Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

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851 Ratings

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Ratings: 851
Reviews: 393
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 92
Gots: 222 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-23-2002

Our Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is brewed with a big malt flavor, plenty of hop bitterness for balance and roasted barley that imparts notes of dark chocolate. As a finishing touch, the beer is transferred to freshly-emptied Kentucky bourbon barrels and aged before being carbonated and bottled. The barrel aging gives the beer a spicy, vanilla character and a pleasant, warming finish.

In the 18th Century, Imperial Stout was first brewed in London for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. The beer had to be robust enough to maintain during transport.

This beer will continue to age well in a cool dark place for several years, but it is ready to enjoy now.

40 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 851 | Reviews: 393
Reviews by ThoreauLikeAGirl:
Photo of ThoreauLikeAGirl
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.

Poured a very deep dark brown, almost black. Creamy 1 finger off-white head.

Smell: big time bourbon. Some roastiness. Nothing much else there.

Taste: Creamy and full-bodied. Bourbon. Heat from the alcohol. Finishes with some dark chocolate / cocoa powder. Very boozy. The heavy body of this beer definitely helps. I'm not sure if i could drink it if it were thinner than this.

Would think it would mellow out with some age, but this bottle was already 3 years old.

More User Reviews:
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 9-18-10. Thanks for enjoying it with my, TCGoalie.

A: Pours not quite pitch black - there is a bit of a dark brown tinge to it. A medium well pour results in a tiny head that recedes oh so fast. The film that is left on top of the beer is mocha colored. The carbonation bubbles mosey at a snail's pace.

S: There are big flavors of mocha, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, backed by a strong oak and bourbon aroma, especially when swirled vigorously in my oversized wine glass. A roasted malt aroma is also present, but way in the background of the other smells.

T: This is on the sweet side for an Imperial Stout, headlined by the large dark chocolate and vanilla presence. The bourbon-oak flavor plays in my mouth for the length of the sip on the back of my tongue and the sides of my mouth. The finish is nicely dry and clean from the oak taste and maybe a little hop presence.

M: The brew leaves a solid medium feel on my mouth, maybe not quite as big as I would like and Imperial Stout to be. It certainly isn't a thin feel, but it is not coating and explosive, either. The finish is dry and puckering.

D: Very drinkable for the style. I found the taste quite pleasing and while this brew is not elite, it is very good.

Photo of brownbeer
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 2009 vintage.

Dark brown, almost black in color with a creamy light brown head.

The nose is really soft with maple,chocolate cookies, vanilla, caramel, and an unmistakeable bourbon aroma.

The whiskey flavor dominates all the way through to the burn with vanilla and a cookieish fade. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

I thought this one has some of the better tasting bourbon barrel character, but if you don't like the taste of bourbon I can't see you liking this.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue I:

2007 Vintage

Aged in freshly emptied Jim Beam barrels. Slow churning brown bubbles form a thick, tall-seated crown of a head; lacing is creamy with a healthy stickage on the glass. The color is a shade or two from pitch black. Wow, killer aromas of fusel alcohol both from the beer and the barrel, more aromatic than harsh. A bit of charred malt and dark berry fruitiness in the nose as well. Smooth and slick on the palate, dry puckering and slightly bitty wood mouthfeel middle to end. Vanilla bean and faint booze with a hard-lined wood character to start. Sweetness peaks in the middle with that vanilla flavor and some deep caramel and burnt sugar complexities. Ghost fusel alcohol is clean but warming, a little hot perhaps. Hops are minimal and not part of the picture here. Wood flavors and dryness engulf the finish.

The dryness actually makes it more drinkable seeing as we wanted to take another sip sooner rather than later. The alcohol is there but never reaches too high. We are sure age will do this beer good, but drinking it now was a treat for sure.

Photo of Kcastr01
4.89/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one is at the top of my list. It's a fine celebration brew but not for a night out. It's heavy. You need to be prepared to sit and really focus on it after dinner. Heavy malt notes. Excellent aroma and oaky undertones. You can drink it alone but you better not be needing to drive. A Thick creamy head with a nice finish.

Photo of tjthresh
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a foamy whipped light brown head. Nice aromas. Oak, bourbon, smoke, soil, vanilla, marshmallow fluff. Wonderful bitter chocolate flavor. Finishes with a strong dose of bourbon. Really silky smooth on the palate. This beer is really easy to drink. What a nice surprise from StL.

Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A few months on this 2007 bomber now. Impressive packaging and box. Pours a deep brown body, almost opaque. Small beige head falls into some attractive patchy lace. Nice aroma features vanilla, bourbon, and some roasty notes of char and chocolate. A bit thin in the mouth for an impy stout. Medium carbonation levels. Taste is much like the aroma. Vanilla dominates. Subtle milk chocolate notes lend a prevailing sweetness, mingling well with the bourbon essence. Mild notes of bitter dark roast throughout. In the now vast pantheon of bourbon barrel imperial stouts there is nothing about this that stands out. A minor disappointment here from a brewery that has wowed me for the most part over the past two years.

Photo of Mora2000
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown with a beige head. Aroma is alcohol and chocolate with some oak and a little bit of smoke. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate and vanilla. You get some alcohol warming and the mouthfeel is very creamy, even though it is a little thinner than expected. For some reason when I drank this beer it reminded me of Black Xantus, but since I have not tasted them side-by-side I am not sure how accurate that is.

Photo of 1Adam12
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Dark black in color with next to zero head. Smells of malt and bourbon, maybe a little maple in there. First sip was all bourbon, but as I drank the glass down i was able to get malt and some smoke. The bourbon is almost too overwhelming to catch much else as far as flavors. Mouth feel is bourbon, heavy bourbon. It keeps me waiting to catch more tastes as if finishes, but once again, all I catch is bourbon, and a nice dryness through the finish. Not so much bad, just bourbon overload. I am going to buy another bottle to age for 2 to 5 years hoping that the bourbon mellows some and I will be able to taste more of what the maker intended me to taste.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

2007 vintage 750ml bottle.

Very dark brown with very light brown lacing. Nose is awesome, light boozy a bit of diactyl on the nose but it's not overpowering.

Taste is huge on the oak and wood, very sharp. Mouthfeel is very smooth and crisp. The light booze from the bourbon is ok and really just lubricates it down your throat and keeps the drinkability pretty high.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark black colored with just a smidgeon of light getting through when held up to a light. Brussels lacing. Nearly a half inch of khaki colored head with a few large bubbles of carbonation mixed in with what is otherwise a tightly knit head. Aroma is a luscious blend of fig, plum, black licorice, bourbon and roasted barley. The taste is a very compelling blend of sweetness along the lines of fig, black licorice, bourbon and plum. You then get the roasted barley component on the back of the palate along with the warmth of the alcohol and then it's right back to the sweet notes of fig, black licorice, bourbon and plum on the fade. The mouth is silky as well as a bit warming on the back of the palate. In summary:It's complicated, but in a good way.

Photo of rudylaw
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

More thanks to MasterSki for this 2007 vintage. Once again, the GTOM tasting glass is in my right hand.

Pours a blackish night with a nice, tan head.

Lots of vanilla, oak and a hint of bourbon.

I get chocolate off the bat with its buddy vanilla. And there's that bourbon! Still prevalent in the 2007 bottle. Sort of surprising there's still an alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is silky creamy fantastic! I loved this more than I thought I would and was my favorite out of five killer stouts sampled at the CE release.

Photo of OStrungT
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a jet black color, with a tar like consistancy. It boasts a thick, fluffy, brown head that fades slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has A sweet malty aroma. I detect some coffee and chocolate. It ias a subtle bourbon aroma. Some vanilla aroma is also present. It has a slightly nutty aroma as well, which surprises me.

This beer tastes much like it smells. It has a much more subtle bourbon flavor than I would have expected. The most dominate flavor is vanilla. It also has some coffee. Some chocolate is also presnet. It is quite good.

This beer is carbonated to perfection. It goes down smooth, leaving a vanilla and bourbon aftertaste.

This beer would not be the best session beer. It is very full bodied, and it is high in alcohol.

Overall: Thanks to karst for the great beer. I am splitting this bottle with a good friend on New Years Eve. Good beer and good company make for a great day.

Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle at Hyvee in Columbia, MO.

Pours black with dark brown highlights and a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin pancake on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, vanilla, and dark chocolate with hints of molasses as the beer warms. The bourbon smells very nice.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Bourbon and roasted malt flavors up front are joined shortly by vanilla and light dark chocolate flavors that linger into a solidly bitter ending with a bit of alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I could sip on two or three bottles of these for quite some time.

Overall this is just a tad better than the barleywine from the same series, but both are very well done beers. Worth a shot.

Photo of jdp11284
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Release -- Assertive chocolate aroma. Lovely bourbon presence. You can really taste the vanillin and some caramel notes from the barrel aging. Chocolate for days. Nice oily mouthfeel, although I would prefer a bit more viscosity as found in others in this class (e.g., Abyss, FiftyFifty). Overall, a tasty RIS! Will seek out again.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006
Pours the usual black with reddish undertones when you hold it to the light. a small off-white head tops the glass then melts quickly to a faint off-white ring of relatively non-sticky properties.

Aromas are robust bourbon, some chocolate malt and alcohol.

Taste is creamy chocolate...not bitter chocolate, but not milk chocolate either. Dark Herseys, I think. Dark chocolate, creamy vanilla, oaked aged bourbon, more chocolate, a little citrus bite hops, then the ever present alcohol.

Aftertaste is more of an afterglow from the alcohol but chocolate and bourbon linger on the tongue.

This is a very impressive Imperial Stout and well worth spending a long quite evening with.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage.

A: Pours a nice black color with a one finger tan head, lasting for a few minutes before reducing to a a thin cap on top. Spotty lacing around the sides.

S: Nice oak right away with plenty of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and very nice vanilla aroma.

T: The bourbon is really coming forward in the flavor profile, lots of vanilla, oak, and molasses. Some caramel and brown sugar mixed in with a little chocolate.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a touch thin, with moderate carbonation. Abv is hidden very well.

O: A very nice bourbon barrel imperial stout. Not outstanding, but better than most. A beer I would have no problem drinking again.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance shows a deep black with ruby highlights embedded into it when held to light. Head is a super-creamy inch-thick thing, tan and longer lasting than expected. A couple tilts and swirls seem to show a thinner RIS than normal, but we'll see about that...

Nose is bourbon and wood, in that order, and they shut out just about all other RIS characteristics. Not a big problem for me, in the aroma department, but if there are no coffee and/or chocolate and/or dark fruit characteristics in the taste, well, that's another story...

The taste and feel combine here to deliver the kind of succulence I like so much in a quality big stout. And that depends a lot on balance, which this has. While the alcohol and bourbon combine for a rather "warm" vibe, the wood keeps an earthy edge going, while gooey dark chocolate and seriously juicy dark fruits (fig, plum, raisin) deliver their awesome goods. While the body is a bit thinner and the texture slicker than many beers of this type, it works very well. Woody bitterness and strong vanilla tones hang around in the long finish.

My second Schlafly beer, and my second great experience with this brewery. And, admit it, you know you're a hopeless beer geek when you can not only spell Franziskaner, Weihenstephaner and Westvleteren without looking, but also spell Schlafly without screwing it up.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to xmarcnolanx for this one. 2007.

Pours a deep brown with some ruby highlights and a big off white/light tan head that leaves good lace. Nose is all bourbon and some dark fruit. Taste starts out with roasted malt and dark fruit but quickly becomes all bourbon. Some notes of bitter chocolate, and slight coffee. Very boozy but not as hot as it should be for the boozy taste. Wierd. But don't get me wrong, this one is still hot. Improves greatly as it warms, so let this one get up to the right temp. Mouthfeel is suprisingly viscous for the appearance. Drinkability is good, but is really hampered by the booziness. I'll get through this bottle, but another would be pushing it drinkability wise. Overall a good beer, but suuupppeeerrr boozy. I defenitely will be letting the other bottle of this sit down for a couple years at least. This is a bourbon stout lovers stout. A nice beer.

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good sipper, courtesy of Tomthompson98. This is a story about bourbon, imperial stout is a term thrown about loosly. Creamy bourbon stout. Greatlace. Muted sourness. Grows on you. A bit of smoke and moderate roast. A winter fire warmer. Boozy. Ageing would mellow the bourbon but there's not that much underneath it to be patient for.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While I was not particularly impressed with the Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (it's still an A), I WAS impressed with this Imperial Stout. What that goes to, I don't exactly know, but it has a certain amount of Je nais sais quoi.

It's black beneath a creamy head of frothy dark tan. The head retention is good and it leaves notable lacing about the glass.

The nose expresses dark fruit (a little prune!), dark chocolate, some mildly roasty and coffee-like notes, alcohol, bourbon, wood and/or oak, and vanilla. It's wide and fulfilling.

The flavor expresses lots of sweetish cereal malts at the outset, balanced by roasty and chocolatey notes, and a moderate bitterness. As it warms and the palate becomes accustomed, more alcoholic/Bourbon notes step forward and the bitterness edges up a bit. It's sweetish, but balanced. The softly caramelish and bready/doughy notes are off-set by the drying alcohol, drying oakiness, and drying Bourbon notes. Hop flavors are kept to the background, but they're leafy and mildly grassy.

Overall, it's a really drinkable Imperial Stout with a good girth to it (but not over-done) and lots of balance - fruitiness, malt, oak, Bourbon, hops - it's all there.

Photo of swamiswamu
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at the tap room

Dangerously, this could be a great "session" beer. While the body is full, it was a very smooth drink. Slight chocolate and hints of coffee. It is a far smaller stout than other imperials, ie Rogue, and I think that may be a major part of its appeal.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2007 Vintage. Poured from a 750ml. wine bottle into an Ithaca pint glass. Shared with the family.

A: Moderate pour yields a 1.5 finger coarse off-white head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a near opaque black but definitely one of the lightest RISs I've seen. Lacing is non-existent.

S: Bourbon really assaults the senses here but for once, in a good way. Provides a good background for the chocolate, ripe plum, cocoa, and licquorice. Sweet soy sauce scent that I've come to expect is conspicously missing.

T: Chocolate and bourbon upfront. These are so prominent that everything else is hard to make out up until the very end. Not that I mind, as the flavors complement each other perfectly and the subtle, not overly sweet milk chocolate is much appreciated. Cocoa and licquorice at the finish. Cocoa bitterness lingers a bit but oddly enough, sweetens a bit just as it ends.

M: Light to medium bodied for its style, near flat, but nevertheless coarse in the mouth. Poor example of an RIS in terms of feel. Not at all smooth and in fact, a bit spicy. Finish is messy and lingers though this actually helps the score as its a very pleasant aftertaste.

D: Overall, great tasting beer but highly lacking in all other aspects. Not much to look at, a bit too bourbon forward on the nose, and honestly, an utter fail in the feel. Great taste though as this is one of the few beers to achieve a nice balance between the bourbon and other complexities in the flavor. Still, I wouldn't recommend this one to others. It just doesn't stand up to some of the bigger, bolder, RISs.

Photo of WoodBrew
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. This one pours a medium bodied dark, dark brown in color that turns to black when it fully collects in the glass. The beer featured no head at all and almost no lacing. The aromas consist of coconut, oak, dark sweet malts, vanilla, and it has a very, very light bourbon aspect. At this point the bourbon is almost gone but the nose is still pretty nice. This beer tastes of sweet dark roasted malts, with a nice amount of coffee and sweet chocolate, vanilla, COCONUT, with a nice oak component. It has really nice flavor and is well rounded. It could be a little thicker in body but it's ok like this. It drinks well and the flavor resonates and leaves a long lasting multifaceted aftertaste. It went very well with a double chocolate cookie!!!

Photo of RickS95
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from 2008

Pours a thick, rich black. I tried and tried, but could only find a hint of brown around the edges and that was only after holding it up to a light. Sadly, there is little head and what's there doesn't stay long.

A lot of good scents greet the nose. Caramel and chocolate are easy to pick up. Some anise possibly, along with the oak. Hops make only a brief appearance.

Everything in the nose is easily found with your tongue, including the bourbon. Whereas the alcohol wasn't much of a player in the nose, it's noticeable on the tongue.

Early on it's sweet and creamy. As the beer flows across the tongue, it remains that way. In the finish, the hops and alcohol become stronger and stronger, but neither can control the sweetness. Maybe a bit too sweet.

The sweetness makes it somewhat easy to drink, despite the high ABV. It's a good beer that everyone should try, but it is strong and I have a feeling the alcohol will hit you without notice.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
91 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.