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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

30 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 30
Hads: 172
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 7.56%
Wants: 32
Gots: 84 | FT: 14
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:
Beer added by: largadeer on 12-26-2012

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Hads: 172
Photo of DovaliHops
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (1,226 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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. (1,048 characters)

Photo of claaark13
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (1,141 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
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. (1,173 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (1,174 characters)

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Bourbon Barrel Aged 4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
88 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.