Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room
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Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev +4.4%
Schlafly Special Reserve - Bourbon Barrel Ale is a strong, in-your-face dark ale that will immediately trick your nose into thinking you've poured yourself a pint of Kentucky Bourbon. The smell of this brew is not for the faint of heart. Strangely, it is exactly those bourbon tones that make this beer so drinkable when it hits the palate. The 'boozey' taste & smell from the high alcohol content that can sometimes impinge flavor is masked beautifully behind that bourbon barrel smoke screen. All in all this was a very enjoyable beer for those special occasions when only something stronger will do.
06-05-2012 14:25:41 | More by WhiskeeTango
3.63/5 rDev -5.2%
12oz bottle into a tulip, with a bottled on date of 12/09/2011.
A: A deep caramel to ruby orange, and hazy. Small half finger off-white head that sticks around for a good bit and recedes to the edges.
S: Extremely complex in the nose. Sweet, in a syrupy way at first, then notes of vanilla, oak, and bready malt. The bourbon isn't overly evident here, unless it's some odd bourbon I've never had the pleasure of enjoying and smells of maple syrup.
T: Interesting, for sure. Small flavors of caramel malt, light bitterness, before caving to a very distinct oak and vanilla tone on the end. Only the smallest bourbon influencing twang.
M: Very lighter body than expected. Firmly middle of the road here. Light bits of carbonation give it a tingle on the way down. No detectable booze, must be lower in ABV.
D: Surprising beer. Very drinkable, if only a little sweet. This effort to put something other than stouts into bourbon barrels still needs some work, but shows promise as the vanilla and wood characteristics come through far stronger than usual.
03-30-2012 00:38:37 | More by ncfranklin
4.08/5 rDev +6.5%
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.
02-12-2012 05:06:42 | More by Bonis
3.48/5 rDev -9.1%
[Best served in a Snifter]
The pour was a murky medium brown with an average sized (1-2 finger) creamy light brown head that reduced to just a thin film on top and did have good sticky lacing.
The aroma was fairly mild of a toasted cereal malt and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit and a hint of bourbon.
The taste was sweet and malty with a nice note of caramel to start and finished sweetly acidic with hints of dark fruit and toffee and had a mild bourbon alcohol tinge at the end. The flavor was only around for a short while after the swallow and was mostly of a sweet fruit and malts.
Mouthfeel was between light and medium in body with a creamy, syrupy texture and a soft carbonation.
Overall a nice smooth a mellow bourbon aged ale with no heavy alcohol taste at all.
01-29-2012 17:56:08 | More by KajII
3.15/5 rDev -17.8%
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.
01-15-2012 17:23:45 | More by deadonhisfeet
3.98/5 rDev +3.9%
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.
01-12-2012 03:32:32 | More by rangerred
4.03/5 rDev +5.2%
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.
11-28-2011 01:04:33 | More by n2185
4.13/5 rDev +7.8%
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,
09-26-2011 01:26:31 | More by mikesgroove
3.28/5 rDev -14.4%
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.
09-22-2011 02:28:07 | More by PDXHops
4.3/5 rDev +12.3%
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.
09-15-2011 04:55:28 | More by Spider889
3.48/5 rDev -9.1%
12oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.
A - Pours with a nice white head which dissipated pretty quickly. Little lacing on the glass as you drink. Hazy amber color in the light.
S - Caramel, vanilla, fruit, bourbon (not strong but noticeable), toasted malts.
T - Like the smell, except the alcohol comes on stronger. Not overbearing, but stronger. Somewhat of a Sweet Tart candy taste in the background. Leaves a strong bitterness going down.
M - Moderately carbonated, but still enough to sting the tongue. Light feeling, easy to drink, nothing really noteworthy.
O - I want to like this more than I do, but I just don't find this overly remarkable. Not bad, just nothing special. After having had Kentucky Ale's Bourbon Barrel Ale, (which is one of my favorite beers), this one just pales in comparison.
07-17-2011 02:59:41 | More by jhp40219
4.03/5 rDev +5.2%
I got lucky, I feel, I bought the last sixer of this at The Party Source, in Bellevue, Ky. Alot of Kentucky reviews I noted as well.
Im glad I found this as im headed to Schlafly in a couple weeks, can't wait.
It pours a nice copper red with fair off white head. Lace was ring like and stuck well. Carbonation was abit quiet.
Aroma of earthy wood char, vanilla, caramel malts and alittle bourbon.
Taste carry that woody goodness, vanilla, caramel malts, biscuit and alittle bourbon.
Mouthfeel is smooth, caramel candy like with a slight alcohol coat.
Overall, im glad i found a six, most BBA are overpriced fours.
The bourbon i thought was week. Alot of Ky. reviews, Kentucky bourbon Barral Ale for me is a fair standard for this style. If Schlafly wants to reach this standard, you need more Bourbon.
And whats the ABV? Even the web site don't tell ya. Overall, well worth it, find it, Buy it!!
07-16-2011 03:12:54 | More by chilidog
4.25/5 rDev +11%
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.
07-07-2011 02:55:19 | More by UCLABrewN84
4.1/5 rDev +7%
Bottle to snifter. Looks good; definitely colored (at least in part) by bourbon barreling. Smells excellent; hops are laced in nicely with the bourbon scent. Tastes good; the ale is alright, but the bourbon barreling is what this beer is all about. Mouthfeel is good as well. It's definitely a "sipper." Overall, a good beer (especially for its price, considering it's bourbon barreled) that I'll be having again.
05-07-2011 23:39:01 | More by b3shine
4.18/5 rDev +9.1%
Poured into an imperial pint. Had on tap at the cock and bull.
A- dark Ruby red bordering on brown. Crater filled thin off white head. Pretty good looking beer.
S- vanilla and a Tad bit of alcohol. I like it but this is not very strong. Sort of a Bourbon cake type smell That is very appealing.
T- first thing that comes to mind is chocolate chip cookies. Then a sort of nice Bourbon chocolate flavor really takes over. A really unique flavor. Bourbon is not overpowering but really blends nicely with the flavors that are there.
M- medium bodied brew that is a little lacking in carbonation. Nice feel but I would like more coating since the flavor is so rich and decadent
Overall I am pleasantly surprised. Great taste that is a great fusion of Bourbon and beer. The best parts Bourbon, vanilla creamy chocolate, are fused with nice sweet malts. I would definitely buy this again.
03-25-2011 23:38:20 | More by Kelly88
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
02-25-2011 02:15:25 | More by mdfb79
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
86 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.