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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

834 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 834
Reviews: 388
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 88
Gots: 213 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 834 | Reviews: 388
Photo of Spica66
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bought this from AlleyCatKing at his store in South Bend. Shared as our 10th annual Heroes Toast on 09/11/11 between myself and gwuilliums on my deck on a perfect September afternoon.

2008 Vintage

A: Very dark pour. Only burgundy highlights on the very edges in full sunlight. Excellent head formation and retention. Some light lacing persists as drinking continues. Looks exactly like an imperial stout should.

S: Very dark roasted smell immediately, then bourbon quickly follows. I get molasses and bitter chocolate and very dark raisin or fig.

T: This is a really well balanced bourbon stout. Very dark flavors and bourbon play extremely well together. We took Schlafly's suggestion and each had a bar of 70% chocolate while drinking this bottle. What a perfect compliment they were for each other.

M: For as dark as the pour was, there was none of the thickness I expected to get. Way too thin for an RIS, especially a barrel aged one.

O: Other than the thin mouthfeel, this beer is very well done.

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to lightindarkness for sending me this one several years ago.

2008 Vintage

Reserve Imperial Stout pours a dark chocolate fudge color. It’s almost opaque, but backlighting reveals a few burgundy highlights at the edges. A tan head stands over two fingers tall and looks really nice. It recedes pretty quickly, leaving a sticky, spotty coat of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose is quite good. There is a nice mix of roasted and chocolate malts up front. Bourbon jumps in quickly and makes its presence known. It has a fairly strong presence, but is restrained enough to let the stout elements share the spotlight. There are some secondary notes of oak and molasses, but they’re subtle. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t smell too powerful. Perhaps time has been good to it.

The flavor is very impressive. The malt base is a really nice mix of chocolate, sweet caramel, and roasted malts. They all seem to be fairly equal in strength. Bourbon complements the malt base extremely well. Its flavor is strong, but isn’t overwhelming. It works really well with the malts to create an impressive flavor. Secondary flavors of vanilla, molasses, and oak add quality depth and complexity. They shine much more in flavor. Alcohol isn’t overwhelming or hot. Finishes with a chocolate and bourbon combo.

The body definitely feels a little too light and thin. Carbonation is light and restrained. It’s not bad, but it really needs more body. Big stouts simply need big bodies. For what it’s worth, it does go down easy. I won’t have any problem polishing off this 750.

I’ve been hanging onto this bottle for several years. I don’t know how it was fresh, but it’s simply excellent at this point. I do think it would benefit from a bit more body, but that’s nitpicking. The flavor rocks. If you bump into a bottle of this, pick it up and put it back for a few years. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 10.5% abv, 2010 vintage. Not quite jet black in color. Tan head fades away quickly, and leaves no spots of lace at all.

Roasty, with a nice caramel, bourbon and oak tone. All are balanced well. A note of alcohol, but not overwhelming. Some dark chocolate floating about in the nose as well. Very nice.

Roasty up front with some bittersweet chocolate notes. A nice bourbon edges shines in, and leaves with a flash of oak tannins. Just a bit of sweetness. All seems balanced very well. A slight vanilla fade at the end.

Medium body, maybe a tad thin, but that is really being picky. Some alcohol burn still, but not overwhelming. Very well rounded. A very well made beer. I enjoyed this one as much as the barleywine.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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 schwaeh
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

09' bottle split with inebriated joker.

A: Dark black. Still has some good carbonation. Pours with a half inch burlap colored head that quickly fades into some light bubbles.

S: Smokey sweet bourbon, light chocolate, some molasses. As it warms caramel, roasted malt, and vanilla come out of hiding.

T: Smooth bourbon and chocolate. The vanilla and oak are all very mellow and integrated at this age, while the alcohol is still pretty strong. Roasted malt and some toasty grains are all clear within the base stout along with some caramel highlights.

M: Lighter medium body. This is smooth and coating with low carbonation once in the mouth. The alcohol takes this category down a bit.

O: I've had my eye on this for a while, I was pleasantly pleased to find bottles of it sitting around for $11. This is a great value and a beer that's easy to find where it's distributed. I would say this is great at this 2-3 year age, any longer and it might lose it's luster.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2010 edition into a snifter. Pours a deep, earthy, black/brown. Half inch head, no lace.

The smell is a little booze forward. Plum, vanilla, hot chocolate and burnt toast follow.

The whisky and chocolate mix pretty well to start the taste. Plum and burnt caramel follow. A touch on the sweet side. Small earthy hop note, but not enough. Oak on the finish, but it doesn't dry it out quite enough. A little sticky in the mouth.

Good brew that could use a touch of tweaking. I hope I can grab one to cellar, but I got it online ($10.99) so who knows.

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

I have had this on Cask, Tap and bottle.
Appearance- Nice and black with a bit of head.

Smell- You can smell the bourbon big time in this and that is what I like.

Taste- this is one of my favorites when I get some BA RIS's, great roastiness and bourbon flavor, with a touch of oak.

Mouthfeel- I would love it to be a bit chewier but it is still nice and creamy.

Overall- I live in STL and get to have this all the time and while it is not the top tier BA RIS out there it is one of my favorites and would recommend it to any one.

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Found a 2008 on the shelf last night, so it seemed like it'd be good to try.

A - A really light brown body for the style. Pretty opaque in the glass, but the pour looks more like a porter. Head was a good color but small and quick to go away

S - Good nose, nice balance of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon notes. No booze to speak of. Very pleasant nose.

T - Pretty good here too. Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, some wood. A surprising amount of alcohol, though. Good flavor, too much booze.

M - super thin, kind of dry. Pretty disappointing.

O - It tastes good, but is too boozy and too thin.

Photo of sweemzander
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced some tan froth and lace.

(S)- Lots of dry oak and booze soaked raisin with bits of caramel and toffee.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Booze soaked raisin with a good dry oak barrel character. Nice toasted caramel sweetness. Not very complex, but damn tasty.

(M)- A slick yet mellow carbonation level. A good balance too, though you taste and feel every tiny bit of the 10.5%ABV.

(D)- A rockin' stout with a hefty barrel character in the profile. Despite it being around 2years old, its got plenty of life left to go in it. Solid stuff. I can imagine this would be very hot and boozy fresh.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample from a 2008 Vintage, coutesy of one of Halcyondays' beer loving friends. Let's see what that "other" St. Louis brewery has to offer. On to the beer:

Generally black though it does have some ruby brown edges. Only trickles of lace remain on top of the liquid and stick. But who cares about the amount of lace remaining with the nose like this? There's a lot of oak and charred character that will grab your sense of smell. Light alcohol and molasses aromas come into the play.

Despite the double digit alcohol, this imperial stout does not seem heavy with the malt. More or less it's an oak bomb. Some licorice is noted, as are vague barrel characteristics. The body, for the style, seems on the thinner side; could be much richer in that aspect (perhaps the 3 years of age have contibuted?). There's a warming alcohol character that, well, warms the inside of your mouth.

Barrel aged imperial stouts are like sex; when it's great, it's great. And even when it's not, well it's still pretty good. File Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout under the latter, not the most tantalizing around but still has its good moments.

Photo of Jeffo
2.74/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

In a trade with Craytonic many moons ago. Thanks for the brews man.

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter.
Vintage: 2008

APPEARANCE: Pours out a very light and transparent brown. Yields a one finger, medium-thin looking. light tan head with half decent retention, fading down to a full wisp and ring. Black body with little carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Too light and thin for the style, and the head was underwhelming as well.

SMELL: Mild nose of roasted malts and light barrel notes. Bourbon, oak and vanilla notes are there, as well as some faint milk chocolate and licorice. Pleasant, yet too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Mild flavors as well. Roasted and caramel malts up front, then the barrel kicks in midway. Bourbon, vanilla, and oak are there. Medium and lingering aftertaste of barrel notes and some sweet milk chocolate as well. Very mild bitterness at the finish. Nice flavors, but not as bold as needed. Comes out a little after the swallow, but needs more up front to move it up a class.

PALATE: Medium-thin body and not creamy or smooth enough. Higher levels of prickly carbonation on the palate, goes down prickly and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. While it fills out a little as it sits, it begins too thin, prickly, and not creamy enough.

OVERALL: This is an average bourbon barrel aged stout at best, and the thinner look and feel certainly don’t help. I’d heard good things about this beer, but then again, I’ve heard good things about a lot of average beers. A worthy brew that would be good to share with friends, but not something worth getting worked up about. Thanks again for the opportunity to give this one a go Craytonic.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 750 mL bottle, 2008 Edition,

A: Pours a deep brown to black with a small off-white head, light lace.

S: Great nose of bourbon, vanilla, wood and brown sugar.

T: Vanilla, dark chocolate and toffee with a hint of roast. Great malty flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, thin finish is a minor gripe. Quite smooth.

O: My first ever beer from Schlafly and I'm quite impressed, they just need a name that's easier to spell.

Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 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.

Photo of Chaney
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've heard great things but have never had the honor (or dishonor?).

I split this with my wife and poured my portion into a DuClaw Colossus snifter. I did this because I'm a fucking beer stud!

A: Not that viscious on the pour, but the brew itself was still black as night. That was very curious considering the very woosy, Guinness draught-like froth that topped it and laced the glass in spades.

S: Lots of bourbon, which gave it a nuttiness that was divine! I got a slight bit of roast beneath the Kentucky goodness, but no cocoa (or anything resembling that).

T: This was one of the more bourbony, coconuty Imperial Stouts that I've had in a good while. Quite a bit of alcohol burn and I would have preferred more chocolate or licorice character to balance that out.

M: It needed more creaminess in general. I mean, the liquid hit my lips, I enjoyed the coconut high for a few seconds, then it just fell flat... damn shame actually. The lacing was car wash stuff!

O: I respect Schlafly immensely, I've been floored by some of their efforts, and I really wanted to love this one, but I ultimately was not impressed. Additionally, considering this was the 2008 version, one has to assume that this is about as good as this beer is going to get. That said, this was a real letdown to me. :(

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Steve for sharing this bottle in our little bottle share.

Poured from bottle into pint goblet - 2009 vintage.

A: Poured a deep black with one and a half finger head that dissipated into thin lacing, decent carbonation.

S: Bourbon,molasses, roasted malts and barley.

T: Bourbon was prevelant and upfront, decent molassas with roasted malts and barley, slight coffee, caramel and toffee hints, small notes of hops as well.

O: Overall this was a thick,smooth and tasty Imperial Stout that was well blended and balanced, Nice warming sensation in the finish, great flavor.... Thanks again Steve.

Photo of soju6
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage.

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a tan head that fades to good lacing.

S: Roast malt, chocolate and dark fruit with vintage whiskey throughout.

T: Starts with a roasted malt sweetness along with dark fruit. There is a touch of bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fairly light body, smooth and a bit creamy. Not overly boozy and very well balanced. As it warms the flavors seem a bit more intense.

O: This hits the spot as it is very well crafted. Perfect for a quiet evening.

Photo of colforbin73
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 brewage.

this is a quality brew -- the barrel aging is such a huge factor -- and given that this is the most recent edition maybe the beer would have benefitted from a year aging -- to allow that bourbon barrel to mellow. as it is -- it is enjoyable but lacks malt depth and is dominated by the barrel.

pours a dark red-brown/black with a wisp of tan head that pops up to say hi, and then just makes a beeline for the perimeter. not a very luxurious pour, good dark ale -- but not rich looking -- this is the same when it comes to the mouthfeel.

there is a good rich, enticing aroma tho. again the barrel dominates but you do get some roasty malt background. the taste is excellent -- you get the amazing play of beer and bourbon barrel -- there is a roasty stout in there somewhere -- but alcohol and bourbon dominate the palate -- the bitterness is right but i find myself wanting a meatier beer here.

as far as the style and process go -- there are quite a few better options -- but as far as this beer goes on its' own merit it is great. i would love to try this on cask. for the price and availability -- i would go with an Old Rasputin -- but try this if you get a chance.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage

The beer is dark brown and somewhat transparent. A thin, tan head rests atop the beer, leaving minimal lacing on the glass. The aroma is of roast, caramel, malt, oak, and booze. The flavor brings subtle bourbon, which grows more present as the beer warms. Light roast and caramel, as well as some oak in there as well. The body is relatively thin for the style. Overall, an enjoyable brew, and one that seems to mellow nicely with age. I would have this again.

Photo of russwbeck
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 Edition

A: Actually a relatively clear brown pour out of the bottle, settles into a dark black/brown body with a small white head rising even with an incredibly hard pour. Lacing is good, retention isn't so much.

S: Light boozy and bourbon smell up front. Some roasty chocolate flavors mix with hops to create a decent balance.

T: This beer is all set up to be phenomenal, but it really starts to drop off here. The flavor is just not balanced enough for me. The bourbon finishes the beer off and other booze isn't noted, but the chocolate, coffee, roastiness, etc. just seems to fall off. I'm left with a lot of oak coating the palate at the end and not much else.

MF: A little too light here. Carbonation and everything are fine, but the full body is definitely missing.

O: On my first sips I was ready to be blown away, but this drops off to pretty average after a while. Flavor just isn't big enough, bourbon isn't present enough. Very close to top notch but not quite there.

Photo of mulder1010
3.37/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 version into a tulip, served at brewery
on Jim Beam Barrels for nearly 6 weeks, told at brewery

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled black with just hints of red here and there. No visib le carbonation at all. A few strands of white lacing to replace head but not much else really. Served a bit cold I thought. Better after it warmed up. A half finger of near milk chocolate head the quicky disappeared to film again.

S-- Oak, bourbon, vanilla, carmel and chocolate. Very oak and bourbon forward smelling.

T-- Prickly carbonation up front followed by Oak, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and Carmel. Taste got richer as it warmed.

M-- Medium feel and high medium carbonation. Some traces of silkyness but on the boozy side really. ABV is very obvious as it warmed. Vanilla and oak finish. Bourbon got more apparent as I drank on.

O-- Not bad but needs time to develop. Base beer was a bit hard to find at times. Very young and thought the older vintages would be more developed. Worth cellaring.

Photo of koopa
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage green waxed 750ml caged and corked bottle received in a trade with a generous BA thanks!

Appearance: Pours a fairly dark brown to near black with the tiniest slightly off white (khaki) crown that displays moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Moderate roast drowned out by large whafts of sweet bourbon. Traces of vanilla can be dug out along with chocolate, molasses, and a hint of oak.

Taste: Same as the nose but muddled and faded. This one is drinking ok but I would have preferred a fresher example.

Mouthfeel: Definitely thin for an "Imperial Stout" with decent carbonation.

Overall: A decent aged beer that was probably a bit better a year ago.

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a thick black color with a very thin line of head that is almost nonexistent. I had to force it to fizz by basically turning the bottle upside down immediately. Looks strong.

S: Smells of some dark fruits, nuttiness, and coffee. There’s a bit of a boozy smell, but not what I’d liken to bourbon.

T/M: Tastes thick and heavy with waves of caramel and alcohol. The flavor is much more akin to what bourbon barrel aging tastes like. It’s really strong and really good.

I can’t say if this is aged in high grade bourbon barrels, but it doesn’t matter. I like it, a lot.

Photo of FanofHefe
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 version poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep, dark black body, with a hint of red tint around the edges. Surprisingly big two-finger dark tan head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving just a little sticky lacing.

Aroma is very rich. Bourbon (of course), vanilla, licorice, oak, and chocolate. This combination of aromas is the near-perfect set up for a delicious imperial stout.

Excellent flavor. The chocolate and caramel malt are more prominent in the flavor than in the aroma. The bourbon is not overwhelming, but very present, especially as it warms.

The mouthfeel is a liitle thin for an imperial stout and there is a little heat with the alcohol. But, these are minor flaws in an otherwise superior brew. Looking forward to aging a bottle or two as I expect this will only improve with time. Way to go Schlafly.

Photo of Vierenner
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If you like malty, bourbony, sweeter stouts with negligible hop bite this one's for you. I've consumed and reviewed many great Imperial/American Stouts and this one ranks with the best of them. It's rich, smooth, and the alcohol is warming. Recommend it be enjoyed as your only beer of the evening. Life is good and this beer celebrates it!

Photo of silentjay
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 edition consumed 6/1/11.

dark brown/black with an expectedly smallish head (considering the style, barrel aging, and age it is about the size I would expect), but it lasts and laces well.

aroma is of bourbon, licorice, molasses, chocolate, tree bark, wood, dark fruits. still smells a bit hot despite the age.

licorice/anisette flavors start, but there is a nice roasty sweetness after that with chocolate and coffee-like flavors. bourbon seems to have tamed a bit, but a decent amount of oak/vanilla/dark caramel flavors are there.

a touch light bodied for the style, but creamy with subtle carbonation and a dry finish.

was hoping for a bit more on this one. not having had a fresh version before, I can't tell if the bourbon qualities mellowed over time, but reading other reviews I think that may be the case. the licorice/anisette was not what I was expecting, but it was good.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
91 out of 100 based on 834 ratings.