Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel AleSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

51 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 51
Hads: 117
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 9.82%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.00% 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.
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Reviews: 51 | Hads: 117
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bobhits for sending me this one!

Bottled on 1/11/11.

Pours a murky dark copper orange with a 2 inch white-orange head that fades to an oily cap. Broken rings of lace form randomly on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted coconut, vanilla, light fruits, and alcohol. Taste is of coconut, vanilla, and cake. There is a slight hop presence in the aftertaste. There is a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat as well. This beer has a lower carbonation level with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice barleywine characteristics and very nice coconut and vanilla smells and tastes. My first beer from Schlafly. (676 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Bourbon Barrel Ale is already causing a bit of a stir although it has only been on the Lexington market for one day. There is little information about the beer. The website has no mention of it. But the label reads, " Schlafly bourbon Barrel Ale is a seamless blend of Schlafly Barleywine-style Ale an dour Pale Ale aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The result is a smooth Bourbon character balanced by caramel malt sweetness and classic English hops." Chatter on the forums suggest that the beer is aged in Jim Beam barrels and will only be available for Kentucky distribution. Who really knows?

The beer begins with a caramelly rich pour with deep copper, golden, amber lights. Brilliant clarity and low carbonation allows the appearance to take on a bright glow. Light on legging and no real lacing to mention. Probably meant for a brandy snifter.

Rich aromas of caramels dominate the nose upfront and rides unimbided throughout the aroma. Vanillans, woods, nuttiness, and hints of cherries and dried fruits make an English style impact. Not as hoppy as expected from reading the label. Still bourbony, boozy notes give a true fingerprint to the beer.

Caramel flavor is equally as rich and dominant upfront in the taste as it was in the nose. Vanilla and esters swirl around in the mouth and create a varying complexity of tastes. Near mid-palate the hops come in with a mild grassy, herbal taste. Though pleasant, the hops give an abrupt distraction from the otherwise sweet-focused bourbon and caramel character.

The mouthfeel gives the impression of heavy sweetness, especially since the low-lying carbonation. But the beer is malty and well attenuated and doesn't leave as much residual sweetness on the palate as the taste would indicate. Very warm from the bourbon barrel aging. Also, the alcohol bite hides behind the hop bitterness at times- playing little games with the back of the throat.

This beer reminds me a lot of the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale producted by Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company. Schlafly takes a better balance between the strong malt character and the bourbon aging and is a stronger beer throughout. But the hops struggle to blend with the delicate bourbon character, causing too much conflict rather than balance. (2,262 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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, (597 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulip. Received in the Birthday BIF from normyk; thanks Rob!

a - Pours a deep murky mahogany brown color with one finger of very light tan head and high carbonation evident. Head lasts for several minutes and one to two inches of fluffy head last throughout the drink. Leaves lots of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, sweet fruit, bready malts, and toffee. Not a ton of bourbon but a little bit and a little vanilla from the barrels. Lots of caramel, sweet fruit, and toffee; overall I liked it quite a bit.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, bourbonm oak, vanilla, toffee, toasted malts, bready malts, and light sweet molasses or fruit. Taste is good, but a slight step down from the nose. I liked it, but liked the nose a bit better.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and not very hot. Goes down pretty easy for a barrel aged ale.

d - Overall I liked this beer quite a bit. The taste seemed slightly watered down, but the smell and taste were good. I would certainly have this one again. (1,137 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%

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. (282 characters)

Photo of Duff27
2.62/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottles 12/09/2011

A- Short off-white head on a nearly opaque pinkish-hued red colored body. Leaves a collar. Pleasant looking beer.

S- Strange barrel aromas on this one. Fake vanilla, wood, cinnamon, weird fruit smells.

T- Woody cherries, coughdrop-esque. Hops factor in there somewhere. Almost has a wild ale tart feel to it for some reason, hmmm. Would guess this around 9%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D/O- Very different. A lot of flavors going on here, I struggle to call this "complex" though. I wonder if this is what Schlafly was shoot for by mixing their barleywine with their bourbon barrel aged pale ale because that sounds delicious. I just didn't care for this one much. (705 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (832 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy medium brown with reddish highlights and a dense half inch cream head that lingers.

Nutty, toasted malt dominates the initial aroma, with caramel and boozy notes complementing vanilla and butter.

Flavor reveals vanilla and burnt sugar sweetness, leaning on a toasted, almost roasty malt backbone. Underlying fruity/amber malt notes counter the oaky, bourbon character.

Body is moderate and creamy, with moderate carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

More fruity and toasty than I recall. The nuttiness dominates. It's a bit hot, but will likely benefit from some aging. A tad cloying, I couldn't drink more than one in a session. (654 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.71/5  rDev -30%
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... (793 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a copper color with a nice white head

S - sweet oak and vanilla from the bourbon, caramel malts and toffee

T - the taste off with sweet caramel malts that segues into oakey vanilla bourbon deliciousness. No real hop character is present. It tastes a lot like their barleywine aged in bourbon barrels instead of straight up oak.

M - full creamy mouthfeel - great body

D - as mentioned, this is like their barleywine aged in bourbon barrels - awesome beer for bourbon barrel lovers. I have been really wanting to try this for a long time. I wish they sold this in St Louis (considering that's where it's brewed) because I would buy this everytime I went to the store. Solid stuff. (692 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (557 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (496 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (932 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.14/5  rDev +7%
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. (676 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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! (560 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
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! (964 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
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. (622 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generously provided by Robert. Thank you!

12 oz into a glass after a long day at the capitol protesting and wondering if the rights of unionized workers will be forever changed in our state. But, when the Dems hightailed it to the evil empire to the south, Illinois, we were provided a temporary stay of execution. Run boys, run!

Ruddy cider colored pour with a creamy white cape and some sticky lacing. Beer is a combination of a barrel aged pale and barleywine.

Smells of apple juice, toffee, and vanilla, and melted caramel. Confounding really as some whiffs are too near apple juice to be enticing, while others are near jawdroppingly delicious. More the latter than the former.

Lemon zest hops that I presume come from the pale ale part of the blend up front moves into melted caramel and vanilla. Apple juice creeps in here as well. Not sure if the meeting of these two beers just imparts an odd, slightly off flavor, but it just doesn't come fully together. What it is, however, is a good beer that is unique and just misses of the mark of being very good. (1,068 characters)

Photo of Spider889
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (1,376 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Appearance is a hazy dark orange with a tiny head that quickly dissipates. Not really any lacing.

Smells is heavy sweet caramel and vanilla. Not a strong bourbon note but you can tell it's there.

Flavor is fairly sweet with caramel being predominant. The bourbon is not quite as prominent as I would have liked and almost seems to take a back seat. Vanilla and oak are there but caramel dominates. Mouthfeel is full.

This is a good beer but still doesn't stand up to kentucky bourbon barrel ale. If the sweetness was just toned down a bit and the bourbon a little more pronounced this beer would be amazing. (674 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (415 characters)

Photo of beer2day
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Neck says special release, a blend of their barleywine and pale ale aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Bottled 10/17/12

Deep orange pour with 2 fingers of tan head. Not much retention. Nice lace strands.

Nose is an interesting mix of barleywine and bourbon. Ripe sweet cherries and English hops.

Expecting a strong bourbon flavor from the nose, but actually quite mellow. Bit of that cherry sweetness. The bourbon plays nice against the lighter malt body. Gets a bit syrupy towards the end. Bit of hop bite in the finish, but barleywine flavor really takes over.

Overall, pretty well done and probably worth trying if you are into barrel aged beers. (653 characters)

Photo of Ohiovania
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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 (553 characters)

Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this on a recommendation from beerman207, so here goes. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a near perfect copper color with about a one finger, thick and oily looking head that fades quickly to a pretty thick and uneven skim floating on the surface; body is moderately clear and shows very slow carbonation creeping up from the bottom; spotty and oily lacing holds to the glass briefly before sliding back into the drink.

Smell: Smell is nice - a ton of caramel or butterscotch malts, hints of vanilla/oak; very rich and sweet smelling, not especially complex but the scents are delicious.

Taste: Much like the smell, there is a blast of those sweet caramel/butterscotch malts, hints of oaky vanilla, , very mild hoppy bitterness and a definite presence of alcohol that manages to come across a little bourbonesque -- not overpowering or overly alcoholic in flavor, a really nice blending.

Mouthfeel: Warm and tingly in the mouth from the alcohol that has a slightly drying effect and there is a mild stickiness left throughout; belly is left especially warm

Drinkability: Very nice flavors and a nice mouthfeel with a taste that isn't burning my throat out, so it's got that going for it... Sadly, the ABV is apparently unknown but I'm definitely feeling it, so I don't think I could sit through too many. (1,361 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.25/5  rDev -16%
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. (1,089 characters)

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
86 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.