AngusOg
2.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Bad, avoid.

Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with over a finger of beige head. Some of the head retained and nice lacing was left behind. The nose has notes of roasted malt. Roasted malt is present throughout the flavor profile. The finish is bitter with a slight lingering bourbon note.

This offering is an odd candidate for barrel-aging because it is a bit thin (even for a straight-up porter) and low on the ABV scale.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.27/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Bourbon: drink of the shamans. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember hearing that sometime during sophomore year... Anyway, this stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises bourbon, mild cocoa, light roasted malts, and a hint of what may or may not be oak. That bourbon is definitely the star of the show. The taste reinforces this notion, though now the bourbon comes across as, well, cheaper (for lack of a better word at the moment). Some cola is tossed in there as well. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, an overly-thin, cheap-whiskey-centric porter. It's not terrible, but it's not all that great.

Photo of justintcoons
3.15/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pub-style pint glass.

Appearance
Near-black with 1 finger of khaki colored head.

Nose
Dark chocolate, cinnamon, mint, and roasted barley.

Taste
Strange...tastes like mint leaf, cinnamon, and perhaps cedar wood. Some notes of oaky saw dust. Roasted barley, root beer, and cocoa nib.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, crisp, and off-dry with a medium bitterness.

Overall
Not the best barrel presence on this. Strange flavors of cedar, cinnamon, and mint.

Photo of dfillius
4.38/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint
A: Moderate pour yields 1 finger of TIGHT tan head with superb retention. Near opaque dark brown with the slightest red hue on the edges.
S: Slightly sweet caramel bourbon aroma. Dark chocolate and pumpkin when you scoop it out for a Jack-o-Lantern. Subdued, could be a bit bolder. Bananas Foster.
T: Nicely balanced and not boozy. Roasty cocoa and essence of bourbon. Slight tobacco, tangy caramel, slight tannin. Bourbon becomes a bit more dominant later. Bananas Foster.
M: Smooth, silky, chewy. Slightly warm - in a great way.
O: High drinkability for a BBA beer. Lovin' it! I'd definitely order another. I might buy 6!

Photo of wac9
3.88/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what a wonderful beer it dark creamey taste some vanilla great aftertaste thats the burbon barrell i love it enjoy

Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 10/2014. Pours clear nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, oak, bourbon, toast, dark bread, licorice, smoke, light vanilla, herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, dark bread, oak, bourbon, licorice, smoke, light vanilla, herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, dark bread, oak, bourbon, licorice, smoke, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good robustness and solid complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and slightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very solid barrel aged Baltic porter style. All around good robustness and solid complexity of dark/roasted malts, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Photo of matt_duthie
3.5/5  rDev +4.5%

Bottled Sept. '14, so we know it's fresh. Still, for the decent near-black appearance and charred, roast, chocolate, cherry, and bourbon aroma, there are still some off flavors in the finish. Like most things Atwater, it's a bit thin and disappointing in general. I keep trying to find one I'm really into but keep striking out. Closer here, but it needs some better barrels and probably a heartier base beer to start with. Not bad for a sub-7% BA beer, but not quite what I was hoping for.

Photo of divzqt
2.31/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is honestly just awful. It smells like some artificial bourbon flavor was added. The taste is even worse. I'm not even sure how to describe it. It finishes like you just put a penny in your mouth. Very strong bitter chemical flavor. I feel like Atwater puts flavoring extract into bad beer and throws it on the shelf. Pass on this one.

Photo of montesown
2.02/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not sure what they do with their beer - but this was terrible. No taste of the bourbon at all, in fact I am not really sure what I was tasting. Kind of like a bunch of chemicals added together.

Photo of BBP
4.12/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark yet clear black. Head is present very quickly but it doesn't fly up or maintain itself well. Lacing is nice.

The aroma is really solid. There's a definitive bourbon without the heat. The next smell up is roastiness which is embedded into the bourbon. Dark malt is there, but it's pretty minimal. There might just be a sliver of caramel malt that works underneath the bourbon as well.

The taste was a bit lighter than the aroma suggests. I sort of expected a stronger taste, but this brings the bourbon out without any heat and it has a pretty solid balance. The drinkability is tremendous for that reason too. The malt bill and the bourbon don't really meld all that well, but it doesn't clash. First the bourbon comes in and really makes an incredible taste, but then it fades away to leaving the malt looking a bit unimpressive. Overall, this has tremendous potential, but I felt that the malt wasn't sufficient to hold it's own after the bourbon faded.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and medium to high heaviness. The finish is moderately dry and considerably sticky.

Overall, this was a solid beer, but I wish they put just a little bit more into the malt and hop bill. I'm very curious to try all their other offerings now though. This was very tastefully done.

Photo of DannyDan
4.28/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

POurs out a black hue with a 1 and a half inch tan head that maintains good retention and some nice lacing. The nose is a pleasant aroma of burnt roasted coffee and dark chocolate. The taste is a nice balance of some sweet malts, chocolate, coffee and a hint of hops. Some bourbon comes in at the finish. This is a very nice smooth creamy medium bodied beer that is a pleasure to drink. This is by far Atwater's best beer. This is one of those beers I would have expected from Dark Horse or Founders, not Atwater. A very nice surprise from an unexpected source.

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Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.