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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | The Schlafly Tap Room

398 Reviews
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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by maxpower on 11-23-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 398 | Ratings: 924
Photo of bryanbullock
3.51/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The bros were right this is not a 90 plus bba stout. The pour is high carbonation, but more transparent coloration than you want in a bba stout. The aroma is quite nice with very strong coffee and chocolate with something of a coconut undertone. The taste is weak and does not do justice to a stout more like an imperial porter, the smoothness of a bba stout is consistent. The mouthfeel too watery but good carbonation. Overall a sub par bba stout.

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Photo of Kcastr01
4.89/5  rDev +20.7%
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.

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Photo of hardy008
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Vintage

Pours black with ruby highlights, and a one finger creamy tan head with nice retention and lacing. Has a very nice aroma with chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, coconut, dark fruit, and oak.

This beer tastes every bit as good as it smells with chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, coconut, dark fruit, roasted malt, and oak. Sweet without being overly sweet. Creamy and warming. The alcohol is well hidden, especially for a 10.5 % abv beer aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and creamy. Just a very well made beer, which is a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2008 vintage enjoyed from a schlafly tulip.

a - opened the box, ripped the cap off wax n all and filled my glass. Brew poured a watery brown that settled in the glass a bit darker. medium build head of grey foamy bubbles that didn't hang out but left some chunky lacing and a skin of bubbles on the surface.

s - nose boasts syrupy dark fruit with some boozer infused chocolate. Smells rich and a bit sweet. Brown sugar.

t - a bit oxidized and likely past its prime. Dark chocolate and booze notes over an almost hybrid stout and brown ale. Nothing too crazy.

m - surprisingly thin and watery for such a big beer.

o - overall this vintage had probably seen its day. A bit thin and the stout base seems to be lacking balls, but this is fairly old for a stout.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2013 Vintage. Poured into a snifter. The color was a little muddy and the head was very light. The smell is of the bourbon with light roasted malt. The taste is light with the bourbon coming through later. On the whole a very light stout with a small amount of bourbon. Not to be repeated.

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Photo of argock
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottled on 102213 on sticker on the bottom of the bottle. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Opaque black in the center but more chestnut at the edge with a short cap of beige head which fades quickly to a rim of bubbles and leaves a few spot spare spots of lace.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, rum, raisin, date, and roasted malts. Alcohol is easy to sense.

T: The flavor is solid for a BA stout, but it is missing a few flavors such as coffee and the chocolate is muted a bit as the bourbon comes on kind of strong. I thought 3 months would temper this, but I was mistaken. There are some dark chocolat ebitter flavors and the vanilla is nice, but there could be more stouty flavors, and maybe a little more time would allow more of the bourbon to fade and the stout to come through. The bottle says though that it is ready to drink now.

M: The mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the style, a feature of some of the mid-tier offerings in the BA IS category. The carbonation is low as it should be. Any bitterness is related to the dark chocolate and a bit of mineral character.

O: Schlafly puts out some nice beers, and this is no exception. But compared to many other BA brews (e.g. KBS, BCBS, Cafe Royale), this one is a little behind the curve. Not bad by any means, but simply good and solid.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
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 sprucetip
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage from a bottle.

Pours inky black, and needed an aggressive pour to get a finger of mocha foam that hung around briefly before fading.

After over 3 years at least, and proper warming, the nose is still booze pretty booze forward. I get the barrel, and the bourbon too, to a lesser extent. I can sense the malty body but not really smell it. I am not really getting any roast at all. A little bit of licorice. But the booze is too strong. Trying to imagine it fresh…

The booze is prominent in the taste as well, but not so much as in the nose, thankfully. Barrel, bourbon, booze, molasses, and malty sweetness are detectable. I just barely get a hint of the roasted grains, and not much of the expected vanilla from the barrel. I blame this on it being too hot. Still pretty damned good, but if it wasn't quite so hot (after 3+ years) it might maybe be an elite beer.

Low but adequate carbonation, full body, moderately viscous, and some gentle bitterness.

Overall, it's a very good and interesting beer. But it's too hot. The 2010 is too hot in 2014. So some of the complexity and layers are hidden under the boozy heat, or it might be amazing.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 Vintage

Appearance: Pours with a medium dark color and sits black in the glass. Light brown head of about a half finger on the pour. Above average active carbonation for a IS.

Smell: Boozy bourbon front. Some mild medium bodied fruit accents. Strong backbone of heavy malt, vanilla, molasses, and caramel.

Taste: Creamy smooth front of vanilla and sweet malt. Barrel character takes well in the body providing balanced tones of bourbon and a slight potent sting on the palate. Earthy hop tones and medium bodied malt round out the back end. Fruit and some vanilla/bourbon tones left behind.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, certainly not light but could be heavier. A nice middle ground.

Overall: A good BA stout. Lots of traditional checkpoints you would look for but nothing is truly elite about it. The barrel character is definitely the strongest point of this brew, provides a ton of smooth creamy vanilla tones.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4.5 - Pitch black, w a brown head. Dissipates down to a thick film. Nice lacing.
S - 4.25 - Dark fruits, chocolate, espresso, bourbon, coffee, vanilla, coffee.
T - 4.25 - Dark fruits, bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, espresso, little bit of belgian yeast type flavor.
M - 4.25 - medium heavy. Alc present but appropriate. Aftertaste is dark fruits, chocolatey caramel.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer, very unique. More dark fruits and red wine than the other imperial stouts. Not my favorite but a good one.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I think this is a 750 ml bottle. Crown capped from Pints OPlenty for $12.

Appearance: Pours absurdly thin. Brown translucent liquid. In the tulip it sits black and opaque except for a bit of reddish highlights. Bone white head with some decent lacing.

Smell: Bourbony vanilla, lots of sweetness, and some roasty malt notes. It smells good, but hardly complex. Very simple.

Taste: Wow, much better than the appearance and smell would lead me to believe. Much richer malt flavor profile. Restrained, but delicious bourbon contribution. Bitter, boozy, and sweet in the right amounts. Still not as full and complex as the great ones, but damn good.

Mouthfeel: Just thin, thin, thin and boring.

Overall: Weird beer. Its very tasty, which I guess is the most important thing. But goddamn it needs some body. Worth a try.

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Photo of rudzud
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Shared with BPK59. 2008 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a darker brown hue with a thin brown head that fades relatively quick to leave light suds.

S - Aromas of malty bourbon, roast wood, light malt sweet. Super mellow and smooth.

T - Taste is super mellow bourbon, oak, light roast, malt sweetness, faint chocolate, alcohol hidden nicely. Slightly sticky/syrupy.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit heavy and syrupy.

O - Overall this was a fun stout, awfully sweet. Probably past its prime.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Stone IRS snifter. The pour is dark, clear mahogany (not black and not opaque) and sports a nice fluffy off-white head with some good retention for a barrel-aged beer. Nice nose with lots of chocolate, oak, and a hint of vanilla.

The beer has a medium-full feel and a predominantly sweet flavor. Up front you get a lot of sweet, creamy malt flavors with hints of milk chocolate. Right around mid-palate, the bourbon notes start to creep in and accent the chocolate with vanilla and oaky, boozy notes. On the back of the palate, the booziness intensifies just as the chocolate sweetness recedes and some dark fruit flavors come forward. A nice, warming boozy flavor is left lingering in the back of the throat.

Despite the appearance and a rather thin feel for this kind of brew, this beer has wonderful flavor and is a joy to drink. I passed on it several times until they offered it at my weekly beer tasting. Once I tried it, I decided to buy it the next time bottles were in stock (that was today). No buyer's remorse. None. Just good drinkin'. Cheers!

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2008 Vintage

A: Pours a clear yet opaque jet black in color with very light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some amber + cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy light tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film (with a fair number of larger bubbles) surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon dominate the smell of this beer though there are some light/subtle notes of roasted malts and dark fruits.

T: Upfront there are some light flavors of roasted malts with some hints of chocolate and dark fruit sweetness (I detect some fig and plum). That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and light notes of oak. Hints of bitterness in the finish which linger.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol warming towards the finish as the beer warms up.

O: Due to the presence of alcohol and the strong bourbon flavors/aromas, this is a beer that needs to be slowly sipped. Nice flavors but quite rich.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Opaque black with a tan head that quickly dissolves into a thin collar. Naked and foamless by half glass. Our first beer in our etched wedding gift pint glasses.

A fine bourbon nose at first whiff. Black licorice bursts forward as it warms.

Bourbon, caramel and sweet vanilla dark malt flavor up front. No heat at all. Not much roastines either, maybe it's been in the cellar too long. Super smooth and velvety initially but dissolves into a too sweet syrupy mess after sitting in my glass for too long. A slow sipper but don't sip too slowly.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Brick Wall Tavern, Asbury Park, NJ.

Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance was black, couldn't detect any othe tones, as it was a bit dark in our corner of the restaurant. Not much head to speak off, and what was there dissipated quickly. No lacing at all.

Smell was quite enticing. Strong bourbon smell, with accompany sweeness and malts.

Taste was dominated by the bourbon. It's reasonable to assume that this is this years winter offering. Aging would undoubtably soften the edges quite a bit, and improve the taste and balance. Packs a strong punch at 10.5.

Mouth was on the plus side of medium.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer, really starting to enjoy BBA stouts & RIS. But would be wonderful to taste it after 2-3 years aging.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

Appearance - pours opaque, a thin head of light mocha. Just a hint of brownish cola along the top edge when held below a good light. Short-lived on the cover, little if any lacing.

Aroma - boozy with bourbon, along with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Settles with coconut all the way.

Taste - roasty malts, sweet with a touch of ash. Hot boozy notes of bourbon alongside espresso. Big vapor on the swallow and lots of belly warmth. More a showcase of the bourbon than the melding of beer and spirits, but this is tasty nonetheless. Ends with a nice show of espresso, pairing nicely with some dark chocolate drops (intended for wine but way better this way).

Mouthfeel - thick and chewy. One massive body on this. Mouth-coating and sticky. Carbonation is lively, helping to move the beer around the palate.

Overall - no problem knocking this one off tonight solo, but if I had to do it again, I'd make sure to have one or two to share with. It could rest a few more years but I'm not sure that heat will tame down much.

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Photo of Tone
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged since 2008. Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of bourbon, sweet malt, roasted malt, yeast, alcohol, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, alcohol, slight yeast, hint of hop, slight bourbon, and hint of syrup. Overall, smooth body, mellow flavors, very tasty.

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Photo of JWearda
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served: pint glass poured from the bar tap.

Appearance: pours a dark black with mild carbonation topped with a tan head.

Scent: coffee and bourbon notes with a sweet vanilla scent along with the roasted malt and caramel.

Taste: silky smooth going in! Extremely well balanced. There is a bourbon tast that contributes a sweet layer of brown sugar and vanilla. There is a bold coffee taste that is undeniable and satisfying.

Mouthfeel: mildly carbonated and a weighty presence with full flavor.

Overall: I really enjoyed this stout. Very smooth, loads of flavor, and strong presence. Will definitely order again!

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Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Been in the growler for a day with some headspace.

Pours an opaque brown/black with a frothy half inch mocha head that lingers. Leaves sierra of lacing when it dissipates.

Booze is dominant in the initial aroma, with roast malt and chocolate taking over eventually. Nutty notes accompany coffee and vanilla, along with underpinnings of dark cherries, plums, figs, and licorice.

Flavor is boozy and fairly sweet initially, then drying out at the roasty finish. Vanilla and rich, caramelly bourbon add complexity to the chocolate and roast malt backbone. Dark fruit flavors are present, but are overpowered by the boozy vanilla.

Body is smooth and a tad thin, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Pretty rich flavor profile. Age would serve this beer well to tame the alcohol and open uit up. A little too sweet and bourbony. Becomes better the next day.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. 750mL into snifter. kept in cellar conditions since 2010.

A: pours a fairly dark brown, but definitely not black by any means. head is pretty disappointing. a thin rim of brown fizz. however, good lacing left behind.

S: a charred oak, rich. an inviting bourbon aroma. not nearly as strong as other bourbon barrel aged stouts, but I welcome the smoothness. roasted malt. chocolate.

T: a pleasant bourbon heat and flavor. heat definitely on the lighter end, but the bourbon is well flavored while not being over the top. otherwise some chocolate, finish gets bitter. bitter from dark grains, no hops here.

M: carb is mellow, a bit too mellow for me. full bodied.

D: a very drinkable bourbon barrel aged stout. haven't had this fresh, but I don't think time has done any damage here. very smooth bourbon stout. really enjoy the drinkability.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I received this bottle in a trade a few years back and have had it cellared since. Vintage 2009. Split with some friends. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep motor-oil black with a small dark tan head on top. Good carbonation present feeding the frothy cap. Great sweet aroma of vanilla, bourbon, milk chocolate, and mild whiffs of booze. I'm excited about this one.

Creamy smooth mouth. Subtle carbonation, warm finish. This is exactly how I want my big stouts to drink. Not sure how sweet this one was as a fresh bottle, but it sure is sweet going on 4 years now. The flavors have melded into what I would expect a chocolate chip/toffee cookie to taste like if it were a drink. Big vanilla sweetness, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar toast, fading bourbon notes. This was a treat, to say the least.

I'm always hesitant when I pull some of the older bottles to open, especially with other people, but time and again I am surprised at how good these beers develop. A nice one that I'd love to have again.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, one finger head.

S-Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, coffee and some roasted malt.

T-Mild bourbon and vanilla, a step down in intensity from the nose. Mainly chocolate and roasted malt.

M-Lighter for an Imperial Stout, not much carbonation and a tad thin.

O-A nice barrel aged stout but it needed to be a tad heavier and the nose was much better than the taste.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 bottle.

Pours opaque black with mahogany edging and a thin, bone head. A few whisps remain on the surface for the duration of the glass along with a few dots of lacing.

Dark chocolate, nougat, bourbon, and charred malts start the nose. Vanilla and Kahlua follow through.

Full bodied with a viscous, oily mouthfeel.

Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and Kahlua starts the palate. Black coffee and booze follow through.

Finishes with bourbon and roasted chocolate.

A big, boozy, and very smooth RIS.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
90 out of 100 based on 398 ratings.