Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

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

280 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 280
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: 280 | Reviews: 48
Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +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

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 n2185
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of Treyliff
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
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

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 alpinebryant
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
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

Photo of reebtaerG
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

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 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 zaphodchak
4.73/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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 MNishCT77
4.24/5  rDev +5%
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

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.83/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

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 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 YumYumGumGum
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of ao125
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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 Earpe
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
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

Photo of canyouspell
4.71/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Photo of AmandaS84
4.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Delicious. Has a Super bourbon taste

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.