Bourbon Barrel Aged Thor's Hammer Barley Wine | Central City Brewers + Distillers

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Thor's Hammer Barley WineBourbon Barrel Aged Thor's Hammer Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Central City Brewers + Distillers
British Columbia, Canada

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by barleywinefiend on 06-10-2012

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 66
Photo of LampertLand
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Central City Brewers 'Bourbon BA Thor's Hammer' @ 11.5% , served from a 330 ml bottle Day 18 Seasons Greetings
A-pour is mahogany brown from the bottle to a murky brown in the glass without a head leaving no lace
T-bourbon , hint's of barley wine
MF-no carbonation , full bodied
Ov-too much bourbon !!
prost LampertLand

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 mL bottle received a few months ago in a CANBIF exchange - I'd like to again extend my appreciation to Farees for helping me tick this longtime 'want'. Dated Sept 18 2014, listed at 11.5% and served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep, opaque brownish colour, with reddish highlights and visible chunks of sediment. A half-finger of loose, frothy, beige-tinged head lasts about 60 seconds before fading off entirely, leaving behind a modest-looking collar of foam and a few wisps on the surface. Big bourbon notes and ethanol fumes on the nose, with additional notes of plum, red grape, fig pudding, amaretto, molasses, oak and vanilla.

An intense beer - 'subtle' does not seem to be in its vocabulary. Rich malty flavours of toffee and treacle are readily apparent, intermingling with ample dark fruit flavours - plum and prune, dates, fig, with suggestions of black cherry and almonds. Mellow bourbon flavours come through on the back end, amidst plenty of woody oak and vanilla. Boozy-sweet finish with some char, some cocoa, and a pronounced ethanol note that warms the mouth and esophagus. Full-bodied, with low carbonation levels and a very smooth, slick, fulfilling texture in the mouth. A delicious sipper.

Final Grade: 4.12, an A-. I've never been much of a barleywine guy, but I've got to say that I am absolutely loving this bottle of BBA Thor's Hammer. The bourbon and oak comes through with moderate force, as do the rich malt bill and high alcohol content - yet they're all working together in perfect harmony, preventing any single element from dominating the others (or causing the flavour profile to become overbearing or cloying). Very impressive stuff - I can't thank my CANBIF sender enough for shipping this rock-solid strong ale to Ontario. Cheers!

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Photo of flyerzrule
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep mahogany with moderate head and moderate retention. Not a lot of lacing. First sniff is malt sweetness but the hops and barrel become more pronounced as he beer warms. There's almost a slight cherry note. There's a lot to taste here. Very malty upfront, with toffee leading the way but also some dark cherry and dries fruit sweetness. Woody and piney bitterness follows and the barrel flavor is dominant by the finish. A slight tough of alcohol heat warms the throat at the end. Quite an interesting beer.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got on trade! Served at 10deg C in a chalice.

A- Opens well and pours a tiny head that is gone in a minute. Medium brown colour and has a ton of chunks floating around in it.

S- Bourbon. Not a ton but it's definitely there. A lot of heat as well though.

T- Sweet and roasting good. Has a barley wine hit at first then bourbon then ash. Nice complexity. They should try a scotch barrel one day. Bet you it would be a huge success.

M- Syrupy sweet going in and creamy down. Dries out and that ash is there. Nice!

O- Nice brew. The bourbon just finishes this brew off well. Super complex and I sure would like to see them continue with more barley wine varients.

Food Pairing

This wonderful big bold barley wine went well with....... Peppercorn roasted pork loin. Super opening up of the succulent pork and spicy pepper corns.


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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

01/2015 bottle date. Served at cellar Temps in a snifter.

Appearance: murky, brownish red with a fast fading head of brown bubbles. Unimpressive.

Nose: char, oaky, dried fruit cake, coconut, tons of Barrel character, cherry juice,

Taste: very thin mouthfeel, follows the nose with all of the barrel character, cherries, dried fruits, some boozy notes, very drinkable. Coconut, slight nutty flavor, tobacco, no oxidation at all. No hop character. Tons of malty sweetness from either the Bourbon Barrel or malt bill.

Overall: first of all, tons of value for money; it's $12 for a bomber of BBA English Barleywine. Who can complain about that. I'm impressed with all the barrel character. I'll hold on to another for a while to see the change.

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Photo of likeablepaper
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber in colour with a creamy tan head that quickly dissipates. Sweetness on the nose, to me it it smells slightly of fruits and caramel. Booziness slightly overwhelms the oak notes from the barrels. Not a huge Barley Wine fan but, the barrel aging definitely is a nice addition to this ale, even if the booze is slightly overwhelming on the palate.

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Photo of mchegash
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Deep ruby-brown with about a finger of medium tan head which dissipates down to a thin layer within a minute or two.

S: Great boozy nose with hints of dried red fruits. Perhaps a hint of vanilla as well.

T: Opens with a great boozy vanilla and bourbon taste, with the dried fruit aspects coming out strong in the latter half of the sip. A rich and slightly nutty malt taste also comes through.

F: Medium-full bodied, light carbonation. Smooth.

O: This was a decent beer. Perhaps a little too boozy.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown with ruby undertones

S: raw booze. Dates. Burnt sugar. Hops.

T: brown sugar. Dried dark fruits. Hops. Oak.

F: mild carbonation rather thin mouth feel

O: pretty solid. Could use a bit more sweetness compared to the bitterness mixed with the booze but overall good

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Photo of Coronaeus
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2013 vintage (11.5% ABV) 650 ml bottle

A pleasant, albeit boozy bourbon barrel barley wine. Lots of dried fruits and prune and a little nuttiness in this. The barrel wood is present in the nose. Mild carbonation with the sweetness expected in the style. I would gladly drink this again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.5% ABV per the label.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit, wood, bourbon, and red wine aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit, wood, bourbon, and red wine 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 and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with definitely bourbon barrel aged qualities, but I am also getting some red wine ones as well.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep chestnut brown. Sandy-colored head retains at a quarter inch. Spotty lacing.

S: Toasty barrel scents waft from the glass. Bold oak. Some bourbon and woody vanilla. Toasted chestnuts. Very sturdy malt backbone of dark and chewy caramel, brown molasses, milk chocolate, and figs. Maybe even some coffee tones. Spicy alcohol in the background.

T: Brash oak. Big bourbon flavors are a bit rough. Char and caramel from the barrel. Woody mustiness. Fat malt body brings dark and chewy caramel, molasses, chocolate, and nutty tastes. Figgy. Earthy hop spice, quickly. Spicy alcohol. Trailing malts and wood in the finish.

M: Big, thick, and chewy. Slight syrupy texture. Some oaky astringency. Warming alcohol. Prickling carbonation.

O: The barrel gets a little too brash and forward, kicking the balance out of whack.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Terrific barrel-aged barleywine, well balanced and showing good but not dominating barrel character. Rich caramel and brown sugar maltiness, lesser fruity notes, very mildly bitter on the back end but enough to clean things up a bit and keep the beer from cloying. Med-full bodied with medium carbonation, smooth and only slightly syrupy.

I'm a huge fan of this style and this one sticks out for being so harmonious and so down right tasty. I finished the bomber pretty easily but then again, I seem to be able to do that these days...

Major knock for being a real eyesore, super murky brown swamp water color....small cream colored head that despite sufficient carbonation doesn't hang around for more than a few seconds, and no lacing. Nonetheless I would absolutely buy this one again if I see it. Recommended for fans of the English BW style.

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Photo of mtomlins
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Beervana for the bottle!
650ml bottle - 2013 Vintage 11.5%

Pours dark brown with a short one finger of fizzy, caramel head with short retention and no lacing. Big wack of boozy bourbon and vanilla followed by raisins, plumes, brown sugar, molasses. The taste is also booze soaked with a big bourbon and vanilla presence, lots of residual malt sweetness, brown sugar, raisins, prunes and finishes with a faint bitter, metalic aftertaste. A big thin on the feel with low (but not in a bad way) carbonation. A nice beer, but still a bit all over the place.

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Photo of beergoot
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The body appears as a cloudy, chestnut brown color; thin but lasting, creamy head. Nutty, boozy, woody, dark fruit scented body; charred caramel sugars; figs. The flavor copies the aroma; caramel and toffee notes; alcohol undertone; figs and dates; bourbon flavors appear after repeated sips. Heavy body; thick and chewy; plenty of residual sugars contributing to the mouthfeel.

A pretty respectable example of an English barleywine that presents big malt-forward character and an intense yet overall balanced aspect of alcohol. Still, there is a certain lack of body depth that somewhat detracts from things and the flavors aren't as bold and impressive as one might expect for a big beer although a slyly developing presence of bourbon grows as the bottle dispappears. With the name "Bourbon Barrel Aged Thor's Hammer", the flavor and body aspects don't quite measure up yet the ABV certainly fits the bill. With that said, this is still a very approachable example of the style and should satisfy most barleywine aficionados.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Full disclosure: I haven't been a fan of barrel-aged beers so far, and I didn't choose this one to drink, but instead got it as part of the Parallel 49 / Central City advent calendar.

A: Chestnut brown, minimal head.
S: Boozy. Mostly I pick up the bourbon.
T: Sweet and heavily alcoholic.
F: A bit heavier. Carbonation on the lighter side.
O: Hardly my new favourite, but it's probably good for what it is.

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Photo of leaddog
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle - 2013 Vintage 11.5%

Appearance - Pours a dark chestnut brown with two fingers of bubbly off white head.

Smell - bourbon, slight woodiness, sweet caramel malts, toffee, plum, raisin, fig, earthy hops, and booze.

Taste - Starts off with the bourbon/slight woodiness, then goes into the sweet caramalts, slight toffee, plum, raisin, and figs . The earthy hops finish off the beer with a slight warming from the booze. One sip I get more malts and another I get a balance of both flavours.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Finishes with pleasant touch from the bourbon along with a slight sweetness from the plum, raisin, and figs.

Overall - A barleywine with a good malt and dark fruit presence. The bourbon flavours are displayed adequately in this brew, but I was hoping that the barrel would of been more consistent in each sip (one sip getting all malts then the next getting a nice balance of both bourbon and malts/fruits). Some minor adjustments would make this more of a stand out.

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: pours very dark brown, with almost no head. Pours almost like chocolate milk.

S: smells sweet and malty. Definite bourbon smell.

T: strong chocolate and bourbon. Drinks very different from most bba barleywines and I think it's that the carbonation is very low. Almost takes some of the bite out of it and makes it very smooth.

M: again with the lowered carbonation, but it is very smooth and the finish is slightly boozy and very rich. I feel this is a very easy aged barleywine to drink, probably dangerously so.

O: picked this up on a whim, had never seen it not heard of it but this is a pretty nice beer. Has a completely different feel from most barrel aged barleywines. Also almost no hops makes it smooth too. I feel this would get very caramelly with age.

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Photo of Derek
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour a nice head, thin ring of retention shows some lace.

Vinous aroma with bourbon, figs and dates.

Taste is fairly boozy and a little brash. Demerara sugar, golden raisins, dates, figs, with a woodsy finish.

Body is extremely smooth and creamy, light residual sweetness with a drying finish.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle, day 22 of the Parallel 49/Central City Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown. Saving the better stuff for last, it would seem.

This beer pours a murky, dark dishwater brown colour, with one measly finger of weakly foamy, and generally bubbly beige head, which leaves a bit of melting iceberg lace around the glass as things, slowly, slowly recede.

It smells of rather acerbic booze-tinged barrel notes - cheap American rye whiskey, grainy wooden staves, and a subdued caramel/vanilla sweetness - mixed 'n matched black orchard fruit, demarara sugar, sultana raisins, molasses, relatively weak bready caramel malt, a certain underdeveloped mustiness, and mild earthy, weedy, and leafy hops. The taste is again replete with more of a Jack Daniels corn whiskey astringency, one which I don't feel the need to pick apart here, over an otherwise enjoyable grainy, bready, and somewhat doughy caramel maltiness, with some soft plum and besotted raisin and cherry fruit, dark sugar syrup, understated musty yeast, and a game, but overmatched leafy, weedy hoppiness.

The bubbles are quite low and out of the picture for the most part, the body a dense medium weight, and more smooth than I might have initially imagined - only the booze seems poised to take away the nice things here. It finishes on the sweet side, natch, but very much in the form of a shot of bargain whiskey, where a lot of alcohol gagging comes along as part of the deal.

Hmmmmm...not all that much of a well-rendered BBA BW experience - mostly because I question the veracity of the 'Bourbon' part of the equation (look it up). Acrid, astringent, and not integrated to a point where I can sit back, sip away, and say 'right-o lads, now how about that economy of ours?'.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager a while back. Huge thanks for this one set dude!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2012
Bottle 114 of 348
Drunk along side the base beer.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, looser, fizzy, off-white head with lousy retention. Head quickly fades to a ring only. Mahogany red in color, clear, with no carbonation evident. A light ring remains but no real lacing. Exactly the same as the base beer.

SMELL: Caramel malts with lots of fruity aromas. Dried fruits, red fruits, berries, raspberries, toffee aromas and spicy alcohol on the nose. Very much the same as the base, but with some light oak and bourbon mingling with the aroma from the base beer. Great balance, complex and quite interesting. Really nice.

TASTE: All the base beer elements under a blanket of bourbon, oak and vanilla. This is a great example of a barrel aged barleywine. Some nice caramel and toffee sweetness, with dried fruits and spicy alcohol in there as well. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and coconut from the barrel aging dance with the sweet caramel and toffee, dried fruits and brown sugars from the base barleywine. Very well balanced with a wonderfully flavorful and lingering finish. Less hot and the barrel aging has made the sweetness more manageable somehow. Excellent stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down okay with a scratch at the swallow and finishes somewhat sticky on the palate. Very little heat lingers.

OVERALL: Here is an example of barrel aging really done well. The bourbon and oak flavors compliment the sweet base beer really nicely, taming the heat and managing the sweetness wonderfully. Very well balanced with a great feel for the style, this is one well worth seeking out. I hope to see this stuff again sometime, and if you get the chance, don't hesitate to give it a shot. Well worth the effort and very much recommended. Thanks again Rutager. Pure class here.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle #177 2012 vintage poured into tulip 11/5/13 thanks Rutager for yet another want

A dark amber with lots of slow moving streams of bubbles going up the side but just a short lived finger of tan foam that leaves no lace, looks thick though with the pinprick bubbles struggling to get to the surface

S caramel, vanilla, raisins, plum, lots of brown sugar and booze, slightly nutty and woody but I get a little bourbon but smells more like a Tennessee Whiskey if you know what I mean, I'm not sure I like the barrel choice with this one and I'm curious to know what they used

T tastes like a shot of JD was was added to this one, I sound like I'm being harsh but I do like it but I don't quite love it, a little sweet and still has some heat, nutty raisins and brown sugar are strong

M thick syrupy liquid, some heat and a little sticky on this lips, soft carbonation and lingering nutty booze on the finish

O decent beer but I regret not sitting on it for a while, and by a while I mean several years. respectable stuff but a few areas could be improved on to make it something special

I'd like another bottle to sit on because I could see this improving drastically with some age behind it. everything's starting to come together but not quite there yet, I'd like to try the original version to see if the barrel helps or hinders

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Photo of Rutager
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #106.

Appearance. Pours a murky orangy-brown with almost a finger of thick, orange tinted head.

Smell. Sweet bourbon and brown sugar, piney hops, some oaky vanilla and a little citrus.

Taste. Sweet brown sugar, some piney hops, raisins and caramel. The finish has some bitter, woody pine resin and bourbon.

Mouthfeel. Full bodied, warm and a bit sticky. Medium-low fine carbonation.

Overall. A nice barleywine that could probably mellow with some time. I prefer the base beer, but bourbon barrel junkies would probably really enjoy this.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1/8" tan head that dissipated quickly over a deep mohagany liquid with excellent clarity.

S: Bourbon, toffee, oak, sweet malt, raisins and figs.

T: Quite boozy. This is the first bottling and it has been barrel aged for 18 months, so I think this could use some bottle aging; because beneath the initial booziness the taste is pretty amazing. Bourbon, oak, caramel malt, figs, raisins and some bitter hop presense in the finish.

M: Some drying from the alcohol, medium viscosity and a low level of carbonation.

O: The booziness is a little strong on this one out of the gate which affects the drinkability. This makes sense considering it was barrel aged for 18 months. However, like many good strong beers I think cellar aging it for a minimum of 6-8 months would be well worth the wait.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep ruby color with moderate carbonation, small dirty white cap, some light bubbles and minimal lacing remains

S: Sweet brown sugar, dark fruits, toffee with a nice healthy dose of bourbon

T: Started off with a nice hop forward bitterness balanced out with a big malty backbone. At first a nice sticky sugar sweetness comes up backed with bitterness, toffee and dark fruits. The heat is immediate as is the bourbon which is there from start to finish. The finish is nice, heavy on palate, sticky sweet caramel, toffee.

M: Big body, well carbonated, sticky, a bit boozey and heavy with medium carbonation. More

O: Rich, sweet and decadent. Pretty good, was glas I was able to try this one. I did pickup bourbon but wanted to see some more wood characteristics.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Thor's Hammer Barley Wine from Central City Brewers + Distillers
3.92 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
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