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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) | Boulevard Brewing Co.

614 Reviews
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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ)Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ)

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by jdubjacket on 07-11-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 614 | Ratings: 2,166
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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Photo of barczar
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Big bourbony aroma, with lots of vanilla and caramel. Belgian yeast is subtle.

Flavor is more estery, with notes of pear and apple. Perfumey notes abound. Not as much bourbon in flavor, but the alcohol heat is there, big-time. Cherries are a nice complement. Needs age to mellow the heat.

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Photo of DeepBrew
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bomber into snifter. 2014 edition

A: Somewhat hazy mahogany with high beige foam and long retention. Lacing is spotty, coating the side of the glass when tilted.

S: Barrel, malt and booze.

T: Caramel sweet, dark fruit, spice, barrel and booze. Vanilla and cherry are quite subdued. The caramel, fruit and spice linger in the aftertaste.

M: Strong body, creamy, good carbonation

O: Excellent ramped up quad

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: deep amber ruby brown body, opaque; three+ fingers of tan foam left some lace scattered down the glass

S: fleshy dark fruits like dates, plums, raisins and cherries, soaked in bourbon and dried on wood

T: the deep fruit currents run throughout a caramel, toffee, and bourbon-infused base; suggestions of vanilla and holiday spice with hints of cherry

M: medium-bodied, soft and fuzzy, mild carbonation, slight tingle of tartness on the side

O: a well-crafted quad, similar is some ways to Three Philosophers, but superior, in part due to the bourbon barrel aging, in part due to what may be a better quad in the first place. Good sippin' ale, absolutely recommended.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle batch B14204, best by 02/07/2016:
I will re-review this with a vertical at some point, but this review is based on the 2014 version.

This beer appears exactly how I expect a Quad to look, right or wrong. Chestnut in color, seemingly hazy to even cloudy, with a a preponderance of light tan/off-white head.

The nose is brown sugar and bourbon. I don't get much from the cherry, but do get some of the barrel wood. I also get the hints of fig and date.

The sugar and bourbon do not come through as strong in the taste. However, a bit of tartness from the barrel and definitely some dark cherry flavors come through up front. The longer taste is more mellow, with some dark fruits (fig), some dark brown sugar, and more barrel. The feel is pretty smooth, with a decent body. Carbonation is pretty good throughout. Light dryness in the end, seemingly from the wood.

I sort of expected more bourbon bite, but I think it plays into the fruit notes well that it is hiding a bit. Regardless, a very nice offering, will be interested in doing that vertical at some point.

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Photo of uvachief
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle during a bottle share. Pours a thin golden rust brown. Not what I was expecting. Thin head that dissipated. Tastes much like a tradition quadrupel but you pick up the oak bourbon barrels. The bourbon is subtle and smooth. Dark fruit, cherries I think, are noticeable on the front and back end. Toffee, vanilla are noted also. Interesting and good but not fantastic. Disappointed a little. Too hyped I guess.

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Photo of spacebear09
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- This is a highly carbonated, amber colored quad. Fantastic lacing from the foamy tan head.

Smell- Big boozy aroma. Lost some points for a hint of something reminiscent of paint thinner.

Taste- Very much like Sixth Glass with toned down sweetness and some cherry funk added in the finish. Strong caramel and spice flavors, but the bourbon is almost nonexistent. It's a fairly good sipping beer, just not my bag.

Feel- Highly carbonated. Very crisp and light bodied for a quad.

Overall- Quad fiends would probably like this beer. I found it fairly enjoyable, but would not purchase it again.

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Photo of Mattygross44
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is smooth pours dark and creamy not overly carbonated has a nice little after burn for all you barrel drinkers. Still liked the widmer brrrbon 13 had a little more of a bite but then again thats coming from a whiskey drinker who just switched over to beers in the last 3 weeks. I def recommend this beer its done up really well.

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Photo of Dionysus777
4.99/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this offering and it is extremely well balanced. It was released into the wild in 2014 and I just picked it up today at the local Bevmo! As far as the ABV is concerned, it's hardly noticeable, especially if drunk with a small meal or snack. If you haven't tried this yet and you're into barrel-aged anything, you should definitely give this beer a shot.

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Photo of Way2drunk
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

This is my 2nd time enjoy n this quad. I hand a few other beers and 4got 2 review last time. Upon 2nd try I found this overly carbonated. So I let it settle. Then I could taste the tart cherries. It's good but not outstanding. I like some of the other Boulevard Smokestack series better

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Photo of 10Crumra
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is for the 2014 release. Pours a dark amberish brown. A nice two finger yellowish-tan head that sticks around for a while. A small head stays through the entire drinking experience. Significant lacing.

Strong aroma of cherries and alcohol. Subtle roasty, oaky smells.

Definitely taste those cherries along with the alcohol (11.8% ABV). Some nice toffee and caramel flavors. Pleasant mouthfeel. Even though the alcohol is present in the taste it doesn’t burn. Nice carbonation and creaminess.

Overall this is a nice, complex barrel aged quad. It packs a punch for sure. I look forward to trying next year’s version when it comes out.

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Photo of Codyvanvactor
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

For a quad, this is a little light. I love the 6th glass. I had high hopes for the BBQ, but was disappointed at the lack of flavor coming from the bourbon barrel. Happy to drink it again if you're buying.

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Photo of JasW
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a one finger tan head over a copper colored body into a St. Bernardus goblet from the corked and caged bottle. Immediate whiff of sweet bourbon. Taste is immediately of that bourbon and the cherries, settling into the familiar character of a top flight but not too sweet quad. Spectacular, cheek-puffing mouthfeel. An absolute must for all quad fans.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

Enjoyed from the big bottle, this most interesting quad pours a brownish amber with a firm awesome off white head that never fully disappears while leaving excellent lacing. Nose of tart pie cherries, oak, bourbon heat, vanilla, and brown sugar. Taste is warm and bourbon fueled with cherries and oak flavors marrying well together with some light vanilla to the back and sides and sweet caramel and brown sugar all around. Mouth feel finishes lightly dry while being slightly slick with a woody, bourbon fueled cherry aftertaste that is lightly bitter. Very unique.

NOT your average quad.


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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Bottle in my cellar for almost 18 months.

A - Dirty brown-red, hazy opaque, with a very light head, and massive lacing.

S - Full of alcohol burn and bourbon and barrel. Hints of fruit and buttery toffee.

T - Incredible range of flavors. The front is full of bourbon and wood, but underneath are strong cherry and toffee note, and the close comes forward with more earthiness and a slightly buttery note.

M - Very slick, full, slightly cloying. A sipper, this one does not do well with quick drinking, but if you take your time the feel is not off-putting. For nearly 12%, the alcohol sits well, and only burns slightly in the front.

O - Reminds me of a number of barleywines I've had, but is far more nuanced. This is a beer to sit down with and explore, because there are enough layers here to reward time with discovery. I need to get more of this.

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Photo of john0721
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

Brown, off white head.

Cherry with a little bourbon and vanilla in the nose.

Flavor starts with cherries, followed by vanilla, caramel, toffee, and oak, all of which is nicely balanced. Ends with a dry finish.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint, 9.4 oz bottle, poured into a wide-mouth snifter at approximately 45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful red-amber, and forms a massive off-white head with a slight orange tint. Excellent head retention, and it leaves lacing on the glass itself as it recedes, to say nothing of the lacing left by the thick ring it eventually collapses into. Tiny bubbles continually stream from the bottom of the glass, joined sporadically by the occasional larger bubble.

Smell: Delightful. Dark fruits and candi sugar erupt from the glass, heavy with plums, slightly soured grapes, and cherries. There's a faint oaken tinge to the aroma, and vague suggestions of vanilla.

Taste: In an almost exact reversal of the nose, the bourbon barrel strikes first as the beer touches the palate, with heavy notes of vanilla, burnt toffee, char, oak, and boozy heat. Beneath those notes, the candi sugar sweetness takes the center of the rear stage, with the fruit notes off toward the wings and possibly the orchestral pit. The finish brings a slightly sour tone, as cherry and some lingering candi sweetness ride a rush of pure boozy heat. A tiny bit of wooden flavor lingers after the swallow as well.

Mouthfeel: Hot with alcohol, this is also a nigh syrupy beer in consistency, both encouraging sips over swigs.

Overall: This blends the complexity of a good Belgian with the power of a potent bourbon barrel nicely. It drinks a touch hot, but there are few nigh-12% ABV barrel-aged beers that can conceal that - a spot of age might take a bit of the edge off as well. I don't know that I would ever reach for this over a good non-barrel-aged quad, but perhaps trying one with some age on it might change that opinion.

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Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) from Boulevard Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 614 ratings.