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Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout)Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout)

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55 Reviews
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Reviews: 55
Hads: 455
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 30.37%
Wants: 340
Gots: 144 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-10-2012

Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, described by BeerAdvocate as “freagin’ Christmas in a bottle,” is an imperial milk stout brewed with vanilla beans, cinnamon, fresh Casselmonte Farm baby ginger and Bearer Farms wildflower honey. Gingerbread Stout is then matured in Virginia bourbon barrels, where it adapts an incredibly mellow character with oak, caramel and bourbon undertones, and emerges 12 weeks later as Bourbon GBS. A festive blend of spice character laces this rich, chocolatey stout, which warms the palate and the soul.

55 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 55 | Hads: 455
Photo of spacecake9
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed the regular Ginger Bread Stout and was looking forward to the Bourbon Barrel version. This did not let me down.

I gave the regular GBS a 5 and this is just a little better with a little more of an alcohol kick. But this is not an over the top bourbon barrel beer, still very drinkable and not "hot" at all. Ready to drink now no aging required.

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Photo of kspauld2
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nice dark brown pour with tan head.
Smells amazing. Cinnamon, honey, ginger.
Taste is fantastic. Didn't think they could get any better than the reg GBs but wow. Vanilla, slightl bourbon, cinnamon, clove.
Overall a top notch beer perfect for the cold winter nights

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Photo of CLCardinal84
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Louisville Beer Store snifter. Big thanks to Taylor (mocktm) for sending this bottle!

A: Cola colored pour with a nice finger width head that becomes a soapy white ring with minimal lacing.

S: Like a freaking gingerbread man and Christmas in a glass. Haven't had a gingerbread stout and have never smelled a beer like this. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg all hits the nose. Smell opens up big time after 5-10 minutes after pour.

T: This beer tastes amazing. I would not serve it a degree under 55. This beer opens up greatly with a little warmth and it is incredibly balanced and smooth. All the smells above hit the tongue.

M: Creamy, smooth and coats the tongue nicely. All you can ask for here.

O: This beer is outstanding. One of the better barrel aged stouts I've ever had. Perfect beer for Christmas day with the family. I will seek out more Hardywood in the future.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. Bottled 12/12. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours near black with ruddy edges and a finger and a half mild tan head. No lace.

Smells exactly as the name implies- gingerbread cookies and bourbon! An excellent harmony.

Again, the taste is spot on. Really, every flavor that the name implies- a hearty gingerbread cookie served with bourbon. The booze is extremely well concealed considering the over 10% abv.

A creamy medium full feel with mild carbonation. Long smooth sweet bourbony spiced finish.

Truly outstanding. A great example of an already fantastic base stout being taken to new heights by bourbon barrel aging. If you can get this, DO!

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Photo of CMerrill
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer!! Not much from Hardywood that doesn't make you say "WoW"! A perfect winter stout! Slight hints of bourbon and a gingerbread finish.

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Photo of uvachief
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Review is very similar to the regular GBS review except that the bourbon barrel aging knocks off some of the sugar and sweetness making a much more complex and flavorful beer. I prefer this over regular GBS. You can smell and taste the bourbon. Not overpowering but just enough to calm the sugar down appropriately. Very smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of cw577enfield
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is, without a doubt, one of most amazing stouts I've ever tasted. It will leave you feeling in a state of utopia until you've crashed and yearning to have another taste. Let's see if Hardywood will do it better next time! Oh, yeah, the first line was nearly two hours before I got my limit of two bottles. Who knows what it'll be like next season?

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Photo of russwbeck
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked this up at the release, which went very smoothly.

A: Like GBS, the beer pours out black with a small brown head. The head really doesn't stick around for long at all. This variation seems to have a darker body, with less light creeping through the edges. 3.5

S: The spices have taken a big step back on the aroma, basically all that remains is faint ginger. Otherwise the aroma is focused on sweetness. Honey, lactose, an vanilla mostly. The bourbon is the strongest aroma of them all, but I wouldn't say it takes the beer over. Typically with a milk stout I would expect bourbon barrel aging to wreck anything else that tried to make a statement, that doesn't seem to be the case here. 4

T: The taste is amazingly balanced for all that's going on. The taste starts off light, with chocolate and lactose readying the palate for the onslaught that is to come. Next up, the ginger. As bready as ever, the ginger builds on the chocolate and balances what starts as a very sweet taste. Next up the bourbon, vanilla, and honey come together to add a new level of complexity I missed from regular GBS. The finish is of booze and some cinnamon, which in this offering is more of an afterthought than a focus. This is an amazingly complex milk stout that is absolutely perfect for the holidays. It pairs well with peanut butter blossom cookies (with Hershey's Kisses in the middle, not Reese's Cups). 5

MF: The body is medium with a lower than average amount of carbonation. The ABV is higher than regular GBS and the booze is more noticeable. The spirit of the holidays and the amazing balance make this beer very drinkable, even as a deep beer that comes in a 750ml bottle. 5

O: Blown away by this beer. It is a lot better than GBS, in my opinion. While some of the spices have been lost to the barrel aging, the bourbon has added more than it has taken away. Enough of the base beer remains to be appreciated, which is a key for me with barrel aging. You've outdone yourselves Hardywood. 5

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Photo of jasoncheb
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into tulip

A - pours a very dark brown with very little transparency when held up to a light.

S - bourbon, ginger, honey, vanilla, and some oak barrel notes

T - So, with having tried this when I first grabbed my allotment at Hardywood, the bourbon barrel overpowered the ginger, vanilla, and honey. Now, with a few months on the bottle, the barrel has fallen off a bit, leaving the beer with more of the ginger, honey, and vanilla flavor that made the original GBS so popular.

M Full bodied stout that leaves a nice smooth finish. Very little heat from the BA on the bottle after sitting for a few months.

O - As this beer has aged, the overall flavor has really bumped up a notch. The complexity of the original GBS is starting to fill back in while the BA falls off, but is still present.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a shiny black, with a surprising two and a half fingers of surprisingly light colored, off white, frothy head that retains nicely. aroma is sweet bourbon upfront,followed by the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Taste-the gingerbread comes first, thankfully not at all overpowered by the bourbon, the bourbon follows providing a smooth, sweet finish.
Feel-creamy but not heavy, quite carbonated, very smooth
Overall-an outstanding beer, the original GBS is excellent and they found a way to improve and enhance it without changing the classic tastes you except. very impressive.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into snifter glass. Pours a dark brown along with a thin lacing head that lasts slightly throughout. Aromas are cocoa, toffee, gentle roast and toast. Mellow cinnamon, ginger, and spice. Touches of oak, vanilla, more gentle barrel experience, but it still covers up the spice a bit. Initial is sweeter, darker, cocoa and vanilla, gentle spirit. Ginger, cinnamon, some vanilla life. Middle is sweeter, cinnamon and ginger presence, some creamy vanilla and nice sweetness at times. Spirit, toast, toffee. A touch sweet. Cinnamon and spice assert into finish, nice flavors, gingerbread, some spirit, vanilla, gentle spiciness lingers with mellow heat, toffee, and creamy sweetness. Overall, a fine beer and cannot go wrong this one or the regular although I do prefer the latter.

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Photo of I_eat_beer
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A delicious, bubbly combination of gingerbread, bourbon, and all the things that make an imperial stout one of the things that make life worth living.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: a lot of carb. Light tan, dark but some light coming through around the edges. S: wow, so much cinnamon. This smells like Christmas morning. I'm in love. T: cinnamon, gingerbread, not a hint of alcohol. Just a lovely spiced stout. M: a bit thin, but barrel aging thins them out a bit, so I dig it. O: kind of wished I'd saved it for the winter, but I love this shit. One of the best extras I've ever gotten

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ncaudle for the bottle hookup!

Pours deep brown with a small beige head fading quickly, but leaving some good lacing.

Smells like a gingerbread cookie dipped in bourbon. Ginger, brown sugar, vanilla and a light bourbon presence in the aroma.

This one is a great sipper. Still maintains a good dose of the spices and milk sweetness from the base beer, but is amped up with a hefty dose of vanilla and a little oak and bourbon. Bourbon is well integrated and doesn't overpower the base beer, but does provide a nice kick at the end.

Full bodied stout. Alcohol is hidden fairly well and the bourbon is well integrated. It's present, but doesn't overpower or create and overly boozy sensation. Carbonation level is spot on and much lower than the base which was my biggest complaint with the regular Gingerbread Stout.

A very delightful beer. I enjoyed the base, but felt it was overcarbonated. This one hits on all counts. I could drink plenty of this one without getting tired of it.

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Photo of papat444
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


Enjoyed at EBF 2014.

Sugary, gooey goodness; real gingerbread in a glass all mixed in with bourbon and there's hints of vanilla sprinkled in there. Nice and sweet but never cloying. This one delivers on its promise. Very, very good stuff.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to egrace84 for the share! Thanks elliot!

poured into snifter glass.

reviewed from notes taken 01/03/13.

Appearance: light to medium black bodied beer with a thin white cap of head.

Smell: Mellow barrel notes and huge gingerbread cookie and cinnamon. It smell just like GBS with a splash of bourbon.

Taste: This beer tastes just like GBS with a splash of bourbon! The barrel notes give this beer a touch of bourbon and vanilla. But the gingerbread flavor is fantastic and does not have an artificial flavor at all. Cinnamon and nutmeg also have a big prescence in this beer complimenting the gingerbread really well. This beer is sweet, but not even close to being cloyingly sweet, just the right amount of sweetness!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. This beer is so smooth. Its so balanced and just a little bit of creaminess! ABV is well hidden. No harsh booziness just a faint warming sensation.

Overall: Hardywood makes another crazy awesome beer. Honestly, I hope that GBS and BA GBS are going to be a Winter tradition for the brewers at Hardywood. GBS & BA GBS are the best christmas beers that I have ever had and no other beer even comes remotely close! The barrel really complements the beer; it still lets alot of the flavors of the base beer shine through and accent all of the regular GBS flavors!

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Photo of mojiboo02
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The bourbon version of Gingerbread Stout reminded me a lot of the 2011 version of the regular Gingerbread Stout, but with some oak and bourbon taste to it. The spices are a bit subdued after 12 weeks in a barrel. The mouthfeel, smell, and taste are all great from the bottle. I tried the draft at the release party and didn't like it as much as the bottle version.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared last night at Umberto's tasting.

Smells like ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, and a light amount of bourbon.

This is really decadent. I haven't yet had the regular Gingerbread Stout, but the other people last night said that this version was a little bit sweeter than the regular. There's honey, vanilla icing, strong ginger, some light sweet bourbon, and a little bit oaky vanilla.

This is medium bodied, not quite as thick as it could/should be, with a lower level of carbonation, and a creamy, full mouthfeel.

This is a really decadent and tasty treat.

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Photo of TechTriumph
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: December 2012; Poured in a snifter.

A - One inch or a tad less of creamy tan head with respectable retention; Very dark brown in color with traces of light seeping through; Pretty good showing of lacing around the glass

S - Good depth here with no real component stepping forward; Notes of slightly boozy bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla, caramelized sugar, molasses, ginger, tobacco, and underlying roast and chocolate; Really surprised in how 12 weeks of bourbon barrel aging tones down the ginger spice; Bourbon and semi-sweet molasses notes seem to strengthen as beer warms

T - Again, it's very apparent and fascinating in how the bourbon barrel transforms this beer and the level of ginger spice; Up front, the ginger has it's biggest presence, though it's well balanced by bourbon, semi-sweet molasses, and somewhat subtle vanilla flavors; The second half of the taste takes a big turn - ginger, bourbon, and molasses all tone down quite a bit, while a fairly strong wave of warm oak and earthy tones (with a touch of tobacco) consume the mouth - a really pleasant experience; Alcohol is very well hidden throughout the taste

M - Carbonation is moderate or a touch under; Between medium and full bodied; Very smooth, creamy, and mellow mouthfeel; Finish brings a decent wave of warmth - pleasant and nowhere near close to hot

O - My anticipation was high for this beer as I was curious as to how the gingerbread flavor would react to the introduction of bourbon barrel character. I'm actually pretty floored in how well this turned out! Sure, the ginger flavor is no longer in the spotlight, but a good bit of complexity takes its place to take this beer to a completely new level. If sticking strickly to the holiday theme, the original GBS is probably the better choice. Overall though, I think the Bourbon GBS brings the best overall package/complexity, and is no doubt a fantastic bourbon barrel offering.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a globe/snifter type glass not unlike the one pictured on the label. Vintage 2014, nice to finally get a proper review of this thing. Solid pop off the cork when opening.

A real nice thick and creamy light tan head. Very fine bubbles in it's creation with some silky like occasional ring lacing while it very slowly settles. A very nice dark walnut brown to mahogany stain, with just a touch of red to the edges. Slight clarity to the light, and a great looking brew.

Classic aroma not unlike regular gingerbread stout but with a much more mellow controlled tone, and a surprising hint of vanilla sweetness. Hints of spicy sushi like pickeled ginger. Hints of molasses and spiced clove and pffernues like cookies. Creamy, and very dense smelling though and very bready, but even manages some sense of lighter body. Very impressive.

About as big as a barrel aged milk stout can be it seems on the palate. Still a milky and light palate but manages some vanilla cream thickness in flavor on first sip. Ginger follows but with lots of good spiced nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar. Light bodied and gets as much as a barrel aged milk stout can get in mouthfeel but doesn't get into real round coating flavors, or lots of classic thickness. Mild boozy warmth on the finish but very tolerable, and very masked on the palate. Some warmth even brings in some nice black licorice tones and flavors as well after some time.

Overall, about as big as a milk stout gets it seems, and quite tasty. Much better than I had in the past too. Very nice.

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Photo of yamar68
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to scalzo for this one!

Great looking stout. Dark chocolate brown body with minimal clarity. A fat pillow of khaki head retains well, creating a fresh set of lace after each sip.

All types of inviting aromas coming off the glass... sweet bourbon layered with chocolate, fresh ginger, a touch of nutmeg/cinnamon spice, fudge... as was the case with regz GBS, I'm amazed by how non-Christmas-y this stuff smells... which is awesome. It's not dominated by spice of ginger root. Everything is thoughtfully integrated... brown sugar and vanilla, maple syrup... very dynamic but still approachable.

The taste delivers as well. Rich, bittersweet milk chocolate, coffee and a touch of ginger. The sweet, mellow bourbon character makes for a delicious addition. The finish is probably my favorite thing about the whole beer. It's dry with a subtle sweetness that allows each flavor to evolve and mingle with the rest of the beer.

This is absolutely fantastic. My favorite offering from Hardywood to date.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours a dark brown with a solid three quarter finger of tan head that quickly dissipates. Scattered lacing cloaks the sides of the glass.

S. My most precious childhood memories lovingly dipped in a viscous Belgian chocolate concoction. Fresh ginger and cinnamon effervesce out of the glass, cocoa with marshmallow topping, honey dashed with orange zest, and fresh-from-the-oven Christmas cookies. Yum

T. Gingerbread house, glazed chocolate, honey, some coconut, and subtle char from the bourbon barrel.

M. Full bodied, higher than normal carb keeps it from becoming overly saccharine, loaded with bold, well-integrated flavors.

O. In years past, I've criticized this variant of GBS for not adding anything to the base beer. I stand corrected. The subtle complexity added by the barrels here makes this an improvement over the original, albeit a very slight one. Bourbon GBS is a remarkable beer, derived from a similarly remarkable beer from a brewery that knows it has a golden goose on its hands and is squeezing every penny they can out of it. And they should, as this is utterly unique and inspires years' worth of sentiment and fond feelings of Christmases past, present, and to come.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: dark chestnut with huge mocha head. No lacing

S: Aroma of vanilla oak, bourbon, medium spicing and cinnamon with white icing for cake. a bit of nutmeg

T: Similar flavors from the regular GBS, slightly sweet bourbon with ginger, roasted brown malts and wood. Cocoa powder and cinnamon mixing with ginger and brown rye bread. There is more of a sweet honey flavor than a bourbon flavor. I am reminded of Jack Daniels honey when sipping this. Slightly boozy. I love how the frosting flavors come out in here, slightly cooling and refreshing in contrast with the bourbon and ginger flavors.

M: light carbonation , I believe this is lighter in body than the regular variety of GBS.

O: Overall this is a good beer, slightly more complex than the standard GBS, but not notably better. Vanilla flavors by far poke out of this more than in the standard version and the nice heat from the bourbon gives a notably good addition to the total package here. Glad to have tried this.

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Photo of JefferyLaGrow
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Everything about this beer was pleasing. It had a great nose, beautiful balanced flavors, and a really nice medium carbonation that played well with the spices in the beer. My only knock was the mouthfeel. This beer felt a little thin. Overall, I would seek it out again!

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a bubbly and medium brown tan head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown. The texture seems to be a bit oily and not as viscous as the original.

The beer smell is nothing short of divine. The smell includes all of the notes from regular GBS such as ginger, cinnamon, clove, and honey. In addition, the beer also has a strong vanilla and bourbon note. The vanilla note is fairly strong while the oak is a bit weak. The milk sugar notes are pretty much buried but sometimes make an appearance.

The beer taste is similar to the smell. It contains the spic e notes (cinnamon, clove, etc.) from the GBS and honey. The vanilla notes and bourbon mix well with the spices but are sometimes overwhelmed. Any caramel notes are fairly light. Regardless, the beer taste is still pretty good.

The beer is heavy bodied with very little carbonation, if any. The beer is a bit thinner and less viscous than the originial but is still pretty good since the feel works well with the aging.

Overall, a fantastic variant on the GBS even though the new notes are frequently buried.

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Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.