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Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer - Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter WarmerBourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

346 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 346
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 85
Gots: 114 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 05-28-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 346 | Reviews: 105
Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art. 2014 vintage.

Expectations are fairly high; this is currently #62 on the Top 100 Southwest list (and is the only Rahr & Sons brew to make the list). Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged winter warmer per the title/label.

9% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 4 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Creamy and frothy. Fairly even and smooth consistency. Nice complexion. Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Dark amber-brown. Opaque. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing brew - but not necessarily great for a winter warmer. Certainly not unique or special looking.

AROMA: Amber malts (evoking an altbier, if anything), faint caramel, cream, English hop character, faint bread, hints of vague indistinct dark fruit, a kiss of cherry, light vanilla (probably the only real hint of bourbon here), and English toffee. There's no real toasty oak presence, and the bourbon character is light at best - which is to be expected given its scant 10 weeks of bourbon barrel aging. Still, the faint bourbon does complement the winter warmer malt character nicely.It's not a spicy brew, but the malt profile is spot on for the style - though I'd prefer a bit more toastiness. Fruitcake.

Aromatic intensity is average. The fruity notes blend well with the English malt profile and mild hop aromatics. I'm looking forward to trying this.

TASTE: Fruitcake, vague indistinct dark fruits, amber malts, English dark malts, faint vanilla (I assume from the bourbon), cream, a kiss of chocolate malt, some crystal malt, and mild English hop character. The bourbon barrel is rather faint (some might say weak), lacking any oak, toastiness, or real vivid vanilla. While normally I'd be critical of a scant 10 weeks of aging, here I think it works, lending a subtle guiding bourbon tone without overwhelming the base. The English dark malt backbone is allowed to shine, and while this winter warmer doesn't have much spiciness, I do think it's effective and hits style fundamentals well. It does have some faint nutmeg and allspice, and I'd certainly say there's a holiday vibe about it, but I can't quite put my finger on why. It's not cinnamon, it's not ginger. Cocoa, maybe?

The guiding yeast character is definitely English.

As much as it could use improved depth of flavour and intricacy, it's a well balanced brew within its style and I find the build to be a gestalt whole. The dark fruits are subtly executed and complement the English malts and hops nicely. As much as I can see its limitations, I quite like this for what it is.

There's no yeast profile, booze, or off character.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, unrefreshing, aptly thick, aptly hefty, and adequately weighty on the palate, with an unrefreshing feel and sufficient softness. Could be creamier, sure, and more softness would aid its presentation of flavour. This texture doesn't elevate the beer, but it complements the taste nicely.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough or scratchy.

OVERALL: A drinkable winter warmer, especially considering its high ABV and (admittedly faint) bourbon barrel character. While most drinkers will find the barrel notes wanting, I think this is an effective winter warmer which succeeds in spite of obvious risks. Some style traditionalists will prefer more of a perceived spiciness, and they may be right. This is easily one of the best beers Rahr & Sons makes, and while I wouldn't buy it again, I really appreciate the fruitcake element and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. Maybe it's one of the 100 best beers brewed in the Southwest region; maybe it isn't. But it's definitely one of Texas' best 100 beers - not that that's saying a whole lot. I wouldn't mind having it again, and I'd readily send it to a trade partner or two. Well worth trying in spite of its limitations. If anything, it's nice to see a Texas brewery making an inspired stab at an English style winter warmer. This is one of the best English style brews I've had in ages.

Low B- (3.31)

Photo of NHhomebrewguy
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of zonker17
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Docrock
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of samshaw
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown, almost black. Slightly viscous. Medium tan head.

S: Notable bourbon aroma.

T: Very strong bourbon taste is overwhelming. Almost nothing else gets through. Alcoholic aftertaste is slightly unpleasant.

M: Lightly carbonated. Thickness is very apparent in the mouth.

O: Feels like drinking weak carbonated bourbon, with just a hint of more traditional beer flavor.

Photo of BJasny
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JamesStreet
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JDonnieS
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wmountz
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Premo88
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on-tap at Blackwater Draw, College Station, Texas ... poured into about a 13-oz. tulip/mini-snifter

L: black with small 1/4-inch head of tan foam that sticks hard at the top; up to the light, shows a clear super-dark amber/purple/brown ... beautifully clear; looks thin and light as it swirls around in the glass (i.e., it is NOT motor oil-like); no lacing with almost no collar

S: bourbon ... and more and more as it warms; oak, vanilla, lots of sweetness ... a big swirl about halfway down gives off a definite grain/sour grain note, then the bourbon really shines through again; some dark dried fruits, maybe prune/fig/date kind of things but really sweet; at times, almost fruity (as in not dark but lighter fruits)

T: wow ... loads of bourbon here ... almost all bourbon; in fact, there isn't as much vanilla/oak wood notes as just straight bourbon, only with no alcohol burn whatsoever; late into the glass starts to have a cumulative burn malt/burnt hops (?) bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste ... earthy bitterness

F: thin, slightly watery but has enough carbonation to help fill it out

O: great bourbon flavor; the barrels have completely taken over the base brew, which is perfect if you like the bourbon notes. not much else here, for the base brew is a relatively mild darker-malt brew. without question, an upgrade over the non-barrel-aged version.

Photo of jdshep
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

full review: http://buzzinggeek.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/beer-review-bourbon-barrel-aged-winter-warmer/
I could drink it over and over again.
My nasal cavity might have been malfunctioning though, because it was quite difficult for me to get the little aroma I did.
The flavor was sweet malts with the palate being creamy and soft. Great brew!

Photo of Goosehunter75
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rden4654
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sigmund4216
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Life-Love-Beer
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mendvicdog
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Aroma of malt, vanilla, faint bourbon & oak, dark fruit. Taste sweet caramel, toffee, slight dark fruit & molasses.

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Founder's Backwoods Bastard substitute, has very similar flavors.

Photo of Kips
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ranger7
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was very good. Somewhat pricey, but a nice holiday treat.

Photo of Jerzadelphia
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Domvan
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Doublechar0517
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jasoncpace
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of YNWA1892
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 346 ratings.