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Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

549 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 549
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 15.83%
Wants: 19
Gots: 127 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BarrytheBear on 09-24-2010

Bitterness: 40 IBU
Alcohol by Volume: 9.4% ABV
Original Gravity: 20° PLATO

Released: September 2010
View: Beers (75) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 549 | Reviews: 228
Photo of jlindros
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A barrel aged winter warmer, it SHOULD be pretty good, although their Reserve Series have always seemed like they should be good, then end up a bit lackluster. So we'll see about this one. Release #3 from Fall 2010, so a few years of age to help.

Light fizzy head covering that fades pretty quickly, typical for a 3 year old 9+% beer, sediment laden hazy but semi clear auburn almost mahogany brown color.

Nose is loaded with bourbon still, almost all bourbon, some barrel notes with a little toasted oak and some vanilla, and it has a nice bourbon barrel juice like aroma, as well as hints of bourbon soaked raisins and a bit of dark fruit, little caramel and toffee, mild booze and perhaps a hint of phenols.

Taste starts with bourbon again, lots more bourbon, a nice barrel juice flavor with decent bourbon but not great, more like a young bourbon, as well as some vanilla and toasty oak but not a ton. Malts come in with sweet characters but not super sweet, candy malts, lots of caramel and toffee, caramelized sugars, some bourbon soaked raisins, little nuts and figs like. Mild bitterness too, mild hop character, slightly earthy and spicy, as well as mild baking spices. Booze brings some warmth with a little ester profile. Finish is fairly bitter, bit of spicy hop character, some mild warming booze, decent bourbon character lingering but it fades a bit, bit more barrel and caramel, dark fruits, little baking spices lingering too.

Mouth is fluffy and a bit smooth, med to a bit heavier bod, decent carb esp for the age, decent warming booze.

Overall not bad, nothing too special but decent overall, nice bourbon characters although not great, nice barrel characers, decent malts and hops, hint of baking spices, booze is just enough to bring some character without being too much.

Photo of russpowell
3.34/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up at Goebbels in Wichita, bottled in October

Pours a chill-hazed amber with a sliver of cream colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Slight Bourbon notes

T: Follows the nose, some toffee. a touch of vanilla & boozeyness up front. Apricot notes as this warms along with slightly boozey toffee, oaky dryness, with woody hops & vanilla. Finishes with oaky dryness, a touch of honey & boozey vanilla, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Medium bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, nice warming sensation to this

Drinks easy for the ABV, a nice take on the style. Not the best barrel aged beer I've had in a while, I would certainly buy this again if the price is right

Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Seriously barrel flavored. Lighter bodied than barley wines. Rather sharp and thin. Attractive dark orange amber color with a swirly head. Fairly sprightly in the mouth, but not over-carbonated.

Big aroma of whisky and oak. A touch of vanilla. Malty sweetness shades into tartness. Tastes hot with alcohol. Seems overbalanced on the hot and boozy side. Hops don't stand out, but clearly there is bitterness in the aftertaste. Vegetable taste, mineral, butter. Less interesting than most of the other Widmer beers.

The '11 edition, bottled Aug 12 (20)11. I'd have to say it's overpriced at $15.

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Widmer Barrel Aged Brrrbon '11. Widmer Brewing, Portland, Oregon, since 1984. Alchemy Project. Seasonal Ale aged in bourbon barrels. "This smooth, chilly winter warmer goes through a secondary fermentation as it ages in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. After months of maturation in the barrels the brew is allowed a tertiary fermentation for final conditioning before release." "Flavored Ale." "Combine inspiration and experience. Repeat often." "Prost! To improving with age!"

Okay, I'm going against all this and trying this out young. Maybe I'll buy more to save for later…if this one is good. We'll see. For now, let's open it up.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, slim, but lasting off-white froth.

Aroma: bourbon. Oak and vanilla. Whatever particular aromas Brrr gives us, it's drowned out by the bourbon barrel-aging. Very nice, but I wish it was deeper, and more complex. Rather simple, overwhelmed by the barrel aging.

Taste: boom, here comes richness, raisins, grapes, cherries, oak and vanilla, and, of course, bourbon. Really rich, really thick, much malt, covered in bourbon and oak. Yet not as full bodied, as I'd like for this treatment, perhaps because the base beer just is not thick and full enough to hold up for this type of treatment. Those flavors return sip after sip, but they're just not enough. Bourbon barrel-aging is best done with imperial stout or barleywine, but not necessarily winter ales or winter warmers that may have a certain heft, but not enough to carry this extra weight.

Will this one really improve with age? Maybe, a little?

I don't know for sure, but it's not good now. There's a flurry of flavor at first, mostly on the sweet side, but after that, the pleasures dwindle. A light bourbon-y flavor lays over this very average winter ale. Sweet, whiskey-ish, vanilla-y, and utterly boring. Completely forgettable. Far too sweet, too much bourbon barrel work, without enough dry, roasty malt below. Maybe bourbon barrel-aging a winter ale is not an awesome idea. Maybe you need a bigger beer, to make it worthwhile? Maybe after 28 years, they'd know that?

Eh, I keep giving them chances, and I keep trying them out, and, dammit, I keep spending my money on them, but I'm starting to wise up.

Photo of mdfb79
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 11/22/11 notes. Had on tap at FireWorks in Arlington, VA. Poured in a snifter.

a - Pours a reddish brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, light spice, and lightly roasted malts. Bourbon is very strong but I'm definitely enjoying it in the nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, spices, vanilla, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Bourbon again is strong but a little too much for me here in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth here.

o - Overall a decent beer, but a bit too strong for me. I think with some time on it it could be a lot better, and would age it if I had it in a bottle.

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a narrow-mouthed De Molen beer stemflute in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. I forget where I purchased it. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I love winter warmers but I've had pretty mundane experiences with this brewery afore.

Marked Nov 14 2011. This is the 2011 vintage, and I can confirm the ABV as 9.40%.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salad.

A: Pours a one finger head of decent cream, decent thickness, and average retention for the high ABV. Colour is a semitransparent copper-brass. It's not much to look at. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's somewhat vibrant.

Sm: Gives off a toasted malt character - which is right on the money for the style. I don't get any bourbon, but a hint of toffee is there. Spices are present but limited. Some cream. It bodes well. I hope the flavour profile satisfies the promise of the aroma. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Bourbon stands out as a very present overt tone, lending the climax some added sweetness. It also gives it a butterscotch-esque flavour that suits the beer nicely. Toasted malt forms the foundation but is rather restrained and largely obscured by the bourbon - an effect I don't particularly care for. Hints of red wine esque estery notes. No real spice - a letdown given the style. Caramelized malt is present. Maybe a cherry juice note. No yeast comes through, but some alcohol does - though I wouldn't refer to it as boozy.

All around the balance is off, with the toasted malt character competing with the bourbon. Built interestingly - I like the experimentation with bourbon barrel aging, but it just needs to be executed to balance. More toasted malt might add alcohol, but would really help the balance - and the ABV presence would decline over time. As a beer meant for aging, that would be appropriate.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with nice thickness. A tingly coarseness emerges from the toasted malt but is only present in the late second act. Too smooth for the remainder of the structure - a feature lent by the bourbon. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Age would do this well. I think bourbon barrel aging complements the style surprisingly well, but unfortunately the execution here is far from optimal. It's very drinkable for the high ABV - which is very nicely concealed. It met my expectations considering the brewery, but they weren't very high to begin with. This is pretty pricey -at least as an import - for its limited quality. I'm a pretty big fan of winter warmers but this fell short in the toasted malt area. I wouldn't recommend it to friends.

Low B-

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2012 vintage, bottled on 8/28/2012. Pours fairly clear reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, pear, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, floral, grass, slight pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, pear, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, floral, grass, slight pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Slight earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, floral, grass, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and moderate robustness of dark malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate hop flavors; with a nice malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice barrel aged strong ale. Good balance and complexity of malt, barrel, and light-moderate hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a suprisingly light reddish copper/amber colour, with a filmy, but relatively firm head of almost-white. Lacing is speckled and patchy in places, but it exists at least. Body is solid, and holds some large bubbled carbonation when swirled, or tilted. Looks alright.

Nose is slightly spicy, with undertones of vanilla oak and a touch of aniseed. It's a little thin overall, and the oak characters start to seem a bit sharp without some sweetness or body to back it up. It seems a little bit like it's an oak beer done for the oak and very little else.

Taste is similar, with oak and vanilla underpinning... well, very little else. Slight boozy twinges around the edge, again with a slight hint of spice, but it's all very hidden and underhanded. The only character that is confident enough to make itself felt is the oak, and that's always felt like a character to complement or accentuate other characters, not to be the be all and end all.

Drinkability suffers because of the heat, and the lack of complexities and characters to make it really worthwhile. I love bourbon oak in things, but maybe this beer is telling me that I just really like the base beer in others.

Photo of smakawhat
4.09/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2011

A very dark and clear orange amber body, consistent throughout but with hardly any head presence at all. Small collar seems to remain with some whispy top, head was a light caramel that disappeared very quickly. In sunlight though the body has a wonderful gorgeous ruby red color.

A real nice whiff first of cherry like fruit and spices, followed by bourbon style barrel aged notes of caramel, oak and thick vanilla. Really nice.

Taste is a mild mix of barrel aged thickness, but also some wet cherry body. Palate has a light caramel malt and warming spices, but also a very wet finish. Carbonation feels just interesting enough to not take anything away from the drink.

Overall rather enjoyable take on a winter warmer and a nice break from the giant barrel aged stout beers. I would have this again anytime, real nice nose on this too.

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a nice head Not a lot of head with lots of lacing.

Smell: Spices and bourbon.

Taste: The first two sips I got all spice and malt. After that the bourbon seemed to come to the forefront and dominate.

Mouthfeel: low key for a barrel aged and not over powering which is a good thing for me.

Overall: this is the first Bourbon Barrel Aged beer thst I have had that was not a stout and I like this better than most of them.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a ruddy dark red color with good carbonation and dirty white head

S: Light bourbon, wood, vanilla

T: Follows nose very well, wood, vanilla, caramel

M: Thin. Carbonated well, sticky, bourbon dominates booze not feeling like 9+ ABV

D: Not a bad beer at all, pretty tame on bourbon and all. Still drinkable for price

Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear bronze colored ale with a scant off-white colored head.

Smell is lightly sweet with vanilla and bourbon there but not super strong. Vanilla and coconut stand out in this. Still, not the most aromatic ale.

Starts out semi-sweet with big coconut and vanilla. Whiskey is in here but it doesn't take over like in some beers. Little bit of spice here but only cinnamon stands out from the bourbon. Decent hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side; bourbon adds no body at all.

Overall an OK beer. I would buy again if it were $5 a bottle or less and I wanted a cheap bourbon barrel beer.

Photo of jdhilt
3.91/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an off-white, one-finger head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Bourbon nose, flavor is bourbon, vanilla and hints of sweet caramel, higher ABV is hidden. Expensive at $13.00 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

Photo of HopHead84
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2/10/2012

On tap at Churchill's.

A: Dark orange and transparent. The white head fades quickly.

S: A pleasant blend of caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon (faint). There's earth and a dash of grapefruit. Smells nice but it's not very expressive. Takes a lot of coaxing and swirling to bring out the aroma. Butterscotch comes to mind.

T: Caramel and restrained bourbon notes. There's a lower moderate bitterness and a little citrus. Vanilla is faint. Alcohol is quite strong.

M: Upper medium body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky and sticky.

Overall: A decent barrel aged Strong Ale, though a bit inexpressive.

Photo of billab914
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with a thin, white, sticky, transparent head barely covering the top. The head concentrated around the edges of the glass where it did leave some nice lacing.

The aroma shows mostly the bourbon and barrel characteristics with the bourbon alcohol, oak wood and some vanilla flavors all coming through. A bit of the beers maltiness and spices come through, but they are pretty well hidden behind the barrel flavors.

The taste is similar to the nose with the barrel flavors dominating. It had some great vanilla and oak notes to it. They were very pronounced but also pretty smooth. The bourbon plays a big role but is pretty smooth and not that hot for how much it comes through. Like the nose just a bit of the beers malty and spicy flavors come through the barrel flavors. The taste is really all about the barrel in this one.

The mouthfeel is heavy and pretty silky smooth. Carbonation is moderate, and perhaps a little high overall. Drinkability isn't bad, it really had some good bourbon and barrel flavors that were surprisingly smooth. What it didn't have though is depth. The base beer just didn't bring enough to table to add much to the barrel flavors. It was a decent drink on this cold evening, but not a great one.

Photo of Kelp
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of John_M
4.26/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I confess I have not been a huge fan of this beer in the past, but the recent version (sampled on tap at Growler Nations last night) was flat out outstanding. The current version seemed to have a lot more bourbon, which blende well with the underlying, fairly sweet base beer. There was a lot of vanilla and brown sugar as well, with the beer reminding me more of a barleywine or old ale. Alcohol was very well integrated into the flavor profile, and the beer was very soft, smooth and long on the palate. Had no problem drinking my 8 ounce pour, and was tempted to get another (but there were other beers on offer that required my attention).

Nice effort from the folks at Widmer.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.27/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Pours a deep orange, almost amber. Just a few wisps but not much by way of a head.

Smell - Caramel malt, some herbal and earthy hops. Bourbon is secondary. Some oak. Not what I was expecting.

Taste - Hops right up front, some vanilla and bourbon follow, but not the main attracting. Monotonous caramel malt followed by a nutty and oaky finish. Moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel - As unenthused by this as I am, I'm having no trouble drinking it. Not very heavy when I think of the nature of the beer and not really boozy.

Overall - Not bad, just dull. No real barrel character to it.

Photo of rolltide8425
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased somewhere localish.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear copper brew. Head quickly recedes to the rim, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is vanilla and alcohol, as expected.

Taste is syrupy sweet to start, a peek of fruit/tart in the middle, and then vanilla, alcohol, and a lingering coconut close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is easy, especially for the abv. Nice brew, even though I'm not the biggest coconut flavor fan.

Photo of Lare453
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 549 ratings.