Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

280 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 280
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 52
Gots: 70 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: YumYumGumGum on 05-02-2012

Hardywood Bourbon Cru is brewed in the fashion of the abbey quadrupel, the grand cru of many of Belgium’s revered monastic breweries. Bourbon Cru displays a sunset orange hue with a substantial head and brilliant clarity after months of barrel ageing. The maturity and melding of flavors brought on by the freshly drained, half-decade old Virginia bourbon barrels from Fredericksburg’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery lends an extraordinary sense of harmony to Bourbon Cru.
Almond toffee and oaky vanilla aromatics give way to dark cherries, raisins and mature whiskey. A bit of plum flavor is greeted by caramel overtones and an assertive yet incredibly rounded body and a lingering, bourbon-laced finish.

18 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 280 | Reviews: 48
Reviews by mrterdferguson:
More User Reviews:
Photo of dwren89
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: orangey amber, hazy brownish color, thin residual off white head

Aroma; spicy/peppery Belgian yeast phenols, sugary sweetness in the malth, thick bready scent, orange and banana fruit whiffs, slight bourbon aroma

Taste: Belgian yeast character peppery and spicy up front, heavy breadiness, slight bourbon like alcohol burn in the throat on the finish, slight banana and orange fruitiness, sweet finish

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, full bodied, slightly vinous with noticeable alcoholic strength, medium carbonation

Overall impression: A comparatively less complex quad than the true Belgian Trappists but with some interesting bourbon notes that make for an interesting sipper. Much closer to an abbey quad than a Trappist style quad because of sweet finish.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.73/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Kinda cola looking, thinnish white head.

Rich and magnificent nose, vanilla and oak and lots of Belgian quad fruit.

The bourbon lends a bit of tang to this, traces of orange, plums, dates, and plenty of figs. It's truly a magnificent quad even fresh. A bit hot on the finish, but this came from the brewery just a couple weeks ago.

Thinnish, but with some cola-ish brightness. Not the best, but really I have to dig to find anything wrong with this.

It is absolutely all I could have hoped for from a bourbon barrel quad. I hesitate to say perfect, but then I say it anyway.

Photo of Treyliff
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml, bottled 9/19/12, poured into teku glass

A- deep amber in color with some orange and red hue, small fizzy white head dissipates completely after settling, leaving nothing behind. It looks like a little bit of oxidization has kicked in

S- huge aromas of sweet caramel/toffee/butterscotch malt up front, followed by aromas of maraschino cherry, toasted almonds, dried fig, raisins and fresh brown bread. The barrel aging gives big nots of toasted coconut, vanilla bean & barrel juice. Very impressive aroma

T- big malty presence up front with an emphasis on toffee and melted caramel, flavors of fresh fruited bread and fig kick in mid-palate with a subtle tartness of dark cherry kicking in. Toasted oak, coconut and vanilla bean close it out with a linger of straight bourbon

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel with am oily finish. Seems to have lost some carbonation over two years

O- two years of aging seems to have meshed the flavors brilliantly. The base quad gives lots of dark fruit flavors that mix nicely with the barrel notes, very well done

Photo of KYGunner
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%

The nose is very light but bourbon, malt, coconut cream, toffee and molasses can be found.

On the tongue is a light booziness, maple, an oakey malt, coconut and a slight honey candy. It ends with a bit of alcohol but it remains super smooth throughout.

Photo of n2185
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours a murky orange-brown with a finger of beige head that fades into a frothy ring with a little lacing.

S: vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon up front with sour and tart fruits. There are notes of pineappleand cocnut as well. Interesting, but good.

T: similar to the aroma, vanilla, oak, caramel, bright citrus, tart fruits, and bourbon. Light alcohol presence.

M: medium body and carbonation, this beer is surprisingly light for a bbal quad. Which is a good thing.

O: a good and interesting beer overall. I suspect an infection, but so far it's worked for the beer's favor.

Photo of Beejay
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From the 2012 release.

A: A deep red amber color, there is a small amount of off white head on the top, that looks soft, and slowly falls into the body of the beer, leaving a few fish eyes and a nice foamy halo.

S: Sweet raisins, caramel and maple syrup with vanilla and oak coming through. There are some nice dark fruit notes in the finish.

T: Bourbon is definitely there. Bourbon, oak and Vanilla start this guy off. Followed up by brown bread, some light toffee notes, and a hint of dried fruit. Finish is dark fruits and another hit from the vanilla/oak combo.

M: Medium light feel on the tongue, but as it goes down you can feel a little thickness to it, not necessarily syrupy, but on the way there. Carbonation is plentiful, but shy of the typical carbonation many traditional Belgian styles achieve.

O: Tasty. I would like to see a touch more of the barrel flavor, but the base beer is delicious, and the bourbon notes definitely pull it up into a higher level. Tasty, enjoyable, and dangerously quaff-able.

Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured on tap at Churchkey into a snifter glass.

Real nice deep red and dark brown body color, very clear too. Forms a nice light espresso and coffee tan head. Settles to a solid collar that always gets populated.

The bouquet on this beer is stunning. Huge classic perfect bourbon notes of caramel, charred oak, charcoal, thick and full and lucisious. It smells more like bourbon than beer, no hint of Belgian style or malt or even sucrose like sweetness. Very impressive.

As impressive as the nose is the palate just doesn't deliver. Light bodied and quite wet for a quad. Virtually no Belgian character to this beer at all. Ashtray like char and the sensations on the nose don't come out on the palate. Some light toasty oak chips and very grainy character with a weak whiskey heat. There might be some mild sensations of grape like fruit towards the end hinting there might be something Belgian to this.

Overall it starts out very impressive, but for a barrel aged quad this really let me down.

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to cw577enfield for this one!

Swampy ruby gold body with a half finger of milky tan head... great sense of lace.

The nose really caught me off guard, in a good way. Quadruples and bourbon barrels can produce a pretty overpowering nose on their own, so I expected this is really be strong. Not really, though... mellow sweet grains layered with honey and faint bourbon.

The heavy malts and bourbon both surface on the palate, but it's still surprisingly drinkable. Cereal sweetness, smooth bourbon, a bit of that metallic brown malt... velvety consistency. Nice.

Another tasty treat from Hardywood. Thanks Colin!

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful hazel appearance. Very clean translucent beer, with two fingers of barely off-white head. Minimal lacing occurred when served in a bar glass.

S - Ultra aromatic. Bourbon, oak, dark fruit. Bourbon is pretty overbearing but pleasing.

T - Bourbon, wood, pretty figgy, something more distinct maybe grape in the tart aftertaste. Blew me away when it was room temperature.

M - Good carbonation, should be great next year from corked 750ml bottle.

O - Very strong brew from a relatively new brewery here in Richmond. I got 9 bottles from the release and I am ecstatic. I was very impressed with the bourbon barrel-aged quad.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into tulip at Mekong in Richmond Virginia. Deep amber brown color with white lacing. Looks too light to be a quad but still looks good. Wow the aroma is fantastic! Huge bourbon and vanilla aromas with sweet date and caramel hints.
Same for the flavor...raisony caramel and vanilla bourbon flavors are dominant. Woody and boozey vineous finish. Its packed with flavor. Its very dry and boozey but really amazing sipper. Awesome brew and a style not often aged in bourbon barrels. ..but after having this, they should. Highly recommend this brew.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 750mL C&C bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to John & Eric for picking this up for me --

*It should be noted that this beer has been aged in Bowman Bourbon barrels

A: Surprisingly clean ruby in hue. A slow pour yields a .75 finger head. A thick, rich collar rims the beer. Minor lacing follows.

S: Pretty fantastic stuff. If you're a bourbon guy (or gal), then you owe it to yourself to check this BBQ out. Mounds of freshly toasted coconut, warm vanilla bean and a pretty hefty amount of bright red cherry and vine fruit. As it warms, I do get a bit of that Belgian yeast quality in the bouquet.

T: Some banana, Belgian candy sugar and a touch of rustic yeast. The Belgian influence here is right up front. But it doesn't own the profile, as it morphs into a certified bourbon bomb - a controlled, well put together bourbon bomb on the mid. Extremely expressive and wonderfully constructed. At no time did I feel that the bourbon or booze was too much, it paired beautifully with the base Quad. It finishes with a touch of residual sugar - maybe a gram or two at most. As it lingers in my mouth, I continue to get the coconut, vanilla, maybe even a hint of warm chocolate. Complex from top to bottom, and really God damn delicious.

M: Here's the one snag: the feel. Shockingly thin for such a big, bold and flavorful beer. The carbonation is proper and right on point. My issue is the weight. Not all BA beers need to be the consistency of used motor oil, but something a little bigger, a little thicker would make this Bourbon Cru even better. Mediocre body at best.

O: My biggest complaint about this beer (other then the mouthfeel) is that I drank my only bottle. This is a fantastic BA Quad - quite possibly the best BBQ I've ever come across. I'll be heading to Richmond soon to snag another couple of these for the cellar. Heartily recommended.

*Watch out for Hardywood Park, folks. Good things in the making.

Photo of MNishCT77
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle purchased at Total Wine & Liquors in Alexandria, VA; 2014 vintage; drank over an hour on share with my wife

A: 3/3 - deep orange-brown, pours with a frothy khaki head that persists as a one finger lacing, tight brown carbonation pouring off the bottom of the glass and collects in the head; large alcohol legs

S: 10/12: intense dark fruit, candied sugar, molasses, tobacco, whiskey and oak; alcohol is more muted than expected for 12% but present; no hops

T: 16/20 - on the front of the tongue, there is a moderate sweetness that evolves and is complemented by plum, raisin and stone fruit flavors followed by barrel-notes: vanilla, tobacco, moderate alcohol; although sweet up front, finishes moderately dry and welcomes additional sips

M: 4/5 - slightly hot but overall smooth, creamy and chewy; high carbonation; low-to-moderate drinkability

O: 8/10 - quavering between an 8 and a 9 but eventually settled on an 8 because I wish the drinkability was higher; I had Firestone Walker's Stickee Monkee earlier the same night and the drinkability was off the charts at an ever higher ABV; overall nice price point at <$15 bottle and worth drinking/trading for

TOTAL - 41/50

Photo of Thorpe429
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Matt for picking this up. Served in a cervoise. Pours a brownish color with a slight reddish hue. The nose has loads of sweet malt and just a touch of bourbon in the background. Mild dark-fruit notes,but nothing really Belgian about this. Flavor is similar. Too heavy on the sugar without much barrel and no notes from Belgian yeast. Medium body. Boring.

Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once again huge thanks to rudzud.

Big fizzy 1+ finger fizzy head fades fairly quickly decent lacing, fairly hazy cranberry chestnut reddish mahogany colored.

Nose big bourbon, vanilla oak, sweet molasses caramel like, the bourbon is ridiculous. Some toffee and light nutty caramel malts, little earthy grassy spicy hops as well. Then some fruits, dried dark figs and dates like little plum. Very nice.

Taste starts kinda sweet, caramel toffee malts, little toasty and syrupy. Then bourbon and vanilla galore! Nice sweet toffee bourbon, light oak barrel and vanilla, etc. Some candi sugar, toffee and caramel, etc with fairly sweet. Quad is somewhat background like now, with some fig, date, plan, etc, but the bourbon oak overpowers it. Light booze warmth and tingly even, some light esters from the booze with a light green booze flavor. Finish adds light bitterness, more quad flavors and dark dried fruits, some bourbon and vanilla, etc. Long lingering flavor, light sticky sweetness.

Mouth is fuller bodied, good carb for abv,

Overall quite nice. Malts are nice, hops add a decent lighter touch, and most of all the bourbon barrel really adds nicely.

Photo of CarolinaKev
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. Bomber into my favorite Westbrook tulip.  Nice ark orange reddish brown color. Smells of vanilla, apple and slightly sweet malt. Taste of vanilla, slight bourbon and sweet plum. Medium body lacking the spice of other Belgian style quads. Overall, very good brew from U.S. it has been in my fridge for about six months  waiting for cooler weather to enjoy. 

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +4%

Conjuring up new styles, trends and flavors of ale to take along on a slumbering bourbon barrel journey, Bourbon Cru takes a pitstop with the stronger, darker ale that are famed of the Belgian abbey.

Burnt orange with light garnet low-lights, the ale pours with a mysterious but charming hue. More creamy than bright, the ale layers with a rich lather to cap the glass. Medium intensity of aromas shed sweeter notes of hard candy and brown sugar while dried, dark and earthy fruit layer gently on the early palate.

Woven tightly into a creamy, dense, and doughy middle, the fruit and malt sweetness tie together to suggest fruit and spice cake. But with the rising balance of peppercorn spice and bourbon nuances, the sweetness is held in check and the raisin, cherry, apple and fig fruitiness begin to recede.

More creamy and warm than dry and spicy, there's a barleywine character to the lavish texture, but keeps the brunt of twelve-percent held in check. Peppery, bourbony and numbing on the tongue, the ale echoes with the whimsy of oak spice, vanilla and dry caramel.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to portable 2014 vintage enjoyed from a GBS flute.

a - brew pours a rich transparent sienna amber with a thin bubbly kind of creamy head that never fully left...a thin skin was always there, some spotty lace if that.

s - nose is rich caramel toasted plum. Really nice.

t/m/o - really complex and flavorful. Toasted caramel toffee with a thick glazing of raw bourbony vanilla oak. Rich, decadent, and strong wood presence. Very well rounded beer with a fantastic flavor. Surprisingly light and thin, but overall super tasty and although somewhat hot, the booze is well integrated for the strength. Worth seeking out.

Photo of stakem
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml poured into a tulip. The brew appears a clear mahogany color with a finger of off-white cap.

The smell is cheesy, sulfur, woody like oak and some bourbon infused booziness.

The taste includes a slight fruity alcohol aspect, caramel malt, oxidation and booze. The finish has some minerals and a slight citrus component.

This is a boozy sipper that is medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. Overall not bad.

Photo of brentk56
3.69/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2013 Release

Appearance: Pours a murky chestnut color with a layer of big bubbles capping; the head faded quickly though it did leaves a number of dots on the side of the tulip

Smell: Caramel, vanilla and Bourbon

Taste: The caramel base is complemented quickly by the Bourbon, oak and vanilla tones with almond developing, in the middle; after the swallow, just a hint of raisin appears but the finish is dominated by the Bourbon and oak

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: This beer is enjoyable and I would score it higher if it didn't claim to be a Quad, because on that mark it falls short; it tastes more like a barrel-aged English old ale; call it that and it would be in the 4 range

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at his tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy honey brown with a foamy beige head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same but slightly watered down with a woody finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and drinkable.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light clear chestnut color with a sticky lacing head that hung around for a while but was mostly around the edges.

S: Aroma of a sweet fresh bourbon oak barrel. Sweet malt and very light bourbon with a light belgian musky aroma. Vanilla and toffee.

T: The wood flavors are fresh and oily rather than aged or stale / Still green tasting in barrel. After reading the description a little clearer, I guess these barrels are only 5 years old. I kinda like this flavor added to a strong ale to be honest. Flavors of vanilla, green pear, purple plums and light toffee mix together for an interesting combo.

M: Medium body with light carbonation .

O: Overall, I enjoyed this pretty well. I have not had a ton of Cru's per se, but this is one of the more interesting that I have had. A Greenhorn barrel aged cru with notes of vanilla , toffee and bourbon. Definitely would have again

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.83/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter. Shared with a friend.

A- Pours a hazy medium orange color, with a touch of caramel and yellow highlights. The head is minimal, not lingering very long just long enough to settle into a ring around the edge of the glass that does not lace.

S- Sweet bourbon and vanilla right off the bat. Lots of caramel and oaky barrel aging aroma.

T- Follows nose well. Sweet bourbon, oaky, vanilla, flavors with a caramel aftertaste. Finishes remarkably smooth for a 10% ABV beer.

M- Full bodied creaminess. With a smooth aftertaste.

O- An outstanding beer that I would recommend to anyone who like or dislikes beer. Bourbon Cru brings a new depth to beer that is unparalleled.

Photo of Earpe
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not sure how you can get a much better bourbon stout than this.

Stout is awesome from pop of the cork until finish of the glass. slight chocolate taste with nice coffee hints. ABV is high, however it is not noticeable in taste. The stout is definitely one of the best. Loved it from beginning to end, only wish the cost was a little less.

Can't go wrong here if you are a bourbon stout drinkier

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL corked bottle poured in a stem glass. Another outstanding bourbon barrel series 2015 release. So well balanced and never overpowering the style they age it with. Smooth for the abv.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BJ for this awesomeness. Shared with a few friends at a beer tasting.

A nice, deep copper tone that kept quite clear until I poured the sediment in. It sported a light white cap that dissipated shortly thereafter. Very excited for the first sip. You can definitely taste the quad. A delicate front with notes of caramel and toffee, bringing forth a multilayered experience with malt, bread, vanilla, oak, and raisins. The bourbon accents the beer rather than dominating. Some may say that the bourbon is too light, but I found this to be a good quality of the beer. A bit prickly on the palate, had to swirl it a bit to reduce carbonation, but overall, a very tactfully crafted beer from a brewery that deserves attention.

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.