The Hammer - Barrel Aged - Phillips Brewing Company
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
3.3/5 rDev -18.5%
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.
02-12-2012 12:29:17 | More by IronDjinn
4.03/5 rDev -0.5%
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.
02-11-2012 21:29:37 | More by biboergosum
3.95/5 rDev -2.5%
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
02-09-2012 06:20:27 | More by wordemupg
3.98/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
07-10-2011 19:43:46 | More by mdaschaf
4/5 rDev -1.2%
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.
07-03-2011 14:55:31 | More by THECPJ
3.73/5 rDev -7.9%
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.
03-10-2011 15:55:45 | More by ritzkiss
British Columbia (Canada)
4.1/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
01-16-2011 07:35:03 | More by BDTyre
The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.