Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

48 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 48
Hads: 291
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 49
Gots: 72 | 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: 48 | Hads: 291
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)

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 StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
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. (981 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 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 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 Thorpe429
3.24/5  rDev -21%
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. (364 characters)

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
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 jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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 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)

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.