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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel AleSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

114 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 114
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.89%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  ABV ?

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BEERchitect on 06-12-2009

The result is a smooth bourbon character balanced by caramel malt sweetness and classic English hops. Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale is a seamless blend of Schlafly Barleywine-style ale and our pale ale aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 114 | Reviews: 51
Reviews by jdklks:
Photo of jdklks
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

the bottle claims that its a mix between a pale ale and a barleywine... a strong ale? an almost transparent dark orange body is accompanied by an off-white head that has NO retention, and leaves little trace of its ever having existed in the first place. i think i pour it too cold. the aromas are trapped. the barrel aging is as apparent in the woody smell as it is in the bourbon smell, that is, they are of equal strength, which is quite interesting. There is a hint of fruits, especially green apple, beneath the imprint of the barrel-aged characteristics.

the taste is very interesting, to say the least. good, and interesting. VERY woody. in fact, the bourbon only serves to make the wood flavor much sweeter than it would otherwise be, and it is very sweet. there is, as predicted by the smell, a nice green apple flavor that reminds me of well-made apple cider. This is certainly a good beer. i am just having difficulties figuring it out. interesting.

mouthfeel is as expected. very decent, though nothing particularly outstanding. medium bodied, and well carbonated. i dont think ill be breaking into my other bottle of this tonight because it is much to sweet to stomach more than 12 ounces, but im definitely glad that i get to experience it again. a solid B+, and one the more interesting beers you'll ever try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A blend of their barleywine-style ale and their pale ale aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Pours into my glass a nice deep red orange with a half inch of eggshell head on top that leaves some sticky lacing. Aromas of rich caramel and a mix of fresh fruits. Toffee and loads of malty goodness. Vanilla, oak and bourbon are all well integrated. Bit of hops lingering the background. Nice!

First sip brings smooth caramel malts with fruit, toffee and brown sugar. A nice underlying sweetness carries warm vanilla, oak and a nice ribbon of bourbon as well. A touch of hoppiness on the way down with some bitterness in tow. Well balanced overall and the bourbon accent is just perfect in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation. A bit on the lighter side but that is kind of nice as it makes it more drinkable. Overall, a well blended barrel aged brew. Everything works well and achieves a good balance. Tasty stuff I'm glad I was able to find this one!

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

32 oz. growler filled a few days ago, poured into a NB snifter.

A - Pours a dark golden brown. A 1/2" head of dark khaki foam quickly disappears, leaving a sheen of very fine lace streaked across the surface. Held to a full-spectrum light, the beer is a rich dark orange/red and clear. Lots of thin legs of sugar coat the sides of the glass as it empties.

S - Lightly burnt, deep rich caramels and brown sugar with notes of toffee in the background. Dense, moist whole grain bread. Hints of hardwood and black pepper with touches of vanilla. A bit of heat in the back of the glass from the ABV. As the beer warms, the sugars, malts, and bourbon vanilla really comes together into a delicious nose.

T - Dark brown sugars lead into nicely toasted, almost roasted malts, which are followed by dark caramels and a bit of woodiness. Finish isn't cloying, but is defined by a sweet bourbon vanilla that lingers. Not quite big enough to suggest an oaked barleywine, the ale supplies the foundation to feature the bourbon extraction.

M - Very smooth and a touch creamy. Light carbonation. Light-moderate body with good structure. Components present as integrated. Soft finish lingers a bit from the sugars on the tongue.

O - This is pretty straight-forward, uncomplicated ale designed to feature the bourbon barrel aging characteristics. The sugars are forward, but not so much that's it's overly sweet, like Kentucky Bourbon Ale. It's quite drinkable without being distinctive, and pairs well with something like a full-bodied, somewhat spicy cigar, which I enjoyed immensely with this growler. The best aspect of this beer is the nose - it's to be savored before drinking. Recommended as a nitecap.

Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

12 oz bottle bottled on 20 Feb. 2014
Nice deep amber color with good carbonation. Excellent aroma.
Obvious bourbon, especially in tasting, but not so much as to completely overpower the nice malt base. Some good woody/barrel flavor too, along with vanilla and toffee in the finish.

Photo of Dave128
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 OZ bottle poured into a glass mug.. Bottled 1-11-11

A - Nothing spectacular looking... almost no head and lace is only present where the initial head was.

S - I was expecting some bourbony goodness. There isnt really that much of it. It smells a bit woody, but not the way I was expecting it to. Can smell it more when it warms and its nice.

T - pretty good.. a decent barrel ale. Dark roasty malts with somewhat of a tangy sweetness that pulls into the woodiness. Its almost room temperature now and tastes much better than it did when I first poured it. (I'm not a connoisseur of bourbon barrel ales but I guess they are meant to be enjoyed a little warmer?)

M - medium body with decent carbonation.

D - There's nothing too fantastic about this beer. There's also nothing I can fault it on. Regardless its moderately tasty and worth drinking. Glad I tried it.

Photo of secondtooth
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This blending of barrel-aged barleywine and pale ale pours a murky amber, with a thick head of off-white suds. Lovely wisp of delicate lace, too.

Nose is complex, hinting at the bourbon barrel characteristics (vanilla), but this is dominated by a toffee and caramel maltiness (indubitably the barleywine). Needs more of the bourbony, oaky, vanilla vibe methinks.

Taste is a weird mix, as with the aroma. The boozy bourbon vanilla and charred oak is muted by a fruity character (again, the barleywine speaks loudest here). Though certainly not a bad beer, this one just lacks a more cohesive melding of tastes and styles.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours deep copper with thin white head that retains well. light lacing

mostly bourbon up front with sweet vanilla and caramel malts.

bourbon is very noticeable up front and smooths out. malts are very dominant with caramel and vanilla flavors mixed in. sort of a sweet bourbon aftertaste

decent body although id like to see a bit more carbonation. has a bit of a syrupy feel. other than that, its great.

this was fun and i am excited to see schlafly try something new. i was not expecting the bourbon to be as strong as it was, and that is not a bad thing!

Photo of wspscott
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass
bottled on 12/16/09

A: Dark copper/orangish color with a very fluffy, off-white 1-finger head. THe head never completely disappears, and there is a huge amount of lace left behind as it drops.
S: Bourbon, wood, vanilla, no obvious hops or malts, seems somewhat one dimensional.
T: The bourbon is definitely there, but it is not as overwhelming as other bourbon beers. The wood character really comes through. There is a hint of bitter hops, but they are buried far in the background.
M: On the crisp side, lots of carbonation, a nice change from some of the under-attenuated bourbon beers that turn into a sweet mess.
D: A beer that is hard to characterize, the label says a blend of their pale ale and barleywine, not sure what I would call it, but I like it, don't love it. A nice change of pace if you want something with bourbon characteristics, but not a RIS. Not exactly a summer beer, I could easily see reaching for a 2nd if it was fall and I was in front of a campfire. Glad I have a couple more left, at the same time, I am not sure I would buy again. Worth trying if you see it.

Photo of KYGunner
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tons of carbonation lead to tall head that eventually congeals into a thick creaminess. The color is a perfect pale ale mahogany/red/orange hue.

The scent is simple enough; oakey bourbon, strong but smooth. The taste follows the nose with bourbon tones but a touch of lemon in the end. The bourbon wins out but it's a high quality bourbon barrel, it would seem.

The feel is a little fizzy but it begins to iron out near the end. If your a real fan of this type of ale than this is a must have.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed from a growler in a Revolution Snifter. This FINE ale pours light reddish brown with a medium effervescent head of white that dissipates to a thin ring and spotty soapy lacing. Nose of toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak, strong booze, and layers of sweet malts. Flavors showcase sweet yet lightly crisp malts up front with layers of vanilla, brown sugars and toffee, and light bourbon awash over a light oak barrel note that is complex and intriguing. Slick wet mouth feel with good crisp carbonation makes this one a dangerous easy drinker. Alcohol in the nose is muted and clocks in with a mild heat at around seven percent. Light vanilla and bourbon flavor in the aftertaste. Fantastic!

Cheers!

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention is decent, lacing is good. It smells like caramel malt, vanilla, oak and a little bit of hops. The bourbon aroma isn't as strong as I thought it would be. Luckily, the bourbon comes out more in the flavor. I can taste oak, vanilla, caramel malt, toffee and a bit of dark fruit. There's also a lingering bittersweet fruity and bourbony aftertaste. Even though the label says the beer is a blend of barleywine and pale ale aged in bourbon barrels, I didn't pick up a lot of hops in the aroma or taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's easy and enjoyable to drink. All in all, I think this is a pretty decent brew. I'd buy this again in the future.

Photo of n2185
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a hazy orange-brown with two fingers of light tan head that recedes into a thin layer with little lacing.

S: Lots of sweet caramel and vanilla on the nose up front with strong oak and bourbon notes backing them up. Simple, but very nice.

T: Caramel malts up front followed by vanilla and some decent bitterness from the hops. Oak and bourbon flavors follow along with some bready yeast characters. Slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer has a fairly high amount of carbonation for a bbal beer along with a dry finish. I personally would rather have a creamier body with lower carbonation, but at least it avoids being water.

O: A good beer and a great bargain. For only $11 per sixer, I've had worse bbal beers that cost much more for a single bottle. I would like a bit more depth beyond the bourbon characteristics and a creamier body, but it's still very tasty and smells great.

Photo of Beejay
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A nice copper/oak color, some good head at the pouring, but it has since dissipated.

S: Oak, whiskey, a bit of alcohol.

T: Definitely Bourbon aged. The bourbon comes right to the front, oaky and delicious. Maybe just a hint of licorice. Very smooth, not bitter, and there aren't any off flavors.. Very nice indeed.

M: Plenty of carbonation. Refreshing, and crisp.

D: One I would get again any day. Very good.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich looking copper color with a light cloudiness to it. I was impressed by the thick look to it. Rich head of white across the top faded quickly leaving behind only token lace in its wake. The aroma was sweet, lots of caramel and a touch of piney hops make it just bitter enough to get by. Really nice profile here as I take the first sips. Rich malts, smooth, easy caramel flavor with a light and subtle bitterness that reminded me of a nice barleywine. Medium feel here as the syrup like nature of it lended itself to a bit thicker of a profile. thought the alcohol was very well hidden indeed,

Photo of Bierguy5
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottled on 3/23/10. Pours a slightly cloudy reddish copper color. Off white head fades away pretty quickly, leaving just a thin ring and no lace.

Wonderful nose here. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. A bit of ripe fruit comes in as a subtle note.

Very light caramel malt character up front. A bit fruity, mainly ripe, darker fruits. Nice subtle bourbon flavor with minimal heat. Some oak and vanilla. Some citrusy hop notes shine through in the end.

The only knock I have on this beer is that it is thin. There is a good amount of carbonation. Still, this is a very nice beer, and I love the blended idea. Curious on how this will age. Well done.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a small brandy snifter. Color is slightly hazy, light amber gold. The nose has faint piney aromas. I'm not getting much bourbon in the nose.

The beer has a hop-forward,citrus flavor with just a hint of bourbon. It gets better as it warms a bit, but I'm not getting good complementary flavors of malt and vanilla here. It simply tastes like a boilermaker. Mouthfeel is average.

A disappointing beer from a brewery who makes several beers I really admire. I prefer bourbon-barrel aging when it is done with beers whose flavor profiles benefit from the treatment. For example, big roasty stouts and rich, malty brown ales and Scottish ales (e.g., Founders Backwoods Bastard and BBC Bourbon Barrel Big Brown). This was not what I was looking for. Now if Schlafly was to age their coffee stout in bourbon barrels...

Follow-up: I tried this again about 7 months later at a beer tasting and liked it much, much better. It's possible that I had a bad bottle before or that this beer is just much better when fresh.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.71/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottled on date of 12/09/11.

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: dark amber to light brown almost copper bodied beer with small cap of whitish head. Drops to a ring around the glass.

Smell: smells like sour bourbon, little bit woody and earthy.

Taste: Faint vanilla and a sour note that I cant describe. The beer is vinous and almost vinegary. Finishes with a fairly dry oak note.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Borderline syrupy. Not detecting much of the beers ABV.

Overall: Not what I think of when I drink a Strong Ale. Not sure what Schlafly was going for in this beer. Are there infection issues with this beer? I ask that because i have drank 2 other Schlafly beers that have been infected. This brewery does not have a great track record with me...

Photo of Ohiovania
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apparently its a blend of Schlafly Barleywine and their Pale Ale aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.

Looks a hazy amber. Bourbon and vanilla pour out immediately as it hits the glass. You get some ripe acidic fruits as well as alcohol in the nose too. Kinda clashes a little before becoming cohesive at the end of the nose.

The blend is a success by all means. Very low bitterness but well balanced. The ripe fruits, bourbon, vanilla, and slight alcohol all compact well.

Finishes wet with a subtle dryness.

10.99 a sixer - Party Town - Florence, KY

Photo of PDXHops
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH snifter, "bottled with love on 08/05/2011", so about 6 weeks old or so. Hazy dark amber with a smallish head that almost immediately goes to work laying down an small ring of lace at the top of the glass. Not much after that.

Interesting nose. Buttery cinnamon toast and canned pumpkin lead the way at first, with bourbon and toffee becoming increasingly assertive as it warms. The bourbon aromas stay under control, and the bourbon flavor does as well. I think this might improve/smooth out with age, and am inclined to perhaps go find a couple more bottles. At this stage, it's fairly tasty if slightly disjointed. Tangy fruit and oak plus abundant carbonation don't quite let the toffee and caramel sweetness do their thing. Tart and abundant fruitiness, almost like jolly rancers at times. The bourbon is pretty subtle, not quite an afterthought but close. Buttered toast again comes to mind, nuts and cocoa, too. Leafy and earthy hops aren't shy. This could perhaps turn into a nice English barleywine-type ale with a little time in ye olde cellar.

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Looks like liquid caramel with a light tan head.

S: Amazing sweet caramel malt, floral hops, whiskey and an earthy, woody quality.

T: A hoppy, caramel body is surrounded by less than subtle hints of bourbon whiskey and oak. A light alcohol burn in the finish gives way to a linger, butterscotch tingle all through the mouth. No bitterness at all.

D: Hard to say if I could venture to consume more than three of these. It's just a powerful brew. Went down easy, but not quickly!

Thanks to gemutlichkeit for this awesome extra.

Photo of Spider889
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at The Beer Trappe in Lexington. Awesome value at $1.89 for the single 12oz bottle.

Described as a mix of barleywine and pale ale aged in bourbon barrels. Bottled on: 8/05/2011.

Poured into my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter. Seems pretty damn fitting given the beer and where I bought it.

Pours a gritty orange-ish rust color. Clears out well-enough after a bit. The head is slow-rising but tall, with a very noticeable orange hue to it. Interesting. Lace is nice and made up of wispy tendrils creeping up toward the lip of the glass.

Smells really nice. Bourbon is potent but not overpowering or boozy. Nice medium toasted oak notes and some ripe hoppiness. Then comes a very mellow sweet candy corn aroma. Delicious and inviting.

The flavor was excellent from the first sip. I was initially reminded of Kuhnhenn BB 4D, though this is like the non-Imperialized version so-to-speak. The beer has a very rich caramel and toffee malt profile. The bourbon is very well integrated, and adds sweetness and some mild coconut flavor.

Nice medium body here with mid to low-end carbonation. Smooth finish.

I wish I knew the abv on this one. Overall an excellent beer (the second excellent offering from Schlafly in a row for me). The beer is an awesome value and this all culminates in the sentiment that I am deeply saddened Schlafly doesn't distribute in Ohio.

Photo of sjccmd
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being new to the Kentucky area, this six-pack seemed intriguing

Pours a sparkling burnt orange with a red hue. An aggressive pour yields an inch and a half very light tan head that recedes slowly

Smells of citrus, dark fruits vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup, and alcohol.

The taste begins the same as the smell but finishes with more bourbon character...some dull woody character in the background...

Initially the mouthfeel is nice and slick with some sparkles but as the carbonation dies down, it starts to feel watery.

The alcohol heat and sweetness creep up a bit and the watery mouthfeel interfere with the drinkability but still decent

Overall an interesting beer...but I'm wondering why they blended their barley wine with the pale ale...the pale doesn't seem to add much besides that watery mouthfeel towards the end...the hops don't come out much either

Photo of kels
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours into my tulip a nice honey-hued amber, like the color of cognac. It is only slightly opaque, and light, delicate carbonation runs throughout. There's only a tiny bit of white skim swirling along the surface of the beer, and little spots of lace barely cling to the walls of the glass.

The aroma has a notable caramel malt. Following that is a distinct copper penny metallic aroma and a bit of honey sweetness. That's about it.

Gotta let this beer warm to really enjoy it. There's a depth of syrupy and caramelly, yet still toasty and crunchy malts and grains that doesn't really present when it's too cold. There's a bit of dark, pruney sweetness and a dry bitterness that comes from the alcohol and the oaky aging from the bourbon barrels. A bit of sweet vanilla and the char of the barrels sneaks out in the aftertaste.

For the style this beer is actually immensely drinkable. The carbonation is very high - almost too high - so that the beer is incredibly light on the palate. The finish is slightly sticky, and holds the flavors well.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - nice caramel amber color. A thin off-white head but with lots of lacing, covering probably two-thirds or more of the glass.

Aroma - has a malty mashy aroma, kind of expected but still nice. On the lighter side.

Taste - good maltiness at the base, with a fine layer of bourbon on top. The oak and vanilla are very tasty without being hot in the least. Bourbon carries the day, all the way to the finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth, lower carbonation, nicely put together.

Drinkability - I wanted to save a couple for aging...that didn't go too well.

Photo of Bonis
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light brown in color with tones of orange. A half inch of off white head settles to a thin layer. A decent amount of sediment floating in there, even after leaving the last oz in the bottle.

S - I get sweet caramel malts immediately with a touch of bourbon. Butterscotch and caramel sauce are dominant with hints of coconut, dried dates, and wood. Very nice.

T - Caramel carries over from the nose, no butterscotch. A slight pale ale hop bitterness mingles with oak and dried fruit. A nice coconut and faintest bourbon finish. Not quite as sweet as I expected after smelling it, but well balanced overall. A nice complex flavor profile with a minor incorporation of bourbon flavors. Not much alcohol is noted... I'd put it in the 7-8% abv range if I had to guess.

M - Carbonation and body are on the moderate side. A very smooth bourbon barrel ale, no complaints on the feel.

O - Glad I picked this up on my most recent Kentucky venture. At $10.99 a sixer, I can't think of many better values. A nice complex bourbon aged ale that probably wouldn't satisfy you're Bourbon lovers, but would be a nice intro into bba beers.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
85 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.