Bourbon Barrel Aged Siberian Night Imperial Stout | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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212 Reviews
Bourbon Barrel Aged Siberian Night Imperial StoutBourbon Barrel Aged Siberian Night Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We took our award winning Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout and aged it for 11 months in fresh bourbon barrels. The result blew us away. The dark chocolate malt yields a milk chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the vanilla flavor from the barrel. The bourbon aroma adds the finishing touch.

Added by largadeer on 04-02-2011

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Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 1,114
Photo of n2185
4/5  rDev -4.8%

A: pours black with two fingers of light brown head that fades into a frothy ring with a little lacing.

S: roasted malts, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and a bit of semi-sweet chocolate dominate.

T: oak, vanilla, and bourbon dominate here with the roasted malt and chcolate stout flavors playing second fiddle. The finish is moderately boozy.

M: thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer feels a bit effervescent, like a soda.

O: a good beer, overall, though I wish the stout flavors came through a bit more.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from hotpipes in a recent box. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
IBU: 58
From 22 Plato to 5.5 Plato
Spent 11 months in bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: A dark brown pour yields a small, medium thin, crackly tan head with decent retention. Black body and a touch higher levels of carbonation for the style. Swirly wisp and ring remain leaving dots of lacing down the glass. Better than average for the style, but nothing spectacular.

SMELL: Bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, light butterscotch aromas, cocoa powder and some alcohol as well. Light nail polish remover, but that subsides rather quickly.

TASTE: Bourbon, oak, light nail polish remover and milk chocolate up front. Flavorful with a big, lingering finish of bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, sweet butterscotch and alcohol. The nail polish remover bows out rather quickly and this turns into something pretty enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium and and carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down okay and finishes sticky. Creamier would be a plus, but not bad. A bit of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Pretty solid. A note of nail polish remover hurts a bit, but it certainly doesn't ruin the experience. All in all, a pretty good beer that I enjoyed. Thanks again for the box hotpipes. Always fun.

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Photo of Zach136
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, no date, $7.49 from Greenville Beer Exchange. Poured into a 16oz snifter

A - Pitch black, short lived head and OK lacing

S - Metallic vanilla up front with a touch of bourbon.

T - Semi- sweet chocolate, with background notes of bourbon and roasted coffee.

M - Medium bodied, solid carbonation, a bit sticky.

O - Great brew, not a world class Bourbon Barrel stout, but it hits the spot!

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Photo of prototypic
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one arrived looking onyx. Absolutely pitch black. Light was rather dim, but it didn’t seem to penetrate through at all. It’s topped with a darker, mocha colored head. It’s roughly a finger tall, and dissipates somewhat quickly. Lacing was sticky, and a little lighter in volume.

The nose is quite impressive. A strong whiff of roasted coffee greets the nose first. I’m a coffee fan, so I love that about it. A mix of chocolate and roasted malts follows. The chocolate smells like bittersweet dark chocolate fudge. Very nice. I’m honestly not getting much bourbon at all. There’s hint of it. Oak and vanilla are noted and come through equally as strong as the bourbon, if not a little stronger. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t offend.

The flavor rocks! The malt base is very tasty. Dark chocolate fudge and roasted malt notes are abundant. They’re complemented extremely well by a rich, roasted coffee flavor. The coffee flavor is relatively intense, and may be a little much for the coffee averse. Bourbon is a little noticeable, but is very tame in flavor. It tastes excellent, but I wouldn’t mind just a little boost in bourbon here. Oak and vanilla are perhaps a little more noticeable and add quality depth. Hints of molasses and anise are noted on the tail. Alcohol is there, but isn’t warm or hot. A java-malt-oak combo wraps it up.

The body is a bit lighter than expected. It’s best described as medium. Light carbonation helps it to attain a smooth feel, but more body would be a good thing. Nonetheless, this stuff goes down like a dream. I wouldn’t mind another.

Barrel-Aged Siberian Night is definitely good beer. It impresses in a lot of ways. It’s not quite as good as Siberian Night. I believe a bit more bourbon would improve the nose and the flavor just enough to surpass it. I generally prefer a lighter bourbon presence, but this one almost seems too light. I’m curious how long it might have spent in barrels. In any event, this is impressive stuff. If you have the opportunity, grab it!

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Photo of wedge
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a very dark brown, but certainly appears black in the glass, topped with a fleeting creamy head. Scant bubbly cream collects at the edges. Lots of woody bourbon notes coat a dark maltiness...dark chocolate, coconut flakes, and vanilla bean. Smells good, but on the alcoholic side and not quite as deep as I'd prefer. Less boozy in the flavor focusing on huge chocolaty roasted malts tinged with a quality oak character. Super creamy, well-blended flavors: vanilla, vinous fruit, coconut, and coffee notes abound. Deliciousness in the mouth. Leaning more towards medium bodied than full, still pretty creamy, though the carbonation comes across as just a touch too lively. Good stuff, I'm glad I tried it, but the original is the overall winner and cheaper to boot.

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

Thanks to Blake for lining this up for the tap at Chuck's. Jet black with a deep mocha head. The flavor profile delivers not much bourbon, but more of the bourbon flavor components - brown sugar, vanilla, a touch of oak and light coffee and unsweetened chocolate background. Teetering on boozy, but no heat from the alcohol. As one would expect, a bit sweet and dense, but within appropriate bounds. Well executed.

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Photo of Florida9
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Appear black in the glass, but dark brown on the pour. Dark, but not fully opaque. Forms a rather modest, creamy dark tan head. Some light lacing.

S: Aroma is a mix of chocolate and bourbon. Lighter notes of dark malts, vinegar, and a whiff of smoke.

T: More chocolate, milk chocolate this time, with a moderate sweetness. Light bourbon notes. Creamy vanilla. Unfortunately, that whiff of smoke comes through as a mildly acrid burnt flavor on the back end.

M: Pn the heavier side of medium with a lower carbonation level, but actually fairly thin for the style. Moderate alcoholic heat.

O: A decent and approachable barrel aged stout, but personally I found the bourbon barrel to fairly light and the body to thin. Not bad, just not world-class.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Beautiful looking beer. Not going to describe in detail because I really need to talk about the aroma and taste of this beer.

It's bursting with milk chocolate. It's very distinct both in flavor and aroma and if I were drinking a regular stout I'd curtsy, tip my hat and alla that. But this is supposed to be aged in bourbon. I feel like this was dipped in bourbon. Like when you put your big toe in the pool or tub to check the temperature. Like when Achilles was dipped in the immortal pool and every part of his body was safe except for that damn heel. Well this beer is like the heel. It's the part that somehow didn't get the bourbon. It's like the slaves in Texas that found out slavery was over way after the emancipation proclamation and the end of the Civil War. This beer did not hear about the bourbon proclamation.

And look, I know you've got these folks that want every beer to be bourbon with some malt and hops and shit, but I'm not that person. I appreciate the subtlety and I'll even concede that there is some subtle bourbon here, but this just feels a little too much like someone splashed a half cap of some liquor in my beer.

Ah well, it's got a good body. Nice milky sweetness. It's rich. It's not all bad. Hell, it's far from bad.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Sam's Quick Stop, Durham NC, 10oz pour into a snifter

A- pours pitch black in color with with creamy dark-tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving some lace behind

S- big bourbon aroma up front which gives some vanilla and toasted oak aromas, chocolate on the finish

T- big shot of bourbon up front leaves no doubt that this one is barrel aged, oak barrel juice continues through to mid-palate, eventually giving way to a creamy dark chocolate flavor, that lasts into a sweet finish, with more bourbon on the linger

M- medium-heavy body, creamy and viscous mouthfeel, medium prickly carbonation and a pure velvety finish

O- a big bourbon presence from this one, at times the base beer seems to have a hard time matching up to the big bourbon flavors. This is definitely a bourbon lovers stout

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black color with a fingers worth of head that slowly fades down to a decent ring around the edge of the glass

S: Roasted malts, along with a very nice barrel character comprised of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and tannins. A little on the sweet side, almost like brownie batter with all the maltiness and barrel character. Not extremely complex, but definitely very nice

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with light roast, bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, and a touch of tannic leather. Again, fairly on the sweet side but very nice. Alcohol goes almost completely unnoticed, and it is incorporated very nicely into the bourbon and vanilla notes. Finishes with more of the malt sweetness, roast, and mostly vanilla barrel character

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A very nice BBA stout with a great base and even better barrel treatment. If you enjoy the original, this one is a must try. Also just pretty much a must-try in general

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Photo of MacQ32
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours solid black into my Brooklyn snifter glass with a finger of mocha colored head with ok retention and leaves behind a great lacing.

S - Lots of mocha, caramel and chocolate smells with a strong bourbon presence. Smells very robust, am now picking up some nice vanilla type notes as well. My mouth just started watering uncontrollably, no... seriously. FIVE

T - Amazing, tastes just like it smells. I'm getting big chocolate to bourbon flavors then to mocha/caramel/vanilla. Slight (but good) bourbon burn at finish.

M - Full bodied, definitely a sipper but I'm already almost done at the point. This brew is absolutely delicious! I need to slow down if I'm going to drink 2 more. Anyway, appropriate carbonation, nice viscosity, a cold days best friend!

O - It took me countless smells and only two sips to decide this is my favorite stout, hands down! What more need I say?

I bumped up the appearance .5 just to make sure I gave this one all 5's, I HAD to.

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

Pours onyx black color with a 1-1.5 finger tan foamy head that was full of bubbles of all sizes which were popping as it dissipated slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing clinging to the sides as it slides down. Typical ominous looking RIS.

Smells of molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, oaky notes, roasted malts, charred wood, bourbon, ashy or smoke elements, brown sugar, toffee, coffee grinds, espresso and earthy notes with a sprinkle of piney hops. The roasted notes and bourbon come off as sweet, with the cocoa and vanilla accentuating the barrel aged influence. The chocolate weaves in and out of the booze, malt, barrels and caramel sweetness while allowing depth and complexities to come out as it warms. Very well done.

Tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, cocoa powder, oaky notes, molasses, peat moss, charred wood, roasted malts or smoked grains, woody barrel flavors that let you know this was aged in bourbon barrels. Next wave is French roast coffee or a very burnt Starbuck's bold, mild dark fruits, brown sugar, some more oaky notes, milk chocolate, mild peppery spices, candied sugar, bourbon with minor heat, and an espresso/bitterness combo. Sweetness does not cross over into cloying, the booze adds heat and flavor but does not offend, the barrel and oak influence adds complexities and overall it's a nicely balanced and very tasty RIS. At almost 11% ABV it goes down easier than it should, which is a good thing.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost slick, on the thin side but still close enough to medium to have that RIS feel. Roast is present, bitterness is present, booze/bourbon is present, and the carbonation is quite mild and timid as it allows the alcohol to provide a mild burn as it slides down smooth. A slow sipper indeed, this finishes on the dry side with a lot of cocoa, molasses and dark chocolate in the finish. After your mouth dries it seemed to me like I just had a shout of bourbon, which is alright with me.

Age the base beer in bourbon barrels for 11 months and this delicious brew comes out...more please, this was excellent. The alcohol is present but not too hot, the stout roasty notes come through and mix well with the bourbon and barrel aged sweetness. I assume this would age with the best of them as it seems to be this year's vintage, so I'd love to get another bottle to age a year since it was great at this stage. Seek this out.

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Photo of flexabull
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle courtesy of maximum12, I'd trade with this guy anytime. Thanks again!

Pours a sludge black color with a thin white head. Looks about like this style should.

Aromas are whoa... bourbon! And not a whole lot else. Damn, if I didn't know I poured a beer, I would have thought I poured a shot of whiskey. This is not neccassarly a bad thing.

Taste is much morE balanced than the nose suggested. Taste starts out with some cream, dark bitter bakers chocolate, and some cola and bourbon notes. Finish is boozy, with some coconut sweetness, alcohol warmth, and booze notes.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Good body, and maybe a touch thin.

Overall, this is a barrel aged stout that is better than the sum of its parts. Not in the upper echelon, but this is easily in the second tier. Very good stuff.

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Photo of Jas45678
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter

Pours a not to thick black with a small tan head that disappears very quickly. Smell is bourbon, cocoa, oak and vanilla and some alcohol. Taste is of bourbon and chocolate with a little vanilla and coconut, and definitely a little boozy. Mouthfeel is a little thin with moderate carbonation. Overall a good beer that I would like to try with a little more age on it.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pretty much a black color or really dark brown with a small light brown head. Head turns into a ring of bubbles around the edge and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Smell is dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and a bit of darker fruits. Bourbon is very nice in this brew. It really jumps out at you along with some vanilla and wood.

T- A good amount of bourbon that is nothing over the top. Just like the nose darker fruits are here more than in the nose. Roasted malts, touch of coffee, and chocolate.

M- Fuller in body and on the low end in carbonation.

O- Very solid brew and just what I expected.

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Photo of thebigredone
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to phishbfm for hooking me up with this in a recent BIF.

Pours a deep blackish brown. Medium tan head that dissipates quickly.

Nose is light. Decent barrel aromatics and not much else.

Taste is somewhat... disappointing. Light barrel taste, a bit of whiskey, a touch of chocolate, some dark fruits, and mild roast. Taste fades quickly and leaves a lingering, muddled flavor.

Mouthfeel is quite thin.

Overall, a somewhat subpar BA stout. I am incredibly let down by this beer, as I was expecting great things based on the reviews. Honestly, this is basically a clone of Weyerbacher Heresy. At half the price, I'd go with Heresy every time.

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

The beer pour a dark inky black with a thin 1/4 inch halo of loose, foamy, tan head around the glass's perimeter. The nose has a significant amount of roastiness rounded out by some buttery, bourbon vanilla-caramel notes. Very little alcohol or bitterness is detected, though I find there is some fruitiness. The taste works more of the beer's bitterness into the roasty/caramelized/malty base, which is accented by some hints of oak and a lingering ethanol burning in the finish. The richly flavored full body isn't quite as heavy as I've come to appreciate with the style and has more carbonation than expected, but the rounded-out barrel notes mixing with a roasty bitterness are enjoyable and more drinkable by comparison. I don't think the flavors sit on the palate as elegantly when compared to my favorite representations of the style; the beer is a bit harsh/abrasive. However, it's sold at such a seductive price point that it's hard to dislike. I'd say this is definitely worthy trying, but BCS for the same price is a tough sell in my book.

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

12oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a .5 finger dark mocha colored head with little retention. Beer is a dense, opaque pitch black. Lacing is stringy and spotty with solid stick and big, oily legs. Really nice.

Nose is molasses, cocoa, anise, sweet soy sauce, dark fruit, roasted malt and booze. Deliciously deep and robust.

Opens espresso, dark chocolate, fudge, and roasted malt. Dark fruit flavors fade in gradually mixed with fudge and cocoa in the middle supplemented by a slight booziness in the background. Very sweet. A slight soy sauciness at the finish balanced by chocolate and more molasses and leather in the aftertaste. Awesome!

Full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down warm and slightly boozy. Messy finish with a lingering, sticky aftertaste. Great for the style and flavor.

I dare say that this rivals BCBS in terms of availability/quality ratio. A very under the radar brew that's certainly worth seeking out!

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Photo of mcallister
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a creamy thick half inch tan head.

Smells of bourbon, sour cherry, very woody with vanilla and other black fruits. Bourbon overpowers.

A bit cardboardy and full of wood tannins. Gritty consistency in the middle, light dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, cherry, and some earth. Vanilla and bourbon mingle well with the oak. Nice but just missing something.

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Photo of charlzm
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Consumed November 27th, 2013 from an undated bottle. Bottle was purchased from retail in Cleveland, Ohio approximately six months earlier and kept at between 40 and 50 degrees F for nearly all of that time. Poured into a Bruery tulip glass.

Dark, dark pour. Black with no highlights. Medium tan head two fingers high erupts from standard pour. Very fine, uniform bubble size. After a few minutes, a very thin skin of foam still covers the surface and clings to the sides.

Aroma is bourbon. Lots of bourbon. There is also milk chocolate and cherry. An off metallic note intrudes as well.

Flavor is soft, malty chocolate up front, transitioning almost immediately into a more bitter, woody bourbon flavor. On the swallow, cherries emerge. A lingering roasted malt finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, though creamy. I'd stop just short of calling it velvety, though.

A worthy effort, though this dog isn't quite ready to run with the big dogs of the style.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark as night black, 1/4 inch tan head with some good lacing.

Smell - Chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, brown sugar, roasty smoked malts. Really impressive aroma.

Taste - First sip features the chocolate and malt aspect, with bourbon. The heat is there but not as dominate as other ris's. Sweet molasses, brown sugar and vanilla are really present. Malts are smokey and roasted.

Mouthfeel - Roasted malts and chocolate coats the tongue. Palate picks up the bourbon along with some sugars. Aftertaste is slightly warm and malty.

Overall - Really good, has great drinkability and balance, but not the barrel aged monster I was hopping for. Cant touch kbs, or even the other brewery located in the same city as thirsty dog, hoppin frog's barrel aged boris the destroyer. Still nice, but not the world class I was hoping for. A little pricey on top of it.

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Photo of JakerLou
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a thin tan head, about half a finger. Head dissipated quickly. A little bit of lacing.

Smells of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, coconut, a touch a sweetness in the form of caramel.

Taste is big chocolate up front. Vanilla and coconut kick in with a nice hint of bourbon. Not very boozy considering it's almost 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. Has that nice thick feel like BCBS.

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Photo of seeswo
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jampics2 for the growler. Pours black with a good sized tan head. The nose is bourbon and chocolate, roasted malt. Smell is very nice. The taste is a big burst of roast and chocolate, with a lesser, melded flavor of vanilla, wood and smoky/burnt malts These flavors are really well blended. My only complaint with the flavor is that there is a touch more bitterness in the chocolate flavor than I prefer. That said, this is a really tasty beer and the barrel again represents a major improvement over the base beer. Mouthfeel is decently creamy with good carbonation, though this isn't where is beer shines. Overall, this is a really good barrel aged imperial stout.

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Photo of jampics2
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Winter Warmer festival.

I must have missed this on my first couple trips around the room, but luckily I got to it before the getting was gone. I actually stayed way past my session time enjoying this with some of the Thirsty Dog & Hoppin' Frog peeps! Thanks!!

The beer looks nice – it’s pitch black with a nice head and touches of lace leftover. Nothing unexpected, and, actually, nicer depth of color and retention than expected. Pretty great start!

The nose is where this starts to shine. There’s the typical roasted malt that Siberian night features, but it’s a bit more subdued than normal instead of being the feature. There are mild notes of oak as well, lending some vanilla to the fold.

No real “bourbon” flavors come through on my first sip, but there’s some added depth and a nice touch of vanilla in the end of the taste. I get mild notes of apple skin and brown sugar as well. Add that to an already fantastic base beer, and you get great complimentary notes of coffee, chocolate and a hint of smoke/burned malt. From what I've learned, this was in the barrel for 30 days (even the brewer didn't know the barrel type) and I think it worked better than a wet barrel and 6 months would have.

The mouthfeel was good, nothing too burly, but nice thickness and creamy carbonation. The beer was just a touch syrupy. Overall, this was a wonderful tasting beer that didn’t go all-out in the barrel aging. I’d love to have it again side-by-side with the regular as I feel more nuances would be notable.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
Pitch black in color, with a short cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark malts, vanilla, bourbon note
Taste-Vanilla, oak, dark malt, dose of earthy hops, warming bourbon in the finish. Very smooth with chocolate notes emerging as it warms. A satisfying, slow-sipper.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Siberian Night Imperial Stout from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 212 ratings.
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