1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Drake's Barrel Aged Anniversary Lager - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Drake's Barrel Aged Anniversary LagerDrake's Barrel Aged Anniversary Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

20 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 20
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 6.57%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  13.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: lou91 on 01-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 20 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a deep, dark brown with the faintest hint of a head, and no lace at all.

The smell is very nice, starting with dark ripe cherries and then vanilla and caramel.

The oak is very evident in the taste. Strong wood and vanilla notes, as well as a winey spicy note from the residual bourbon. There is a little sourness here as well and some licorice notes, but a smooth, creamy finish laced with liquor soaked fruitcake flavors makes it very nice.

Astonishingly smooth and light tasting for this style and abv (13.7%). Not sticky at all, some creaminess and even a little dryness. Extremely drinkable. If you like bourbon, you'll like this beer.

Georgiabeer, Jul 20, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of watermelonman
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured to a deep and dark mahogany with almost no head. There isn't any lace.

The smell brings big bourbon flavor with slight bits of fruitiness. The taste is huge on malt, and also has alcohol and dark fruit flavors. The mouthfeel is full and moderately sharp. Drinkability is definitely affected by alcohol.

watermelonman, May 09, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage.
Dark almost cloudy amber with a faint head of tiny bubbles that melts but never completely goes away. A brief, soft swirl brings the bubbles back to life almost magically.
Aroma is immediately Oak chips, then heavy on the vanilla with a touch of sour cherries.
Taste is all a wonderful mess of dark and sour fruits. Dark candied fruits and sour cherries....vanilla and bourbon. Wow...very complex.
Alcohol is lost in the taste but there in the swallow as a nice warmth permeates your body.
Why only 6 oz????
Slowly sipped, this will still be done way too soon.

IntriqKen, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of bradford
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bourbon barrel aged lager...An interesting take on the bourbon barrel fad of today. A dark beer with little head, a pretty damn good smell and a great taste. But I think Drake's is a bit off their rocker charging $6.99 for a 6 oz. bottle. It's good, but not that good. If this was a 22 oz. bottle, this review would be quite a bit different. It is a bit off-putting when I have to pay over a dollar an ounce for a beer that was only purchased because I was too curious over the last 3 years seeing it not to bbuy it. Will not be purchased again.

bradford, Jun 19, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on April 28, 2005. 6 Oz Bottle. Pour of opalescent ruddied brown, with glowing fringes of flame, percolating carbonation, and a swirling thin white head. Aroma is a surprisingly light sour cherries, with oak, light leather, some almost lambicesque wildness and a finish of pinot-like vinous quality. Some creamy caramel flows in somewhere there. Flavor is incredibly rich! Wow. Starts off slowly, but builds into a towering creamy pillar of browned sugars, heavenly molasses, toasted almonds and peanuts, and toffees, harmonizing with a ubiquitous fruit of pears, plums and raisins. Not too heavy on vinous flavors, instead an extremely concentrated flavor, with maybe a touch too much warmth. Out of the dark, comes a creep of quite subtle hops to balance out the symphony of earthy sugars. It’s a touch of parching basil and lemongrass, with a light squeeze of lime. An intricate blend of east and west. Palate is a little hot from the alcohol and a little cloying. It leaves a sugary pecan praline coating on the roof of your mouth. A very nice use of a barrel to bring sophisticated nose to the beer. The overall heat is a little overpowering. Some spicy yeast notes show up later.

CharlesDarwin, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of lou91
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third of the barrel aged series - a 10 month bourbon barrel aged version of their 15th anniversary lager. The 15th is classified as an American Barley Wine so that's what I picked but the bottle talks about how this defies classification. Poured a dark ruby amber color with a token amount of head on the pour. Rum lovers will love the nose as I'm sure bourbon lovers will as well. Oh what a taste - rich, thick bourbon big boy alcohol burn in a malty sweet package. A barleywine/eisbock/hard liquor hybrid. A sipper would be an understatement.

lou91, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2.7%

largadeer, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of weeare138
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears a light hazy amber with a small light tan head that quickly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, oak, with a touch of caramel and vanilla standing out.
Taste is of the same aromas with the oaky bourbon sticking to the palate and the tongue.
Mouthfeel...there is a slight alcohol burn that is warming, slightly sweet, with a mildly burning finish.

weeare138, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from BRoss242 courtesy of the Never Again (Again) BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 6oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is loaded with bourbon and alcohol and some background notes of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit.

T: The taste is malty and thick with flavors of bourbon, caramel, brown sugar, nuts and some dark fruit along with a strong alcoholic sting. There's a very mild hops presence but I'm amazed at how well a beer of this strength is able to keep a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily for a beer with a 13.70% ABV, not too filling, decent representation of style. This is a nice sipper to sit and relax with. You might be able to get through a couple, but you'd be pushing it beyond that as this beer is clearly not meant to pound. Overall, it's a pretty good beer.

TheManiacalOne, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this one from fartingdog as part of BC2. thanks dave!

6oz bottle topped with gold foil. dave has 05-06 release written on the bottle. sampled may 9/08 in my new tripel karmeliet glass - thanks kkipple!

pours crystal clear deep brown with no trace of head.

smell is great. lots of bourbon. vanilla. alcohol. light bread and biscuit malt. deep caramel. bit of toffee. has some mead-like qualities.

taste is good. lots of oak and bourbon. vanilla. alcohol. whole wheat bread. light biscuit. lots of caramel too. bit of tannins from the barrel. touch of earthy character, likely more from the barrel than hops. there isn't a lot behind it - pretty much barrel and not a whole lot else.

mouthfeel is good. very low carbonation, but just enough to give it life. medium body.

drinkability is good. balanced pretty well for this high alcohol. bit of a sipper, but mostly because it's a small bottle. i think i'd have liked this one a little more with a bit less time in the barrel and just a hair more carbonation. definitely my favourite of the 4 barrel aged beers i've had from these guys.

grub, May 10, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured a deep and hazy amber color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak and light alcohol. Tastes of caramel, vanilla, wood and bourbon. Medium alcohol burn in the finish.

Notes from and tasted on 6/2/06

hopdog, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: As with the previous two Barrel Aged Series that I have tried from Drake’s (Jolly Rodger and BarleyWine), the distinctive demure 6 fluid ounce green glass dimpled based bottle is something special. It is. For this too is another one of the ‘Hand Crafted Drake’s Barrel Aged Series’ brews. The bottle design is a small-world of the classic 750ml flask, right down to the deep dimpled thick base. The gold foil hides a very colorful Drake’s crown cap. Screen printed with a blue and white Drake’s logo the bottle looks good. To the left additional text sheds some more light onto this one “Hand Crafted Drake’s Barrel Aged Series Alc/Vol – 13.7%”, to the right yet more clues “Limited Release 15th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel”. This is a one-off brew to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Drake’s Brewery.

The labels blurb states; “A 15th anniversary recipe needs to be unique since so few breweries make it to their 15th year. For this recipe our head brewer Rodger Davis decided to throw out the style guidelines and create his own style. So he fused the finest ingredients, his relentless passion for good beer and topped it off with a bit of creativity. The beer is then aged in a bourbon barrel for 10 months creating a beer that is worthy of drinking for future anniversaries. Bottle Conditioned. Serve at 55°F. (Alc/Vol - 13.7%)”

Appearance: Little to nothing the way of head, a light tan colored array of bubbles break into the open at the edge of the glass but that’s it. Dark brown body which shows some mahogany turbidity towards the end of the pour. Gentle swirls release a little of the dissolved conditioning which produces an audible fizz as the head quickly dies down. With the usual tilting and swirling to aid the visual inspection thick runs of alcohol cling to the edges like gel. Despite the lack of a head the looks are pretty cool.

Nose: Velvet texture in the aromas never mind the taste. Lots of rich vanilla and thick Bourbon with a warming alcohol dimension.

Taste: The taste is just as the nose advertises; lots of thick Bourbon character but never in an over powering manner. Rich vanilla and warming malts fill the middle. Gelatinous body with a deep satisfying profile. Sweetness sneaks into the back end, finishes with a heated death glow at the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, not complex, simple at times but very inviting. Bold body with deep pockets. Soft yet firm with a lovely appealing after warmth that coats the throat and heats as it goes down.

Drinkability: The 6ounces went South in no time, literally, I even used my Stone 9th Anniversary Party tasting glass to make sure I sipped this one, I shouldn’t have bothered, even at 13.7% I could easily manage a few of these. Impressively easy to put down.

Overall: “You Sunk my Battleship!” Cost me just under $8 for the bottle, but if you ever come across one of these little 6oz Beauties, my suggestion would be to make sure to try one despite the fact that it costs well over a Dollar an Ounce. Another winner from Drake’s Barrel Aged Series!

TheLongBeachBum, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

03/16/09- Purchased at Ledger's in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 6oz nip sized bottle 2005 limited edition bottling. Poured into my JW Lees glass.

Appearance- Brown-brandy/congac-like appearance. Slight bubbly head upon pour. Ultra light watery and spotty lace.

Smell- Nice nose of hard alcohol, vanilla, deep caramel and barrel flavors.

Taste- Either this one hasn't sat long enough, or a bit too long. It tasted fine, but the flavors with a bit muted. Some caramel, but a bit watery combined with a touch of vanilla and a oaky like flavor.

Mouthfeel- Not really as thick as expected. A bit watery, but smooth. Short lived aftertaste. Easy to consume though.

Drinkability- Tasted fine, but was hoping for something in the great to excellent range. Better than average, but not much above that.

GClarkage, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to grub for cracking this special bottle, 6 oz bottle foiled and nicely labeled.

Pours a super crystal clear reddish brown, thin brown head forms, quickly settles into nothing, no lace. Smell is bourbon, caramel, oak, honey, very rich, mead aroma, very enjoyable. Taste is not as good, light bourbon, oak, some caramel, alcohol, honey, not a whole lot as the beer itself is not big enough to hold up to the barrel. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Thanks for this Russ!

Viggo, May 10, 2008
Photo of tpd975
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge Thanks to ibrew2or3 for a shot at trying this rare gem.

A: Pours a nice nutty chocolate brownsih black hue with a very small head. No retention or lace noted.

S: Wonderful medium barrel aroams. Great oaky notes with waves of vanilla, burnt brown sugar, and light booze.

T: Prunes stand out up front. Sweet caramel and brown sugar come next. Hints of butterscotch candy seems to melt into oak and vanilla. A touch of booze can be detected in the finish.

M: Full bodied, syrup like smoothness.

D: One tasty brew that is holidng up well over time.

Thanks Dave for the share!!!

tpd975, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gold crinkled foil wrapped six (YES! SIX!) Oz. Bottle for $8 marked limited release 15th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel 1989-2004 Hand Crafted Alc/Vol- 13.7%

“A 15th Anniversary recipe needs to be unique since so few breweries make it to their 15th year. For this recipe, our head brewer, Rodger Davis, decided to throw out the style guidelines and create his own style. So he fused the finest ingredients, his relentless passion for good beer and topped it off with a bit of creativity. The beer in then aged in a bourbon barrel for 10 months, creating a beer that is worthy of drinking for future anniversaries. Bottle conditioned. Serve at 55° ”.
Mini 6 oz. Teenie tiny murky green bottle with a high arch bottom punt adorned with clipper ship over blue skies. Pour is an eggplant vibrant vitreous countenance hue topped with a fallen khaki collar in a spherical wine glass.

Airated nose with chardonnay bright nose masking bourbon barrel booze. Plenty of oak flake scent erupts but over all this is a tricky beguiling lager with a winking sour nose full of curious surprise.

First swigs: [Under s shudder of suspense] Bourbon barrel woody oak cloaks an under attenuated vanilla meets almond subtle carbonation. Awl-kee-hawl is somehow miraculously retrained or the 13.7% ABV is a subterfuge. White grape wine middle.

Last swigs: Coconut lager oaky kicker. Not since Heaveyweight’s 2002 lager barley wine has such a yeast unleashed a terror amongst the ber community. This should be a daily drinker in heaven at every base on a softball field. Call me crazy or an Idiot, but this reminds me of Sam Utopias in a shadow of a suggestion of a whisper.

Beer is good. Happy beering. Music: David Bowie, “Panic in Detroit”

blitheringidiot, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of Floydster
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

6 ounce bottle with gold foil recently acquired in a trade with urwatuh8, thanks for giving me the chance to try this brew, I believe this was the first of the small bottle bourbon barrel series celebrating the 15th Anniversary (1989-2004), which means this beer was pretty old, split with my dad, poured into a tulip glass

A-Medium reddish brown color, clear and see through, absolutely no head or lacing, flat as a board

S-Bourbon, toffee, caramel, hint of skunkiness, wood, brown sugar, candied dark fruit, honey, and booze

T-Taste started off with nothing but bourbon, some dark fruit, mostly plums came in the middle, then the finish had some biscuit feels that left some chewiness in the aftertaste, only slightly dry from the whiskey, as it warmed the flavor became more sweet and the booze were not near as prominent, everything molded well once it settled down and let the barrel's tastes shine through, the oaky finish became the best part of the beer in the last few tiny sips

M-Sweet, boozy, hot, and strong mouthfeel, thin bodied, not much carbonation at all, taste did linger long though

D-Could have drank the bottle with ease but not much after that, heavy on the stomach, ABV is super high, not smooth, lots of alcohol that is not hidden

Mostly curious when it came to trying this one because I had not heard anything about it, I liked the others beers in this series a lot even though you end up paying more than one dollar an ounce, I would not say this one is past its prime but bourbon is starting to dominate it, will age much longer though because it is nearly fourteen percent, not a bad beer overall and I would drink it again if I got the chance, worth trying at least once

Floydster, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

CheapBeerBuzz, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of Dogbrick
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of a travelling colleage. This is a really interesting style of beer. Pours reddish brown.mahogany color that is nearly opaque. More light comes through toward the top of the glass. Thin beige head that dissipates steadily, and spotty lacing. Rich aroma of malt, dark fruits and spices. The bourbon barrel really seems to add a nice texture to the aroma too. Full body with a strong array of malts and fruit flavors. Alcohol is steady and never overpowering despite the high ABV. The finish is very flavorful and lasting, with plum and malt aftertaste. 6 ounces of this disappeared far too quickly.

Dogbrick, Mar 28, 2006
Drake's Barrel Aged Anniversary Lager from Drake's Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 20 ratings.