Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

582 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 582
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.76%
Wants: 1,090
Gots: 98 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-10-2012

Damon (1993-2004) The time spent with loved ones, now lost, seems to affect our mind and body perpetually: memories happen upon us, unsuspectingly, and bring about tears of fond remembrance. Damon was our brother – devout and patient in an age of busyness and distraction. In his honor, we crafted and conditioned this Imperial Stout in bourbon barrels from our favorite distillery. We still reflect, daily, upon our Damon and his scruffy chin of grey – of his loyalty and his love.

Aged in Blanton's bourbon barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 582 | Reviews: 82
Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 2: bottled 8/13

Appearance: A heard pour raises a modest mocha-colored head that quickly fades away leaving the pitch black liquid by its lonesome; viscous but not a lot of lacing

Smell: Chocolate fudge, molasses, Bourbon and hints of smoke/oak

Taste: Chocolate fudge and molasses, up front, with the Bourbon tones developing in the middle; after the swallow, the smoke and oak emerges along with a touch of soy

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I would have expected for the style but still full-bodied; low carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: I come out on the side of the BAs who have previously said this is a good but not great beer; the flavor lacks the range of the great brews and the mouthfeel is definitely an issue; glad to have tried it but I think the score reflects the brewery's reputation and I can well understand that

Thanks, Nuwanda, for the opportunity

Photo of deebo
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is big time. Very rich. Thick ass shit.

Photo of spicelab
4.44/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared 3 ways. Batch 2, 8/2013.

Black, though not of the thick and intimidating variety, with a modest but persistent fine-bubbled beige head.

Nose is quite barrel forward, with woody vanilla and coconut complementing firm dry cocoa molasses and burnt toffee. Flavours follow. Rich and indulgent choc-caramel fudge, burnt toffee and date slice before the cocoa, dark chocolate and tannins emerge at the end to dry out the finish. Quite a coup.

Terrifically good Imperial Stout. Impressively clean and distinct profile.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Smells awesome. Has a great roast, but is balanced amazingly with the bourbon barrel. No one flavor overpowers. Medium mouthfeel which I'm not minding because there is a perfect amount of sweetness. Very impressed.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served alongside Port Damon and Double Barrel Damon.

The beer is dark brown, near black, with a small beige collar. Aromas of dark roast, chocolate. Rich and flavorful. Dark chocolates. Oak and bourbon character are there, but don't overwhelm the flavor profile. Elegant feel. Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. While I enjoy everything Hill Farmstead, in general, it seems the stouts are not quite up to the level of their saisons and IPAs.

Photo of Pahn
4.71/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

22oz bottle split 2 ways with BA morningthief. Poured into a wine glass.

Appearance: Black with a one inch dark tan head. Leaves sweeping spots and arches of lacing. Looks pretty serious.

Smell: Pretty muted. Some oak and more molasses. Very good but a little simple. Some red wine notes come out with warmth.

Taste: Holy shit. The aroma didn't prepare me for all this flavor. Up front it's sweet bourbon and vanilla oak, leading to brownies fresh out of the oven and a lot of molasses. Highlights to the flavor are unique and amazing. I've tasted most of this before in different places, but the highlights to the flavor (and the overall impression, and how pronounced and complimentary everything is) is uncommonly excellent.

I knew I would give this a 5 for taste after just a few sips. The question isn't "is this a good stout?" it's "Is this the best stout you've ever tasted?"

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied, and very creamy. Slight dryness at the end to balance the pastry assault. Mild alcohol heat. Works with the flavor.

Overall: You want to think Hill Farmstead is overrated, but it's not. This beer is so good it's inspiring.

Photo of Mikeypnh
4.19/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, with a lot of mocha swirls, and bubbles around the glass. Heads goes away fast but leaves some nice lacing. Smell isn't as strong as I would have thought. Chocolate, bourbon, some coffee. Taste is sweet bourbon right up front. Hints of toffee, black licorice, sweet molasses, on the backend but mostly the bourbon is over powering. I do wish it weren't so sweet. Mouthfeel is sticky, fairly easy to drink. Decent bourbon stout but awfully sweet.

Photo of Rifugium
4.46/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA.

Nice surprise seeing this one on tap! Dark black pour, maybe some faint brown hues around the edges, with a minimal head, just a dark collar, which left a few shards of lacing and some legs on the glass. Nice aroma, thick with fudge, dark malts, caramelized sugar, notes of bourbon and vanilla. More of the same in the taste, with the barrel element coming out a bit more, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, slight char and roasty coffee. I got more malt/sweet/bourbon than bitter/roast/coffee in this one. Medium-full body, lower carbonation, silky mouthfeel, booze was present, but not too hot at all. Very good overall.

Photo of Crookdrain
4.72/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Re-reviewing from a bottle popped this past weekend. Popped my first bottle of B2 back in December with NYCBuckeye and Sobeleg and was unimpressed - thought it was thin and very hot. This bottle (same batch - B2) was a ridiculous improvement.

A: Jet black of night. Barely any tan head, dissipates quickly. Looks like chocolate motor oil.

S: Big barrel character going to war with the chocolate and roast coffee underneath. A little bit of licorice too perhaps? We were out on the porch - could have been wafting in the air though from elsewhere.

T: Was really pleasantly surprised with the improvement an extra 7 months in the bottle did for the taste (and mouthfeel). Heat was way down, giving way to layers of (in order of strength): oaky bourbon, dark chocolate covered-esperesso beans, roasted malt. Absolutely outstanding.

M: This was the biggest improvement since the first bottle we popped in December. This just coated your mouth like the unmixed syrup at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass of Hershey's chocolate milk. Super thick and chewy - which for the style put the beer into a new stratosphere. Not sure if the first bottle from December was bad bottle or not (we got the bottles together at the DBD release, so weird if there was that big of a variation).

O: One of the best BB stouts I've ever had. This bottle edges out M&C 1 & 3, BoT, and even GoM. If you have the chance to trade for this, it seems like this batch is peaking right now. I highly recommend it.

Photo of jlindros
4.55/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

not sure how I missed reviewing this before, but finally got around to it.

No head, super dark pitch black thick beer nice legs, mild dark mocha head as I swirl.

Nose tons of dark choc, dark malts, caramel, cocoa, then even more barrel notes, some bourbon, vanilla barrel, great toasty vanilla barrel and dark choc, hint of fluffy nougat, faint booze, even touch buttery oak.

Taste is great but not as good as the nose, lots of dark malts, cocoa and dark choc, fluffy nougat, caramel, etc. Then barrel, vanilla barrel, little buttery oak and plenty of bourbon but not a ton, juicy dark malts, mild bitter earthy hops and bitter mild roast, touch of warming booze, even hint fudgey and toasted oak. Finish is dry with lots more bourbon and toasty vanilla oak, more bitterness and bitter dark malts, hint of booze.

Mouth is thick and rich, heavy, but not too thick, decent carb, mild warming booze.

Overall great, great bourbon and barrel, nice base beer that absorbs the bourbon and barrel well.

Photo of Stevedore
4.01/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, dated 8/2013, thanks to FleetwoodMatt for sending this one as an extra. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 2/6/2014.

App- Typical RIS- dark black body, opaque with a nice 1cm light mocha head that dissipates slowly. Some lacing on the collar. Stains the glass oily brown when I swirl it.

Smell- Chocolate fudge, dark chocolates. Not much dark fruit here. Smells interesting with a nice bourbon charcoal sweetness. Interesting but not mindblowing.

Flavour- Pretty good! A nice base russian imperial stout is there with a nice umami flavour. The base malts are strong and roasty and sweet; but as it warms up, there is a more predominant umami flavour which makes the beer that much more interesting. I get much more of a drizzled chocolate fudge brownie flavour at room temp. Cold, it's just basically an imperial stout.

Mouthfeel- The most disappointing aspect of the beer. Watery, not particularly well-carbonated but carbonated well enough. Aftertaste is a slick chocolate brownie sensation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall- It's good but not great. Don't give up too much for this beer... unless you have a dog!

Photo of orangesol
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**First and foremost, my scores reflect the times I have had this beer on-tap at the brewery events while the words reflect the bottled version.**

Thanks to DocJ007 for sharing this one with us last weekend, Batch #2.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, quickly dissipating down to a light ring around the edge of the glass, leaving little to no lace at all on the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, fudgey chocolate, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits, overly charred oak and plenty of dark roasted malt. Lots of dark aromas lurking in the shadows of this one.

T - Starts off much like the nose does with a bit sugary kick - mainly the fudgey chocolate, vanilla, molasses mixed dark fruits - quickly being joined by the smokey charred oak and base dark roasted malts. Finish is much like before with a mix of sweetness and dark roasty flavors, lingering long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate to low carbonation. Slick feel throughout, booze is hidden quite well.

O - I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Not as good as when I had it on-tap but still a very enjoyable beer. Really looking forward to trying that Double Barrel version in the near future.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! An aggressive pour of this pitch black beauty yields a one finger dark caramel-colored head that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves some really nice lacing. The nose is fairly sweet initially, but quickly yields to lots of dark roast, chocolate fudge, oak, vanilla, and a ton of booze. The taste is big and bold with rich chocolate fudge, vanilla, dark fruits, oak, subtle char, molasses, espresso, cocoa, black cherry, and booze. The mouthfeel is incredibly thick. Reminded me of tasting brownie batter. It's velvety smooth with a subtle warming on the finish. Overall, this was a hard beer to figure out. It was incredibly flavorful and easy to drink, even though the booze was sometimes a bit too much. With that said, it never really hurt the experience. Only my second beer from HF. Hopefully more to follow...

Photo of MacQ32
4.44/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8/2013 date on bottle

A - pours a deep dullish muddied brown. Nearly black as it sits in my glass. Fantastic near finger of rich chocolate/auburn tinted head. Decent retention, strong lacing.

S - Semi sweet. Vanilla, tons of chocolate, booze, almost a peppermintish boozy type aroma. Pretty broad smelling, not overly rich.

T - Rich boozey vanilla/charrred flavors initially with some raisin/dark fruit which soon mix with ample sweet chocolaty (minimally roasty) flavors

M - thick on the tongue, full bodied with hardly any carbonation. A wonderful sipper

Photo of dmhurdle
3.99/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are many BA stouts and a few regular imperial stouts (mexi cake, d. horse pt5, and bells expedition) which I think are better than this one.

Where this felt short for me:
1. This is a very boozy beer
a. Too boozy smell
b. Too boozy taste
c. At least the nose matched the taste well
2. The mouth-feel was too watery for a BA stout. I wish this beer had some more viscosity.

Bottom line: this beer needs more thickness or less booziness or some combination of both.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 10.10.13
Bottled 08 2013

A - Pours a motor oil black with a small very dark brown head that fades to the edges quickly.

S - Bourbon, sweet chocolate, almost a sweet fruitiness.

T - Lots of bourbon, sweet chocolate, bitter-acidic woody finish.

D - Heavy body with lower carbonation.

O - Bourbon and oak heavy with a nice chocolate middle.

Photo of homebrew311
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled this at darkness day. Pours a silky opaque black with some tan head which retains a nice layer. The nose hites you with decadent notes of vanilla and cream paired with heavy roast and chocolate. Some smokey notes come through as well as some earthy hop notes as well. The taste is much like the nose. The bourbon barrel aged characteristics are expertly integrated wih the beer. The bourbon is present but is harmonious with the sturdy stout base beer. Taste is smooth, plenty of vanilla, chocolate, and roast with some mellow oak char. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth with velvety texture. Overall, delicious brew here, definitely worth seeking out!

Photo of mhksuccess
4.49/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into ballast pt snifter
pretty dark color very little lacing and no head just a slight ring around the outside of glass
smell is slightly boozy
taste is amazing really like
it has a great barrel flavor and extremely smooth
not hott at all
could drink this on a regular basis
definite would get again if have the opportunity

Photo of josephwa
5/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - dark black, not a much head, yet incredibly inviting.

S - Lots of bourbon and booze! Dark smooth malt on the nose.

T - Very nice and smooth bourbon taste. Very little sweetness but it fits well. Goes down so easy and smooth. Such a solid brew! Wish I had more!

M - A little alcohol burn, thick body, very little alcohol burn, I could handle walking around all day with a mouthful of this brew!

O - This is a perfect beer! Absolutely loved it! Well done brewers at Hill Farmstead, well done.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A huge thanks to David for this bottle! Bottled 08/2013. Poured in to stemmed tulip.

A - Poured pitch black with a thin layer of mocha brown head that reduced to a ring around the edges of the glass.

S - A massive charred oak aroma dominates the nose with a lot of fresh bourbon also coming thorough. Chocolate fudge, vanilla, licorice and some noticeable alcohol are also present in the nose.

T - Huge barrel notes up front with charred oak, bourbon and vanilla flavours all coming through. Chocolate fudge, roast, and anise show up mid-palate with a huge char presence lingers in the finish.

M - Full body. Sludgy. Light carbonation.

Photo of kevanb
4.02/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, from the Sept. 2013 release, poured into a snifter, shared with friends.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, oily and slick, with a few brown bubbles rising from the beer but the vanish quickly leaving a murky beer behind with no lace or film to be found. The aroma is of potent bourbon, lots of oak and toffee, mega barrel character, with lots of fudgey chocolate, rich malt, stone fruit, plum and cherry with an assertive amount of astringent alcohol towards the end that really mellows out as the beer warms. The flavors are very impactful, the barrel character is a bit more integrated on the tongue vs the nose, lots of chocolate, molasses, oak, toffee bourbon notes, charred wood, a bit of ashiness or chalkiness, with lots of fruit character that I really enjoyed that brings out a touch of vanilla. The mouthfeel is a bit lacking, the beer could definitely use a bit more carb, and while it's not flat, it's certainly a bit thin. It does coat the mouth well and finishes remarkably smooth, but I still wish it had a bit more liveliness or carb to help prop it up a bit more.

Verdict: A very nice bourbon barrel stout from Hill Farmstead. This beer definitely needed some time to open up and round itself out after opening and really hit the spot. It does need some body to it, the thin feel was a bit underwhelming, but all in all, this is a quality beer, perhaps not the world beater that it's being tossed around as, but a very quality beer.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

New batch. 500ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours barely a head. Beer is pitch black. Lacing is stringy and sparse but with nice legs. Decent.

Nose is chocolate, molasses, honey, cocoa, and booze. Solid but pretty straightforward.

Opens chocolate, plum, and fudge. Very sweet. Molasses and booze emerge from the depth and combine with the chocolate and subtle dark fruit nicely. Finishes sweet booze and more molasses with just a touch of woodiness. Aftertaste of bourbon and fudge. Very enjoyable.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down warm and smooth. Messy finish with a lingering, sticky aftertaste. Very good.

Hill Farmstead's recent Imperial Stouts have been a bit lacking by their high standards. Very solid but the flavors need to smooth out just a bit in this one. I'd wait on this for 4-5 months.

Photo of alaimoa
4.93/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into snifter. Poured straight down the middle of the glass and got no head but a perfect brown ring of foam around the outside of the glass. Smells burnt brown sugar, coffee, bourbon, caramel. Very smooth with no boozy heat and initially a little too sweet but mellows as it warms
Overall as close to perfect as it gets and I'm surprised at some of the ratings of too boozy and hot. Maybe the month of waiting to drink has helped

Photo of justforrazors
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into HF stemware 10/5/13

A- Black with no light passing through. Decent 1/2 inch mocha head that fades over a minute to a ring around the glass. Impressive lacing.

S- Bourbon up front, followed by chocolate, cocoa nibs, and roast malt. Lots of roast malt. Some woody tobacco notes as well.

T- Follows the nose- lots of chocolate, coffee, roasty malts, followed by a nice amount of boozy bourbon and some oak tannins. Complex, interesting, very tasty. Not the best of the style, but very good.

M- Full body with low carbonation creeping on medium. Very tannic and astringent on the end- the booze (either the bourbon or the beer itself) really lingers on for a while, and not in the best way.

O- Maybe it was my high expectations from this beer, the effort it took to get it, or the hype-train behind Shaun's beers, but I was a bit let down. This beer is good, but not amazing. I love bourbon barrel stouts, and this was just lacking the vanilla flavor and decadent mouthfeel that I really love about the style. I bet this will get better with a year on it- right now it is just too hot with way too much roast malt astringency at this point.

Photo of SadMachine
4.8/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a viscous, used motor-oil black, with a finger and a half mocha head. Hello there beautiful! Good retention, but leaves very little to no lacing, probably due to the long time spent in the barrel. Very nice alcohol legs when swirled.

S- And hello there bourbon! Loads of vanilla, oak, chocolate, and booze! Hints of roast, grains, dark/sweet fruits (i.e. prunes/figs). Super complex, and damn near perfect! One detractor is there is a good bit of booze/acetone aroma that comes out as it warms.

T- The flavor is to die for! There are cascades of vanilla, chocolate, sweet molasses, and brown sugar that flow over the tongue. This is mellow, sweet, and complex. Dark fruits and roast play a strong secondary role, balancing and tying everything together. I would write more, but finding more descriptors is difficult, and this is so damn tasty I just want to drink the rest!

M- The mouthfeel is so thick, viscous, and velvety smooth! Light carbonation, some warming/soothing booze, and a dry finish. Perfection!

O- Overall this was just an absolute treat to have! I can't wait to see how my other bottle ages, and how DBD tastes!

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Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 582 ratings.