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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

36 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | 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: 36 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shagal
shagal

Alberta (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

05-04-2012 20:03:39 | More by shagal
Photo of IronDjinn
IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 12:29:17 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of mmurphy525
mmurphy525

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

02-28-2012 17:12:45 | More by mmurphy525
Photo of CookstLiquor
CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 03:24:50 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of ZachT
ZachT

British Columbia (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Black as your mother's soul, three fingers of thick, dark amber head
S: Malty, smokey, rich vanilla and subtle fruitiness, strong alcohol presense, get a wee bit of oakish notes in the background
T: Very rich and smooth malt flavour, hints of vanilla, slightly smokey oak flavours, leaves a rich, bitter but malty flavour behind
M: Medium-heavy body, smooth, but not as smooth as other barrel-aged beers this season, nice bitter-sweet finish
O: Really nice imperial stout, not as harsh as other similar styles, quite drinkable, the barrel-aging adds a nice complexity compared to the regular Hammer version. I had very high hopes after trying the regular version, and although this was a fantastic brew, it wasn't quite as "exceptional" as I was hoping. But still a damn good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 03:51:43 | More by ZachT
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 16:55:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of ritzkiss
ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 15:55:45 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of 604growler
604growler

British Columbia (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

03-06-2013 14:03:57 | More by 604growler
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

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

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 06:20:27 | More by wordemupg
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 19:43:46 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of IllNate
IllNate

British Columbia (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 03:08:25 | More by IllNate
Photo of DaveJanssen
DaveJanssen

Germany

4/5  rDev -1.2%

02-07-2012 03:57:58 | More by DaveJanssen
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.2%

12-23-2013 03:42:29 | More by Derek
Photo of EskimoDave
EskimoDave

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.2%

11-21-2011 03:34:33 | More by EskimoDave
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager in a recent trade. Thanks again for the brews man!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, mocha colored head with decent retention. Head quickly fades to a faint wisp and ring. Jet black body with almost zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Roasted malts, dark chocolate and whisky notes. Vanilla, sweet cream and iced cappuccino in there as well. The whisky is bold enough and works well with the light coffee, cappuccino and chocolate aromas. Really nice stuff.

TASTE: Roasted notes, with some wisky and vanilla flavors up front, then dark chocolate and coffee at the swallow. Milder but lingering finish of iced cappuccino, coffee, dark chocolate, and then some whisky, vanilla and sweet cream from the barrels. The barrels are mild, but the sweetness works and makes it taste like a desert beer. Easy to drink as well.

PALATE: Medium, lighter body with a touch higher amounts of carbonation. A little light on the palate, but creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry. Could be a little heavier and mouth-coating for the style, but passable.

OVERALL: A really nice beer for sure. The nose was fantastic on this one, but the flavors would need to be a little bolder for top marks there. Moreover, the palate needs to be a touch bigger to help carry the flavor a bit more. In any case, this is a good beer that's well worth the effort. Thanks again Rutager. Another good Phillips beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 19:46:14 | More by Jeffo
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: roast, molasses, sweet, malts

taste: molasses, sweet, roasted malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body

overall: very nice well balanced imperial stout. didn't get much flavors from the barrel but still was enjoyable.

Cheers,
The CPJ

Serving type: nitro-bottle

07-03-2011 14:55:31 | More by THECPJ
Photo of schopenhauerale
schopenhauerale

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1.2%

02-12-2012 09:02:38 | More by schopenhauerale
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 21:29:37 | More by biboergosum
Photo of DaftCaskBC
DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

A: 1/2" brown head that dissipated quickly over black liquid.

S: Toffee, coffee, roasted malt.

T: That string bean/peanut malt flavour similar to the flavour of the malt in the Trainwreck Barley Wine came out first. There was some toffee, coffee and roasted malt as well. The oak of the barrel is lost in the taste of the other malt, as well as other flavours the barrel may have influenced.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: Despite the great appearance, again I am disappointed with the flavour of the malt that is used by Phillips. A number of their beers are so close to being great beers, that unfortunately this aspect keeps them back. I am no brewer, so I don't know if it is the malts they use or part of the brewing process; but if they changed this one aspect their beers would be much, much better.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 01:31:26 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of papat444
papat444

Quebec (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 11:08:18 | More by papat444
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 15:50:23 | More by liamt07
Photo of Rutager
Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

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!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2012 14:13:39 | More by Rutager
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I will start off by saying I can't say that this is 100% honest review as unfortunately the bottle I bought was not sealed properly. I laid this down in my fridge and when I opened the fridge several hours later, a small pool of stout had formed on the shelf and their was dried up foam on the neck of the bottle. When I poured this the beer was still carbonated so it should be good...but I can't say for sure that this is fresh....

Identical in appearance to The Hammer. As to be expected. Coffee, dark chocolate and brown sugar scent. Slight whisky (bourbon) scent. Almost like on of those liqueur chocolates.

The bourbon scent is kind of lost in the taste...taste very similar to what I remember of The Hammer, but with a very very faint bourbon presence. A little bit bitter - the bourbon barrels maybe - but definite chocolate and coffee.

I'm rating this the same for mouthfeel as I did for The Hammer because although this is light and thin, I did have a faulty bottle and hence can't say whether the thin mouth feel is the beer itself or the fact that, at some point, this started leaking pressure.

Like The Hammer, this is a very tasty and very enjoyable beer. I really hope to grab another bottle that's sealed properly.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 07:35:03 | More by BDTyre
Photo of Converge
Converge

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into a 13.5oz tulip. This will be my first barrel-aged imperial stout, so if I end up going nuts over what is considered a somewhat mediocre BA RIS, that might be why.

A - Pours pitch black and extremely viscous, with a big rocky head of brown foam that dissipates quicker than I would have liked and doesn't leave much to look at on my new tulip. One of the darker beers I've ever seen, for sure.

S - Big, dark and roasty. Roasted malt upfront, with some smoked malt, resinous earth, and oak. Not as much coffee as I had anticipated, but more-so sweet with cocoa and dark chocolate. Rounds out with hints of anise, vanilla and molasses. As it warms a bit more I start getting some fruity notes, with raisins being the most prominent.

T - Opens up big and dark, with roasted barley and lots of dark malty goodness. Cocoa powder and dark chocolates fill the mid-palate, giving it a short lived sweetness, before it opens up to a long-lasting finish of smoke, roasted malt, oak, anise, vanilla and a touch of molasses. Roasty bitterness and subtle coffee grounds lingers long after, along with a touch of alcohol warmth. While this beer boasts an undeniably big flavor profile, and offers a variety of flavors and respectable complexity, it feels a bit underwhelming overall.

M - Thick and full, with low carbonation and big body, keeping it nice and smooth. This one also wastes no time getting sticky on the lips, but doesn't feel syrupy or oily at any point. I expected a bit more bite at the back of the palate on this one, but it feels smoother this way.

D - I don't have a witty metaphor like biboergosum to justify why I'm drinking the BA version of this brew before the stock one, but my reasoning is the same; I've simply never seen it. So it should go without saying that with no prior experience with BA stouts, and not having tried the original Hammer for reference, I have little context when it comes to these ratings. That being said, I still found this one to be a bit underwhelming. It definitely lacked a certain bite I was anticipating. Overall it was still an excellent beer and one I hope to try again.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 01:17:57 | More by Converge
Photo of Bottle_Conditioned
Bottle_Conditioned

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 04:15:01 | More by Bottle_Conditioned
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The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.