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

129 Reviews
THE BROS
88
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 129
Hads: 777
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 7.09%
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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 129 | Hads: 777
Photo of nmann08
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
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 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 Vonerichs
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Dark and opaque mohagany. Mostly brown with the reddish hue showing up around the edges. Slight and brief sandy colored head.

Strong woodsy smell, like fresh cut oak, even a little cedar. Vanilla and coffee. Tobacco.

This is a 2013 vintage and still came strong with the big burn of booze. Oak, vanilla, butterscotch, coffee, leather.

Full and smooth mouthfeel with a boozy finish. Slightly dry on the back end.

A fantastic beer. Listed as an old ale but tastes like a top notch barreled barleywine. (518 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
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 abeeronthebeach
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Much darker than I'd expected. I'd anticipated a much redder brew, more like a barleywine, whereas this is dark brown, closer to a stout, albeit with ruby rather than black accents.

S - Vanilla and bourbon are present with glorious fullness. Sweet wood and caramel or toffee are also there in full force. Milk chocolate. This really does smell gorgeous.

T - Rich, creamy, vanilla-bourbon, alongside a not-too-hot-mellow-booziness. Tastes lovely, although it would benefit from an increase in cinnamon and nutmeg flavours to add depth and complexity.

M - Fairly syrupy which is to be expected in a relatively sweet beer such as this. It's certainly full-bodied enough to carry the beer, however.

O - Definitely one of Washington's finest beers. The bourbon character is beautifully expressed. I'd like a little more spice and perhaps a little more roasted malt flavour. This is nonetheless a wonderfully crafted brew, and, if it weren't for my preference for the flavour profile of stouts, (more chocolate, peat and coffee) this might score even higher. The abv. is entirely an afterthought. A must try, particularly if you like vanilla and bourbon. (1,156 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
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 mabermud
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 2013 Abominable Bourbon Winter Ale was served to me, by myself, from a half growler I filled about half an hour ago. This ale appears pitch black with a smooth, tan, minimal head. There are ultra-fine bubbles that seem to melt from the sides as I move the ale around in my brandy snifter. As I give the drink some time to settle, the head has retreated back into a halo, with a spotty, uneven, smooth, fine cover of bubbles. The smell is of sweet vanilla, caramel, and a hint of alcohol, nothing else. The taste is rich, delicious, and decadent, like a fine desert. There is vanilla, light caramel, spice, molasses, and an obscure, taste of booze/alcohol/bourbon. The mouthfeel is faintly sizzling with sweet feedback. No bitter taste, no after taste, no complaints. Only recommendations. (792 characters)

Photo of Beerzebub
4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle. Dark reddish brown coffee color, minimal head.

Smells good - sweet bourbon, spicy cigar tobacco, dark caramel, touch of dark fruit; good barrel presence; nice combination of freshness and depth; nice complexity.

Tastes like it smells - pretty delicious. Bourbon barrel is front and center; sweet, but well balanced by roasted nutty and tobacco notes, presumably partly from the malt and partly from the barrel. Really comes together. Fairly long finish, deep bourbon/tobacco.

Fairly full bodied, silky texture.

Quite enjoyable. (544 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at HOTD for Fred Fest 2014.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and considerable brownish, creamy lacing. The nose is every bit as impressive, as I pick up milk duds, chocolate, coffee, light bourbon, vanilla and a hint of underlying leather. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though there also seemed to be considerable underlying hops that countered and bouyed the moderate sweetness very well. Mouthfeel was full and fairly soft, with a long, slight dry and bitter finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, with no sense of heat or heaviness in the finish.

Not that I'm surprised, but this is yet another excellent beer from the folks at Fremont Brewing. Also, good as it tasted at Fred Fest 2014, I think this beer is built for the long haul, and will likely only improve with a few years of bottle (or barrel/keg) age. Impressive. (916 characters)

Photo of BillRoth
4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped at Fremont a few years ago, and just missed chance to try this beer. Now thanks to Paul 510a I finally got to try it.
Just a lovely sipping beer. It's a great "Little Big Beer". It's a for real big, velvety wave of flavor and body...yet it's not overly complex...just a splendid BA beer that has a remarkable blend of delicious oak and bourbon blended with the chocolate/other malts and centennial/other hops. A lot of places try this...Fremont's is just so spot on. Just the way it"s supposed to be.
A: Poured a good 3/4" creamy head that had decent retention despite high abv. Very good lacing with a nicely maintained thin foamy ring around the surface of the beer, Very attractive.
S: Inviting! Vanilla is big, bourbon and dates are major partners, hints of cherries/cherry licorice.
T: Vanilla and bourbon very well balanced. Chocolate and Carafa malts fill out backbone. Even though Centennial and Willamette hops are reported more than Goldings...it still seems much more an English than NW barley wine. It's just so well rounded and subtle.
M: Mouth was so smooth and velvety. A bit of bright burn from alcohol...but not distracting. It was so creamy and rolled over the tongue. Decadent. This beer hugs ya.
O: Sitting on backyard deck, sun setting and chair reclining further and further back...this beer was a very nice sipper...Wonderful! Great job Fremont! (1,376 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wonderful bourbon barrel usage here, as good as any, lots of burnt oak flavor with the attendant vanilla and booze, all are soft and gentle though, and none so dominant as to displace the strong ale base on this, which is a caramel malt bomb, super thick, and downright delicious, although a bit out of season right now i think. reddish hues of caramel and molasses color, and the aromas are similarly sweet, toffee and vanilla dessert come to mind, and of course the bourbon, which adds richness, sweetness, and the feeling like im having something of extreme quality. the flavor is sweet from the outset, but doesnt really finish that way, more of a quicker boozy hit to wind it down. vanilla is strong, and the oak contributes quite a bit, but the base beer is exceptional. as much sticky sweet grain as you can pack in here, which gives a luxurious mouthfeel to this highly viscous brew. carbonation is low medium, but its all i really need in this style. something more than a barleywine here, but in that sort of vein stylistically. my first brew from fremont is an absolute pleasure, made even more enjoyable by sharing it with some of the gentlemen responsible for its existence. a real treat worthy of its high praise. (1,227 characters)

Photo of kdahnke123
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Release poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.
A - Pours a very dark brown with minimal head.
S - Smells of malt, bourbon and chocolate.
T - Bourbon and carmel at the fore with chocolate in the middle and a little bite of booze/hops on the finish.
M - Quite thick and mouth coating with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O - A very pleasant, warming winter ale. Everything is well integrated. Highly recommended. (426 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle courtesy of libby pours a rich near-black color with an abundance of brown head. Fades slowly and leaves plenty of lace.

Nose is nicely balanced between bourbon, chocolate and wood. Raisins, brown sugar and vanilla also come out to play.

Taste is sweet and thick with a smoothness rarely found on an 11+ %'er. Marshmallow fluff meets whiskey barrel. Burnt caramel, molasses and cocoa powder flavors as well. The mouthfeel is quite full and silky. Amazing beer that I wish I had more of...much more. (513 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 brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
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 rlee1390
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger off white head.

S-Bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, molasses.

T-Good balance, Starts with bourbon and oak. Caramel, chocolate, vanilla and molasses.

M-Medium bodied, nice carbonation and velvety.

O-A really good beer, good balance, nice barrel flavor. Thankful to have tried it. (319 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
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 pmarlowe
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a thinnish, very dark, opaque brown with an espresso foam head. A thin collar sticks around for quite awhile, with a few streaks of lacing.

S: Big aromas of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, and a mild roasted malt backbone.

T: Wow, thick and delicious liquid dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, and vanilla, with a bit of a coffee bitter finish. Really big flavors but well integrated, deep, complex, and not overwhelming in any dimension. A real treat.

M: Despite the appearance, this is a chewy, thick, full bodied beer with a medium-light carbonation that imparts a slight bite which is just perfect. Alcohol is almost completely hidden.

O: A phenomenal beer, on par with the best BA barleywines/strong ales. (752 characters)

Photo of cvm4
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 vintage

A - Pours pitch black with a minimal espresso head peaking up.

S - Huge bourbon characteristics of vanilla, caramel and oak.

T - The taste follows the nose with the addition of dark fruit notes. The ending is a semi-sweet molasses finish.

M - Light to medium bodied with light carbonation. A smooth, velvety body. The sweetness on the ending seemed a bit cloying to me.

O - It's a really great, not excellent, beer to me. I can say it's definitely above mid-pack, but for the rarity of it others are better. (525 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very dark, nearly opaque. A few cola highlights peeking around the edges. This beauty looks more like a imp stout but no worries.
smell: Oh yeah, this is the stuff. Rich and decadent. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits. Redolent with all kinds of goodness.
taste: And the taste delivers all the promise of the nose. Doesn't get much better than this imo.
overall: Man, this is a well done brew. (416 characters)

Photo of artoolemomo
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours up a little bit of head which has some retention but that does not seem to be the gist of this beer. The head is a dark beige/ochre while the body is an opaque, chocolate black. Some lacing has been left behind.

Nose- I love those brash coconut noses. So dominant that I didn't really get anything else on the first sniff. Shows more depth after subsequent tries- very toasty and very rich with tendencies toward vanilla, caramel, and toffee. The glass reflects this but with much more cherry and chocolate. This is a very good start. Underpinnings of vanilla, caramel, and toffee from the glass as well.

Taste- Lots of coconut which proceeds through a number of notes- toasted, creamy, and very rich. It's fairly dominated by the coconut aspect and is reminding me a lot of Bois at the moment. Cherry notes, some chocolate. Light vanilla, mild heat that hangs around the edges. This beer doesn't taste fresh (this is not a negative)- it tastes like a beer that has been aged a bit before it was released. The alcohol does creep up and is coating my tongue at the moment. It's definitely a really good beer but I don't know if it achieves the greatness that its ratings suggest. Some oak in the back of my throat. More bourbon barrel characteristics come out as I slosh it around in my mouth- broader, more mellow coconut, defined and rounded chocolate with oak and vanilla. Slight bourbon. Normally, I would be critical of its lack of presence but the softness of all the notes prevents that. It appears that the brewer was more interested in producing a highly drinkable product upon release rather than relying upon the assumption that it will be aged further. Raisins with small hints of citrus around the edges. I wish I could get this fresher (a blend of a 6 month old and 18 month Abominables?) but this is a really good to great beer. Lacks the deep malts you would get from an Imperial stout or a Barleywine but this beer isn't either of those. I would categorize it as an Old Ale above anything else. The coconut is pushed out and radiating warm but dark chocolate takes over.

Mouthfeel- Just below medium bodied with slight carbonation. Best described as slinky with silky tendencies.

Drinkability- Very inviting but it also gives warning- the alcohol is there and it is part of the entire drinking experience. 15 bucks a bomber seems quite reasonable for a beer of this caliber. If it were possible, I buy more bottles for aging (?) and trade.

Overall- After a few more sips, this might graduate to a great beer. It is, without a doubt, a really good beer and it's almost great. This is a must try and I'm leaning toward great. No flaws, absolutely solid, complete with an endearing sublimity next to evident alcohol. Very well put together- I appreciate brewers that are this meticulous. (2,828 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
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 kevanb
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
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 superspak
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage. Pours fairly pitch black color with a small tan head with poor retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, cinnamon, toast, dark bread, pepper, clove, bourbon, vanilla, oak, toffee, raisin, brown sugar, and roasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of malt, spice, and barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, dark bread, cinnamon, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, toffee, molasses, light raisin, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, cinnamon, dark bread, clove, vanilla, oak, bourbon, toffee, brown sugar, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of malt, spice, and barrel flavors; with huge robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged winter ale! All around incredible balance and complexity of dark malt, spice, and barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly amazing offering as expected. (1,383 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)

Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.