Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds - The Bruery

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling BirdsBourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

163 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 32
Gots: 87 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  14.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

4 Calling Birds was our 2011 winter ale - a spiced strong dark ale. We took inspiration from the traditional winter warmer for our fourth verse, integrating gingerbread spices into a robust dark ale. Notes of licorice & banana bread mingle with dark fruit, molasses and bitter chocolate for a perfect cold weather sipper!

This is the Bourbon Barrel Aged version of last years holiday seasonal! Spending a year in rich oak barrels, the beer has picked up incredibly deep and luxurious notes from the oak and bourbon, but has maintained it's original charm.

(Beer added by: largadeer on 12-26-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Gobzilla:
Photo of Gobzilla
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a dark brown in color with pale brown highlights and a thin bubbly head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass. lots of bourbon barrel character was noticeable upfront in the nose with plenty of booze to follow, bready malty sweetness, slight spice, molasses and gingerbread notes but with hints of vanilla. Like the nose suggested the bourbon barrel character was also as apparent on the palate alongside ginger bread flavor, slight spice, vanilla accents, a good amount of caramel blended with molasses, malty sweetness and plenty of booze heat as well. the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, bready, spice, bourbon boozy and silky finish. I thought it was really good but it looks like it could use a little time to mellow out.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of ehammond1
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

The Bruery
Placentia, CA

Dark brown with no light coming through. Small to moderate brown head. Leaves the glass oily and only spotted with stick. Pretty enough, though unremarkable, as with most barrel-aged offerings.

Far more barrel character than the base version, I'm happy to report. The Christmas spices, gingerbread and molasses, are definitely prevalent underneath the strong barreling, with a banana bread characteristic I was surprised to find.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, though the Christmas spices and the bourbon barrel don't mingle particularly well at colder temperatures. The Christmas spices initially bring a sharp, almost acidic nature to the beer, akin to an infection, but that isn't the case at all. Upon warming, the flavors integrate nicely and the vanilla and oak from the barrel play well against the gingerbread/cinnamon/dark brown bread character of the base beer.

Medium in body with low carbonation.

Very nice, but this one needs to warm to nearly room temperature to be fully appreciated.

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of JosephThompson
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Indytruks138
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of leschkie
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Crazydaddyo
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark brown. No head. Thin khaki collar.

Smell - Bourbon, brown sugar. Licorice. Quite boozy.

Taste - A little bit more Belgian character than the nose. Fruitier. Lots of licorice. Booze and bourbon. Slightly spicy.

Mouthfeel - Sweet and heavy. Boozy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Barrel is harsh, but as always, the Bruery makes some bourbony sugar goodness.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark cola color with a short but dense light brown head.

Smells like blackstrap molasses, figs, nutmeg, vanilla and toffee.

The bourbon dominates the palate. Charred oak, vanilla, toffee, boozy as hell (in a good way.) licorice, molasses, nutmeg.

Mouthfeel is heavy and supports the booze well. Carbonation is low.

It's a sipper. The bourbon dominates but I think is showcased fantastically while still letting the base pop. Well done.

Photo of IKR
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark-brown (picture root beer) with a modest sized beige head that dissipated quickly.

Smell: Bourbon notes dominate the nose, but i also get some dark fruits, brown sugar, and some spice notes.

Taste: Bourbon front with some dark fruit notes (think raisins and prunes), mild brown sugar, clove, and spice notes. There is a moderate alcohol presence which must have been fairly forward fresh. The beer finishes with some tannic oak notes.

Mouth-feel: Medium-bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall: Good beer. i can easily see why reviewers perceived it as hot fresh but right now the alcohol is in line with the listed ABV and the beer has a good taste profile. Exceeded my expectations based on some of the reviews I've read.

Photo of claaark13
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a little colder than I'd like into a HF tulip. Permitted to breathe a bit before consumption.

A - Pours a deep, murky brown with a very light head, mostly bubbles. Those fall off quickly and only bubbles around the glass and some occasional lacing.

S - Strong barrel presence, banana bread coming in strong in the background. Some pumpkin pie spices come through as well. A licorice note comes out as it breathes.

T - Caramel and bread, banana, light spices that are mostly covered by the barrel. The middle is very sweet, which I'm sure is what keeps the bite from the barrel coming into the finish. The barrel really adds a lot to the flavor, making this sorta like bourbon banana nut bread. Finishes with some sweet dark fruits and slightly dry oak.

M - Medium body, but the minimal carbonation gives it a much fuller feel.

O - I can't believe I actually like this. I found the base to be quite poor when fresh. Based on conversations with friends, this was also a boozy mess right after bottling. I'm sure I'll be completely over this one by the time I get to the end of the bottle, but the first pour has been really nice.

Photo of Kunstman
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of tourdot
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rutager
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thank you ObeMaltKinobee!

Appearance. Pours a dark cola brown with half a finger of light tan head that fades quickly.

Smell. Sweet caramel, nutmeg and licorice with some nice dark fruit, vanilla and fresh barrel wood.

Taste. Molasses and caramel, dark fruits, some woody bourbon and christmas spices.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. A decent big brew. Nothing unpleasant going on.

Photo of mdillon86
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of LotsofLupulin
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in to Bruery tulip.

A - Poured deep brown and settled black with a thin layer of light brown head that immediately disappeared.

S - Massive barrel notes dominate the nose - sweet bourbon and vanilla and toasted oak. Some spice and a light gingerbread aroma is noticeable.

T - Charred oak, sweet bourbon and a touch of vanilla are dominant as the barrel again really takes over the palate. Spice, hints of chocolate and a light gingerbread presence.

M - Medium to full body with very low carbonation.

Photo of kk73
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If regular 4 Calling Birds is 11%, this apparently gained 3.8% ABV from the barrel. Good lord.

Looks more or less like the non-barrel aged version: dark brown with a slight ruddiness and a fair bit of haze to the body. This version has less carbonation, but it's still decently bubbly.

The intricacies of the aroma at this point have been annihilated by the barrel, especially at cold temperatures. There's plenty of oak, caramel, and booze, but little in the way of spice or yeast. Tart plum-like dark fruit pops out as it hits warmer temperatures. While this isn't actually bad, it is comically barrel heavy.

There's a hilarious amount of booze on the palate. Harsh stuff, this desperately needs a few months of age to calm the higher alcohols. The base beer does peek through a bit more, mostly the strong banana note that was so prominent before barrel aging. The body is full, the mouthfeel sticky and rich. The finish brings even more astringent alcohol.

I can't say that I entirely dislike this, but I am a fan of big boozy bourbon barrel aged beers. That said, it's far from refined and definitely not ready to drink yet. I'll revisit this one in 6 to 12 months.

Photo of Big_Dave
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Gfunk720
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, out of my Founders Snifter. Thanks as always to my trustee Scott

A- Pours a nice brownish/black, very slightly transparent. Starts off with a nice healthy head that quickly dissipates. After settling, it looks pretty mundane.

S- A stinging boozy scent hits first. I can get some hints of cinnamon, vanilla, and bourbon coming through. A little sweetness, but not nearly as much as most bruery beers.

T- Very smooth initially, then sweep in the spices and malt. Again some cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as some chocolate. The aftertaste is primarily bourbon and vanilla, with touches of spice. Much less sweet than many of the other bruery BA offerings which is welcome.

M- Nice and carbonated and no cloying sweetness. Plenty of body without being overwhelming. My only complaint if I could make one would be that it is almost too fizzy.

O- Overall, this is one of the best BA beers from the Bruery that I've had in a while. I expected it to be overly sweet and difficult to put very much down. However it was dangerous how easy this was to drink. The spices are evident but blended well into the beer, as is the bourbon barrel aging. This will be really good once it has time to mellow a bit more.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
91 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.