Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial StoutBerkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
83
good

74 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 19.89%
Wants: 12
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewandbbq on 01-15-2008)
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BenZ:
Photo of BenZ
4.63/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a challice. Quickly fading cream-colored head. Not sure if it is my glass or the light, but it looks not nearly as black as some other reviewers state. Pretty standard color for an imp stout; maybe even on the lighter side.

The aroma is tremendous. Oak, malt, and not to much roastiness. The taste is excellent; low bitterness (for the style) from roasted grains or hops. There is a certain tartness that isn't going away. The wood and tart notes linger on the tongue after the maltiness is gone. Some alcohol as it warms, but I'd miss it if it wasn't there. You feel the alcohol warmth from your mouth to your shoulders to your stomach, but not your tongue.

The mouthfeel is slightly on the watery side from ideal, and gets more oily as it warms. None of that "chewiness" you sometimes get in the style, but it might be out of place with the lack of coffee/chocolate notes. I recapped the second half of the bottle for later and that was probably a good idea as this is way too easy to drink.

I wonder what the abv is. Would have guessed 8% on first taste/smell, but based on how my fingers feel after 10 oz, I'm betting it's over 10. 2 bottles are in my cellar for aging, but I don't know if it will get much better.

More User Reviews:
Photo of MisterDeeds
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tommy at the Brewhouse for putting one aside.

Pours a solid black, that blocks out the sun. A creamy cocoa looking head, that thins down to slight lacing.

Smells sweet and strong, with toffee malts mixed in with licorice and vanilla. I am always excited for a good beer, but once in a while, the smell excites me even more. I am now excited.

Good Lord, talk about coming as advertised. I am having a tough time believing this actually beer, and not a new brand of easy drinking Bourbon. One thing is for sure though, There is no WAY, my wife will believe I only had one beer. This brew hides well behind the seemingly sweet and safe aroma, and then knocks you back a step with it's strength and complexity. There is vanilla and toffee, maybe some caramel there. Chocolate, Licorice and good old fashioned Bourbon are all in there.

Like a redneck lurking behind a bar in Lynchburg Tennessee, this beer has many levels of dangerousness. First off, you have to guess the ABV, my guess is upwards of 10%. This is made dangerous by the fact that it's so damn good, and easy to drink.

The mouthfeel is great as well. Smooth and very little carbonation present in the back end, which only leads to more trouble. I feel like this should be served in those little double whiskey glasses, and even then, supplies should be limited, just so everyone can get a try.

Finishes smooth, with a great aftertaste of sweet bourbon warmth and friendliness. By far one of my all time favorites.

The only fault I have found so far from this brewery, is their limited availabilty. As crazy as it sounds, many stores in Mass, have never heard of them.

Photo of bum732
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black, absolutely no light coming through. Nice light brown head with not much lacing. Smells very strongly of oak and bourbon. As the beer warms up, the oak and bourbon fade a little to yield a roasty and coffee characteristic. Some vanilla and chocolate in the aroma. Tastes of sweet roasty malt followed quickly by a strong oak presense. The bourbon taste is evident throughout the sip. A nice bitterness accompanies a a bourbon sweet finish. Not much carbonation.

A decent oaked stout. All i got was huge amounts of oak and bourbon when the beer is cold, not very pleasant. The malt starts to shine as the beer warms up turning into a decent brew. I was hoping for a little more malt to counter the strong oak, maybe less oak aging next time the beer is brewed. Still a nice beer.

Photo of jsh420
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours dark with a 1+ finger tan head that left spotted lacing

smells of chocolate and tart cherries

taste is much of the same - tart fruit almost like many wilds or sours - i dont pick up any bourbon

mouthfeel is a bit thin - very slick little carbonation

drinkability is so so - beer was more of a wild sour then a RIS - abv not know but it tastes 10+

Photo of charlesw
2.05/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Frickin' A beautiful. Deep and black, medium head of nice and tight dark tan bubbles. There's head to last a long time. No effort required to get it and even going vigorously on the pour it seems like there's not a crazy amount of head. Beautiful.

Ah, man. It smells... Like... Like weak, thin, fruity beer. Bleh. All I get is sort of apricotty. Very light. Hints of high-test alcohol.

The nose wins. Sure, there's coffee and chocolate but, wow, is there ever a lot of that apricot going on. And it's light in the body almost to the extent of a normal stout. It seems like what they got from their bourbon barrels was maybe just an infection. But, you know, it's not pronounced in that regard - it's just not something I like. Who knows? Maybe they intended it to come out this way?

Way too thin to want to finish this one. Of course I'd be happy to try it again but I'm not holding out much hope that the next one will be much better.

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bill for this bottle! Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Cigar City Snifter.

A: Dark brown, just about black with "small bubble" carbonation that lingers around.

S: The best feature of this beer (also the first sign that this beer is infected). Bourbon barrels, dark fruits, and mocha. Quite a bit of booze is detectable on the nose.

T: Oakiness with just enough bourbon is unfortunately taken over by a sour tinge (reminds me of Black Albert BA No. 14). Each sip is pretty nice with some chocolate, coffee, and surprising amount of booze left in this guy.

M: "Tight" carbonation hits the tongue - a nice beer to swish around your mouth. Has a tart/dry finish from the crazy yeast that took over this beer.

D: I found this to be pretty drinkable whether right out of the fridge or room temperature. I'm not sure what the ABV is (probably +/- 9%) but this held up nicely considering the infection.

Overall, a beer that I was able to enjoy but probably won't have again.

Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of BColton1
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of mountdew1
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark coffee like brown. Head was thin 1 finger, mocha color that lasted 5 minutes. Aroma was brown sugar sweet, with a touch of bourbon smell. Taste was slightly acidic, with chocolate undertones, along with a creamy finish. Feel was ok in the mouth, slightly bitter on the toungue. Coated very well, and not over carbonated at all. Definitely a sipping beer, but pleasant to drink.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber of the 2008(?) vintage courtesy of jkane. Pours a near-black color with a thin froth of brown head. Fades pretty quick and leaves a nic e collar.

Nose smells sour, lacto-licious with equal parts bourbon and wood permeating the light choco-roast. Definitely got infected somewhere along the way.

Taste is definitely sour, not in a horrible drain-pour way though. With the Medieval label, barrel flavor and sourness, I am imagining drinking what an imperial stout might have tasted like 500 years ago. Lots of wood, some bourbon and fairly light on the chocolate and roast.

Photo of Zorro
4.28/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained in trade with Damian.

Very dark brown beer that you might as well call black with a small light brown colored head.

The moment you crack this one open the bourbon smell hits you like an unseen rattlesnake BAM he's got you! Bourbon isn't subtle at all in this one strong vanilla and whiskey and that is from about four feet away from me. There is a little fig under all that but this is very much a bourbon dominated beer.

The taste starts out strong bourbon just like the smell. A TON of vanilla in this bourbon with a much lesser whiskey flavor but this is a long lingering whiskey aftertaste ending with a cherry flavor. Nice intensely flavored whiskey beer here. If you don't like whiskey you will hate this.

Mouthfeel is OK; think the whiskey has thinned the mouthfeel quite a bit.

Drinkability is completely based upon whether you like whiskey or not. Me I like this.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

65- ml into Duvel tulip...

Excellent pour of espresso-brown, moderately viscous elixir topped with a ginger-maple head of a single finger. Surprisingly, it goes rather quickly but leaves a bit of lacing. Very opaque stuff.

Oooh, the vanilla bourbon oak of this deal...reminds me of a baby Dark Lord. It mixes well with the alcohol burn and the copious chocolate and caramel malt. Hops? Somewhere in the back...mild grass.

Holy $#!+, this is friggin' impressive. Quite creamy but the hearty malt texture emerges further in the back of the mouth than on the nose. The alcohol is really quiet here - vanilla is dominant. Maybe not the thickest taste but this is damn smooth.

Palate feel could use a little more depth but this is very balanced. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, chocolate and some mild grass sync up in Beautiful Chemistry. I would be happy to belch out something that tastes like this.

Well this is definitely a pleasure to enjoy slowly. I should really pick up some more of this. Berkshire stuff has always been pretty solid but this one is stellar.

Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two white wine glasses. Special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Extra special thanks to gnOsis for this from our recent trade!

A: Pours a dark, dark black with slight mahogany highlights at the edges. Not much head to speak of, but what's there is is a dark khaki color. Some minor lacing left behind.

S: Interesting. Aromas of bourbon, heavily roasted malt, and tart/tangy fruit. Cherry, tart peaches, and apricots. Aromas of white wine, too.

T: Pretty much as above. Heather said it tastes just like a chocolate covered cherry. Bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruit, brown sugar, tangy white grape, peach, and apricot.

M: Starts off a tad thin, but thickens a bit as it warms. It never gets thick enough to stand a spoon up in it, but I guess it holds its' own.

D: Really good. We were quite surprised by the tangy fruitiness of this. Sort of a-typical, but sort of good, too!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bourbon, dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with a very strong bourbon barrel flavor up front that might be more pronounced than in any other beer that I've had. There are flavors of dark chocolate and dark fruit in the background. The malt character is hearty but not as thick as most bog stouts and there's a mild but complementary hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very flavorful, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style with an extra emphasis on the bourbon barrel aging, this is yet another solid Berkshire beer and one that is worth drinking for a long time.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.78/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On the pour, this beer produced a half finger of noisy foam atop a clear, very dark brown body. I was surprised at the volume... in both respects. I thought it would be thicker and quieter.

Aroma was of strong bourbon, dark malts, roasted barley, and bitter chocolate. Complex and well balanced.

Taste started out with a hint of bourbon, not as strong as the aroma led one to expect. This was followed by smooth dark malt, dark fruits (mainly raisins and plums), roasted barley, and a nice bourbon aftertaste. I think the strength of the malt flavors masked any oak flavors that the barrel aging may have imparted, but the bourbon was well controlled. Overall, the taste was just as well balanced as the aroma.

Mouthfeel was wonderfully smooth and creamy, rich and full bodied, but not overwhelming or oily.

Drinkability is very good as well, but I don't think most people could have more than one at a sitting. The flavors are so intense, it could be a bit overwhelming.

Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Dense head isn't moving, with heavy coating frothy lace. Aroma is booze and vanilla barrel, not much malt showing through. Taste starts with a quick shot of dark sweetness, which is quickly countered by tart fruitiness, and then the alcohol comes ot the party, starts kicking ass and taking names. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, until the alcohol starts burning, with drinkability follwoing along. I think this one has potential, maybe just needs to mellow a bit.

Photo of ndm502
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 12oz tulip glass.

A: pours a deep, dark brown with distinct ruby highlights. A thin head of tan foam forms and quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.

S: strong notes of whiskey, accompanied by vanilla, red berries, and a hint of oak.

T: sweet caramel, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, a dry, tannic oakiness, and a hint of roasted malt. The finish has vanilla and bittersweet chocolate, while being somewhat astringent with whiskey and oak.

M: texture is initially slightly creamy, but this gives way quickly to a thin body lacking in much depth.

My impression is that the strong, powerful flavors from the bourbon-barrel need a stout with more of its own backbone. Yet, the flavors were very intriguing and the beer proved to me that whiskey barrels and imperial stouts work very well together.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

Lots of bourbon and fruit, tons of oak as well. A little tangy, sweet, and super smooth. Quite a bit of the bourbon taste, but not too boozy. Creamy, rich, complex, and tasty. Compared to the regular BBC Imperial stout, almost all the chocolate and hop bitterness is gone. This is much smoother as well, and lots more fruit and tangy flavors.

Photo of tittymcj
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured out very darkly, with a nice brown tinge visible when held to light. Also a thin tan head that recedes quickly, and very little lacing.

Smells like a lot of dark fruits, very comparable to wine and definitely typical of bourbon barrel taste.

Taste is a little bit dark, like a typical imperial stout, but also very light and fruity like wine. Definitely some licorice notes as well.

Mouthfeel is very silky and smooth, with little carbonation.

Not a very drinkable beer because of the strong taste profile and heavy coating feel.

Photo of PDXHops
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tprokop7 for this bomber, poured into an oversized snifter at cellar temperature.

Pours a very dark opaque brown, just a notch shy of pure black. A finger's worth of loosely-formed tan head disappears quickly, but a thin ring hangs on to the perimeter of the glass. Not much lacing

Strong bourbon barrel is the dominant aroma, but there's an interesting overall fragrance with vanilla, dark malt and tiny hint of nutmeg(?) in the background.

In the mouth, the bourbon and oak are once again dominant, along with a very prominant cherryish tart fruit flavor. Dark roasted malt in the background. Lingering bourbon, cherry and raisinish sweetness in the finish, and some nice dark malt/coffee in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth and velvet with sticky lingering cherry and bourbon. Could be thicker/chewier.

Overall impression: I would prefer a touch more black malt to balance out some of the sweetness, but this is a very solid offering from a brewery I've come to really enjoy through the magic of trading.

Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tight, nearly rocky head, good ring lace after each sip. Nearly black but light does seep through. The head dies to a single layer of bubbles.

Smell: Notes of brandy, vanilla, and cream.

More vanilla than any other stout and less chocolate. Not very bitter, closer to cocoa. I don't notice Bourbon, but there's a subtle sweetness that reminds me of Port. A little bit of oiliness from the alcohol.

Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served this at cellar temperature, in an oversized snifter, from a twenty two ounce bottle. Another Berkshire offering I just couldn't wait to try.

Appearance:Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout pours out a dark as night black that light just cannot penetrate. A vigorous pour yielded about two fingers of thick, tight, tannish brown head. Head faded slowly into a half inch of creamy froth, and left a decent coating of lace on the glass.

Smell: The smell of this beer was thick with bourbon aromas with undertones of oak. The Bourbon notes seemed to enhance the beer and not overpower it. Slight hints of sweet chocolate, vanilla, and plenty of roasted malt with coffee. A nicely balanced nose on this beer.

Taste: Definitely a nice Bourbon flavor. Subtle, but enough to give some flavor to the beer. Bourbon doesn't dominate at all. A bit of a smooth, buttery oak flavor is also noticed. Roasted malt presence hangs in the background a bit with a touch of black coffee. Hints of dark chocolate and some faint peppery spice. Finishes with another mellow round of Bourbon and a touch of booze. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Great creamy mouthfeel. Slightly thick with what seems to be the perfect amount of carbonation.

A dangerously drinkable stout. The Bourbon flavor doesn't take away from the drinkability. Another great beer from BBC.

Photo of reginaldo
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Being a BBC fan, I was very excited when I heard this beer was released. Had a 22oz bomber that I poured into a pint glass.

This beer deserves a bit of a disclaimer. When I first cracked open a fresh bottle out of the fridge I hated it. I should have known as with other Bourbon barrel aged beers, you need to let it warm. This kind of forms a tale of 2 reviews. The first is one where I wasn't a fan of many aspects of the brew and wanted nothing more to throw it away. The second is where it started to grow on me a bit and I could appreciate some of the underlying flavors.

Pours a dark opaque black. Relatively thin tan head that dispersed quickly. The smell is where I started thinking that I might not be a fan. A very sharp, harsh bourbon smell. Like the taste though, as it warms, it gets better. A bit of oak in the smell but at first but, when cold, it's mostly a overly hot Bourbon smell in the aroma. After a bit it's much more balanced with vanilla and bourbon mixing. In terms of tasting, at first there is a sweetness, dark caramel with oak and vanilla, but it fades into the bourbon and hot alcohol. The thing that hits me is the tartness. This one lingers on the tongue for a while. When I first tasted it I gave the beer a 1.5 for taste but gave it a chance to warm. At first it's too much for me, but after a bit it tames. It always lingers at the tail end of the sip though. The mouthfeel is fine for an imperial stout. Not as full bodied as some but not too light either. For drinkability, the tartness that I mentioned hurts it quite a bit in my mind.

Overall this was an interesting tasting. I've never had a beer that I actually thought about giving up on after the first sip keep me until the end. An interesting brew that deserves a try. Please though, let it warm a bit.

Photo of Damian
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer opened with a loud "pop" and foam soon began spewing from bottle. When poured, the liquid appeared to be a somewhat thin, gray-black color with a small, tan layer of froth that faded to a lasting ring.

The aroma was nothing like a typical imperial stout. Instead, it was very funky and lambic-like. Oaky and tart. Brett came through strong. Sour fruits were quite noticeable. Perhaps the oak barrels used to age this beer were infected.

Like the aroma, the taste was interesting and quite unique. Once again, the tart, funky, brett-like notes prevailed over the flavors more typically found in this style of beer. Slightly acidic up front. Roasted malts were noticeable, along with some coffee and powdered cocoa notes. Moderately sour in the center. The off-dry finish contained a mix of hops, sourness, bourbon and oak.

The mouthfeel was slightly creamy yet very thin, light and airy for the style. Definitely one of the "smallest" versions of an imperial stout I have yet to sample.

Drinkability was good. From start to finish, this beer really kept my attention. Furthermore, the "lighter" nature of this stout made it rather quaffable.

Even though this beer was a flat-out infected mess, I kind of enjoyed it's unique attributes. While the body and intensity of this brew were nowhere near that of a decent imperial stout (this seemed more like a straight-up American stout to me), the funky, brett-like characteristics made it rather interesting. Maybe the folks at Berkshire Brewing are onto something new here (or maybe they inadvertently used infected barrels).

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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.