Bourbon Barrel Porter | Oregon Trail Brewery

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Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter
Very Good
67 Ratings
Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Brewed by:
Oregon Trail Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ElGordo on 04-15-2007

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 31
Reviews by Chris-MOC9:
Photo of Chris-MOC9
5/5  rDev +28.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of chossboss
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of daveytheformer
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce poured into a snifter.

Pours deep black with a brownish hue when held up to the light. Thin tan head that recedes to the edge of the glass. A few tiny spots remain.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, and a little oak.

Tastes like dark fruit, sweet cocoa, and a little booze. Vanilla does shine through at the end.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium with a light amount of carbonation.

Overall is really good. The smell and finish are great but the taste falls a tad flat but is still well worth the money and is really good.

 526 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Metalmonk
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Don't be in a rush to open this... the fussy wax coating might take a few hours to grapple with. Okay, a few minutes for a numbnuts like me. Once it's open and poured you're presented with a deep chocolate brown color and a thin crown for a head that is ready and willing to leave plenty of small lace dots on the glass.

Aroma is fantastic, a mixture of milk chocolate (think Tootsie Rolls), caramel, cherry, coconut (I swear) and a woody bourbon nip.

While the chocolate and bourbon aspects come out strongly, it's the coconut flavor that's most interesting (perhaps showing some skewed tastebuds on my part?). I'll have to check other reviews, but it seems the barrel/wood flavors that have rubbed off in this porter take on a fairly exotic dimension. As I sit and contemplate, that coconut flavor shifts toward a more vanilla type character, but even that is an odd vanilla. Sherry-soaked dark fruits also appear, finishing with a kind of grassy tartness, and chocolate. A loooong finish, too. Burp, and you'll swear you swallowed a chunk of fresh-cut wood.

Mouthfeel is buttery and light, although a little too carbonated methinks. But that's a minor complaint, so medrinks.

This site says 11%, my bottle says 9.1%. Whatever the case, this is one to take slowly. I appreciate this one, and even though I'm not insane for bourbon/whisky-barrel aged beers, I can taste the beauty here.

 1,393 characters

Photo of ElGordo
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottling #3, received directly from the brewer in April 2007. Poured from the 22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Deep, rich brown - almost black - body is topped by a fairly small, dark tan head. Aroma of rich sweet malt, bourbon, brown sugar, and a touch of dark fruit (figs?). Palate is sweet, malty, and redolent of bourbon. Mildly sweet malt up front builds to a very sweet - but not excessive - finish. The bourbon flavor increases along with the sweetness of the malt. A bit of warming alcohol is also present on the finish.
Body is admittedly a little thin for such a strong beer, and is altogether unlike most porters. Still, this is a very unique and tasty offering from a brewery that is emerging as one of the better small micros in Oregon.

 756 characters

Photo of smartin121356
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.19/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown, not quite black. Medium khaki head.

Smell - Smells a bit like maple syrup, but I did have a mead in this glass before drinking this. Chocolate. Doesn't smell much like bourbon. Tingly booze in the back end.

Taste - Milk chocolate. Kinda nutty. Still no barrel. Mild sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Not very heavy or viscous. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Where's the barrel?

 455 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBD of Dec 24 08, I'd say add a year easily

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of tan head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla, dark fruits & coconut rum , weird

T: Bourbon, a bit of booze burn, vanilla, & singed toffee up front. Dryness, dark fruit mixed with rich chcolate surfaces as this warms. Finishes dry, with dark fruit & chocolate

MF: Medium bodied, with low carbonation & not as much smootness as I was hoping for, this has been in my basement 6 months+, smooths out good 1/3rd of the way through the bomber

Drinks great for the ABV, but one bomber makes a great night cap, as opposed to the start of session to be sure! A lot to like here, worth seeking out, thank you Bottletrek!

 704 characters

Photo of DCgolfpro
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of AirborneBeer
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A wax-capped 650 mL bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions over a year ago.

A: The porter is a deep red color, looking black from a distance. Little head emerged from the pour and no trace of it remains.

S: The nose is full of sweet bourbon, vanilla and pepper along with oak buttery notes. There is a non-bourbon sweetness from the grains that is almost reminiscent of a Baltic porter.

T: The first sip tells me that aging this beauty was a brilliant idea. The porter has not lost a step and the bourbon aging is impeccable. Vanilla beans and pepper kick things off, sweet but not too sweet. Bourbon bite is evident throughout, showcasing hints of buttery oak flavors as well. Try as I may, I can't find any porter flavors as I sip this. While I am not disappointed because the bourbon is awesome, I'd like to see some roasted chocolate emerge.

M: The mouthfeel is somewhat thin at the end (once the bourbon bleeds off). I think that a solid porter presence would correct that.

D: The abv is high and the bourbon sweetness is intense, so this bottle is enough for me. Some more body would improve the drinkability substantially.

 1,135 characters

Photo of LakerLeith
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Docer
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally cracked a bottle that I purchased maybe 6 months ago... been sitting on it in the cellar awhile. No. 5 Bottling. This one is sitting at 7.5% Alc. Which for me is better.

- Fuzzy bit head.. light mocha colored... and a nice murky dark brown color..

- Very aromatic... light wood, bourbon, vanilla.. spicy hop, clove... sweet brown sugar.. so many well blended scents, this stuff smells amazing.

- Wow.. certainly some bourbon there, oak woodiness... light creamy chocolate malt... certainly nice not being so much of an imperial.. but just a fine porter. Little bit of toffee.. caramel.... cream..

- Sweet, slight dryness.... great aftertaste....

- Overall the scent and flavor is tremendously good. My only issue is the amount of carbonation... it's just too heavy and fuzzy... but overall its one of the better porters I have had.

 844 characters

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of Eighty
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of danwho
3/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of claspada
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle lists 9.1% ABV, no idea on the year but it's not recent that's for sure.

Pours a coffee brown color with a small beige head that recedes immediately leaving some solid spotty lacing.

Aromas begin extremely barrel forward highlighted by sweet vanilla and coconut from the Bourbon barrel. Slight ethanol and oxidation emerges as it warms along with a light roasted maltiness and light dark cocoa but I mean this really just smells like a fresh juicy barrel of bourbon but it is not offending which is surprising.

The tastes begin with a dark chocolate and mocha flavor that is quickly overtaken by vanilla from the barrels; after the swallow, the mocha flavor returns again for a brief moment but there is a burst of bourbon, oak and vanilla that returns and lingers for quite some time. One of the lightest porters in terms of roasted flavor which I enjoy, but I attribute to age and I imagine it was quite robust when it was released.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation. The finish has a small bit of warmth from the barrel aging but the vanilla is really the major lingering flavor.

Overall I have no idea what this tasted like fresh, but now it is drinking quite fine. Not sure what happened to this brewery or why it closed but I can say it was not because of the quality of this beer as I really enjoy the dark chocolate bitterness mixed with the vanilla imparted bourbon barrel flavors.

 1,441 characters

Photo of NyBeerBro
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with a khaki head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is dark roasted malt, bourbon, and chocolate. Taste is bourbon cocoa flavors with a very good finish. Overall I really like this beer and love the bourbon flavor.

 247 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

what a coool porter. best by 12-24-08, consumed 12-29-08. I can't follow directions regardless of.... but I digress.

A - nice mahogany colored brew, solid khaki head
S - vanilla, oak and delicious mellow bourbon
T - vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, dark fruit / slight classic porter tartness.
M - velvet.
D - velvety smooth sipping beer. a great balance of smoothness, bourbon and porter. they nailed this one IMO.

If I had a few more around I'd be happy. as is, that was a treat!

 483 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is different than the Bourbon Porter listed here as "retired". The label states "Bourbon Barrel Porter", has 11% abv, and is currently listed on their website...

Waxed-top 650 ml bottle:

Pours dark brown, almost black, with a thin, dark tan head. Lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of vanilla, wood and bourbon... Not bad at all for a whiskey drinker...but, the "porter" part needs some searching for...

The taste is of whiskey - vanilla and oak...with dark malt - almost oatmeal-like. Cherry notes come through. Alcohol is present. Tastes like Kentucky Bourbon (JD?) was poured right in. Woody, earthy notes balance out some of the sweetness and the heat.


A tough one - not for the feint of heart - For the whiskey and beer lovers out there.... If I didn't like whiskey so much (though I do stay away from it for the most part), I wouldn't like this so much...Interesting brew here...If it were a bit "softer", it would be more "drinkable". It is a tasty sipper, though.

 1,046 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of jeff1973
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.74/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


The sight of it in my wide-mouthed stemless wine glass was nothing special; not bad, but not extremely eye-catching. To me it looks like a nice stout or porter: very dark red/brown with a creamy tan head. However, pick up your glass, put it under you nose and that's when the fun starts...

This beer is VERY aromatic. It smells like bananas, caramel, and scotch. (I know it's aged in bourbon barrels so I'm probably smelling bourbon, not scotch...but given I have zero experience with bourbon my nose says scotch)

After being blown away by the smell, I had my first sip: Wow! Very sweet--but not too sweet--and nicely tempered by the other flavors. The bourbon/scotch whiskey flavor along with caramel and bananas are the first and strongest flavors to hit you, ending with prominent coffee and toffee flavors. The taste of this crazy beer is so huge that 5 minutes after the first sip the flavors were still lingering. After about the 4th sip my taste bud acuity started to diminish and the previously undetectable roasted barley started to rear its head, although the bourbon/scotch flavor continued to dominate. Towards the end of the second glass it was still very enjoyable but was becoming less drinkable as the novelty had begun to wear off and all I could think about was eating some chocolate to battle the raging flavors of this sucker.

Like any beverage with this much alcohol there is a noticeable warming effect in your body, but the 10.2% that is in this beer is masked quite well by all the flavor. It could probably be passed off as 7% to an unsuspecting drinker.

After finishing the bottle with my wife I concluded that perhaps this isn't even beer. Seriously. It doesn't smell like beer and, with the exception of the faint roasted barley, it doesn't taste like beer. It sounds gross, but drinking this was more like drinking a coconut and banana cream pie smoothie--if someone was crazy enough to make such a thing. Very smooth, very interesting, and absolutely delicious!...but only vaguely resembling "beer."

CONS: There is no way anyone in their right mind could drink a whole 22oz bottle of this stuff by themselves in one sitting--it's way too rich and stimulating. "Big as the West," as written on the label, is an accurate description for this wonderful creation. Also, regardless of your connoisseur'ing instincts, I recommend enjoying this one ice-cold as its intensity teeters on overwhelming as it warms up.

 2,456 characters

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Bourbon Barrel Porter from Oregon Trail Brewery
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 67 ratings