Bourbon Stout - District ChopHouse & Brewery

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Bourbon Stout
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very good

56 Ratings
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Ratings: 56
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
District ChopHouse & Brewery visit their website
District of Columbia, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-02-2003

A portion of our Oatmeal Stout is aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. Six weeks of conditioning lend it a bourbon overtone with mellow vanilla flavors from the American White Oak barrels. Served cool, not cold, via a traditional English beer engine. Intense and bold! Try it with dessert.
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of chinchill
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On cask at the brewpub.
essentially black body with a decent head.
Lots of bourbon flavor and aroma, suggesting the bourbon barrel was not ruined before brewery use.

Smooth but overly light body.

Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask version had at the brewpub. Aged in Waterford Reserve barrels.

Pours one shade from black with a large-bubbled brown head. The head dissipates fairly quickly into a thin ring around the glass leaving light lacing.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, and dark chocolate, in that order. As the beer warms the intensity of the alcohol increases a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The roasted malt flavors hold a bit more sway than they do in the nose and kick things off, eventually giving way to large amounts of vanilla and bourbon. The ending holds a small amount of dark chocolate that gives way to a good amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's not quite as thick as I'd like but the cask conditioning gives it a nice smoothness.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass fairly quickly and could have another.

Overall I have to say I'm a bit jealous that Washingtonians can have a cask-conditioned bourbon stout whenever they like. If you're in the area give this one a shot.

Photo of ggaughan
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard pint glass. This beer poured a nice beep brown/black color with about a 1 finger bubbly tan head that lasted for awhile. The aroma I get from this beer is a bit of coffee, maybe some chcoclate and some definites notes of bourbon. What a treat for the nose. The taste is equally enjoyable. The bourbon cask aging is very apparent in the taste as you get a bit of bourbon in each sip you take along with toasted caramel and coffee. This makes for a full bodied but very drinkable beer. They have this listed on the dessert menu with the after dinner drinks and that it when I tried it but it could be enjoyed at anytime.

Photo of Sammy
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on cask, the perfect presentation the brewer says, at the brewpub. The aroma is tremendous, but otherwise I enjoyed the stout as it were without the corn alcohol. It is not as black as the regular oatmeal. It is dark with material carbonation bubbles. Served at just below room temperature. Too much bourbon there to be great. Roasted coffee.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On a chilly, grey, and rain-swept Sunday afternoon at the start of December what I needed most on my journey was a place to settle in and quietly enjoy a smooth and creamy dark beer with a little bit of extra warming power. The ChopHouse's cask-conditoned Bourbon Stout fit the bill perfectly.

It was delivered to the bar with the expected dark brown almost black body beneath a creamy head of dark tan. The retention was good, and it left some nice lacing about the glass as it went.

Bourbon was quite obvious in the nose, but the roasty, chocolatey malts were more than present as well.

In the mouth it was utterly smooth, like velvet. The medium body was silky soft due in part to the intial carbonation level, and then probably even more so due to the beer engine pour.

The flavor displayed all of the bourbon, vanilla, and oak that the nose suggested, soaked in a rich, black-coffee-like and darkly chocolatey malt base. There was more Bourbon and alcohol to it than hops, but that was OK, because at that point nothing more was needed to cut through the malt. It finished smoothly malty, and surprisingly gentle without dark malt acidity; althought the alchol from the Bourbon was always there, ready to step forward and give you a little slap across the face with the back of its empty glove.

Bold. Smooth and relaxing, but with a kick. The perfect beer for a grey, chilly day. I wouldn't expect to have more than one, but the one I had was quite drinkable.

Photo of smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the cask into a shaker pint.

Great looking large one finger super soupy light tan head. Surprised by the head size on this. Sits on an almost jet black body with some hints of red hues. Great looking beer here.

A real good solid nose of vanilla, some chocolate milk, and just a hint of heat. Not much else but no complaints that's for sure.

However, even out of the cask the feel is quite light bodied, even just a little too wet for my tastes. There's a small hint of whiskey just barely, but there is still the flavor in the palate that was hinted on the nose. A big vanilla finish on the swallow, some mild chocolate sensations, strangely also some sour fruitness but not much luckily

Overall it's a great example of an easy and not booming bourbon barrel beer. This is the kind of beer I would give someone new to try this style first, before diving into something large. It's quite easy drinking too, just felt a bit too light in body.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served via handpump, so I am not sure that this was a cask, but I did enter this as such. Very black in color, not much highlights at all. Decent tan frothy head, which does hold together well. There was a decent amount of lace left on the sides of the glass at the end.

The smell was just fantastic. A bit of roasty aroma, french vanilla, oak, caramel and toffee, with hints of bourbon in the background. Great complexity in the aroma, one of the best I have had. Very hard for me to put this one down.

A hint of roasty malt, with some vanilla, oak and a bit of bourbon in the back. Very nicely balanced, and the bourbon aging compliments this very well without dominating. Not as roasty as I would like, but still nice.

The mouthfeel is where this really fell off. Not full at all, almost light body. Very soft carbonation.

Certainly worth seeking out, but does not quite stand up to some others out there. This would probably be good with a steak, and good with or as a dessert.

Photo of blackie
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: big tan head with excellent retention over a black colored stout, no lacing

s: semisweet chocolate with a boozy bourbon note, earthy hops and a mild roast, not bad

m: wasn't expecting it, as it wasn't identified as such on the chalkboard, but this is immediately identifiable as a cask upon first temp, minimal carbonation, medium body

t: pretty disappointing to be honest, this would be a subpar oatmeal stout on its own, and it really doesn't provide an adequate base for the addition of Woodford Reserve, which is really the most enjoyable part of the experience - as I'm not one to order a bourbon stout and complain about too much bourbon - and basically dominates the palate, cheap chocolates and a mild roast, lacking and depth of malt flavor, earthy hops and a mild bitterness

d: not terrible, and even worth a try if you fancy a cask, but certainly not something I'd want more than one of

visited with the family before heading across the street for dinner

Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color. It poured with a finger high beige head that has excellent retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: The taste is very well balanced and is not overpowered by the bourbon flavors.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, very smooth and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a little warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The bourbon flavors are well incorporated into the taste of this beer and this good balance makes it relatively easy to drink.

Photo of WeisGuy
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours a shade lighter than black with a huge frothy, light brown head with great lacing and retention

s - smells of bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla, dark roasted malt as well

t - big brown sugar and vanilla notes all the way through, dark malt on the midpalate, finish is strong bourbon and oak, pretty boozy actually for only being 7% abv, but not ovewhelming

m - very low carbonation from the cask, full-bodied, well-balanced on the finish

d - the bourbon flavors are nice, but a little too prominent to make this overly drinkable, a sipper for sure, fairly easy on the palate however

Overall, I was slightly let down by this stout. Definitely a good effort, but the bourbon takes over the taste a little too much. Well worth stopping in for a pint if you're in DC.

Photo of bultrey
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I can't help it -- this rockets to the top of my list of all-time great beers. Yes, it's that good. First off, I have to say that you must be a fan of the whole oak-aging thing. If you are not, this still might work for you. Served from a cask, this beer is essentially black, and has an impressive looking frothy head. The smell of this thing really makes you know it's been aged in Bourbon barrels -- Woodford Reserve, to be exact -- and the gentle coconut and vanilla bean aromas are just fantastic. The bourbon is quite apparent with the first sip, and then a little roastiness kicks in, but not quite enough in my opinion, which keeps this from being a 5.0 on taste. But still, this is so caramely, and vanilla-y, and coconut-y, all without being cloying. Some cocoa-dusted black fruit is present, as well. The gentle carbonation of the cask really makes this a winner, too. Drinkability is PHEEE-nomnenal. SO good with a steak... so good alone... so good with a piece of buttered cardboard, I'm sure. I would just prefer a bit more typical stout dark roastiness, but it's hard to complain.
Seek this beer out. World class.

Photo of Globetrotter
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Chophouse as dessert after lunch on November 2, 2004 - sure didn't want to go back to work. Drawn from the hand pump, it came to me dark burgundy but clear under a half finger bubbly tan head that sticks around throughout the session but leaves only spotty lace. The nose is dominated by sweet whiskey, to the point where you begin to wonder where the beer went. The mouth is flat but light. The taste is a heavenly combination of whiskey and beer. There's a definite whiskey malt opening, with strong sweet notes. The stout emerges later, with some roastiness followed by some dry espresso notes. This beer is very, very smooth. It might have been even better served slightly colder (was room temperature, could have been cellar temperature), and might be too much whiskey for some, but I consider this beer one of the great sensual pleasures of life.

Photo of soupyman10
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one cause it seemed to be the most interesting of the options available. Looks solid, although the bubbles of the head are too big and dissolve quickly leaving a murky dark brown near black color. Aroma is monstrous - huge the whiskey smells, with some solid roasted malt in there. Flavor is similar, if not quite as strong or in your face - strong on the whiskey flavors, along with some chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of hoppy bitterness in there too. Feel is a little thin, although solid. Overall, a nice beer and one I'd get again, although I felt like the appearance/body needed a little work.

DCH/$5.25/16 oz

Photo of rfgetz
3.37/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: black... full creamy khaki head off hand pump. Decent retention.

S: Smooth burbon, vanilla and ash. slight hints of coffee, chocolate and brown sugar

T: Heavy burbon.... decent amounts of oak, ash and valilla...very little oatmeal stout charachter

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied... no realy creamyness.

D: Heavy burbon, lack of beer charachter and thinner body keeps me from wanting another.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.11/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown bordering on black. No real head, legs, or lacing. The nose is just a straigt bourbon bomb and is incredibly hot. With both the nose and the taste, I'm struggling to get anythig other than fresh bourbon and a lot of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a mess. I did not enjoy this.

Photo of woodychandler
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the District Chophouse's flagship beer and it is easy to tell why. It is almost completely unique in my travels and I remember first tasting it a while back (1998?). It is drawn off of a handpump, so it is served at room or cellar temperature, which is important for the smell - it might be muted if it were served colder. On this particular occasion, it arrived with a frothy dark tan/light brown head. As soon as I leaned in to get a sniff, I was hit with the heavy, heady smell of bourbon. OMFG, it's as good or better than I remembered! The mouthfeel is a bit light for a stout, but in this case, it's all about the smell and taste. The tastes include chocolate, vanilla, and of course, bourbon in the mouth. The finish is nothing but bourbon and it is just lovely. It's not something that I can drink more than a pint or two (max) of at a time, however. This now has me anticpating my next visit.

Photo of Gavage
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bar sign stated this oatmeal stout was aged in Woodford Reserve barrels. The pint glass was filled with a black liquid with a tan 2" head. The head lasted quite a while and some nice lacing developed. The aroma was pleasant as bourbon, chocolate, and caramel tones were easily detectable. The flavor was superb, as the sweetness and roastiness of the stout was perfectly balanced with bourbon and soft chocolate tones. Very little bitterness and some alcohol tones rounded it out.

The mouthfeel was thinner than expected, but very smooth overall. As this warmed, the flavors really came out. This is a great stand alone brew (don't screw it up with food during this one), but I could see this paired with a chocolate dessert. This is no means a session brew, so drinkability is off a bit. If you are in the area, you must stop in and order this brew.

Photo of ecoboy
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A brew for those who enjoy both whiskey and beer/ale. Outstanding, unique, captivating. I sit and stare at it every time. Not a good food beer, unless you choose to pair it with a rich dessert, or like whiskey with your steak.

The flavor of the bourbon is quite pronounced, but do not fear. The cellar temperature keeps the flavor notes "big." Low carbonation keeps the mouthfeel more liquidy, which helps it not be overbearing.

A lovely style that should inspire others to copy. I make sure to get one every time I'm in DC. One of my favorite beers in the world.

Photo of joshuaseresse
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at the brewery while in D.C. At first the guy didn't tell me this was on cask, so my first thoughts were quite odd and sort of negative towards the brew, but when I found out that it was, I understood the beer better. This is an oatmeal stout aged in Woodford Reserve whiskey barrels. It was tapped on 3-18-2011, so it was pretty fresh. Poured into a pint glass:

A - Pours a dark brown, coca cola black with fizzy bubbly head that starts to die in the middle and leaves a solid foam ring around the edges. No lacing. Looks like soda.

S - Wow! Huge bourbon whiskey notes. Oatmeal, toffee, earth and oak. Minor roast notes but huge booze notes, which I liked quite a bit.

T - The taste was kind of a let down. Kind of thin stout with minor roast and oatmeal. The bourbon notes are there but in the background. I know that it was served from a cask, but it seemed like they also just washed the glass with hot water, so it wasn't that enjoyable. Bit of heat and oak and slight chocolate.

M - Thin and watery. Very little carbonation. Heat from the barrel.

D - I was expecting so much more when I saw this on the menu. I'm huge into barrel aged brews, but this wasn't it. Not sure if this might have been a bad base beer to start with but the really only good thing about this brew was the smell.

Photo of CaptYellow
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

d: I just wanted to note that this was one of the most drinkable beers (for me) that I've ever had. There are few drinks that I've ever come across that are dangerously good- so easy to drink that it could cause problems of restraint. This is one.

t: And the taste was delicious. The bourbon came through clearly but without the alcohol punch. The stout flavor was a nice platform, not in itself powerful like many stouts are- but perhaps the bourbon just put it in perspective. However, this came across to me as lacking complexity in flavor range. But whatever- I'd rather have delicious and drinkable with my meal than hunting for flavors.

a: And that's how I think of it: simply good. Just like pasta with pesto can be uncomplex and heavenly, so is this pairing. Perhaps boring if taken every night but always something to come back to and enjoy. The appearance is the same: just a good dark brown-to-the-point-of-being-black beer with little head retention, mildly carbonated, served warm (the menu says in the English style). Not magnificent or beautiful like a nitro but faultless.

Notes: I'm glad my group wound it's way over when in DC. Not offered in the sampler. A sign at the entrance says formal wear required- but they didn't stop us who were modestly well dressed and I saw patrons in jeans. Lunch is affordable, brunch starts at 3, and I would avoid dinner (prices). An interesting restaurant. The portions were too large for anyone in my group to finish. The brown ale of a friend's that I tasted was one of the better brown ales I've tasted- tasty and drinkable but not as drinkable as the bourbon stout. The waiter did insist on bringing me a sample of the stout before I had it as it seems many people don't like it.

28 nov. '9

Photo of orangedive
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Octopus Ink Black in color - 1/2 inch cappachino colored head-dissipated slowly.

S - Brown Sugar, alcohol, molasses. Not much else--a little roastiness

T - A little oak, nice blend of all the flavors--no one flavor is dominant: roasted oatmeal, a little chocolate, a little vanilla, a little bourbon---lots of sweetness.

M - thin, a little velvety

D - pleasant, easy going down, a little too sweet.

Photo of hunteraw
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: pitch black, nice head with exceptional retention, but little lacing.

Smell: vanilla, wood and booze. Smells nice, expectations are high.

Taste: Vanilla and spiced rum are the dominant flavors, alcohol warming is up there too, surprising considering how low in alcohol this actually is. Most of the flavor, unfortunately, seems to be coming from the wood aging instead of the malt or hops, which limits this beer's potential.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin! Shockingly so, actually. Lightly carbonated, but smooth.

Drinkability: they're serving it "cool" rather than "cold" - unfortunately, when you're served a full pint that means it's room-temperature by the time you get down to the bottom third of your glass. It's good, but a pint serving is way too much. No matter how good it is, how much chocolate cake can you possibly eat? Same with this beer.

Photo of shivtim
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had to try this one first at the Chophouse, as it's the one people talk about. It looks great- a deep opaque black with a dense and foamy dark tan head that lasts. Smells like malty bourbon and chocolate. Interesting. Taste is roasty malts at first, then smooth bourbon, and a bit of ethanol on the end. The bourbon flavor becomes more pronounced with warming, but it's never overwhelming, and is balanced by the malty sweetness. Still, it lowers the drinkability... this has more of a "sipability." The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin, yet somehow still smooth and fits the personality of the beer.

Photo of sholland119
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not a fan of this beer though I liked the lineup at the brewpub in general.

Pours a nice deep brown with an oddly frothy brown head, probably due to it being from the cask.

Smell is way too dominated by bourbon with just a hint of oatmeal sweetness.

Taste, following the nose, it oddly simple and just flat out bourbon and vanilla. Hard to know it's beer.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin for the style. Too much booziness for me to enjoy drinking it.

Saved this for last, expecting it to be the highlight. It wasn't.


Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from cask into a standard pint (looked a bit small--sub 16 oz maybe?).

Appearance was dark brown, far from black, no attempt to darken it unnecessarily, with a nice tan head.

Aroma was smokey with a nice roast bite.

Tastes roasted without char, some coffee and chocolate and hint of vanilla or toffee.

Mouthfeel is great, balanced bitterness, very smooth.

Drinkability is exceptional. This one goes down smooth, clean and crisp with plenty of carbonation given it was served with a beer engine from cask. Might have been slightly too cold for the style.

Highly recommended.

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Bourbon Stout from District ChopHouse & Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.