Bourbon Barrel Warmer | Upland Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel WarmerBourbon Barrel Warmer

Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged for 6-8 months in bourbon/whiskey barrels

2009: Pappy Van Winkle barrels
2010: Buffalo Trace barrels
2011: Wild Turkey barrels
2013: Willet barrels

Added by SirSketch on 05-02-2010

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 129
Photo of waltonc
2.21/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Opened this up last night, figuring it fit in well with the Christmas/winter beer theme. However, it paled in comparison to most of the other brews opened, and was thus poured down the drain.

A: Caramel with tan head.
S: Oxidation (even though I was told this is a 2010 bottle), light bourbon, caramel. Not an inviting or interesting smell for a bourbon barrel barleywine. I knew right away this wouldn't be good.
T: About as uninteresting and one-note of a bourbon barrel barleywine as I can recall having had (the only other example I can recall being potentially this bad is barrel aged Old Abominable). Again, bourbon, blah typical barleywine notes - high malt level, low hops, a little brown sugar here, a little vanilla and wood there.
M: Pretty thin body for the style.
D: Took two sips and poured the rest down the drain.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.43/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a clear, caramelly color with a light foam cap.

S: Light aroma of bourbon and nuts. I pick up elements of toffee, vanilla, and toast. It's not very pungent, but the range is nice.

T: Bourbon, nuts, small elements of grape, toast, and brown sugar. Nothing offensive, but nothing outstanding, either. It nails everything I'd expect in a barrel-aged barleywine, though the flavors aren't very pronounced.

M: It's thin-medium bodied, with a watery finish. The flavor falls off surprisingly fast.

D: I know I'm in a minority here, but I thought Perfect Storm was barrel-dominated and sweet. I think this beer falls far below that one, and so I can't give it anything higher than a C. I suppose I'd have it again, but I wouldn't seek it out. This was one of the first dumped bottles of the evening. No one cared to drink it.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.72/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany and caramel with just a slight off-white head, a little lacing and some bubbles.

You can tell the barrel had an impact here. Sweet booze in the nose, but not overpowering. Rich vanilla notes with some wood and caramel as well.

Starts out with a sweet boozy whiskey flavor. Unlike the nose the booze dominates this. The vanilla and oak are barely present as everything tastes like sweet wild turkey. A few more flavors came out after warming, but still Wild Turkey shone through.

A tad light on the mouthfeel, but not too bad. Medium carbonation. Maybe a bit higher than others in this style.

The regular version is one of my all time favorites and I've loved this one the last few years, but the Wild Turkey barrels ruined a good beer IMO. It overpowers everything. Maybe it'll mellow out a bit and let more of the wonderful base beer shine through after some aging.

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Photo of lightindarkness
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hard pour yields an ivory head of dense froth that wants to hang around for a while. Clearish dark ambery red color.

Malty nose of grain with some bourbon caramel and vanilla. Kind of woody with some light spice depth. Overall not a strong smell, very pleasant, but a bit weak.

Taste is interesting. A little bitter at first, very weak as a barleywine, losing much of it's malty bigness in the barrel aging. Bourbon comes across buttery and woody with some nice oak and a little vanilla. A little leathery, but also a tinge salty, which really doesn't help. Leaves a very pleasant sweetness on the lips.

Mouthfeel is medium, almost light. Carbonation is weak, and there's not much body to speak of for a barleywine, seemingly not enough to make up for one to be aged in bourbon barrels.

It's tasty and drinkable, but not highly so. Interesting overall beer. Good for a try, and admittedly I'm liking it more as I go, but not one I feel like I need to have again.

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Photo of largadeer
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Womencantsail shared this one. Thanks, Andrew.

Hazy light amber with a reddish hue. A finger of foam rises and quickly recedes.

Caramel and brown sugar are evident on the nose. Integrated bourbon, light alcohol, berry preserves. It's pretty light for the style, and there isn't much to it.

Toasted malt, brown sugar, berry-like fruitiness. Grainy, a little alcohol, though it's mellow overall. The body is pretty thin, and the flavor profile a bit simplistic, though it does nail the key notes of the style.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared at a tasting, not a very good beer. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head, low retention.

Aroma is bourbon and malt, smells fine.

Beer is sort of a mess, it is malty and sweet with an odd finish, not much going on worth mentioning though. An interesting beer I suppose but not a repeat for me.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle of the recent winter 2013 bottling. Thanks Shaun. Poured into a Hoppin' Frog snifter today, 3/20/2014.

App- Dark caramel brown body with a nice one-1/2 finger white head that retains quite well and drops slowly. No lacing, looks darker than a typical scotch/wee heavy.

Smell- Initial nose impression is almost cologne-like, kind of a minty and even a bit chemical-like. It's interesting and a bit different. Also a very sweet toffee nose from the base beer, a little bit of vanilla and oak barrel.

Flavour- Caramel, toffee, hints of vanilla, a bit of oak barrel and sweet bourbon. A touch of dark fruits. But this is definitely a toffee-forward beer. It's solid, nothing mind-blowing. Would have expected a bit more barrel here.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, fine carbonation, on the thinner side of what I'd expect of an a BA English Barleywine. A bit hot and boozy.

Overall- Decent BA English Barleywine, nothing too special but certainly still a treat in of its own. I don't get any spices which you'd expect from a "Winter Warmer".

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for this one, Mark. Shared at the BABATT.

A: The pour is surprisingly clear amber/copper color with a short lived off-white head.

S: The nose certainly lets you know this one is barrel aged. Bourbon and vanilla start things off. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar follow. There's a bit of cardboard/oxidation going on too.

T: Surprisingly light in flavor for a -bal aged barleywine. Again, sweet vanilla and bourbon along with the typical brown sugar and caramel flavors of the style. A bit of warming alcohol is present as well.

M: The body is certainly on the thin side with a fairly lively carbonation to it.

D: Not at all bad, but not a homerun either (maybe a long single). I didn't find it bad, just sort of uninteresting.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

2010 bottle poured into a tulip glass ,

A: Clear chestnut brown with minimal head, slight tiny hiss when opening. nearly perfectly clear. Time in the bottle has let this one settle out.

S: Aroma of sweet cherry, caramelized sugars, plum, subdued barrel and barely present bourbon, I would hesitate to know how much time passed prior to the barrel being used again, or however long it was, the bourbon is very faint.

T: This beer starts like a nice english barleywine, very faintly hopped with a very low alpha hop, abundances of caramel, vanillin, some stale carboard / oak barrel flavors in the background. This was apparently the Buffalo Trace barrel year, which is a whiskey i have not had, and makes me curious to know where the flavor notes are in the whiskey itself.

M: Relatively flat and seems basically appropriate for an english barleywine, but just a little too flat for my liking. Based on reviews from years following this batch, it seems like they may have taken care of that item as it seems the 2013s are drawing a full finger of head. Maybe worth reviewing again, but then again.... I have a lot of barleywine in the cellar and I dont know when I will be trading again for more from out of state in IN.

O: Overall, there are some good characteristics here. I have been sitting on this bottle for a few years in my cellar and it is a good barleywine, but not overly impressed with some of the flaws that are going on here. Slightly stale, slight cardboard hints, not much bourbon flavors. Other than that, it seems like the body is on par, color is nice and I would have to assume has improved with more recent batches.

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz dated October 2011 into a nonic pint.

Burgundy with amber highlights on the pour. A bit of foam on the pour but dissipates into a ring around the edges. Some bubbles can be seen, a bit of legging.

Strong notes of toasted coconut, vanilla, and oak give way into butterscotch and other confectionery sweetness. As the beer warms, it becomes more and more alcoholic smelling which takes over the sweetness.

A tad bit sweeter on the tongue but again, all about the bourbon and barrel. Rich vanilla and toasted coconut. A little heat as well.

Medium-thin with some heat and stickyness.

Good display of bourbon notes. I wasn't expecting much with this one but it wasn't bad. I should have picked up the non-barreled version of this one for comparison.

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Photo of SirSketch
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, translucent auburn color. The head is very light, fluffy and beige in color.

S - Huge bourbon character similar to their Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Stout. Some raisin character and a scotch ale-like maltiness.

T - Vanilla and oaky bourbon flavor dominat the tastebuds. Very sweet and undoubtedly boozy. A bit harsh actually. Ends pretty bitter.

M/D - Medium to full mouth with a sticky feel. An improvement on their regular Winter Warmer, in my opinion.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, barkingelectron!

Murky, cloudy dark brown with a small half-finger's worth of dark brown bubbles. This leaves small ribbons and dots of stick down the glass.

Caramel, toffee, some chocolate, well-integrated bourbon, and definite oxidation make up the aroma. Pleasant, though less complex and interesting in practice than it sounds in theory.

The chocolate flavors are more pronounced in the flavor than they are in the aroma, combining nicely with caramels, raisin, toffee, just a tiny bit of char, bourbon, and lots of oak. All the usual characters are here, and this is certainly very flavorful (and the alcohol's hidden well), but the oxidation acts as a definite intrusion on the integration.

Medium bodied with moderate, somewhat prickly, carbonation.

Good, but not great.

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Photo of crusian
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle from... crap, cant remember, if you sent me this, please let me know and I will update my review. too many trades recently.

anyway... pours a burnt amber color with a few centimeters head into my scotch glass... looks perfect! not too much not too little. bottle is dated April '10.

smells bourbony, but not overly so. smells like a weak bourbon, no hops, no malt no anything except diluted bourbon. it is really pleasant. There are hints of caramel in there, with a hint of sour... just a tiny hint of sour... I dont know if this will hold up in a cellar with that on the nose. I suggest drinking this soon if you have one.

bourbon is the first thing on the palate. honestly, not much more. it tastes well aged, very smooth, but bourbon is about the only thing there. dont get me wrong, this is nice. I like sipping on a good bourbon, and thats what this tastes like, a nice carbonated bourbon. alcohol is covered very well, not too strong... I get some brown sugar and caramel in there as well.

anyway, not sure this is a barleywine, but it is pretty good. Grab one if you see it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at Oneinchaway's tasting.

Bottled 12/2014.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel toffee, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast 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 pretty good beer with lots of sticky sugar and bourbon characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of chanokokoro
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an unbranded snifter

Pours a murky mahogany capped by a more than ample one and a half finger medium beige head. Above average retention, evident, coating lacing. Caramel, light wisps of oak, vanilla, and booze on the nose. Opens with caramel, toffee, dates, fig, and hints of dried dark fruit. Big vanilla notes midpalate; finishes with pleasant oakiness, a hint of maple syrup and brown sugar & light bourbon notes and warming alcohol. Low level of carbonation, full smooth, syrupy body. A very nice brew. All the flavor components of an exceptional BA English barleywine are there, however lacks a bit in both depth and complexity. Certainly a solid brew that I wouldn't turn down, but just a step away from being a seasonal that I'd make a point of buying annually.

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Photo of wchesak
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Spiegelau Tulip....thanks to robwestcott

A - amber brown in color, not a lot of off white head with random sized bubbles, left some circular lacing

S - almost like a toned down Raison de Extra from DFH, with some port, vanilla, and oak notes, smell the bourbon only in the heat

T - deep dark caramel then some dark fruit, slight tinge of hop dryness at the end, bourbon is there but never takes a leading roll, a bit of it felt in the chest

M - lighter bodied than expected for a barleywine, almost like a thick, toned down hoppness English IPA, rather smooth though and above average carbonation

D - enjoyed this greatly, however i do prefer if a beer is gonna be bourbon barrel aged that the bourbon comes through more

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Photo of davey101
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011: Wild Turkey barrels. Bottled on October 2011. 22 oz bomber into a snifter.

A - Ruby red with a brown tint. Sits really still with no head or edging. Upon pouring a thin off-white cap does form and quickly fizzes away.

S - Loads of bourbon soaked dark fruits. Plums, dates, raisins, vanilla, oak, and toffee. A bot of warming alcohol on the finish.

T - Dark fruits initially, then large bourbon notes. Plenty of oak and vanilla. Finishes sweet and malty with notes of toffee and caramel. Medium to light mouth feel with a large alcohol presence.

O - A nice BBA barleywine. Its not as complex or flavorful as some of the other big guys (King Henry, Abacus, etc) but it can certainly hold its own.

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Photo of TroopScoop
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: murky, brownish/red, thin head that quickly disappears. For a barleywine, its solid

S: the bourbon aromas take charge as the beer warms. Slight nutty & earthy musks permeate when she's cold. For the style, I dig it.

T: very complex. The hops are bitter, the earthy tones from the smell are right there, and the bourbon - oh, yea, its just right. This is a sipper, with each consumption yet another attempt to define what is hitting my tastebuds.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation. Its nice & thin, and the bourbon is not overdone. Its exactly what the aftertaste called for.

O: I still have a hard time drinking the barleywine style, but this honestly takes the cake for me. The key to this beer is the Goldilocks Principle: not too much, not too little, but just enough barrel aging/bourbon. Its exactly why we all love KBS. Good stuff. Upland

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Photo of eclipse54
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL bottle from fvernon; thank you very much for yet another want! Poured into a DFH signature glass...

Pours a dark brown/purple/mahogany color with about a finger’s breadth of fluffy, off-white head. Retention is short, which is to be expected I suppose. Small outcroppings of bubbles cling to the walls of the glass as lacing.

The aroma is of caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, date, hazelnut, and a touch of raisin and dried cherry. Very well balanced and highly inviting.

It tastes of caramel, toffee, and hazelnut on the front, followed by vanilla, date, and raisin in the middle. The oak and bourbon really come through on the finish, with a prominent alcohol moiety on the exhale. A bit hot, but not terribly so.

Mouthfeel is rich, but ample carbonation keeps the sugars from sticking to the tongue too much and helps bring out the more subtle flavors. Finish is rather dry from the oak and alcohol, but it keeps you coming back for another sip.

Overall, a great bourbon barrel aged barleywine. I think a little more time in the bottle would have helped pull some of the heat off of this, but I was too eager to dive in and enjoy it (and enjoy it I did!).

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Photo of portia99
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (bottled 3/10) poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

A - Pours and orangey amber color, with a low off-white head and leaves behind some nice webs of lacing.

S - Malty sweet with bourbon, molasses and brown sugar on the nose. Little bit of booziness...overall smells sugary sweet.

T - Brown sugar, boozey alcohol, bourbon, surprisingly still a bit of hoppy bitterness, toffee, sugar

M - Medium body with a low, smooth carbonation. Overall sweet and caramelly...almost candy-ish.

O - Overall a good English style barleywine, barrel aging seems to complement the beer nicely...not overdone.

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Photo of dontcostnuthin
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taken from notes- 10/11
Thanks to Kstrickler for the bottle

Beer pours a garnet color and fills my duvel tulip. I get about one inch of head which dissipates quickly. A little clingy lace is left after each sip.

My nose is greeted with the smells of sweet toffee, vanilla and dark cherries. Bourbon is certainly present but by no means overwhelming.

Sweet rich taste with cheeries and vanilla. There is also oak and smoky notes as a result of the barrel aging, but it is very well integrated. Certainly would qualify it a bourbon bomb. Reemphasize that this is a sweet malty slow sipper of a beer. Alcohol pretty well hidden for a high abv brew.

Drinkability and mouthfeel were slightly disappointing. My bottle had very little carbonation to balance out the heaviness and sweetness, which became bit cloying and overwhelming by the end. A 12oz pour would be more than enough for me. Would certainly try again, but would take a bomber myself.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A beautiful beer, with fine dark brown-red body. Slightly hazy but still mostly clear. Light tan head, huge lacing.

S - Vanilla, toffee, burnt sugar, molasses, wood, and booze.

T - Open with caramel, middle explodes with wood and wine notes, vanilla and a slight bitterness parries the sweetness.

M - Spiky in the opening. Sticky. Recedes quickly in the close.

O - Decent barleywine. Bright sweetness, slightly muddy close.

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Photo of brentk56
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottling

Appearance: Pours a hazy mahogany color with a frothy tan head that leaves a nice trail of lacing all around the glass

Smell: Caramel and Bourbon dominate the aroma, with vanilla and fig underneath

Taste: Caramel and Bourbon also dominate the front-end, with the fig and vanilla building, in the middle; vanilla flavors round out the finish with the Bourbon adding a boozy touch to the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth down the gullet

Overall: I suspect that this beer will improve with age, though right now it is a bit raw in the Bourbon-dominated booziness that masks any Winter warmer spicing subtlety

Thanks, fredmugs, for the opportunity

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep brown almost in glass, a clear amber when pouring.

S-Mild bourbon, good deal of coffee and caramel. Earthy notes as well.

T-Starts with caramel and toffee, some bourbon, tad bit of oak. Dark fruits (cherries and plums) as well.

M-Medium bodied, tad velvety with nice carbonation.

O-A decent BA Barleywine, and even more importantly a cheap one.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled in December 2013. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head light tan head that stays around for a while. There's also a lot of lacing. The brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, molasses, and dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's the addition of some caramel, nuts, brown sugar, bready malt and a bit of booze. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall I liked this brew, and it's certainly worth a try at $6.99 a bomber.

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Bourbon Barrel Warmer from Upland Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 129 ratings.
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