1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Bardstown Brand Ale Aged In Bourbon Barrels - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Bardstown Brand Ale Aged In Bourbon BarrelsBardstown Brand Ale Aged In Bourbon Barrels

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

47 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 20
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wcudwight on 03-18-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by cosmicevan:
Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Jon for busting out this rarity at an impromtu tasting on 8/10.
2007 vintage

a - nice murky orange with a thin off-white vanilla head. some streaky lacing, but not much activity. the color is quite nice.

s - really nice. caramel. toffee. some vanilla oak with bourbon. very smooth smelling.

t - a bit of heat, but seems to have held up really nicely. lots of toffee.

m - a bit of a bite for a beer of this vintage, but relatively smooth for a bourbon barrel barleywine.

o - overall, a reallyl nice treat. still has some heat, but the toffee and the wood is excellent.

More User Reviews:
Photo of ByTor2112
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a darker shade of Amber with very little head forming. A thin ring of foam and small bubbles gets fed early on by a small bit of active carbonation.
Aroma-dried fruit, not figs but maybe some raisins that is coupled with a nice boozy aroma. Some caramel candy notes in there too.
Mouthfeel-medium carbonation delivers a smooth malt profile that is full of sweeter bourbon flavors. A froth on the palate stirs up a medium hop bitterness and then....Then, the bourbon barrel comes pushing through. Very aggressive and a vigorous swish is needed to release it. It is rather hearty and robust with the oak coming through along with a hint of vanilla. Not too tannic or astringent. A great English style Barleywine meets Kentucky bourbon. this one was done very well.

Photo of pwoods
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kels for splitting the bottle.

22oz. brown bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Deep amber pour, nearly on the copper side. Moderate head on the pour with some retention. Some lacing.

S: Lots of good bourbon aroma with nice barrel notes. Not a huge, dank barrel aroma but assertive and fitting. Rich malts, light sweetness, and maybe some vanilla.

T/M: Big bourbon flavor... a bit too much. Pretty hot, almost like it's fresh. The barrel is still tasty and in control. Hops are mostly gone but a bit of aged hops stuck around. Rich malts. Body is medium full, maybe a bit sticky, with mild carbonation.

D: The massive bourbon definitely lowers the drinkability quite a bit.

Photo of Metalmonk
2.46/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

2007 vintage. Maybe the only vintage? Only one I've seen anyway.

Pours a fairly weak head; bubbles are on the big side and scatter to a crown quickly. Color has the burnt candy-apple red color of many barleywines.

Immediately there is very strong bourbon presence in the aroma. With that comes some wood, but with all that alcoholic whisky-ness, it seems the natural barleywine characteristics have been snuffed out. Maple syrup and vanilla are barely detected through the fog. Still, it's a bourbon barrel-aged big beer, so it can be expected.

Flavor is more of the same, but unfortunately a bit more one-dimensional. Just about any real barleywine characteristic is suffocated under bourbon and wood, wood and bourbon. Some vanilla sneaks in, as does a decent flash of caramel. A bit astringent/green/grassy in the finish. But it's pretty much unbalanced in favor of the bourbon and the barrel.

Good feel here. A mild stickiness, but mostly round and smooth and without the kind of thickness one might expect of a beer like this. Decent carbonation, neither too intrusive nor too laid back.

Okay, it's a bourbon barrel-aged beer, it's going to have some of those characteristics. I get that. But this one hides the barleywine too much, to the point where I'd much rather have tasted the barleywine itself. Bourbon barrel-aging isn't necessarily a ticket to greatness, and this beer proves that. Hard to get down...couldn't even finish.

Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kkipple for this one!

Vintage 2007

Bardstown Brand Ale pours a slightly hazy copper color. Backlighting gives it a deep red hue. A very light tan coat of bubbles covers the surface, but rises no further. They disappear quickly, and leave very light, sticky strands of lace behind.

The nose is pretty good, but isn't very diverse. It smells very sweet and full of caramel malt throughout. A moderate amount of bourbon is noted. It smells nice, and complements the sweet caramel notes well. Secondary notes of vanilla and oak are noted. I'm not really getting any fruit - dark, golden, or otherwise. Perhaps it's all buried. Alcohol is noticeable, but isn't overwhelming.

The flavor is good. It's definitely a step up from the nose. There's no questioning the base here - tons of caramel malt. It's very sweet, and even a little brown sugary. I don't know how long this spent in barrels, but it was just the right amount of time. The barrel-aging left a moderate bourbon flavor that's very nice. Oak and vanilla are secondary, but are definitely noted. They add nice depth and character to the mix. There are some fruity notes present. I am getting a little apple, but there's some tangy dark fruit there as well. Maybe a little raisin. Alcohol is definitely there in taste. It's not quite hot, but it's warm. Finishes sweet and tangy with a touch of bourbon.

The body is medium. Carbonation is relatively light, and gives it a smooth feel. For a 10% beer, it goes down relatively smooth, but it still feels big. No doubt about that.

Overall, Bardstown Brand Ale is good beer. It's not perfect. Some of the sweetness could be dialed back some. Maybe a little less alcohol. It's good stuff though. It's definitely held up well, and perhaps developed some over the past few years. I never tried it fresh, so I don't know for sure. Good stuff. Thanks a ton, Dan.

Photo of Bung
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. Orange/amber pour with a creamish head. Quite a bit of vanilla and oak araomas, some sweet malt, raisin molasses. Mouthfeel is quite sticky, but not real thick. A sipper for sure. Loads of malt, caramel and vanilla barrel in the flavors. If you want a west coast barleywine, you will not like this. Luckliy I did not, so I found this to be excellent. An under-rated Enlgish barleywine. Slight char finish. This is the first item bottled by OHB, so I bought a couple as well.

Photo of n2185
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage

A: pours a slightly hazy copper with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of caramel and vanilla up front. Oak and bourbon notes follow. Smells great and smooth.

T: similar to the aroma, tons and tons of caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Super smooth finish with slight yeast and sweet bread notes.

M: thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is smooth and thick without being cloyingly sweet.

O: a really good beer. Not terribly complex, but delicious and smells great while being super smooth.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

rich brownish color with hints of ruby around the edges. A slight bit of light coming through revealed some haze and a touch of sediment. A towering head of almost three inches glazed over the top of the glass and hung around for what seemed like forever before it finally settled down into a nice one finger layer of impenetrable foam. Rich side glass presentation as well just capped off the entire thing just wonderfully. One of the best looking, if not the best looking Barley wine I have ever seen.

The aroma was a heavy hitter right from the start. Tons of bourbon just wreaking havoc, had to let it calm down, revealing some nice hints of woody and earthy tones. Hints of vanilla and of all things chocolate starting to come through now. Very complex and nice, this was shaping up to be a winner already. The flavor was just drop down beautiful. Loads of rich bourbon and wood flavors coming through in the most wonderful of arrangements. Caramel and molasses seamless blended with touches of chocolate and dark fruits. Really just a whole another level of barley wine.

Photo of wcudwight
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cherry wood in color. With some ruby. Somewhat resembles a red wine. Highly carbonated head rises to 1/2" and then quickly falls. One small ring of white lace clings to the top.
Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon in the aroma. Also some sweet malts.
Big thick malty flavor. Raisin bread. And of course bourbon. The bourbon flavor is long lasting and adds to the excellent finish. I love the way the flavor just lingers after each sip.
Big, filling beer. Thick mouthfeel.
It's a slow sipper but I think it's easy enough to drink given the style and type of beer it is.
This is the first bottled offering from OHB and they couldn't have chosen a better one.

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nickd717 shared this fine tick. 2007 vintage.

Sunset amber, lightly hazy and topped by a thin white head. The head quickly settles to a collar.

Nutty, caramelized nose. Plenty of oxidation in the form of sherry and cocoa powder. No heat left, this is mellow but still very aromatic. A little leathery, musty. Pleasant oak barrel character, though there's little in the way of bourbon.

Pretty nice on the tongue. A lot of oxidation, butterscotch, toasted nuts. Oak and sherry, notes of leather. Medium-full body. Heavy tannins, oak and oxidation in the finish. Only moderately sweet. Enjoyable stuff.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Stephen aka stoutfiend27 for throwing this 2007 bottle in as an extra in one of our trades. Poured this into my tulip, split with my girlfriend.

Dark amber liquid falls into the middle of glass, slowly collecting into a garnet body full of beautiful ruby hues in the light. The head that gathers is coarse and light, dissipating to a thin rim of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing forms, though there are decent legs upon a swirl.

Even as I pour it, I can smell the bourbon flowing freely from the mouth of the glass. Syrupy booziness is also evident in front of woody vanilla aromass. The front of the aroma also brings forth some spices, an interesting character for an American barleywine. The taste is similar, with a bit of syrupy barley malt combining with spice, vanilla, and a finish of oakiness. The aftertaste is nutty, almost like and English barleywine. Despite the bourbon-filled aroma, the taste is nicely balanced.

Somewhat thin, but a good syrupy feeling on top of a nicely balanced body. The carbonation is a touch high, but overall, this is pretty decent as far as drinkability goes. I have no big complaints here. I would seek it out again, especially since the bourbon did such a good job enhancing the flavor and not taking it over.

Photo of rpstevens
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brentk56 for this bottle from Secret Santa 2010, 2007 vintage. Poured into a New Belgium goblet. The beer pours a hazy copper-amber color with a ruby center. There is a thin white head that quickly fades to a tight ring around the top of the beer.

The beer smells like toffee, barrel and bourbon, very upfront, concise and clean. There is a nice hoppy background (unexpected surprise from a beer that's more than 3 years old) along with some vanilla and leather.

The flavors follow the smell closely, this is a very mellow barrel aged barleywine, nice and balanced. Sweet butterscotch, toffee and vanilla introduce the flavors followed by the strong barrel presence. The barrel brings along hints of bourbon and wood, with a little residual grassy/earthy hops in the finish.

The beer is nice and smooth, well balanced and the alcohol is still present but has definitely taken a backseat. I would like to have tried this beer fresh for comparison, but it seems to be aging very well. I drank half the bomber, and I would have happily had another glass. Glad I got the opportunity to try this one.

Photo of CWiggins
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I stop at Olde Hickory Taproom a couple of times a year while traveling from Durham to Knoxville to visit my folks. This past August I was surprised to see bottles of this barleywine for sale at the bar. Even though it was pricey ($18, if I recall correctly), I just couldn't resist purchasing a bottle to sample.

It pours a dark red with a lean, off-white head that faded away rather quickly. Left behind was a ring of dense foam around the perimeter of the liquid. Not much of an aroma is present. I mean, scents characteristic of barleywine are noticeable, but there're very weak. Several deep inhalations are required to get a whiff of the aromas. The flavor is very pleasing and very much in the barleywine tradition: a rich, sweet, malty front gives way to a body of dark, ripe cherry-like fruit with a backing of caramel, while the finish allows for a fading of the fruitiness into a very bitter and smokey aftertaste. Here's where that 10%ABV makes itself known; the distinct warming during the finish and aftertaste provides a pleasing sensation when combined with that bitterness. It's a very satisfying taste; after each ingestion I felt no direct need to take another. Very nice, indeed!

Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A nice deep ruby red brew with a small head that dissapears quickly. No lacing. The smell is black cherries, bourbon, big alcohol, molasses. The taste is some hops, heavy bourbon flavors, brown sugar and a shitload of alcohol. The mouthfeel is dominated by this alcohol burn. The drinkability is lowered somewhat by this big burn. The other barleywine released a couple years ago by OHB had this profile too early on but mellowed out into a very smooth and creamy beverage and this one will no doubt do the same. I will revisit this brew from the cellar in a year or so and update the info. The scores are sure to rise as this one matures. A home run by OHB.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of yourefragile at last night's barrel-aged barleywine tasting. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a nice dark copper color with a thin light tan head that falls into a thin cap, eventually dispersing into a nice collar.

Nose carries quite a bit of caramel to pair with the strong bourbon character. A bit of oak and toffee there as well, adding a bit of complexity. Flavor is a bit muted, though the bourbon comes through fairly well. Light booze underneath good bourbon. A touch of oak and toffee plus a good dosing of caramel.

Medium body with low carbonation. Smooth, bourbon-filled finish.

Glad to try this, though not one of the best of the night. Worth trying, but probably not something to really seek out.

Photo of hopdog
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trade with NachlamSie (thanks!). 2007 Vintage.

Poured a medium to deeper amber color with a smaller sized off white head. Initial pour was clear which clouded up towards the bottom of the bottle. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, nuttiness, and some citrus. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, some dark fruits, and wood. Some alcohol in the finish.

Photo of scifan
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Super excited to try such an under the radar kind of brew. Definitely suprised to find this after this 2007 release. I think that if this was a one day hyped up release that this would be a highly sought after beer. Anyway on to the review. Poured into a wine glass from a wax covered 22oz bottle. Pours a nice amber color with a nice white head that quickly settles into a small ring around a glass. Smells freakin awesome. Sweet caramel malts hit the nose along with woody oaky notes, with a nice vanilla smells as well. The first sip reveals a much stronger bourbon flavor than the nose would imply. I couldn't imagine this beer fresh this bottle is from 07 and the bourbon is very intense. Big oaky, vanilla flavors with a ton of bourbon as well. There's a nice sweet maltiness to balance some of the bourbon. But if you're not a fan you probably will not enjoy this beer. There's a lovely alcohol burn that warms the throat as you swallow. Perfectly carbonated and its not too thick or cloying. This one is definitely a sipper though as the alcohol is pretty intense. Can't wait to see what a few more years does to this one. This is the first barrel aged barley wine I've had and I can't wait to try more if all are as good as this one.

Photo of sitarist
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

Pours a aged penny / copper color...frothy, off white head falls to a ring that leaves some lacing.

I smell walnuts in a bourbon caramel sauce...there is a nice earthy funk...it is not overpowered by the bourbon.

Taste like a 2"X4" soaked in vanilla extract...sweet, and nutty; turns earthy, hot, and astringent.

Full body with little carbonation...it is sticky and hot.

Sit back and sip the night away...a lot of big flavors battling on my taste buds, along with a huge body; make this one to enjoy at a slow pace.

Photo of emmasdad
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage. Thanks again to Ratman for another awesome vintage beer experience. Poured from the bomber a nice burnished orange color with a decent white head. Great bourbon, oak, vanilla and brown sugar aromas. Great bourbon flavor on the palate, nicely integrated with the sweet malt, caramel and alcohol. This beer has aged wonderfully, and the bourbon character is still (obviously) very prevalent. I love most of these barrel aged barley wines, and think this style works better than most in the wood.

Photo of joepais
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to uncleJedi for this treat.

I split the bottle with a few friends into snifters. I was greeted with a nice two finger off white head sitting on top of an amber body brew. There was a slight oxidized aroma coming thru in the nose I chalk it up to age even though the bottle was waxed. (so drink them if you got them) you still are getting a nice bourbon vanilla note from the barrel and of coarse you great sweet caramel from the malts. The flavor is the same as the nose only in reverse. You first get the sweetness followed up with a good vanilla bourbon note. The mouth feel is thick and syrupy so it translates into a great sipping drink. Overall I enjoyed this brew and would love to revisit it again.

Photo of cbros
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter glass.

A- Pours a deep amber muted brown color. There is a small one figer dirty white lace that quickly disipates. There is no carbonation activty present or cling after the pour. Overall a decent looking beer.

S- I am getting strong alcohol notes, I am also getting a sweet malty smell as well. I am not really getting any bourbon notes which I expected because of the aging in bourbon barrels. Honestly not very impressed with the smell of this beer.

T- As with the smell I am not getting any sense of a bourbon influence I am tasting a run of the mill barleywine with a sweet malty presence that finishes with a bit of an alcohol bite.

Saw a bottle of this at Bestway and figured I would give it a shot. Honestly I am not too impressed with this after having a few bourbon barrel aged beers by other breweries and acquiring a taste for these types of beers. In my opinion this tastes liek a regular barleywine I am not tasting any bourbon influences at all. Even though this beer has not caught my fancy I still would like to try other offerings from Olde Hickory.

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear caramel color with a modest head that fritters away to a ringlet while leaving spotty lace

Smell: Caramel, bourbon and vanilla

Taste: Caramel, up front, with a developing bourbon/vanilla character; despite the age, the hops still appear just before the swallow and linger afterwards; plenty of oxidation due to the age, but this still has a nice blend of flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with subtle carbonation

Overall: Fours years in, this beer has some nice elements, but clearly needs to be consumed now as it is past its prime

Photo of steve8robin
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer in a trade. Thanks again Cmrillo! 22oz bottle, 2007 vintage...

A: Murky ruby red with some brown highlights. 1 inch white head that fades quickly leaving a lace atop the brew. Good.

S: Wow, some nice sweet creamy bourbon notes upfront. Some toffee and caramel in the middle with some port on the backend. Smells a little bit like a barleywine version of Bourbon County. I love bourbon county. Very good.

T: Very heavy bourbon booze upfront with some port in the middle. Some creamy toffee and actually some rye on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium body with a good carbonation. Very good.

D: You definitely have to get past the booze wall to get this one down. Decent.

All in all, whereas this is a good brew, it has been the first from this brewery that has been closer to mediocre than great. Definitely a great try, but if you want something good from this brewery, go for the Imperial Stout or Irish Walker first.

Photo of kwjd
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says 2007 vintage. Pours an amber brown with small tan head. Bourbon is quite upfront in the smell, with faint hints of hops. Some of the bitterness is still there, but lots of bourbon. Has a little bit of a boozy taste which hurts the drinkability, but it is still smooth.

Photo of ncvbc
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky reddish brown with a medium frothy head that slowly fades to a ring. Smell is huge on the bourbon, with lots of malt in there as well. Very focused on the barrel though. Really enjoyed the taste of this one. It was almost like drinking a very fine whiskey with some carbonation to it, though there was obviously more to it. Caramel, toffee, toasted malts, brown sugar, and dark fruit. The barrel is again very strong here, though not overwhelming to me. Beautiful flavors of vanilla and oak compliment the heavily malted brew. I didn't even think hops while drinking this one. It wasn't quite on the same level but reminded me of a young BBBW from Kuhnhenn. Pretty full, somewhat thick, with a nice warming sensation. Definitely a sipper here, though one I wouldn't mind sipping by any means. I can see this beer aging extremely well and plan on buying a couple bottles just for that reason.

to view more.
Bardstown Brand Ale Aged In Bourbon Barrels from Olde Hickory Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.