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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ)Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

580 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 580
Hads: 2,014
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 20.43%
Wants: 531
Gots: 800 | FT: 73
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jdubjacket on 07-11-2008

Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel's share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.

19 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) Alström Bros
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Reviews: 580 | Hads: 2,014
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It pops nicely and pours a butterscotch color, 100% opaque and full of fuzziness. The head is large and 3 fingers.

Smells of cherries, peaches, alcohol, fig, and oak. Slight Bourbon aroma.

Taste is full of alcohol warmth and fig, fried bananas, butterscotch, toffee, and antiseptic.

Feel is warm, burning, carbonated, and ends dry.

Overall it's a knock out quad. I'd have it again.

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Photo of beergoot
3.34/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2015 Version

Dark, copper hued body; thick, sticky, chunky head. Malty nose with some dark fruit qualities; raisins; mild spiciness. Boozy flavor atop a fair malt sweetness; dominant phenol presence; caramel and mildly charred sugar. Heavy body; fairly thick and chewy; warm; strong alcohol heat.

The boozy heat overwhelms an otherwise decent heavy malt base. One is left with feelings of harshness that the under-performing sugary sweetness just can't compensate for. Rather disjointed and lacking in refinement.

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Photo of bobhits
2.9/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2015 variety.

The pour yield a fizzy, what I normally expect from a sour, head. It seems to last and has some retention and lacing, but in a quad it seems really out of place. Nearly to the point I'm questioning what I'm about to drink.

I really cannot smell much of anything. I get this fruity ester that I have gotten in Boulevard's other smokestack series beers, but with nearly nothing behind it. I think there's some chocolate and bourbon or something like that but I honestly cannot get through the esters.

The beer has a lot of rich flavors and character. Bourbon certainly, chocolate, vanilla, Belgian fruits, rum, grapes, plums. I think there's some good stuff going on, however the mouth feel.

The mouth feel is over the top overly carbonated and thin as heck. It completely ruins the beer.

I'm not sure if I'm just the only guy not a fan or what, but the way the smokestack series is carbonated ruins what I think are otherwise decent beers. I'm sorry but they've either changed up the beer, people had older bottles, or I'm just alone in hating the way this drinks. A real shame because I think the flavors in this one are decent.

Quick edit, but if you swirl the glass for 2-3 minutes and get the carbonation out, it really does improve the beer. As this is likely not how it was intended to be, I won't amend the scores, but it makes a world of difference. The aroma and flavors are much more pronounced and the beer is now much more drinkable. Still a bit thin while being rather boozy so take that as you will.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

BBQ pours a dark brownish reddish color with a small lacing head. Big bold oak aromas with big hints of tart cherries. Taste is smooth, oakey, spicy, tart cherry flavors, and a warm alcohol ending flavor. Great body, everything blends well. Overall its fanatic, noticeable terry, warm vanilla; everything comes together perfectly.

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Photo of bonesTdog
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beauty in this beer is in its subtlety. It has a wonderful complexity of flavors with none overpowering the others. Nothing jumps out and says BAM. Light bourbon, light vanilla, light yeast, light alcohol (12%!) with a barely noticeable hint of cherry. All with a velvety solid mouthfeel, not too thin. The medium carbonation is a bit high for my preference but still ok. I typically like bigger beers that are more over the top, but this quad impressed me more and more with every sip.

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Photo of snippydippy
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Being a Kansas City local, this is probably my favorite of the Smokestack Series that I have tried. I would also rate it higher than other Bourbon blends (i.e. Stone). It mixes nice without the synthetic flavors that I sometimes get with others. Has about two fingers think of topping. Color a nice reddish tent. Overall, I plan on picking up a few more of these before they are out of supply.

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Photo of Best_Enjoyed_In_Texas
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Overall, pretty let down by this. Very little bourbon taste nor as much quad. The cherry taste is subtle. I was really excited to try this, but kind of let down.

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Photo of LloydDobler
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hearty, ruddy ruby color. The head is light beige and 2" thick, but sizzles to a thin film quickly. The first thing I can smell here is rye and wood. It is abundant. Maybe the addition of cherries is throwing my nose off a bit, but the sweet fruit presence smells almost like a jar of syrupy, cocktail cherries. The mix of that and whiskey has me thinking of a Rob Roy. It makes me want to dive right in! Not as sweet as I was expecting. Actually, it's mild in all aspects. Not what I was anticipating at all. The alcohol finish is nice, smooth, and warming. This pretty much made me feel like I was drinking the last half of a glass of good bourbon that was accidentally served over ice. Pretty thin. This wasn't what I was expecting, nor was it what I wanted, but I DID really enjoy this.

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Photo of stevoj
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Overwhelmed by the complexity and thorough enjoyability of this brew. Barrel aging adds all the right notes, lots of woody and smoky notes, yet still unbelievably silky smooth.. Near perfect quad....no wonder Duvel bought them out

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Photo of BWood
3.26/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not as much bourbon as I would want nor as much quad. FW stickee monkey blows this away by so far its not on the same planet. Kind of let me down here .

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

July 15, 2015

750 ml, snifter

A – Dark, dark amber, with tones of brown, creating a rich, light mahogany liquid, not very clear but not due to sediment. An inch of light, caramel-colored foam, with moderate-long retention. Pours somewhat thick, appears very sudsy. A beautiful beer.

S – Rich caramel, fruity toffee, and strong vanilla, with light oakiness. Fruit is dark, black cherry or plums, and only moderate-light on the aroma. Bourbon is very present, warm but not aggressive. No hop aroma.

T – Vanilla and oak are massive, along with warm, smooth, aged bourbon. Cherry fruit is moderate but very noticeable. Light chocolate and caramel impressions. Again, no hop presence.

M – Full to medium-full in body, with high, very sudsy, carbonation. Some warmth from the bourbon, pleasant. A lot of sweetness but not cloying, mostly due to contribution of bitterness by the hops, their only contribution, which strengthens towards the finish. Pretty dry throughout, with a low bitter aftertaste. Notable that when fresh, this beer can seem aggressively sugary, but with a few months in the bottle it has mellowed out tremendously.

O – This was one of my introductions to strong dark Belgian-style ales, and one of my favorites for a long time, so it keeps a high spot on my list. Excellent, though I wish it retained more of the cherry character from its aging/maturation.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Mahogany red in color and very cloudy. Pours a tan three finger tall head.

Aroma- Chocolate, dark fruits, mild cherry, and a touch a bourbon booze.

Taste- Dark fruit sweetness and at first followed by a big burst of cherry flavor. Chocolate is mild but noticeable as well as the bourbon which adds a underlying sweetness/mild booziness. Very well balanced, alcohol presence is low, and barrel characteristics are mild.

Feel- Full bodied, medium/high carbonation, and incredibly smooth and clean in the finish. Very little residual malt in the finish.

Overall- World class quad that gets a a little boost from the bourbon barrel. The barrel adds bourbon sweetness and vanilla flavors, but little to no heat. Quad characteristics contain the typical dark fruit and mild chocolate flavors. Everything about this beer is great from the aroma to the feel. Definitely not a beer that showcases the barrel, but rather uses it to add complimentary flavors to a great base quad.

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4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After a fight with the cork I finally got this one open. A fog follows the cork out of the bottle. You get plenty of carbonation with this one as a soft pour gets nearly four fingers of rocky doughy tan head. Body is a deep, murky brownish burgundy in tone. Lots of scattered lace is left behind from the head. Nose is decisively yeasty with some soft tart cherry notes and noticeably raw woodsy oak tone also. With first sip the excitement really hits the tongue. Super complex layers of dry bourbon with rye mash notes are accompanied by soft cherry tones that bring about wine like tannins. Woodsy oak and caramelized malts bring about just the right amount of balance. The Belgium yeast lingers in the back ground leaving the tongue tingling producing a very unique mouthfeel. At nearly 12% the alcohol never comes off as heavy, which is quite a feat. It would be very interesting to see what this one does with some age. A real joy to drink.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
2.95/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is not a Quad. It tastes like champagne mixed with bourbon, or just a bad whiskey soda. There is just the subtlest hint of cherries. Maybe it's because my bottle was a bit over a year old? I don't know, but this is on my do not drink again list. Wish I hadn't bought two.

T: Where is the Belgian yeast character or the flavors and aromas of dark fruit? I get nothing but the lightest hint of cherry, completely overshadowed by whiskey/ bourbon.

F: And as for mouthfeel, this is not smooth and rich - it is effervescent and carbonated like champagne.

Smell and Look: Mostly looks fine, but smells kinda like it tastes.

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Photo of n2185
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottle:

A: Pours a clear copper with two fingers of cream-colored head that fades into a frothy ring with little lacing.

S: Tart cherries , Belgian spices, and candy sugar up front with vanilla, oak, and sweet bourbon following.

T: Belgian spices, candy sugar, and yeast flavors up front with oak and a bit of bourbon following. There is light aftertaste of cherries. The finish is moderately boozy.

O: An enjoyable beer, overall, and better with age. Still a bit too boozy and I'd like a bit more from the barrel, but enjoyable.

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Photo of brianmandell
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 bottle. Caramel in color with tan head. Nose of caramel and dark fruit like cherry and plum with a sweet candy jam presence. The base beer - sixth glass is very present. It's a solid but simple quad with minimal yeast flavors. The barrel aging adds great caramel, vanilla and oak flavors. The finish is boozy but well integrated. The cherries may actually take away from the beer - they are a bit artificial in flavor with a jolly rancher like quality. The beer is medium bodied but full from the active carbonation. Overall this is a very good beer but not a huge fan of the cherry flavors.

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Photo of BenwayPHD
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a reddish purple with three fingers of thick, foamy head. The nose is quite nice. Perfume booze upfront followed by toffee, vanilla, caramel, hard candy, there is a nice tartness in the background. The flavor is heavy on the sweetness. The caramel is quite present. The booze flavor lingers. It has a very nice, thick mouthfeel. This is a really good beer.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish amber color, almost opaque. One finger head, faded to a thin film, but laced nicely. The smell was great, dark cherries, a little caramel and vanilla and some sweet candy sugar and a slight hint of bourbon. The taste was very much dark fruit, with the bourbon really becoming more prominent in the taste. The mouthfeel was medium bodied, with a nice carbonation bite, along with a little burn from the alcohol. Overall, I loves me some Sixth Glass, this really took it up a notch.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Best by Date: 08-2016

A- Pours a hazy reddish medium brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Minimal non-resilient lacing.

S- Straightforward quad aroma with some Belgian candi sugar and booze.

T- The quad characteristics come through nicely first and then the barrel comes in and adds a layer of complexity that the base beer desperately needed in my opinion. Some peppery esters, toasty malt and sweet aftertaste. Booze is decently hidden.

M- Somewhat slick with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- I like this much better than regular Sixth Glass. The booziness works in the context of the bourbon barrel while Sixth Glass is unreasonably boozy. A great treatment to a not-so-great beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Coffee brown pour with a healthy 2 finger light beach=sand capping. Good rise of carbonation, strong rate of retention, with a high lace coverage covering the vessel on the way down with a spongy film coating.

S: Aroma was smooth bourbon, light vanilla caramel. Abv was very well hidden.

T: Strong bourbon notes, smooth scotchy peat caramelized malt and oakiness. Dark fruit of fresh plums, syrupy raisins, cherries and smooth scotchy malt. Light mention of sugary apple pie filling.

M: Syrupy thick, very light carbonation.

O: Overall the alcohol is very well mannered, the bourbon definitely shines here, but is very smooth and polished, even at 11.8% drinking more like an 8.0% at best. Slight glow from the bourbon on the inner cheeks, lightly sweet vanilla-caramel hints, highly polished drinkability. Very good overall.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Subtle for a bourbon barreled brew, but pleasantly so. The nose is cherry and char, with vanilla and a hint of cocoa powder. The flavor has the dark fruits expected from a quad, but hints of whiskey provide balance. Feel is silky smooth, but healthy carbonation, especially for a beer from 2014. This is craft beer with a heavy emphasis on craft, and could be rated even higher than I've put it. Will never get the attention that the KBS and BCBS type of beers get, but a prime example of restraint paying dividends.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lots of easy oak / vanilla booze aroma, but the flavor is not hot or overdone. The bourbon flavor is mixed very well and subdued, with lots of tart cherry and warm vanilla taking hold. It doesn't finish boozey like a lot of bourbon aged beers, either. The balance and blending of the flavor is incredibly impressive. You get to taste the scotch flavors but they play off of the traditional quad flavors very well. More brewers should try aging quads in bourbon barrels instead of throwing every stout they can think of in them. The natural flavors mix wonderfully, and Boulevard has done a fantastic job with this one.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For me, this one lives up to the hype. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, cherries and dark fruits all blend together in a wonderful harmony. Sweet, but the sweetness is cut by the booze. Great stuff.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml caged and corked bottle - always a thrill to see some of the bigger American whales just show up on yer local bottleshop shelves.

This beer pours a rather murky, dark apricot amber hue, with a teeming tower of puffy, tightly foamy, and mildly creamy tan head, which leaves some tacky wafting fog bank lace around the glass as it very slowly melts away.

It smells of bready, doughy caramel malt, heady Bourbon barrel notes - acrid wood, vanilla, and spicy corn/rye whiskey - muddled dark fruit, in the plum/raisin/date vein, a soft earthy yeastiness, tanned leather, and further generically fruity alcohol. The taste is actually more malty up front, the bready, grainy caramel/toffee sweetness predominating, until a sneakily subtle barrel character seeps in - more real vanilla, more testy wood staves - with a still mixed and matched dark orchard fruitiness, persistent musty leather, and leafy, earthy, and kind of perfumed hops.

The carbonation is certainly active, but in a low-key, genially frothy manner, the body a so-so medium weight, and pretty darned smooth, as even though you can taste the barrel measures, they seem to have no power here, which engenders a mild creaminess to boot. It finishes off-dry, the grainy caramel, varied fruitiness, and boozy wood all working together to convince me that I'm not drinking a 24-proof bevy.

Wow, this is good, nay, great! Except maybe for the lack of cherries (they're probably stirred in there somewhere with the rest of their fruity brethren), but since the brewer was up front about their subtly, Imma let that one pass. Crazy easy to drink, and equally enjoyable, this is a worthwhile ode to the Belgian monastic greats, and from a place where they can see the dead center of Flyover Zone, USA.

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Photo of Roguer
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big fluffy, airy light beige head. Brew is a brown color, a little light for a quad, and is nearly opaque (although it seems like it SHOULD be clear...). Good retention and nice lines of lacing.

Aroma is all about fruit at first: banana, figs, and prunes. The bourbon is definitely noticeable (carrying notes of vanilla and coconut), but blends incredibly well with the malt and yeast.

Flavor follows: quad up front, bourbon in the rear. Actually, the bourbon takes over and starts to dominate about mid-palate; it's very pleasant, but very, very noticeable. Brown sugar and toffee combine with prunes and raisins up front, before the bourbon carries you home with strong notes of liquor, burnt caramel, coconut, vanilla, and a touch of oak on the back-end. Perhaps a slight bit of tartness from the cherries fighting for space against the bourbon.

Hot and boozy brew; fairly wet, long finish reeking of bourbon barrels. Moderate foaming.

This is a really interesting and honestly excellent brew. A quad was a good choice for bourbon barrels.

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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) from Boulevard Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.