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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: 118 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 104 | Hads: 365
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very hearty Winter Warmer, on the cusp of porter/stout. Full chocolate and bourbon attack on the nose, yet, sadly not quite reaching the same level of assault on the tongue, however, it is still worthy of full recommendation from this particular reviewer. I must admit to being a little biased as this is one of my local brewers, but, this fact notwithstanding, Rahr and Sons has a great team and consistently attempt to push the boundaries.

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Photo of hornsup
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Winter 2012 version poured into a Sweetwater pint glass courtesy of a trade with sjs0187..thanks

A: Pours an amber murky brown color with no head at all and a small lacing around the edges. Very typical of the style

S: Was expecting more in this area....this smelled like a shot of Jim Beam. Very harsh...Get some wood in the back end of it after shaking my head from the whiskey...would expect about 12% abv from this alone

T: Tastes like a very sweet, coconuty whiskey shot. Load of vanilla in the middle. I personally dont like whiskey but this was a huge improvement on the smell as I was expected to be punched in the face with burning alcohol. Reminiscent of Beach Brewing's Blackfin barleywine....which I really enjoy.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied but has alot of depth. Coats your palate.

O: A solid bourbon barrel aged WW. The bourbon is definitely more pronounced in this brew than alot of its cohorts. The sweet coconuty, vanilla notes cut the alcohol and makes this beer grow on you as you continue to enjoy it. Its definitely a beer you sip, but is very acceptable for a cold winter's night. I would drink it again, but would not put a ton of effort into finding it...many others would substitute fine.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage (as it doesn't have the year on the label, this was the first year for bottling on the new line)

I've had this aging and thought I'd give it a try after being rather disappointed with the 2012 offering (which has replaced this one in the cellar).

Poured into a tulip glass black with a one finger off white head. Good retention and lacing. The scent of bourbon was noticable just pouring the beer into the glass. Once you get past that, there are also scents of carmel and chocolate malts.

The taste has a rather vanilla oak taste that melts into the bourbon. Then it brings out the chocolate flavors. This vintage is very well put together. The carbonation is still great and the body is medium.

I didn't review the 2012 bottle I had a couple weeks ago. But I was VERY disappointed with it. After opening this 2010 Vintage, I'm even more disappointed with the 2012. I'll have to review that bottle in two years.

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Photo of mothman
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
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!

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, Winter 2012
KtG snifter

A: Pours a deep brown almost black with reddish hues on edges. Initially about a half finger of light tan head. Alcohol feet.

S: Good amount of bourbon on nose. Vanilla. Roasted notes. Dark chocolate. Slight coconut notes. Dark fruits.

T: Really nice soft vanilla from the barreling on the tip of the tongue. Roasted notes. Dark fruits: fig and prune and raisin as it warms up a bit. Goes great with dark cocoa chocolate. No alcohol burn.

M: Full bodied. Great mouthfeel.

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Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours rich, deep brown, almost black, ruby highlights show when held up to light. 1 finger of tan head that quickly recedes to a standard foam ring. Looks very close to a stout

S - Bourbon up front, dtrong oak notes, slight vanilla, sweet chocolate, hint of molasses, more warm bourbon, sweet potatoe, slight creamy smell

T - Whiskey and chocolate blend, spicy wooden characterweet dark malts, mild alcohol flavor, slight coffee bitterness. Imagina a stout but replace the bitter roasted character with a strong whisky note. Slight coconut, very faint maple, creamy coffee, whisky all over

M - Thick and creamy, carbonation tends more towards the creamy than the fizzy. Lends to an over all creamy beer experience. Very enjoyable and smooth

O - Delicious and strong. Flavorful, packed with all sorts of smell and taste, the kind of beer that keeps you interested, and develops as it warms. An all day drinker for sure.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Las Colinas Beverage in Dallas. Dark mahogany, almost black pour with one finger head that fades quickly with decent lacing. Huge bourbon nose with hints of oak, vanilla, dark fruits, and chocolate. The taste follows suit with the bourbon really dominating again. Nicely complex with hints of raisins, oak, vanilla, maple, chocolate, and some subtle black cherries and butterscotch. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, albeit a bit thin at times, with a gentle boozey warming on the finish. Overall, this was a very surprising and delicious beer. This is my first experience with Rahr & Sons, but definitely not my last.

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Photo of afluentturtle
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance: A dark reddish/black, not see through by any means but a little bit of light can be seen penetrating through.

Smell: Bourbon, chocolate, holiday spices, a little but of vanilla.

Taste: Very good to say the least. When cold mostly chocolate and malts, a little bourbon. As it comes to room temperature the spice, and vanilla really show up. A little bit of fig, oak and raisin is detectable.

Mouthfeel: Almost stoutish, velvety smooth, a little alcohol lingers

Overall: Very good beer, for sure will be trying to score a few more to see how they age and for regular consuming. Have not had the un aged winter warmer to compare, but this is a delicious beer from Rahr and I think on of their best so far.

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Photo of pschul4
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a medium brown but sits very dark in the glass. Thanks to some jackass (me) pouring it there is 2/3 head and 1/3 beer to start.

S- Hints of whiskey and booze (in a good way). Other undeterminable sweet scents that I'm enjoying. Sorry this part of the review sucks, I'll get better with time like a watch (wtf does that mean lil wayne?)

T- Southparkdetectivenice.jpg. So complex, chocolate, roast malts, bourbon, honey, booze, more chocolate and some pine needles. This is awesome

M- Pretty flat due to said asshole pouring the beer but decent thickness

O- Really good, would have again in a heartbeat

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz bomber.

Really dark. Can't see through it, even when held up to the light, save for some auburn highlights toward the bottom. Minimal head, even with a relatively strong pour, and what there is quickly disappears.

Aroma is really enticing. Sweet malts with definite hints of the Bourbon barrel.

Taste has definite Bourbon notes and very warm in the throat. Really good with some spiciness up front on the lips and the Bourbon flavor on the back end on the tongue. Taste not quite as powerful as the smell, but improves with temperature.

Not overly carbonated, which makes sense for the style.

Overall a great beer that I will be adding to seasonal rotation.

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Photo of abeerwiseguy
4.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the tap at Fred's Texas Cafe in Fort Worth on Western Center served in a frosted schooner. It was hard for me let this beer sit there until it warmed to an acceptable temp. The smell alone caused me to drool.

When it arrived at the table it had a nice head that hung around for more than a few minutes. Very dark impenetrable color.

An amazingly rich collage of burbon, roasted malt, and vanilla aromas hits the nose like a sledge hammer.

On the taste, I was impressed to the point of immediately telling my spouse that she would be the designated driver as I was going to have another as dessert after our meal.

The roased malt, burbon, and caramel flavors all hit the tongue at once in a perfect symphony of flavorful bliss. No hops or other bitterness at all. I have been a fan of Rahr’s Winter Warmer for several years and this burbon cask conditioned variation is head and shoulders above that. But this is a rotating beer at Rahr and this year’s effort is also hugely better than what I have tasted from them over the past several years.

Very low carbonation with an incredibly thick and rich mouth feel that lingered for some minutes after each sip.

I am very much impressed by this effort from Rahr and hope they continue to produce such beers.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Founders snifter.

A - pours a dark brown with a two finger medium brown head

S - lots of chocolate notes, alohol present, some barrel sweetness

T - malty. lots of chocolate notes as indicated in the nose. Not an overwhelming barrel character, but easily detected. As it warms, the vanilla and barrel flavors become more apparent. drying on tongue - maybe a touch of bready/biscuity flavors; biscuit malt in this one or some larger quantities of munich malts??

M - somewhat thick

D - a nice sipper. I enjoyed this over a couple hours of work.

Overall another nice beer from Rahr I've had the liberty to try. I enjoyed the non-barrel aged winter warmer a lot and don't think this was a huge improvement, but I would like to do a side by to test this statement. I think some more vanilla character would go a long way in helping to give a sweeter perception and add some additional commplexity.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark velvet brown with a light head. Wonderful aroma of bourbon, chocolate and sweet malt. Oh wow, the first sip is smooth, real smooth. It starts off with a light sweet malt then comes the rush of bourbon. There is a light cola taste and just a hint of dark fruit. This is a little more thin then I expected but it is unbelievably drinkable. The bourbon is not over the top and really balances this one out. Outstanding. Really can't wait to get some of this again.

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Photo of videofrog
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Winter 2011 Release poured into a Jester King 2nd Anniversary snifter. Served at cellar temp (50F).

A: Really dark, nearly opaque brown. Ruby highlights around the edges. Light khaki head settles into a thin ring quickly leaving no lacing.

S: Vanilla and oak up front, bourbon, spices, and raisin.

T: Vanilla is stronger than I remember from having this on draft last winter. Bourbon and alcohol burn have calmed, but not too much. Raisin and other dark fruitiness more present as well. Oak is strong in the finish and lingers from sip to sip.

M: Nice & thick-bodied. Carbonation is on the low end of medium.

O: Can't say that this one necessarily improves with age, but I definitely get different characteristics. If you're attempting all 22oz by yourself, be sure and break it up with water or a food pairing so as to avoid the oak taste building up too much and becoming overpowering.

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

Pours a deep red/brown with a big tan head that lingers and laces. Nice.

Smells of cherry, toast, chocolate, big bready nose.

Taste is sweet malt up front with bourbon notes that goes into an slightly oak-astringent middle and finishes on a nice mix of caramel, bourbon, and cracker/toasty notes. Quite tasty.

Medium to lighter body with medium carbonation. Would prefer less carbonation actually.

Quite a nice bready beer with hints of bourbon. I like how subdued the bourbon is. Really nicely balanced and easy to drink. I'd get it again.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours dirty brown, pretty much opaque. Barely a head, not much more than a cap is formed. Carbonation appears low.

S: Sweet bourbon is most apparent in the aroma. Toasted malt and a bit of alcohol come through as well.

T: Bourbon, vanilla. Dark fruit, spicy kick in the finish. Pretty straight forward. Alcohol is less detectable in the taste.

M: Creamy, but slightly under carbed. Would like to see a little more flavor intensity, or a little more carbonation.

O: A nice take on the Winter Warmer style.

Note: This beer was quite off putting right out of the fridge. Notable improvement as the glass warmed.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.09/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From canadianghetto in a largly Texas BIF box. 22oz bottle dated Winter 2011

The nose is largely booze but the underlying taste of the beer is not. However, the finish is bad whiskey, or maybe not 'bad' whiskey but the lasp sip of a lower end whiskey on the rocks where you get a touch of smoke and a lot of water.

It's unfortunate that such an incredible looking beer would have so little else working for it. The base beer is likely just fine, though the body of this was thin, and especially for a 'winter warmer'. Good spice notes blend well with a subtle bourbon flavour, perhaps a touch underdone actually given the strong presence in the nose and the finish.

Appearance - dark, brooding. Thin ring of bubbles, looks like this would be full of plum, currant, nutmeg or cloves notes.

Decent offering. Perhaps I got the wrong year, or perhaps I opened it at the wrong time, but this is a league average bottle. Not saying there's anything wrong with that, and I did not find the beer being described in a lot of these reviews.


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Photo of stakem
3.08/5  rDev -24.3%
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.

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Photo of nate8767
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rahr's offering pours thinly into a Boulevard tulip, seemingly black until placed in light, when its deep caramel color can be appreciated. Its fine foamy head dissipates a little quicker than I would've liked, with average lacing and retention along the glass.

Nutmeg, caramel, and cinnamon contribute to the nose, though alcohol is pretty obviously perceptible. Given its mild 8.5% ABV, I would attribute this mainly to its immaturity, only spending 10 weeks in bourbon casks.

The alcohol is much more well blended into the taste, with spice, coffee, chocolate, and smoke giving way to a sweeter, lightly malted finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin, though, and the finishing notes don't linger as much as I would like.

I think this beer has a lot of room to grow, and I'll be keeping a couple of bombers to enjoy in the next several months.

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Photo of jkanavel
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a sticky mocha colored head.

S: A little heavy on the alcohol. This is a huge beer, and smells like one. Low on the hops, high in the malt aromas.

T: Carmel, strong chocolate presence, smokey, a slight hint of bourbon/dried fruits. Plenty of alcohol comes through...very warming. Very complex and sweet, like a good brandy.

M: Full bodied, low carbonation. Satisfying. Just perfect for this style.

O: If Rahr could brew all their beers with this much care and attention to detail, they'd be the hottest brewery in the country. As it stands, this is something of an anomaly from them.

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Photo of JayAre46
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

shared with my dad, bomber poured into a red wine glass. yields a deep earthy brown with a nice off white head that leaves great lacing. the aroma is of toasted malt, dark fruit, molasses and some woody characteristics, nicely done and a great aroma for the season. the taste is of very subtle coffee grounds, charred flavor, transitions to the sweeter side with dark fruits, molasses a very light touch of vanilla. subtle barrel characteristics but not overpowering well done and very proportionate to the beer. medium to full body and creamy on the palate carbonation is moderate and nicely done. overall man oh man did rahr and sons really brew this? everything ive had from them has been a colossal let down until this. this beer is absolutely astonishing and tops in the style for me. a great beer that doesn't over due it, well done.

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Photo of fragilehearted
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 version. 22oz bomber into my Rahr WW oversized snifter. Xmas gift from the bf...good job!

A - Very dark brown, clear when held up to the light. Pretty much zero head, a little patchy ring & cover.

S - vanilla & bourbon, first & foremost. Some caramel, molasses, kinda chocolatey...pretty awesome! Great WW aroma.

T - follows the nose, but the hops come out more, especially at the finish, which is a little unbalanced...but otherwise really tasty.

M - medium bodied, smooth as all get out, except for the hop bite at the end. Just could be a tad better.

D/O - one of my favorite WWs, definitely better than their regular WW (which is still good, just not outstanding like this). I'm lucky to be able to get this since it's local. I have another that I'm planning on saving for next year (still in Christmas wrapping, aw!), and I think that will give it some time to lose the bite at the end. Hope the final product is just that much smoother!

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Photo of spiff0677
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage into a wide mug. At the bosses house so no globe or snifter.

Appearance - Nice deep colored pour with a good half inch of head. Not much lacing but reatined a nice evan layer of foam through the most of the glass. Darker color than I expected with deep cherry red and brown shades around the edges.

Smell - Good bit of vanilla and bourbon. Followed by cherry and pistacio salad. Took me a second to place that old familiar smell(pistacio salad) in the foam. As the head died down I got a bit of grassy hops.

Taste - For the most part follows the nose. Vanilla, bourban, and a bit of cherry. The hops is still a bit fresh leaving a mild sharpness.

Mouthfell - Medium bodied. I bit unbalanced with the hops but it just needs a 6 months or so to mellow. Nice creamy feel up front with a midly sharp finish.

Overall - A damn fine beer! Cant wait to try one in another 6 months. One of my favorite styles that seems to fit somewhere in between a big red, big brown, and porter. The bourban and vanilla really add to this beer. I was worried that the bourban would dominate the flavor but it didn't at all.

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