Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

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81 Reviews
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Reviews: 81
Hads: 600
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 24.26%
Wants: 1,130
Gots: 102 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 600
Photo of starrdogg
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours black with almost no head and pretty serious lacing. Smell is a really nice mix of the barrel and the base beer. Bourbon comes through initially, but there's also a nice amount of roastiness in there as well. Flavor is really nice, the base beer is a very nice mix of roast and chocolate, and the bourbon/oak flavors blend with it very nicely to give it a nice sweetness and smoothness. Bourbon isn't super prominent, but still plays a nice role. Mouthfeel is medium-thick bodied and the carbonation isn't the issue I thought it might be after seeing the beer. Overall this a really nice Imperial Stout, I'm very impessed and another hit from Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for opening this one with me, Callemcoon!

(Aged for 1 year)

Bottle #8/864

Near black in color with a small, very dark brown head of small and moderately-sized bubbles. Leaves the glass oily and spotted on the way down. This looks moderately thick, though not quite as impressive in appearance as, say, a Speedway Stout or any stout from Cigar City. Pretty and appropriate.

Well-rounded, and balanced aroma of chocolate, mild roast character, complementary but not overpowering bourbon, and chocolate-covered cherry. What I'm calling cherry is most likely a bit of oxidation that's crept in over the last year. It all comes together quite nice, without being overpowering or overbearing.

This is unlike most big, bourbon-barrel aged stouts. This is a drinkable, well-rounded, well-executed, even delicate version of an often bold, expressive, in-your-face style. Well integrated layers of chocolate, mild bourbon, a bit of roast and oak, and again, just a tiny peek of a chocolate-covered cherry note. It all comes together quite nicely.

The hallmark of this beer, personally, is it's mouthfeel. Without being terribly thick, it's creamy, coating, and nearly full.

Excellent, and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to try it. Strangely...I prefer BCBS (fresh or aged).

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL bottle to Devil's Backbone glass on 5/5/12
*From notes

-- Another solid pull from the cellar of IrishColonial --

A: Unlike HF's BoT, this is broodingly dark in appearance. Rich bootstrap brown to almost black at it's core. A healthy pour yields a .5 finger head that leads to a decent collar and no real signs of lacing.

S: A bit odd at first. This really needs to warm, allowing the beer to open up and blossom. As it does, I'm overwhelmed with charred hops, rich dark malts, a splash of warm dark chocolate brownie batter and medium toast.

T: I get the feeling that the folks at HF really like their smoke, as this starts out a bit smokey - just as their Jim and BoT do. I'm also getting a good bit of earth and a solid bite from the hop oil. Hints of medium body red wine and their barrels linger around in my mouth, though I'm not sure if they used wine barrels. On the finish, I get some subdued, mature bourbon and hints of fresh oak.

M: Extremely rich and dense. It's not BCBS, but it doesn't have to be. Luxurious texture adds to the complexity of the beer. The carbonation is spot-on.

O: Another winner from HF, whose seemingly on quite a roll. Intricate and delicate, yet big and bold. My hats are off to everyone involved in Damon, as it really is unlike any other RIS I've encountered. Heartily recommended.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bottle 32/864. Much thanks to Cam for sharing this.

Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass, proper! Color is pitch black, a small tan head turns to a ring pretty quickly leaving some spots of lace.

Solid, enticing scent. Lots of chocolate, dark fruit (cherries), caramel, strong bourbon.

Taste is also very solid and balanced. Milk chocolate is maybe most prominent with some dark chocolate there as well, deep caramel, some dark fruit but tame compared to the scent. Good amount of bourbon presence, definitely there but well balanced. Not much oak or roast, comes off as pretty dessert-y.

Very smooth+oily, lowish carbonation, a bit of alcohol heat but drinks pretty easy for the ABV.

Quite delicious, not mind-blowing and on the simple side, but if you like well-balanced yet big cocoa/bourbon/caramel goodness this should satisfy.

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Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to IrishColonial for sharing a 500ml bottle of this with us the other night. It poured close to black in color with a thin, frothy tan head to it. The head quickly dissipated down to a thin ring of bubbles concentrating around the edges of the glass.

The aroma shows a lot of roasted, smoky and slightly burnt malts to it right off the bat. The bourbon is pretty reserved in it, but adds a little complexity to the background. There is also a little bit of a fruity, almost wine like quality coming out as it warmed A decent amount of alcohol shows in it, but not too bad.

The taste also has some bold, bitter, roasted malts with a touch of burnt smokiness to them. Again, it's pretty light on the bourbon but it does give it a little warming alcohol presence. I get some creamy sweetness adding some good balance to the dark malts. A little bit of a fruity, wine like character lingers in the finish.

The mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a very good beer. Great range of flavors to it and it comes together very well.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of funkel81
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

was uber excited to get to try this guy at the extreme beer fest last weekend. went back for seconds and thirds! hopefully i'll be able to get a bottle at some point.
anyway, it pours jet black with a small tan head. smelled just how a ris should...not too much bourbon on the nose which is fine by me, i like it to be present, but subtle. tastes great. again, not too much bourbon but enough to notice...lots of roasty malt character in this one. low carbonation, but it's from a keg so no idea how the bottles will turn out. this was one of my favs of the fest along with wide awake and gorilla warfare. bottoms up

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at EBF Saturday afternoon. Solid black color with an off white head. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Flavor follows the aroma quite well with a bit of a dry finish. Light body and level of carbonation with a sweet slick mouthfeel. Smells wonderful tastes pretty good but is a bit thin and finishes kind of dry. I’m a bit disappointed with this one because the other Hill stuff I’ve had has been exceptional. Maybe I can revisit this after the bottles come out.
I was able to try this again out of a bottle on 5/11/2012, thanks Matt. Pours a solid black with a thinnish tan head. Smells a lot of bourbon with chocolate, oak, vanilla, coffee, roast, and a hint of smoke. Flavor is big and bold with the bourbon and the alcohol that comes with it. Roasty chocolate and coffee with hints of vanilla and oak in there. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a chewy sweet mouthfeel. I certainly enjoyed the sample I had out of the bottle much better than at the fest. This is a damn good stout and I do love me some stout. Its a shame these beers are so hard to come by. My rating reflects my impression of the bottle version.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.19/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for sharing this bad boy.

Pours a dark brown, light black color with virtually no head at any point.

A nice aroma of bourbon and chocolate rises from the glass.

The initial taste is of dark fruit and bourbon. Moderate sweetness and a little bit of alcohol heat gives way to a difficult to find dark roast/dark chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel is moderately thick and viscous. The sweetness really coats the tongue, and there is no carbonation to help move things along.

On the whole, a very solid beer by Hill Farmstead. However, in a crowded BA Stout category, this falls just short of cracking the top tier for me. Perhaps a better carbed bottle would have made all the difference.

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Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
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

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours almost pitch black with a small tan head that fades into a wisp.

Smells of sweet bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and coconut. No one aroma overpowers the others.

Taste is similar. Starts out chocolately before showing some of the barrel characteristics. Coconut and vanilla especially come to the forefront and increase as it warms. Bourbon adds just a kiss of a boozy flavor to it, but isn't the main feature.

Fairly thick and viscous mouthfeel, something HF always nails on their IPA's and does so again on this.

Overall this is a very good beer, but hardly the mind blowing experience many others made me expect. I feel it could use some coffee or some other bitter roasted malt to balance it out more. There are lots of good flavors, but they are all on the sweeter side. Still good, but would probably shoot to being one of my favorite with a touch of balance.

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Photo of Luk13
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pour a dark brown-black, with mocha lacing. Aroma is decadent fudge, almonds, dates and prunes. Not your usual bourbon barrel imperial stout as it isn’t overly bourbony and leans more towards dark fruits and conforting alcohol heat. Not very roasted and coffee either. some dark chocolate and a slight roastiness. Very subtle and refine. Oily mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a Hunahpu snifter. Bottle # 723/864.

Appearance - Small khaki head. Not quite inky. Wispy lacing.

Smell - Tons of black patent malt. Light bourbon. A big oaky presence, more than the bourbon and vanilla.

Taste - Lots more barrel blends into the flavor. Bourbon is still light, but vanilla and caramel come out. Dark fruit flavor right at the front, which might be a byproduct of the alcohol and black patent malt. Lots of molasses. Gives it a bitter flavor in the back.

Mouthfeel - Bitter. Not really chewy, but easy to drink at this ABV. The molasses gives it a sweet flavor that implies viscosity, without it actually being there.

Overall - Second time having this it was significantly better than the first. I was also smashed the first time. It would be really good with more barrel presence.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
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!

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Photo of kevanb
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.01/5  rDev -9.1%
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!

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Photo of iadler
4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of jethrodium
4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to sideshowe for sharing. Bottle 281.

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears black and opaque in the glass.  Half finger dark mocha head that quickly settles into a lasting ring leaving spotty lacing behind.

Smokey, roasted malt aroma with subtle barrel integration.  Some toasted oak and subtle booziness with more of an oak and peaty scotch presence than sweet, boozy bourbon.  There a faint malt backbone with some smoke, dark chocolate, coffee bean and oatmeal but the oak and peat notes overpower things a bit.

Medium bodied with a nice smokey barrel presence that's nicely integrated into the dark malts of the base beer.  Smokey, peaty scotch flavor with toasted oak, ash, smoked meat and burnt malt along with subtle vanilla and dry oak.  This is countered by a balance of sweet and roasted dark malt flavors with hints of dark chocolate, toast, coffee bean and oatmeal.  Well balanced with a nicely integrated barrel presence, however, I'm getting more of a dry oak than bourbon flavor.  Complex with a well masked ABV that makes it easy to drink but there's something a touch off that i cant put mu finger on.  Still, an enjoyable beer that I'm glad to have tried.

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Photo of dmhurdle
3.99/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of AdamF625
3.93/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- flat pour and pitch black, seriously sticky lacing turning the glass brown

S-strong bourbon, oak, alcohol is very strong it almost burns your nose hairs.

T- charred bourbon, astringent bitter roasted malt, dark chocolate, scant vanilla.

M- little to no carbonation, syrupy, very hot.

O- First off I love the lack of carbonation and flat pour. It feels like you have a glass of quality bourbon in front of you. It's too hot, definitely a sipper. This heat masks some of the flavor of the beer but with time I believe this beer will come of age nicely.

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Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.