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Olde Rabbit's Foot Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (2009) - Olde Hickory Brewery

Olde Rabbit's Foot Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (2009)Olde Rabbit's Foot Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (2009)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

123 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 123
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 12.97%


Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.13% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This is a blended collaboration beer from Foothills, Duck Rabbit, and Olde Hickory brewing companies. All three blended their versions of a Russian Imperial Stout and then aged them in 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels.

(Beer added by: cvstrickland on 12-13-2009)
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Ratings: 123 | Reviews: 85 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of libbekat
libbekat

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was fortunate enough to have company visiting from out of town , who doesn't drink beer, so I had her buy 4 bottles and I added those to my allowed 4 bottles. I am so happy that I convinced her to wait in line for over 3 hours in 23-27 degree weather. Pretty risky to buy beer at $20 a bottle and not know what it taste like. It was so WORTH IT!
This beer smells like bourbon on the nose, I personally like that so I don't find it a detractor. The color is dark with a beautiful caramelized brown sugar colored head.
The mouth-feel is heavy but not as thick as a Guinness but hefty nonetheless. The taste is exquisite: hint of dark chocolate giving it a slight bittersweet taste, bourbon without choking on alcohol and overtones of coffee.
This is very drinkable now and probably will be even better with a little age on it.
My husband thinks this is equivalent to Founders' KBS. I have to concur with him on this.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 16:00:39 | More by libbekat
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NCBeerFan

North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After having missed the release and then striking out on several attempts at getting my hands on a bottle, I was lucky enough that a few fellow BAs (and North Carolinians) were generous enough to offer up a few bottles and not ask for anything outrageous in return....my glass is raised to scifan and mechamifune....cheers fellows BAs!! And as much as I've wanted to open one of these for the past month or so, I decided to hold off until my birthday....I must say it was well worth the wait.

This was bottle 469 and was poured into a Dogfish tulip. As with most Imperial Stouts, it pours a motor oil black with a one finger tannish head and moderate lacing. The aroma is of dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, and dark fruit (maybe raisins?). The taste follows the aroma with the chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and oak flavors melding together nicely. The mouthfeel is just what I'm looking for, smooth and creamy, with reasonable carbonation. Goes down with a pleasant bittersweet aftertaste.

It's interesting to see the wide variation in reviews to this brew, so I really wanted to give it a fair review (as I'm sure most BAs do) without any east coast/NC bias. Granted, I haven't had the full arsenal of comparable bourbon-aged imperial stouts and I might not rate this on par with the BCS or KBS, but it is a fine example of the style....it actually reminds me quite a bit of the Speedway Stout, minus the bourbon aging. Kudos to the crew at Olde HIckory, FootHills, and Duck Rabbit..a job well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2010 03:25:52 | More by NCBeerFan
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ROBORB

North Carolina

4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours a dark opaque black with a moderate 2 finger head. The cocoa colored head dies after a few minutes and leaves moderate lacing throughout the glass.

S: I was using an oversized snifter for this beer and the aroma was fantastic. It consisted of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, heavy malts and dark fruit. I couldn't stop myself from smelling this beer.

T: The initial taste has roasted malts and a touch of vanilla. As you finish it turns to cocoa and then a sweet vanilla/honey taste. As the beer warms everything seems to blend very well together. A very tasty and fantastic collaboration so far!

M: This is medium bodied and I couldn't detect much heat. I could go through a bomber of this in no time and not feel the effects.

D: I didn't have any problems finishing this beer. I enjoyed letting it sit and trying to figure out which taste profile would change. I highly recommend this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 17:00:46 | More by ROBORB
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jjayjaye

New York

4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Special Reserve - Bottle 172 of 694
The pour is a dark translucent crimson color..in the glass an opaque darkness with a BIG stiff foamy light tan head that fades slowly leaving sheets of Belgian lacing behind. The primary characteristic of the smell is the bourbon treatment, boozy with an underlying malt baker's chocolate. Full flavored, I'm a huge fan of the bourbon character that dominates the taste, but there are dark chocolate and nicely roasted coffee flavors that compliment each other nicely. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is bright and tangy from the booze, without the burn. Not quite creamy smooth but scoring points for complexity. There's a noteworthy sweetness that compliments the drinkability. The texture coats the mouth nicely, but not as much as my favorite examples of this style. The bourbon flavor also dwells nicely into the after experience. REALLY enjoyed considering this one thanks to the Aleuminati. Many thanks..right up there in my all time fav list!!!

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2010 22:16:48 | More by jjayjaye
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Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally getting a chance to post this from my blackberry notes from last week.
HUGE props to BHalter8 for bringing this bottle to share. Great BA and trading partner.

Needless to say I was excited to try this and as you will soon see, I was not disappointed at all.

The main descriptive from the visual is that there is only a tiny bit of head that forms, then vanishes. No lacing to speak of either. Shiny black in color. The lighting was low in the room we were in so I can't comment on he exact shade of color. Suffice to say, it was very dark and quite glossy.

The aroma initially reminded me of Hershey's syrup from the can. As you continued to explore it the bourbon notes came out and there was nice vanilla and a touch of depth from oak. Smelled great.

This is a beer where every sip provides some different combination of flavors. Chocolate syrup (sweet), cocoa (unsweet), honey, vanilla, some dark fruit.. mostly date. What's interesting is that the consistency front to back while you drink it. I'm not saying it tastes like KTG (not similar at all) but it drinks like it, in that the flavor is so smooth and even through the process of drinking it. (I mean this as a big compliment) Just fantastic.

Velvety and smooth with almost no carbonation. It coated your tongue and attacked your taste buds. Medium to slightly bold body but not syrup like. At first I was warned I might think that it was too thin. I did not perceive this to be an issue. (it's nowhere near as thick as Dark Lord or Abyss)

Supremely drinkable. Thank you sir, may I have another! A special treat to have this one. Just awesome.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 13:09:38 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of cvstrickland
cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Olde Rabbit's Foot is the result of the collaborative efforts of NC Brewers Guild members Olde Hickory Brewery, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, and Foothills Brewing. Brewmasters Steven Lyerly, Paul Phillipon, Jamie Bartholomaus and their respective brew-crews really outdid themselves with this one. This isn't the hype-train, folks, and I have none of these for sale nor trade... that said...

The 22-ounce bomber bottle numbered 67 of 694 yields its golden crown with a soft hiss, and when poured into my D-R snifter ORF is a true thing of beauty. The brew is clear with an impossibly dark opaque heart, and is trimmed with a twinkle of smoky garnet at the edges. A thin, oily, sticky cap of dirty khaki-colored foam fluffs up before receding, leaving an extremely fine-bubbled smattering of lacing and ribbons of sticky legs clinging to the insides of the glass.

The aroma is rich, black, and bourbony; the 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle barrels employed in the project really shine through the darkness. Underneath the spiritous aromatic fireworks show lies a layer of bakers' chocolate spiked with vanilla beans, all grounded in a touch of burnt caramel dusted with a liberal sprinkle of dark roast.

The taste is mouth-filling dark chocolate goodness incarnate with plenty of oak, vanilla, and Pappy. I didn't know that premium bourbon-filled dark chocolate truffles now officially existed in a liquid state, but I was uninformed, and as proof of same, I have a really kickass example sitting right here on the table in front of me. The flavors are rich, sweet, and savory with just enough dusty cocoa and expertly-crafted alcohol onboard to keep the chocolatey sweetness under-the-top. I'm damned stingy with "five" grades for flavor, but I just don't know how it could taste any better, so as a dedicated a lover of well-crafted beer, fine liquor, imported chocolate, and products from my home state that rock, I'll give Steven, Paul, and Jamie's brew that five... with a bullet.

Likewise in perfection is the expertly-carbonated full body. It has heft without stickiness and a super-fine tracing of bubbles in solution that make it so. At 10.13% ABV, Olde Rabbit's Foot isn't something you could drink all day, but I'll put it as simply as I can, friends-- in a perfect world, my kitchen faucet would have three taps... labeled with the abbreviations "H", "C", and "ORF". It's truly sublime.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 13:36:32 | More by cvstrickland
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BS68280

South Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After a very cold but enjoyable 4 hours in line with some fellow BAs and and a supporting girlfriend my anticipation for this was rather high, and it did not disappoint me. I wish now after tasting it, that i was able to acquire more than i did.

Poured from bottle 391 into a snifter.

A: Poured a dark black. About a 1/4 of a dark brown / dark khaki head that fades pretty quickly. You can tell from the pour that this is a well carbonated beer. Not much lacing.

S:The most up front sent for me is the bourben, I can also smell hints of the honey. The dark roast and cocoa make themselves well known and make your mouth water for the first sip.(and all the sips after)

T: The bourben is there but not as in your face as the smell would lead you to expect. It is balanced very well with the taste from the cocoa nibs. Up front there is the delicious bourbon taste from the Pappy barrels. The bourbon becomes more apparent as the beer warms. The bourbon taste subsides and leads to an amazing taste of rich malts and a hint of the honey and vanilla. All this leads up to an amazing cocoa ending which lingers in your mouth long after you have swallowed your sip. This is one of my first beers in this style, and i was very blown away by the amazing complex flavors, yet how well they all blend together and build off of each other. After all that i just realized the 10.13% is very well hidden and if i didn't just stop to think about it i wouldn't know it was there.

M: The carbonation in this beer is perfect in my opinion. It is full bodied, but thinner than i was expecting if that makes sense to anyone but me.

D: While the 10.13% doesn't make it self apparent with the taste, it does in this area. The bottle went down amazing, with part of a glass shared with my family. While i would absolutely love to, i don't know how wise it would be to try to tackle more than one.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 16:06:24 | More by BS68280
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SpeedwayJim

New York

4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

20 hours and 1100 miles later... Done as part of a blind tasting with capra12 and schen9303 so that our grades are not slaves to hype. Also... its my 100th review!!! turns out that I couldn't have chosen a better beer here.
Poured from a bomber numbered 124/694 into a Brooklyn Brewery Snifter.

A: A moderate pour yields a 2.5 finger light, milk chocolate colored, fulffy head with excellent retention. Brew was opaque and thick as motor oil just as expected. Lacing is frothy, thick, and ruler-like though this dissipated with time.

S: Bourbon is strong in the nose. Also hints of licquorice, sweet soy sauce, dark druit, oak, and a bit of nuttiness. Can't help but think this smells more like an RIS than an IS.

T: Speaking as unbiased as possible, this really lives up to the hype. I wanted to grade down on this but it just never gave me an opportunity to do so. Strong licquorice, dark fruit, roasted prunes, sweet soy sauce. Bourbon is apparent but very subdued throughout. Finish lingers a faint roastiness and a slight sourness.

M: Medium to full bodied and oily, silky, and astoundingly smooth. This is everything that Dark Lord is not in terms of mouthfeel. Finish is wet, sticky, and messy, leaving a lasting trail in my mouth.

D: Incredibly complex and with the body to tie it all together. This one really lives up to the hype. As a side by side, I gotta say that I felt it was better overall than Abyss, and that's saying a lot. An outstanding brew and definitely worth the wait.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 22:53:56 | More by SpeedwayJim
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StoutMaster77

North Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Opened on New Years Eve during the tastings of all tastings, finally got a chance to review from notes.
Olde Rabbit's Foot, Kate the Great, Dark Lord, Darkness, Bourbon County Stout, and Vertical of 07-09 Abyss
This was in top three of everyone there
A: Black with a slight hint of dark dark brown.
S:Bourbon, Dark choc, Dark Fruit, Vanilla Oak
T:Similar to Smell, First came the Bourbon, then a little bitterness from the Dark Choc, and ended on a slightly Vanilla Oak, awesome
M:Med-Low Carb., not nearly as thick as BCS, but not a bag thing either, just different
D: By far the most drinkable BAIS that I've had, hid the 10.13% so well I could drink this all night and not get tired of the taste.

Side note: I'm not trying to hate but I can understand the folks who give this a B'ish rating, it just may not be their thing, but trying this in the middle of a Sour's tasting and then giving this a D'ish rating, I mean really, how can you accurately give this a review in the middle of that? I'm just saying, if I had the look of the old Keystone Light commercial guy and tried this or anything else for that matter, I probably wouldn't like it either. I'm hoping you just had a bad bottle and get a chance to try another!
Peace

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 22:03:42 | More by StoutMaster77
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beavers

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing Vandubs!

a: Pours a thick dark near black with creamy espresso head that sticks around for a while leaving some sticky lacing on the edges of my oversized snifter.

s: Big aromas of earthy, woodsy bourbon barrel on top of bakers chocolate, vanilla bean, molasses, and tart dark fruit (can't really decipher).

t: Beautiful integration of rich roasty malt and bourbon barrel. Cocoa powder, vanilla bean then hit some subtle tart sweetness of bourbon-macerated cherries and brown sugar. Bourbon barrel roastiness is left on the sides of my cheeks.

m: Medium approaching full bodied with moderate carbonation. I kind of want the body a touch bigger for a barrel aged RIS...but it's almost there.

d: I shared this bottle with a few friends but could have easily finished an entire 22.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 06:42:11 | More by beavers
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afausser

Montana

4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a deep dark brown, in fact almost pitch black, with about a finger of chocolatey tan head comprised of incredibly miniscule bubbles. The head slowly fades and the remaining bubbles are relegated to the edge of the glass--though there aren't enough of them to quite form a ring. Incredible lacing for a 10%.

S: Candy, honey, butterscotch, and caramel are the most easily identifiable notes in the nose at first. It's also quite creamy--I'm initially getting a dark roast coffee with cream and maybe even a hint of chocolate covered cherries that blend to fuse very nicely in the nose. There's also a smoky note--I wouldn't classify it so much as burnt coffee as I would burnt cocoa, oddly enough. There's also a very strange hint of soy sauce as well as an even more mild barbecue sauce. Very smooth.

T: Dark roast coffee and excellent bourbon., as well as some well developed earthy and smoky notes. Chocolate covered cherries are again present, as are hot fudge, and honey (as noted on the label). Not so much a molasses taste as a heavy brown sugar. A decent amount of anise-y heat, and also a hint of strawberries.

M: Very fine carbonation bubbles, but they pop to an amazing extent, bringing the flavors to the top very nicely. Calms down a bit as it warms. Very slight aftertaste, but it's bourbony and warm.

D: Goes down very smoothly and easily, and honestly like a much lighter bodied beer than it is. Extremely drinkable. I've been waiting to have this one since the release a while back, and was a bit worried it might have been over-hyped. I'm glad to not have been disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 00:37:27 | More by afausser
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

650 mL brown bottle #19/694, enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Pours with about one finger of thick light brown head. Seemingly black in color at first. Little to no lacing to speak of, though fairly good retention ends up with swirls of microbubbles on top and a ring around the edge of the glass. Eventually the head does completely disappear, revealing the edges are not as much black as they are dark brown.

The nose boasts a near excess of chocolate syrup and cocoa powder up front. Bourbon tickles the nose soon after followed by date pudding, honey, and tootsie roll.

The taste follows the same general direction with a forward assault of cocoa and chocolate malts. Honey sweetness is present along with touches of dark fruits, figs and dates. The sweetness on the midpalate precedes a medicinal herbal quality that pops up in the beginning of the finish. The finish brings plenty of bready, doughy qualities with a final lingering sense of dark chocolate and cookie.

Overall quite delicious. The honey adds somewhat over the top sweetness, which may be unpalatable to some, but it worked for me mostly. The medicinal quality is faint, but somewhat distracts from the high points. Finally, the bourbon does have a presence, and while well tempered I was somewhat saddened by a lack of barrel flavors like oak and coconut.

The mouthfeel matched all of this nicely, chewy and thick with an easy low-medium amount of bubbles. The beer is not bottle conditioned though, and at "only" 10% this certainly would have improved the beer. In the end, a delicious, chocolate syrup bomb of an imperial stout. If you don't dig sweet imperial stouts though, this would not be for you. My sixty year old Dad typically does not like "dark beers" but thought this was probably the best one he has tasted. Really good.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 06:56:23 | More by vacax
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Crittervision

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

really dark, opaque brown with medium brown edges when held up to the light. very light tan head. tiny bubbles with a group of bigger bubbles collecting in the middle. as each bubble in the middle pops, it slowly releases a dark teardrop into the mist of smaller bubbles, a testament to its thickness. like watching the movement in a lava lamp. a lava lamp i can put in my body. mmmm. beautiful.

smell alternates between wood and bourbon separately dominating. sweet, sweet bourbon. there are then notes of roasted malt, maybe toasted barrels, and while the bourbon is apparent at every whiff, it integrates wonderfully with everything else there. to smell these notes without the bourbon would leave one yearning for the melding of bourbon again. the beer shows itself within the bourbon, which is near-perfect to me.

is it roasty or toasty? i cant quite discern. bourbon soaked toasted oak, hints of dark fruits, sweet cola. after each swallow, cocoa and cream hang around. the bourbon really is a part of the beer. bourbon and beer... holding hands.

the mouthfeel is creamy but spicy, carbonated a little more than i like, but the taste makes this aspect quickly forgettable.

delicious. the alcohol is noticeable, but thats a hard thing to separate from bourbon, even by connotation alone. a complex beer and a high-quality bourbon working together as one. two great things together making an even better "thing." outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 21:47:57 | More by Crittervision
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JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

#53/694 shared with the boys at the weekend RIS tasting.. BS68280 hooked a brother up!!! Too much gratitude goes out to Brannon!!

Tan head has nice retention and lacing... black brew... pretty all around.

Nose is good bourbon with vanilla and all the great chocolaty RIS flavors.... the barrel aging is perfect and adds a fantastic complexity to a really nice RIS.

Dark chocolate... dark cherries... thick maltiness ... great bourbon essence drapes in and out of the entire palate from front to back .. a bit of spicy/tannic wood.. wonderfully complex while still being very very integrated.. appropriate body for the style but the carbonation is a tad light..

not a bomb of mash-up RIS flavors ... just a well bred beer and a lesson in restraint on all fronts... I am very impressed and this is a great beer that is certainly worthy of some geeky giddiness... I could easily finish an entire bottle and have no regrets... very drinkable right now and I assume a bit of aging is only going to help, but I wouldn't go much over a year.

Thanks again Brannon.. Truly appreciate the fantastic trade.

4.5/4/5/4/4.5

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 09:14:56 | More by JohnGalt1
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scifan

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm super excited to review this as this very special one off brew will be my 100th review. Hope the chilly wait in line proves to be worth it. As I pry off the gold cap I am greeted by a nice hiss, and some hints of the lovely aromas that are to come. Pours what you would expect from an imperial stout. Pitch black with a big nice fluffy head. For a while this is as pretty as a beer I've ever seen. The head stays awhile but quickly settles leaving some lacing along the glass. The first thing that hits the nose is dark chocolates, you can definitely pick up those cocoa nibs. The bourbon notes are very balanced, not overpowering at all. Light oak and vanilla linger in the background. The first sip reveals rich dark chocolate followed by a nice bourbon finish. However I'm left with a lovely chocolate aftertaste after every sip. Very smooth, creamy with perfect carbonation. This one is a sipper but this beer is very balanced and not overpowering in anyway. I will enjoy every ounce of this amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 03:05:53 | More by scifan
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stakem

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A 2009 bomber one of 694 total poured into a tulip. The brew appears black in color with nearly 2 fingers worth of dark tan head that slowly fades leaving strings and spots of lacing effect sticking to the glass. When held to the light, the brew shows the faintest amount of ruby and dark brown clarity around the edges. A light swirl revives a finger of dark tan head back to the surface.

The aroma is sweet and sticky with hints of honey and vanilla. Dark hints of fruity alcohol blend into whiskey with quite a prominent force of accenting character of caramel and toffee. Almost a fudge character comes out with chocolate and a hint of roast. As the brew warms up, the focus on bourbon barrel really becomes the star of the show. The smell of this brew is pretty damn fantastic, I hesitate to call it perfect but damn if I could give it a 4.75 I would.

The taste is still pretty darn brutal and I mean that in a good way. Big burnt to roasty bitter grain/coffee flavoring that is immediately accented by a big bourbon barrel impact. Spirit reinforced alcohol is out in the open with a hint of honey-like sweetness, caramel and vanilla. This is a rock star of a brew that blends well from one flavor into the next. It is a well married pairing of almost ashy thick imperial stout that is bold on it's own accord but with the big bourbon barrel character standing up against this, it just makes for an awesome experience.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation that is uplifting on the palate and just a touch maybe too much. This is a big bold brew with a beautiful balance of character. I remember having this beer when it was fresh and really enjoyed it which is what prompted me to trade for a bottle and it's follow-up release a year later. There was lots of talk about infection with this brew so I was hesitate about opening it and tainting my memory of just how awesome this beer was. Now I sit here feeling guilty that I opened this up, man is it awesome and without any indication of infection/off character. World class offering right here.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 03:24:42 | More by stakem
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CrellMoset

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Olde Rabbit's Foot, shared at the January C'ville tasting. Bottle #239 of 694, poured in to a 12 oz. snifter.

Appearance: A pitch-black inky masterpiece, thick-looking but obviously light enough to yield a pleasant one-finger, cocoa-hued head. Light sneaks through around the peripheries, but only barely. The head has impressive staying power for a beer of this abv%, sticking around for a good two to three minutes and leaving a thick and slightly foamy collar, as well as a relatively persistent dusting. The lacing on this one is also fairly impressive for the style, particularly a barrel aged example of the style - both the head fade and the agitation swirl leave nice blobs, runny in places but also swath-like in others, blobby and glittery but sticky. A fair amount of internal carbonation - visible along the curvature of the glass - keeps the collar alive for quite some time.

Aroma: An earthy, deep cocoa note is very obvious as it warms, melding well with the toasty notes, but there's also a fairly bright, golden note, slightly spicy and sweet - though perhaps I'm just knowing what to keep my nose open for given what I know this beer's additions were. The base beer(s) is(/are) pleasant - toasty, slightly smoky, with a fair amount of earth but also some flourishes of dark fruits - and provide a really solid foundation for an old, mellow, smooth bourbon. It's fair to consider the bourbon the star of the show here - it isn't hot, it isn't spicy, it's just amazingly mature. It almost doesn't smell beer-like in some places with the manner in which the oak and subtle bourbon melds with the esters and faint, well-attenuated maltiness. But it's swell nonetheless, with no burn at all.

Taste: Fooled by the appearance, this is actually an amazingly light beer. It's not heavy, or chewy, or thick, and it's reasonably well-attenuated, despite the chocolate and honey additions - that is, it provides an amazing base for the barrel notes and bourbon, more on that soon. The base beer is full of light toast, strong, pure bitter (and bittersweet as it warms) cocoa, honey, dark and slightly tart fruits, faint earth, and a few light barrel notes, mostly slight coconut, woody (not green) oak, and a few barrel sugary notes ... as well as that amazing bourbon note. As mentioned above, the bourbon isn't nearly as spicy or as hot as many fresher bourbon barrel-aged beers are, and it's not because the barrels are dry or the beer wasn't aged for as long either ... it's because this is a damn, damn fine bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Much more assertive - carbonation-wise - than many beers of this style. I think that works wonderfully well with the earthy, light quality of the bourbon, however. It's even, but not creamy ... but I wouldn't want this one to be creamy. It's moderately thick, but not crazy thick ... and I wouldn't want this one to be crazy thick.

Drinkability: I can see why some people would not like this beer. It's not over-the-top complex, it's not a thick, chewy maltbomb, and it doesn't jump down your throat. What this beer is is a subtle, well-made, sippable base beer that showcases an amazing bourbon. It's a marriage of two (or four, really) simple components that work amazingly well with one another, and in this union of simplicity emerges an amazing complexity - anything heavier, sweeter, or thicker would have drowned out the bourbon, and any fresher, hotter, or younger bourbon would have wreaked havoc with the base beer. Nothing that's 10.13% is gonna get a 5.0 on drinkability, but it comes close. An excellent brew, and a true shame it's a one time release - I'm very fortunate I got the chance to try it.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 23:18:43 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally I am able to tell the tale of the ORF. I was lucky enough to be able to try this one out last night. Served at a comfy 55 degrees and poured into a six ounce snifter on multiple occasions, this one was consumed with loving care of 1/27/2010.
 
I want to start out by saying I really, really liked this one. Having heard some flack regarding it lately I had tempered my expectations on what I was going to be experiencing, but in hind sight that really wasn't necessary. All three breweries should truly be proud of this one.
 
The pour was superb, rich dark in color, essentially black as an abyss with no light coming through on this one at all, nothing, nada, and zip. Two fingers worth of brown, frothy head then gradually formed and pushed just out over the lip of my snifter. Sticking to the sides on the way down some nice webbing started to form before it fell back down and created a rocky, cratered surface that was interspersed with chunks of foam. Brown icebergs in a seal of oil look if you will.
 
So I reach in and go for the first sip, I am immediately sitting in my chair with an ear to ear grin as the warm vanilla notes waft through the air and perk up my senses. I find that rich aroma comforting and soothing and a sign that it stayed in the barrel just the right amount of time. Going in closer and letting it reach its zenith at room temperature reveals a complex mixture of chocolate, hints of tobacco and leather, even the finest touches of coffee all coming together and creating a symphony of aroma.
 
It's about time though, I need to try it, and so I reach over and find my way to the glass. Rich, smooth, decadent flavor washes across the palate. Vanilla and bourbon notes hit first. Smooth and silky feel here, really very nicely done. It melts seamlessly and effortlessly into a spinning cauldron of coffee and chocolate that just reeks of woody tones and vanilla underpinnings. Warming really starts to bring this out now. No clue how someone finds this to be thin, as for a barrel aged and blended beer it is coming off simply stunning. Hints of chocolate are now awash on the palate and are starting to flex their muscle through the haze, but the finish belongs to the barrel as the sweet, balanced flavor leaves its mark and fades off into the night.
 
Overall impressed here, this was really done very, very well. A totally different beast then any of the base beers could have become on their own. I would love to see more collaboration between the three of them, maybe you should all do your scotch ale like this (hint). A great offering here and something I am really happy to have been able to try.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2010 15:26:50 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle, bottle # 679 of 694, into my Orval glass.

The beer pours a deep black, hardly showing anything. The head is medium tan and rises about 2 fingers. The head doesn't have great retention but its very creamy and attactive. A light foams stays for several minutes. Good lacing.

The aroma is light from the glass, but when I opened the bottle I was hit with lots of yuminess. The start is pretty sweet with some light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and some nice wood at the end. The aroma is very complex and balanced, if it was a little stronger it would outstanding.

The taste is great. It starts off sweet with some nice vanilla and a touch of honey. In the middle you can really taste the cocoa nibs. They are bring a really nice chocolate bitter taste to the table. The finish adds even more complexity with an awesome bourbon wood finish.

The feel is really nice, the beer itself is full, and at the end it brings a hugely warm feeling to my mouth.

The drinkability is great. Easy drinker at 10% with tons of flavor that keeps you coming back for me.

Overall, this beer was just plain outstanding. How is this only an A-. Its got depth, flavor, and complexity all rolled up into one. I can't remember a taste with some many distinct flavors. Thanks to Beavers who hooked me up on this AWESOME beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 01:25:28 | More by jrallen34
Photo of SFLpunk
SFLpunk

Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Hodgin (and cmrillo) for this 2009 bottle! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Bottle #274 of 694. Opened at about 48 degrees.

Appearance: Pours a thick, oily black with rich creamy dark tan head that has great retention. Looks like it's been dolloped on there really. Just how a stout should look!

Nose: Aged vanilla beans come to mind and some lightly toasted oak. A little pear note, plus something like green coffee berries (or something vegetal). After a moment big roasted black coffee comes out, toasted bread, bourbon and brown sugar.

Palate: Medium-full bodied and noticeably bitter right off the bat. Texture is sort of rough, like coffee that has some grounds in it. Flavors are great and revolve around black coffee, black vanilla beans, charred wood, carob, tree bark and black top soil. Finish is long and lingering. Finish is quite dry.

Notes: I like this version better than the Foothills 2010 version. There seems to be more balance, more complexity of flavors and more body. Still very dry for the style and still reminds me of a drier version of BCBS. Cocoa nibs barely appear, maybe adding some bitterness?

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 04:38:17 | More by SFLpunk
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage purchased at the release. Bottle # 48/694. Pours a deep brown/near black in the glass, topped with 2 rich fingers of foamy dark mocha head. This retains with a smooth creaminess, mostly bunching around the sides and leaving back some light lacing. The aroma is a delicious blend of coffee, burnt molasses, brown sugar, chocolate and vanilla. Charred wood notes really blend in nicely off the edges. The taste is a similar mix of chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruit, coconut, vanilla and roasted coffee. Burnt barrel and lingering sweetness leave this charred, spicy and sticky on the back-end, with a touch of toast and cocoa powder lingering in the finish. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with some initial sharpness to the carbonation which gradually gives way to more of a chewy creaminess along the back. You do get some alcohol here but it’s mostly from the barrel character, as this remains extremely smooth for the size. Wow, this has aged beautifully. The profiles have a ton of complexity and flavor integration to them and the overall smoothness of this is top-notch! This seems to be peaking now, I’d suggest that you crack a bottle and see for yourself.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 21:37:22 | More by Kegatron
Photo of beertooth
beertooth

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wil for sharing this bottle(#631).

This beer pours a rich black with a thin mocha head.

The nose is very delicious. smoked almonds, bourbon, oak, baker's chocolate, vanilla. There is also a note of oxidization coming through.

The taste follows the nose with tons of nutty notes, cocoa powder, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak, mild bourbon. Some more oxidization, but it's really balancing everything out.

The mouthfeel is full and creamy.

I could've finished the bomber by myself. I'm glad I had the chance to try this.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 04:42:22 | More by beertooth
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bmanning for opening this bottle a ways back. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice dark brown with a bit of a tan head. Not too much retention or lacing. Nose brings a strong dose of smooth bourbon alongside some notes of vanilla and oak. A good amount of chocolate and a bit of dark fruits as well. The taste is really quite great with a lot of bourbon and a bit of sweetness. Good, full mouthfeel with a bit of nice heat. Drinks quite well and is really tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 00:07:37 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of schmoopsbeer
schmoopsbeer

California

4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BeermeX2 for this excellent beer
shared at a tasting with barfdiggs and 3 others
poured into bruery tasting glass

Color: Dark, dark brown, almost black. No head even after an aggressive pour and it leaves behind hardly any lacing.

Nose: Wonderful! Full of amazing scents. Bourbon, vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, cocoa, mellow honey, and a pleasant roastiness are all present. Very well done for a stout.

Palate: Full bodied and and complex. Drink ability is amazing, so smooth you can just put it down to quick. The carbonation is ok, not great, but nothing to hinder the quality of this beer. The tongue gets coated with waves of vanilla, chocolate, and nice, warm bourbon flavors. The abv is so well masked that it can hardly be detected in the mouth.

Finish: Long, warm, and with plenty of texture. Plenty of flavors become evident as it goes down the hatch, but Bourbon and honey are most evident. A sweetness eases the bit of abv that shows up at the end. A fantastic imperial stout that provides plenty to like. A true pleasure to drink.

Rating: 95 out of 100

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 00:23:59 | More by schmoopsbeer
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you read this you need to read the review right below mine as well, just for kicks.

A - A nicely black beer, this was poured into a BA tasting glass but still managed to pop up a decently sized head with a decent amount of retention.

S - Very well done, bourbon is strongly, but not overpoweringly, present as well as all manner of nice vanilla, chocolate, roasty malts, and some manner of dark fruit.

T - Nicely done, roasted malts only complement the sweetness of the bourbon into a quite muted, but sophisticated taste. Dark fruit adds a touch of deeper sweetness, and the vanilla notes and coffee make a nice melding with all the rest of the flavors. It's sweet, but not too sweet.

M - Medium bodied, bit more carbonation than I would have cared for considering the style.

D - I don't get much alcohol in this, and could easily drink a lot. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 22:39:35 | More by AgentZero
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Olde Rabbit's Foot Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (2009) from Olde Hickory Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 123 ratings.