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Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale - Fremont Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bourbon Abominable Winter AleBourbon Abominable Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

133 Reviews
THE BROS
88
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 133
Hads: 792
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 7.08%
Wants: 439
Gots: 225 | FT: 32
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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 133 | Hads: 792
Photo of DaveAnderson
3.54/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle with red wax

A: Under the wax, the bottle cap is rusty. Hope that isn't a bad sign. A vigorous pour into a Darkness tulip reveals a dark brown, slightly crimson-hued liquid, but yields almost no head whatsoever. Does not appear carbonated. After the bottle warmed to room temperature, I could coax a small, foamy head from a strong pour, but it dissipated in about 20 seconds.

S: Smells a little like cookies before baking. There's a strong vanilla component, and some brown sugar. Bourbon is apparent, and there is plenty of oak. As it warms, I get some tobacco and black cherry. A second pour brings out something fruitier, like figs, but that disappears as soon as the head does. Do I detect chocolate?

T: Much like the smell. Sweet at first, but with a lingering sourness and bitterness left in the back of the mouth. The oak gets a little too much play for my tastes.

M: On the tongue, I can detect some carbonation, but I would call it little more than light effervescence. Not as flat as it looks, but in the end, it feels a little thin.

O: I actually didn't like this beer at first. I might have started at too cold a temperature, but even after letting it warm, I didn't think it improved significantly. On the other hand, didn't think it was worthy of being poured down the drain, so I opened an IPA, and found that alternating between this beer and an IPA made both beers better. (1,407 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Javi.

The pour is dark brown in color with a small khaki head. The aroma starts off with lots of roast and a bit of coffee. Bourbon is there, but not very strong. There's more oak than bourbon. Some toffee sweetness with a bit of dark chocolate. Again, not much bourbon flavor, but there is some oak and vanilla. A bit of roast and coffee with a fair amount of dark chocolate. Moderate sweetness of caramel and toffee. Actually sort of mellow. (469 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is also known as B-Bomb. The pretty mahogany of the base beer stays the same in this version, as does the the retention and lacing.

On the nose the bourbon is certainly noticeable, but not overpowering. The bourbon comes across a little bolder on the tongue and slightly detracts from the source beer. The body remains about the same. Drinkability will, of course, depend on your tolerance for bourbon. I like bourbon and it complements this beer nicely, but does overpower the tastebuds slightly.

This beer is worth seeking out, it's certainly worth the road trip from Portland to Seattle. If you're west of the Cascades, you should try this. (656 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.7/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a frothy ring with decent lacing.

S: Vanilla, toffee, caramel, and bourbon dominate with raisin and dark fruit aromas along with some molasses and oak.

T: Vanilla, toffee, and caramel dominate here as well. Oak and boozy bourbon come through with a fair amount of raisin and molasses flavor before a moderately boozy finish.

M: Thick, sticky sweet body with low carbonation, this beer is heavy, syrupy, and boozy.

O: A solid beer, overall. It's a bit more raisin-y and boozy than I'd like, but still enjoyable. Definitely a very long sipper. (612 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head of less than a finger. Aroma of fine bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, golding hops, and bready yeasts. Flavor is rich bourbon but incredibly smooth. Not the layers I preferred in C&C BBomb, but solid still. Sweet tones throughout. Drinks easy for 11%, but on the thin side.
Overall, this is a damn fine beer and no real need to age it as it is already pretty smooth. Much prefer the C&C though as that variant is unreal. (469 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to koufax21 for bringing this out to the post Christmas poker game of 2012. Broke out right around the middle of the night, in the midst of some awesome walezbro.

Looks a sturdy deep rich brown and black. Half inch head, dark tan on it, decent retention for a bourbon beer. I like how they push the nickname Bbomb, its far from a bourbon bomb, but every geographical entity needs its rare bourbon beer to push with a nickname. Aroma was straightforward, caramel, bourbon, butterscotch.

Taste reveals many of the same notes as the aroma, but a strong vanilla presence comes out. Chocolate has a small presence, not huge. Not absent. Oak or wood presence was even more reluctant to rear its head. Frankly comes off like it was really soaked or even bourbon added. There is a difference between a bourbon bomb and just boozy heat, and while this one wasn't terrible in that department, it also isn't the best bourbon heavy barrel beer that hides alcohol.

This beer has a moderate amount of booziness, but the sweetness and mild chocolate aspect with substantial vanilla does work out to be a decent beer. I don't think my rating is gonna be above the average, but, when judged by a non local, I think this will be an overall positive experience, just don't have your expectations so high that you think you're getting a world class experience, you're just getting a good PacNW experience in terms of barrel experiments, definitely one of their best yet. (1,463 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.87/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is black with a good bit of camel colored head and some large bubbles. Nose is really nice, tons of rich wood and bourbon that melds well with a rich dark chocolate cake malt, a light roast, and a bit of caramel. Flavor is very rich up front, body is very full. Bourbon is a bit stronger, still has a lot of rich cake like malt, dark chocolate, faint roast but not as balanced as the nose. Back end thins on the flavor, gets a hint empty in back, some malt sweetness comes in as it warms. Nose is great, flavor falls a touch short, still very nice. (558 characters)

Photo of Holland
3.87/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Greg (ithinkimasofa) on this one!

A: dark brown with lighter highlights and a dark tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves only a small ring.

S: definite dark fruit smells with some bourbon and wood, with some hints of spice.

T: first I get the spice, then bourbon, alcohol, some sweetness, and then bitterness and wood. Surprised at the bitter finish. There is also some roasted flavor and dark fruits.

M: medium-thick body with light carbonation makes this tough to swallow, even when it warms.

O: decent beer. The major flaw is the mouthfeel, but I also don't care for the spiciness. It's not overpowering, but just under the surface. For some reason it doesn't jive with me. (705 characters)

Photo of spicelab
3.89/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber shared with nicks6217. Reviewed from notes.

Choclolate brown with a minimal beige head that abates to a collar.

Liqourice, bark, nutmeg, port soaked raisins, redskins. Assertive barrel character and minimal sweetness.

Syrupy and full with surprisingly lively carbonation. Slightly biting booze with an odd tartness to finish.

Overall very nice. Restrained and untainted. (381 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.91/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Nearly pitch black

SMELL: Boozy, vanilla, wood, ripe cherries, rose water, vague spiciness, caramel, charcoal, mild coffee, molasses, burnt raisins

TASTE: Fresh barrel juice, pulling wood, vanilla, caramel, perfumey alcohol, warming, smooth, burnt sugar, more booze, ripe fruit, peppery, fresh, boozy semisweet finish

In a sea of bourbon barrel-aged beers that continues to trend, this one is above the middle of the pack. Smacks of that bourbon barrel it was aged in. Balances just enough, while still stirring the palate with interest. Damn tasty. (608 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

Pours a dark ruby red color that appears almost black and completely opaque in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring.  Streaks of soapy lace left behind.  

Strong barrel presence in the nose which is dominated by bourbon and a strong oak presence.  Slight toothpick oaky character with a little bit of coconut, marshmallow and vanilla along with spicy and sweet bourbon notes.   As it warms, I'm picking up sweet and roasted malt as well as a bit of dark fruit.  Hints of chocolate cake, fig, dark cherry and other vinous berries. 

Fuller end of medium bodied with soft carbonation.  Really nice mouthfeel for the style.  Thick but not viscous with surprising crisp carbonation that really helps.  Again, the barrel presnce is really prominent with lots of bourbon flavor but it's not hot or overly boozy.  Sweet bourbon with some spicy rye along with dry, toasted oak, vanilla bean and some toasted coconut.  After the beer warms, I'm picking up more dark malt, spice and vinous fruit sweetness.  A little peppery spice and rye compliment the spirit flavors.  There's also some cherry and other dark berries along with some silky chooclate sweetness and subtle roast.  Still, this beer is a bit bourbon heavy but the lack of heat makes it pretty easy to drink. (1,339 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.94/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle of the 2012 vintage thanks to a trading buddy. Dark borwn color, short head. Smells pretty nice, bourbon, booze, wood. Flavor is pretty good too, heavily bourbon influenced, boozy, oak, vanilla, not bad at all. If I had to guess blindfolded I would have said this was a bourbon barrel aged barleywine. (313 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out with a fudge brown color and a modest head; not too much lacing on this one

Smell: Caramel, Bourbon, char, dark fruit and vanilla

Taste: Opens with caramel and dark fruit tones, with depth of char and molasses, underneath; in the middle, the Bourbon makes an entrance bring oak and vanilla elements, as well; the finish is somewhat boozy, with sweetness lingering

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A pretty decent beer but just a tad too boozy and sweet to me; still, glad to have tried it (547 characters)

Photo of kevanb
3.96/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, 2011 vintage, poured into a Fremont snifter, generously provided by BA Bigelow.

The beer pours a deep cola brown color, murky and opaque, with a soapy head, bone colored, that rises about a finger high with moderate retention that yields no lace. The aroma is fairly complex and intriguing, lots of molasses and bourbon, soft toffee, oak, rich malts, light cocoa and a touch of stone fruit. The flavors are similar, molasses, bourbon, charred oak with a distinct chicory root flavor that brings out a bit of a cola flavor, stone fruit pops up nicely, and the grain character makes a nice, rich malt finish. The body is lively, carbonated, a bit thin but coats nicely and finishes easily.

Verdict: A nice Bourbon treated beer from Fremont. The chicory root flavor isn't my favorite, but the smooth and rich flavors are very nice, it's just a touch on the earthy side and it could use a bit more body. That being said I had no issue finishing a bomber of this. (975 characters)

Photo of nmann08
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage

From a bottle, this pours a dark brown mahogany with a big brown head.

The nose is a bit messy, lots of alcohol and booze. The bourbon barrel really hits you in the face, vanilla, wet oak, caramel, molasses, sweet brown sugar.

The flavor is really where it's at for me. Great bourbon character, strong vanilla notes, caramel, dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate. This tastes considerably better than it smells. A bit hot, sticky finish. Overall, just drink it. It tastes great. (501 characters)

Photo of terabin
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What boots this rating down for me a little bit is that the mouthfeel is quite cloying and syrupy. The flavor is good overall: love the bourbon vanilla but it is a bit sweet for my tastes. A 4 oz pour would have been perfect. It's the syrupy, muddled finish that keeps the beer from an upper echelon rating for me. There are many breweries across the country that can create a barrel aged beer that finishes well all the way through the taste experience. This one doesn't finish well with that caramel-ly syrupy finish. (519 characters)

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Pours a dark brown color, this beer almost looks like a stout. The smell is sweet with some dark fruit and caramel notes. There is a strong sweetness in the flavor, but the roasted malt notes balance it out a bit. I enjoyed the caramel and dark fruit along with the bourbon. The finish is sweet with a roast bitterness. (368 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks & a manly hug to pwnzilla for answering my plea for a bottle of this beer. It arrived, with friends, in quite a lovely trade. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife while watching my hapless Twins thump the Stupid Sox. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Thick red wax gives way like a beery chastity belt, with great reluctance. Forth the beer! Very dark brown pour, then I bump the glass halfway off the big coaster & my heart almost stops. Yikes! Lost almost an entire Big Eddy that way a couple weeks back. Smells as advertised: vanilla, bourbon, clove-edged spicing. Nice. Very nice.

Bourbon Barrel Adominable redefines smooth, almost bringing a cask-like edge (or something) to the glass bottle. Everything's here but it's either refined or muted, take your pick. The bourbon is smooth & throwing off that distinct vanilla aftertaste, & it's gorilla-strong. Caramel, brown sugar, molasses, faint spices make appearances. Is there a beer under there? Barrels dominate & define this brew. I am, however, drinking this like liquid donut searching for subtle delicacies, & it drinks like a champ.

My belly is warm for a beer still, albeit barely, in the single digits. Eminently drinkable, this improves markedly as it warms a bit; rather flat when cold, it really opens up. Really good, just a cold nose from the upper echelon. (1,338 characters)

Photo of BeerBrose
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark Black with a tan leathery head, light lacing.

Smell: Big booze, spices like cinnamon and clove maybe even some licorice. Sweet sugar.

Taste: Sweet caramel, cinnamon, licorice and coffee. Lots of noticeable booze and bourbon. Nice balance through the myriad of flavors.

Feel: Heavy malt body with little carbonation, but just enough to float the flavors around your mouth. Sticky.

Overall: Very good beer and great representation of the style. (457 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle of the 2013 vintage split between a pair of pint glasses. Poured side-by-side with the non-barrel-aged version.

Pours black and opaque, with small light brown head, and with low carbonation. Small head is fine. Smell is bourbon. Smoke and vanilla. Nutty. Alcohol. Dark fruit.

Taste is holy-shit fruity. Dates and cherries are raining from the skies. Sweetness is unbelievable, with a nice chocolate bitterness that isn't quite powerful enough to actual balance -- more of a muted counterpoint. Something about this hints at pomegranates. There is almost a cola flavor. This beer is very complex, although not everything is well integrated there is a lot of stuff going on here. It tastes pretty good, but it is godawfully interesting.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. Carbonation is apparently present but not very visible. It's definitely there, I can feel it.

This is more interesting than it is good, but it is quite good. (941 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel DC for the bottle share. Vintage 2012. From notes.

A nice dark walnut brown body with a faint tan collar, some nice mahogany brown edges along the sides of the glass underneath.

Nose has milk chocolate, and a big candy malted whoppers feeling. Lost of milky powder sensations, Nestle Quik with a hint of mild caramel like sensations.

Palate continues the milky sweetness, and even some dense milk chocolate comes out. Faint mild roast but a good sense of playful carbonation. Carbonation hints at some Coca Cola like sweetness.

An interesting take and result for a barrel aged brew. Fun one to drink also, and very easy drinking also. (700 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark, almost black. A few bubbles. Doesn't look too lively.

Smell - Incredible barrel. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some rich chocolate.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Very syrupy, but it works. Dark malts are secondary and pop up just in time to keep it interesting.

Mouthfeel - Very heavy and sweet, but it doesn't seem to matter in this case. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Barrel is the highlight and the beer is just interesting enough to prop up the barrel flavors. (569 characters)

Photo of KevSal
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

huge thanks to stx00lax for this generous addition, crap i still owe ya jacob.

ive been staring at this one since i got it, couldnt wait to crack it open. i enjoy winter warmers quite a bit.

bomber split into 2 bruery tulips

a- looks great! dark dark ruby red. can only see through the edges.

s- this beers nose really shines very fruity almost as if its got raspberries in the mix. heavy bourbon upfront. really liking this aroma.

t- taste is a bit different than the nose. not quite as fruity but the barrel come out front and center for sure! slight fruits and spices tickle the tongue in the back, alcohol in the finish.

m-like the mouthfeel, alcohol still very present and makes it a bit rough on the tongue. thick body for a winter warmer whch i very much enjoy

o- very fine beer! really glad to try it. both of us enjoyed each glass. i think i was impatient with this one dammit as i feel with a bit more age this one will be steller, malt meld the fruit and barrel together while toning down burn. would love to try this one with a year on it! (1,058 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Carleton - thanks dude! Served in a Russian River tulip. I think this was the most recent vintage?

A - Tan foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and spotty lace. Body is a near-black, dark cola brown color.

S - This smells like bourbon barrel-aged Dr. Pepper. Mix of oak, bourbon, cola, cherries, dark fruits, caramel, perhaps a hint of spice and sarsparilla. It's a bit hot and heavy on the oak, but otherwise it's quite nice.

T - The taste is quite similar, with a heavy cola and spice note in the finish. Bourbon overwhelms, but with notes of chocolate, black cherry, caramel, and vanilla. Oak isn't quite as heavy here, which is appreciated.

M - A tad thin, with a flat soda kind of vibe going on. Medium-bodied, a bit watery, lower carbonation, but otherwise smooth and creamy.

D - Interesting stuff. It's definitely a 'winter' ale and somewhat hard to peg style-wise. A bit more heft and spritz would do this wonders, but it's still pretty enjoyable. I'd have this again, although I don't know if I'd go out of my way to trade for it in the future. (1,080 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Pours cola brown with a fuzzy dark brown head that left spotty lace down the glass.
S: Sweet bourbon and dark malts dominate the nose with hints of raisin, leather, candied dates, caramel, dark chocolate, and tons of sweetness. I get a pretty heavy amount of vanilla as well.
T: Follows the nose with all the same flavors including vanilla, leather, bourbon, raisin, dates, and caramel. I'm getting a lot of chocolate and fudge in the finish too, with sweet bourbon lingering in the aftertaste.
M: Medium-thick body, smooth mouthfeel with a slight amount of warming booze. The carbonation is low but it has some texture to it.
O: A really enjoyable beer. I never had the original version but I would definitely seek out the other versions, and this one, again. (800 characters)

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Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.