Bourbon Burly Wine | Half Pints Brewing Company

16 Ratings
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Bourbon Burly WineBourbon Burly Wine

Brewed by:
Half Pints Brewing Company
Manitoba, Canada

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Burly Wine aged with bourbon-soaked French oak chips

Added by eat on 12-26-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by bobsy:
Photo of bobsy
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Jeremy and Karen for sharing this sucker.

Pours a dark amber with a small tan head that drops to a film, leaving a few spots of lace behind. Malty, boozy aroma, with strong caramel, toffee and oak. The bourbon seems to be relatively subtle in the nose. The flavour profile is startlingly similar to the regular burly, and the bourbon and oak haven't come through as strongly as I expected. What we do get is a slightly enhanced alcohol character, and an added sweet spiciness to what is already an attractive base beer. Medium body with a very smooth and low cabonation.

A pleasant beer, but the added booziness detracts a little from the flavour and the drinkability for me. I expected the bourbon to provide more character, and perhaps its died down a little since bottling. A good beer, but I'd rather drink one of the regular versions I have left over than this one.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of eat
4.49/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2008 Burly Wine aged in a bourbon barrel for the past year. Looks almost exactly like the new 2009 version: opaque and dark copper in colour with a thin covering of milky-white head. Good lacing.

This is easily one of the best smelling beers I've ever smelled. Butterscotch, fresh baked bread, roasted malt, floral hops, candy, wild flower honey. It smells something like liquid Werther's Original, but ten times better. The smell is making me salivate, it's unbelievable. I'd like to attach a trough of this to my head and walk around smelling it all day.

Wow, a year in a bourbon barrel really changed this one. Much smoother and more complex. Lactic and bready, there's a little too strong a showing of hops. With a 10.5% beer you would expect it to be too sweet but this one is quite the opposite, maybe a touch too bitter. The finish is very dry and bitter, full of earthy hops. Alcohol is a little too present here as well, though these are really nitpicky things. This is an interesting, unique and well-crafted brew. I haven't tried a Canadian beer I could compare to this at all.

The feel is much better than the new 2009 Burly Wine. Full-bodied and chewy with a light/moderate carbonation.

This is certainly a winter warmer. You could sip on a single bottle of this for an hour, it's about as drinkable as single-malt scotch. I could never drink more than one of these at a time or drink it often. The flavour is so powerful, bitter and intense. I'm really enjoying this and am looking forward to drinking another one later this winter. I'll save it for an extra cold day like the ones I remember growing up in Winnipeg.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Replacing review from November 3, 2010 which was a bad bottle (flat).

The last bottle I drank had waxed cap, this one was not waxed. Thanks to kjyost again for this one.

Reviewed on July 18 and poured in to a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Poured a medium to dark amber colour just enough light passing through to create a reddish glow throughout the glass. One to two fingers of thick, foamy off-white head, which slowly dissipated, leaving good lacing behind.

S - The initial nose has very little bourbon and is domnated by notes of brown sugar, dark fruit, raising, caramel and toffee. A sweet overall nose with a very slight alcohol scent cutting through the sweetness. The bourbon is barely noticeable on the nose.

T - Caramel, toffee, raising, brown sugar. Very faint bourbon and oak notes on the background. Overall, a nice sweetness without being cloying with a slight alcohol bite that is most evident in the finish.

M - Medium to full body with some chew. Moderate carbonation that is at times hidden by the full body of this beer.

O - A very good barleywine. I found the overall lack of bourbon flavours to be somewhat puzzling, especially since most bourbon barrel aged beers seem to be the opposite and overpower the palate with bourbon flavours. Would be nice to see them crank up the bourbon a little bit on this one. I think I preferred the regular Burly to this one but both were excellent.

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Photo of papat444
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

***2009 Vintage (green wax)***

Thanks to kjyost for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: 2 fingers worth of lightly tan head with a cherry wood body that looks identical to the regular. Thick coating on the sides.

Smell: Bourbon a bit, dark fruits, oak and a hint of vanilla.

Taste: Bourbon oak that manages to be present yet discreet. Caramel, dark berries, leather and candied sugar.

Mouthfeel: So mellow it melts like butter. Leaves a definite impression. A prick of bitterness shows its teeth.

Overall: While not brash like many oak-aged beers, it's still a modest offering that is, IMHO, better than the original. Aging this has given it more depth.

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Photo of liamt07
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from wordemupg, 341ml into a tulip. Think this is a 2010 vintage. Into a tulip, served side by side with the regular Burly Wine.

Pours mahogany, but "muddier" than the non-barrel aged Burly Wine. Cream coloured head, with light retention and OK lace. Nose is similar to the regular, but with more prominent oak and vanilla, light butter, toffee, caramel. Bourbon notes themselves are subtle. Taste has mild bourbon, oak, caramel, tootsie rolls and a sweet woody finish. Light bitterness. Lighter mouthfeel than the non-BA'd version, low carbonation. Thinner overall - OK, but perhaps past its best days.

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Photo of grub
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Viggo brought this one over, courtesy of oakbluff. thanks eric and scott!

12oz bottle topped with green wax and a "B" on the cap. sampled nov 14/2010.

pours hazy orangey amber with a small cap of fine off-white head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves plenty of spotty lace as it falls.

aroma is good. bourbon and vanilla. light alcohol. caramel and toffee. whole wheat bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. earthy and woody. dark fruit - raisin and date.

taste is good. bourbon and vanilla. caramel and toffee. bit of alcohol. woody and slightly herbal. biscuit and whole wheat bread, slightly toasted. big of cracker. a little dark fruit too, but not as much as in the aroma. medium-low bitterness level. faint hits of cocoa and coffee.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. hint of tannic astringency. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nice balance overall. pretty good balance of barrel and base beer. i could have gone for a little more depth and complexity in the barleywine itself, but enjoyed it overall.

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Photo of Howlader
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%

Photo of Jeffo
2.27/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Was lucky enough to get a 2009 from oakbluff a couple years back, as well as a 2010 from kjyost this past summer. Decided to drink them back to back as a comparison. Like all reviews I do like this, the score is for the most recent vintage, but comparisons are drawn in the text.

From 12oz bottles into snifters
Vintage: 2010 red cap
Vintage: 2009 green wax

Review is for the 2010 with comparisons drawn to the 2009.

APPEARANCE: Basically looks the same as the base beer. Pours a small, medium looking, off-white head with decent retention. Head quickly fades to a faint wisp and ring. Maroon red in color, opaque, with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass. The 2009 was the same, but looked a tint darker.

SMELL: Really odd nose on this. Caramel and toffee in there again from the base beer, but then some grapefruit and peach schnapps. This is really odd and off-putting for a bourbon barleywine. The 2009, on the other hand, smells wonderful, with lots of bourbon and oak accompanying the aromas from the base beer. A world of difference.

TASTE: Caramel, toffee and more peach schnapps again. Not off or anything, but certainly not right for the style. Grapefruit with oak and some white wine at the swallow. Mild yet lingering aftertaste of oak, caramel, peach liqueur and some piney hop bitterness. Doesn't taste like a bourbon barleywine at all. The 2009, on the other hand, was much better and played the part. Lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla to go with the strong base beer on this one. Definitely way more enjoyable than the 2010.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch at the swallow, finishing slightly mouth-coating. Same as the base beer mostly, though the boldy is not quite as full. The 2009 is definitely fuller in the feel, so would get a higher score here as well.

OVERALL: This was a huge disappointment. After really enjoying the base beer, I was expecting a real treat with the bourbon version. It was not to be. I was expecting and hoping for a big, bourbon barleywine with this, but some kind of odd peach schnapps quality dominated the 2010 versions, which really asked a lot of me. Just not right. The 2009, however, was fantastic. Perhaps the barrels were better or fresher, but it had all the stuff and then some. Great bourbon flavors that didn't dominate the flavorful base beer, this very enjoyable and by far the better vintage. For what it's worth, I plugged marks in for the the 2009 and it came out a 4.2 score. It could have perhaps been higher, as I wasn't sure between a 4 and 4.5 for taste. Anyways, it is what it is, and I actually think I like the base beer better. Thanks again for the beers guys. These were a lot of fun.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Red capped version with a B in black marker. Thanks kjyost.

A - Pours a slightly hazy dark copper with lot's of carbonation and a thick, creamy two finger beige head. Good thick lacing around the sides and a film of retention.

S - Huge nose of vanilla, sugar, dark fruits. Rich plums and raisins with oak and slight booze.

T - Boozy up front with booze soaked dark fruits. Some oaky notes too. A little medicinal hop note. The entire flavour seems held back somehow. I'm not sure why but it just seems tame. What's there is good it just needs alot more punch.

M - Good carbonation and a full body with a fairly sweet/boozy finish that's a bit much to be honest.

O/D - Not too shabby but there's a little too much booziness here. Quality but room for improvement for sure.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of kbutler1
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Green waxed bottle with a big B on the cap, yup this is a legit bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a copper orange, amber color with a slight tan collared head, swirling creates some head. Sweet grapefruit apricot notes in the nose. Medium mouthfeel. Some nice lacing. Starts slightly sweet with some moderate citrus rind bitterness. The Woodford Reserve is slightly muted but it's there in the end. Drinks pretty smooth. Decent but probably not as flavorful as some other barrel aged barley wines.

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Photo of alpineclimber
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tbaduik for this bottle. The bottle has a red cap with a "B" hand scrolled on it. The cap was popped and bottle poured into my favourite chalice, a huge white frothy head forms on a red-copper brew.

Smells very interesting, vanilla, fresh pipe tobacco, apricot and melon.

The bourbon is fairly prevalent in the taste, oak, vanilla and a nice hop bitterness in the finish. A nice medium mouthfeel on this one.

Overall not a bad brew. The bourbon and the oak chips have flavoured the base beer quite well. It's something great to drink once in a while, I think I will have to do a side by side with the base beer and the bourbon aged beer of the same vintage.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to oakbluff for this one. 2009 release with the green wax. Served in a Darkness tulip.

A - A thin tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving behind spotty lace. Hazy ruby-brown body.

S - Smell is...strange. There's something off about it that I just can't place, but it reminds me a bit of soiled dishrags. In any case, the majority of the aroma is oaky vanilla, somewhat harsh booze, burnt sugars, maraschino cherries, and slightly stale hops.

T - Taste is a significant improvement. Reminds me a lot of the base beer, with intense caramel and toffee flavors and nowhere near as much booze as the aroma. There's a sugary, dextrose, quality to it as well, but that's not intended as a backhanded compliment. A bit of alcohol and oak in the finish, but not much of the advertised Woodford Reserve.

M - Smooth texture, some alcohol warmth, medium body that is a bit watery and thinner than the base beer. Low carbonation, and a dry, slightly tannic finish.

D - Unfortunately I like the base beer better - the bourbon-soaked oak chips introduced some off-flavors into the aroma, and the whole process seems to have muted many of the things I enjoyed about the base beer. I wish Half Pints could get some actual bourbon barrels, as I suspect that would solve many of the problems. Still, this was a fairly enjoyable, with its pleasant and rich taste. I'm curious is the 2010 release was better.

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Photo of kjyost
4.72/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass, where it had a strong head that did not last long, although left a bit of lacing throughout. The beer had a beautiful nose with fruit, spice, sweetness, and of course a great deal of bourbon. The beer left nothing really wanting, as it had a good balance and the the bourbon was well there without being overpowering. The flavours on the nose could be noted, and it is a beer I could sip all night. If there was one thing wanting in this beer it was that it may have been a touch too sweet.

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Photo of seldomseen
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of oakbluff
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 release (being the 2009 base burly). Pours a red mahogony with excellent clarity, a solid one finger off white head with very fine lacing. Nose- honey, vanilla, figs. Taste- silky texture of tootsie roll, caramel, vanilla. Some toasty flavours mixed with wood and english hop dryness and a touch of heat. A well put together brew.

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Bourbon Burly Wine from Half Pints Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 16 ratings.
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