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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.

104 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 104
Hads: 365
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 25.06%
Wants: 92
Gots: 117 | FT: 9
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 365
Photo of tbryan5
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Exactly what I was looking for! The essence and body of the winter warmer was not overpowered by barrel characteristics. A great offering from Rahr & Sons and perfect for a cold night. Definitely living up to its name!

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Photo of Jlabs
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

nice creamy bourbon flavor on this one..a bit thin than most BBA i've had but tasty nonetheless..some light fruit notes in this, which mix nicely w/ the bourbon..would love to try this again

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Photo of DeepBrew
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2014 edition, poured from 22oz bomber into snifter.

A: Walnut colored, almost opaque, with medium-high off-white foam with medium retention. Leaves behind good lacing.

S: Malt, dark fruit, barrel

T: Taste follows smell, with some wine-y sour, maybe from the barrel. There's also little spice and bitter lingering. Cannot identify the bourbon in the taste.

M: Creamy with good carbonation, medium-high strength.

O: Had higher expectations after 2013's great execution, and this was a let-down. Still it is a drinkable seasonal.

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Photo of JFCLACK
2.8/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with thin mocha head. Nose is very subtle bready. Mouthfeel was very good. Taste was ok. Finish was slightly metallic. If this beer on nitro might improve it. Overall good beer

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Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -18.7%
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)

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Photo of samshaw
3.58/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of Premo88
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of jdshep
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad.

Mohagany body with a thin beige cap. Bourbon, oak, vanilla aroma. Sweet and chocolate tones followed by malt and vanilla. Light to medium in body with soft carbonation. Delicious.

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Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

Thanks to CaptCleveland for sending me this bottle, & winter seems to have arrived with a vengeance today (20 degree drop in temp!), so it’s time. 22 oz. bottle from 2013 split with my wife.

The pour is very dark, with enough carbonation to lend three or four of Lost Abbey’s brews. Big toffee & caramel aromas are rolling around with the vanilla & strong bourbon lent by the barrel. Nothing subtle here. Subtle is overrated.

Rahr Winter Warmer – Bourbon Barrel Aged is confusing my taste buds. The initial burst is almost English Barleywine in the toffee/caramel arena, with a stiffening shot of malty sweetness. The mid-section is all beautiful barrel, bringing warm vanilla & soft, sinus-warming bourbon notes. Wood is faint but pervasive, like a cartoon. The finish is clean & sweet. A touch thin, which might be its weak point, but contributes to a helluva drinkability asset. I drinka lotsa.

Color me surprised. Winter warmers are not among my top twenty favorite styles, but this one, combined with the barrel, sucked the skepticism right out of me. Excellent beer.

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Photo of roblowther
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber and the world is my oyster. It pours a complete black with a very dense, creamy light tan head that leaves small but stubborn lacing. The smell is cherries, tobacco, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Like Christmas at the Marlboro place. Taste is toasted bread, then...an oddly gamey flavor. It's not bad but I'm not sure what it is and I'm not sure how to describe it. A bit smokey, a bit fatty, a bit spicy. The mouthfeel is creamy and just carbonated enough. Overall, I like this beer. It's not something I'm telling everyone to rush out and search for, but if it kisses you on the lips, for God's sake, kiss back.

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Photo of RedSunRising
4.74/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 Bottle - A friend who goes to Texas brought it back for me, I traded him a Driftwood Singularity for it.

Appearance - Poured into a McAuslan Tulip. Deep Brown/black, a bit of red when held up to the light. A bit of particulate floating within. Two fingers of creamy beige-tan head.

Smell - Really, really good. Bourbon is the most prominent note, layered with sweet roasted-malt notes (chocolate, coffee, caramel/toffee, maybe hazelnut?) and oak. Alcohol is noticeable on the nose, but not overbearing. Slight smoke is noticeable as well.


Taste -

Mouthfeel -

Overall -

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, earth, wood, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, earth, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly mild bourbon presence all around.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown. Small khaki head. Thin collar. Wispy.

Smell - Kinda fruity. Caramel. Vanilla. A bit of bourbon.

Taste - More of a straightforward caramel flavor. Toffee. Bourbon. Much more oak. Less fruity. Pretty sweet, but doesn't overwhelm for the small pour that I have.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Could be thicker. Oaky. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Tasted interesting at first, but got a little boring.

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Photo of cpiray45
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My son brought this beer over for my dad and I to sample and it was very good. It had a dark and robust flavor and the company was great. The company probably made the beer better but I will drink this again. I would like to have this on tap before I really get sold.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter glass.

I love the appearance of this beer; it's beautiful. The pour produces a three-finger thick, frothy, chewy, cream-colored head. Below lies a pitch black, thick-looking liquid that resembles oil and is very opaque.

Bourbon is prominent as one would expect on the nose. Some alcohol astringency accompanies this. Alongside these aromas, I get sweet dark malts and oak, and the overall smell is very thick, pungent and inviting. I guess this is part of why they call these warmers.

My taste buds are just as pleased as my nose was. The beer is immediately bourbony and oaken on my tongue and there are notes of vanilla over the silky, creamy mouthfeel. I also get some sweet maltiness, some rye spice and a slight chocolatey aftertaste.

As mentioned above, this beer is silky, creamy and smooth. There's low carbonation, a slight astringency at the finish and a warming sensation on the tongue.

I find this beer to be a great treat. The beer is smooth, balanced and not dominated by bourbon, and thus allows for other flavors to figure prominently.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rahr bourbon barrell aged winter warmer
Into a stout glass: This pours a black stout with a light tan/ off-white sudsy head. Lacing cakes as it settles. Great sight.
Smells of chocolate/ toffee and dark cherry esters, some oak burn.
Tastes nice and smooth. Light finish but with such a smooth more chocolatey taste. Very easy sipping because it tastes so velvety and nice, also with a bourbon barrel-flavored mouth-burn imparts a chewiness and a flavor note that cones off as sweet black olive, and there's a vanilla note at the end that lends a fairly satisfying, dry sharpness, if not a bit chalky tasting. Still, a very solid brew from a style a rarely try, and a Texas brewer i dont often sample from. Underrated perhaps. Lives up to its name well as I sip this on a Texas evening with temps headed into the low 20's.

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Photo of Can_has_beer
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Flying Saucer, 2013 vintage.

A- Dark brown with a thin, tan head.

S- Roasted malts and another aroma that I can only describe as alcohol. I definitely need better descriptors.

T- The bourbon is very subtle, and it blends in nicely. The main flavor component was chocolate. I mean, a HUGE amount of chocolate. Totally not a bad thing.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- I was super surprised by the chocolate component on the palette. The bourbon melded very nicely. It was not overdone or too weak. Overall, a pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown almost black with a ruby tint when held to the light. I'm pouring into a miniature snifter glass and there is pretty much no head.

S: This beer smells awesome. Toffee, caramel, dark fruit (raisins?), peat, whiskey, and some kind of must.

T: interesting, but good. Peat, bourbon, malts, oak, light syrup, caramel, toffee, raisins and other dark fruits, and a hint of cocoa or chocolate. Pretty good.

M: The mouth is medium, I'd have to say. This isn't a bad mouth feel for a beer like this though. It actually fits perfectly. There's a little carb too.

O: A good brew. A lot like a scotch with some more caramel tones to it. Price is high though...

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Photo of TX-Badger
2.48/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I had this year's version of the BBAWW, 2013 release.

A - a typical dark brown, deep caramel color, nothing special.

S - I was expecting bourbon, but it was very faint. A little caramel and some toffee, and a faint hint of vanilla.

T - a mixture of caramel, toffee, slight vanilla, and a little dark fruit, slight bourbon, and I mean slight. The faintest hint to let you know it's there.

M - thin...really thin. Watery would describe it best.

O - not what I was expecting considering I've had the previous two years' releases. This year it was disappointing to say the least. The price skyrocketed and the quality dropped. I would say try it on tap, the price of a bottle is unjustifiable.

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Photo of Lowseph
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I couldn't believe how good this beer was
the first time I tried it.

Only had it a few times, and I plan on getting it again it
the next time I see it.

I don't recommend eating anything while drinking this beer,
I do however recommend that you drink it slowly.

its very delicious and deserves to be enjoyed thoroughly.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer is hella-mazing. It smells like scotch. Seriously, I smelled it and couldn't figure out how to describe what I was smelling except, "whiskey?" It's got a pervasive smoked peat flavour and a real whiskey-like flavour despite the relatively low alcohol content. I don't know how it attains that flavour and bite at under 9% ABV. But it does an amazing job of it. Besides the peaty, woody, whiskey flavour, there's a character of overall sweetness and maltiness. Roasted malt and maybe a little bit of chocolate malt can be detected. This tastes to me like an exceptional Scotch ale, which certainly makes a nice winter warmer in my opinion. Very musty, very warm, and overall whiskey flavour. Yummm

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Photo of chanokokoro
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an unbranded snifter

Pours a murky dark amber capped by a fluffy two finger khaki head. Some light lacing is evident, slightly above average retention. Caramel, toffee, light oaky notes, and some faint bourbon accents on the nose. Caramel, almond, toffee, coconut, vanilla, some light cocoa power and hints of chocolate maltiness . Finishes with toasted oak and gentle warm bourbon booziness. Heavy medium body to lighter full body. Creamy, smooth and silky. I tend to enjoy unspiced, more traditonal winter warmers. This brew fits the bill and the bourbon barrel is an added plus.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour yields a couple fingers of khaki head on a opaque brown and red body.

Big dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, and oaky coconut goodness.

The flavor brings forth notes of dark fruit, caramel sweetness, light bourbon, and barrel character.

Light carbonation, medium bodied and super smooth.

So sad I've skipped over this before due to being a Rahr beer. This beer rules.

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Photo of OgreSanchez
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got this on tap at The Gingerman's in Fort Worth. This might be what the Greek's were talking about when they wrote about the God's Ambrosia. If you have access to this hidden gem, you should grab as much as you can find. I hear you can get it in 22 oz bottles at Central Market in Dallas if you get a chance to go.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.