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

360 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 360
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 88
Gots: 117 | 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: 360 | Reviews: 108
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beerness for sharing some of this at the Sexual Chocolate release. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a fairly-dark brown with a bit of a crimson hue around the edges. Good tan head with a bit of lacing. The nose brings forward a good dosing of bourbon along with some dark fruit, malty sweetness, and a bit of cherry. The taste is mostly bourbon along with a bit of oak and dark fruits. Cherry component in the finish. Body is medium with a bit of an alcohol bite, though not too much. Carbonation is fairly low and there's a bit of a twang in the finish. Drinkability was pretty good, though this wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Not terribly complex and something a bit off in the finish.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear dark brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light notes of lacing. Aroma of medium bourbon notes with some light vanilla with some light caramelized malt notes. Taste is also a mix between some caramelized malt notes with light toffee undertones and some vanilla and bourbon notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed with nice balanced between complexity and drinkability.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.44/5  rDev -15.9%
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 womencantsail
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bobby for sharing.

A: This one pours a darkish brown color with a thin khaki colored head.

S: Smells roasty with a nice enough chocolate aroma. A bit of oak/wood and some mild vanilla. A bit of dark fruit going on in the background. Mild licorice aromas to it and some hints of coffee.

T: Slightly bitter with lots of roasted malts. Some licorice notes, wood, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon. Quite a bit of chocolate, perhaps some of which is from oxidation. Light notes of dark fruit on the palate as well.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This was quite good. Not too much bourbon flavor, but a nice -bal contribution to it and good flavors overall.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Surly shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to jefferz5000 for this bottle!

Part two of the SwillFest 2011 after-party. It pours a cloudy garnet-sienna topped by over a finger of light tan foam. The nose comprises whiskey, balsa, cola, vanilla, toffee, light booze, buttery biscuits, and brown sugar. The taste holds notes of toffee, candi sugar, light brown sugar, light bourbon, and light oak. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a lightly watery syrupy feel. Overall, a very solid brew, perhaps not as overtly flavorful as I expected, but enjoyable nonetheless (especially when compared to the horrendousness that preceded it).

Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to duff247 for this great looking beer.

Pours a creamy 1 finger head that fizzes away fairly quickly over dark murky molasses maroon brown colored beer.

Nose is exploding from the pour with tons of chocolate, roasted malts, a creamy chocolate porter aroma, dark crystal malts, a touch of toffee, a bit of bakers chocolate, caramel, lots of coffee, a slight creamy oatmeal, a bit of fluffy nougat, some light oak and a bit of bourbon, and hints of warming booze below. Some vanilla and hints of earthy hops come through as it warms. Phenomenal nose!

Taste brings some cocoa nibs to start, more chocolate pouring out, some roast and a bit of coffee, dark crystal malts with some caramel, hints of molasses and toffee, some tingly warming booze gives it a bit of a bite as well. Then more nougat fluffy flavors and a bit of creamy oatmeal again, a bit of a cinnamon and light holiday spice flavors finally come through, but very slightly, throttled back well. Some bourbon and a bit of oak, bringing vanilla as well. The bourbon and oak don't come through as much as I was expecting. The cinnamon starts to come through more and more as the taste goes and as it warms too, adding to the slight tingly warming booze as well. A slight bit of a bitter earthy hop character, but very subdued. A nice winter beer. It has a bit of a sweetness, that follows through on the finish with a slight bit of sticky feel, lots of chocolate very late some cocoa powder, a slight bit of roast and some bourbon, a bit of vanilla, and a long booze feel too.

The mouth is medium to heavier bodied, fairly full bodied, a slight bit creamy, with decent carbonation.

Drink is fair, the booze takes a bit of a bite, with some warmth, lingering taste, and a touch of a tingle that is accentuated by the cinnamon. It does finish a slight bit sticky too, but not that bad. It def helps warm me up in the middle of winter, and its the type of beer you want to drink slowly.

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -19.1%
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 MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BgThang for trading me a bottle of this one. It'd been on my wants list for a long time. Served in plastic cups and shared with nkersten, the lover of Winter Warmers.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that features good retention, spots of lacing, and a cola-like dark caramel brown body.

S - Lots of bourbon, oaky vanilla, chocolate, nuts, and a slightly salty soy (say that three times fast) note.

T - The taste is significantly less bourbon forward, and thankfully loses the soy sauce quality. Tastes a lot like a higher gravity English brown, which is basically what Winter Warmers are supposed to be (and not this spiced crap we get at Christmas) that has a light barrel-aged component. I think the bottle stated the number of days this was in barrels it was unsurprisingly quite short (10 weeks or something). Lots of chocolate, nuts, vanilla, fruity English yeast, and hints of bourbon. It's perhaps a touch cloying after a while, but still quite nice.

M - Smooth medium body, medium-low carbonation, and not much heat at all. Lightly sticky, and unsurprisingly low in tannic character.

D - I had a few pours of this, and it went reasonably quickly. I'd definitely have it again, and I'm curious to see how much it varies from year-to-year, as apparently the barrel source is always different. It's definitely in the top 5 winter warmers I've ever had.

Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beerness gave me some of this in the line for Sexual Chocolate. Thanks.

Beer is brown with a thin tan head that leaves some lacing behind.

Beer smells like bourbon and prunes or port. Beer smells sweet and good.

Beer is medium body. Nice oakiness in the late mouth as well as some cherry. The bourbon and sweetness populate the front half of the palate. It's a good beer overall. I'd have it again.

Photo of Mora2000
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Fort Worth Flying Saucer and reviewed from notes. Rahr's Winter Warmer aged in Maker's Mark barrels, sounds interesting.

The beer pours a dark brown-red with a small tan head. The aroma is awesome, with some oak, vanilla, bourbon and a little roasted malt. The flavor is great as well, with tons of vanilla and oak character. You get a little bourbon and some spices as well as some dark fruit and some coffee and roasted malts. This is a complex masterpiece that is a great improvement over the regular Winter Warmer from Rahr and Sons. The beer has low carbonation and a thick mouthfeel. The alcohol is not that present in the flavor but the alcohol warming affect is great. I was sitting outside on the patio in about 40 degree weather and this beer warmed me up nicely. I wish they would bottle this because this is as good as any beer I have ever had from the state of Texas.

Photo of mothman
3.84/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap in snifter.

Dark color is little head. Full glass of beer.

Normally I don't like winter warmers, but the bourbon flavors take down the spices a notch. There is still spices after the wave of oak and bourbon. Caramel and chocolate with some dark fruits.

A little thinner in body with a touch of roast.

A nice treat and worth a try!

Photo of stakem
3.08/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jefferz for providing this as an extra in one of our trades. Poured from a bomber into a snifter. The brew appears dark brown with ruby clarity around the edgews. A quick dissolving head holds in a penline pattern around the edge of the glass.

The smell is dark and toasty like toffee initially that gives way to a tangy alcohol kick. Lots of fruity vinous alcohol notes start to dominate the aroma with a sharp almost lactic tang. Vanilla is mildly noted across the back.

The taste is sweet with caramel and vanilla tht blends into character of tart unripe cherry and other miscellaneous fruits. Each sip I take starts to draw out more lactic quality and tang. Toasty toffee grain and a pleasant residual sweetness can be found if you concentrate on those aspects instead if the tangy elements.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level if carbonation. The pleasant and expected aspects of toasty to sweet residual maltiness was very enjoyable but this brew also includes an unexpected and not welcomed guest of acdity. There is a mIl alcohol impact which is to be expected of the style. Overall a pretty average offering. I think there is some clashing going on in this particular bottle.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle courtesy of jenray. Thanks Jen!

It pours close to a black, more of a really dark cola colour with some reddish hues peaking through. There's about an inch of off white foam and the lacing is fine in the early stages of the session.

The nose is on the light side for a bourbon barrel aged brew. Sure, the bourbon is there but it's soft and I can't get much more out of the aroma..maybe a hint of roasted malt.

The taste is very nice though. Roasted malt and bourbon are up first with some milk chocolate moving in and adding some nice sweet notes. All come across on the mild side as in not in your face but, I'm growing to like the more subtle flavour impact on my palate. It's a soothing, comfortable, sit back and relax brew and I'm appreciating that aspect of its quality.

In my mind, this is full bodied with fairly light carbonation and has a very smooth and enjoyable mouth feel and because the alcohol is hidden pretty darned well, I find it very drinkable. It's nice to enjoy a beer that is bourbon barrel aged and doesn't go over the top with it. Like I said before, this is a very comfortable beer to sit down with. I really like this offering from Rahr.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An extra from jefferz5000 (thanks Jeff!). Winter Warmers are a style I've been slow to come around to, due to typically high spice loading, but this one is atypical in that regard. Plus it's aged in bourbon barrels which is often a good thing.

It pours a dark brown color, transparent only at the edges, with 2 fingers of off-white foam. Very nice aroma centered around the bourbon, lots of sweet malts and some dark fruits like plums or cherries or the like. The malts make this smell delicious, much more sweet than roasty, and complement the bourbon very well.

It tastes good but falls a little short of the aroma. The malts are not as sweet tasting as they smell, more of a bitter note to them. The bourbon is more flavorful than hot so that's a big plus. There's a little sour bite in the aftertaste which doesn't seem right either but isn't exactly objectionable. Medium carbonation, not necessarily a sipper as it goes down easily. Glad to try it.

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 release.

Pours a fairly dark brown color with some ruby hues and a thin khaki colored head that recedes rather quickly.

Aromas are all barrel forward initially. Bourbon, oak and vanilla are all out in the forefront with emerging light toast and toffee in the background. Maybe a little cocoa as well.

The tastes follow the nose with cocoa, toffee and toasted bready maltiness which is immediately taken over by the robust bourbon induced flavors of oak and vanilla. Some warming alcohol emeges as it warms as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Finish is pretty barrel heavy and sweet.

Overall this was a fine end of the night kind of beer but it's fairly one dimentional. The base beer is merely a vehicle for the barrel induced flavors and this falls into the overly barrel forward beer category for me. A bit much to attempt to finish a bomber by yourself.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque dark brown color with a small, tan head that fades pretty quick and leaves a healthy splattering of lace.

Vanilla, chocolate and light bourbon are very bold on the nose. Lots of wood and mild charcoal upon further inspection. Very nice, heads and shoulders above the regular WW from this Ft. Worth brewery.

It is safe to say this is Rahr's finest creation to date. Very rich, with big and bold woody bourbon flavors while still having a certain smoothness on the mouthfeel. Malts are integrated well - chocolate, light roast and some caramel sweetness. Kudos to Rahr for bringing a delicious, Texas-born, barrel-aged beer in bottles to us.

Photo of champ103
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color with some ruby highlights around the edges. A two finger beige head forms at first, but recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Not much lace though.
S: Toasted malt, chocolate, light vanilla. A hint of oak from the barrels. Overall good, but fairly neutral.
T: Follows the nose. Toasted malt, powdery chocolate, and vanilla. Some residual sweetness, and lingering wood/oak flavor. A lingering bitterness builds as well. There is also an odd, spicy aftertaste that I can not put my finger on.
M/D: A lighter body than I was expecting. Thin, and almost under carbonated. Easy to drink. Everything is well incorporated. I will finish the bottle without a problem.

Overall a very nice barrel aged beer. Probably the best I have had from Rahr. I am thinking that a bigger body would help things out tremendously. It just seems too thin to me. Something I would recommend, and a good addition to the Texas beer scene. Though I have had better barrel aged beers.

Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev -1%

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.

Photo of Immortale25
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Lots of vanilla and raisin.

Photo of gtermi
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark redish brown with a head that hardly exists. The head doesnt even cover the whole beer and leaves around the glass of the beer.

S: The smell is outstanding. It has a lot of chocolate, coffee, caramel and malt.

T: To me this is one of the best winter warmers I have ever had. The beer has a lot of chocolate and coffee flavors. Has a strong sweetness and a little whiskey flavor. Just a great combo.

M: The beer is very smooth and gives you a nice warm feeling. It is very drinkable and has a slight crispness.

O: This is a very great beer, by far the best one that Rahr makes (IMO). I am aging a bottle and cant wait to see how this beer tastes in a year.

Photo of TX-Badger
2.48/5  rDev -39.4%
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.

Photo of FosterJM
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

226th review on BA
bottle to NB Globe

App- To me it looked like a well poured soda. The same dark sugary brown with a nice two finger heard. Very little lacing and nice swirls.

Smell- The nose is very light. The bourbon and oak is mellow. It could be I have this a little too cold. Some light scents of extracts of vanilla or some almond, a touch of malt.

Taste- Tastes like a diet vanilla coke to me. Not the best flavors but for a beer and for what it is pretty good. I pick up some subtle flavors of the oak but am missing the heat of the bourbon. Its a bit flat to me.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a fairly decent carb level. A nice mouth feel. Its a good sipper that is smooth and enjoyable on the palate if a little flat.

Drink- Again my boy in TX always comes in with new beers I have never heard of. A nice extra. A little late drinking it past Christmas but it was still a pretty good beer.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.