Bo & Luke - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
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Ratings: 488 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BarrytheBear:
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4.24/5 rDev -0.9%
De Nolen is the master at ultimate roast taste in beer. Yet Against the Grain explores the anti-expected hit that's certain to arise in their beers. The blend is certain to be be an imperial stout, but with a twist...
It's abyss-black pour is given on site with a dark beer that is as deep as any other. It's just like staring into nothing. Yet there's something in there; and it rises to form a frothy mocha head, full of both loosely-knit, and tightly woven bubbles- all complementing the beer's durable retention and broken lace.
If the style prescription is to pile on as many aromas as possible, then Bo and Luke has delivered! Robust roasted grains push the scent of campfire, burnt embers, cocoa, bold roast coffee, and charred fruit- currants, grapes and berries all fold into the beer's roasty and savory matrix.
And yet the flavors deliver all that, but in different balances. What starts out with burnt malt sugars of black-strap molasses, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate quickly turns to a semi-strong taste of smoky meats, mesquite, charcoal, and burnt fruit. Grilled berries, currants, plumbs, figs, and grapes suggest both peaty scotch and vinous red wines. It's a complex taste that finishes with a woody bitterness that extends with bourbon-like alcohol sweetness, mild vanilla, caramel, and baked coconut.
Incredibly, the beer rests upon its robust malt body that facilitates early sweetness with creamy and semi-arid textures. But as the beer extends into middle palate it dries and turns powdery while remaining semi-sweet. Alas, the finish closes the session with a firm roasty, (some would say ashy, texture that's anchored with chalky roast, broad alcohol warmth, and semi-dry spice.
Bo & Luke absolutely captures the essence of both De Molen's best and Against the Grain's best attempts at beer. Its and experimental ale, an absurdly robust ale, and a cellar contender for years to come. Whimsy and power align for a complete strong taste!
02-20-2013 08:01:26 | More by BEERchitect
3.96/5 rDev -7.5%
Bottle pour at the post-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.
Pours a clear super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, smoked malt, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, smoke, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice balance of smoke and bourbon barrel aged qualities.
06-05-2014 18:09:12 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.13/5 rDev -26.9%
Got this as a surprise bottle from claaark13 a while back. Cheers dude! Was always a huge Duke Boys fan when I was a kid.
From a 750 into a snifter
Impossible orange wax on this one.
APPEARANCE: Pours out clear brown and yields a two finger, looser looking, light tan head with very good retention. Clear bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a full wisp. A foamy ring remains until the end leaving a few dots of lacing down the glass. Too light in color and an average-at-best-head.
SMELL: Roasted and smoked malts with bourbon, coconut, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate on the nose. Light soy notes and smoked meat with touches of caramel and molasses as well. Very bold and nicely complex as well. Good stuff.
TASTE: Very different and relatively disappointing compared to the nose. Lots of caramel, licorice and soy sauce up front with bourbon and alcohol into the swallow. A big and lingering finish of bourbon, alcohol, smoked malts, coconut, vanilla and a hint of bitter dark chocolate as well. Licorice, smoked and roasted grain with bourbon and oak linger. Flavorful, but the licorice and soy flavors made it less pleasant than the nose. Doesn't quite match the complexity I'd expected.
PALATE: Slightly thinner body with higher levels of carbonation. Not really creamy, a touch prickly perhaps, goes down okay and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some heat lingers. Sub par, unfortunately.
OVERALL: This was okay, but nothing special. Certainly glad I didn't bug people for the entire set of these. The nose was certainly nice, but the flavor didn't match the complexity I'd expected and the feel was too thin and carbonated for the style. Not a bad beer per se, just not something worth writing home about. Thanks again for the box claaark13. Always good times.
02-24-2014 15:16:34 | More by Jeffo
4.19/5 rDev -2.1%
On-tap at Green Lady. Served in a 5oz taster glass.
A - Medium, creamy, tan foam that lingers, leaving behind specks of lace. Very dark brown body with a hint of transparency at the edges of the glass.
S - Big vanilla, bourbon, dark breads, light smoke, hefty doses of milled grains, caramel, and dark fruits.
T - The taste is similarly sweet and and heavy on vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, and dark chocolate. The bourbon character is very Pappy-esque in the high level of sweet oxidation and sherry-esque character to it. There's some smoke, but it's quite restrained.
M - Big, chewy, sticky, and viscous. Some mild tannins, but definitely more on the sticky side. Lower carbonation. Well-hidden alcohol for 14%; I would have guessed closer to 10%. Quite nice for the style.
D - A good beer in small portions, but it'd take me a while to work through a snifter. The smoke is quite nuanced, which I appreciate, and there's good balance between malt, bourbon, and barrel. Not quite as good as 70k, but well worth trying.
06-03-2013 18:40:38 | More by MasterSki
4.25/5 rDev -0.7%
Thanks to Mike for splitting this gem! A smoked beer aged in Pappy barrels... what could go wrong? Pours a deep brown, teetering on the edge of black, but certainly not there just yet. The beer sits, thick and still with a quickly receding head that's a few hues lighter than tan. No lacing left on the glass; just the slightest bit of alcohol legging upon swirling.
Bo & Luke hits your nostrils like a sack of potatoes; nothing to hide, here. Rustic, woody smoke, both meaty and peaty, mild liquid sweet smoke, oak, smooth and warming bourbon, a bit of underlying, sweet roasted malt, and even a little bit of caramel and/or brown sugar. A very old times-y feeling brew with lots to offer. The oak, the smoke, the meat, the bourbon... a unique combination of aromas - I'm digging it so far.
Pleasantly warm bourbon greets my taste buds with the first sip; none other than Pappy Van Winkle. No, I wouldn't have been able to guess "Pappy" just from the taste, but knowing this fact afterwards helps to justify the smoothness. Sweet, liquid smoke, a subtle campfire woodiness, light cocoa malt mixed with burnt, roasty malt... The taste, much like the aroma, has so much to offer that it would be easy to overlook something if you don't pay attention!
Very smoky, woody (oaky) and lightly sweet in the finish with a touch of cocoa, while the mild bourbon warmth is left, lingering in the back of your through. Yeah, the warmth is there, but it's surprisingly drinkable for 14% ABV. Medium bodied... I would expect heavier or thicker for the style, but it works well here; borderline sticky, with a lasting mouth coating that'll keep you tasting smoke and bourbon for a while.
When Mike first pulled this out and told us what it was... I didn't really know what to expect. But damn, this beer was pretty tasty. Like sitting around a warm campfire, smoking some delicious meats and taking a few shots of bourbon. Smooth, warm, oaky bourbon. I don't think I've had anything quite like this before, so it definitely gets brownie points for uniqueness. Tasty and drinkable considering the style - thanks again, Mike!
09-26-2013 00:30:06 | More by tectactoe
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Enjoyed after about a 14 mile and 2000+' climb on my road bike with @commanderofawesome. 'Twas a somewhat cold and foggy day on Mt Tamalpias and we nededed to warm up a tad. Good thing we had this waiting.
As you can tell, poured into unbreakable Dixie cups, so no clue as to color or lacing but suffice it to say it was black and the lacing, much like the enjoyment of this delicious RIS, stuck around a while...once I got the plastic cap off. I came prepared with my fire fighter issue Swiss Army knife which has a 4" saw blade as no civilian knife can get tho off.
The aroma and nose on this beer is amazing. Rye, some smoke an some barrel and a whole lot of goodness. As we warmed (us and the beer) this got even better...more of the rye, smoke and barrel.
Much like the ride, I enjoyed the hell out of this beer. Lots of build up and worth the effort.
Even at $28, I'd grab it again.
Just like the show of old: open, sit back and enjoy for 23 minutes. You'll love it
04-14-2014 13:40:51 | More by SanFranJake
4.45/5 rDev +4%
A - Dark chocolate brown with a small milk chocolate head on tap
S - Bacon, chocolate, light smoke, salt, butterscotch pappy
T - Butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate before a salty bacon comes thru. Finish is dark, astrigent chocolate
M - Rich chocolate creaminess with a slight astringent finish and as well as dark chocolate thickness that lingers on in the finish
O - One of the better smoke beers I've had as the smoke blends well with the rest of the beer. It tastes like chocolate covered bacon with a light butterscotch pappy presence
01-14-2014 22:22:24 | More by jeonseh
4.29/5 rDev +0.2%
Pours extremely dark brown to pitch black. Generous mocha head and moderate lacing.
Aroma initially chocolate icing. Smokehouse meat, sweet malt, trace bourbon, cherry syrup and vanilla.
My initial taste is reminiscent of smoked bacon. Once I get past that, uh hmm, smooth bourbon heat ensues. I definitely pick up on cherry, corn syrup, vanilla and charred oak. Can charred oak be appealing? I dunno. The bourbon is one of the finest/smoothest blended with a stout, can't say enough.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Carbonation is ample. Sticky residue on the lips.
Without the smokiness this would be an absolute near perfect. If you love smoke this is for you to try. I knew this was smoky before I picked this up but I love trying things I may not find appealing. All in all this is spectacular in its own right. Not necessarily turning me into Rauchbier territory but glad I tried.
03-01-2014 22:03:54 | More by joeseppy
Bo & Luke from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
95 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.