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Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

50 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 50
Hads: 297
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 50
Gots: 79 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 50 | Hads: 297
Photo of Earpe
4.95/5  rDev +21%
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 (396 characters)

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
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. (700 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of canyouspell
4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bourbon Cru 2014 Release (bottle)

This beer is one of my favorites; boozy caramel and vanilla notes play together nicely with the cru. I believe they changed the bourbon barrels this year (in my opinion, for the better) it seems more vanilla-y than last years. My only qualm with this beer is the price; At $14.99 a bottle, I would think twice about stocking up on a bunch of bottles - but I'll always get it on draft if available. (432 characters)

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.62/5  rDev +13%
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. (644 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
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 (894 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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. (1,159 characters)

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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. (191 characters)

Photo of ao125
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is solidly one of the best beers I've had in 2012... and possibly ever.

Drank out of a plastic pint-sized cup, at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, in Richmond, VA on 6/2/12

The beer itself is a bourbon barrel quad, that appears to have been aged in A. Smith Bowman Distillery barrels - which can mean only one thing: Virginia Gentleman brand bourbon whiskey.

Appearance: Beautiful dark rust-colored maple syrup in color. A bit darker than what I would expect for a quad, but it hints at what you're going to find.

Smell: Explosive bourbon. Also vanilla and burnt sugar.

Taste: Did I mention bourbon? Bourbon. The malts turn this is into an easily drinkable bourbon beer. A tiny bit of Belgian "funk" on top of a really nice balance of traditional quad flavors.

Mouthfeel: My only argument against this beer is the mouthfeel, which is a little thin for my taste, but the thinness definitely makes this easier to drink than if it were closer to motor oil.

Overall: Wow. Find this beer. Lay a bottle down and drink one as soon as you're able to. I cleaned out the Whole Foods in Richmond, VA since the brewery wasn't selling bottles that day (though they typically do). This is a special beer.

I look forward to more greatness from this brewery. (1,257 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 cork and cage into a snifter, the beer is a deep, vibrant, ruby caramel coloring with a foamy, fluffy, off-white head that quickly settles out into a halo. Aromas of rich apple, vanilla, date, plum, raisin, caramel, toffee, almond extract, brown sugar, and subtle booze warmth. Very dynamic and layered nose. Flavors are rich and heavy forward, with a solid dose of vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, apple, and whiskey spice and warmth, with a backbone of old world fruit richness. Date, plum, raisin, and cherry all blend together to support the richness that comes forward on this beer, with highlights of wood spice, whiskey heat, plum, and grape. The body is big and robust, with a boozy slickness to it. The aftertaste is all rich, old world fruit sweetness, with a building warmth form the elevated ABV and bourbon imparts. The finish is spiced and warm, with notes of vanilla and bourbon lingering on past the smooth, slick, and slow transition across the palate. This is a damn good beer. (1,010 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft into a snifter. Full finger of fluffy tan head that quickly dissipated into the dark ruby reddish brown body. Definitely a quad/strong ale look to it. Smells of vanilla, raisins, plums, dates, dark fruit. Bourbon. Carmalized sugars maybe toffee. Taste is a little thicker than you would expect from a abbey/quad ale. Really complex mouthful of flavors with bourbon right upfront. Sweet. Smooth for such a high ABV ale. Sticky on the tongue. Love it though. A cascade of flavors really rounds this one out well. Another outstanding brew from Hardywood. One of the top quads. (593 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade and poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a deep dark crystal clear dark maple syrup amber grade hue with a one finger off white head that fades to leave light clouding and nice fluffy halo.

S - Aromas of loads of nice sweet bourbon, vanilla, and white oak. Nice malty sweetness and and more delicious vanilla.

T - Taste is just delicious. More vanillay bourbon so delicious so bourbon sweet. Light buttery oak but mostly vanilla oak barrels here. Incredibly faint dark fruit on the end that immediately fades to bourbon alcohol. So much bourbon here which actually cancels out most of the quad. Still, just delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated for the style to help keep this up off the mouth/tongue. Very tasty.

O - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer. The bourbon was strong, but I enjoyed that immensely. Delicious vanilla too. (877 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - 22oz caged and corked bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/ burnt brown with a minor 1/8th inch head, decent lacing.

Smell - Bourbon, oak, caramel malts, spices, grapefruit, cherry, sour notes.

Taste - At first sip the whiskey is noticeable but mild and smooth, mixed with caramel malts and spices. Vanilla, oak and a little sour flavor comes out. Hops provide minimal grapefruit bite. Added yeasts aren't overpowering, add some sweetness, along with some molasses and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel -Tongue gets the bourbon, malts and spices, where the palate picks up more sugars and fruity notes. The Aftertaste comes up very mild and bourbon flavored, but not alcohol strong.

Overall - Nice beer, not as alcohol influenced as the smell lead me to believe. Drinks more like a strong ale then a quad, lacking the sweet yeast kick that so many quads have. Alcohol is masked really well, making this really drinkable. Another great beer from hardywood. (957 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
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 (1,106 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (1,958 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a nearly clear dark copper with a little light tan head.
S: It smelled like rich coconut and milk chocolate, with some oak and toasted almonds.
T: It tasted like sweet raisins and toffee, with toasted coconut and oak. It had a clean mostly sweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with smooth natural carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a delicious beer. Not as much quad character, but tons of tasty bourbon. The finish was hot, so must be sipped. Age would likely really help. Fresh is still really enjoyable in small doses. (560 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
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 (1,191 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1.5 finger head with excellent lacing on a straight deep amber hazy body.

S: oak, bourbon, sweet caramel and toffee.

T: oak, bourbon, sweet caramel and brown sugar intermingle near perfectly. Vanilla, maple syrup and cola notes. Slight bitter finish.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: very good but very strong. Even for a 10 percent beer te alcohol is strong with the bourbon but this one makes it to your head even faster than expected. Many solid offerings from this brewery. (509 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
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! (627 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

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. (1,076 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown amber color with a small off-white head and little lacing

S-malt, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit

T-dark fruit, caramel, slight nutty flavor, bourbon

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, some alcohol presence noted

O-a well-made BBA Quad for your sipping enjoyment (277 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Rustico Alexandria in a tulip

A-Pours ruby brown, two finger beige head. Great lacing!

S-Aroma has big bourbon, vanilla, molasses, dark bread malts, dark fruit.

T-Taste is dark bread, dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, sweet bourbon finish.

M-Medium body and well balanced light feel on the finish. Good carbonation

O-overall a great quad with the bourbon. Very is to drink and the ABV can sneak up of you. (425 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (733 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.09/5  rDev 0%
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. (585 characters)

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.