Bo & Luke - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
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Ratings: 457 | Reviews: 51 | Display Reviews Only:
3.96/5 rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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.
Serving type: bottle
06-05-2014 18:09:12 | More by UCLABrewN84
4.24/5 rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
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!
Serving type: on-tap
02-20-2013 08:01:26 | More by BEERchitect
3.83/5 rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Served in a snifter at Au Cheval.
A PVW barrel-aged smoked imperial stout. Okay! This stuff pours a bleak onyx topped by a half-finger at best of tan foam. The nose comprises bourbon, roasted malts, dark chocolate syrup, oak, vanilla bean, and a kiss of char. The taste focuses mostly on the bourbon barrel, with the roast and molasses coming in a distant second, and a tiny bit of smoke clinging to the edges. This would usually be fine, but the bourbon seems to drown out any other flavors for most of the drinking experience. The body is a light hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thick, chewy feel. Overall, an intense bit of beer, one that, considering how much it focuses on the bourbon aspect, hides its alcohol dangerously well...
Serving type: on-tap
10-08-2012 15:03:45 | More by TMoney2591
4.19/5 rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
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.
Serving type: on-tap
06-03-2013 18:40:38 | More by MasterSki
4.5/5 rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
On-tap at The Beer Temple, in Amsterdam.
Bo & Luke is black as the char inside the bourbon barrel in which it was aged. Dark as deep space, with a coffee-coloured head, the contents of the glass look thicker than concrete. It's obvious off the bat: this is not the beer to order if you're in the mood for something "normal".
Smelling the beer is akin to licking the inside of a charred oak barrel that still contains portions of its former alcoholic contents. The use of cherry wood smoked and rye malts really serve to accentuate the singe and spice of the bourbon (Pappy Van Winkle, by the way). Notwithstanding, there's far more to this Russian Imperial Stout than simply whiskey...
Bo & Luke drinks with exalted flavours of dark chocolate, vanilla cake, and cinnamon spice. These three flavours play out in order, again and again like clockwork with each mouthful before giving way to a very dry and smoky finish that subjugates a chunk (though by no means all) of the alcohol. It tastes a little like what the inside of a cigar box smells.
It's my experience that few beers can age more than a short period of time; this one could probably outlive you. At a not-so-hard-to-believe 14% alcohol, I savored my six ounce pour patiently. There's no other way to do it; each sip is formidable and rewarding in its grandeur.
Bourbon-barrel aged stouts can be monotonous, but Bo & Luke was truly special. Pappy Van Winkle is an expensive (several hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars/bottle) that is very rare and regarded as arguably the best bourbon in the world. I've never had the privilege of trying it but if its effects on this stout are any indication, its praise is warranted.
Serving type: on-tap
08-01-2013 13:24:54 | More by biegaman
Bo & Luke from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
95 out of 100 based on 457 ratings.