Bare Knuckle Stout - Anheuser-Busch
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Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 172 | Display Reviews Only:
2.73/5 rDev -1.8%
My wife and I had lunch at a local restaurant yesterday and were ushered into the bar to eat because we didn't want to wait 20-30 minutes for a table. I noticed that they had BKS on-tap. Since I had never seen it before, I thought I'd return today to satisfy my curiosity about a stout brewed by TEOs (The Evil Ones). Only kidding, I don't begrudge this brewery a single dime (all's fair in love, war and the free market), I just think they make lousy beer. So, will the long arm of A-B, in the form of Bare Knuckle Stout, come in under my verbal jabs and deliver a knockout blow?
Mahogany with red highlights; although a strong light source reveals that it isn't quite opaque. It's really darkest crimson when viewed through bright sunlight. The creamy, one finger, medium tan head lasted for nearly the life of the pint and left an unbroken veil of lace all the way down the glass. Whatever else this beer is or isn't, it looks great when discharged from a nitro tap.
The nose was weak and oddly un-stout-like. It was modestly dark fruity with maybe a little cocoa powder, but I'm reaching on the latter. Perhaps the thick, creamy head or something to do with the nitro kept the aroma from being properly appreciated. I did go back and smell it at the midway point and it smelled like it tasted (see below).
Like the nose, the flavor was nothing at all like a stout. The overwhelming impression from each mouthful was of overripe, badly bruised, caramel apples. Was any black malt used in the brewing? There was no trace of chocolate, coffee or any of the other accessory flavors that are created by the roasting of barley.
A minimal sweetness faded to a moderate dryness on the back end. I'll be kind and attribute that bitterness to hops, although hop flavor was nowhere to be found. The mouthfeel was unrelentingly thin. Thanks to the nitro, however, it was also as creamy as possible given the lack of true substance. The flavor might have been better from a standard tap, but the mouthfeel would almost certainly have suffered.
Bare Knuckle Stout is an odd beer. For proof, I have the word 'odd' in my notes in three separate places. At least it doesn't take sheer force of will to finish an entire pint like the vast majority of A-B's offerings. In fact, this is the best beer from this brewery that I've had yet. I won't be drinking it again though. Not least because at $4.25, it's the most expensive tap beer that I've ever had in Des Moines (The Red Monk excepted).
09-16-2005 21:24:29 | More by BuckeyeNation
2.65/5 rDev -4.7%
Again, a beer that I drank at the St. Louis brewery recently.
Looks quite dark and opaque, an unusual appearance from Anheuser-Busch. High carbonated tan head rose and fell relatively quickly.
Smells obviously roasted barley, chocolates, toasty, and with a little twang or sour aroma, perhapse yeasty.
Tastes quite roasted and with a little maltiness. Sweetness disipates. Bittering seems to derive from a charred grain rather than much hopping. Feels grainy and watery to the palate. Leaves little in the body. Finished crisp and dry.
Aftertaste lingers with roasted or coffee tones that remain a bit bitter.
Impression: glad Anheuser-Busch is expanding, however they have some work to do before this one will appeal to the market.
06-20-2005 19:36:46 | More by BEERchitect
2.7/5 rDev -2.9%
reviewed from notes. i ha the chance to try this one on our last vacation. i actually did not know who made it so was slightly shocked to see it was AB. served via nitro tap.
had a nice cascading pour but with not quite the retention and look of a guiness, but the foaming was decent. aroma of roasted malts, hints of brown sugar, touches of vanilla and a small dose of caramel, the flavor is really kinda odd as it seems to just not go anywhere at all. the feel was a touch thin and left me hanging looking for more taste. roasted malts fade quickly and leave me with little more then a touch of light cocoa.
overall not sure if i am happy i tried this or nor but it was better then the other options on the tap.
01-11-2011 00:47:26 | More by mikesgroove
2.48/5 rDev -10.8%
Appearance: Pours an opaque black body with a creamy, pale beige head.
Smell: Exceptionally weak aroma of dry roasted grains and chocolate.
Taste: Roasted grains with sourish, watered down dark chocolate. A vague sweetness shuffles lazily by in the middle. Dry, lightly sour finish. Good grief.
Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Soft carbonation. Creamy-ish mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Painfully weak and lacking in all it's parts, I found it almost impossible to stifle the yawns while drinking this thing.
10-11-2007 22:41:42 | More by ChainGangGuy
2.98/5 rDev +7.2%
This poured out looking a little like a lighter version of Guinness. The color was a deep brown but not black like a stout should be. The head was creamy and tan in color with a light sticky lacing on the glass after each sip. The smell of the beer wasn't anything too impressive. It was a little musty or earthy with a light roast aroma to it also. The taste of the beer was light, it had a minimal amount of flavor to it with a touch of roasted bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel of this beer was light, a little watery to me, by no means was in creamy like it should be be. Overall this beer isn't anything special. I wouldnt have to have it again.
11-02-2011 22:44:01 | More by Knapp85
2.75/5 rDev -1.1%
On-tap at The Barrelhead, Springfield, IL.
Ordered this thinking it was Barley Island Brass Knuckles Stout. Boy was I wrong. An Irish dry stout arrived, looking much like Guinness. Weird condensation inside the glass, probably not the beer's fault. Foam was creamy, almost too much so. Very little to smell, sort of weak grain.
Taste was lackluster, not roasty, just a cold and smooth palate placebo. Average and dull, without any bold stouty flavors. Pass.
03-19-2007 04:34:16 | More by emerge077
2.88/5 rDev +3.6%
Found this on tap at Hooter's Columbia.
A - It was a deep, dark black color with a one-finger head. It left some nice lacing.
S - It smelled of roasted malts, but it was rather faint.
T - It tasted okay. The malt/coffee flavor was pretty good, but there was a funny taste that made it seem a little odd.
M - Kinda chalky and dry. Not as smooth as it should be.
D - It still tasted okay. Not at all the best stout around, but from A-B it isn't too bad.
09-12-2006 22:57:52 | More by zeff80
3.83/5 rDev +37.8%
I was quite excited when I learned that the house stout at Tir Na Nog was actually brewed by AB. And I enjoyed the minor amount of marketing that followed it's release as well. More importantly, I enjoyed the beer. I think it's right up there with the best of 'em from the emerald isle.
It's opaque black with mahogany highlights that strain to find their way through the base of the glass. The head is quite impressive as usual, with the nitrogen carbonation and dispense giving it a densely creamy, astonishingly long lasting, light tan head that leaves walls of lace throughout the entire pint!
The aroma is roasty with some mild bittersweet chocolate, and some stale wet coffee grounds, as well as a light touch of subtle apple-like fruitiness.
The body is light, but it appears much fuller due to the intensely creamy mouthfeel that the nitrogen pour imparts.
The flavor is roasty from start to finish, but it also includes some delicate fruit and nicely sweet malt upfront, a very mild note of caramel as it warms near the swallow, and a lingering roast and bitterness.
It's quite the decent pint, it is, and I'd expect no less from A-B!
04-15-2006 01:30:55 | More by NeroFiddled
2.05/5 rDev -26.3%
On nitro-tap, served in a large mug glass.
A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large dense beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is creamy milk chocolate and vanilla, some roasted malts, but overall the smell is very faint.
T: The taste is likewise creamy but very watery with very mild flavors of chocolate, honey and vanilla. The malt character is thin for the style. The only aspect that is on-target with the style is the fact that the hops presence is almost non-existent. The after-taste is slightly sweet.
M: Not very smooth or crisp, quite watery, light body for the style, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.
D: Not flavorful at all, doesn't go down easily, not too filling, mild kick, not a good representation of style, this just flat out not a good beer in any sense.
06-06-2009 03:15:35 | More by TheManiacalOne
1.98/5 rDev -28.8%
On tap at the Sunset Cantina.
Appearance: Little to no head and two shades from black. Not sure how this is supposed to be served but it was on the same CO2 as the rest of the beers and even after I stirred it up the head dropped like a soda.
Smell: Odd sweet aroma, a bit coffeeish with perhaps too much residual sweetness.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, creamy and slick … very weird feeling in the mouth. Watery coffee with a faded roasted grain flavour. Faint hopping and a very sweet palate, some charred flavours and a clean finish do not impress.
Notes: This stout will never match up against any of the more popular dry Irish stouts, don’t even bother trying this.
03-19-2003 12:15:23 | More by Jason
2.13/5 rDev -23.4%
Served on tap at Grogan's Pub inside Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Pours a dark brown with at least 2 fingers of thick, creamy tan head that left thick swatches of lace down the sides of the cup. The aroma is nearly non-existant with some barely there notes of roasted barly and chocolate.
The taste is a little stronger than the aroma but not by much. Notes of roasted malt and some chocolate sweetness that finishes with some light bitter hoppiness. The mouthfeel is way more thin and watery than any beer from this style has any right to be. It's almost like drinking roasted water.
Well, this shot at a Guiness clone is about as dark as you can get for an A/B product, but unfortunately that's not saying a lot. This went down the hatch easy enough but for anyone looking to try a Stout with any kind of fortitude should definitely give this one a pass.
04-08-2008 16:50:28 | More by Kegatron
2.65/5 rDev -4.7%
I had this on my honeymoon in Dewey Beach, De. Served chilled on tap.
The appearance is good with opaque black look and thick cap of light tan. The smell is mild with mostly roasted grain aromas and the feel is slightly light for the style with a slight acrid burnt aspect. I didn't know what to expect or that this was a AB product, but the flavor was moderately roasted with a subtle char character in the finish. The beer is not one I would order again as it lacks commplexity even though it attempts to achieve the flavor of an Irish dry stout it really only managed to get the 'dry' part right
09-27-2010 13:39:16 | More by Slatetank
3.9/5 rDev +40.3%
I tried this before I knew it was from Anheuser Busch. I rated in a small bar in Midtown Manhattan having just finished a budget presentation for next year. Perhaps I was too celebratory to rate this beer (especially when I compare this review to others here). But I honestly liked this beer. It is full bodied with excellent coffee notes from black patent malt. The hop is subtly present. The foamy head is similar to Guinness, right down to the lace.
Perhaps I could make a strong argument for blind tasting... ;-)
11-23-2004 02:29:06 | More by smcolw
3.23/5 rDev +16.2%
AB's Guiness knock-off, Decent stout presentation. Off white creamy head. left nice creamy lacing. No nose that I could detect. Thin, fairly watery mouthfeel. Roasted malt noted along with some bittering, chalky hops. A decent starter stout. Seems abit watered down. I'd go for Guiness, or murphys or anything else if I had a stout alternative.
03-14-2004 12:40:10 | More by Billolick
3.53/5 rDev +27%
Pours with a thick, light brown two-fingered head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Black color, totally opaque. Nose is coffee. Starts on the burnt coffee side, finishes smooth with just a little bitterness. A-B can make a decent beer but it has very limited distribution - $5.40 for a 16oz draft, apparently available only at Grogan's Pub, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg,VA.
08-05-2004 02:10:35 | More by jdhilt
3/5 rDev +7.9%
On nitro-tap at the YardHouse, on to the beer:
Opaque in color, with a bubbly, creamy head on top. The nitro gives the head good rentention and creamy lacing. Smells like....faint bananas. Hmm....
The flavor is low on intensity, even by dry stout standards. Some watery banana, light roasted malt, and an astringent quality in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is firm and doesn't go watery at any time.
This stout doesn't have any nasty off-flavor, but lacks in overall flavor. Worth a try if you're looking for something mild and Murphy's and/or Beamish aren't available. One and out for me on this one.
06-18-2009 17:43:44 | More by DoubleJ
4.03/5 rDev +45%
Poured a deep black hue with a two finger creamy bone white head. There was very good retention and lacing. Good cascading as well.
The smell featured subtle burnt grain and coffee aromas.
The taste was robust and smooth. A nice toasted grain bill and roasted coffee flavor. While this stout lacked some of the flavor profile of the Irish versions, it did compensate with an incredible smoothness.
The mouthfeel was full and smooth.
Overall a very good rendition of the style. More suprising, but not shocking, when you consider it is an AB product. AB's best attempt to date.
10-23-2006 15:03:16 | More by plaid75
3.3/5 rDev +18.7%
Pint on nitro tap at the Philly airport. Why not?
Pours a clear dark red, almost brown away from the light, thick and creamy light tan head forms, drops some nice lacing on the glass, little light in colour for a stout though. Smell is subdued, sweet and grainy, some biscuit, caramel, light raisin and dark fruit, very light roast and chocolate, not enough dark roast. Taste is similar, sweet up front, grains and caramel, raisins, biscuity malt, light toastiness and a lightly bitter chocolate finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, smooth and creamy. Little light on all fronts but on par with a mediocre craft dry stout. Not too bad at all.
03-20-2009 16:45:51 | More by Viggo
2.1/5 rDev -24.5%
Well, saw this on tap at my favorite watering hole, and decided I must at least give it a sample.
Color dark, head average, nose mostly malt and the start sweet and malt laden, top cadaverous, finish mildly acidic, the hops "AWOL", aftertaste dry and lingering, can't say I find any redeeming qualities accept for the color.
As far as I'm concerned don't waste your money on this "Macro" even if it says from their micro division.
08-10-2003 03:30:07 | More by Gusler
2.83/5 rDev +1.8%
Appearance: Very Dark, you could say black, darker then thought for an AB stout.
Smell: Slight coffee, and roasted flovor
Taste: coffee and roasted flavor jsut liek the aroma, witha slight chocolate flovor.
Mouthfeel: Since it was on-tap, it was creamy, for a beer but a little light for a stout in my taste.
Drinkability: I have had some worst stout, could drink one, but not more then one.
11-07-2007 03:49:20 | More by harpus
3.65/5 rDev +31.3%
Got on tao at Mack's Golden Pheasant in Elmhurst, IL.
Appearance- Given to me with a sturdy tan head that started at two and a half fingers, and eventually receded to a one and a half finger head that stayed the whole enjoyment of beer. Color is a deep brown when held to the light, but other than that its a translucent black. Looks a lot like Guiness.
Smell- Pretty subdued in every way. What stabds out the most is a tart, deep roasted malt aroma. With hints of heavy cream, coffee, and chocolate.
Taste- A dry mlat start that slowly got creamier. This creaminess went from heavy cream to a chocolate finish mixed with some dry hops.
Mouthfel- A rich stout flavor, but helped wash down my burger. A good dry, creamy presence remained on the palate after the last sip of beer was done for the evening.
03-16-2006 05:02:43 | More by scruffwhor
3/5 rDev +7.9%
Had a this on tap at the jet rock in the philly airport, they were out of Hop Devil and it was the only tap I didn't recognize. Unfortunately it turned out to be a guiness clone, which is thin, boring beer in my mind, maybe my least favorite style. In that regard, the Bare Knuckle stout hit the mark. Not much of a creamy, egg-shell head, over pitch black body.
Only the slightest aroma of roasted barely.
The taste is very bland, chocolate and very slightly roasted.
The mouthfeel is thin and watery.
This is not drinkable for me because I don't like the style. However, Guinness has got to be one of the most popular beers in the world, and this is very similar to the American version from what I remember, maybe a tad sweeter and less roasty...so more palatable to Americans? Now that I know it's from AB, I'm sure they did some serious marketing research in making that distinction.
Not my score is based on the style, which I don't care for! Overall, I'd give this beer a 1.5, and Guinness a 1.0, since I like chocolate.
05-07-2007 16:47:03 | More by ccrida
Bare Knuckle Stout from Anheuser-Busch
66 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.