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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

73 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 73
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 20.16%
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: 73 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by starrdogg:
Photo of starrdogg

District of Columbia

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

Thanks to Jon for sharing this one, another random rare bottle!

Beer pours a dark reddish brown with a thin white head. Smell is very interesting, there are hints of bourbon and oak, but it's got more qualities of a quad than a stout - lots of dark fruit and caramel malts. Unfortunately the flavor is a bit oxidized, the bourbon comes through at first with some dark fruits, but the back end of the flavor really drops off, there's not much to back up the initial flavor. The mouthfeel is the big letdown of this beer. It's way too thin and can't support the big flavor. Overall, this is a pretty interesting beer that I think might have been great at one point, but is clearly past its prime.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:27:19 | More by starrdogg
More User Reviews:
Photo of BColton1

Rhode Island

3/5  rDev -18.3%

01-20-2014 19:11:04 | More by BColton1
Photo of rudzud


2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Picked this up a while back at Russell's in Amherst, MA. Back when I knew the beer manager. This is batch 2 or 3 (that painted bottle, batch 1 was not painted and is NOT infected).

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip a nice deep dark blackish brown with a good two finger tan head that fades to leave a nice thin blanket. Solid for a stout.

S - Mmmm..bourbon, chocolate, and cherries. Nutmeg, light coffee. Knew this was infected before cracking (as all painted bottles are). Still, I've smelled worse from stouts that were NOT infected...soo, yeah.

T - Lingering coffee roast aftertaste/finish. Up until that though, its all infection. Bourbon is faint, with light chocolate. Then WHAM, metallic sour cherries. Ah, oh well.

M - Mouthfeel is thin and overly carbonated.

O - Overall, well, I knew this was infected from the get go. Unfortunate, but yeah, one less bottle in the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 00:33:18 | More by rudzud
Photo of mikereaser


3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this beer in the cellar so I thought now is a good time to pull it out, the day before Thanksgiving. This bottle is from 2008 I believe.
The beer pours a pitch black with a good amount of tan foam that is just sitting on top of the glass with no plans of retreating. Very interesting aroma. There is a lot of sweetness that I wasn't expecting, i'm picking up the bourbon along with some oak. I'm also getting some dark fruits and maybe even some sourness. The taste is definitely a bit sour. Dark fruits up front, you can feel the maltiness trying to push its way through but not very successful. The bourbon is there but again the sour is driving this one. Its not overly sour and still remains drinkable, almost enjoyable. In the end its still drinkable although i definitely wish I would have consumed this fresh. My bad for sticking it in the back and forgetting about it.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 02:41:06 | More by mikereaser
Photo of t0rin0


4/5  rDev +9%

08-22-2012 01:20:50 | More by t0rin0
Photo of ygtbsm94


3/5  rDev -18.3%

01-30-2012 07:11:10 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4/5  rDev +9%

11-22-2011 00:42:45 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of richbrew

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -18.3%

11-15-2011 14:39:52 | More by richbrew
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 01:50:59 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of thegodfather2701

North Carolina

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

A-Pours pitch black, mocha colored head with no lacing.

S-Chocolate, brown sugar, molasses stand out. There is a Belgian yeast and sour note that is also very strong. I have never smelled a beer like this before. Where's the bourbon? If there is any, it is only a trace.

T-Chocolate, a sourness like unripe fruit (apple/pear) which is actually refreshing. There are also some nutmeg and spice notes. As it warms some nice roasted notes and even espresso emerge. Again, no bourbon.

M-Thin and carbonated.

D-This is tricky, I know this was an infected bottle and didn't taste like it was meant to taste, but I still enjoyed it and was easily able to finish the entire bomber. I think the drinkability is somewhere between a 3.5-4.0, but gave it a 4 because I liked it.

Overall, I got this in a trade which at first was excited about until I found out it was going to be infected. However, I enjoyed it because it was unlike anything I ever tried before. Its worth trying if available, but don't seek this out.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 22:54:50 | More by thegodfather2701
Photo of corby112


1.33/5  rDev -63.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

22oz bottle that opens with a loud hiss. That's not a good sign. Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the faintest tint of lighter color when held to a light and a one finger frothy beige head that immediately fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Boozy aroma with lots of earthy oak and deep roasted malt. Hints of roasted coffee, oatmeal and chocolate underneath but the nose is dominated by the barrel character. Slightly sour and metallic smelling. Looks like this one might be infected.

Yep, ths one s overly oxidized and completely nfected. Harsh tight carbonation and an awful sour mettalc flavor with an abysmal aftertaste that lingers. want to scrape my tongue after takng a few sips. A complete mess and utterly undrinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 08:32:01 | More by corby112
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 02:53:42 | More by hoppymcgee
Photo of Arbitrator


1.35/5  rDev -63.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Received in a trade from tprokop7 in February 09. Thanks Todd!

I'm guessing this is a late 2008 or early 2009 vintage. I know there were some reports of infections, so I had suspected that my bottle was likely to be off. Here goes:

A: Bottle opens with a nice hiss. The pour is a pitch black body with 2" of billowy mocha colored head. Uh oh. It's overcarbed. That suggests some bacteria at work.

S: Yep. Infected. Tart, sour cherries and a darkly vinous component. Hints of caramelly bourbon. If I close my eyes I think I'm sniffing a bourbon barrel-aged Supplication, which is interesting. That's the only thing that saves it from a 1 here.

T: I was told this had mild bourbon character to start with, so I didn't expect it to be a bourbon bomb. I still pick up hints of it, with some chocolate, but the infection dominates, by far. It introduces dark cherry tartness, lactic sourness, and an undercurrent of horse blanket / brett in the finish, which is otherwise watery. It's drinkable but not enjoyable.

M: Thin-medium body. No heat on it. A tart, prickly finish from high carbonation.

D: This wasn't undrinkable. I liked the cherries in it, and I did my best to salvage some enjoyment out of what may be an irreplaceable bottle. But I was expecting a barrel-aged imperial stout, and this did not deliver. Nor did the infection mutate it into a beautiful hybrid. It's just crappy.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 01:52:36 | More by Arbitrator
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 02:34:32 | More by jlindros
Photo of DrJay


2.1/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Looks nice. Very dark brown with clear, ruby-brown edges and a thin tan cap of fine bubbles. Good head retention, a bit of lacing. Smells... funky and wild. There's the faintest hint of a stout in there, a bit of toffee and chocolate, but there's a lot more hay, vinegar, and tartness. Same in the flavour, lots of wild character and cherry tartness along with a bit of chocolate, roast and toffee. Not much bourbon character. The body's on the thin side and the carbonation's a little high. My experience was disappointing, but not unexpected based on other reviews.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2010 20:19:34 | More by DrJay
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+

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 03:40:39 | More by jsh420
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 03:27:07 | More by GbVDave
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this one for a while and finally decided to crack it open with friends. Poured the color and consistency of cola - no head, just a soapy skim. Nose is tart, sour, malty, brown sugar, molasses and perhaps a hint of cocoa. Taste follows nose - not at all style consistent. I'm going to have to surmise that this is one of the infected bottles because I'm not getting any barrel on this at all, just some vinous tartness. Mouthfeel is medium-light, lightly effervescent, but missing the viscosity and the body. This is not a bad beer by any means, and as one reviewer pointed it, it is somewhat reminiscent of Madrugada Obscura. Certainly not a drain pour, and I did enjoy it; however, a bit of a let down for a BA Imperial.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 00:28:42 | More by Jwale73
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured black with good carbonation and a brown head. Nose is sour funk, chocolate, vanilla ad roasted notes. Taste is smooth chocolate, light bourbo, sourness and it was annoying. Perhaps some dried fruits and coffee. Mouthfeel is creamy, warming but funky.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 16:23:50 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of brdc


4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Large capped bottle, poured into a snifter.

Vigorous pour produces a nearly two finger loose tan head atop a nearly black beer. Retention is good, but lacing is minimal.
Nice aroma, with a good measure of stout, roasted, along with caramel, bourbon, vanilla and oak; here the bourbon barrel aroma really shines, without being overpowering. The only unusual feature here is a measure of mustiness, sourness.
Medium bodied, definitely thinner than it should be. It offers a nice blend of stout flavors with bourbon undertones, and a sourness that is mild, but adds an interesting touch. It is not as pronounced as madrugada obscura, and I am not sure if it was purposeful, but it is interesting nevertheless.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 03:39:27 | More by brdc
Photo of Cakanator


4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle back to back with the bourbon scotch. This is the 08. Having had this a year ago I was interested to see how this would turn out being brewed in three year old beam barrels. Starts off great nice faint not overbearing aromas of roasted chocolate and vanilla from the bourbon. Thinner mouthfeel than I remembered but still holding up well. The base imperial stout held up well with time. I'd reccommend another year on this one but not much longer on the 09.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 00:58:02 | More by Cakanator
Photo of BEERchitect


3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After the scare of the initial scent, the beer progressively gets better as it breathes and warms. A great barrel-aged Stout with strong hints of vinous and fruity depth.

A near-ideal look of black on black colors, medium tan head that is never in danger of topling the glass but leaves a dense and low-lying foam on the beer. Opaque as it gets and doesn't give much on lacing.

Strong tart and must leaps from the glass first, leaving me to beleive that this beer has soured. But as the beer warms and some of the carbonation drives off those pent-up vinous notes the beer evolves into a deep roast, espresso, toasted beer with a plethera of fruit notes, red wines, and lots and lots of wood character.

The actual flavors of roasted barley, espresso, burnt cocoa, nuts, molassas.... (whew) actually take a back seat to that sharp, tart vinous character of under rippened berries, tart cherries, merlots, and crabapples. Only after these fruits and tartness subsides does the lesser notes of roast take hold. Wood flavor, nuts, toffee, and cocoa begin to rise especially as the beer warms.

The texture of the beer is lighter than expected, partly because of the vinous astringency that gains precidence. This counters the viscous and chewy body that is expected from these RIS's.

I suspect that the beer has picked up some bugs and wild yeasts from the barrels and it has taken some age in the bottles for these critters to make their way to the forefront. A couple years ago, the homebrew club that I'm involved with made a big, big Brown Ale and aged it in Pappy Van Winkle barrels and it picked up this same vinous acetobacter note. We found that it added multiple levels to the beer, similar to Oud Buins, but did detract from the body and taste with these wine-like flavors and sharper mouthfeel.

I do not think that this beer is what the brewery intended for me to taste, but the beer is varied and complex in it's flaws. I'm happy to review this beer and applaude it's evolution.

Thanks Conneticutpoet!

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 04:22:27 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of charlesw

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 22:47:54 | More by charlesw
Photo of Vancer


3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer sent via ppoitras from the NoBSBif4 - thanks again Pete!

Coal black, of course, into the Corsendonk tulip - and a big ol' head of tan from an aggressive pour.

Sweet vanilla malt with the infamous bourbon in the aroma. Thick and rich malt quaff, with a quite a load of sour porter in the finish. Almost a funky sour beer, mixed with a sturdy dose of impy malt. No alcohol to be found, I guess this is a "medium" strength brew around 7%.

I snuck ahead and checked the reviews - I see I'm not the first surprised by the tangy tartness. I liked the brew, but it sure was a surprise to find in an Impy stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 19:22:55 | More by Vancer
Photo of bigone4

Rhode Island

3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle given to me by my friend Wall mart Jeff from CT. Nice creamy off white, tan brown head that gives way to a very dark brown/black coloration underneath. Very deep black color that does not allow any light through. Good lacing down the glass.
Smell of alcohol esters mixed with a mild smokiness. Hints of chocolate and roasted malt also hit the nose. Some sweet fruit like tones and also a hint of bitterness mixed in. Not so much of a Bourbon scent but certainly some alcohol presence. Some other notes I could not identify cleanly.
Taste was warm and inviting with mixed notes of chocolate and slight coffee alcohol taste. Some sweet fruit notes with a nice bitterness on the tongue. Woody oak tones are all around. Slight sourness to the finish.
Tastes good but I can not drink a lot of this one. Just not my favorite style. I split the rest of the 22oz up for a nice little tasting for a few friends.
Decent mouth feel. Pretty medium bodied for a stout. I was expecting a thicker feel to it but to my surprise it was pretty thin and rather easy to drink. It certainly was a different beer to try maybe it might have had a better go if it was on tap. The bottle did not do it much justice. Like I said not my favorite but over all it was a decent offering. I have one bottle so maybe I will give it a go in the near future. I do not think that this one was tainted or infected but I could be wrong. Maybe that was the sourness?

I opened another bottle last weekend 9/5/09 from the same batch and it was horrible. Something certainly went wrong with this batch. Glad I drank the other one right when I got it.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 20:54:08 | More by bigone4
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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.