Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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

47 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
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 billab914
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker caramel color with a thin, spotty lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The bourbon is pretty noticeable in the aroma with brown sugar, oak and a little bit of booze. I get a pretty big sweet, crisp, apple juice like flavor to it as well as a touch of caramel. The bourbon is very nice, the sweet, crisp fruits felt a little overdone and sugary though.

The bourbon is the flavor that continues to shine for me in the taste. Again, I get a lot of very sweet, crisp fruits with apple juice coming through more up front as a little grape comes out in the finish. The dry, woody oak shines in the finish as well with a touch of vanilla to it. The Belgian yeast spice started to come out a little more as it warmed. The notes of brown sugar and caramel really mix well with the bourbon.

The mouthfeel feels a little too light and slightly watery for the style. Carbonation was a little on the high side, but very delicate and almost silky.

Overall I thought the bourbon flavors were fantastic. They managed to get all the really great flavors out of the barrel without much boozy alcohol at all. The beer flavors however seemed a little overly sweet and sugary to me with the lighter, crisp fruits being the focus of that component. I think it could have used a little more of a darker fruit character and a little more balance to the sweetness. I loved the bourbon flavors though. (1,450 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 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 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 Rhettroactive
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 rudzud
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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 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 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 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 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 DmanGTR
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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 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 DrinkSlurm
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
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 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 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 MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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 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 siege06nd
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a nice cloudy ruby color. A nic quarter finger of head emerges from the beer with some good lacing.

S. Vanilla, caramel, some dark fruit, bourbon, and a light earthy/vegetal kick.

T. Sweet cherry, brown sugar, caramel, lots of bourbon and oak, and some very sweet, bready notes. Base beer feels a bit thin and lacks the toasty, chocolatey character I expect from a quad. But the barrel aging is excellent, and imparts some lovely qualities to this.

M. Medium-full bodied with good carb level and some of the best barrel integration I have seen.

O. A good, but not great, beer. A barrel alone does not make a beer great, and in this case I think Hardywood's base beer is lacking in robust flavor: it drinks a bit thin. All the same, this is a quality offering and I encourage you to give it a tick if the opportunity presents itself. (849 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (585 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 wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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 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 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 alpinebryant
4.51/5  rDev +10%
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 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.