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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

387 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 387
Hads: 860
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 93
Gots: 225 | FT: 12
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Alström Bros
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Reviews: 387 | Hads: 860
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to black13 for sending me this one!

2008 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque super dark black with a 1 inch puffy dark tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. A thick curtain of lace sticks to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and the barrel aged aromas - vanilla, bourbon, and oak. However, the smells are very subdued on the first pour but get better as the beer warms. Taste is of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla, and a dry wood flavor on the finish. There is a very mild roast flavor that fades from the palate quickly after each sip. A slight alcohol kick in the mouth with each sip. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a lower level of carbonation. Overall, this is a good RIS with a really good aroma that comes around as the beer warms but the taste is not as good as I was hoping for.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: an aggressive poor yields a single finger head on a jet black body.

S: lots of butter, bourbon, roasted malts and some dark chocolate, but otherwise nondescript.

T: roasted malts, earthy hops, bourbon, coffee and hints of vanilla but the butter is strong in the finish and thats what I recall best as I drink it.

M: thick body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: I unfortunately am very sensitive to the pseudo-butter flavors which this one is strong in the finish. For this reason, my review is lower than average.

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It poured jet black with a thin tan head that dissipated into lacey patterns. A light lever of carbonation is evident from the rising bubbles near the very edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon and alcohol dominate the nose.
T: Like the smell, flavors from the bourbon barrel aging dominate the taste, which has notes of roasted malts and chocolate. There is a slight amount of sweetness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very smooth on the palate. There are also warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: The beer is rather drinkable considering the alcohol content and the bourbon flavors are strong, but not overpowering.

Note: 2008 vintage

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a tootsie roll chocolate color with a modest head that drops to a ringlet; bubbles of lace stick to the sides of the chalice

Smell: The charred aroma wafts upwards and is joined by dark chocolate, some rum-soaked dark fruit and a hint of vanilla

Taste: Opens with a mocha flavor that veers in a bitter chocolate and fruit direction by mid-palate, with some vanilla and char creeping in there as well; in the middle, the bourbon barrel makes its presence known and, with a sweet caramel aspect that is very pronounced, adds complexity to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; could be a bit fuller without a problem

Drinkability: All in all, a nice bourbon barrel RIS; very easy to drink, albeit it could be better with a bit more body as others have noted

Thanks, Vancer, for the opportunity

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A relatively new beer to the Central Ky market. I stumbled across this brew a few weeks ago, but just getting around to enjoying. Turns out that I could have waited quite a while; the beer still has some comming-together to do. The pour is an opaque black or very dark brown color with low-lying carbonation and average head retention for a bourbon barrel Stout. Aromas of dark, roasted grain, heavy malts, and a dominant booze-ey swirl around; promising bold flavors and heavy alcoholic strength. The flavors are expectedly rich, bold, and rooted with espresso and coffee. These flavors are backed up with cherries, berries, lacose, toast, and a fruitcake mix. A mild tartness, oak, caramel, and vanilla persists from the boubon barrels and maybe a rouge bacteria / yeast. Agian the taste is dominated by rum-like alcohols. The feel is a heavy, moderately harsh, fusal feel with richness, slickness (I presume from oat additions), and easily mouth coating. Not overly sweet, nor hoppy (for balance only). A moderate roasted-grain astingency persists, despite the heated, abrasive alcohols. The beer proves the abv stated on the bottle, and then some. With some age, this beer will prove to be a winner.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep black with a thin mocha head that lasts around for a good period of time. The nose brings bourbon, oak, roasted malt, vanilla, and some chocolate. The taste adds a bit of booze and really emphasizes some nice bourbon and roasted malt character. Good alcohol heat to match a bit of sweetness and dry oak. Overall, a really nice and drinkable beer; the best that I've had from Schlafly.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a dark brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of vanilla and strong bourbon notes with sweet roasted malt notes. Taste is also dominated by loads of vanilla notes with strong bourbon notes and quite a bit of residual sugar notes with light black chocolate. Body is somewhat full with an oily like texture and medium carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Bourbon notes are quite dominant but there is just too much residual sugar for my taste at the end of the day.

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Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark caramel brown, not as black as most examples of this style, but still nearly opaque. Head retention is reasonably good for the style.

Smell: Incredibly rich and malty with a pleasant burnt caramel sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet, chocolatey and mellow. A subtle barrel presence - I was expecting something more aggressive from Jim Beam barrels, but this is actually very reserved. There's just a touch of that signature vanilla and caramel flavor and no boozy heat whatsoever. Body is medium-full, not as viscous as some but certainly heavier than the average beer.

Got this one from johnnnniee in a recent trade. Thanks!

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Photo of emerge077
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle to bring in the new year...

Pours a deep brownish hue, nearly opaque in the glass. Medium level of tan foam.

Smells sweetly of bourbon and roasted malt. Taste follows this, maybe a little to sweet for my taste. Nice lingering bourbon and vanilla notes on the palate, not much oak barrel character though.

Good mouthfeel, sweetness holds it up a little, it's definitely one to sip. Not as outrageously heavy as many other RIS. This is a good one to share, I wouldn't want to try to finish a 750mL on my own...

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Photo of zeff80
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition
A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a three-finger finger, creamy, bubbly, tan head. It left some thin traces of lace.

S - It smelled of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. The were mild caramel notes, too.

T - It tasted of bourbon, oak and sweet roasted malt. It had a bitter kick from some hops.

M - It was smooth and somewhat dry with a warming alcohol presence. It was medium to full-bodied.

D - This is a really good impy stout. I had it fresh a year or so ago and would like to try another after more aging.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage. Barely opaque mahogany brown with generous garnet and gold accents at the edges. I'm a little worried at the relative lightness of what should be an inky black RIS. The outstanding looking crown is the appearance's best feature by far. It looks like coffee ice cream and is absolutely plastering the glass with thick sheets and rings of lace.

Imperial Stout smells like a bourbon whiskey lover's Imperial stout. Since that describes me to a 'T', I like it just fine. Those who don't like bourbon in their stouts (then why the hell did you buy the bottle?), or like only a hint, won't be so generous with their scores. The only thing keeping my enthusiasm in check is a shortage of roasted and chocolate maltiness.

The relative thinness of the mouthfeel could have been predicted after hearing the beer splash into the glass and seeing it held up to the light afterward. SRIS feels like a 6.0% American stout. And I've had some 6.0% American stouts that were more full and more silky.

In spite of the fact that the lack of body robs the taste buds of some amount of depth and intensity, the flavor is right on the money as far as bourbon barrel-aged stouts go. It must have been in the barrels long enough to get extremely comfortable because there's a huge bourbon presence that is almost more prominent than the roasted malt.

Specifics include (in roughly descending order): bourbon, caramelized sugar, vanilla beans, chocolate, molasses, oak and smoke. The only recommended tweak is more malt, assuming it filled the beer out and didn't change the flavor profile one iota. To be fair, the mouthfeel is firming up just enough with warming to earn the above score.

Saint Louis Brewery (why don't they just change their name to Schlafly Brewing Company and be done with it?) says that Reserve Imperial Stout will age well for at least 5 years. That sounds about right, as long as the mouthfeel is able to hang in there.

This impressively packaged special release is the best beer that I've ever had from Schlafly by a country mile. If I had known how good it is, I would have cracked the crown long ago. Any brewer who has designs on aging a stout in whiskey barrels should drink a bottle of Reserve Imperial Stout and take copious notes. Thanks jpm30.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured big black as night, nice small caramel colored head faded quickly but did leave befind a nice lace. Smell was very sweet of caramel and sugar, with roasted coffee. Great hints of vanilla and dark chocolate, with the alcohol content definatly visible. Taste was very nice. Not too thick, with nice carbonation. Very smooth considering the high ABV of 10.50% which was very well hidden. Flavor was very robust and full of coffee and chocolate flavors. A slight hint ok the oak flavors as it started to warm up. This was a very good Imperial Stout. Not too thick and extremely drinkable, with no real big alcohol flavor, it definatly does sneak up on you. Overall very nice only afterthought was it could be a bit creamier, but really a fine brew.

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Photo of nickfl
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small head of light brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The foam settles quickly and leaves no lace on the glass.

S - Nutty malt, and a smooth, vanilla and caramel aroma of bourbon.

T - Smoky malt with some brown sugar and lots of vanilla. Toasted oak and brown sugar in the middle as well as some caramel and coffee in the finish with a sweet boozy note that carries thrugh to the aftertaste.

M - medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - not bad, the whiskey stands out. The base beer is a bit anemic for how strong the whiskey character is.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for hooking it up with a bottle of this.

A: A beautiful dark, dark brown pour (bordering on black) with a nice mocha colored head.

S: The nose is not quite what I was expecting. A bit acrid, with the other primary aroma being roasted malt. Not as much coffee, bourbon, or chocolate as I was hoping for.

T: There is a bit more to the flavor than the nose (thankfully). Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a bit of bitterness. I was hoping for more bourbon character, but you can't win 'em all.

M: Fairly good body, medium to full, with a light level of carbonation.

D: The alcohol is not really present, so it's not as though this beer is hard to drink. It's got some good things going on, but it didn't seem to come together quite as well as it could have.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours an extremely dark, nearly opaque ruby black-brown with a frothy tan head that dissipates quickly into a small surface whisp. A small bit of sudsy lacing is produced. The nose is brown sugar, molasses, bourbon, dark chocolate, and a hint of smoke, but is mostly pretty sweet with an alcoholic kick. The taste kicks the bourbon up a notch, adding in some of that brown sugar, chocolate, and smoke, and introducing some wood as well. Again, there's an alcoholic burn, but not quite as much. The body is a very heavy medium, with a light kiss of carbonation and a smooth, almost oily feel. Overall, a solid, very drinkable brew.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 release, acquired via trade from jpm30, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, dark fruit, bourbon, alcohol and roasted malts, with a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty, creamy and smoky with flavors of milk chocolate, black coffee, dark fruit and bourbon. There's a very mild hops presence which is expected in a big stout that has bit sitting for as long as this one has, but it does bring a little balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, a little filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this one is definitely a decent sipper but I've certainly had better big stouts than this one.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

acquired in a trade, 2007 version so I am not sure who gifted me w/ this. Poured from the 750 into a sampler chilled

A - A dark mocha appearance w/ light tan head, good lace clings, the head is rocky and clarity is almost opaque

S - A sweet lightly malt aroma w/ cocoa powder and mild nutty notes, the scent of bourbon is there which is pleasant as an accent

M - The feel is smooth w/ gentle maltiness and light caramel sweetness, the texture is roasted w/ moderate carbonation and subtle alcohol from the bourbon

T - The taste has rich creamy malt w/ accents of sweetened cocoa and toffee-like flavor w/ mild woody notes. There is a hint of vanilla as the dark malt is accented by the sweet and alcholic elemnt of bourbon. The bourbon while noticeable really is there mainly to compliment the deep malt flavors of this imperial stout

D - A very subtle yet complex beer which has drinkable aspects, yet not over the top. The bourbon barrel is utilized well and makes this a drinkable example

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Took a picture of the bottle, but I can't tell from it what year/vintage this was.

Appeared pretty much like a typical stout: dark brown-black color, absorbing all light except around the edges; a lively tan head sank to a wispy layer, lacing the glass slightly. Aroma of dark roasty malts, and pretty hot with bourbon. Flavors of bourbon, dark malts, roasted coffee, unsweetened cocoa, ash, with some subtle dark fruit sweetness. Medium-full body, somewhat smooth, somewhat hot...10.5%ABV was not hidden. Overall a solid BA stout.

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Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This 2006 beauty comes courtesy of BARLEYWINEO!

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of brown-tinged mocha head. Superior head retention & very good lacing in my Vondel snifter

S: Beautiful oaky, vanilla, chocolatey & raisin notes that fade a bit over time

T: Chocolate, oakyness, vanilla, raisins, & a touch of dryness up front. Fruityness, a touch of licorice, a whisper boozey warmth, & baker's chocolate as this this warms. Finishes dry with slight alcohol burn & loads of chocolate & raisin, bourbon fingerprints all over this one!

MF: Oily, slick with low carbonation

Drinks great considering the abv, went great with my liebekuchen (german x-mas cookies) . Very nice, maybe a few more months would've yielded perfection?

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review 800! 2008 vintage 750 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours fairly clear almost pitch black color with a small tan head with good retention; that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some good spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla, roasted malt, raisin, molasses, bourbon, earth, and light herbal. Fairly nice and well balanced aromas with good complexity. Taste of big caramel, molasses, raisin, chocolate, toffee, roasted malt, toast, vanilla, oak, bourbon, earth, and light herbal hops. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, raisin, chocolate, toffee, toast, bourbon, oak, earth, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance of flavors with good complexity; and minimal cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is fairly well hidden; with only a warming after the finish noticed. Definitely a slow sipper. Overall this is a nice barrel aged imperial stout. Nice balance and good complexity of flavors. It did not impress me as much as I would have hoped though.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 12/25/10 notes. 2008 vintage. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with almost no head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, caramel malts, oak, dark fruits, molasses, sugar, light chocolate, and roasted malts. Smells amazing to me, can't get enough of the smell.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. A step down from the nose but still outstanding.

m - Full body and low to moderate carbonation. Smooth and thick, goes down very easy for 10.5% ABV.

d - A very good RIS that smells outstanding. I loved this one and think the 08 is drinking phenomenal right now. Going to pick up another of these.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the Wine & Cheese place in St. Louis. 2007 vintage, served in the conical pint glass thing.

A - Poured with two fingers of quick-dissolving tan foam that leaves a few patches of lacing. Body is a transparent mahogany color that is a lighter shade of brown at the fringes. Surprisingly light for a 10.5% RIS.

S - Bourbon is initially very light, but comes out a more as the brew warms up. More earthy, with notes of oak and a touch of vanilla. Some nice roasted caramel malt and dark fruit flavors in there as well. Comes across as a little bit boozy. Once it warms it is quite excellent.

T - Taste is high in butterscotch, a touch of coconut, and some caramel apple. Notes of earth and woodiness. The finish is very tannic and bitter.

M - Medium body, with moderate carbonation. Some nice warming alcohol and a dry tannic finish.

D - Perhaps it was because it was the last stout in the lineup, but I had a hard time finishing my glass. It's still kind of hot, even two years down the road. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle - 2007 vintage - poured into snifter:

Pours very dark brown/black with a thin head that becomes a swirl. Thin lines of lacing stick.

The smell is of vanilla bean, some chocolate, some vague fruits.

The taste is of vanilla/oak, chocolate, carmelized sugar, some fruity/peppery alcohol. There is a bitterness in the dryish finish, along with some astringency.

It reaches rowards full-bodied, but has some thinn points. It has mild to medium carbonation.

Jim Beam casks used here. Nice - very good, even - but not quite what it could be.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
90 out of 100 based on 387 ratings.