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Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series) - Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

176 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 176
Hads: 455
Avg: 3.23
pDev: 34.06%
Wants: 8
Gots: 52 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CaptinRedBeard on 05-05-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 176 | Hads: 455
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kelly88 for sending this beer!

Pours a pitch black with a 1 inch chocolate milk colored head. Some foamy ring lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, cookie dough, and faint hints of bourbon. For some reason the cookie dough smell stands out, but this is a good thing because to me this smells very nice. Tastes of bourbon up front, followed by bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and vanilla notes. This beer is somewhat over carbonated for this style and leaves a weird fizzy feel on the palate. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that I am glad I got to try. In my opinion it is better than the C+ average it gets on here.

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Photo of oberon
3.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a Guinness pint glass nearly jet black except for ruby highlights when held to the light,a very thin beige head that was one in a blink atop.Big vanilla/bourbon and sweet brown sugar in the nose,smells very sweet...almost cloying.Thin and borderline watery feel just takes any steam this beer may have had away,flavors of vanilla and brown sugar,faint char but it doesn't impede the sweetness much.Wow this is a clunker,I was hoping for something much better.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

had some high hopes for this one, but it did not really pan out as I had hoped. Pour was uneventful, thick black oil like, with no real head. Decent lacing throughout. Smell was very full, lots of oak, and bourbon aromas, and the vanilla is unmistakable, in fact pretty much over powering. First impression was not pleasant, it was vanilla overload for me, nad what the vanilla didn't kill the oak took care of later. Not enough carbonation left it feeling utterly flat and uneventful. Really had a rough time getting all of this down as the vanilla and oak were just overdone and killing it for me. Overall nah, I am good.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.96/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

"Thanks" to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a somewhat thin dark brown color with a minimal off-white head.

S: I could smell the butter in this as soon as I opened the bottle. Diacetyl pretty much dominates the nose and prevents any bourbon or stout aromas from coming through.

T: For a bourbon barrel aged stout, this beer is incredibly favorless. Watery and bland with maybe a bit of roast and chocolate.

M: The body is just as disappointing as the rest of the beer: thin and lowly carbonated.

D: Another piece of evidence that -bals do not always make a beer better/good.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

And on rolls the Leaving Falls Church uber-bender. This entry pours a straight obsidian with only an imitation of Tim Tebow's hazing-induced haircut done in brown bubbles serving as a head. The nose is fairly weak, comprising chocolate, a hint of whiskey, a woodchip of oak, and some dry coffee beans. The taste holds notes of coffee, dark chocolate, Coca-Cola, molasses, and cinnamon. The bourbon, if actually there, is too weak to come through for me. But, at least what did show up performed nicely. The body is a surprising medium, with a moderate carbonation and a rather watery feel. Overall, this was a highly disappointing stout, especially after the enjoyment associated with the Jefferson's Reserve offering. It's quite a bit too light, the nose is weak, and the bourbon doesn't shine through very well. It doesn't taste bad, thankfully, but it's nowhere near great.

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Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh man, this looked so good from the bottle, then saw the lower r-avg... now I'm not so sure, but I gotta judge for myself. Bottled in June 2012, thanks to JonnyGalt (reddit) for this one.

Pours a darker colored fizzy head that hits about 1/2 a finger before fading semi quickly, no real lacing, looks like a 10% abv beer kinda head, pitch black beer.

Nose is mostly dark malts, bit of dark choc, cocoa, light roast and coffee and a bit of acrid roast. Lots of syrupy malts, caramel like but more candy dark syrup. Some oats, other dark malts, black malts, etc. Very light barrel with some vanilla and barely a hint of bourbon.

Taste starts with more dark malts, creamy milk chocolate and oats out front, with some caramel, toffee, and a bit of candy syrup. Just a touch of roasted malt and some coffee but not a lot of either, and that limits the touch of acrid flavor that seems to have died down in some of the sitting in the bottle. Nice vanilla character as well, from a touch of barrel but barely any other barrel characters and no bourbon. It brings a light chalky powdered cocoa as it goes, with light spicy hop bitterness, and some warming booze. Finish is drier but a little sticky, a bit more warming booze, more creamy milk chocolate but also powdered cocoa, hint of coffee and dark malts, and bit more vanilla.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, fairly creamy, light but decent carb for the style, some warming booze.

Overall not bad, not a great beer, but the base stout seems like a pretty good beer. It doesn't have a whole lot of malts and flavors going on, it's not an imperial stout so fairly good for just an American stout. however, the lack of Bourbon Barrel really hits hard as I really wanted some of that.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at Ramirez Liquor in Los Angeles and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz. Expectations are low given its current ratings. I'm starting to see this brewery as one that needlessly bourbon barrel ages everything whilst lacking the finesse to pull it off. Reviewed live.

Bottled November 2012.

I do think it's intriguing that this is currently labelled simply an American Stout and yet it's barrel aged. Not sure what to make of that. I naturally assumed it'd be an imperial stout.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a quarter finger pathetially thin dark khaki colour head of no real cream, okay thickness, and abysmal (~20 second) retention. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Standard fare for the style, with a below average head.

Sm: Bourbon is prominent, but I get little subtlety; there are no vanilla or toffee notes, for example. Dark malts. Maybe a light buried roasty character. It's simple but appealing; the bourbon in particular is intriguing. A moderate strength aroma. No yeast or alcohol is detectable.

T: Bourbon, certainly. Dark malts. Chocolate malt. The bourbon character is certainly dominant, and is more rounded here than the aroma suggested; I do get traces of vanilla and toffee. Caramel. It's decently balanced but disappointingly simple. That said, it's quite a success as a stout with bourbon notes; I don't understand its current low reviews. Sure, it lacks the complexity and subtlety needed to be great, but I don't think it's merely average. No yeast or alcohol comes through, and that's fairly impressive at 8.6%. I like it. As it warmed, I noticed a very light buried chili pepper like spiciness.

Mf: A bit too smooth and wet for a stout, but it suits the flavour profile so I won't complain too much. Carbonation is good. Slightly creamy; I'd love more of that. Good palate presence. It's not unique or special, but it really works for the beer.

Dr: I quite like this one; I think many reviewers expect the complexity of an imperial stout. The price is a huge turn-off, but if I get out to Kentucky I'd seek out more beers from this brewery. It gets better as it warms. I'd have this again at a better price. Very drinkable for the well hidden ABV. What you see is what you get; it's a bourbon-forward stout. And a pretty good one at that. It accomplishes what it sought to, and I always applaud that.

Low B

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Photo of russpowell
3.24/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Another Kentucky "find" man going random this trip was a bit hit & miss...Bottled July 2012

Pours mahogany with a thumb of mocha colored head. Slight traces of lacing & head retention

S: Boozey vanilla & caramel

T: Vanilla, mocha & slight coffee flavors up front. Mocha flavors as this warms, some roastyness, milk & dark chocolate notes & dryness. Finishes dry, roasty, with cocoa notes

MF: Fairly thin, slight carbonation

A fairly okay Barrel aged stout, nothing special

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Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled Dec 2010. Pours pitch black color with an instant 3 finger than head with great retention that reduces to a nice lacing cap that lasts. Some moderate lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of dark fruits, roasted malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some chocolate and coffee in the background. Some interesting and bourbon forward aromas here. Taste of big oak, bourbon, and roasted malts on the front, that leads to chocolate, vanilla, and light coffee on the finish. A bit of bitterness on the finish with lingering notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of bourbon. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, not too bad. This was pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this as an extra a few weeks ago but forget who sent it; thank you! 12 oz. bottle poured into my Bruery tulip. Bottles in September 2012.

a - Pours a pitch black color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass and the head leaves quickly.

s - Smells of sweet chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, oak, coconut, light coffee, toasted malts, and caramel malts. Really nice nose, a lot going on and they work well together.

t - Tastes of sweet milk chocolate, cream, vanilla, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, light bourbon, and oak. Much less bourbon here than the nose, but still very nice.

As it warms, up a littke bourbon comes out, which is nice.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. No real heat, and pretty nice and thick.

o - Overall I liked this one a lot; I was pleasantly surprised and liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Lots of chocolate and vanilla and some nice light bourbon, this is a good BBA stout that comes in 12 oz. bottles and isn't too heavy or high ABV. Would definitely have it again.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a FoBAB taster pint. Bottled January 2011, no listed ABV.

A - Pours with a voluminous three fingers of mocha foam that settle to a thick cap, and big swathes of lace. Body is an opaque, very dark brown.

S - Smell is strangely mineral and lightly metallic, in an unpleasant espresso sort of way. If I look past that there is some oak and semisweet chocolate. There is also some grain character apparent.

T -Taste is burnt malt bitterness, some astringency, dry oak, anise, and some dark chocolate that comes out as it warms up. Not much sweetness.

M - Very carbonated. Medium-light body, roasty and gritty, dry and tannic finish. Not much residual stickiness. Supremely chuggable, with no alcohol present at all. 8.6%? Really?

D - Was this infected with brett? It's very dry and low in sugars and it's definitely overcarbonated. There are some off flavors in the nose too. The light texture makes this easy to drink even though it's far from the best barrel-aged stout I've had.

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Photo of chinchill
1.89/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle with bottled date notched of April 2013 from Liquor Barn (KY).

Solid pssffft upon prying the tap, and the oversized bubbly head both suggest an over-carbonated stout. Given the appearance, the aroma suggests this could be an infected bottle: it smels dank and sour. There is a hint of bourbon and maybe the dank is just from the oak barrel. ... (sips)... Definitely over-carbonated. Flavor features spoiled dark grains. It's drinkable, barely, at best. ... (a few more sips) ... actually, I think I'd rather pour this out and have a good beer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.31/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap at BBC (4th St) in Louisville, KY.

A: Pours a jet black in color. The beer has a half finger tall dark beige head that reduces to about a quarter finger tall but never completely goes away. Very light lacing is observed.

S: The aroma is not as intense as I expected - a little on the mild side. Aromas of burnt and dark roasted malts, some light oakiness, and bourbon + vanilla.

T: Lots of intense bourbon and vanilla flavors along with some light amounts of oakiness/woodiness. Light amounts of dark roasted (almost burnt) malts. The beer has a light lingering bitterness. I can also taste some of the harshness of the alcohol from the bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Some alcohol warming is present. Slightly thin.

O: Not a bad beer but a little thinner that I wanted/expected for the style. There is a nice complexity to the flavor but it is a little harsh to be a sessionable beer. Alcohol could have been more well hidden.

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Photo of mothman
3.79/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours a layer of tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: Marshmallows and cocoa powder. It has vanilla with a bit of roast malts. Not a lot of bourbon, but I like the nose.

Taste: More marshmallows and vanilla. Very sweet and creamy. Cocoa powder, chocolate, and roasted malts. Again, not a lot of bourbon notes here, but I do like it.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry and roasted.

Overall, I like this beer, but the bourbon notes are no where to be found. The flavors are good. Rating this as a stout, it is good. Rating it as a bourbon bal stout, it is not up to par. I like it though.

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Photo of stakem
2.6/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I could have swore I reviewed this brew before because I vividly remember the experience being below average. Here we go again, 12oz brown bottle with a bottled on date of October 2010. This brew pours a very dark brown that once held to the light displays some clarity around the edges. An initial formation of khaki head forms with more than a finger strength and slowly fades to a film that maintains across the top seemingly throughout the entire duration.

The smell of this brew initially has a pleasant character of faint, sweet milky chocolate, vanilla, oak and a bit of roast. More smells reveal some hints espresso-like coffee character that starts to turn like char. When swirled, a bit of sulfur comes out that mixes with quite a bit of mineral component. And there it is, the initial pleasing and expected character of this brew abruptly turns to quite a mineral filled scent that is slightly earthy with mixed notes of stinky cheese.

The taste is char with a bitter roasted grain element that gives way to a light amount of bitter chocolate that lasts into the aftertaste when only a small sip is taken. When larger gulps are taken, there is a tartness present that is a bit distracting and gives a chalky quality that is a bit out of place. Sulfur and mineral flavors run throughout the middle of the profile. Surprisingly this off-character gives way towards the end and leaves an aftertaste of cocoa powder on the tongue. A very strange experience for sure.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with an abundance of carbonation that is effervescent and bubbly on the tongue. I dont want to be the one that screams infection over this brew but this is a drastically different experience from the last bottle I had. The previous bottle I consumed had an abundance of dark cherry tartness and minerals that was not enjoyable at all. While this bottle was slightly better, it still tasted a bit off to me. This brew flirts with having potential but something has gone wrong. I wouldn't mind having this again when it is fresh but I would be hesitant.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cavie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is very nice and quite complex. I get a lot of bourbon as well as some chocolate, vanilla, maple and dark fruit. The flavor is just as complex. The chocolate and roasted malt come through very strong, but the flavor also has all of the components you expect from a bourbon barrel aged beer. I get some bourbon whiskey notes as well as some maple, oak and vanilla. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A very nice barrel-aged stout. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.52/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter.

A faint head is barley made that doesn't stick around much, leaves a soapy collar. Body color is a dark walnut brown, with red and looks actually just a little see through on the edges

Bouquet is high on barrel notes, wood, cedar angles, sawdust, with some nice malt backbones. Interesting, not much going on but I do enjoy it. Very very dry.

Mild subdued barrel palate. Faint hint of the classic bourbon notes but very buried of caramel and vanilla and richness, instead the roast malt dominates primarily. Char action much like an American porter. Wet bodied a bit with some very noticeable carbonation. Dry sense on the nose doesn't come off on the taste with it's wet angle.

Overall this actually isn't a bad beer, but for slapping the bourbon barrel name on there, this is not quite pulling it off. It's more of a roasty American porter/stout to me but still enjoyable.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.18/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a fluffy, dense, light, clingy, off-white head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted notes, a heavy dose of char, burnt popcorn, and not much else. Flavors are rich and roasted forward, with a blast of bittersweet chocolate, tangy caramel, char, wood spice, subtle vanilla, and dark molasses. Very rich and sweet, but the barrel char really takes over the palate. The body is surprisingly light and effervesced from the carbonation, making this one kind of disappear on the palate. The aftertaste is more of the roasted chocolate and cream blend, straight through to the soft, smooth, light finish, with a richly sweet linger. Meh.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.5/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in November 2010.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark black with a half finger of light brown head.

S - Sweet molasses, bourbon, chocolate and slight coffee notes.

T - Bourbon is the dominant flavour but is not overwhelming like it can be in many beers of this style. There are some light chocolate and molasses notes but overall this is a fairly one dimensional beer.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but somewhat one dimensional. Would love to see a little more character in this one.

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Photo of Tone
3.56/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a tan color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight oatmeal, alcohol (bourbon), hint of smoke, and a hint of roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, alcohol (bourbon), and hint of wood. Overall, weak in appearance, but the bourbon aroma and taste is well apportioned with all other notes.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on April, 2013 punched on the side.

pours a pitch black color with a half inch beige head that quickly dissipates. Slight bourbon on the nose, but not as strong as I would have anticipated. Taste is very smooth. Bourbon flavor is apparent but the alcohol is quite subdued. Would guess in the 6-7 % range. It's not as strong as I first anticipated. Good feel, medium bodied with low carbonation. Not as thick as I intended it would be either.

Overall this is a pretty easy drinking stout with a touch of bourbon flavor. I'd say the flavor was added instead of it being aged in bourbon barrels like most other beers. It's very easy to drink and isn't necessarily a sipper. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.07/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 8/16/11
*From notes

-- This has been in my cellar almost a year --

A: It looks ok, though wholly unremarkable. The proper charry burnt umber color is there. A standard pour yields a dissapointing .5 finger head and zero lacing.

S: I can't believe I'm actually getting some toasted coconut here. It's got a great bouquet that gets me excited for the first taste.

T: Well, the excitement didn't last long. It's simply too thin on flavor. Nothing stands out here but some harsh tanninic acid that I can only assume comes from cheap, shredded wood.

M: Sharp and underwhelming. Where's the body here? It's overcarbed, which I assume they feel covers for a lack of actual flavor.

O: Bluegrass' Bourbon Barrel Stout isn't a bad beer, it's simply average personified. Nothing here, sans the nose, is worth mentioning. Middie of the road is a dangerous place to be. Here's to Bluegrass picking it up a bit, as producing beers like this can very quickly lead to a dead end.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.01/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Ping glass.

A - Deep dark brown with a one-finger tan head. Good retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Dark Chocolate and coffee.

T - Smokey coffee, and some tobacco.

D - Thin for a Bourbon Barrel Stout.

O - flavors are here, just not right some how.

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Photo of claspada
2.3/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aromas are of faint bourbon and some cork, nort oak, but cork. Sweetenes, but not in a good way, I am leary...

The tatse is miserable. Watered down bourbon and soggy oak, tastes like a homebrew which is very premature. Light smokiness and roasted grain. Mouthfeel is thin with medium carbonation.

One and done definitely. I remember drinking their bourbon brown ale last year and feeling the same way. This brewery is a long way from pro status in my opinion. Way too thin and watery. Flavor is weak and needs more behind it. Worst bouron barrel or any wood aged beer I have consumed to date.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.46/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Nothing like picking up a bottle tick then checking the review to see a c+, this will be yummy! 12oz bottle in August 2010, poured into my Darkness glass...The lightest shade of black with dark brown fringes. A really light tan head rises a full finger then disappears to a thin ring, no lacing...Light and boring aroma that is very malty at first, chocolate syrup mostly. The syrup has really generic qualities that are not appealing at all. I can't tell this was barrel aged, no typical indicators...The taste is horrendous, light chocolate syrup poured into a glass of water that then was used as an ashtray. The feel is super light, very water like.

There are no redeeming qualities to this beer, it should be avoided.

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Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series) from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
75 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.