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Bourbon-Barrel Aged Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale - Mystic Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon-Barrel Aged Descendant Suffolk Dark AleBourbon-Barrel Aged Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

52 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 52
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 11
Gots: 7 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Mystic Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
For this special release, Gordon's Fine Wine and Liquors shared a single premium bourbon barrel with Mystic Brewery in which to age our Suffolk Dark Ale, Descendant. Descendant is a unique strong version of an Irish dry stout that is made with molasses and then fermented in a rustic tavern ale style. The bourbon characteristic from the barrel aging perfectly complements the beer's dark malts and molasses. We hope you enjoy this preview of good things to come.

Kappy's Liquors has supplied us with a Bourbon barrel for release #2 of this beer, and it is only available at Kappy's. (as of 2/25/12).

(Beer added by: jedwards on 12-11-2011)
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Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to AndrewK for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Batch 003.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, earth, char, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some solid aromas and flavors but nothing really stands out about this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2013 21:27:04 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark color ale with a medium size foamy head with medium retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light bourbon notes with some light traces of molasses. Taste is also a mix between some molasses and other residuals sugar with some medium notes of bourbon though not as much vanilla as I would have expected. Body is a bit light for style with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad but I was expecting the bourbon to bring more vanilla notes and more of a creamy body which wasn’t the case.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2012 20:05:30 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Jason


3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a batch # on it.

LOOK: Dark brown with burnt amber highlights, thick sudsy mess on top that puts on a great display.

SMELL: Barrel juice, char, wood, yeast, toastet bread, fallen apples, mild carob, currants, chicory

TASTE: Creamy, smooth, slightly slick, boozy, brown bread, pulling wood, barrel char, vanilla, burnt sugar, toasted bread, coffee grounds, unsweetened chocolate, dry woody boozy finish

Bourbon steals the show, yeah the Descendant is the foundation and all but the barrel aging seems to be more of a replacement rather than an addition. So some flavors are a bit muted bit new ones are introduced. Not a bad thing.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 03:40:55 | More by Jason
Photo of jlindros


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been really excited to try this one, so this should be interesting.

Pours a nice fizzy looking darker colored 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with just a bit of lacing (I expected more lacing), with a super dark hybrid black/brown molasses colored beer with hints of ruby maroon light sneaking through.

Nose starts with the base beer, plenty of the earthy herbal root like nutty aroma, light biscuity malts, some brown malts, caramel, toffee, hints of a darker malt but not really roast or chocolate, slight herbal and earthy hops as well, and just a hint of a bourbon and oak aroma.

Taste starts similar, and not quite as nice as I expected. Again mostly base beer, herbal earthy root and nutty taste, little tangy even. Chewy base, hint of toasted brown malt, light caramel and toffee, but not much of any of those, and just a hint of a darker malt. Biscuity malt base, and hints of herbal earthy bittering hops, typical U.K. style hops. The bourbon is barely detectable, just a hint of it drowned out in the background, and a slight woody ester taste. Booze kicks in as well towards the end bringing much more booze than I expect for 7%. Finish is a bit syrupy but fairly dry, plenty of lingering herbal earthy hops, more of the earthy root like taste, some darker malts, and bit of booze, decent bitterness.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent carb, a bit boozier than it should have.

overall I'm a bit disappointed. I like the original beer, not a ton, but decent amount. The cab barrel really smoothed it out, but the bourbon barrel only really seemed to add booze as this is quite hot compared to the other versions. And no real bourbon addition except the faintest hints.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2012 03:02:11 | More by jlindros
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 05/06/12 notes. Big thanks to jslot38 for sending this one my way. Batch 3, 750ml bottle poured into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with two fingers of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, banana, spices, toasted malts, and some light cloves and fruits. Very malty and some definite bananas, though no bourbon.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, roasted malts, toasted malts, bourbon, spices, cloves, light bananas. More fruits but less banana then then the nose, and a tiny bit of bourbon in the taste. Pretty interesting.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Not hot at all.

o - Overall a pretty nice beer. No real bourbon in the nose, but some in the taste. I thought the barrel probably helped it lose some of the bananas from the nose, but an interesting, nice beer. Worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 01:45:57 | More by mdfb79
Photo of ppoitras


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle received as a gift from Pioneer Todd. Corked and caged, Batch 001.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed 3" of frothy head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Pillowy head falls ever-so slowly, with plentiful chunky lacing. Aroma is coffee and effervescent yeast spiciness.

Taste starts fruity, with earthy spiciness in the middle, and a moderate bourbon character to the close. Mouthfeel is a bit bubbly, and drinkability is alright. Flavors keep my coming, but the carbonation could tone back a bit.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 23:33:58 | More by ppoitras
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan.

The beer is dark mahogany with a half inch of beige head. The aroma offers toffee, malt, oak, tannins. The bourbon comes through more in the flavor than in the aroma. Wood and barrel characteristics emerge more as the beer warms. Fairly light in body. Overall, this was ok.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 22:31:27 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of rab53


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

10-02-2012 02:55:10 | More by rab53
Photo of Kelp

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

05-15-2013 04:45:19 | More by Kelp
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from mixylplik3, thanks again Matt.
Holy over carbonation, while nothing sprayed out of the bottle my glass was instantly filled with a dense tan foam and then eventually a dark brown liquid with ruby highlights. Smells of chocolate and vanilla atop earthy spice, burnt wood, and a hint of bourbon. The taste follows with a bit of caramel vanilla and chocolate drizzled atop some dark sweet fruits. Heavy bourbon flavor with charcoal midway through and a long lingering alcohol burn deep into each finish. Medium to thin body with an over the top level of carbonation and a sweet and hot mouthfeel. I'm glad I got to try this, but this is probably my least favorite version of this beer. The alcohol heat is a bit to present and the over carbonation continues to be a problem with this beer (all versions). Liked it, but didn't love it.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 22:59:24 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle - thanks to lubiere for this

Appearance - Reddish/brown colour with with an average size fizzy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, vanilla, bourbon

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and some roasted/toasted nuts. There is also a bit of a smokiness and some bourbon and vanilla. It ends with a malty slightly dry finish.

Overall - I didn't enjoy this one as much as the Cabernet version. It was missing the dark fruit notes. I also couldn't pick up on the wood/bourbon as much I thought I would have.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2012 17:42:19 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great bottle from jedwards. Batch 1 served in a tulip. Pours one shade shy of black with a three inch tan-colored head. Nose expresses buttery and vanilla notes. Taste reveals vanilla, lightly toasted dark malts, artificial sweetener and a trace of ethanol. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body. Carbonation is slightly gassy, but not overly so, with a trace of acidity. I wasn't sure what to expect from a BA Irish Dry Stout, but this was quite good. The nose was the best element of this beer by far; however, this beer goes to show that a BA beer doesn't need to have a lot of booze and a huge malt profile to be tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 00:04:22 | More by Jwale73
Photo of rudzud


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle of this with veotho. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

A - Pours a deep, dark brew with a one finger mocha head that fades to leave a thin blanket.

S - Where the hell is the bourbon here? This is remarkably similar to regular old descendant just much fainter. Very meh nose here, such a shame.

T - Again, this is like descendant just much fainter with a very, very light kiss of bourbon. Malty and slightly sharp/metallic.

M - Mouthfeel is pretty good. Creamy, smooth, but with a slightly sharp finish. Quite nice.

O - Overall this is a good beer but does not benefit all that much from the bourbon aging. Prefered the base beer to this.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 22:01:39 | More by rudzud
Photo of Dope


3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark brown pour with a big dense tan head. Retention is top notch, takes forever to fade away. Leaves only a small smattering of lacing around the glass.

S: Smells like creamy roasted malt. Milk chocolate and molasses. Some alcohol heat and a touch of oaky vanilla from the bourbon.

T: A little bit of roasted malt and chocolate up front but quickly overpowered by the toffee and alcohol of the bourbon. Equally strong bourbon aftertaste with lots of oak, vanilla and heat

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: Hmph. I really disliked the regular descendant, I felt it was really thin and watery especially. This isn't thin and watery but the bourbon is really strong. Pretty much dominates the flavors and has quite a burn to it in both the smell and the taste. It's like drinking watered down bourbon with a dash of a stout in it. Worst part is, it doesn't even taste like good bourbon. I poured it out.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2012 04:28:00 | More by Dope
Photo of oldp0rt

Quebec (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

08-25-2012 14:10:44 | More by oldp0rt
Photo of kaelingirl


4/5  rDev +4.2%

04-25-2012 20:11:32 | More by kaelingirl
Photo of inlimbo77


3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml, 2012 Batch 003
Tree House Brewing Co. snifter

A: Pours a dark reddish hued brown color. Almost cola like appearance in glass. Lots of carbonation. Huge pop on bottle. Two full fingers tight bubbled fluffy light tan head. Active carbonation streaming up.

S: Light toffee light notes. Almost nuttiness. Some side vanilla. More brown ale over a stout.

T: There are some good flavors here but it's almost over carbonated. Prickly. Up front you get almost brown ale like malt sweetness meshing with the vanilla from the barrel. Finish is fairly dry with some tannic notes towards the end.

M: It's on the fuller side of medium. Or full with high carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 13:54:06 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

08-21-2012 00:30:11 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch #3.

Pours mostly opaque black with dark brown edgework and a two-plus inch head of tan. A thick foam cap and tattered ropes of lacing throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with chocolate, char, vanilla, nougat, and bourbon. Hints of dark fruit and raisins follow through.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a somewhat lush mouthfeel. Lively but soft carbonation.

Dark chocolate, burnt apples, caramel, bourbon-soaked figs, and vanilla start the palate. Shades of oak, coffee, and charcoal follow through.

Finishes with lingering roast, bitter chocolate and light bourbon.

Interesting beer. The bourbon is very light and the beer is thinner, drier, and softer than the standard Descendant. The barrel aging has pushed this version even further away from the realm of stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 00:44:29 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of doremite


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

06-13-2013 20:42:58 | More by doremite
Photo of shehateme


4/5  rDev +4.2%

01-31-2013 00:45:16 | More by shehateme
Photo of jbertsch


4/5  rDev +4.2%

03-27-2012 02:37:39 | More by jbertsch
Photo of DelicateDelirium


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

01-13-2013 06:43:58 | More by DelicateDelirium
Photo of kevgod


4/5  rDev +4.2%

01-26-2012 00:58:10 | More by kevgod
Photo of silentjay


3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

similar to the traditional Descendant, a loud POP of the cork brings a muddy brown/black colored beer with a sizable khaki head that sticks at two fingers in height and laces well.

not picking up any bourbon character in the aroma. as with the original, I get lots of dark fruits, spice, fruit cake, caramel, molasses, a bit of chocolate.

the flavor starts out with the dark fruits and molasses, brings in a bit of smooth bourbon heat that is counter-acted by some spicy yeast. weird combination of tropical fruits, vanilla, chocolate, molasses, and spice. barrel fermentation and aging has a very subtle effect on this beer. without having it side-by-side, I discern just a bit more vanilla and oaky flavor components, while sitting behind the same base beer that remains dominant.

subtle, yet prickly carbonation on a medium bodied beer.

I don't understand classifying this as a stout. Belgian Strong Dark Ale is way more suiting. Still, there are better examples of either style. Tasty, yet unremarkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 05:45:28 | More by silentjay
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Bourbon-Barrel Aged Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale from Mystic Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.