Rolling Thunder
Rogue Ales

Rolling ThunderRolling Thunder
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #253
Ranked #5,040
4.13 | pDev: 7.75%
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States
Rolling ThunderRolling Thunder
Notes: Aged for 6 months in Rogue Rolling Thunder Barrel Works oak barrels that held Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 84 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy from Idaho

3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2017 bottling, bottle 167 of 209.

A: Not quite opaque black, dark brown with khaki head.

S: Smells like an oyster stout. Earthy coffee bitterness, notes of oak and smoke, and spirit character.

T: Sweet spirit and smoky/salty barrel. Charred oak. Dark chocolate. Caramel too.

MF: Thinner medium/full body.

O: A decent BA stout.

May 22, 2020
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown pour with thick toffee colored lacing.

S - Lightly blended whiskey, oak, vanilla, and spice.

T - Oak tannin, vanilla, subtle chocolate char, malt, and some whiskey booziness.

M - Thick, slightly syrupy, , lip smacking sticky. Some alcohol effervescence permeating in the back of the throat.

O - This is definitely worth the money if you find a bottle. According to the hand signed label, there were only 395 bottles.

May 10, 2020
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16.9 ounce bottle, Barrel #3 of 74, Bottle #97 of 395. 2020 vintage, 13.6% ABV. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch or so tan head that stuck around for a while. Decent amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like whiskey, burnt/charred malt, dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee. For the most part the taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some dark fruit, anise and oaky flavors. Good amount of barrel character in both the aroma and taste. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's slick and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Little bit of booziness but it doesn't hurt the beer at all. Overall I thought this was a pretty good barrel aged imperial stout, definitely worth trying if you get the chance to!

Apr 24, 2020
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the boxed bottle in a snifter. This fine brew pours a
dark black with a thin cola highlight and a nice head of khaki
foam that settles to a thick ring with clumping big bubbles and a
sports some nice lacing. Nose of whiskey, light vanilla, subtle oak,
dark cocoa, dark coffee, and dark fruit notes with touches of vanilla.
Flavors follow the nose nicely with whiskey and dark cocoa with
touches of dark coffee and oak. Mild vanilla and dark fruit
notes abound with black and raspberry elements amongst
touches of char and roast. Nice mouth light carbonation,
coating, smooth, rich, full body, and a rich whiskey and
malt driven finish that is nicely balanced without being

This world has a lot of fine BBA stouts....this one is a
mighty fine example and one worth getting and
giving a rest in a cellar. Most excellent from
the good Rogue folk!


Apr 06, 2020
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: deep brown/ mahogany color, big tan head with lacing
S: heavy whiskey nose, maybe some dark fruits
T: I get plums and figs, with a good bit of whiskey
F: good mouthfeel, full bodied ale no
O: great sipper, it could replace a bourbon for me

Mar 06, 2020
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.66/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 vintage. Barrel #29/31. Bottle #277,279?/413.

Pouring from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a whiskey/tumbler glass, this beer pours out with streams light and dark brown mixing. It forms in the glass much darker black, but still keeps a brown highlighted ring towards the top when held to light. Pinky width of tightly packed, caramel colored bubbles rest on top. 4.5

The first whiff carries huge, prominent layers of dark fruit tangling with a bourbon soaked chocolate bar. Raisins, dates, leather, chocolate, caramel, dry oak, slightly salty presence. 4.75

The initial taste brings back those deep dark fruits and mixes them with the rich, decadent dark chocolate. It’s almost like those organic dark chocolate bars that are 80% pure cacao. Those chocolate notes are beautiful. It then transitions into the dry oak and faint, accenting kiss of bourbon. It also offers hints of caramel throughout. 4.75

It’s not too hot with alcohol presence at all, and really just chooses to let that bourbon play as a nice accent. It has a bitterness in there, but a natural dark chocolate like bitterness. The sweetness coats the mouth before turning to a dry, oaky wood finish that leaves your mouth dry enough to want another drink. Medium bodied. 4.5

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It’s not overly complex but instead chooses to just lets the notes it has shine instead of trying too hard to find others. Really happy I got a chance to try this, it’s right up my alley. 4.5

Jun 23, 2019
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours nearly pitch black, opaque in the glass with a fine, two finger dark khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, milk chocolate, coffee, oaky vanilla and bourbon. Flavor is dark toasted malt, milk and dark chocolate, drip coffee, woody oak and vanilla and bourbon; hot and boozy bourbon and wood in finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. I'm not cellaring stouts any more, but I think this one could have used a year at rest. The flavors are great with nice chocolate and coffee notes, great woody bourbon barrel character and a malt that is both mellow and supportive. It is a little too hot and woody in the finish at present, although both of these characteristics would probably meld with time. Still one of the best stouts I've had from Rogue and a craftsmanly level of barreling. Nicely done and good looking.

May 12, 2019
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - Deep, pitch black with a dark tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving behind minimal lacing
S - Charred oak, rich roasted malt, rich bitter, dark chocolate, and a hint of alcohol from the whiskey - it's a really enticing smell.
T - Follows the nose: rich roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate up front followed by charred oak and slight sweetness from the whiskey - slight hints of vanilla.
F - Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation - a nice feel to the body, though it might benefit from being slightly fuller
O - I'm really digging the charred characteristics that dominate the palate on this one. The flavor profile is spot on with everything melding nicely into each other to form a really solid barrel aged stout.

Feb 23, 2019
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz Snulip glass not sure when it was bottled. Pours an amazingly attractive slick near pitch black with a 2 finger sticky mocha head that leaves huge waves of lace as it slowly settles into a thin layer of brown bubbles, gorgeous stout. 4.75

Smell is very roasty and complex, dark chocolate, dry coffee, oaky vanilla/bourbon, pipe tobacco, molasses, and leather. 4.25

Taste follows bourbon leads and finishes this one, dark chocolate, char, dry coffee, tobacco, molasses, and leather lingers with all the other flavors, very complex and well made. 4.25

Mouthfeel is big, gentle carbonation, kind of creamy, a tad dry as you would expect, and at 12.8% probably drinks bigger, but still dangerously approachable. 5

Overall this is my 2000 official beer on BA and I wanted it to be special and good, well it is and was. Very impressed with this massive stout.

Feb 17, 2019
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VABA from Virginia

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

A-Pours a very dark color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has whiskey, roasted malts and cocoa hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a nicely balanced whiskey, roasted Malta and cocoa flavor
M-A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
O-A cery good Stout

Feb 17, 2019
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent mahogany with a sliver of mocha colored head. Dissapointing head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, a little cocoa, not picking up any barrel

T: Roastyness, dark fruit, Baker's Chocolate, some woody barrel notes & carob up front. Figs, chocolate, woody dryness & roastyness as this warms, a little vanilla & maple as it warms. Finishes dry, roasty with a little chocolate & a little vanilla

MF: Fairly thick with medium carbonation

An alright Imperial Stout, but the barrel aspects are minimal. Had much higher hopes for this one

Feb 17, 2019
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ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rolling Thunder from 2016, 11.8% abv.
Pours a very dark brown, tan head, almost looks like nitro, very nice lacing.
The aroma here is big roasted malts and a hint of bourbon.
Taste is similar, with a bit of dark fruit.
A bit thin for the style, but it's an OK brew but pricey. I'll pass next time.

Nov 23, 2018
Photo of siskiyoucellar
siskiyoucellar from Oregon

3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well, it’s not your everyday BA imperial stout. This is the 2018, which is up to 14.4 ABV and brewed with raspberries and vanilla. Looks nice, smell is smooth and enticing with tones of chocolate milkshake and the raspberries. The flavor is where things get a bit crazy. The raspberries come on very strong, though nice notes of cocoa, the vanilla and the barrels still come through. The alcohol is well hidden. Overall the effect is quite pleasant, with the fruit impressively integrated, but why exactly is it there in the first place? Is this a BA stout or something from a high-end cake shop? In the end I think it would be best as a genuine dessert beer, served with a flourless chocolate cake and more raspberries. On its own it seems just a bit over the top.

Jun 10, 2018
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superspak from Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 liter swing top bottle into snifter; 2017 vintage, barrel 5/40, bottle 207/209. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, raisin, plum, prune, leather, tobacco, whiskey, toasted oak, smoke, charcoal, nuttiness, dark bread, herbal, floral, pine, light coconut/vanilla, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Touch of booze in the aromas as it warms. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, raisin, plum, prune, leather, tobacco, whiskey, toasted oak, smoke, charcoal, nuttiness, dark bread, herbal, floral, pine, light coconut/vanilla, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Light-moderate roast/char/herbal/pine bitterness and whiskey/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, dark fruit, leather, tobacco, whiskey, toasted oak, smoke, charcoal, nuttiness, dark bread, herbal, floral, pine, light coconut/vanilla, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance, and zero acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from hop/char bitterness and whiskey/oak spiciness. Medium carbonation and full body; with a smooth, creamy/silky/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky/chalky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is extremely well hidden; a mildly increasing warmth of 14%, with zero barrel booze lingering after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged Russian imperial stout! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on; with the modestly bitter/tannic/drying finish. Been a long time since I had the regular imperial stout, but it is definitely the base beer. Very unique profile, not like anything I've had before. Nice mix of fruitiness, whiskey barrel, and smokey/charred malts; with nice earthy hop presence. Still fits the base Russian imperial stout profile extremely well. Not any more impressive than the base beer, but really glad I gave it a shot. Got better as it warmed. A very enjoyable slow sipper.

Feb 03, 2018
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cuy50 from Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up to split with a friend. This was the 2017 version that clocks in at a hefty 14% and equally hefty price of $25. Not a big fan of this, it does not hide the booze very well. It's not too syrupy or have that sickly sweetness so common in these high abv beers. Still, not worth getting again, and especially at this price. Rogue is one of the least consistent breweries out there. Lots of good beers, and lots of bad ones.

Sep 05, 2017
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Suds from Missouri

3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a huge, swing-topped bottle, this beer is seriously intense. The appearance is utterly black, and the head is tan. The smell is malty, serious, and boozy. Lots of wood, earth, caramel, and warmth. The taste is a little dry, and quite hot....more alcohol warmth than expected. Full in body and seriously intense.

Dec 27, 2016
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33.6 oz. growlttle of barrel aged imperial stout? The world needs more of these shenangiangs. Shenanigans. Whatever. In. Split with my wife.

Pop-gun report when the cap comes off, but no gushing or unpleasantness. Black. Because, you know, it’s a stout, so I should give it a 3? Because it’s black? I’ll never understand. Smells like whiskey & malt. I’m a simple man/boy/bearpig.

Rolling Thunder brings a lot of barrel & a lot of fizz. The mouthfeel is distracting. While the pop-gun release of the beer (hehehehehe - he said release) didn’t lead to a big head (hehehehehe - he said head), it shows in the mouth. Again, fizzy. The flavor is close to the bulls-eye, with a lovely bourbon kick that warms the innards & pleases the gums. Standing behind is heavy vanilla, hefty booziness, deep malt sweetness, molasses, char. Happy to have a pint of this.

Rogue is a legit brewery despite the fact that it’s IPAs don’t haze & I can remember when it’s rarer beers were sought after, which makes me either old or old school, depending on how you look at it. Excellent beer. Going back for seconds.

Nov 06, 2016
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clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with one-finger tan head that sticks around for awhile. Woody, oaky almost oatmeal aspect to aroma with roasted and burnt chocolate malts and hints of booze. Smooth yet heavy body with a strong booziness that compliments beer with a chocolate sweetness and a roasted, dry finish and is easy to drink. Hints of dark fruits are in there but booze is hidden and it's a pretty good beer.

Oct 16, 2016
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to snifter.

LOOK: dark black, big creamy tan head.
AROMA: roasted malt, chocolate, whiskey.
TASTE: Whiskey and strong malt.
FEEL: Pretty Smooth.
Really Nice All around.
After pumpkin beer tasting.

Tough sample following old Rasputin XVII, but still held up.


Oct 16, 2016
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zac16125 from South Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

1L bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates

A: Pours an opaque black, 2 plus fingers width of light tan head builds and has good retention before dissipating down, leaves a few patches of lacing. 4.25

S: Aroma is chocolate, roasty, some leather, subtle charred oak but otherwise not much barrel/bourbon characters. Aroma has nice components, although its not particularly strong. 3.75

T: Taste is roasty, some vibrant dark fruits, oaky/herbaceous, a bit of whiskey booze, subtle cocoa. Nice lingering taste of cocoa and roasty char on the finish. 3.75

M/D: Medium bodied, a touch light for the style, carbonation too heavy for my liking, ABV is very well masked and drinkability is average. 3.25

O: Overall, this is a pretty good beer. I wouldn’t drop everything I was doing to run out and grab it, but its certainly worth a try and I would drink this again. 3.75

Sep 27, 2016
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TheSixthRing from California

4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging and a cocoa-powder colored, two-finger width head that fizzes away somewhat quickly, revealing a mostly barren surface with a ring of suds encircling the edge.

Smell - Interesting. Not much boozy aroma, if any, as one might expect. Some blackberry sweetness. A bit of smokiness. A fair amount of oak. Really faint chocolate.

Taste - Follows the nose. Not a lot of heat, but plenty of dark, juicy notes. Blackberry, chocolate, woody oak character and an underlying smokiness make up the bulk of it. A touch of mildly numbing anise. Just a trace of heat in the finish, but mostly mildly sweet, slightly tart blackberry with lingering oak and smokiness.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation, but goes down so silky smooth that you won't even hardly notice. 11.8%? That's hard to believe until it hits you.

Overall - Perhaps the most unique Imperial BA Stout I've ever had. Great flavor, but considering the style you'd expect more punch and bite, and it simply isn't there. No big, boozy notes of vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate, roast or boozy heat. Instead you get a lot of smokey, dark fruit and mildly sweet cocoa character. You can tell the base beer is an RIS, and it's actually somewhat reminiscent of Founders Imperial Stout, which is my favorite regular Impy Stout. Is it worth $25/bottle? Considering it's a whole liter, it's comparably priced per ounce to other BA stouts. So yeah, if you can get your hands on it, it's certainly worth a try.

Update: I cracked my 2nd and last bottle of this with close to 11 months of age on it, and I have to say it's a nice sipper, but at this point it tastes very similar to their XS Imperial Stout, though the oak barrel flavor is still obvious. I really like this, but for the price I'm hesitant to go after the '17 version.

Sep 22, 2016
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GuitarIPA from Connecticut

4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - black with a thick, foamy and tan head
S/T - chocolate, roast coffee, vanilla. Booze come through when you taste it along with hint of caramel - barrel aging is never complete without vanilla and caramel....
F - fizzy will continue to be the top word in this review too - full body and sweet finish, but high carbonation goes against the grain for imperial stout
*after letting beer sit for a while - carbonation eased off and improved feel
O - really enjoyable beer - would drink it anytime but would prefer a little less sweetness and lower carbonation would be nice

Sep 04, 2016
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ryannosaurus from Arizona

3.19/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque dark brown, nearly 3 fingers of chunky brown head that settles to a reasonable thick bubbly film.

Aroma is scant and limited to yeast, alcohol and a vague smokey oak note

Taste is livelier than the aroma, big combined molasses and licorice notes, hot alcohol, a hint of smoke initially that reduces as it breaths. Bitter chocolate and a hint of coffee on the backend. Fairly dry, and bitter. Somewhat lacking in barrel elements, in fact I might have missed the fact it is BA in a blind tasting. Brown sugar and buttery oak come on as it approaches room temp.

Heavy carbonation adds a sting to the mouthfeel, which is heavy but avoids syrupy.

An interesting brew... big, edgy, bitter and wantonly carbonated, reminiscent own homebrew adventures into high abv. Definitely could have used more time in the barrel, and perhaps more time aging the bottle. The 33.8oz bottle is odd, and a bit intimidating if flying solo. High carbonation for the style is perhaps a little too high at first pop, but undoubtedly has some utility given the huge bottle size and high abv. Not as complicated as my favorite BA imps, it is still a fine beer, I might grab another and check it after a year of additional aging. It's a hot mess, but I like hot messes.

Aug 26, 2016
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oberon from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours into a goblet a deep deep dark chocolate brown with a billowing deep beige head that never really completely settles.Dark chocolate,brown sugar,and caramel stand out in the nose with just a tinge of toasted oak underneath.Bitter chocolate and toasted oak dry flavors upfront on the palate with a slight note of whiskey,some alcohol and caramel sweetness finishes up the back end.It's a slight bit fizzy in the finish but I like the flavors and I like the fact it's not overly sweet.Really nice barrel aged RIS from Rogue here.

Aug 16, 2016
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Sir_Whats-his-face from Oregon

3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It's surprisingly light and fizzy for 11.8%. Not super bourbon forward, but given that it was only aged for six months, that's to be expected. This has all the elements in place for a really good BA stout, but as it is, it's good but not great. A little more time in the barrels would probably do a lot of good; I'd love to see a version of this that spends a full year in the barrels. As it is now, it's a solid stout that's worth a purchase, but it's not legendary. I'd also like to see them use smaller bottles next time- the 33oz bottles are cool but pricey.

Aug 13, 2016
Rolling Thunder from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 84 ratings