Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

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809 Ratings

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Ratings: 809
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 83
Gots: 204 | FT: 11
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: 809 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007.

This beer pours a deep, dark brown with ruby highlights. The head is a frothy off-white collar with irregular splatters in the middle. I must say, the color is enticing.

Smells of sweet chocolate and caramel with a gooey barley. There's a touch of brown sugar here too. This is backed by a gentle woody sting of bourbon that rises out of the depths.

Tastes of a slight touch of caramel with hot sting of smokey oak and a touch of orange zest. Finishes with a slight nip of bourbon. A little aggressive.

Feels a little viscous with a swarm of fuzzy little bubbles that rise up to create a touch of chaos. It also numbs my mouth with the boozy sting. The carbonation also lifts off the sweetness, interfering with the beer, imo.

Not a bad beer, but it could be so much more with age.

Photo of mphopkins99
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage, 750 ml

A - Dark brown, with a thin tan head, leaves a little lacing.

S - The bourbon / alcohol smell are somewhat overwhelming. Hint of coffee as well.

T - The alcohol hits like a ton of bricks, not much subtlety.

M - Full body, not much carbonation.

D - This is definitely a sipper, not a session beer in anyway. I split the bottle with a friend, and dont think I could have had much more of this. The alcohol taste and the ABV are a very strong presence.

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

750ml bottle into 25oz snifter.

Completely pitch black and opaque. There is no light getting through this one, even when held up to the light. A tan solid one finger head slowly settles to a razor thin cap. A pile of bubbly lacing holds along the side of the glass.

Loads of dark roasty malts with a rare creamy overtone. Very smooth and velvety. It's like the 10.5%ABV isn't even there. A little bit of molasses sits in the background.

Thick roasty malts in the flavor along with more of the creamy overtones. Some dark fruit comes in toward the middle. The hops show up in the end adding a little bit of lingering bitterness. The molasses from the aroma finds its way into the flavor.

A pretty smooth Russian Imperial Stout. Very creamy. The hops and alcohol don't show up much but you know they're there. Well rounded and complex. Recommended.

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

750 bottle, 2006 edition.

Bourbon smell, with coffee and dark chocolate mingling in as well. Oak melds nicely into the stout and really makes the whole package come together beautifully.

Really nice beer, the years have done it proper service. I wish I could get some more and do a vertical tasting.

Photo of charlesw
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Deep dark brown to black. Very opaque. But no head at all at all. Suckage. Smells faintly chocolaty and smoky. Not much gong on. Ah. But it tastes pretty good. Sweet chocolate milk. Some coffee. Smoke thrown in like, hmm. Like coals from the fireplace. Interesting, complex, subtle. Largely well balanced. No carbonation. Suckage. So... To make this the beer for me you need a bit of bitterness in that balance, carbonation and head. Carbonation to help balance out the sweetness. But I'im sure it would if it were there. Sadly, this bottle is nearly flat. Bleh.

Photo of LilMatrix
2.25/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Big thanks to Cobrakai22 for sharing this one!

A - Pours oily with little head. Light penetration that reveals a dark red hue.

S - Alcohol, brandy, bourbon, and sweetness. Surprised by the missing roasted characters (cocoa, coffee, chocolate) usually found in imperial stouts.

T - Brandy sweetness, candy, bourbon, cough syrup, boozy and alcoholic.

M - Rather thin bodied for an imperial stout and kinda flat.

D - I can't finish this one... This is way too boozy for me. Each drink gets a more and more of a cough syrup taste... think cherry flavored robitusson.

Photo of jneiswender
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a pint glass.

A--Very dark brown, thin mocha head

S--smoky, maple syrup

T--herbal, malty, but the alcohol--WHEW! Somewhat rough.

M--full body but pretty dry

D--Sip this beer. Its a bit rough tasting but is a textbook representation of the style. Not as good as the pale ale of the same company but this shows they know how to do beers other than bitters.

Photo of katan
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mil. 2008 vintage

A - dark and opaque. Hint of a red hue. Light head formation. Dissipates to a film. No hazing.

S - maple syrup is the primary smell. Very sweet. Hair of bourbon edge.

T - starts with a balanced sweetness of vanilla and oak combined with some bitterness. More oak forms mid stream. Finishes with sweet bourbon and maple syrup. All through is a bunch of alcohol burn.

M - thick. Very full bodied. Light carbonation bite. High alcohol bite.

D. - not all that drinkable. Potent abv and strong flavor are hard to manage. A one time per night beer.

Great beer. RemInds me of the gi bcs for about the same price.

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

Poured a very dark brown or black color with ruby highlights when held up to light. A nice white creamy head formed. Head retention was good. A good amount of lacing.

Nice complex nose. Thank you bourbon barrel aging. Big malty notes with vanilla, alcohol, and spice.

Big and malty on the from palate. Hints of chocolate and carmel. Bourbon aging takes over mid palate with notes of vanilla and oak. Alcohol adds an almost spicy quality. Nice layering to the flavor.

Mouthfeel is coating and heavy. Moderate carbonation cuts through the weight of the beer. Nice balance. Very drinkable for a 10.5% beer.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml champagne bottle poured into a Chouffe tulip; 2007 vintage

Pours a deep, dark brown, almost black, with red highlights around the outside of the glass. A fluffy, thick tan cap rose to the top of the tulip and faded away rather slowly to leave scattered lace.

Coffee beans, roasted malt, bakers chocolate, vanilla, phenol alcohol, bourbon and some faint molasses and burnt caramel. This is pretty broad and rather enticing.

Nicely done. Extremely well balanced with the bourbon flavor complementing and enhancing all of the other flavors. The roasted coffee and chocolate notes do not dominate but lay rather low while some dark fruits, vanilla, and molasses add delicious flavoring.

The barrel aging may have thinned this out a bit, but it was still pretty rich and creamy. Medium to full bodied, good carbonation.

There is a faint alcohol burn and the booze is a little strong, but putting down a bottle of this was not a problem.

Photo of johnnybgood1999
2.68/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I kept drinking the Barley Wine Special Reserve without trying the Bourbon Aged Stout because I really loved the BW. This ale was a disappointment in comparison, though I'm not saying it is a horrible beer or anything. Just not as good.

A: Poured syrupy and pitch black. Virtually no head. Like oil out of a beer bottle! Not a bad omen for a stout.

S: A sweet chocolate caramel aroma with whiskey apparant up front.

T: Other reviews have stated oak is more the flavor than bourbon and I would have to agree. A very sweet stout. The sweetest stout I've had to date. Plenty of chocolate and plain sugary tast. Maybe some toffe as well. Honestly a little too sweet for me. I'm also getting no carbonation like fellow reviewers, but I would actually prefer a good bit more.

D: I rated this rather low becasue of the sweetnessand total lack of carbonation. It was so sweet I could not take more than a glass. The Barley Wine Special Reserve is much more drinkable and that's what I had expected out of this stout. I can only take this in small amounts.

Photo of birchstick
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 Edition

A - pours black as night with a beautiful one-finger head

S - smells delicious. I could smell caramel as soon as I cracked it open. On a closer examination, I smelled vanilla and chocolate.

T - Tastes of sweet chocolate and caramel malts. There was a nice vanilla taste present from the Jim Beam barrels. On the finish, there was a bit of hops that were noticeable. Also, sweet oak lingered on the palate. This thing is also really hot - reminds me of a fresh BCBS, which is a good thing. This is easily one of the best blend of flavors I have had in a stout. You can really taste the bourbon, which is what I wanted.

M - Well-carbonated and goes down smoothly.

D - I split a bottle of this with a buddy and we were both feeling the 10.5% abv, so having more than a bottle will have you feeling pretty good. This is my favorite offering by Schlafly. Like I mentioned earlier, this reminds me a lot of BCBS but not as chocolately and a little toned down. I was very impressed and will definitely go out and purchase more of these.

2006 (aged 5 years) - bourbon has subdued, the molasses has increased quite a bit in the nose and on the tongue and has pretty much be come the dominant flavor. A bit of oakey coffee comes through on the finish. This has really mellowed a ton and become a really smooth drinking RIS - the spicy bourbon is pretty much gone. I would say this could go longer. Great stuff!

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of echdk3
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage poured into a snifter

A_Light brown head, dissipates into a halo, has light lacing. Black all the way down to the tapered bottom of the snifter, dark for sure

S_Dark mollasses, toasted black bread, big alcohol

T_Huge mollasses, lots of alcohol, background of bitter fruit. Dark chocolate, too. Pure ethanol aftertaste

M_Heavy heavy body, very chewy, way more carbonation than I expected

D_This is a fun imperial stout, what an ABV! I'm trying to drink this fast because it tastes so good, but the heavy body is prohibitive. Also the ABV really shows through in its effects

Photo of IBUnit63
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy hwwty4 - thanks man! Had this at 2008 EBF and loved the stuff. 2007 vintage into Duvel tulip.

Nice root beer style head with clean espresso body - head doesn't stick around terribly long but leaves good wisps of yeastiness.

Crteamy, creamy, creamy scent...great roasted chocolate malt and immense caramel...actaully a little buttery with alcohol burn - love the vanila bourbon oak with some slight hop pine.

Now here we go...the deep bourbon in the chocolate and caramel malt emerges with strength. Alcohol is definitely there. Deep coffee tones come about in the background. Finish definitely has oaky borubon feel. Hop pine is present also.

Soft and smooth, this is. The vanilla comes through in strength and bourbon texture helps even out the little twang from piney hop bitterness and is hot but not unpleasant. Malt and hop tones are soft - would actually expect them to be a bit heavier on the palate.

This drinks well and is quite comforting. I think the vanilla and bourbon oak (and a slight butter/diacetyl(?) note) is a little overdone and detracts somewhat from the true stout character of deep, dark roasted malt...a vertical of this would be interesting to see.

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of Proteus93
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: About as black as stouts will be, but this one is a little thin in the head / head retention. Some strings of lace. Reasonable, but not great.

S: Big malts and a chocolate aroma. Some nuttiness ocmes through and a dash of smokiness. Bourbon seems a little muted, but the wood barrels make an appearance and are quite a nice touch.

T: Deep roasted malts, some big notes of licorice/anise, and some creamy chocolate - more sweetened than bitter. Some soft vanilla and pleasant woody notes - quite oaky, really, but modest and well blended. Quite a tasty beer, and among the better ones I have come across in the style.

M + D: Body is on the richer side of medium... or even fuller, but there's a bit of a slickness that kinda keeps the feel from being all too heavy, which is a nice touch, even though it means the beer gets to play catch-up soon after. Nice sipping brew, very nice tasting... well worth checking out.

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

Pours a near black color with an average light tan head, that settled into a ring around the glass. The aroma is of roasted malt with light oak, vanilla, and bourbon. The aromas mix well with each other, none standing out more than the other. The barrel aged characteristics come out more in the taste. Big bourbon, vanilla, and oak flavors dominate the roasted malt. Sweet overall but the barrel flavors meld into the malt after a few sips. The feel is chewy with semi-soft carbonation, that has a bit of a crispness to it. A very nice stout, sweet with nice bourbon flavors.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle (2007 version) into a chimay chalice. Split with trep and friends at a holiday stout tasting.

This RIS isn't quite opaque, but the mahogany-brown body is attractive. A think cap of dark khaki head forms tight bubbles, slowly receding to a thin veil. The aroma is exceptional, and the bourbon notes are packed with vanilla, dark fruits (raisin, fig, orange peel), and a touch of chocolate.

Flavor-wise, this RIS is insanely complex, with rich layers of caramel malt that give way to oak, charred bourbon, raisin, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is a bit dry from the barrel-aging, but crisp and surprisingly bubbly. The body is medium-thin, and could stand to be a bit thicker to live up to the style. I would have liked there to be a touch more chocolate n this one, too, but its still a fantastic beer. In my book Schlafly is 2-for-2 with big, bourbon-aged beers, as their Barleywine Reserve was equally as impressive.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2007 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with about an inch tan head. Not much head retention or lacing. It smells like roasted malt, chocolate, bourbon, caramel, vanilla and oak. Very nice sweet and malty aroma. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's a burnt/smoky taste noticable. There's also a slight bitter coffee taste in the finish. All the flavors work well together, there's no one flavor that overpowers the others. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's silky and smooth with decent carbonation, but it seems a bit thin for the style. Drinkability is pretty good, for a beer this strong it's very easy to drink. It should be a sipping beer, but it's so good I'm sipping this a little too quickly! The alcohol is hidden well. Overall I think this is a pretty good brew, I'd definitely pick up this again.

Photo of phantomwyse
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer that comes in a box, had me sold at the initial level of pretentiousness.

A: Jet black with an off white rocky head that moves to being somewhat sedated and lathery. Beer has slim garnet highlights.

S: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, underneath it all bourbon, and just a hint at potent alcohol.

T: Bourbon alcohol bite right at the start followed by truffles, warm caramel, vanilla bean, and dark roasted coffee. There is a definite hop presence, there's a bit of puckering that comes with drinking this beer, but it's more a physical reaction than it is a flavor.

M: Creamy with a tingle.

D: For it's potency, is very enjoyable.

One of the better imperial stouts I've had. I'd likely go back and pick up some more and see how well it does age.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from The Wine & Cheese Place for $9.99 + shipping.

This, the 2007 edition, pours from the 750ML capped bottle a very dark brown with some reddish highlights. The foam forms a very small head and shrinks quickly. Lacing is minimal.

The smell has notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a very nice and substantial fruitiness. The bourbon? Yeah, it's there and adds to the pleasurable nose. I like.

The taste is definitely one with a stronger presence of the bourbon but it doesn't lack in flavours...the chocolate isn't as noticeable as in the smell is there along with good notes of dark fruit, some toffee, light roasted malt, and strong notes of caramel malt. This puppy is definitely more sweet to me than most of the RIS I've tried but it doesn't go overboard and become cloying. Great sipping brew here and the abv does show itself but if you just sip, things will be ok.

It has a pretty light mouthfeel for the style, the carbonation is light, and it finishes with a nice last blast of bourbon. Yum.

Bottom line: An excellent BBIS where the bourbon does take center stage. If that's something that sounds appealing to you, you won't be disappointed. I know I'm not. This one makes me want to seek out the 2008 edition...

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

750 ml from the Schlafly Bottleworks poured into snifter

A- Pours very dark and robust. Nice frothy dark head about 1 inch thick that lingers. Very good lacing along the glass.

S- Sweet and chocolaty. Hints of caramel and roasted coffee hit the nose. Bourbon and vanilla aromas are also noted.

T- Bourbon presence is very noticeable. The alcohol is very subdued and the taste is very smooth. Hints of chocolate with a bitter finish.

M- Not as heavy as I expected. I would almost consider this light bodied.

D- Overall very high. High ABV is masked very well with the bourbon and other flavors. I enjoyed this brew very much.

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

Bottle in trade from ogglethorp. Thanks for this one!

Pours a nice black color with a light beige head and the smell is strongly of smooth bourbon and lightly of chocolate. Taste is balanced with lots of chocolate and bourbon. Medium to full body with a medium to light amount of carbonation. Flavorful, semi rich and smooth with no big flaws at all. Very solid and enjoyable!

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

A: Pours an opaque Hershey brown with a wet/cask-like (thin/big bubbles) but creamy single-finger head. The head quickly settles to a ring of big bubbles and a swirl, leaving poka-dot lacing.

S: Sweetness, chocolate malts, toffee, carmel, vanilla, sweet bourbon and some dark fruit.

T: Bittersweet chocolate mixed with bourbon-soaked dark dried fruit and a splash of vanilla. Yeah, the alcohol is noticeable, this is in a similar class to BCS, but a bit thinner and rougher with the added fruit aspect.

M: Med-heavy beer, slightly syrupy but much thinner than a 'motor oil' pour. Mild carbonation.

D: Overall, this is a pretty good beer. It's a sweet, bourbon aged imperial stout that packs a punch. If anything, I'd say the base for this brew could use a little more malt to balance everything out.

Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
91 out of 100 based on 809 ratings.