Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru - Black Diamond Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand CruBlack Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru

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80 Ratings
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Ratings: 80
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Diamond Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smakawhat on 07-22-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of smakawhat
2.56/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter at ChurchKey DC.

Deep red body with a head that completely disappears so fast I couldn't even tell what color it was. Leaves barely a collar at all while drinking. Body resembles a red wine to some extent but the beer looks completely lifeless.

Bouquet is clean, but extremely non existent for a bourbon aged beer, nearly nothing going on.

Taste is highly carbonated, almost lambic like sour cherry, with mild caramel. Extremely light bodied and wet and fizzy.

Overall, major pass and not a good example of a style that seemed to take well to a bourbon barrel, or else just not done well period.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a dark, hazy, mahogany amber. Half finger light tan head with good retention and slippery lacing. Nice aroma of dark toasted and caramel malt and bourbon with a little wood. Flavor is light and dark dried fruit, some toasted malt, distinct vanilla, bourbon and a hint of oak. Flavor drops off a little in the middle, but the finish leaves a nice memory of the bourbon and wood although with a slight astringency. Medium bodied. A little sweet, flavors are not that well integrated, but it has decent complexity. I enjoyed this take on a bourbon barrel aged ale.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 9% abv. Hazy chestnut color. Fizzy tan head disappears almost immediately, which is a bit of a disappointment. No lace. A few tiny, fine bubbles rising to the top.

Figs and candied fruit come in the nose first. Hints of bourbon, vanilla and oak come through softly. Just a slight whiff of alcohol.
Figs and caramel up front. Some ripe fruit flavors, with some sweetness. A bit of vanilla comes through, and then some softer notes of bourbon. Some oak moves in and dries things out a bit near the end.

Lighter body, with perhaps too much carbonation. A fuller body might do some good here. Some warmth, but nothing overwhelming. I didn't think the bourbon notes really came through very much. A bit disappointing.

Photo of DustinSmall
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Roasthouse Pub

A- Beautiful dark mahogany, with copper tomes on the curve of the glass, 1 finger off white head, good carbonation

S- The smell is great, figs, rasins, oak, vanilla, sweet malts, and you deff get the bourbon on this it smells like a bourbon grand cru should in my opinion

T- It taste just like it smells which i thought was great, bourbon notes, fig, rasins, oak, a hint of vanilla, and sweet malt characteristics on the back really good stuff

M- I personally thought that the beer would of benefited from a slightly heavier mouthfeel and a tad more carbonation, but it was still wonderful

O- Great color, smell, and taste i would reccomend this beer to anyone, and ill be drinking it again

Photo of FreshHawk
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep tawny color with an average sized, foamy and bubbly off white head. Average retention with a thin layer of lace.

S - Don't really smell the bourbon. Sweet caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Dark fruit, particularly raisin, also present. Hints of vanilla and cherry.

T - Bourbon flavor is stronger in the taste, but isn't up front. Brown sugar/molasses are strongest flavors. Dark fruit comes out more mid sip. Sweet and not really tart. Also has a hint of cherry. Bourbon and vanilla also come out then and linger on the finish. No real burn from the whiskey or the ABV (8%).

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Creamy and a little thick/syrupy.

D - Pretty good beer and I had no problem finishing my glass. Not too sweet and devoid of any burn or heat. Sweet but not overly sweet.

Notes: On tap at Beer Revolution. I preferred this to the brandy aged one. It was slightly more balanced (not as sweet). Bourbon is strong, but I like the subtle attributes it provided. Decent beer worth a try but not seeking out.

Photo of BottleConditioned
2.34/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

The grand cru moniker sets high expectations, the label picture is classic but the overall design is reminiscent of a self trained designer without natural talent. The confused packaging follows through on the palet. With a Belgium chocolate cherry coordigal where the sour fruit, burnt chocolate, and bellegium funk duke it out in a battle royale where everybody losses.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet. 2011 vintage.

3.5 A: Dark brown color. A little over one finger of frothy tan head. Retention isn't very good, but a short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Ass load of cocoa powder in this. I didn't read of this addition on the bottle, but I'm convinced that they had to have. Just super chocolaty. Vanilla is also pretty potent. The bourbon, however, is barely detectable, which is probably the right way to go with a dubbel. Light leather and earthiness from that and subtle oak. Fig and plum fruitiness. Banana under that. Surprisingly this isn't very spicy.

3.5 T: The barrel comes through a lot stronger in the taste. Some tannic astringency with oak and vanilla. Tangy caramel, earthy, and leather. Not as cocoa-y as the nose, but it's still there and is plentiful. Lots of banana, fig, and plum fruitiness. Brown sugar and molasses. Light clove, but not spicy overall. Not bad.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation with a light spritziness to it. Also reasonably creamy. Good here.

3.5 D: A little strange, but it's not bad. Give it a try if you can.

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I liked the Brandy version of this beer and found this one on special so decided to give this one a run. Good looking beer with an outstanding aroma and flavor. Sweet beer but I like sweet. Easy to drink for 9% gives it big bonus points, will certainly buy again.

Photo of waltonc
1.09/5  rDev -69.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

On tap at Beachwood BBQ. Pours brown with tan head. This is really not a very good beer. Tastes and smells like a cream soda aged in barrels, though there's not a whole lot of bourbon prevalent in either the nose or flavor. Nose also has a metallic quality that is unpleasant. Overall, not much going on in the taste or smell department. Body is watery-thin, carbonation is medium. Overall, one of the most disappointing bourbon barrel-aged beers I've had. I had maybe 1/5 of the $7 glass I ordered and left the rest.

Photo of IHyphySF
4.26/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Mahogany pours with a little head which depletes almost instantly.

S: at first i smelled apples and cinnamon but then later the vanilla and chocolate take over and has a nice sweet aroma to it.

T: At first it is really sweet but cleans up and has a nice vanilla and you can get a small hint of the bourbon smoke in the back of your mouth and cleans up with chocolate.

M: Smoothest grand cru i have had in a while nice carbonation and has been one of the most drinkable beers at 9%

O: one of the biggest surprises i have had the 25% bourbon aged part of this and it balanced this beer out and the vanilla makes this taste sweet but it has been one of the most drinkable grand crus i have ever tasted. Tried this fresh on tap and it was more carbonated and had a bigger upfront alcohol taste to it but since this came out in bottle it feels like it became more balanced. Can't wait to open the other one i bought for a special occasion.

Photo of womencantsail
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a dark brown color with a bit of amber/red to it. There is some mild roast quality to the beer, but it’s mostly sweet. Heavy on the toffee and brown sugar, a little bit of dark fruit character. It’s also got a little bit of sweat/feet to it, strangely. The flavor lacks any foot-like qualities, fortunately. It’s mostly sweet toffee, brown sugar, and some vanilla. A nice dark fruit quality, mostly plums and raisins. I don’t get a lot of the figs, but certainly some currants.

Photo of John_M
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After the previous review, I was hesitant to order this... but maybe he had a bad glass, or who knows what. However, thought I'd give it a try as well, seeing as how Baltimore seems to be awash in this stuff.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. OK. On the nose I can't say I'm super impressed. Was this really aged in bourbon barrels? In any event, I get some light brown sugar, a hint of bourbon (after all), some light wine and vanilla, and maybe some underlying spice. It's OK, but there just isn't a whole lot there. Given what I got on the nose, I was kind of surprised by the flavor profile. It's actually pretty damned good. The beer is moderately sweet, but with considerable brown sugar, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and light sherry. Wow. This is actually pretty good. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and the finish is moderately long, with a brown surgar and bourbon infused finish. Not bad at all. Also, the 8% abv. (according to the beer menu) is nicely integrated into the flavor profile, with no sense of heat or alcohol on the finish.

Seriously, one of the better domestic dubbels I've tried.

Photo of tobelerone
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A dark brown, chestnut colored brew with a large cream colored head of great retention. Tons of sticky lacing clinging to the glass. Decent enough aroma with hints of bourbon, oak, cherry, some phenolic presence, but opens up in the flavor into something quite interesting. I thought this one was actually pretty unique and complex; lots of wood, cherries, dark fruit; some belgian yeast esters and spiciness, muted phenolic character; hints of the bourbon that once rested in the barrel, but the oakiness is prominent.

Medium to slightly full body, medium carbonation, pretty smooth on the palate. I quite enjoyed this. Not a bourbon bomb, not the typical massive stout that usually gets the barrel treatment. A hybrid brew that has a lot going on for it and is definitely worth a shot if you're not opposed to a Belgian-style in a bourbon barrel.

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2011 vintage. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark ruby red color with a 2 finger moderately dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, prune, fig, toast, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, molasses, light vanilla, clove, oak, dark bread, herbal, light bourbon, light banana, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, fruit, and yeast ester notes with a fair amount of barrel presence; and good strength. Taste of raisin, fig, prune, toast, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, molasses, light vanilla, clove, oak, dark bread, light bourbon, light banana, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Light fruity and earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruits, toast, molasses, cocoa, light roast, clove, oak, light bourbon, dark bread, light banana, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt, fruit, and yeast ester flavors; with moderate barrel presence and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice blended Belgian dark ale. All around nice balance and compelxity of malt, fruit, yeast ester, and moderate barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of brotherloco
3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. 2011 edition. 9% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Pours a deep root-beer brown with ruby-red highlights. A small yellow head forms and then dissipates very quickly. No real lacing.

Strong aroma. A lot of molasses, a ton of vanilla, raisins, plums, some peppermint sharpness, Belgian yeast, and sweet malt.

Flavor hits you with an initial fruit-soda sweetness, kind of unexpected. Things get tart in the middle and the finish dries up and introduces some wood character (oak and vanilla). A let down after the aroma. On the positive side, the alcohol is really nicely hidden.

Body feels a little thin, shy of medium. The carbonation is relatively high and sharp.

Overall the beer has a more interesting aroma than flavor, and it doesn't have a charming mouthfeel, but it's not terrible.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark burgundy mahogany with thick tan lacing with great retention when the glass is swirled..

S - Yeasty, vanilla, light grape, tart cherry, funkiness, slightly musty.

T - Chocolate, yeasty, tart cherry and grape, mild bourbon, light cardboard and spice, some dark fruit.

M - Full medium body and thick.

O - Glad I was able to try it, would like to try a newer batch, this one didn't do it for me.

Photo of brentk56
2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

2011 bottling

Appearance: Pours a burgundy tinged auburn with a large tan head that leaves quite a few splotches of lace

Smell: Bourbon and oak predominate, but only because what is underneath is a mess of fusel alcohol and dark fruit

Taste: A hint of Bourbon-tinged oak and then a blast of fusel alcohol that overwhelms the palate; dark fruit flavors appear, underneath, with the figs adding sweetness and the currants adding tartness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; rather boozy

Overall: Maybe this was a better beer in 2011 but it is now a sharp, boozy mess; the currants really detract, IMO

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, earthy spice, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with bourbon and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild alcohol kick on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it smells slightly better than it tastes in my opinion.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Having bought this on my first stop in the US on this trip (BevMo in Sunnyvale), I carted it around until I got to Portland, where I needed to thin out my beer collection somewhat.

Pours a deeply hazed brown-mahogany hue, with a pretty decent head of yellow-white froth that leaves impressive spidery lacing. Body is smooth but light, perfectly suitable for the style. Overall, I'm impressed with the look: hits the style bang on.

Nose is smoothed and masked by the bourbon barrel characters, which lend rich vanilla overtones to the maltiness, meaning that there's good caramel throughout. However, this smooth sweetness is about all that it has to offer, and while it's robust, it leaves the rest of the aroma a little empty.

Taste is smooth but lightly organic and a little empty. Flavour is truncated by a mild tea-leaf note that seems to blunt any hint of true rich sweetness, while the lighter body, while suitable for the style also cuts off any real complexity. Finish leaves a touch of oxidation, a slight bready or cardboard note. Hmm...

It's not bad, but the beer itself doesn't seem to warrant the barrel treatment. Give a complex beer to a bourbon barrel and you'll be rewarded with extra nuance and flavour: this one seems to rely on the oak too much, and once it's gone, it's flat and uninteresting.

Photo of drpimento
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Hm, somewhat different than I was expecting. Poured at a good temperature with an average size light tan, slightly fizzy, foamy head that eventually settked and some lace. Color is a clear orange mahoganey with lots of rapidly rising bubble trails. Aroma is at first dark ripe fruit, yeast, malt, and later vanilla. Flavor's like nose but much more intense. Has nice interplay between bitter - sweet- and carbonic tang (although tang starts to get in the way after a period). Flavor reminds me of some sort of candy I've never tried before and while I kind of like it, I wasn't all in. Body is decent but carbonation is a little too aggresive. Finish is like flavor, alcohol comes out strong, and length is long. Not a bad brew, but not a fav.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

A 2012 bottle per the label.

Pours a dark, chestnut brown with red highlights and no head or lace. Almost completely opaque.
Smell is malty, bourbon, woody, dark fruits. Very well balanced.
Taste is quite different, I suspect due to age. Fruit, sour, malt, a faint hint of bourbon.
A bit watery to start, lightly effervesced, medium-ish body. Quite drinkable but reconciling the nose and tongue takes a moment.

Photo of impending
3.09/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

SF Toronado. A deep amber copper, dense caramel colored head, near non existent lacing.

Aroma is wonderfully thick, gravity holds it in check. Lots of dark sugars including brown, lots of dark cookie spices. I don't sense a barrel.

Flavor collapses the experience, tremendous letdown as the scent gave much promise. A medicinal note but not of the phenolic quality, presents itself and can't be ignored. Full bodied mouthfeel.

If you accept this favor it could be your cat's meow as it is unique.

03/18/12 update


22oz bottle into a tulip

Looks the same but now minor lacing.

Aroma not nearly as intense as the vanilla now dominates.

Taste holds true but more obvious - I don't sense a barrel at all nor bourbon. The vanilla I taste is a featured spice.

Leaves my tongue feeling wrinkled mouthfeel.

Warms well enough and certainly could be an acquired taste.

Photo of beertunes
3.17/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served in tulip. Poured a medium-dark brown, with some reddish tint, but not as red as usual for a Dubbel, with about 1/2 inch of medium khaki head that had low retention and moderate lace.

A light bourbon scent was at the front of the nose, with the typical fruit, yeast and grain just underneath. The story was pretty similar on the tongue. The bourbon, while not overpowering, was clearly the lead flavor. The base beer seemed to be somewhat hidden, thus hard to judge.

The body was thinner than I look for in the style, but smooth and even across the palate. Drinkability was pretty good, the was smooth and easy to quaff. Overall, a nice little brew, nothing really notable (and probably not worth the $8/12oz pour), but worth a shot if you see it in around you.

Photo of Vierenner
2.62/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm always interested in bourbon barrel aged beer and even though it's only partially barrel aged, it seemed worth a try.
Pours somewhat cloudy with minimal head. Mildly sweet aroma. The taste is a bit bizarre. Depending on how/where it hits the mouth it either tastes a little sweet or a little sour. Also, I wasn't expecting Belgian yeast flavors, but they are certainly there. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this beer.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle (I think, I wasn't arsed to check) into a tulip. 2011 vintage, from yesterday.

A: Pours a hazy dark brown color. The head is a one finger off-white shade. Retention is low, and so is lacing left on the glass. Pretty unremarkable looking.

S: Also unremarkable on the nose. All I really get are some light fig/currant notes, with the faintest kiss of the barrel. That's about it.

T: This is almost ridiculously estery. The opening flavors are heavy in fig, currants, and raisins. One really has to work hard to find barrel qualities, which is disappointing considering how long it spent in there (12 months!) The flavors are far more enjoyable than the nose - still, it lacks the complexity and nuance to be a world beater.

M: It has a medium body with medium carbonation and medium drinkability. Absolutely no booze is found anywhere on the feel, which is always good. My only nitpick is that the sweetness could be toned down in the finish some.

O: I think this one is decent, just simple to a fault and not impressive in the aroma. Even if it's not the greatest beer, it does a solid job of standing out from its peers, so it deserves at least some respect. I'd drink it again, gladly.

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Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.