Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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

281 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 50
Gots: 73 | 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: 281 | Reviews: 48
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 jbwimer
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel aged caramel. A little more body would do wonders for this beer. But there are some great caramel/toffee/oak/bourbon notes to this beer.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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!

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 upton7418
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
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

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 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 Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Sean. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - White foam that settles to a thick collar, but no lace. Transparent amber body.

S - Lots of oak and whiskey presence, with some fruity quad and treacle in the periphery. The barrel-aging is a tad heavy-handed but this still solid.

T - Again, lots of whiskey and oaky vanilla, with notes of chocolate, treacle, red fruits, and estery yeast backing things up. Alcohol is reasonably well-hidden.

M - Medium body, lower carbonation, super dry and tannic texture, and mild alcohol warmth. Perhaps a bit thin for the listed ABV.

D - Solid stuff, but not something I'd be able to drink in large quantities. I wish the whiskey wasn't so overpowering. Executed well enough that I'm interested in trying other offerings from Hardywood Park, as this isn't the easiest style to impress with.

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 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 billab914
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Photo of bmeehan
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of siege06nd
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of Baab200
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage

Very thin on the finish, with only hints of barrel characteristics

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 StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

sort of a weird one here, dubbed a quad, im not sure it meets those specs. it pours a pink hued burnt orange color with just some suds along the edges. the nose is real sweet, real alcoholic, and real bourbon heavy. some figs and brown sugar as well, and a spice element. its pretty crowded. the flavor boasts a nice Belgian yeast, which is about as quad as it gets, the rest is punishingly sweet, under carbonated, and a little thin. it just lacks the depts. of a good quad, despite flashing all of that in the aroma. I taste alcohol soaked raisins too, which is the best flavor feature. thin on the body, unsatisfying in that way because it doesn't hold up with all the booze, which becomes too intense with all the sugar in the sweetness. a tough combination for drinkability, and when combined with not quite enough bubbles, it drags a bit. still though, an interesting release, and a beer that might do well with some age. thanks to drlovemd87 for exposing me to this oddball.

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 drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by someone at a recent tasting, thanks. Served in a ticking snifter for the purposes of ticking. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head of small and medium bubbles, no lacing, low retention.

Aroma is sort of bourbony, malty, syrup.

Beer is thick and sweet with a boozy finish, hard to drink, not very enjoyable. I don't think this will be a repeat for me.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.44/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

Photo of maximum12
3.42/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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.

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.