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The Hammer - Barrel Aged - Phillips Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The Hammer - Barrel AgedThe Hammer - Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

23 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 23
Hads: 47
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 7
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-16-2011

Smooth with oak and smoke notes, this special version of the Hammer is aged in Bourbon barrels, yielding a more mellow version of the Imperial Stout.
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Reviews: 23 | Hads: 47
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jerplamo
4.81/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, more weird Soviet-era workers' imagery on the label, with the beer name's font conflating the diacritics and alphabet of at least two different Eastern Bloc languages. All is forgiven, though, for the mention of 'roshambo' in the marketing spiel on the side.

This beer pours a completely solid black abyss, no highlights, no how, with two fingers of tightly fizzy, and puffy mocha head, which leaves a low ebbing wall of drooping painted lace around the glass as it slinks away, under cover of, erm, the dark.

It smells of strong roasted caramel malt, bitter dark chocolate, espresso, demerara sugar, and some mild, woody alcohol. The taste, up front, is more slanted to the dark chocolate than the caramel, but together, they add up to one big malty Ivan Drago punch to the palate; this is all quickly flattened out by a dry, toasty wood edge, aided and abetted by a strangely vodka-like booze warming, with some anise notes flitting about here and there.

The bubbles are quite reserved, but not entirely AWOL, and lend a hand in rendering a medium-full, silky smooth body. It all finishes nicely balanced, some sweet choco-caramel malt going the full count against the barrel's wood astringency and simmering booze heat.

Having the wood-treated version before the stock version of such a big beer is a bit like seeing the movie version before reading the book, but, hey, my bookstore doesn't carry the 'regular' Hammer. Mixed metaphors aside, I do rather enjoy this - while not as full in weight as one could imagine, that just means that you can put it away that much more readily, marveling at the various players vying for your attention.

 1,661 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to Matt for sending this to me for my bday!

A: Pours dark black, quite oily, with a small tan head with little retention and spotty lacing.

S: A little bit of coffee, some bourbon, molasses, a bit of brown sugar. The bourbon becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

T: Lightly roasted dark malt, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and a nice sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied (maybe a touch thin) with nice carbonation. Very little alcohol heat and extremely smooth.

O: Very nice beer, liked it very much. While the bourbon was present, it wasn't in your face like some other barrel aged stouts, but I still would have liked it to have been come through a little bit more.

 706 characters

Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stop ...Hammer time.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin, slightly bubbly, espresso foam head.

Smell. Beautiful roasty malts and vanilla and nice toasted oak. Smells really good.

Taste. Roasty malts and coffee, a hint of licorice with a nice vanilla, woody, and slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation

Overall. Maybe not the big sipper one would expect from the intimidating name, but a really nice stout that drinks easy and tastes great. The barrel flavours really improve on the regular version which is already good stuff!

 582 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma consists of vanilla and wood with some light dry roasted malt. Taste is also a solid mix of vanilla notes with light woody notes and some black chocolate. Body is below average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and quite enjoyable though a fuller body would have been better.

 409 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

A - Poured black with a thin layer of mocha coloured head.

S - Roast, bitter espresso and a hint of licorice. The nose doesn't even leave a trace of barrel.

T - Bitter dark roast, baker's chocolate, light licorice. The barrel presence shows up in the palate, but still takes a back seat to the base beer qualities.

M - Very light; watery. Carbonation is almost non-existent. Drinks more like a 5% porter than an imperial stout.

O - Disappointing. The mouthfeel was the big let down here. But the barrel was also more subdued than it should be in a barrel aged stout.

 584 characters

Photo of mmurphy525
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650ml bottle. Pours a typical blackish brown with little in the way of brownish-tan head. Nose has a little smoke and dark malt notes. Taste offers some nice sweet vanilla and coconut notes as a result of the barrel aging. Overall feels a little thin, more like a Baltic porter, maybe. Certainly not poorly made, just doesn't have the heft and booziness we've become accustomed to in this style.

 409 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 650 ml brown bottle. I haven't tried the original Hammer yet, so I'm at a bit of a deficit here when it comes to how this barrel-aging has affected or potentially enhanced it. However I'll assess it based on its own stand-alone merits.

Pours out an oily opaque black colour, with a couple finger's worth of creamy mocha head that retains to a thick cap.

Coffee, cocoa and roasty malt on the nose, a little bit of boozy sweetness, faint wood and herbal hops.

Light semi-sweet cocoa and mild roasty malt up front in the flavour, a character of cafe au lait develops in the middle, while things tend to lazily disappear into the finish, although some sweet vanilla-tinged whiskey is revealed into the aftertaste, and the vanilla coats the lips. Flavour comes across very light and mild for the style.

Mouthfeel is light for the style, rather thin with a silky smooth/slick texture, yet with moderate carbonation.

An easy drinker, that's for sure. Although I'm enjoying the vanilla notes from the bourbon barrel still coating my lips after the glass has been emptied, the impression of the actual ale itself gets more and more faint. Seriously mild for the style, which may help make it an okay entry level beer for those wishing to take baby steps, however doesn't quite live up to spec as advertised. Hate to say it, but this hammer doesn't have much force behind it.

 1,378 characters

Photo of pudoo
5/5  rDev +25.6%

Photo of ritzkiss
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle sent my way by the generous EskimoDave, I know these were not easy to come across - thanks! Had side by side with this year's regular Hammer.

Pours a dark brown, not overly viscous, finger of tan head which has some decent staying power.

Nose is much more mellow than the regular offering, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, hints of anise. A fair bit of toffee and butter but not outside of the borders of style guidelines. Lacking more than a mere hint of bourbon.

Certainly not on par with the bigger BA offerings south of the border. Wish there was more of the bourbon and the oak coming through. Much rounder, balanced body than the regular offering, dark fruits and roasted malts, vanilla, caramel, coffee, cocoa. A little thin for the style but the ABV is a little lower too, less residual sugar, light drying finish. Carb is low and smooth, nice.

Easy to drink, I enjoyed it. Wish there was more evidence of the barrel and a bigger, heftier base beer as well. As is, it's a nice drinker but nothing to rave about. Solidly made, another notch on the belt for Phillips. Hopefully they do more BA seasonals like this one.

 1,165 characters

Photo of papat444
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wordemupg for this one.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: Pours one of the darkest bodies i've seen in recent memory but the dark brown head barely makes it over a fat ring and dissipates a little too quickly.

Smell: Espresso beans, roasted coffee, vanilla notes, raisins. Doesn't let up and real nice.

Taste: Real strong espresso coffee followed by some baker's chocolate, very roasted with some creaminess, a bit nutty, hint of metallic finish at some times.

Mouthfeel: Tad high carbonation but the body is robust and drinkable. Finish loses a little as it warms but still solid.

Overall: Wished it had better head and retention because it would have ranked higher. Not complex but tasty and worthwhile.

 751 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from wordemupg, 650ml into a tulip.

Black with a light brown cap. OK retention, leaving a ring and some light retention. Nose has loads of chocolate, cocoa, oak, light bourbon but generally features a sweeter vanilla/oak character. Taste has chocolate, oak, mild bourbon, light roast in the finish. Sweet on the whole. Medium full feel, lower carbonation which suits this beer perfectly. Simple, but satisfying for a BA'd stout.

 436 characters

Photo of ChuckGnarly
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of LampertLand
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Phillips Brewing 'The Hammer' Barrel Aged @ 8.3% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for under $6 , that's been in the cellar for a year + this version , ('12/'13)('13/'14)('14/'15)
A-pour is a dark cola brown from the bottle to an oily black in the glass with a small tan head which is quickly dissapating leaving a lace film along the pint glass after every sip
S-mellow roasted barley malt , bourbon especially '14
T-way smoother than the original Hammer , mellowed by the barrel aging perhaps , definate bourbon aftertaste/bite ,
MF-low carbonation , full bodied , real big full body (cellar version)
Ov-a much smoother sipping beer than the original Hammer , not quite the best beer buzz ever , butt a damn fine one & by far Phillip's best beer !!
vintages sampled '12'13'14'15
prost LampertLand

 809 characters

Photo of DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of D_Min
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Svingjo
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The barrel aged version of The Hammer poured black like it's counterpart. I did find the head was more brown than the tan of the regular version. The head also stuck around until I finished the beer. The nose was much the same as the original with but slightly more vanilla up front to go with the wood notes. The flavour was rich and chocolatey, with vanilla and coconut notes. It was mildly carbonated. I believe I said the original lacked a bit of something on the mouthfeel, but this one hits it on the head. This was actually my favourite of the calendar so far.

 567 characters

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Ericbeech_87
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of sclitch
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Erik-P
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.