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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

557 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 1,052
Gots: 102 | FT: 13
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: 557 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jethrodium
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle generously shared by scottfrie. Thanks Scott. Pours a dark black with just a bit of light coming through at the edges. A small tan head settles to a ring and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is lots of bourbon, vanilla, oak, quite a bit of chocolate, and some light coffee. The taste is sweet with quite a bit of bourbon, some vanilla, a bit of oak, and lots of rich chocolate. There is also a light nuttiness. The finish is sweet with more rich chocolate and some oak and a light alcohol presence. Medium body. Low carbonation. Solid beer. Really rich.

Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, #419/864. Thanks a ton for sending this, SneezyAchew.

A: Pours black with raisin highlights around the edges. The head is thin and deep brown.
S: Licorice comes through along with nutty and smoky notes. Caramel, roasted malts and toasted coconut come out as it warms.
T: Rich chocolate, black licorice, toasted grains, slight caramel and toffee with smoke and a bit of warming booze in the finish. Bourbon and some chocolate fudge sweetness fill the aftertaste, which lingers long after the swallow.
M: Super smooth mouthfeel, velvety carbonation that bubbles up in the finish. Full body, smooth warming booze that isn’t too hot or distracting.
O: An extremely rich sipper. One of the richest and longest lasting aftertastes I’ve had. Definitely split with some friends. Thanks again, Michael!

Photo of cbutova
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second bottle I have consumed, getting the review in.

A- Poured into both Hill Farmstead stemware glasses, mine being the snifter looking one. Pitch black all the way with a nice dark mocha tan head. The cap forms to a finger in size with a bubbly texture, retention is good for barrel aged. A few legs and lace spots.

S- The nose is somewhat dissimilar from the flavor, which will obviously come later. Aroma mostly consists of the great whiskey barrel: smoothed out Bourbon whiskey, great vanilla and toasty oak. Some cocoa and alcohol to finish.

T- Cocoa really steps up to the plate, like luxury chocolate melting on the taste buds with some great dark cherries thrown in by the yeast. The cocoa and fruits are well off with the barrels they resided in. Notes of whiskey, vanilla, caramel and oak wood balance it all out with just a tad of alcohol.

MF- Lower end carbonation but that is very appropriate for a 10% bourbon barrel stout. The body is rich, thick and somewhat creamy. A nice alcohol warmth supports the flavor well.

The flavor ends up reminding me of a brownie made with bourbon soaked cherries. The cocoa presence is rich and really works well with the bourbon flavor present.

Photo of jegross2
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BEER REVIEW #300!

Reviewing the infamous Damon from Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Vermont. Hill Farmstead quickly became one of my favorite breweries this year, and Damon solidified Hill Farmstead's place in my top three.
Score: 98

2011 vintage (batch 1), bottle #471/864. Black wax. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 06/06/12.This beer was consumed the night before being sworn into the Wisconsin state bar as a celebratory libation.

Appearance: Pours the color of motor oil with a thin brown layer of head atop the beer that quickly settles to a mocha-colored ring around the glass. Oily lacing, minimal head and decent retention. The beer looks visually imposing enough at 10.5% ABV. 4/5

Smell: Ample notes of raisin and complex chocolate coat the nose. There's milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate and even some fudge as the brew warms. There is also bourbon vanilla and fig present too. Absolutely awesome nose. 4.75/5

Taste: Smooth bourbon, raisins/figs, fudge and milk chocolate throughout with a nice vanilla flavor in the middle. The vanilla sweetness yields to a fudge flavor towards the finish, though the aftertaste is more of a creamy milk chocolate flavor than fudge. Residual notes of wood. Some sweet maltiness comes out as the beer. Smooth and without booziness. The balance and integration of the flavors here is absolutely superb, almost seamless at times. The flavors are almost too complex and integrated to pin down. Needless to say, this is is a decadent digestif! 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, minimal carbonation. Super creamy mouthfeel. Mildly dry finish with a rich milk chocolate aftertaste. 4.5/5

Overall: One of the best beers of the year; this one truly lives up to it's hype. My only wish is that I had another.

Recommendation: A top notch barrel aged imperial stout that is absolutely worth seeking out. Even casual beer drinkers should be able to revel in the flavorful, unboozy complexities of this big brew.

Pairings: Fresh mint ice cream.

Cost: $15 for a 500 ml bottle.

Photo of iadler
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Immobilisme for bringing this to our tasting last month. I've been wanting to try this for a while. From notes. Bottle #139/864.

A- Pours a pitch black with a small mocha head that leaves minimal lacing.

S- Plenty of bourbon upfront, oak, roasted malt, burnt caramel, dark chocolate and a hint of smoke.

T- Bourbon hits right away follow by roasted malt, oak, burnt caramel, dark chocolate, smoke and a bit of ash.

M- Light to medium carbonation that finishes fairly hot.

O- Somewhat disappointed as this was just too hot at the moment and not nearly as complex as the other stout offerings I've had from HF. This definitely needs some more time to mellow. It's a bit rough around the edges right now, but with the bourbon mellowing some and letting some of the other flavors shine, I could see this being quite good.

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with a small tan head. Very roasty with plenty of dark chocolate. A mild vanilla note, some bourbon, and a bit of oak. The flavor is heavy on the roast and is mildly bitter. Some bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Dark chocolate, a bit of ash, maybe some dark fruit notes as well. Good, but not amazing.

Photo of AutumnBeerLove
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of Urbancaver
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jesus this is an amazing beer. Tried it only a few days after RARE DOS from Peg's... the most similar beer to RARE DOS I've ever had. Amazing mouthfeel. The aroma and flavour can only be described as perfect. A masterpiece from Shaun and one I'm looking forward to having again

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of ErrandWolfe
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of marine1975
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Pete27lax
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Devi0us
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Sean9689
3.78/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Perennial.

A - Pours black, mocha-colored head, wisps, thin collar.

S - This is a Blanton's/bourbon bomb straight away! After the huge booze, there's roasted malts, chocolate, light bread, caramel, oak, very subtle hops, and burnt sugars. The booze flairs my nostrils...woah.

T - I think this beer needs to additional cellar time to lose some of the booze. The palate offers lots of bourbon, oak, chocolate, light vanilla, caramel, and toasted malts. The alcohol is very noticeable, which detracts from the rest of the beer. Finish is chocolate and booze with light oak. Really more like 3.75 here.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, rich, creamy finish.

O - While I like this beer, I want to like it more. I think another 6 months to a year of additional cellar time will do this beer some good. I will revisit then and update when I have it again. Right now, I suggest holding your bottles unless you really want a bunch of alcohol with your RIS (which some people prefer).

In summary, good now but is destined to be great in the future.

Photo of afksports
3.4/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This reminded me a little of Bell's Black Note. In that they are both hyped barrel aged imperial stouts that underwhelmed. Body was slightly thinner than expected, alcohol was hot and up front, but way boozier than 10% abv should be. Cheap quality bourbon vanilla taste without rounded molasses notes. Sugars found in the middle were syrupy and wet, although there was a nice chocolate component present. Finish didn't carry the roastiness you'd expect from the middle of the taste. But probably the worst was that the booze was overwhelming and clouded by oak, ash and carbon.

Worst part, those pieces - oak, heat, bourbon, stout base, weren't integrated very well. Maybe this was sitting in a hot place before we opened the bottle? I'd tend to give the brewery the benefit of the doubt, based on the tremendous stuff they've put out before.

And that said, for all the negatives, Damon still drank as a solid beer. It did the style adequately (despite the oak), and I'd quaff it again. Especially on tap. But when there's shelf stuff like Oak Aged Yeti available that tops it, I'd only drink Damon as a local find, not as a must-seek "gem".

Photo of Knownfactor
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brown to a light black in color with small carbonation barley a finger head.

S- This baby smell of the finest bourbon in the world with fresh smell of vanilla and oak tannins even a slight of roasty scent.

T- Aww pure heaven with the flavors of good bourbon , vanilla , honey and caramel that so sticky goodness. Even had hint of light milk chocolate taste in the aftertaste.

M- This have a nice smooth to velvety goodness that just wraps around the tounge and just clinging on every minute.

O- This is one hell of beer. IMO it ranks with the best and should climb the latter pretty fast. This is a must try beer. Cheers....

Photo of Kelp
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of mdillon86
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Jeffo
4.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was lucky enough to get a couple bottles of this, one from jedwards and the othe from jbeatty. Thanks heaps gents. I thought I'd take the HF challenge and drink them both on the same night. What a treat / mistake that was...

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter.
Vintage 2011
Bottle 451 of 864

APPEARANCE: A sludgy black, thick pour yields a small, tight, tan head with very good retention. Head fades to a good wisp and ring. Pitch black in color with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and ring remain until the end and leaves dots of lacing down the glass. Thick and nasty looking. This is a black, black, thick, evil looking stout beer.

SMELL: Big nose on this one for sure. Roasted malts, dark chocolate and lots of bourbon barrel. Oak, vanilla and milk chocolate in there, as well as touches of toffee and molasses. This is phenomenal, though perhaps a touch more base beer is needed for a perfect score.

TASTE: This is a perfect score. Period. Roasted and caramel malt up front, with lots of bourbon barrel at the swallow. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk choclate with some bitter dark chocolate and toffee sweetness as well. Big, bold and lingering aftertaste of bourbon barrel, bitter dark chocolate, sweet molasses and roasted flavors just doesn't quit. This is phenomenally ballanced and absolutely decadent. Love it.

PALATE: Full body, thick and heavy on the palate, with lower levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a bite at the swallow, though well measured, and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers. Could be a touch smoother, but it's full, heavy, and plenty dominating.

OVERALL: Well, I hate to say it, but this is perhaps the best barrel aged imperial stout to have ever crossed my lips. I can't imagine it getting any closer to perfection than this. A massive, evil look, a wonderfully bold and balanced nose, flavors to write home to your mom about, and a heavy and meanacing palate to boot, this is just a nasty beer that every BA stout lover should get to try. Actually, since I would love to get more of it, forget everything I just said about it. Nevermind. It sucks. Thanks again gents! Send more asap. I am thirsty.

Photo of bpfrush
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of brystmar
3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by a generous BA at our tasting last weekend.

Aroma boasts dark, strongly roasted malts (almost burnt) with subtle notes of bourbon. Hints of chocolate in the background too.

Starts off roasty but gets immediately blindsided by booze and, to a lesser extent, bourbon. Chocolate tries to save the day towards the end, but the alcohol prevents it from finishing cleanly. A touch ashy overall too.

Truly surprised at how messy this stout was. If memory serves, my two pours of it on draft at EBF were considerably better and more balanced. Booze character then wasn't the sore thumb it's become in the bottle. *Generously* rating it 4.0 on taste because 1) I recall my EBF pours being quite good, and 2) time might smooth these rough edges.

Our 9-person group's opinion on Damon was (surprisingly) unanimous: this is a hot mess. Bourbon isn't integrated well, nor is the booze character. A tremendous disappointment.

Still, Damon's a decent RIS overall, though it falls far short of my expectations from Hill Farmstead. Founders Imperial Stout truly is a better beer right now, but that could easily change in a year or so.

Photo of eawolff99
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of thstevens12
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.