Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

47 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 47
Hads: 289
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 49
Gots: 73 | FT: 7
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: 47 | Hads: 289
Photo of uvachief
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
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 GarthDanielson
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
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 bmeehan
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good ass beer. It's not on par with Allagash's Curieux, but it's a great bourbon aged beer. It's got a vanilla aftertaste, which is easy on the tastebuds, but not extremely pleasing because it kind of tastes out of place, but it's a good product overall. (264 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.42/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Moses_Malone for this bottle; after having regular GBS, I wanted more, & here it is. 750ML corked & caged bottle with classy, parchment-and-black-ink label split with my wife.

The pour is clear pine sap amber with a low-hanging head that’s quickly parted from the body; now it just looks like a light glass of vino. The nose is quite nice: coconut, vanilla, light powdered sugar, with an undercurrent of Charon. Which I hope I never experience in person.

Bourbon Barrel Cru is a gulpin’ Cru. Sweet, sweet candied sugar coats the beer like a smooth liquid shell. Underneath that gum-receding shock is light vanilla, creamy caramel/toffee combo, pink bubblegum, peppery hit from the yeast (?). Bourbon? Hardly present in the taste, but as a warming afterglow. Supremely smooth, which is its best feature, but with a skimpy, scrawny body. Drinkable as all get out, but I like sugar-water.

Despite my many descriptors, this is a beer that doesn’t light up the radar gun. The combo isn’t dull, but it’s…not terribly interesting. Just sweet & easy-drinking. Pretty good brew. (1,103 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on 2015-05-30 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge on tap

A - Clear mahogany

S - Mild caramel and bourbon

T - Sweet malt vanilla coconut

M - medium body and light carb

O - very tasty. Balanced. (202 characters)

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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 BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

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. (1,076 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%

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. (253 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (633 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
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 canyouspell
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
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 Pencible
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 upton7418
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

bottle poured into a glass

A-Pours a dark caramel brown, light head the disappears quickly

S-bourbon dried fruit very sweet.

T-Taste is bready, dried fruit dates raisins, caramel, sweet bourbon finish.

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

O-overall a great quad without an overbearing bourbon flavor. good beer

Serving type: bottle (379 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.18/5  rDev +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 Beejay
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (1,025 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.69/5  rDev -10%
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 (731 characters)

Photo of Earpe
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
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 Axnjxn
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle into a snifter.

pours a dark brown with a nice head. smell is kind of light on bourbon and sweet . taste is terrific with caramel, candy sugar and slight bourbon that compliments greatly and doesn't overpower. medium bodied, low carbonation. ABV very well hidden.

overall a very impressive quad! (309 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a reddish brown with minimal head. I do pick up traces of plum and raisin as stated on label, but mostly pick up an oaky, boozy aroma replete with caramel, toffee and black cherry aroma. I did find this beer boozy at first, even a little heat, but it mellowed as I sipped and sipped. Touches of tart cherry, sticky caramel, toffee, possible vanilla and raisin, smooth, fuller body thanks to the barrels, overall a good beer but not something I would label quad, at least not in the traditional sense. Nonetheless an enjoyable beer that is a pleasure to relax with. (571 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
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. (1,001 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. Because nothing says a hot summer day like a barrel-aged quad.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color. The head is a one finger off-white shade that starts off looking rough, but becomes smoother as it recedes. It retains a thin collar around the edges of the glass quite well, and tries to leave slight lacing on the glass.

S: There isn't a huge oak character here, more of a general bourbon note - still, it's presence is very welcome. I actually pick up more in the way of milk chocolate and hazelnut than I do typical dark fruits. However, they are there, if not as bold as I'd like them to be. Good aroma, but I expected more.

T: Bourbon opens the flavor profile quite respectably. After that...to be frank, I'm not picking up a whole lot. I think the problem is that apart from the bourbon character, the other flavors blend too much, harming its distinctive complexity. The finishing flavor is far more nutty than fruity, or even caramel-y. I don't note much of an oak character, either. I'd say it's closer to an English barleywine than a Belgian quad. Still, I love how it isn't remotely harsh. In this barrel-aged world, I can safely say I've had a few non barrel aged 10%'ers that were boozier than this. Still, I wish it had SOME depth to it - it's getting a little boring drinking this.

M: This one is pretty dry on the back end. Really dry, actually. It's also rather clean (for a quad) as well - giving it good drinkability and roundness at the cost of reduced decadence and flavor. That's actually this beer's best feature; in spite of the bourbon presence, it could honest-to-Slaanesh pass for a 7% brew. Even as it warms up, the alcohol presence is well hidden. Good carbonation helps drinkability, too.

O: This does an excellent job of providing bourbon qualities without the heat. As a quad, though, it's not very successful. There isn't much sense of complexity or boldness. But you know what? I like it to an extent. I won't have much trouble killing this by myself. (2,018 characters)

Photo of dwren89
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (775 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
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)

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.