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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

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736 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 736
Reviews: 378
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 83
Gots: 171 | FT: 9
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:
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 added by: Todd on 11-23-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 736 | Reviews: 378 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ffejherb


4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a 750ml bottle at a tasting on 10/16/10.

A - Reminded me of a miniature black lawn orb in my little snifter, although there were some walnut brown tones. The thin off-white head fully receded, leaving behind virtually no lacing.

S - Licorice, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla and mild bourbon comprise the initial components of the aroma. There is also a faint waft of soy sauce in the background, as well as moderate alcohol notes, especially after the liquid had time to reach room temperature.

T - Bourbon is quite restrained here, although the vanilla presence is quite prominent. Some pretty complex flavors emerge in the middle, although a slight bitter licorice and chocolate character is most obvious. Finishes with the essence of sweet vanilla bean and just a touch of warm bourbon notes.

M - Medium to full-bodied and a bit carbonated for the style. Not too much carbonation, although it is noteworthy that this feels just a bit more bristly than other RISs I've had. Oily texure is perhaps a tad watery. Finishes with moderate heat on the palate.

D - The modest bourbon presence keeps the drinkability of this RIS pretty high. Tasty stuff!

10-18-2010 16:36:01 | More by ffejherb
Photo of EgadBananas


3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Very dark brown and opaque. Light tan half finger of head adorns the top.

Aroma was definitely somewhat unique to me. Along with standard roasted malts, cocoa and coffee, there was a huge buttered popcorn aroma. I like the smell of popcorn, but it just seemed out of place.

Lot's of roasted malts on the taste, preceding a noticeable bourbon alcohol twang. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee bring up the rear.

Feel is nice and creamy, thick and full.

Despite some odd qualities, it was overall enjoyable. I finished the whole thing, but probably would have been a good bottle to split with someone.

10-17-2010 15:49:10 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of endincolorado


4.45/5  rDev +9.1%

Pours an opaque black with chestnut brown highlights, a light tan head that settles quickly, and a good amount of lace.

Aromas of strong black coffee and roasted malt, alcohol, wood, bourbon and vanilla.

Flavor is a delicious blend of roasted malt, black coffee and oaky bourbon, virtually no hops-- vanilla finish.

Medium-heavy body, light on carbonation. Alcoholic-warmth.

High ABV detracts from drinkability.

10-06-2010 14:39:29 | More by endincolorado
Photo of Brent


4/5  rDev -2%

2007 vintage is holding up quite well. Some residual whiskey notes are still barely perceptible, blending more with the alcohol note in the beer rather than presenting an independent flavor. Charred oak, bitter chocolate and deep roasted malt flavors are predominant. Surpisingly less substantial in the mouth than one would expect, but still sufficient mouthfeel.

10-06-2010 14:03:10 | More by Brent
Photo of TCHopCraver


4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

10-05-2010 00:25:09 | More by TCHopCraver
Photo of TCgoalie


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Notes from 9/18/10. TCHopCraver brought this treat back from STL to share.

My oversized wine glass was happy to invite this black colored liquid into its walls. A rapid pour couldn't generate much head, but it could be contributed to the low carbonation.

The scent is quite lovely with this beer. There are ample bourbon notes mixed with chocolate, oak, and vanilla.

Dark chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon notes help to produce a balanced sweet brew. Despite the aged bottle, there are still some hops holding up the back end providing some bitterness.

I would say this is medium bodied with a creamy finish. I truly enjoy the cleanliness of the finish which is not always a common trend in stouts.

This is a solid brew that isn't overly complex, but can still hold your interest.

10-01-2010 03:39:12 | More by TCgoalie
Photo of djbreezy


4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

2008 bottle.

appearance - dark, some lacing, not much retention

smell - sugar, malt, coffee, chocolate

taste - very hot right out of the bottle, mellowed a bit as the brew cooled to room temperature, lots of complexity, sugar, malts, chocolate and coffee, big oak/bourbon, noticeable alcohol content

mouthfeel - big and bold, slight dry, a bit hot on the finish

drinkability - was eager to try this, not at all disappointed, could have mellowed a bit for a 2 year old brew but overall lots of complexity and taste.

09-29-2010 22:05:55 | More by djbreezy
Photo of hdofu


4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

Holy Moly, this is a beautiful liquid poem. What pours looking ok (almost no head with a dark brown cola color) hides an impressive imperial stout with characteristics much like the bourbon barrel it slept in. In the scent lies many smokey sweet notes like peach, raisin, the scents I notice with bourbon. Taste is simply overwhelmingly of bourbon, it tastes like makers mark. This beer is incredibly thick but considering the ABV, it masks much of that well. Overall a good beer (first sake, now bourbon, what will I find that they've aged my next brewski in?)

09-27-2010 23:33:14 | More by hdofu
Photo of Jacobpaul81


4.63/5  rDev +13.5%

I've had the 2007 & 2008. Have a 2007, 1 - 2008, and 2 2009s in the cellar.

2007: (Poured in Spring 2010)

Poured into pint glass

A: Dark brown, almost black. Dark tan head. Lacing on glass. Head maybe 1/4 thick. Syrupy consistency, medium body.

S: Roasted Malt, vanilla, Oak, coffee, chocolate, caramel and raisin. Bourbon smell sets a basis for the rest of the aromas. Very sweet scent.

T: Very sweet right at the start. Nice coffee/chocolate flavor as it hits the mouth. A strong caramel/raisin flavor emerges as it sits on the tongue. Bourbon aging gives it a strong oak-caramel aroma as you swallow. Lots of complexity to this one.

M: Medium density and creamy. Caramel/oak aroma lingers in the mouth. Alcohol is warming but not overpowering. Nice chocolate bitter aftertaste that lingers shortly.

D: Very drinkable. Almost dangerously drinkable. Alcohol is not tasted while the flavors are complex and rich.

2008: (Poured Summer 2010)

Poured into pint glass

A: Similar appearance to 2007. Dark brown, almost black. Dark tan head. Lacing on glass. Head maybe 1/4 thick. Syrupy consistency but thin. Thinner appearance to 2007

S: Roasted Malt, vanilla, Oak, coffee, chocolate, caramel and raisin. Bourbon smell sets a basis for the rest of the aromas. Very sweet scent. Very similar. Bourbon and caramel a little more aromatic.

T: Very sweet right at the start. Thin and warming. Alcohol more detectable in 2008. Coffee/chocolate flavor as it touches front of tongue. A strong caramel/raisin flavor emerges as it rests in mouth. Once again, a strong oak-caramel aroma as you swallow. Similar complexity. A little more oak/caramel aroma, a little more bourbon taste.

M: Thinner density than 2007 but by no means thin. Nice and creamy, similar to a port wine in consistency. Caramel/oak aroma lingers in the mouth. Alcohol is warming but not overpowering. Nice chocolate bitter aftertaste that lingers shortly.

D: Very drinkable. Almost dangerously drinkable. Alcohol is not tasted and the flavors are complex and rich. Not as drinkable as 2007 but very close.

09-26-2010 20:58:15 | More by Jacobpaul81
Photo of bobhits


2.48/5  rDev -39.2%

Thin body look, you can see bubble in this barrel aged stout? Built a decent head that really quickly goes away. Deep brown around the edges. Looks like this will be pretty thin stuff, 2

Bourbon aroma sweetened by the malt. Some vanilla and oak and perhaps a touch of chocolate. The smell is a touch soft compared to many of the better bourbon barrel aged stouts. 2.5

Huge shot of bourbon, a very sweet bourbon, then full of really sweet sugary malt. Almost sickeningly sweet and the alcohol really kicks in this one. 2.5

The mouth is thin like it looks. The carbonation leaves before the beer is finished and this leaves and odd kinda sugary water like mouth feel.

I had no problem drinking it surprisingly really. Everything about this beer is below average. That said an interesting attempt and well hell who doesn't love bourbon in their stouts?

09-23-2010 08:49:06 | More by bobhits
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -14.7%

2008 version

As it pours out of the bottle it appears dark brown. In the glass it's darker...a very dark brown. The head is tan in color and about 3/4" in thickness. After a few moments it leaves just a layer with a foamy crown around the edge. Gossamer lacing is left behind.

The smell is mostly bourbon, but there's a sweetness that turns it into a bit of a soy sauce smell. So let's go with bourbon mixed with soy sauce...kind of a Kentucky teriyaki.

The bourbon really comes forward in the taste and the soy sauce is lessened and even changed to be more of a molasses. The alcohol content makes itself known. It's almost as if you are drinking bourbon in beer form. There is also some dark fruit sitting in back with some oak. The usual suspects of toast, coffee and chocolate seem to make an appearance if you really look for them, but it's a game of Where's Waldo. These flavors don't particularly blend well in this beer. Instead of all the flavors working together, they show up separately and doing their own thing. It's like wanting to see Caddy Shack with a great ensemble cast working well together, but instead you get Saturday Night Live...one hosted by a politician and the last half hour of the show at that.

The bitterness you usually get with imp stouts is overpowered by the booze and there's a sense of carbonation that's higher than any stout I've ever had (outside nitros). It's also thinner in body than I'd expect.

If you're a bourbon-lover than you're going to appreciate this beer. If you're not...well, don't you read labels? Why did you buy it? Still, be prepared for a whiskey onslaught. In my mind I'm comparing this to Weyerbacher's Heresy which is another bourbon barrel-aged imp stout. Even without being laid down for a few years, Heresy stands head and shoulders above this one.

I did it; I gave Schlafly another shot and it came up short.

09-19-2010 00:39:17 | More by Naugros
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

750 mL bottle from 2008 pours a near-black color with just a few highlights showing. Light tan foam is airy and fluffy, fading pretty quickly. Leaves some nice lace behind.

Smell is chocolate and cream with a decent dose of bourbon. Malts have aged well without much oxidation. Caramel notes are apparent. The beer smells really smooth without much fruitiness.

Mmmm, velvety smooth chocolate. Bourbon barrel character is evident, but far from overpowering. Has just enough roast, hop and alcohol bitterness on the finish. Not overly complex, but the flavors really work nicely for me. Could use a bump in body to get a nice, viscous and creamy feel, but that is really the only complaint I have. Vanilla flavors are really nice as it warms and a nutty aspect appears that I am really digging. Schlafly has achieved a smoothness that is rarely accomplished in a big Impy Stout. Fantastic brew, I really enjoyed this one and was quite surprised by how much so.

09-09-2010 12:24:46 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of bbkd3b


4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured from the 750 mL bottle into a Schlafly pint glass. What a coincidence!

A: Hits the glass with a dark, dark brown shade. It almost reaches black, but there's just a slight red hue that shows otherwise. Whatever head there was disappears almost instantly making it look as if I just poured myself a glass of coffee. Not bad.

S: Brown sugar, coffee beans, and a trace of raisins. Nice maltiness. Absolutely no hops in the scent whatsoever: this is a straight-malt drink.

T: Robust sweetness right off the bat. Espresso shows up right away. Bourbon barrel-aging seems to have left a distinct, wooden/caramel aroma. Really faint bitterness on the finish. Complex; flavorful.

M: Medium, creamy body that just slides off of the tongue and zooms down the throat. Just enough carbonation to save it being flat. Really pleasant.

D: if it weren't for the price, it'd be almost dangerously high. The alcohol is hidden so well I forgot about it until ZANG! It hit me.

Overall/notes: Ah, I've avoided good Missouri brews for too long. I've only had Schlafly's more common brews such as the Pale Ale and APA, but this is a really fine Imperial Stout. I think it'd be perfect to drink in the winter time... You know what that means: Time to get another bottle!

09-07-2010 03:28:43 | More by bbkd3b
Photo of HosP


3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

Got to sample the 2006 and 2007 version of this beer.

A - Poured nice black color. Very small tan head on both of these beers. Bits of lacing on each.

S - Both smelled very similar. Roasted malts with chocolate and coffee notes throughout the smell. Hints of bourbon towards the end.

T - This is where they differed. Both had nice smooth chocolate, expresso flavor. The 06 had more of a the bourbon taste with more alcohol flavors present. Both had nice oak taste in the middle. The 07 was a little sweeter than the 06, but not by much.

M - Medium body. They both were a little thiner than I would have imagined a RIS. The 06 seemed a little dryer in the mouth.

D - Neither blew me away, but still both were good solid RIS. Would have like more flavors from either malts or barrel aging, they all seemed to blend together. Still wouldn't be a bad beer to hang on to for a few years.

09-02-2010 02:42:10 | More by HosP
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.08/5  rDev 0%

2008 Vintage

A: Poured black and sordove a thin pour for such a big beer, some brown bubbles and small head

S: Bourbon, wood, vanilla, chocolate, roasted notes

T: Pretty smooth. Roasted notes, wood , vanilla, bourbona nd some milk chocolate

M: Smooth, not much of a booze bite, good feel, creamy

D: Good

09-01-2010 04:16:58 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of froghop


3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

pours a clear dark brown with a tint of red, a small tan head, and some lacing.

smell is of mocha, milk chocolate, coffee, a little wood, and bourbon.

taste is thick, dark chocolate, malt, licorice, and some roasted nuts, ends oily and chocolaty.

overall a very nice imperial stout.

08-23-2010 00:04:56 | More by froghop
Photo of wmthorne


4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

This is my second bottle of this beer. Liked the first enough I went back and got a second.

Poured very dark with little head into my schlafly pint glass.

Smells sweet with distinct smell of bourbon.

Mouthfeel has good carbonation. Very smooth like a mild bourbon in the aftertaste. Good alcohol warmth.

I'm a bourbon guy and a stout guy so I may be a bit biased. I also really like schlafly's products but I would recommend this to anyone that likes a stout. It is a tad sweet but not overpowering. I need to acquire a few more bottles for aging. This was a 2009. Doubt I could let them age much though.

07-17-2010 00:12:39 | More by wmthorne
Photo of levifunk


4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

2007 vintage.

a - black. low carbonation and head.

s - dark fruits and bourbon. nice.

t - dark fruits, raisens. bourbon, slight hop kick and caramel. 10.5% has mellowed down and well masked.

m - big body. low carbonation.

overall - very drinkable and tasty. i had a good pour that night, but could drink the whole bottle without much problem.

07-11-2010 19:52:02 | More by levifunk
Photo of connecticutpoet


4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Obtained this beer in trade... shit, I had three trades at the same time, I can't remember who sent this one. To whomever it was, thanks for a great one! Vintage 2008.

Poured this one into my Dogfish Head pint glass. It produced a half finger head atop a clear brown body. The head died to a ring that persisted throughout the experience.

Aroma started with dark fruits. Vanilla and oak followed, alond with dark, musty malts. I got a little bit of bourbon at the end. Surprisingly, no real roasted malt character. Interesting.

Taste... wow. Freaking wow. There was an initial blast of bourbon, completely unexpected considering how faint it was in the aroma. But welcome. Dark malt followed, along with a slight roasted flavor. Some oak followed. Very mellow, complex, and heavily layered.

Mouthfeel was incredible. It wasn't thin, but it wasn't heavy. It was smooth, creamy, and well balanced.

Excellent marks for drinkability. I had this 750 mL bottle mostly alone... I gave about 1 ounce to my father... but dang, it went down VERY easily. The alcohol wasn't noticeable, until I stood up. This goes down DECEPTIVELY easily. Damn, I could have done a growler of this, given the time. Easily the best barrel-aged RIS I have had to date.

07-09-2010 02:35:38 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of blackjack000


4.28/5  rDev +4.9%

Poured from a bomber bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Impenetrable black beer with a light caramel head. The head, which clings to the glass lightly, is composed of fine foam and sparse larger bubbles.

Smell: Molasses, strong black liquorice, anise seeds.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Carmelized brown sugar and black liquorice, with a porter-like sourness. The aftertaste is made of a cedar woodiness and alcohol spice.

07-06-2010 23:45:57 | More by blackjack000
Photo of jera1350


3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

Thanks to cosmohophead for this one.

Vintage 2007:

Pours a thinner black with fizzy tan head that reduces down to a ring around the glass.

Pretty decent complexity coming from the nose. Picking up some sweet molasses, barleywine like alcohol; light vanilla, oak and bourbon scents as well.

The base stout for this tastes pretty light. There is a nice warm bourbon presence that also has some toasty oak. The sweetness is kept in check pretty well. A little bit of hoppy citrus peeks out. Finishes with warm alcohol. Hard to believe how hot this is after three years on it.

The body is too thin for the style. It's smooth, but lacks body. Extremely dry finishing.

Pretty nice barrel aged stout although it's not in the upper echelon of the class. The hot booze definitely makes this a sipper. A good beer with an experience that I am enjoying.

07-05-2010 01:28:55 | More by jera1350
Photo of TheSarge


3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

With a nice hard pour, this brew produces about a half finger of tan head, in a 6oz glass. The body is black but copper hues are noted on the rim of the glass.

In the aroma dark chocolate, vanilla, and the bourbon are faintly visible.

In the taste I'm getting that strong cocoa flavor, with a stringent coffee flavor too.

This Imperial Stout is heavy in body, moderately carbonated, a little slick, and has a warm but not too boozy finish.

07-03-2010 18:17:52 | More by TheSarge
Photo of philbe311


3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

2008 Version

A - A slightly aggressive pour yields nothing more than a slight medium tan colored lacing that quickly fades away leaving only the slightest ring of lacing around the edges of the glass... Flat black color... Near opaque, with only a bit of light leaking through when back lit... Still, though some carbonation can be created by rocking the glass back and forth...

S - Sweet milk chocolate... Vanilla... Touch of oak... Raspberries... Subtle soft bourbon qualities... Slightly roasted malts... Very pleasing...

T - Milk chocolate... Roasted malts... A touch of coffee... Vanilla... Hint of caramel... A touch of alcohol induced heat on the finish... Rather timid for such a big beer...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... Thin and watery... Minimal carbonation... Silky smooth and slightly sleek...

D - Not terrible, but in the realm of barrel aged stouts this one is lapped by the field... For a beer that takes itself so seriously (packing in a box), this is no prime time offering... An average at best RIS that is not worth the price of admission...

06-26-2010 02:14:02 | More by philbe311
Photo of Arbitrator


2.05/5  rDev -49.8%

2008 vintage, chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by ramnuts while we watched The Big Lebowski. Thanks Frank.


Re-review: 2007 vintage, received in a trade from MiguelMandingo. Thanks Mike.

A: Not opaque in the glass, but it's a very dark brown-black body that lets only the slightest hint of light through at the edges. Its dark tan head rises to a finger, but vanishes quickly and leaves no film or lacing behind. No legs. About what I'd expect from an RIS.

S: Chocolate, oxidation, bourbon, and still (somehow) booze sting, bordering on solventy.

T: Chocolate and bourbon, again. The oxidation is pretty overwhelming, though; and it's not a complex sherry oxidation, just more of a straight earthy cigar bitterness. Strong tannic character toward the finish. Vanilla is very light. It's initially solventy when I pour it, though it is tamed a bit as the beer warms.

M: Surprisingly thin, with muddled and simple flavors. It could stand to be thicker and more complex. The booze is poorly disguised.

D: I liked the 2008 vintage that ramnuts shared far more than the 2007 one. I purposely got this with the intention of introducing newbies to craft beer. It was shared at a Wii party that included bourbon aficionados, in fact. Most commented that other barrel-aged beers I had shared in the past were far better; absolutely no one liked this.

If this beer is this uneven, I don't think I'll gamble on other bottles.

06-26-2010 00:10:00 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Reaper16


3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

750mL bottle served into a snifter

Pours a brownie looking brown. Brown as brown can be. A bit of light brown at the edges. Nice off-tan head. It could be darker but this is pretty textbook for the style.

This is a curious bottle. It is difficult to smell the roasted, dark grains through all the barrel flavors and dark fruits. Dominant raisin blends straight into straight-up bourbon. Sweet, boozy, and tinged with brown sugar, vanilla and oak. This is very sweet and pretty great... if this beer were a barrel-aged Quadrupel. Without the roasted grain smells this beer can only be scored so high.

Thankfully the grain shows up on the palate. A bit of coffee and char comes out but not very strongly. The bourbon barrels flavors dominate here. Sugary, oaky barrel notes overtake the roasted grains, while the raisin and plum flavors soak up the bourbon. Lots of sweetness and a touch of alcohol. Not complex - this bottle anyway, I've had better from this vintage - but very solid.

The mouthfeel is perplexing. It starts off feeling pretty thin on the tongue but by the time you swallow the beer takes on a greater body. Curious. Drinkability is pretty OK. The flavors are a bit one-note but the alcohol goes down pretty smoothly.

I will write a revised review if I drink a bottle of this 2008 vintage that is better. I have more in my cellar. This bottle, though, is very solid - a damn good beer - but far from spectacular.

06-24-2010 02:13:43 | More by Reaper16
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
91 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.