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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.

571 Reviews

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Reviews: 571
Hads: 1,986
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 529
Gots: 783 | FT: 75
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
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Reviews: 571 | Hads: 1,986
Photo of NickTheGreat
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L (4.5): Nice color. Nice amount of head.
S (4): Smells okay. I got this little bit of a weird smell, but I could smell the bourbon too.
T (4):I'm a little confused here. My first few ounces of it were disappointing. Kinda that metallicy, unpleasant taste you get sometimes. I have a homebrew like this, but not sure the cause. But then . . . it either warmed up, or breathed enough, but it was fantastic. The smoke, the bourbon, the sweetness, the malt, heaven. Not sure exactly what happened, but it did. I'm really giving it a 3 and a 5 for taste!
F (4.5): Nice mouthfeel. Good carb, not especially heavy or viscous.

Overall (4.25). So I'm not sure what happened with the weird taste at first. I don't think it was 100% operator error, because it had actually sat out in the glass for 10 minutes before I drank it the first time. But towards the end . . . WOW

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Photo of Mattwm
5/5  rDev +18.8%

This is a fantastic beer that has nearly everything, fantastic head, great aroma, lingering taste that lets you remember good times. This is not thick or heavy just wonderful. You will be transported to what beer should be. No defined genera just fantastic taste and aroma.This is a beer that makes me hopeful for other american beers,

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%

A- Cloudy, medium-brown body with some hints of amber. Hints of light come through, but the cloudiness of the body leaves no visibility. Frothy, foamy tan head that hangs around and leaves lots of sticky residue behind.

S- Sweet malt, dried fruit, raisins, cherries, just the slightest dash of sugary sweet bourbon.

T- This one still has tons of quad qualities and does not let the bourbon overpower. Lots of dark fruits, sweet and toasty malt, sugary sweet oaky bourbon, lots of raisins and cherries. Big, bold flavors, but not much of an alcohol presence. The bourbon barrel is very complimentary and it is nice to see it not overpower.

M- Full bodied, medium-high carbonation, lingering aftertaste.

O- A big, sweet, dark fruit quad with a well rounded bourbon barrel flavor. A really nice beer that sticks to the format of the sixth glass.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.25/5  rDev +1%

This is a good beer but I don't find the complexity that others have. On the nose you get a boozy somewhat chocolate aroma. I find the taste very boozy. It's 11.8% ABV but you'd think it was much higher. I was hoping the cherries would be more present but I don't taste them. This is the kind of beer I'd buy for a friend who really like bourbon.

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Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a murky consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very strong aroma, dominated by the bourbon, but also had notes of dark fruit, malt, and yeast.

T: Like the aroma, the flavor had a lot of bourbon, but also some figs, raisins, Belgian yeast, spices, and some malt. At times it seems as though the bourbon overshadows the other ingredients, but they do shine through. A very forceful, complex flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Boulevard seems to have a knack for make Belgian-style beers, and this is no exception. The bourbon barrel flavor is a unique and welcome addition.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish with fresh white head, bottled in 12/2013

S: We got it too cold and it wreaked of a pilsner, when it warmed down, much more booze.

T: Absolutely horrible at 40-50 degrees, this beer is supposed to be enjoyed at 55-70 degrees to feel the heat.

M: Smooth

O: Do not get this beer too cold, it will ruin the entire effect. Besides that, pretty damn good but not overly boozey like I like.

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

2013 Version.

Read an interview with Boulevard's head brewmaster in the current (December) issue of DRAFT Magazine, and he suggested this beer should not be aged longer than nine months (which has already passed). I had three bottles (one, I opened immediately last year), and stored two others.

Fearing I may have missed the sweet spot, I opened one last night. Definitely drinking wonderfully still. The bourbon flavor no longer dominates the entire palate, cherry and brown sugar/bourbon flavors are strong.

Super balanced. Despite being 11.5% it was super easy drinking, almost lofty/light tasting. I'm going to save the other bottle (despite the brewmaster's suggestion) for a few more months, as I think this one will only benefit from a little more time.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013, sampled 11/2014, best by 08/2015

Appearance: Very murky brown glass hold a very thin head and halo of off white foam. Edges only go to translucent, the center is a murky opaque brown.

Smell: Boozy, charred barrel, not much else. It's strong, maybe a hint of sweetness backing it up, but it's a full slap to the face.

Taste: Boozy as the nose, maybe more so. I've aged this out a year and some of the heat has mellowed to allow bits of a toffee sweet malt to come through to smooth things out a bit, but it still comes at you like a junkie with a knife. Bourbon is full flavored and soaked all other flavors and smells going on.

Feel: Medium heavy body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

Overall: After the bourbon beats you down a bit, you start to notice a few more subtle things going on. A touch of tobacco, a bit of plum, a junkie with a broken bourbon bottle. I didn't note the cherry taste until reading the description, it's there and a bit maraschino.
All in all a good beer. A real experience, I'll watch for other rare bottles.

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Photo of JHelffrich
4/5  rDev -5%

From the 750 mL bottle.
Pours a nice amber, slightly reddish color, with a big head. Foam remains a medium long time; looks creamy, not threaded.
Aroma is sort of off-putting; slightly nutty, floral, some oak, with floral and cherry tones. Something else along with alcohol aroma, can't put my finger on it.
Smooth flavor, with definite bourbon and floral aftertaste. I wouldn't put it up there with good lambics in flavor, but nothing especially objectionable. The flavor just didn't connect with me due to the disparate elements, but it is good looking in the glass and goes down smoothly on the palate.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.8/5  rDev +14%

Wow, a fantastic beer! Sometimes the Belgian style beers don't work for me ... I think it's related to the yeast they generally use. However this one is delicious. First, upon removing the cork you get a very strong pop ... probably the strongest of any beer I've uncorked. I expected high carbonation as a result but that's not the case ... carbonation level is perfect. Taste is exquisite. There are certainly bourbon barrel overtones. Practically no hop bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden but warming. My only gripe is the cherries ... I think this would be an even better beer without them.

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Photo of bennettcl
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

I found that this beer gets exponentially better as it warms up. I'd recommend pulling it from the fridge and letting it sit for about 30 minutes before drinking it. I poured a glass straight from the fridge and set the bottle on the counter. The first glass was good, but I found that as it got warmer the carbonation died down a little bit and let the flavors of the beer come through. Needless to say the 2nd and 3rd pours from the bottle were much better than the first glass. The flavors are as described on the bottle, but you'll enjoy them more once the beer gets closer to what I would call a white wine drinking temperature.

Easily one of my favorite beers, and I am glad I got 4 bottles of it this year.

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Photo of MonkeyBread
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%

Bottled 2013 in 750ml

Appearance: Amber, brown color, nice white head on the pour. Quite fizzy, lot of head out of the pour.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruits

Taste: initial glass was very heavy on bourbon and alcohol presence. Not unpleasant but the flavors really came out after it had a chance to air out and warm a bit. Whereas the initial impression was of bourbon dominance, an amazing blend of tastes came through: vanilla, wood, lot of fruit flavors for a quad (cherries, dates, melon), toffee. Just a delicious blend where the barrel aging complements everything but doesn't take over the beer completely. This is one of the best bourbon barrel aged beers I've experienced. Bit of alcohol warmth but it is a pleasant presence.

Overall: fantastic beer. I enjoyed the Sixth Glass from Boulevard and am a sucker for Quads in general. This one takes it to another level with a vast array of flavors. My second favorite quad after Stickee Monkey (which debatably isn't even a quad). Great job as usual by Boulevard, wish I got regular distribution from them.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into chalice, bottled on 8/19/2013. Pours hazy deep reddish orange color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, plum, fig, date, apple, tart cherry, clove, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, coconut, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity fruity/spicy yeast, cherries, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, date, apple, tart cherry, clove, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, coconut, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, and yeast/oak earthiness. Light fruity tartness and moderate yeast/oak spice on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, apple, cherry, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, coconut, toast, brown sugar, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate tart cherry flavors; with a great malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, fairly slick, and lightly syrupy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged quadrupel style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate tart cherry flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of arizcards
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%

Picked up 2013 a bottle from the Alpine Frontier Liquor store the other day. Best by 08-2015. not sure how much i paid but would suspect $15.

Beer poured orange brown with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose primarily is bourbon driven.

Taste initially is bourbon forward and warming. Subsequent sips the cherries that were added to accomodate the angel's share is dominiating.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a very nice beer that likely would be better without the cherries.

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Photo of BingCrosby7
4/5  rDev -5%

I was kind of perplexed by some of the things I've read about this beer and the experience other advocates have been having; so, I will throw in my oar.

A - This is brighter than most quads I've seen. My glass looks like a rye IPA--it's fairly clear with almost no cloudiness. A fair distribution of color throughout the body. Amber coloration with a hint of a softer orange around the edges. A very thin eggshell colored head with minimal retention and lacing. Very minimal feet on this around the glass, which is somewhat surprising.
S - Mine smells pretty hot. A lot of alcohol and bourbon on the nose. The barrel is there, though it is muted by the booziness. Sugary toffee and something like simple syrup on the front end of the nose, rounded out by some sort of figgy aroma. A hint of orange marmalade.
T - Luckily, this beer is less boozy on the palate than it is on the nose. The barrel also has a bigger presence on the palate. Nice and bourbony. A little bit of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar in the backend. Not really picking up any yeast or bread/biscuit anywhere on the palate, which is odd considering the style. Not too much in the way of stone fruit or dried fruit, which, again, is surprising considering the style. This drinks much more like a barleywine than a quad.
M - Mine is somewhat sticky, but it's also thin in a weird way. The carbonation is pretty flat. I prefer my quads to be a bit more bubbly.
O - This beer seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. This beer is not what I expect of the style. It's more like a barleywine, as I said above; but, even in the barleywine category, I think it falters. Also, this is a very bright looking beer, which is unexpected. That said, the beer is pretty to look at and is a good drink. Very tasty and satisfying--I just wouldn't call it a quad. Also, the reviewer below me said it reminded him of Westvleteren 12. I'm not getting that at all.

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Photo of Resuin
4.38/5  rDev +4%

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an enlarged snifter. 2013 version. This is my first review done where Appearance/Smell/Taste/Mouthfeel/Overall are not all included in the final rating.

Appearance: Pours brown with a hint of cherry red and leaves a fizzy off-white head which fades quickly at first, then slows to a halt with an off-white layer atop the beer. (4.25)

Smell: Lots of dark fruits: figs, raisins, plums as well as mild molasses and caramel, hint of cherry, malts, cloves. (4.25)

Taste: Really reminds me of Westy 12. Lots of dark fruits and quite nutty. Bit of bitter chocolate, tobacco, quite smooth for the ABV. (4.5)

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation, a bit spritzy with a medium body. Finishes smooth and a bit nutty.

Overall: This reminds me a ton of Westy 12. Very Belgiany for an American brewed Belgian style brew. Very well brewed, impressive. Tasty and smooth.

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Photo of bpgpitt10
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I've had this beer multiple times. Every time before this last time, it's been a magical mixture of bourbon, dark cherry flavor, and belgian quad qualities. Really having a wonderful balance.

Then I opened my 2011 and found it to be a totally different beer. It had gone sour. Funny thing is, I still think it was freaking fantastic. My rating would be very similar for both versions (soured vs. non)... just for very different reasons. The sour version was one of the absolute best uses of bourbon barrels in a sour I've had. The bourbon still powered through while the cherries and tartness helped clean the palate.

While totally different, the 2011 was still a treat. I imagine the problem with reviewing any 2011 though is that each version will probably have massive variation in how the souring affects the beer. If this had gone very sour (or not sour enough), it could have a been a total waste. Anyhow, my experience was pretty fun and special with it since it was so unexpected!

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! Hazy mahogany pour with a hint of ruby, two finger beige head with decent retention and great lacing. The nose is huge and amazing! Tons of vanilla and oak along with hints of bourbon, toffee, and very subtle cherries. The taste is big and bold with huge oak notes along with hints of vanilla, bourbon, toffee, and caramel. The cherries are a bit more prevalent and add a subtle sourness to the flavor. The mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy with fizzy carbonation and a slightly sour finish. The drinkability for an 11.8% beer was off the charts. Overall, I was very impressed with this beer. The oak character was incredible and the subtle cherry notes added complexity. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Dave1999
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Lost about a quarter of the bottle on opening, it foamed up fast!

It poured into the glass a deep rich dark red with a white foamy head.

The smell is sweet bourbon, cherry, a little alcohol, vanilla and oak. The vanilla and oak take the front seat. Really looking forward to tasting this.

The taste is sweet bourbon, vanilla, cherry, yeasty and malty. Easy drinking for the abv maybe just the slightest alcohol taste on the finish. The best bourbon barreled ale I've had for quite some time.

The mouthfeel is smooth, quite light actually. Would have like a bit more body but not bad.

Overall this is definately a must for bourbon barrel fans, a bit more thickness in the body and this would have been near perfect for me.

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Photo of ronricorossi
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured into a tulip glass from a bottle bought at The BierStein in Eugene, OR

pours with that belgian haziness, dirty yellow and orange with good lacing and carbonation waves left on the glass. The barrels come through in the nose, it smells of oak. And yes, just like the bottle says, toffee and vanilla, and subdued cherry. Tastes of these, too, with the barrel (not the booze) being maybe the most noticeable surface layer. None of the deep purple fruits one usually associates with quads, though. The oak and cherry take it somewhere else. The bourbon is scaled way back by the acidic cherries, almost like a sour? Finishes with a little of that mild bitter, too. Noticeable carbonation.

Great beer. I see BBA quad, and I think something darker, sweeter, boozier, so it surprised me a little bit, but still, great beer.

You know what? Actually reminds me of Allagash Curieux just a little bit, that other BBA belgian. I've always thought that Curieux tastes like a whisky sour, with the oak astringency taking a forward position, and the same sort of flavor dynamic is working here.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Head starts out as fizzy on the initial pour, but quickly settles into a large fluffy tan head. Deep amber-brown body.

Some cherry and a lot of bourbon in the nose, with typical quad notes lurking in the background. Definitely some alcohol present in the nose as well.

Tastes wonderful and exactly how you would expect. Definitely a quad backbone with bourbon and cherry vanilla floating on top. Some pepperiness, probably from the higher ABV.

Mouth seems a pinch thin, but swirling in the glass helps.

A really great beer, enjoying the last night in our current house. Lots of memories here, and this beer will be one of them.

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Photo of Beerswag
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 2013, aged 1 year. Pours a light colored head, at least four-fingers, gone fast, medium lacing. Color of the beer is lighter than most quads, amber and medium dark Carmel tones..the smell is Carmel, and malt, with some fruity hints. Taste is Carmel, vanilla, and candied sugar, with hints of pecan. Light body for the style which makes the mouthfeel pleasant for such a strong abv. Overall really good, just not great. Simple profile for the style. Age on this bottle, and the way Otha's smoothed out, makes me think this one could go much longer and do well. Pair with dessert, sweeter-dishes, beef, venison, red-meat..cheese pairing would be Gouda, cow's milk cheeses.

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Photo of dar482
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours out in a dark reddish amber.

The aroma has a Belgian yeast, dark plum and bright green plum along with sugary sweetness.

The flavor follows with dark fruit, raisins, and caramel. It is a lighter quad with medium minus bourbon that smooths out the beer with a clean drinking back end.

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Photo of Dope
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Same review as the below, 2011 batch but now 2.5 years later.

A: Pours dark red with some brown. Huge, frothy and fluffy tan head. Great head retention with heavy walls of lacing.

S: Nice cherry aroma up front. Lightly tart with hints of caramel. Dark fruits/stone fruits in general really. Light oakiness.

T: Again, lots of cherries immediately up front. Heavy bourbon too but much more subdued than I remember. Oaky bourbon with toffee and caramel primarily. Lightly tart cherries with a bit of leathery tannin action going on. Some earthy spices and heavy bread in the middle and finish. Just a touch of cocoa. Lingering oak and bourbon with light cherries.

M: Heavy but smooth. No real sign of the 12% ABV.

O: Interesting how age has changed this one. I barely got any cherry originally, now cherry is the prominent flavor. Bourbon used to be very strong to the point of overpowering, now it's in the background. Interesting. Overall my scores haven't changed much, just moved around a bit. I think I like this more with a bit of age on it, regardless.

Review from 12-28-2011 on a fresh bottle of 2011 BBQ.

A: A very very dark red pour, maybe some brown in it too. Big frothy off-white head. Good to see a nice head on a barrel aged beer. Fades somewhat fast, leaves a little lacing. (4)

S: Bold bourbon notes with some cherry. Big boozy raisins and figs and maybe some grapes? Some vanilla and oak. (4)

T: Up front is toffee immediately, turning into a strong bourbon presence very quickly. Fades back into cherries with raisins and a hint of oak and vanilla. It's all over very quickly. Mild alcoholic aftertaste. Almost no bitterness. Alcohol bite is surprisingly mild given the almost 12% ABV. (4)

M: Fairly heavy and smooth, some prickly alcohol/bourbon.(4)

O: Pretty much as advertised. A lot of the quad aspect is lost underneath all of the bourbon and cherries but it's still an excellent beer. Unique.(4.5)

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 version of BBQ

A- Pours smooth unless you get heavy handed with it, then it give you a tall head. Lighter reddish- brown in color. Filtered clean.
S- Bourbon, leather, cherry. Bourbon is all over the place
T- A little cherry, not very much of the quad, tons of bourbon. It seems to be a young and common bourbon to me... jack or jim???? I get a little plum from the quad, but I want a big, sticky dark fruit quad. This seemed a bit thin and over run by the bourbon. Not a rich, refined boubon, but a yourg and sharp one.
M - A little thinner than what I was expecting from a quad, but pretty solid.
O- I expected a bit more. The sharp, young bourbon didn't do it for me. I'm used to a much mroe mellow BA bourbon flavor. Fun to try. I would love to try again with more cherries and a different barrel.

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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) from Boulevard Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 571 ratings.