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Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds - The Bruery

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

148 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.24%
Wants: 30
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: 148 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pecan
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Pecan, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of pmarlowe
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

pmarlowe, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

VaTechHopHead, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 02/16/13 notes. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a wine glass, split with my girlfriend.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and low to moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of spices, cinnamon, bourbon, bready malts, oak, dark fruits, nutmeg, caramel malts, and toffee. Nice nose and a pretty interesting mix. A lot of the spices and cinnamon from the original beer still come through, as does the bourbon. Not quite as bourbon forward as I was expecting, though it is there.

t - Tastes of cinnamon, bready malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, toffee, dark fruits, nutmeg, toasted malts, and coconut. More bourbon here than the nose, but the spices and underlying characteristics of the base beer still come through a lot. I like it quite a bit.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Body is pretty smooth, with some light heat. Pretty nice.

o - Overall I liked this one more than I expected to as well given some of the reviews. I was expecting the bourbon to dominate this one more than it did, and was surprised how much cinnamon, spice, and nutmeg came through still. I had a BA 2TD recently which was outstanding; while this isn't that, I have hopes it can eventually become that. If you like bourbon forward beers and the normal 4CB you should like this one, but if you only have 1-2 bottles I might hold off on this one. I look forward to opening one in 6 months, and then alongside a normal 4CB next winter/Christmas.

mdfb79, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of Holland
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Holland, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of pixieskid
4/5  rDev -2.4%

pixieskid, Feb 13, 2013
Photo of sdpaul
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

sdpaul, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of Treebs
3.54/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle served in a CCB snifter. Thanks to AgentZero for the share.

A: Pours a semi-clear brown color with little to no head forming on the pour. Light carbonation is visible, but not enough to sustain a solid head.

S: Bourbon up front. Sweet malts with a ton of backend spice. Nutmeg and cinnamon mostly with a hint of pepper. The bourbon dominates the nose though.

T: Pretty hot. Bourbon with a fusel alcohol quaff to it. Sweet malts with a dark fruit flavor, mainly figs. Light caramel notes from the barrel with a little tobacco as well. The spice isn't as prevalent in the nose, but it is there with some all spice mainly.

M: Medium light bodied, a little thin from the barrel aging. Low carbonation as well.

O: A little thin, but there wasn't really anything wrong besides the overt alcohol in the upfront taste. Not outstanding, but solid.

Treebs, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of Gobzilla
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Gobzilla, Feb 05, 2013
Photo of harrymel
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

harrymel, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of RedneckBeerz
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

RedneckBeerz, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of MarkIntihar
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

MarkIntihar, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There aren't many Bruery beers that I think are very good, but as I do like the base 4CB beer to some extent (rated 3.53), I was glad to get a chance to try this one as well. Dark brown pour, with a small ring of bubbles around the rim, and not much else in the way of a head, though the beer itself left some oily streaking on the glass. In the nose, molasses, smooth bourbon, cakey malts. More of this in the taste, molasses, smooth bourbon that has had a good amount of time to lose some heat, fruitcake, burnt caramel, I didn't pick up a lot of vanilla, but there was some, lending a bit of sweetness, Christmas spices took the back seat. Heavy-medium body, lower carbonation, alcohol was present for sure, but not too hot. A nice drinker overall, and I really think the barrel improved this one.

Rifugium, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of DovaliHops
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark, murky brown color with a hint of ruby red. Small, light-brown head...mostly bubbles though. I let this one breathe for quite some time. When I pulled it out of the fridge, it was extremely cold. Now it's just a bit cooler than room temp. Scent is boozy at first. I just got smacked in the face with bourbon and Christmas-y spices. Lots of oak and vanilla. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh pumpkin pie. Such an inviting aroma. The taste is shockingly sweet at first. Very boozy too. I would be lying if I said the alcohol warmth on this one is tame. Dark fruits, and Belgian-dark ale characteristics come through in the flavor, as they were not present in the nose. Lovely oak and barrel flavor. The nutmeg comes through very heavily in the flavor. Finishes quite boozy. Drinkability is fair to fairly high. Best in small doses. The drinkability will improve with age, as the booziness mellows out. This beer has so much going for it, just a bit hot right now. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and very lightly carbonated...which suits this beer well. Overall, I was worried I wouldn't enjoy this...thought it may be too sweet. Although it is very sweet, the barrel flavors and Christmas spices go together oh-so-well.

DovaliHops, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

ehammond1, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of leschkie
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

leschkie, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of flexabull
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

flexabull, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of claaark13
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

claaark13, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of GregSVT
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a dark brown with a nice size off-brown head that fades to almost nothing with no real lacing. You can actually see some light through the beer as you sip so it's not super thick or anything.

S: The nose immediately hits you with big vanilla, molasses, and bourbon notes from the barrel. As it warms and settles down you can pick out the gingerbread and chocolate notes from the base beer. The barrel is crazy forward but the base beer is still there...I will admit to liking barrel forward beers though.

T: The taste actually has more barrel than the nose. Huge flavors of vanilla, bourbon, and molasses hit the tongue immediately followed by some gingerbread and chocolate on the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is on the thinner side of medium with an almost dry finish.

O: The barrels they used for this must have been super fresh. It is extremely barrel forward but I love it. I had BA 2 Turtle Doves recently and thought it was amazing after 2 years of age. I think this one will be just as good after 2 years as well. It's a boozy beer...it was in the barrel for over a year and gained almost 4% from the barrel aging...just sayin.

GregSVT, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of waltonc
4/5  rDev -2.4%

waltonc, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Gonzoillini, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Callmecoon, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

largadeer, Dec 26, 2012
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Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
91 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.