Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) - BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub

Not Rated.
Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

63 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 63
Hads: 66
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 17
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 02-21-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

IBU's: 60
ABV: 10.0%
Color: Dark Amber, Toffee
Ingredients: English and American hops, blended with three types of pale and roasted malts.
Description: A barley wine style ale that is aged in American Oak Bourbon barrels, creating notes of vanilla, toffee and sherry.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Hads: 66
Photo of Arbitrator
2.03/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared a recent tasting. From notes.

A: Pours a deep ruby color (hard to see since we were outside in the dark), with decent head and some lace.

S: Toffee, caramel, restrained bourbon (a surprise; for some reason I just expected this to be really strong), earth.

T: Same as the nose: it's not a bourbon bomb. It's not that complex in flavor, either. The base beer seems muted and doesn't bring out much besides toffee. The caramel itself blends well with the bourbon. There's some earthiness that balances out the sweet flavors, which is nice. But this is your typical Starter Barleywine with Starter Bourbon Barrel flavors. No oak, vanilla... the age hasn't done any complexifying wonders.

M: Surprisingly thin-bodied, and oftentimes watery in the finish. Wow, terrible.

D: Bourbon-barrel barleywines aren't THAT common, but this isn't in Perfect Storm or CW or Kuhnhenehehnehhhafhasfujsfdgn territory. It's simply poor. (960 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown body with a full, frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Weak aroma with just some tired, musty pale malts, a pinch of white pepper, and a handful of sawdust.

Taste: Pale maltiness with vague tastes of caramel and cinnamon spice. A few wooden popsicle sticks. Earthy bitterness. Light, nominal boubron characteristics are all insignificant. If it didn't say "bourbon" on the label, you could easily miss it. Astringent, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: No thanks. Hardly even average. I dare say the barrel aging didn't pay off one bit. (623 characters)

Photo of kencarman
3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

"No longer available?" Update BA! This is the newest edition, a new "new edition that makes me wonder, "Why did they bother?" More an aggressive, higher (somewhat taste-wise) abv amber than barleywine. Out of balance. Nose and taste and MF: upfront oak with almost no bourbon as this year's edition promises. A bit sticky, but barleywine can get so. This is probably the only barleywine sense that matches other bws. Could parameters: could use more malt and more everything but oak sense.

Don't get me wrong. Not a bad beer, but one dimensional and less bw than it should be. I will age and reassess. (603 characters)

Photo of nickd717
3.11/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber shared by Arbitrator on BA.

Pours a hazy mahogany-brown color with a good-sized light beige head.

Aroma is caramel, oak, and some resinous hops.

Flavor is somewhat sweet caramel malts, oak, bourbon, and slight dark fruit notes.

Medium-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and a good carbonation level.

Not very good for a barrel aged barleywine, but not terrible. Drinkability is OK. (389 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a goblet at Haymarket.

If only Bridgeport were Canadian, then they could call this beer "Old Canucklehead". (Yeah, I stole it from X-Men...) Anyway, it pours a clear sunset brass topped by a finger of dirty cream foam. The nose comprises perfume-y sweetness (as vague as that description), some potential oak (still not sure, though), and a light nuttiness. Yup, everything is all ephemeral and vague and whatnot. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a vein of whiskey for the sake of it. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth-ish feel. Overall, a decent barrel-aged barleywine, but nothing to get at all excited about. (682 characters)

Photo of vkv822
3.27/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2008 vintage.

Pours a dark red with a foamy light, toffee colored head.

The aroma is a smooth blend of bourbon, caramel, oaky vanilla, dark fruits and some faint sherry and light booziness.

The taste is a bit one dimensional, slightly oxidized sherry notes, finishes with some bourbon and caramel.

Surprisingly there is still quite a bit of carbonation, and the body is a bit thin.

A decent beer, I wish the taste had lived up to what the aroma led me to expect, and the mouthfeel wasn't quite what I look for. I can't really see this benefiting from any more aging. (603 characters)

Photo of Eldalonde
3.35/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This pours a murky golden color with a nice thick head.

S - Smells of heavy caramel, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, fruits, and a bit of earth. Rather complex aroma to this.

T - Sweet caramel and strong hops with a bit of chocolate. The finish is a touch bitter as well.

M - A little thin, but nothing distracting. Perhaps a touch sticky

Overall, the aroma was bit odd as well as the flavor. Not sure if it was just the bottle or what, but this oddity did detract from the overall enjoyment of this. (506 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.36/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby maroon colored beer with a creamy, light tan, well lasting foam. Nose has some nice elements of wood barrel (coconut, vanilla, wood), along with some components from the malt, like sherry and dark fruit. Not a great nose, but at least is has some describable elements. Flavorwise, it's a simplistic beer, without complexity. Light notes of caramel, dark fruit and toffee. A decent ale, but lacking seriousness. (415 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - rich clear amber / orange color with a light tan head that lasts the entire bottle.

S - sweet malts, caramel, citrus and grassy hops, cocoa and a noticable abv presence.

T - a very assertive bitter effect dominates, not quite astringent but it's strong. Caramel / toffee, some citric / grassy hops, herbal hops. There is a bare hint of bourbon and oak but if I didn't see it noted on the label I'm not sure I'd look for it so hard.

M - full bodied, nicely carbonated, boozy, sweet and bitter with a lingering bite.

D - One was enough for me.

This beer seemed to be a jekyl and hyde beer for me. One sip was overly bitter, one sip was sweeter and another had a trace note of bourbon. It's a bit rough for me to call it a 4 for an american barleywine but the price point is such that I'd take a flyer and put 4 in the cellar to see if time sets this beer to rights.

If you're looking for a good bourbon barrel aged brew I'd try some others. If you like hoppy beers and want to try a very reasonably priced barleywine this is worth a shot. (1,048 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to biegaman for busting this out at his summer saison tasting!

Pours a hazy reddish brown, thick white head forms, drops to a thin layer leaving a nice amount of lace on the glass, looks good. Smell is very fruity, some floral hopping, caramel, sweet brown sugar, some bready malt, more fruit, no bourbon. Taste is similar in the lack of any bourbon character whatsoever, just sweet malt and caramel, citrus and flora, lots of light fruitiness, alcohol, kind of weak. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Not sure why they call this bourbon barrel-aged, consensus was none present at all. Thanks Jan! (634 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one recently from mikesgroove. Thanks!
Hazy reddish amber with a thin layer of fine, off-white foam and a substantial collar with some soapy bubbles. Some lacing, decent head retention. There was an initial whiff of bourbon when I cracked the bottle, but by the time the beer was in my glass this had faded away. In its place was a fair bit of ripe fruit, floral hops with a hint of citrus, bread, brown sugar, and cinnamon, backed by some alcohol. The flavour was quite similar to the aroma, but with more caramel and more prominent alcohol. There was a little bit of wood character, but this was mostly tannin and reminded me of popsicle sticks. Hops were floral and citrus, and it finished with spicy alcohol warmth. Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation. The texture was quite smooth and creamy, very mellow to contrast with the heat from the alcohol and the dryness in the finish. Not bad at all and quite drinkable, but sorely lacking in bourbon barrel character that would have made it something to remember. (1,032 characters)

Photo of Donnie2112
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into an oversized wine glass

brownish amber in color with a bunch of filmy head that hangs all over the glass

mild aromas of burnt sugars

again burnt sugars and then it rolls into a bit of whisky that burns it's way down the throat along with a bit of that herbal american hop bitterness.

this beer actually came off rather thin to me. a bit of carbonation some alcohol warmth and light astringence

I don't find this beer to bee offensive in anyway but there is nothing that really stands out either. perhaps the subtlties are starting to be lost on me now that I have become obsessed with all of these strong flavors

either way, not some thing I would seek out again. (with age being a caveat for that point) (724 characters)

Photo of Beerzebub
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have no idea how old this is, probably 2008 since that's what other reviews seem to say. Poured from a bomber into a Bruery glass, probably about 50 degrees.

Murky reddish-brown, small beige head, looks fine.

Smells like fruit leather, with some malt and wood, not rich and enticing like one would hope, but kind of interesting, not bad.

Tastes pretty good: grape/raisin, tasty caramel malt, fairly mild bourbon barrel, mild oxidization, and a surprising amount of hop flavor and deep earthy bitterness. Good balance between sweet and bitter, finishing completely dry; fairly long earthy bitter finish. Maybe there are some unattractive tannins from the wood or grain husks in the background in the finish, but the hop bitterness covers it up pretty well so it's hardly noticeable.

Medium-full bodied, some richness, easy to drink, and pretty enjoyable given my low expectations. (883 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amberish brown color. One and a half finger light tan head shows medium retention. Light streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- There is some nice caramel and toffee like aroma in the front. Light bourbon notes linger around with some even lighter vanilla notes. Some earthy tones in the ending make a interesting ending for this beer. There is almost like a grassy hop in the backing to. The aroma seems to be less hot than I remember it from the first time around.

T- Caramel and toffee notes hint with a light alcohol presence in the front. Earthy tones as well toward the middle balance out a sweetness that most barleywines have with this one being no exception. Light bourbon notes blend well with a toffee like addition toward the ending. No real oak flavors come out but there is a sweet alcohol ending in this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the beer I think. Caramel and toffee malts are left on the palate with a hint of darker fruit. Aftertaste is alcohol and darker fruits. Medium-heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were a little muted at times but blended well I feel overall. Light off flavor at times but good flavor overall.

D- This is a fine BA barley wine. Nothing over the top and a little settle at times. The ABV shines throughout the entire beer which can be heavy at times to take in. Overall I would say this beer is either about to hit its prime drinking or on a begining downfall from top. (1,517 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bottle, 2008 vintage, purchased from Liquid Solutions (RIP) upon it's release. Uncapped and poured into my standard shaker glass. Old Knucklehead appears a murky crimson brown with about a finger of fluffy off white foam. Nose and flavors consist of caramel, raisins, not too much bourbon barrel action here, sweet malts, plums, some wood, slight sourness, mild brown sugar notes. Body could be a bit fuller for a BW. Decent carbonation and very little alcohol heat. Worth trying if you have the chance. (514 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lasting soapy head on medium cloudy golden body. Expecting it darker, really. Bourbon aroma. Above average mouthfeel. A bit drying and boozy. But essentially, this is ale conditioned in wood, it works, though it is one dimensional, it is balanced between sweetness and some bitterness. (285 characters)

Photo of grub
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

sampled may 24/08 as part of biegaman's annual summer saison tasting, with a mix of BA/RB represented. biegaman shared this one. thanks jan!

22oz bottle.

pours hazy deep red, garnet when held to the light, with a small dense off-white head. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. a bit soapy. vanilla. light alcohol. bit of caramel. toasted multi-grain bread. tangerine. hints of grapefruit. no trace of bourbon here.

taste is ok. big blast of alcohol up front, but not really bourbony. low bitterness level. fruity, with some citrus and some dark fruit. grapefruit. tangerine. bread and biscuit malt. bit of toasty/roasty character in the finish. again, no bourbon.

mouthfeel is good. medium-low carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good, but other than a hint of vanilla i see no trace of a bourbon barrel here. there's lots of alcohol and a bit of vanilla, but not much else. unbalanced towards alcohol, but fairly nice otherwise. (972 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to pwoods for this one, cheers Patrick!

Pours an effervescent dirty brown that clears to a nice amber with a finger of rocky tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Oakyness, tannins & bourbon & dark fruit

T: Bourbon, oaky dryness & leafy hops up front, plus figs & plum. Dryness dominates as this warms, leafy hops & dark fruit also are there, with some booze on the edge, plus slight smokeyness, plus a touch of brown sugar. Finishes with some booze, brown sugar, & more leafy hops

MF: Not much body for the strength & style & a bit too much carbonation, but a nice warming sensation

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, started really promising & just faded a little bit. Maybe this needs some aging to to calm down the carbonation & dryness? Not sure how much this will really help (799 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured an hazy deep amber/copper color ale with a medium size fomay head with good retention with some good lacing. Aroma of sweet barley malt with very subtle hints of toffee and bourbon. Taste is a mix between some sweet barley malt with some notes of toffee. Vanilla and bourbon notes are very difficult to notice. Full body with good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable. Not as compelx as I would have liked it to be but very good nonetheless. (462 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle courtesy of msubulldog25 and I am surprised that the label doesn't feature the current knucklehead's image. This is a decent looking specimen of a barleywine, ruby red with a huge off-white head that quickly becomes a smattering of bubbles. The first whiff from the bottle suggested juicy fruit gum but it is quickly gone. The aromas from my glass are straight alcohol fumes and a very subtle orange-rind smell with some notes of wood. Whoa, very bitter flavor at first that bites my tongue, then some oakiness but not quite bourbon with a prickly feeling from the alcohol. The more I sip the more I taste wood and then some fruity gum flavors pop up. It has an astringent yet interesting mouthfeel. This is a very good deal for $4.50 considering it is barrel-aged and not widely distributed. I actually think this may improve with about six months, hopefully taming the fumes and astringency but I don't see anything about bottle conditioning on the label. I love breweries like Bridgeport and Full sail that put out bombers of barleywine for less than $4. Oh yeah, if you read this far, make sure you let the beer warm up a bit before drinking it. (1,161 characters)

Photo of bbothen
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle & brought back in suitcase to Nor Cal.

A - Dark red/brown color with a nice 1 finger head. head doesn't last long & forms a small bubbly ring around the rim.

S - Smells of malty sweetness, caramel, vanilla, toffee along with a nice citrus hop aroma.

T - Sweet fruitiness balanced with a nice citrus hop presence. Wood, vanilla, ever so slight bourbon, & hot booze in the finish.

M - Smooth & warming. Slight carbonation.

D - It's a %10 barleywine aged in a bourbon barrel, so it's a sipper. SHare the 22 oz botle with a friend.

I'd think this would be considerably smoother with a year or so in the cellar...But I say drink this now. I kinda like the "rough" edges & big flavors.

Enjoyable barleywine from Bridgeport. I'm drinking this on a 90* June California evening. Would be just just right on a cold evening. (893 characters)

Photo of accordselux
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown.

The head is a creamy color that seems almost gray.

The beer smells earthy, with hints of sweet chocolate.

The taste is of leather, tobacco, and molasses, with the vanilla flavor of the barrel aging.

There is a bit of oxidation, and the alcohol is still potent enough to burn a bit on the way down.

Was not sure what to expect. I would probably not drink this again, but since it was a one time, that doesnt' seem to be an issue. I'd like to have tried it fresh... (493 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of RB's own fishingnet, you know what I like. Pours copper with tan head. The aroma is a bit bourbony to go along with pine, malt sweetness and fresh wood. The taste has yummy rich sweet malt notes mixing with wood, a couple of dashes of vanilla and a moderate thick layer of caramel. Pretty damn good stuff. (317 characters)

Photo of AltBock
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a plain and simple label of a bridge surrounded by the name of the beer. In the middle of the label it says it's a Barley Wine style Ale. Then at the bottom it says it's aged in Bourbon Barrels. A Barley Wine aged in Bourbon Barrels. This should be fun! There is no date anywhere on the bottle unless No. 12 bottling means something. The only other stuff on the label is the mandatory US information.

Appearance: I had no other choice then to pour this Bourbon Barrel bad boy into a Maudite Snifter. Out of the bottle comes a beer that first appeared to be a dark chestnut brown, but when held into the light, it was actually a great looking dark cranberry/crimson red color. Sitting on top of this dark red brew was a short lived less than 1/2 an inch head of white foam. Even though it was short lived, it did manage to leave behind a handful of white foamy rings and only 2 spots of lace. I didn't care for the head of foam on this beer, but I loved the color this beer had. Great color!

Smell: This Barleywine was very sweet with a ton a candi sugar. It loved the sugar! Hiding behind the sugar wall was some lightly roasted malts, a hint of sweet caramel, a pinch of citrus hops, and then this sweet smelling beer finishes up with a subtle touch of bourbon and charred oak. The aroma controlled the bourbon and oak, but it let the candi sugar run wild and free. Not too shabby unless you hate the smell of sugar.

Taste: Since this was a sweet smelling beer, I thought this was going to be an overly sweet beer with a huge amount of alcohol. Nope, none of that. Since it wasn't sweet, did it let the bourbon and charred oak do whatever it wanted. Nope, not that either. Instead, this beer was very well balanced between the sweetness and the mighty bourbon and oak. The taste kicks off lightly sweet with roasted barley and a hint of sweet caramel. After the caramel is where the beer gets dark and dry with black cherries, a splash of roasted citrus hops, a gentle touch of bourbon and oak, and then the taste ends with a big bite of roasted alcohol. I liked how all the sweet and roasted flavors worked well together. This taste was only in the beginning. Toward the bottom of the bottle, the alcohol completely takes over the taste and makes this beer a little hard to drink. Great in the beginning, but too much alcohol at the finish line.

Mouthfeel: This was a full bodied beer with a low level of carbonation and with a full flavored alcohol based aftertaste of roasted barley, a hint of black cherry, a touch of bourbon and plenty of alcohol. This big beer didn't want to bother hiding the 10% ABV. It was proud that it had a 10% ABV and it shows it.

Drinkability: This beer didn't last long in my glass. Well, that was until the aggressive alcohol kicked in. That ruined the drinkability for me. In the end, It wasn't too sweet and it didn't let out too much bourbon and oak, but toward the bottom of the bottle it let out a excessive amount of alcohol. Just watch out for that. Either way, I would like to thank Donny2120 for giving me a chance to try this Barleywine. (3,112 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to JohnGalt1 for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a very nice reddish amber color, very nice carbonation, a nice one-finger plus creamy off-white head, lots of nice thick lacing follows. The nose is malty, some bourbon, some plums, figs, and raisins, with some caramel. The taste is malty, nice notes of bourbon, dark fruits, caramel. Medium body, the alcohol is a little too much up front for me. Drinkable, not bad, but would not drink again. After having this brew warm up, it is much better, so I scored accordially. (535 characters)

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Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
87 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.