Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale - Fremont Brewing Company

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Bourbon Abominable Winter AleBourbon Abominable Winter Ale

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128 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 128
Hads: 775
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 2.97%
Wants: 431
Gots: 224 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: olympuszymurgus on 01-15-2010

Lovingly referred to by Fremonters as the B-BOMB, this bourbon barrel-aged edition of our winter ale has a warming spicy aroma and rich carmelly notes of bourbon, wood and vanilla added to dark roasty chocolatey malt flavors and subtle hopping.

Down & Dirty: 2-Row, Crystal-120, Munich, Roast Barley, Carafa-2 & Chocolate malts with Columbus, Willamette & US Goldings hops.

Aged in 15 year-old American oak whiskey barrels. Blend of 24 and 12 month-old bourbon aged Abominable Ale.
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Reviews: 128 | Hads: 775
Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy B Bomb, Batman!

I don't know when I was last this incredibly surprised by an ale.

Deep ruby brown pour with black highlights.

Head is two fingers of tan, dense foam that subsides to form a lasting ring. Lacing is minimal, but decent.

The nose (and flavor) are bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon with underpinnings of dark chocolate, toffee, caramel brown and red fruits almost too numerous to list (date, fig, kumquat, plum, breadfruit, starfruit, mandarin orange/tangerine, pineapple, just to name a few). There is also plenty of old leather, tobacco, coconut, pecan praline, honey, sherry, brandy, a hint of smoke, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander, and even a touch of something like lavender.

This beer reminds me of a cross between Firestone Walker Fourteen and Hair of the Dog Adam, except it's richer, and more intense in flavor than either of those, despite being lower in alcohol. This beer may not be as subtle as some, but it's one of the most complex, dynamic brews of any style that I've tasted.

This is definitely the ultimate sipping beer, and would pair marvelously with the stoutest cigar.

Major Kudos to Fremont Brewing for creating that rarest of beers worthy of being called an instant classic. (1,227 characters)

Photo of DaveRinn
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is the middle of summer and yet i'm drinking this awesome ale. Very strong at 11%, yet balanced and delicious. Very little head, and an intricate flavor pattern that changes as it watms and yet maintains the bourbon undertones. I love this beer and still have four left! (273 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to screamforme for sending this bottle of awesomeness my way sometime last year... I went camping last weekend and I saw this lurking in the back of my beer fridge and something told me it was time... that something was right...

This beer was amazing on all levels... I havent given a beer 5's across the board in a long time but this one deserved it... Oaky bourbon mixed with warm vanilla beans and smooth dark chocolate... hints of booze here and there... nice warm feeling in the belly after each sip... the bourbon isn't overdone here... its a key player but not a dominant force... the warm chocolate aspects really shine through and the nuances of the barrel make this a true delight to sip and enjoy... this beer made the campfire seem warmer, the friends seemed friendlier and I was happy as could be the entire time I was enjoying this. What more can one ask for in a beer? (891 characters)

Photo of brandonwnw
4.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sets the standard for BA strong ales. Delicious with a very strong bourbon flavor profile. If I could afford to drink this more often, I'd be an alcoholic. - Cheers (164 characters)

Photo of MysterySwirl
4.97/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle as an extra. Haven't really read anything about Fremont Brewery in Seattle. It looks like a thick dark brown chocolate milkshake with very little head, even with a fairly aggressive pour.

The aroma is just fantastic. Sweet, oak, bourbon... Hints of vanilla.

Sweet, bourbon, dark, caramel, toffee, vanilla, alcohol is well placed, complex but everything is in great balance. There must be various barrels aged at different times to achieve this complexity.

Smooth, easy to drink. Light carbonation works well. It seems to coat your entire mouth almost like a thin syrup.

Just delicious, I can't get over the bourbony vanilla smell... it was fantastic. This beer should get Fremont noticed. (709 characters)

Photo of Svejk
4.95/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. Served in a snifter and a fairly aggressive pour reveals a quarter inch off-white head. The smell is big vanilla, bourbon and malty sweetness, and the taste reveals much of the same. The mouthfeel isn't quite as creamy as I would have expected, but overall this is a fantastic beer. (296 characters)

Photo of OldGriz
4.93/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BBomb is the Bomb! Totally changed my mind about winter ales. I had it fresh from the tap, but I'm going to wait to open my bottle to see how it's changed. Cheers! (163 characters)

Photo of TheEarl
4.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had a bottle of the 2011 vintage (possibly March batch…), poured into a Crate and Barrel tulip glass, on the afternoon of 5/26/12.

Appearance: The B-Bomb pours a very dark brown with amber around the edges of the glass and a dark tan bubbly head. As the head dies down, the beer is left with an almost oil-slick-like sheen of tiny bubbles and foam atop the beer.

Smell: The aroma is a fantastic blend of vanilla, caramel, dark fruit (plum, cherry, berries), and bourbon. In contrast to a lot of bourbon barrel aged ales, I don’t get any of the alcohol vapor smell. The bourbon barrel characteristics and the characteristics of the beer seem to have really converged.

Taste: The taste is less vanilla than the aroma. At first, I taste brown sugar sweetness, then the dark fruit notes, and, finally, a spicy, woody, bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel: The B-Bomb’s mouthfeel is as heavy and viscose as many imperial stouts but it seems like a good fit for the beer.

Overall: World-class. (994 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Purchased two bottles of the 2011 vintage at a local Whole Foods store (I live in Seattle) @ $16.99 each. One bottle to age, the other bottle opened immediately to enjoy.

A: I am currently sitting in a relatively dark room... maybe this is the reason why it just looks black too me. Maybe I see a bit of reddish tone in the black... but it looks black. Very little tan head. Nice lacing.

S: All bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Smells amazing. I am expecting a HUGE beer with lots of complexity from smelling it

T: Tastes like exactly like it smells. Man, this is a great tasting beer. It doesn't really taste like "American Strong Ale" as this website describes it. Maybe it's not syrupy as an English barley wine, but... if I had to guess without knowing what this was, I would say this was an English-style barley wine.

M: A bit too much carbonation? It's decent, but maybe it should be a bit more smooth. There is a slight alcohol burn - tolerable.

O: This is an excellent beer, IMO. Best local beer I tasted to date. Hope this beer gets produced more and distributed wider. Maybe a bit pricey though (although worth the try - yes you should seek this one out). (1,168 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A - Black with a thin layer of medium brown head. Carbonation appears low.

S - Big barrel aromas dominate the nose, especially up front. Bourbon, vanilla and charred oak are all present. Some chocolate fudge and roast in the background accompany a big overall sweetness with some slightly noticeable alcohol.

T - Massive bourbon and oak flavours up front with some vanilla and char as the barrel aging really shines in this beer. Chocolate fudge and roast some through form the base beer along with a good hop bitterness. Warming alcohol is present throughout which nicely cuts through the sweetness.

M - Full bodies. thick and sludgy. Light carbonation.

O - This is close to being a flawless example of the style. Close, but not quite there. (783 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.79/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Ommegang flute. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black with red highlights at the edges. Thin fine light brown head dissipates into a ring, light lacing. Aroma is bourbon with slight hints of vanilla, wood and dark malt. Flavor is amazing, dark and caramel malt and dark fruit and strong bourbon. Oak and malt in the finish, with a hint of hops. Nice heavy, viscous body. The bourbon is so distinct this tastes like a boilermaker made with a stout and bourbon. Really tastes good. I'm very impressed. (517 characters)

Photo of xabyss
4.79/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22 oz. bottle poured into Chimay chalice. Very excited to try this one.

A: Pours pitch black with barely a hint of dark tan head that's there and gone before I can write this sentence. No light at all getting through this guy.

S: I think I am developing an addiction to the smell of bourbon barrels. The aroma of this concoction is heavenly: strong vanilla and oak, spices, cocoa, caramel malt and bourbon. I agree with previous reviewers who say this smells highly stout-like. I could just sniff this forever.

T: Follows the nose. Highly complex and well balanced with hardly a trace of the monster ABV. Getting more spices than the nose along with a heaping brown sugar, especially present in the finish. Pretty sweet vanilla throughout the sip, balanced by some bourbon heat and a trace of hop bitterness. Really one of the better barrel-aged brews I've had.

M: Dangerously smooth. Medium-full bodied with subtle carbonation. Goes down too easy.

O: An outstanding barrel-aged beer. I recently acquired two bottles, and was planning on cellaring the second. We'll see how long I can hold out. (1,100 characters)

Photo of VashonGuy
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

2012 bottle, poured into a tulip.

I've been sitting on this bottle for more than a year, and oh my, is it worth the wait.

It pours very dark, with a very slight reddish tone. Almost no head and no lacing to speak of.

Aroma is bourbon and vanilla. Taste is more complex than that, with a bite to the beer. I don't find it sweet. It's like a mild barleywine. The alcohol is noticeable, but not the main reason for sipping ... the flavor has such power that you want to take it quite slowly, to savor all the goodness. And then of course there is the bourbon flavor, which always is a terrific complement to a beer, in my opinion.

One of my favorite barrel-aged beers, and a great example of Fremont's exceptional brewing skill. (740 characters)

Photo of bgramer
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I stopped to get the 2011 B-bomb at Fremont and had a glass from their tap.

This year's 2011 version is maltier than the 2010. It improves on an already great beer.

There's lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla and smooth chocolate, and did I say bourbon? There's a smoothness to this beer that's not usually seen in other bourbon beers with caramel-like and easy drinking. I'm glad I got my 2 bottles. It is going to be interesting to see how it develops.

Fremont has a hit on their hands. This beer should be sought out. (518 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a finger of dark brown foam receding into a ring. Decent lacing.

Lots of barrel in the nose. Fudge, vanilla, bourbon, oak and some roasty malts.

Big bourbon flavors as well. A ton of bourbon, oak and vanilla combined with the spices make a dark chocolate fudge like flavor. A little subtle hopping and spiciness from the base complements the barrel. A little bit of warming booze on the backend cuts the sweetness.

Full bodied sticky chewy mouthfeel. Wonderful.

Fantastic beer. Thick and sludgy with a wonderful heavy barrel experience. This one is dripping in bourbon, oak and vanilla. Different style, but still leaps and bounds ahead of KDS as far as Fremont BA beers. I downed a whole bottle of this myself and it was good to the last drop. (765 characters)

Photo of LouZ
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 22oz bottle; pours black with at least a finger of tan head that dissipates within a few minutes. Wonderful aroma of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and a fig or date smell that is reminiscent of a barleywine. Taste is delicious; you get a nice amount of bourbon but not overpowering. Other tastes of vanilla, caramel, subtle chocolate, and again that fruity/fig-like essence. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and smooth, nicely carbonated. Overall, this is a special treat that does not seem as big as it feels after imbibing 11oz of this toasty goodness. (557 characters)

Photo of suspect
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a Dogfish Head snifter glass. Split with mrmarmot. Review from notes taken on July 20.

A: Deep dark crystal clear brown color. Not much light escapes. Thick two-finger mocha colored foamy head that fades slowly. Lacing is thick and consistent as the glass empties.

S: Strong whiskey notes, plenty of oak. Vanilla and chocolate intertwine with each other in the nose as well.

T: Follows the nose pretty closely. Excellent cocoa and fig flavors. Oak and whiskey and hop bitterness round out the flavors. This is a wonderfully complex fruity, sweet, malty beer and the bite of the whiskey and oak really make this one of the best I've had.

M: Big body, thick mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect.

O: This is a most excellent beer. One of the best BA beers I've had. Would definitely seek this out on a regular basis. (840 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The aroma has sweet bourbon, toffee, cherry, sticky caramel.

The flavor follows with the bourbon up front with a thick woodiness throughout. Dark fruit and a touch of roasted malt offer the beer more complexities. The finish offers subtle hops.

A wonderfully complex beer with a balance of bourbon, caramel sweetness, hops, and a touch of stout qualities. (357 characters)

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pitch black with a whispy tan head that lingers for a touch, then turning into a swirling bubble bath of heaven

S: Burnt oak char, lovely! Strong bourbon with some dark chocolate and coconut

T: Strong bourbon burn, coconut, chocolate and lingering oak

M: very smooth for the alcohol present, very nice

O: If I could taste a rainbow touching down on the back of a unicorn being ridden by a beautiful scandinavian woman, this is what it would taste like. Truly amazing!

More please! (489 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served alongside Cinnamon & Coffee Bourbon Abominable. Near black body with a small beige collar. Rich aroma of bourbon and malts. Big time oak presence with lovely notes of both chocolate and vanilla. Absolutely delicious. (223 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, red wax - classy label

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, dark cola body, light beige film - minimal retention.

smell: rich waves of bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, sweet dark fruits

taste: I've had this a number of times at festivals and at the brewery - a remarkable barrel aged beer from Fremont. The base beer, Abominable Winter Warmer, isn't one of my favorite releases from FBC, but the base is a distant memory in this beer. Very much barrel-forward, but delicate and refined - bourbon, oak, vanilla, brown sugar, chewy caramel malt, dark fruits. It's been a pleasure to share these bottles with my beer-connections back east. Bravo Fremont.

mouthfeel: great - rich, spicy, warming, sensual

overall: fantastic (746 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black pour. A touch of light comes through on the edge in the glass. One finger light mocha head with good retention and lacing.

S: Big bourbon, butterscotch and vanilla. Oak comes through very good but doesn't over power. Nice dark chocolate notes. Very light spice notes.

T: Dark milk chocolate upfront. Oak, bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch, and a light winter spiciness from middle to end with big chocolate coming back in the finish. Light alcohol burn.

M: Full bodied. Light carbonation. Silky smooth.

O: A wonderful beer. Very tasty. The vanilla comes through awesomely. Look for this beer. Fremont is by far the best Seattle brewery, IMO. (687 characters)

Photo of tut2528
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

lats night in Siesta Key... terrific vacation, finishing it off with this!

A: pours deep dark brown almost black with dark brown head formation that dissipates rather quickly.

S: as soon as the bottle was opened, i immediately got blasted with bourbon and chocolate. wow this is awesome. getting in closer, i pick up on an awesome sweet toffee, chocolate, bourbon, sweet dark fruits, caramel and an amazing vanilla creaminess that immediately gets the mouth salivating.

T: hot damn this is so fucking good! beautifully balanced beer between the chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. some alcohol heat is detectable, but its so inviting and the vanilla really blends nicely here.

M: full bodied, chewy, leaving a nice sugary film along with vanilla sweetness on the palate. some alcohol heat is felt along the upper gums and cheeks, but like the taste, its inviting.

O: damn this brew is so freaking good. and i will be always ISO for it. mouthfeel is everything that i want in a BBA brew. big thick, chewy, beautiful lingers sweetness that can cut out the alcohol heat. simply terrific. (1,089 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I wasn't a big fan of the regular Abominable but when I saw this gorgeous bottle I said what the hell, ponied up the $17 or whatever. Then I started reading all the positive reviews and comments and grabbed another before it was gone. Let's just say expectations are now heightened, I hope the beer lives up to them.

22oz bottle (2011) into a tulip. Pours a rich chocolatey brown w/ a 1-finger dense mocha head, good retention. Really nice looking beer.

Aroma is dark fruit, bourbon, oak, chocolate, vanilla. Smells rich and delicious, well-balanced.

Taste follows nose. Chocolate, bourbon-soaked dates and figs, vanilla, oak. Just a touch of alcohol heat gives it a nice warming bite. Everything works together in harmony, no single element overwhelms the others. I don't give 5s very often, but I simply can't imagine anything that would make this beer taste any better.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, coating but also dry. The oak really helps this beer slip effortlessly over the tongue.

Overall, just wow. One of the best beers I've had in a while. Simply outstanding. Expectations not only met, but exceeded. Fremont does it again. I'll gladly pay $17/bottle for more of this next year. (1,196 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 04/04/12
Type: 22oz. Bomber
Vintage: 2011
Glass: Southampton Large Snifter

Pours a deep brown mahogany in color w/ a wispy thin off-white head and little to no lacing. Aromas of chocolate malts, coffee, molasses, light bourbon, oak, and vanilla/coconut. The nose was fabulous and the taste was even better! Sweet chocolate and molasses up front, leading into bourbon, oak, vanilla, and toasted coconut, and finishes w/ a bit of dry espresso. Medium bodied and decently lush w/ carbonation on the lower end of the spectrum. This beer was exceptionally easy to drink as the 9.5% ABV was well hidden and is uber smooth.

Overall, this brew backed up it's high rating and regards. Exceptionally complex beer w/ utterly perfect BA qualities, and oh so smooth. Fantastic stuff! (779 characters)

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Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.