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

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Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

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175 Reviews
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Reviews: 175
Hads: 449
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 12.77%
Wants: 8
Gots: 48 | 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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 175 | Hads: 449
Photo of mavbrew
2.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in May '11. Poured into Mug.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a finger thick, light tan head that slowly dissipates to a ring around the glass.

S: There is a dominant scent of vanilla in the nose, followed by roasted malts, hints of chocolate and slight notes of bourbon (very slight).

T: The taste is not what I was expecting from the label. There is really nothing that signifies this as a "Barrel Aged Bourbon Stout." There aren't any oak barrel characteristics, as you would expect from a barrel aged beer. It does have a vanilla flavor followed caramel malts or something, not much going on.

M: Light to medium bodied with little carbonation. I wish I could say more about the feel but I'm just not getting anything with this one.

D: If this beer wasn't labeled as a "Bourbon Barrel Stout," it wouldn't be too bad, not great but pretty average. However, labeling this means there should be some of those characteristics in the beer, there aren't any, which is a let down. (989 characters)

Photo of jacobseyb
3.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Red Dog Wine and Spirits in Franklin, TN. It pours a deep dark brown with a healthy three finger head when poured vigorously. The head is a lighter brown color, with mix of bubbles ranging from large to small. Smell has some smokiness with the definite bourbon vanilla notes present. Also presenting in the aroma are notes chocolate. Tastes good with the bourbon vanilla and smokiness of the malt still present. Bitter chocolates are also apparent in the taste. Feel is very smooth, not quite as carbonated as I would like, some oiliness in the feel as well. Full bodied. Overall I very much enjoyed the beer, a good representation of the American Stout style. Though I have had others that I enjoyed more, I really like the drinkability and flavors present in this Bluegrass Brewing Company version. (818 characters)

Photo of McNealc31
3.72/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's black, thick, and smooth with a huge, creamy tan head. It was excessively carbonated and took a couple of pours to get it in the glass. The color had me instantly wondering something that unfortunately was true of this beer. Because of the stout characteristics including the roasted, smokey, nutty flavors, the bourbon was really hard to pick up. There were some late woody and vanilla notes, but the bourbon was not as prominent as I would have liked. (458 characters)

Photo of mondegreen
3.62/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle into a Bruery Tulip

A: Watery looking pour, next to no head. Black in the center with dark brown highlights in the light. Somewhat disappointing.

S: Light roasted malts with moderate bourbon smell. Not as overpowering as I have gotten used to with bourbon barrel stouts, but nice smelling in its own right.

T: The bourbon flavors are very subdued, maybe a bit too much so. Still, the malts pair with the bourbon very nicely provide good flavor. Would love to see this one taken up a notch, but it's still pretty tasty.

M: Way too thin. This beer really falls down here. It isn't the thinnest stout I have ever had, but it needs more body!

D: In all, it isn't a bad beer. I'll pay more for a more substantial stout any day, though. (747 characters)

Photo of Shrews629
3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - The beer poured a very dark brownish/black color, with a light tan head that was of nice size and was creamy and smooth looking. Some beautiful lacing was left on the glass as I sipped. The head retention was good as it settled to a film on top.

Smell - The aroma was of a smoked variety with some "peat" notes backing it up. Some coffee notes, but they are hidden a bit by the smoke. Some chocolate comes through, but it's mild also and smells more like a dried cocoa powder. I didn't really get any hints of Bourbon alcohol.

Taste - The taste provided more of the smokey flavor, which I liked, however I, once again, did not receive any of the Bourbon flavoring. The coffee notes were mild and the chocolate was hidden in the backgound. No alcohol was present, which surprised me considering the high ABV. Not very well balanced.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel was medium and mostly dry. It was smooth, but not as creamy as I though it might be. No real alcohol warmth. The flavor did not stick aornd on the palate as much as I had hoped either. I though the mouthfeel was a little weak considering the style.

Drinkability - Well, this beer looked really good in the glass. I loved the smokey aspects, although I was expecting and hoping for a bit more of the Bourbon aroma and flavoring. Oh well, it was still rather enjoyable and an easy drink. Went down very easy considering the high ABV. Not horrible, but kind of misleading. I would have another though. Maybe two. I thought this would be a "sipper", but I found myself taking big gulps. (1,560 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
3.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this while waiting entirely too long for my takeout Thai food to be ready. Second offering from these guys. Nice brownish/black color. Relatively mild bourbon flavor, could've used a little more...some slight pecan notes in there as we'll. Faint aromas considering the genre, expected stronger. Not as smooth of a mouthfeel as you'd expect either. Decent, maybe a little underrated on here. (394 characters)

Photo of chicagoabbot
2.36/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz split with a friend who brought it back from a recent trip to Kentucky. Appearance is decent for the style, although a bit heavy on the fizz, but it goes down from there. Tons of sicky vanilla in the nose. Same in the taste, totally one dimensional, not enough bitterness and no malt complexity. Too much vanilla flavor. Does not hide alcohol well. Mouthfeel is kind of weak and not lively. Overall, this beer is not that good, not at all. Always nice to try something new though, even if it sucks. (504 characters)

Photo of 2378GCGTG
3.4/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip at 43 degrees

Appearance: 2 inch brown head, excellent retention and great lacing. Black in the center and red at the edges when held to the light.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, coffee, and vanilla

Taste: Bitter coffee predominates at the front, fading into vanilla and oak with light buttery bourbon undertones

Mouthfeel: Light, almost watery, with a softness from the bourbon aging.

Overall: I am disappointed by this years offering, past years have been mush better, and in fact the Jeffersons aged beer is far superior to this beer. (566 characters)

Photo of mechamifune
2.93/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours what almost looks like a very dark brown, but in the glass looks closer to a true black.

Body looks a little bit thin, and a huge off brown head emerges. Very heavy foamy lacing. It would appear that this is going to be a little too carbonated for the style.

Smell is pretty muted, and when I do pick up a note its pretty much bourbon and not much else. The smell that is there isn't unpleasant, but it doesn't feel very assertive.

Taste is much like the smell.... bourbon is the predominant taste, but its not an overwhelming or rich taste. No real sense of chocolate or coffee (or hell even just roasted malt) to offset the bourbon. But again, its not unpleasant, there just isn't much happening here. Doesn't drink hot at all.

Mouthfeel is all wrong. Way too much carbonation and way too thin of a body. ALmost like an unsweetened bourbon soda pop (not a good thing, by the way). I guess if i can say anything positive, its a relatively thin beer, which makes it a little easier to drink.

Overall, skip this one. The flavors aren't off per se, there just isn't enough of it. The mouthfeel just really kills this beer though. (1,138 characters)

Photo of Gear54
2.38/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

From a bottle into a snifter.

Pitch black with no foam and no lace. Very little carbonation.

Smell is burnt carmel. It's very faint but mostly burnt carmel

Taste is bitter grass and maybe some black licorice.

Overall this it a poor quality stout. Flavors are flat and it leaves the palate needing a good scrubbing. (321 characters)

Photo of daveytheformer
3.23/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep black with a thin tan head that quickly fades to very light lacing and a few tiny spots.

Smells really smokey with a strong coffee and roasted malt presence. Bakers chocolate comes to mind with repeated whiffs.

Tastes lightly syrupy with lots of roasted malt. Chocolate and coffee come into the mix for sure. The bourbon lurks pretty subdued in the background more than I would prefer frankly. Not quite as big as I as expecting or am used to but is still drinkable though.

Mouthfeel is a little thin to to medium bodied with very light carbonation.

Overall is ok at best. I grabbed a 4-pack of this and can't really see myself doing that again. (663 characters)

Photo of hops202
3.35/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled November 2013. Poured into snifter

A - black with dark brown edges.

S - hints of bourbon and some roasted malt.

T - rather bland, some chocolate and roast with light vanilla flavor.

M - lots of carb

O - nothing special here. Maybe it would be good if it was the first BA stout ever tasted. (305 characters)

Photo of Retroman40
3.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a brandy snifter

A- Black with a fleeting brown head and minimal lacing.

S- Roasted malts with some bourbon notes.

T- Mild, sweet roast. Vanilla, bourbon and chocolate.

M- Smooth on the tongue with no harsh bourbon taste as some of these BBS's tend to have. Very clean finish. Particularly low carbonation.

O- A decent enough BBS but not particularly complex. Very mild - this might be the BBS to serve your friends that have never had one. (471 characters)

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
1.67/5  rDev -48%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Disappointing. This is the example of a brewery that has jumped on the "barrel aged" bandwagon. This is a watered-down example of a barrel aged stout and is frankly a disgrace to carry the name barrel aged stout. Black in color with a weakly colored brown head. Taste is weak, with light notes of chocolate that fade as quick as you can begin to taste them. Watery and light for a barrel aged beer. Mouthfeel is like drinking water. Save your money....extreme disappointment. (475 characters)

Photo of phiberoptik
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16oz pint glass. First thing I noticed was almost no head and zero lacing once the head was gone. Maybe this is from the barrel aging, I dont know but it falls flat.

Maybe I am a little stuffed up but Im not catching a lot of anything in the nose of this beer. I get the bourbon and a little oak and maybe some caramel. The alcohol comes through as well.

The taste is nice. I like it more than I was thinking I would based on the appearance. Bourbon up front, a little oak, dark roast coffee, and alcohol on the finish as well.

It feels a little watery and kind of lacks some body. Its drinkable other than the alcohol content.

I would definitely drink this if it was in front of me but it wont be on my short list. Just too many out there better. (768 characters)

Photo of dmfrench
2.17/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Weak artificial flavors trumped by an even worse aroma

A: Very dark but still clear ruby body with a quickly settling light khaki head.

S: Coffee, light dusty hops, and a foul stinky aroma that I can't identify... kinda like you smoked a cheap cigar through you ass and then belched it up through your mouth.

T: Biggish but stale chocolate coffee roast. Syrupy sweet, almost artificially so, yet still thin tasting. Slight drying earthy hops on top. No aspects of barrel aging are apparent.

M: On the thin side but with a decent texture.

O: Taste is not exactly a winner, but the aroma is a complete deal breaker. (624 characters)

Photo of Ghenna
3.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the December beertrade

Hard pour into a DFH Tulipish glass, 2 fingers of light brown head. Very sweet malt smell, a bit of caramel, a bit of wood, and a bit of astringency.

Malt is well balanced with a dark roast flavor- not nearly as sweet as I expected it to be. Very pleasant dark chocolate and roast coffee aftertaste. MF is not particularly strong, pleasingly creamy- lending to make this a medium drinkable beer.

I've had a lot of luck in the last few porters/stouts that I've had the pleasure of tasting, and this is a pretty nice stout. Much like the most recent porters I've tried, this succeeds in that it doesn't try too hard to be overpowering in any sense of the word. (716 characters)

Photo of Groomsy
3.14/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Bottled in September 2012.

An aggressive pour on this yields about a one-finger head of tan foam that fades rather quickly. Some alcohol legs are evident in the glass, but zero lacing is left on the glass. The beer itself is a very dark brown that does not let light through in the glass.

With this being a bourbon barrel stout, I was expecting a much "bigger" nose on this. What's there is nice, if a little too mild for my expectations. The first thing I notice is the scent of dark fruits. There's a slightly smoky back to it, as well as some coffee and roasted malt. I don't pick up much "bourbon" smell; made just a hint of woodiness and vanilla smell if I concentrate really hard. What's there isn't bad, but if you're going to do a barrel aged beer, ya better go big with it.

As far as taste goes, it's mild, but balanced. A good dose of malty sweetness hits the tongue at first with flavors of smoke, dark fruit, and some dried cocoa/milk chocolate. The bourbon really comes in on the finish with some drying alcohol and some woody/vanilla character. For being as mild as it is, this beer is still well-balanced, I think. Respectable.

The body of this beer is far too thin for the style, though. However, in its defense, its crisp, medium body is a nice contrast from what one would expect for the style. The alcohol is fairly drying on the finish, and the lingering smoke/chocolate flavors are nice. I'm scoring this fairly high because it was easy to drink for this kind of beer.

Overall, not a bad beer. I was expecting something much bolder in flavor, but I can see that the barrel aging didn't take the main focus here. My biggest beef is that the base beer, the stout, was fairly standard to begin with - if we were dealing with a top-notch stout as the base beer, this could have been great. (1,846 characters)

Photo of Ruger
3.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured hard and still only managed a half finger light brown head, minimal lacing and the body is black with a red tint that silhouettes at the top when held up to the light.

S - Tons of melted chocolate with a light booze wisp that follows up.

T - Very light bourbon couldn't get much but its there , overwhelming chocolate that is nicely counterbalanced by finishing with a slight hop bitterness that disperses.

M - A little too much carbonation for my tastes but its fine; medium bodied still really smooth. (517 characters)

Photo of MDHopster
3.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Apparently I enjoyed this one more than most, so be it. On tap poured in a tulip glass. Temperature was around 50 - 55 degrees I'd estimate which may be why I enjoyed it more. Too often barrel aged beers and stouts are served too cold and the aroma and flavors don't really present as well. Nice strong coffee and chocolate undertones. (339 characters)

Photo of KevinBrewer
3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Nearly black with a reddish-brown glow to it. Huge, rocky tan head that dissipates to a thick blanket, leaving some patchwork behind. Basically impossible to pour a full glass without waiting for the head to die down halfway through.

N- Chocolaty bourbon-soaked malt with rich vanilla and soft oak. Really a delicious aroma, but you have to enjoy it before taking the first sip. After a few swallows, the nuances of the aroma were definitely harder to pick up.

T- Wow. Very smooth, roasty, and lightly chocolaty up front. Mild grassy and oaky bitterness works nicely with the roast. Subtle vanilla accents and a touch of bourbon add complexity without overpowering the stout qualities. Lightly bitter grassy finish with plenty of roast, vanilla, and bourbon lingering around into the aftertaste.

M- Medium-light body, high carbonation, and a semidry finish.

D- Overall, I love bourbon barrel-aged stouts, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, it is pretty light, and nothing close to a good bbal imperial stout. I really cannot believe this beer is 8.6% because it is incredibly easy-drinking. I think the biggest fault for this beer is the high ABV because that's the only thing preventing me from going through a fourpack. (1,232 characters)

Photo of fitrock2112
3.66/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured Bourbon Barrel Stout into a Belgian Tulip.

A - Pours black as midnight with a skim of mocha head with a aggressive pour.

S - I can smell the bourbon while this one is being poured. On first sniff getting vanilla, whiskey, some light roasted malts.

T - Vanilla, light roasted malts, smooth whiskey with char notes mid palate.

M - It is a little thin on the mouthfeel, medium to high carbonation.

O - It's a decent barrel aged stout that is easy to get in my area. I would like just a little bit more flavor and a thicker mouthfeel. (542 characters)

Photo of JCaweinstein
3.24/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle dated July/11

Look: black, and a little some floaters, one finger off white head disappears almost immediately, minimal lacing
Smell: bourbon, wood, raisons and chocolate
Taste: dark fruit, slight bourbon taste and a minor hop flavor as well
Mouthfeel: lighter than what I would expect for a stout, it is very carbonated and doesn't leave much on the finish
Overall: Not an impressive beer. The idea is good ut something is missing here. Picked it up as it's a somewhat local brewery but I won't make that mistake again. (540 characters)

Photo of BelgiumBill
4.2/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think I'm liking this more than the other reviewers here. Perhaps there is a lot of variability in the bottling? Or perhaps I am a fan of the style?

It poured black into the Sam Adams glass with just a trace of a brown rim. Very thin head despite an aggressive pour. A ring of foam lasted the whole way down.

I could smell the stout even before bringing it to my nose. Coffee and dark chocolate on the nose.

The flavor was also chocolate and coffee along with some roasted nuances and a mineral presence on the finish. Interestingly, as the beer warmed a bit, I started to get a distinct bourbon and oak flavor.

I am surprised it is at 8.6%ABV as the alcohol is well hidden.

In the mouth I found it rich and a little creamy with adequate carbonation but not too much to produce any adverse scrubbing of the palate.

I liked the bottle I had and would buy again. (869 characters)

Photo of n00tz
3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark thick body, mocha topped mousse-like head, undetectable carbonation and not enough to feed the head.

S - Coffee and Chocolate, hint of dark fruits, and a stronger alcohol than typical, almost undesirable.

T - Creamy cocoa, figs, woodiness and a touch of bourbon. Delicious!

M - Med. Heavy body, frothy in the mouth (but not overly), and finishes dry to the taste.

D - Served at about 50f seemed to bring the most character to the table. Easy to come back to. Good overall but nothing that really sets this apart from the crowd. (540 characters)

Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series) from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
74 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.