Gratitude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
East End Brewing Company

Gratitude - Bourbon Barrel-AgedGratitude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Style:
Barleywine - American
Ranked #36
ABV:
11.4%
Score:
92
Ranked #3,026
Avg:
4.2 | pDev: 7.62%
Reviews:
27
Ratings:
128
From:
East End Brewing Company
 
Pennsylvania, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  35
Gots
  31
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Gratitude - Bourbon Barrel-AgedGratitude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes:
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 128 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.27/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

CAN: 16 fl oz pull-tab courtesy of Zed, who brought it to me from the brewery directly. 2020 vintage.

Aged in Bourbon Barrels "for nearly a year." (No word on which bourbon, precisely). "Bourbon barrel aged barleywine style ale."

Chewier than the base beer with plenty of barrel-driven vanillin and oak flavours. No rich coconut, barrel char, or toasted white oak here, but the near year of barrel aging has beared fruit. Chewy but silky. A bit coarser than the base beer, which boasted terrific softness (I had one right before delving into this bourbon barrel aged variant) which I don't love.

Thick and dry. Medium to full-bodied.

A step up from the base beer, but not a top tier expression of the style.

High B- / WORTHY

***
12/07/20 impression from a can brewed 11/12/17:

Currently ranked #35 in the Barleywine - American beers list.

"Bourbon barrel aged barleywine style ale." No ABV is specified on the can.

A: Deep brown body colour. ~1.5-2cm head height. Head is an off-white flirting with khaki. Retention is good for the ABV - ~8 minutes. Appears well carbonated.

Sm: Chewy caramel, vanillin-driven bourbon, nougat, caramelized sugars, barrel sugar sweetness, kisses of barrel char, heavy residual sugar, fruity treacle, leather, heavy brown malt sweetness.

Lacks any overt hop character. Doesn't seem English in character in any way...there's no nuttiness or toffee. Not oxidized or cardboardy. Lacks any off notes. I will say the bourbon barrel character could be improved; there's no toasted coconut, rich white oak, toasted wood, or the like. Vanilla character could be more redolent of authentic vanilla bean instead of barrel vanillin.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high. Suggests a sweet barleywine with a bit of a bourbon character, but this aroma doesn't promise a top tier expression of the style.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Thick, sludgy, coating, uneven, lumpy, unrefreshing, heavy-bodied, filling...it's a bit of a chore to drink, to be honest. Many a barleywine I've had has been soft and supple despite its weight on the palate...this has an unwelcome viscosity that makes it drag on the palate.

Caramel, leather, brown malts, pale malt/2-row, barrel sugars, a hint of treacle, loads of residual sugars (this isn't particularly well attenuated), scintillae of oak. I don't love the beer by any stretch and wouldn't regard it as a top tier barleywine. The bourbon barrel is reticent and I do get a hint of a cardboardy oxidized flavour as it comes to temperature.

A saccharine meal in a glass with a lot of oomph but not enough varied or deep flavours. I wouldn't say it's a shallow barleywine, but one does expect a hell of a lot more depth of flavour in a beer considered amongst the best in its class.

There are no off-flavours or obvious faults.

OVERALL: Its high residual sugar content coupled with its sludgy mouthfeel makes it a bit tough to take down, to be honest, and while we're at it I don't think the 16 fl oz can was a well considered format for this beer - for which an 8-12 fl oz bottle would have been the obvious right choice if the brewery wasn't money-grubbing.

Low C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

***
01/03/21:

Leathery and thick with rich notes of caramel, molasses, brown malts, brown sugar, and treacle.

Sweet but not cloying.

Lacks adequate bourbon barrel presence in my opinion.

C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

Nov 13, 2020
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jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark, opaque brown color with no head and no lacing.

The smell is sweet caramel, bourbon, and a hint of dark fruits.

The taste is bourbon, burnt caramel, and strong raisins on the finish.

The mouthfeel is slick with a medium/thick body and low carbonation.

Overall this is a great beer, good range of flavors, and an outstanding mouthfeel.

Nov 08, 2020
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Pinz412 from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - Pours a cloudy deep amber with a thin off-white head with hints of ruby. No lacing to speak of while legs for on the inside of the snifter.
Smell - Bourbon and oak, molasses, dried fruit, earthiness appear ordered from most to least in intensity.
Taste - Big bourbon flavor up front pairs well with the sweet caramel malt and raisin/plum notes. No distinct hop notes for me, but only a slight bitterness to balance out the sweeter notes. There is no hiding from the boozy flavors in this pour.
Feel - Medium bodied, fills the mouth but is slick going down.
Overall - A complex and deeply nuanced barleywine that offers a healthy heaping of bourbon.

Aug 31, 2020
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very turbid prune juice brownish-red with a fluffy tall khaki head settling to a thick blanket that retains strongly with curled ridges.

Quite woody--woodier than the more recent rye barrel aged release--with more of a semi-bitter neutral oak, where the sweet malt is forward of toffee and then raisin.

The slick medium body has a mild, softly gliding carbonation that lifts a touch of char and spicy Maker's-like whiskey before the semi-dry finish, where candied nuts surface on the exhale.

It's just so easy to drink, I enjoy it even more than BA Behemoths.

2017 canning

Mar 23, 2020
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 can. It's been a loooong time since I had my lone bottle of 2008 gratitude. Had no idea they canned the barrel aged version until I saw it at Hunger n Thirst.

The base beer is over a year-and-a-half-old but the hop notes are still pretty prominent. Candied orange and pine are harmonious with the intense caramel and toffee flavors. The bourbon adds a layer of boozy sweetness to everything plus some oaky vanilla. I'm thrilled to have found this and it was as good as I hoped, might go back for another can..

Aug 15, 2019
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Poured from the can, the beer was a golden copper color with a white head.

Smell - The nose was moderately sweet with light bourbon notes.

Taste - Notes of boozy oak initiated the taste, before maraschino cherry was noted. The beer was not overly sweet, but was actually well balance with bourbon. Oaky sweetness came in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The feel seemed a touch thin with little sense of chewiness.

Overall - This beer made a great nightcap.

Jun 02, 2019
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Older hop character, caramel, light bourbon sweet caramel, malty, hint of pine, oxidation

Not sure how this can was originally stored but would like to try fresh.

Dec 03, 2018
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 can to a teku.

L - fairly translucent mahaogony wit big bubbly head. Looks very thin. Lacing is watery.

S - familiar but I can't place what it's reminding me of. Maybe dfh raisen d'etre? Dark fruit, but not terribly sweey. Chalky faint oxidation. Vanilla and oak. Plums are predominant.

T - better than I expected. It drinks more like a quad - think a mildly barrel aged Sr bernadus 12 or westy 12. It's sweet but not overly so. Not terribly complex. Finishes with a very mild earthiness. Bourbon is faint. This is aged a year but it drinks like a barleywine that's sat 3 or 4, which is okay with me because I hate drinking sugar bombs in this style.

F - thin but yet creamy. Its filling in your mouth but dissipates from the palate shortly thereafter. Love the mouth feel, but lacking on the finish.

O - pretty good. Actually one of the better barleywines I've had. I'll have no problem buy g this again in the future.


--------------------


Drinking another of the same 2016 brewed/2017 canned batch and I'm not impressed. Not sure if it's my palate and recollection not living up to the previous beer or if its just aged poorly.

Oct 10, 2017
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VeganUndead from Virginia

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

There is something wrong with people that this is rated lower than the base barleywine. The barrel aging highlights and showcases the best characteristics of the base beer. Fantastic

Jul 05, 2017
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maxifunk777 from California

4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has set in my cellar since it was released in 2015. I am here to tell this is an exceptional beer with age on it.
Complex sweet mouth feel with tons of great barrel taste.

Jan 15, 2017
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Slack from Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2016 Can

Amber brown in color and almost clear with marginal head and a bit of lacing on a swirl.

Nose is a bit hoppy, sweet, boozy bourbon, raisin, and vanilla.

Taste is Bourbon, oak, booze, minor dark fruit, some malt, and hops.

Mouthful is medium and smooth but rough on the back end. Carbonation is medium. Finish lingers.

An American Barleywine is a pretty solid beer to begin with. The balance of malt, hops, booze, and sweetness is key. This beer is a touch unbalanced and I put that on the barrel. I would try it next to regular Gratitude.

Aug 27, 2016
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage
750ML red wax top bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep ruby color with an amber hue, small foamy off-white head disappears quickly, leaving nothing behind

S- lots of dark fruits open up the aroma with notes of raisin, fig & date, followed by notes of leather, spicy tobacco, caramel & toffee. Bourbon barrel kicks in near the end with plenty of barrel juice, along with vanilla and spicy oak

T- flavor opens up with sweet dark fruit flavors of distinct raisin & fig, quickly followed by a big hit of melted caramel & toffee, along with earthy tobacco and spicy leather. The barrel kicks in, adding some spicy bourbon, along with hints of vanilla & coconut, along with wet oak. The finish is sweet, with more caramel and dark fruit on the linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to just a trace of foamy mouthfeel that quickly turns flat, leading into a thick and viscous finish

O- this is drinking nearly perfectly right now, the flavors mesh into everything you look for in a good aged barleywine, very well done

Jul 05, 2016
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unclekeith from Alaska

4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 into a goblet

A: Clear caramel hue, almost no head, leaves a thin beige collar
S: Oak and bourbon, heat, vanilla
T: Sweetness dominates with some bitterness,
F: Thin for style, still hot
O: Very good, but I'll stick with the non-BA version

Apr 11, 2016
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John_M from Oregon

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this side by side with the 2009 Gratitude. While the 09 was sweeter, with a lot more honey, I think it ultimately superior to it's younger. BBA sibling. The bourbon seemed to impart a bit more complexity, and it definitely countered some of the nearly over the top sweetness I picked up in the 09, I'm not sure the bourbon flavored blended in all that well with the base beer. Still an interesting beer, with plenty of flavor (honey, vanilla, brown sugar and light bourbon), but just not my cup of tea.

Nevertheless, very glad I had a chance to try this one...

Apr 10, 2016
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014/2015 bottle released in March of 2015.

Pours a murky brown with little to no head. A bit of film atop the beer. Raisin-y brown in the glass. 4

First pass of the nose I pick up oak, raisin and dark fruit. Caramel. Brown sugar and floral yeast. I likey. 4.25

First sips reveal brown sugar, oak, raisin, oatmeal cookie, caramel, and molasses. Rich all around. Tasty. 4.25

Smooth, sweet, sticky, and very light with bitterness and booze on the finish. 4.5

This beer impresses. Very taste, full, wealthy in flavors.

Apr 04, 2016
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dull mahogany hue. Clarity was mostly translucent; however, there's a trace of haze. Nose expresses ethanol and a hint of vanilla. Taste consistent with nose with the addition of butterscotch. Mouthfeel was a bit thin and watery with a trace of carbonation. Overall, I found this beer really quite enjoyable. If the mouthfeel was a bit more viscous it would really pop.

Nov 22, 2015
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zac16125 from South Carolina

3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle into a snifter
2015 vintage

Thanks to Preluderl for sending this one over via trade!


A: Mahogany, murky to the point of being opaque, a few bubbles of light tan head, looks flat. 3.25

S: Really great nose, lots of sweetness with candied sugar and caramel. Some barrel notes with charred oak, theres also a scotch like peat character. Some booze to round it out. Theres a unique, almost astringent plastic-like character which I don’t love but doesn’t detract too much. 4.25

T: Doesn’t really taste like the nose, and doesn’t really taste like regular Gratitude. Its pretty boozy, and theres some bitterness. Not nearly the sweetness of the aroma. Lots of oak and bourbony characters. Subtle caramel on the finish and some dark fruits. 3.75

M/D: Its flat, no doubt about it. Fuller bodied. Its quite boozy but not hot. Drinkability is average. 3

O: Pretty disappointing considering how great the regular Gratitude is; and carbonation is obviously an issue. That being said, I still enjoyed it. 3.75

Nov 16, 2015
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to thebouch01 who saw that I was looking for this one & reached out to me to work something out for a bottle. The ’06 Gratitude I tasted before Huna Day 2014 was the best barleywine I’ve ever tasted (& other years ain‘t bad, either), so really jazzed for this one. 750ML bottle with that one of those black Hitchcock birds in profile.

The pour is more Flatitude than Gratitude, a clay-infused mush that’s lacking in evident bubbles. The nose is surprisingly elusive, & I have to nose-wade a bit to draw forth light berry, caramel, & candied sweetness, which is the only readily identifiable characteristic. Slow start.

Gratitude - Bourbon Barrel Aged is a three-sipper: three sips before I put the glass down the first time, always a good sign. This is a barrel bomb & no doubt. Big bourbon & vanilla clear-cut the palate, & it takes time to recover & delve deeper. Huge caramel takes the mid-palate & drives all the way through, along with brown sugar (a LOT of brown sugar) & a healthy heaping of alcohol. Touch of herbs, almost minty, & woodiness peeks out as it warms towards room temp. I don’t want a cascade of bubbly in my barleywines, but the lack of carbonation makes it weighty. Half a bomber will be enough, thank you.

A chest-warmer that belongs in the barrel around a St. Bernard’s neck, this one didn’t scale the foothills of my expectations. A pretty good, but flawed, beer.

Sep 09, 2015
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First, the regular Gratitude was fantastic. This version was very surprising too me. It appeared to be a Cola/Pop in a glass. The appearance was brownish and translucent. The mouth feel was thin. The flavor profile was not nearly as good as Gratitude. I am not sure what happened. Maybe, it was a bad bottle.

Jun 02, 2015
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Looks almost flat, but there's just a bit of foam that wells up. Deep amber. Pretty clear.

Smell - Bourbon. Oak. Lots of caramel. Toffee. A touch of banana.

Taste - Very sweet. Oak. Vanilla. Bourbon. And then a twang that I didn't expect. Kind of a funky finish from the woodiness.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and low carbonation.

Overall - That woody twang worries me. Something tastes a bit off, but not enough to totally ruin the beer yet.

Jun 02, 2015
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml red waxed bottle with a new look. Gratitude has always been one of the most recognizable beers on the market with it's beautiful packaging. Now, they dropped the brown bag and done away with the handwritten numbering and autograph. Still a nice looking bottle but the wow factor is gone. Poured into a matching east end snifter, the brew appears a dark mahogany color with rusty clarity when held to the light. A silky khaki head 2 fingers strong appears and fades leaving spotty lace.

The smell is sweet like candy - vanilla, caramel, toffee, raisons, mild oak and bourbon. At times some herbal hops poke through and very soft touch of oxidation is present.

The taste is sweet with a nice interplay of malt and barrel nuance. Flavors of raison, molasses, toffee, vanilla and caramel with some oak tannins and mild oxidation. A very mild hop bitterness and alcohol burn are noted in the finish as the brew warms up.

This is medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. The harsh and bitter fresh gratitude that I am use to has seemingly become a brand new beast that is more english in nature than american. Not a pronounced barrel character presence but its subtle and enjoyable. This is great stuff.

May 04, 2015
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cosmicevan from New York

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

super psyched that this was barrel aged! enjoed from an east end snifter. side by side w non BA

both are identical cept the regular has a nice frothy head that the BA don't got, bit seems darker. nose is phenomenal. toffee and caramel with barrel decadence. taste is great out if the bix whereas the regular seems young. candy, fruit, caramel, barrel chocolate amd super drinkable fresh. far and away my fav barley, now in a barrel. can hang w the big boys. this is a winner.

Apr 24, 2015
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BMMillsy from Florida

3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle courtesy of Joe. Thanks buddy. Pours amber brown with no head at all, not fully opaque but also not clear. Aroma of dark fruits, some nutty notes, toffee, more fruit and something that reminds me of Belgian sugars, bourbon. Flavor is dark fruits, bourbon, nutty toffee, light hop presence, sweet sugars. Body is medium with no carbonation at all. Completely flat, which takes a bit away from the mouthfeel. Overall I enjoyed the regular version much more than this one.

Apr 05, 2015
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Morey from Pennsylvania

4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

*Edit (4/24/18): This beer has come a Long way since batch one, which was just shy of being flat. It's got fantastic carbontion, better body, and more bourbon forward. Edited score to reflect.

Old review:
It's a little low on carbonation for sure, but the flavors are there. Caramel, Toffee, Bourbon, and Oak being the most prominent. Even with the lack of carbonation, the sticky/syrupy body makes up for it a bit. With a bit more carb, this thing would be fantastic.

Mar 28, 2015
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pour is a murky dark brown with very little foamy head. Nose is actually quite nice, gentle bourbon barrel integrated very well, the malt base has a subtle chewy caramel quality with lots of dark berry fruitiness. Taste isn’t quite as pulled together, may need a little time to smooth out some of the edges. Still quite solid. The malt base is quite pronounced, Lots of chewier malts, caramel, fig, that sort of deal. The berry presence isn’t as strong as the nose but still adds nicely, the barrel blending is akin to K13 except it gets a touch fusel in the finish. Body gets a touch thin, moderate carb, a hint granular. This is quite nice and may have potential to get even better.

Mar 27, 2015
Gratitude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from East End Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 128 ratings