Whiskey Barrel Imperial Stout | John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

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Whiskey Barrel Imperial StoutWhiskey Barrel Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 11-18-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of Gusler
4.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer as it emerges from the bottle a Jet Black color, the head is planetary in size, semi-creamy in texture, the color a toothsome light chocolate color as it evanesces the lace forms a satiny skirt to hide the glasses charms. “Ah That Smell”, vanilla, sweet hints of bourbon, roasted grains, malt, molasses, and a of course hints of oak, a real compendium of the best “Smells” in “Beerdom”. Start is ambrosial, thick malt with the top chocolate fudge rich and thick, finish has a moderate acidity, and the hops are dynamic but pleasant, very dry and bittersweet aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Nice belly warming sensation and a quite quaffable stout.

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Photo of StevieW
4.85/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Epilogue: I visited the Harvard Square location on a Sunday to try this wonderful stuff. They were in bottles locked in a glass refrigerator and unable to be sold due to the Massachusettes law. The agony of being so close, yet unable to sample them haunted me. So I called them when I got home to Florida, and bought them over the phone and they put them on hold in the brewery fridge. Then sent JP on a covert op to pick them up and get em to Florida. All for the love of beer.

12 oz bottle poured into my Back Bay Brewing Co pint glass. Darker black than Midnight in Montana. No light penetrates this one. Creamy rich, bubbly beige head. Visual perfection.
First smell is striking and heart warming. Unbelievably smooth combination of sweet cherries, rich warm whiskey, and oak casks. Holy shit, I want to devour this stuff. Taste is super smooth as well, nice Imperial stout tastes are there, roasted plums and cherries on top of dark chocolate fudge cake. Hints of figs, and fruitcake. Slight roasted coffee bitterness, then a whiff of Kentucky whiskey slips by, or is that heroin, not sure but it could be. You are overcome with a happy glow and contentment after having this wash your tastebuds and settle in your belly. Lightly carbonated and high abv, yields just a touch thinner feel than you would expect, but it's no where near the thinness of and slickness of a Kalamazoo Expedition Stout. I think one of these at a time, to savor and enjoy the flavors. This and Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce are the 2 finest substances known to man. Gets my highest compliment......Magic in a glass !
If I lived in Boston, I would bathe in this stuff, walk around like a babbling idiot, sucking my thumb, mumbling about the red sox, and kicking the ground, until John Harvard's opened each day, that is. Then right to the bar to drink them dry.
Cheers to the 2003 Beeradvocate of the Year JohnnyP for putting up with my badgering and getting these beers to me.
BTW, Where's Venom's review ? ......te he he

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.52/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Having missed a chance to sample this beer at the AOBF I took a trip to Harvard Sq to buy myself a bottle and see what all the fuss was about. Also, I wanted something special for my 50th review.

The beer is black as night with a thin tan head that fades quickly to a ring around the surface. Strong malty esters with aromas of cherry's, coffee, molasses and burbon greet you before each sip. The flavor begins fruity (cherry again) and quickly moves to a roasted malt and molasses taste. It finishes with a mild burbon flavor and leaves behind a fruity taste and dry palate.

This beer remided me of a more drinkable version of the Sam Adams triple bock. The alcohol is hidded well and its smoothness makes it very drinkable. I wish it had a bit more head retention to add to the overall experience.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.44/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had heard good things about this from fellow AOBF attendees, but I didn't have a chance to sample it then. But thnx to JohnnyP, I have a second chance! The pour produces a jet-black, inky potion, topped with a thin, fine tan head. There's a tiny bit o' lace, but quite minimal. The nose is whickey-licious! Very oaky and bourbon-like, with underlying sweetness and dark fruit aromas. Mmmmmmm!!! I was surprized the body wasn't fuller. Medium it was, but could have been chewier, perhaps. Still, silky smooth on the tongue. The malty, sweet, dark fruit nature of this bier comes up again in the flavor, followed closely by the characteristics imparted by the whiskey barrels. The finish has a nice, hoppiness which is a pleasant balance to the malty start of this rich, dark sucka! Good stuff, though best sampled in small doses. Thnx, again, to the immortal JohnnyP. Prosit!!

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Photo of Alewife
4.62/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bierman9 was about to have this when I asked for a whiff. It was heaven, and just HAD to commandeer his beer. This one was a deep, thick, dark brown, with a fine, creamy tan head and ok lace sticking inside. Nose was, as I said before, heavenly! It had chocolate notes, with whiskey notes and perhaps even sherry-like traits. I could fall into a barrel of this stuff and swim in its scent! It was chewy and had a medium-plus, almost-full body. Felt extra smooth on the tongue. Flavor was quite complex, with dark fruit and pruny characteristics. Malty sweet, with bourbon flavors and a rich chocolate sweetness. Finish is ever-so-slightly bitter, but pleasantly hoppy. Bierman will have to wait for his!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the AOBF 5/24/03.

Dark black in color. Thick tan head coats the glass. A fabulous aroma to this one: earthy and malty sweet, with the whiskey smell noted as well. The taste was excellent. Notes of caramel, vanilla, and the strong whiskey flavor were fantastic. Mouthfeel was very, very smooth. To say that this was a full-bodied beer would be an understatement. Drinkability was great. I agree with UncleJimbo: This was one of the best beers to be had at the AOBF.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.8/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on tap at the AOBF 5/24/03. 9.5% abv.
This was one of the best beers at the AOBF in my opinion.

Poured a dark brown/black. Moderate tan head (foam). The smell was beautiful: whiskey, bourbon, dark malt. The taste was oh so smooth. Sweet, smooth malt, whiskey, hints of vanilla. The mouthfeel was very smooth, mellow, very nice. Full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. The drinkability was amazing. Of all the beers at AOBF, this was the only one that I had more than 2 samplings. Very nice.

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Photo of aracauna
4.64/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout Blind Tasting (11-16-02): Visual: Small head. Aroma: nice bourbon, good dark malts. Flavor: more bourbon but not overpowering. The nicely balanced use of the bourbon creates perceived flavors of vanilla that blends nicely with the fruitiness and chocolate. Oh yeah.

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Whiskey Barrel Imperial Stout from John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
4.63 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
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