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The Hammer - Barrel Aged - Phillips Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

38 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 3
Gots: 4 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-16-2011)
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sclitch:
Photo of sclitch
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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 tight fizzy, puffy mocha head, which leaves a low ebbing wall of painted lace around the glass as it slinks away, under cover of, erm, 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 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.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of Rutager
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of mmurphy525
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

Photo of pudoo
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of ritzkiss
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of liamt07
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of ChuckGnarly
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of LampertLand
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Phillip's "The Hammer" Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout @ 8.3% , a 650 ml bottle , that's been in the cellar for only 10 months , needed to make room and review
A-pour is an oily black with a quickly dissapating small tan head leaving a minimal lace ring along the pint glass
S-mellow roasted barley malt
T-smooth tasting RIS , mellowed by the barrel aging perhaps , no alcohal bite
MF-low carbonation , viscous , should be full bodied (it's a bit thin) mellow on the palate
Ov-this one goes down easier than non Barrel Hammer , very much a smooth sipping beer , another yes

cheers LampertLand

Photo of DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of ericj551
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of IllNate
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the blackest beer I've ever seen. With a finger of mahogany head. Subsides quickly to lacing. Immediate impression of smoke in the nose. I would be surprised if this is due to the smoked oak entirely and I think it likely there is some smoked malt in the recipe. Along with the smoke come coffee, cocoa, currants and oak. The palate follows with cocoa, nutty coffee, smoke and currants. Mouthfeel is smooth and the alcohol is well hidden. Overall a great imperial stout. But I've had better.

Photo of Bottle_Conditioned
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark. Doesn't get much darker. 1/2" head with med bubbles. Head dies off to an 1/8", hangs-on.

S: Dark roast. A bit of vanilla.

T: Dark roast, vanilla, raisin aftertaste.

M: Carbonated, dark roast-burnt-sweet, alcohol dryness becomes apparent.

O: Have to give credit, enjoy a beer that can achieve strong dark-roast flavours without using... coffee. As with a few imperial stouts tasted; even if a bit of alcohol is apparent, still sneaky.

Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into tulip 8/2/12

A pours pretty dark right out of the bottle, there's a little cola at the edge but not much, a thumbs width of dark foam leaves a single ring of lace and a few spots afterwards

S bakers chocolate and milk chocolate somehow work together with a little coffee, molasses and charred smokey wood. the barrel has some effect but noting extreme and there's some faint booze

T much more charred wood and smoke then the nose, perhaps some nutty toffee, fairly earthy with just a little licorice and the booze is a little better concealed then the nose

M not as thick as one would expect from how dark it is, bubbles are there and help its cause, lots of wood on the finish

O good beer for sure and its already fairly mellow fresh, not the thickest BB aged RIS but respectable for sure

I thought this was a good beer but still missing something to put it in the elite class, that being said for a little over 6$ I might be buying a couple more of these to age

Photo of EskimoDave
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of 604growler
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of shagal
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

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The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.