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Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer - Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

307 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 307
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 13.35%
Wants: 75
Gots: 92 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 05-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 307 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pleaseletmein
4.9/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Out of the bottle a very dark brown pour. Not much lacing.
The bourbon barrel is well represented. Whiskey and wood are prominent.
Sweet and boozy at first. Warm and fulfilling after it rests.
Excellent mouth feel that keeps this sipping brew leaving me happy and content.
Overall, a fantastic Winter Warmer.

pleaseletmein, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Heretic42
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Heretic42, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of Vashtar
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is daaark and seems clear.

The smell is pleasant and carries the typical toffee/caramel scent, but not as strongly as some extremely dark beers.

The taste is nice and simple. It's drinkable for a dark beer.

The mouth feel is smooth and thick, like thick saliva.

Overall, it's a good beer, but it's dark. I still prefer others when comparing it to 'winter beers.'

Vashtar, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Texasfan549, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of joshuacavett
5/5  rDev +21.4%

joshuacavett, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of bentwookie
4/5  rDev -2.9%

bentwookie, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Cola brown, not much head. Thin tan ring and spotty lace.

S - Deep malt. Nice. Candy aspects, and hint of booze.

T - Taste as smell, but spices added.

M - Good carb, good balance. Medium to light body.

D - Big flavors and ABV. Would tire easily.

srandycarter, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of nhindian
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle generously provided by Exiled, thanks Jason!

This is definitely an interesting concept, I can't really say I've heard of anyone barrel-aging a Winter Warmer.

A - Appears much darker than I was expecting, almost completely black with some cola-colored speckles throughout. A creamy, 2-fingered tan head melds flawlessly to contrast with the liquid, with decent retention. Lacing is solid as well, with thin curtains of foam.

S - Very interesting aroma on this beer. I am getting a lot of malts, spice, and fruits, without only a slight trace of the bourbon barrel here (and supposedly this batch is aged in Jim Beam barrels). The fruits are much stronger than anticipated, bringing cinnamon and raisins, almost to the point of a dubbel or quad.

T - Thankfully the taste is much more balanced than the nose. The whiskey actually plays a role here, and it is nicely integrated in my opinion. It's not exploding with the barrel, but it serves to accentuate the nuances. Conversely, the fruits are turned down here, making way for dark chocolate and slight coffee. Much more balanced. Throughout, a dry spiciness persists to work into the Winter Warmer style. I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan at first, but it definitely grew on me.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with decent carbonation. I have to admit, I thought this would feel a bit more full in the mouth. Finishes semi-dry and has a lingering aftertaste of whiskey, chocolate, and raisins.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I have to give Rahr credit for barrel-aging a style that doesn't really have a rich history of being put in barrels. That being said, although I received this beer more warmly after having a few sips, I'm still not completely sold. I feel the bourbon aspect is spot on, but it is still a bit too sweet with an overwhelming fruit presence. Enjoyable, but I could see this as being a beer I could only have once or twice a year.D

nhindian, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of DarkAngel
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When it's winter time and the cold wind is howling, and you are surrounded by good friends, there are only a few brews you can choose from if you want an epic one. This is one of them. This year's batch used Jim Beam barrels and it is wonderful. Strong, warming, and delicious. This brew is a must try and you'll find yourself saving some for aging, which I highly recommend.

DarkAngel, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
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).

TMoney2591, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of mulder1010
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have to thank jefferz5000 for this one. Much appreciated.
Bomber poured into a tulip

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled a near black with touches of red at the top of the head. Short lived light brown head but better looking film I think. A dirty off white film. On swirling get one finger but quickly goes back to film. A couple of spots here and there but not a lot of any significant lacing.

S-- Crazy good nose. Got bourbon, vanilla, Oak, dark fruits (mostly raisin), and warm butterscotch. Very well balanced smell on this. Bourbon is quite soft but well done.

T-- Vanilla, raisin, butterscotch, oak and slight hints of bourbon. Solid tasting.

M-- Medium to low carbonation and medium bodied. A little spicy in the mid palate. Raisin, vanilla and bourbon dominated. Not very syrupy or sweet. Pick up the alcohol in the back of the mouth but just in fits of warmth and spiciness. A couple of thin gaps here and there, also a little bit of watery gaps. Both in mid palate. Also pick up some grape notes to this. Has some cola qualities to this.

O-- Traded for this for the fact I liked the idea of taking a winter warmer and putting it in a barrel. Very good idea. Very well done beer. Ticks the boxes of what a Winter Warmer is and the barrel adds a lot of complexity to this. Almost enhances the malts even more. Very cellar worthy and I think might have smoothed this out more as it is something like 7-8 months old now.

mulder1010, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of gnemesis
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter on 04/25/2011.
The cool weather stuck around a bit longer than usual in Michigan so this made for a tasty treat.
Pours dark brown, almost black with a thick and creamy tan head. Good retention and decent lace throughout. This one smells of bourbon, hints of caramel, vanilla, dark fruits, raisin, and brown sugar... damn it smells good. The taste doesn't disappoint. Much of the same greatness with a touch of oak. The dark fruit flavors really come forward. This beer had a medium/full body with medium carbonation. One of my favorite winter-warmers yet! I'm hunting down more immediately.

gnemesis, May 23, 2011
Photo of jamescain
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 10oz pint glass at Draught House

Appearance: Mahogany with an off white head that fades into a thin lacing on the top of the beer.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, sweet malt, toffee, caramel, coffee and chocolate. Very complex aroma I’m very excited about the first taste.

Taste: Slight alcohol warming with a big bourbon taste, I think with a little time this would mellow out and be even more enjoyable. Sadly the taste did not live up to the nose. The flavors were hard to distinguish because of the strong bourbon flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body. I was expecting more body, but I guess for a winter warmer this what you should expect. There was a slight alcohol warming sensation.

Overall: Good offering from Rahr, this being the first beer from them I have ever tried. If they make it again I want to pick up some bottles for the cellar next time.

jamescain, May 17, 2011
Photo of brewdenver
4.97/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW! WOW! WOW! Had this on tap at the Medilsom Moth in Dallas, TX. Poured into a tulip.

I have had the KBS stout and this is right on par in my opinion. Outstanding stout aged in whiskey barrels. This beer was almost completely black even when held in the light. Strong head that had good retention and held on for sometime. Fingers and lacing were strong throughout. Smell was amazing with the whiskey really standing out, followed by roast malts, chocolate, and some caramel from the whiskey and caramel malts. I could not stop smelling this beer. Caramel, whiskey, roast malt, chocolate all hit the palette in perfect harmony. One not overpowering the other or leaving a lasting impression to deter another. Pure and utter goodness. This had equally impressive mouthfeel. Tantalizing the cheeks and tongue with perfect carbonation with a good thick mouthfeel perpetuated by the strong malt profile. This was one amazing beer and will be looking for it anywhere I can find it in Denver.

brewdenver, May 03, 2011
Photo of OddNotion
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great extra from adam320, what an amazing trader!
From notes.
Poured into my Fantome Tulip.

Appearance: Minimal head that quickly dissipates. Comes in at a dark brown with some ruby highlights.

Smell: Kind of weird smell from this beer, maybe it it was cold when I smelled it. I kinda got some feet and funkiness smell, however a little later I got some nice bourbon flavors. As it warmed, the funkiness went away.

Taste: Well hello, this beer does not follow the nose at all. I loved the way this beer tasted. Possibly the best winter warmer I have ever had. I got a lot of red raisins and figs followed up by some nice smooth bourbon. I find it to be very complex and offers a nice sipping experience.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall: I would love to have this again. I really enjoyed this beer. If you get the chance to have it, go for it!

OddNotion, May 03, 2011
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a good looking caramel brown pour, goes very smoothly into the glass. Has a definite reddish hue. Small light mocha head.

Aroma - toasty grain, bourbon, and cocoa. Some woodiness comes to the fore as it sets up.

Taste - sweet and malty start, a nice bit of roastiness. The bourbon and barrel come through quickly and create a prickly sensation. A bit pushy but not overstated. While the bourbon is dominant, it's letting nice veins of chocolate and roasted grain through. That's a nice blend there. Ends with a smack of whiskey and a light bitterness that is either fading mash or hops. Either way, I'm digging it.

Mouthfeel - pretty smooth, medium carbonation and a good weighty feel for a winter warmer.

Drinkability - maybe it doesn't get below zero in Texas, but when you feel a chill, this will set you straight. I enjoyed this one. Thanks to BGThang for making this a part of a really cool box of beer.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of JimiG
4.93/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW!

Decanted to a tulip pint.

This beer pours a beautiful dark brown and has a nice head. Lacing is really prevalent.

The aroma is dark chocolate and bourbon wood. Just amazing to my nose.

It tastes of creamy/silky dark chocolate with a beautiful fruity-like finish that rolls off the palate. It has a very smooth after taste and is like a mellow cigarette after dinner. (i don't mean smokey)

The mouth feel is smooth and silky, much like it tastes.

By far this is one of the best beer I have ever had.

JimiG, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of crossovert
3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

650ml bomber.

It pours a dark brown with a large, fluffy, tannish head that recedes at a decently slow pace.

The smell is bourbonny, but it is not over the top, which I like. There is also some cooca, fruits, and roastiness.

The flavor is kind of lost, so is the mouthfeel. It is rather thin. The predominant flavor is bitterness which really was surprising. It is very bitter for a winter warmer/bourbon aged beer. It has tannic notes, hoppy(?) bitterness, and roasted malt bitterness. There is also some caramel, bourbon, and cocoa.

I don't think it was executed the way it could have been.

crossovert, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of super creamy beige/tan head. Average retention and a good amount of lacing.

4.0 S: Good balance between the bourbon components and the beer - the bourbon holds about 60% of the nose's share. Bourbon and barrel contribute a decent amount of vanilla, oak, melon fruitiness, and a touch of booze. The underlying beer offers a pleasant plum fruitiness, some caramel, nuts, graininess and a touch of roastiness.

4.0 T: I assumed the beer would be bolder and more robust, but it it isn't and it works well. Rather it tastes like an easy drinking porter moreso than a winter warmer. Grainy, with a moderate roastiness, plenty of nuttiness, and only a mild caramel and dark fruit component. The bourbon is less pronounced than in the nose, but still plays a good role in the overall flavor. Vanilla, leather, oak, and melon are all there with some strength. I think the 10 weeks in the bourbon barrel was just right given the strength of the beer. Any longer and the beer would have to fight with the bourbon components.

4.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Somewhat creamy with a good crispness to it. I like this.

4.0 D: Pretty good and easy drinking beer. Lots of things done right and nothing done wrong.

DavoleBomb, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.3/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a very deep black color with a thin brown head and a little tiny bit of lacing. Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and chocolate. Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, heavy malt body and some allspice and hefty alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with a light carbonation. Drinkability is low.

TheKingofWichita, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

MasterSki, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

TurdFurgison, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of ChadQuest
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark Brown/Black with a tan head.
i really like this aroma, the bourbon comes right up front first but is soft and integrated with a roasty body. The last aromatic impression leaves with vanilla sweetness.
Fainter bourbon with Powdered Chocolate and Vanilla and Oak, with some cinnamon like spices thrown in. The Modest 8% isn't hidden totally which adds to the enjoyment for me.
moderate viscosity with a coating slightly sticky finish.

Really enjoyed this bottle. I love bottles i can relax for 2 hours with and enjoy the whole time.

ChadQuest, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of ms11781
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to duff247. 22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep, dark brown color with a decent sized foamy, tan head. Decent foamy lacing is left on the glass.

Bourbon notes hit first in the nose and there is also an oak characteristic. There is some sweetness present, perhaps vanilla. Maybe some spice but not much, if at all. There is also a slight dark fruit aroma towards the end, along with more bourbon and some woody aromas. Nothing here really stands out at all. All the aromas are definitely present, but there are done really subtle.

Taste follows the nose in that all the flavors meld together and are very subtle. Bourbon with oak and vanilla up front, some dark fruit, maybe cherries, are here. There is the spice that comes with the style but nothing to over the top. It's to point where you can tell it's there but you can't pick out if it's cinnamon or nutmeg, etc. There's bourbon in it so there's a slight warming from some alcohol but nothing too overwhelming.

Silky smooth. Medium body with a lower carbonation. The low carbonation allows the light flavors to play off each other very well.

This was extremely drinkable for a beer that is aged in bourbon barrels and has an 8.5% ABV. Excellent job of doing very bold flavors without anything hitting you over the head. They're all here and play off each other nicely. Definitely a beer that is best enjoyed over a long period of time on a cold night.

ms11781, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mostly black, clear, tiny bubbles rising from the sides of the glass, and a good one finger, lasting head with nice lacing.

I immediately smelled a woody, bourbon barrel aroma wafting from my snifter. Great smoked malt aromas with accents of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate.

Taste mirrored the smell, but on a smooth, balanced batch of steroids. Fabulously perfect amounts of wood and bourbon. Not too overdone, but perfect and ever-present -bal accents on every sip. Great leathery and sweet, smoky coffee flavors are accented with smoke and vanilla. Excellent tasting brew, I'm very surprised!

Mouthfeel is rich and silky-smooth, with light but tingly carbonation and a wonderful bourbon/smoked wood lingering aftertaste.

Drink is off the charts. One of my favorite winter warmers of all times. I'm putting it back on my wants list.

AlCaponeJunior, Feb 21, 2011
Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 307 ratings.