Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel AleSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

51 Reviews
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Reviews: 51
Hads: 119
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 18.96%
Wants: 11
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: 119
Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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.

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