Bourbon Barrel Monster 29
Dark Horse Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Monster 29Bourbon Barrel Monster 29
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American Barleywine
4.22 | pDev: 9.95%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon Barrel Monster 29Bourbon Barrel Monster 29
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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 216
Photo of dbc5
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Drinking this beer makes me feel fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy such a phenomenal brew while simultaneously wondering what could have been with a little carbonation. The beer is completely flat but also incredibly delicious. Seriously wonder if this would be among the best bourbon barrel barleywines I've had the pleasure of enjoying if it just had some effervescence. Still enjoyed every sip of my last bottle.

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Photo of riemster
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This drank more like a dessert wine. I was afraid of the no carb before going into this, but it was magnificent. Smelled like caramel nips and booze. Taste wasn't boozy at all though. Intense caramel covered raisins. Toffee pudding. Some more dark fruit. Smooth, sticky and sweet. Definitely a bottle to share despite its size. It's very sweet, but there's a lot of layers to explore with each sip. I wish I had more.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%

Pours two shades shy of black. Nose expresses raisins, brown sugar and a slightly vinous quality. Taste is sugary and reveals soy sauce, raisins and an oxidized character. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a still carbonation and a fair amount of heat. Overall - not bad, but a bit thin and muddled.

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Photo of maximum12
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to abanton for this bottle, which dropped on my doorstep as part of a long-ago trade, & has been resting ever since in hope of it developing some carbonation. Green 500ML bottle split with my wife.

The pour is sad but expected: dark red trending towards black, & flatter than a Parisian supermodel. Nose has two components: cane sugar & bourbon. Smells like a Halloween party gone wrong. Or right, depending.

Monster 29 - Bourbon Barrel Aged has claws. Bourbon emerges from under the bed & rakes across the palate, chest cavity, & liver with a vengeance. It gets into the sinuses if you breathe wrong, too. Sub-sonic tastes include handfuls of brown sugar, mild chocolate, & that leathery bat wing that I associate with an old ale. Heavy. Half a small bottle is enough.

The lack of carbonation does some damage to my final judgment, but this has enough kick & character to overcome. Let's link hands & sing. Very good beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a deep reddish brown color with little to no head on it. The smell of the beer is a little on the boozy side but also has lots of dark fruit and sweet malt going on in there. The taste had those toasted sweet caramel flavors that the style should have, There is a subtle oakiness to the beer too. Overall it's a pretty intense Barleywine to say the least.

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Photo of Hesscabob
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Share. 1.5 years aged.

A - Quality black and deep color. Tannish head with small amount of lacing.

S - Smelled of bourbon, dark malts, sugar.

T - Completely mellowed out and not hot at all. Amazing bourbon quality.

M - No carbonation, and smooth character. All the tastes blended together very well.

O - Very impressive. Similar to a '12 or '13 BCS Brand for me. Chocolatey smooth characters throughout rounded out perfectly with hints of bourbon.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.67/5  rDev -13%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours a flat and very dark brown. Not exciting.

Smell - Brown sugar. Some darker malts. Raisins. Oaky. Bourbon.

Taste - Sweet as hell. Bourbon and some oak. Caramel and brown sugar. A bit of chocolate. Raisins all over the back end.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly thick. Boozy. No carbonation.

Overall - Intense. Too sweet for me. Another crazy beer from Dark Horse, but it's impressive in its own ways.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

8oz pour into GLBC snifter.

Burnt amber, oily looking elixir poured into snifter producing no bubbles or lacing.

Bourbon, molasses, vanilla, dark fruits.

The dark fruits and sugary molasses are right up front with a nice bourbon backbone coating the palate. Smooth bitter/burn lingers.

Oily, slick, medium body, minimal carbonation.

The heavy brown sugar/molasses melds well with the bourbon as the brew warms. Nice sipper for this cold, hoary night.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.28.13

Thanks C!

A - Pours a very dirty brown, almost flat, just a few dark brown bubbles.

S - Tons of bourbon, some oak and a touch of chocolate.

T - Lots of bourbon and sweet chocolate.

D - Low carbonation with a medium to heavy body. Finishes sweet.

O - Tons of bourbon, nice sweet chocolate. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Photo of sweemzander
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

375mL waxed bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to Kevan for the bottle!

(A)- Pours still in appearance (no bubbles or anything). Quite dark for your run of the mill barleywine in a kind of burnt sienna brown color. Slight hints of reddish highlights do peak through.

(S)- It has a big nose of dry but dense leathery oak and subtle cocoa with complex dark fruits. The smell significantly gets sweeter in a sugary sense as it warms.

(T)- Very big and rich sweetness overall. Some heavy leathery oak flavors throughout. Plenty of dark fruits amidst an extremely sweet finish in a sugary sense.

(M)- Sadly, this is almost completely flat, but there is alot of promise in this if it had a bit more carbonation to it. One positive thing is that despite its huge 17% ABV, this is relatively tame in heat, but not shy about its sweetness.

(O)- Overall, a bit disappointed in this despite how good it sounded, but it might need a bit more tweaking and getting it to carbonation could make this a really good barleywine. It could need a bit of time in the bottle, but unsure.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep and dark brown leaving very little lacing behind with almost no carbonation throughout. The aromas picked up varieties of dark fruit, toffee, bourbon, and booze. The flavor was more of deep dark fruit/some tropical fruit with hints of toasted and roasted malts, toffee, and caramel. The barrel was paramount in the middle to end with notes of bourbon, oak, and faint vanilla. Sticky and sweet with a booze level that is quite apparent and did not overpower. Overall, a very fine example of an American bourbon barrel barleywine! This was too tough for me to come by to seek this out again.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.51/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle into a glass of no particular importance. Thanks to whomever sent this to me, though I can't exactly recall who.

A- pours a very dark mohogany brown, almost black. I can tell this is going to be low on carbonation as it pours with no head. A ring of brownish tan retains with a few bubbles.

S- smells of sweet brown sugar, dark fruits, and molasses. There are hints of bourbon and vanilla, with hit ouch of chocolate.

T- VERY sweet malt flavor hits initially. More brown sugar with hints of maple sugar. I can get some little notes of hops coming through but the sweetness is overwhelming. Finishes quite smooth though with no lingering sugar. What is strange is that I get very little barrel from this. Some vanilla and booziness, but little to no barrel.

M- cloyingly sweet at first. As I suspected it is a bit low on carbonation. The overall body is good for the style though.

O- overall this was nothing to write home about ather than its ability to mask a crazy high alcohol content. I found it to be overly sweet and a little flat, but still not bad. Some very nice molasses notes but otherwise somewhat one dimensional.

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Photo of tewaris
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy lurchingbeast, thanks for this wonderful beer!

A still mahogany hued liquid with the consistency of honey... I was not aware at all what this beer was so it came as a pleasant surprise, barleywines being one of my favorite brews. Aroma is chocolate and toffee with sweet alcohol in the backdrop. Tastes magnificently bittersweet with tons of caramelized sugar and, again, chocolate. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with virtually no carbonation; a rich maltiness lingers. The barrel character is restrained and well integrated.

Absolutely fantastic and highly recommended.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to seeswo for this. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep, reddish copper color with no head or visible carbonation.

S: A complex mixture of sherry, caramel, dark fruit, loads of candy grape, cinnamon and oak, and a slight boozy/solventy burn.

T: Rich, thick, complex, and sweet caramel and oak, sherry, a bit of liquid chocolate, with a moderate alcohol burn. Finishing with dark fruit, moderate sweetness, and tannins.

M: Very full bodied and just a tinge of carbonation. Warms the belly. I was worried by the appearance that this would be completely flat, but it has *just* enough carbonation to make this work. A big, sweet beer like this doesn't need much to begin with.

O: A huge, complex, delicious sipper of a dessert beer. Reminds me of the 4 year old Angel's Share that Lost Abbey had at their last Barrel Night.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to t0rin0 for sharing this one at GRG1313's tasting.

Pours a murky super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some nice barrel aged aromas and flavors.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured a sluggish dark brownish color with no carbonation providing a small and very faint dirty head hich fades immediately

S : Heat, dark fruits, chocolate, old wood, some soy in themix. Big and complex.

T: Boom, in your face flavor in a abrasively good way. Chocolate covered, bourbon dipped dark fruits all the way, I feel the lack of carbonation only accenuates the body and deep rich flavors. A nice head on this with a underlying soy note in th mix. Finish is BIG, sweet, hot, sticky and down right gnarly!

M: It has a triple bock like feel,big body, hot and sweet. Flat as Hell.

O: Not sure ifh lack of carbonation is by intent or what, either way it can slay even the biggest palate and person, including mine and me. Wow.

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Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Chris for generously sharing this!

Splashed into a taster glass, its a dark brown color with high clarity, little to no bubbles anywhere to be seen.

Boozy aroma, dates, raisin, alcohol sharpness is present. Some Port qualities, not getting any bourbon really. Alcohol heat sort of eclipses any complexity present, but it's not overbearing overall.

Sharpness is felt at first, but it rounds out a little as the beer is rolled over the palate. Dark fruit forward, dates, raisin, prune again, sort of a stewed fruit reduction. Boozy and flat, syrupy sweet and fruity. Overall not something i'd actively seek out, but it wasn't all bad considering the mammoth abv.

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Photo of UnderJoath
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle, 2012 vintage. Pours a deep brown with a reddish hue with absolutely zero carbonation. Smells of molasses and bourbon. Tastes extremely sweet, almost cloyingly. Solid bourbon notes, caramel, and molasses. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side but still flat.

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Photo of oline73
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Pours a very dark brown color, this one almost looks like a stout. The smell is sweet with some dark fruit and a dessert wine like note. The flavor is sweet with carmel and dark fruit notes. I'm also getting some bourbon and roasted malt notes as well. The flavors combine and remind me a bit of dessert wine, just like the smell. There is an alcohol burn, but it's not as intense as I thought it would be. This is like a half stout half barleywine mix. There is no real carbonation.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Jeff for this bottle!
Poured in to tulip.

A - Poured black with almost no head. Carbonation appears to be almost non-existent.

S - Big bourbon and vanilla notes dominate the nose. There is a big overall sweetness and some noticeable alcohol as well. Some dark caramel, brown sugar and a hint of cocoa come through int he background.

T - Barrel up front - bourbon, oak and vanilla flavours come through nicely. A huge sweetness enters mid-palate with brown sugar, dark caramel, molasses, toffee and a hint of cocoa all coming through. Just enough warming alcohol is present to cut through the sweetness and create an excellent balance.

M - Medium body with some good viscosity. Very light carbonation.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1706th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

2012 vintage
Thanks to ErikKoppin for this.

Shared with Afrokaze

App- Looked exactly like a dark merlot or another dark red wine. A deep garnet with a stillness and liquid fruit appearance to me. No bubbles or lace or stick.

Smell- A large portion of this beer smells like a port wine. Rich deep prickly alcohol and a bit of a dark fruits. Lost is the bourbon to me. This was too port/quad and dark fruit forward. No burn, no oak or any other bourbon additions. The ABV was hidden as it warmed.

Taste- This blew me away with the complexities. I'm rating a little low for lack of bourbon on it. More quad/port notes come out with a strong dark fruit and alcohol note to it. Much more sweet and ruddy than I thought. A little let down but was still good.

Mouth- A medium full body with a medium low carbonation. A huge lack of bubbles contributed to me rating this a bit low actually. Residual dark fruits, candy sugars and alcohols.

Drink- A good beer but a little less than what I was expecting. It didn't have the carbonation to give depth of flavors and pop.

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Photo of davey101
4.66/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml black waxed bottle into a Founders 15th anny glass. Label has a section for bottle count and batch # but was never filled out. 2012 4 Elf release. Drinking this a day after having the regular version. Thanks again to steimie.

A - Pours a very dark red/brown body. Appears to be more translucent than the regular version due to the absence of any head. Initial pour yielded some large brown bubbles which lasted less than a minute. A swirl produces some clear alcohol legs but no bubbles. Sits very still.

S - I've heard some reviews saying the bourbon is tame. I really disagree here. Siting a foot away from the glass it smells like I smashed a bottle of bourbon on the floor. Caramelized dates are quickly over washed with wall of oak, vanilla, butterscotch, and warm alcohol. The bourbon is super intense. If you like bourbon you will love the aroma.

T - Raisins, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, and fudge. Decadent and super sweet. Less savory than the regular version. Aftertaste is syrupy sweet with some faint notes of oak, vanilla and charred malt. Bourbon is less intense than the nose but the finish is warm and boozy. Again, does not feel like its 17% at all.

M - Thick and syrupy with little carbonation. The alcohol burn cuts through a bit providing a somewhat clean finish. A sipper, but not as daunting as most beers in this range.

O - I much prefer this to the standard version, and that beer impressed the hell out of me. Super rich and sweet with a well incorporated bourbon presence. Massive and decadent while remaining somehow approachable and enjoyable. Excellent beer!

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Photo of founder26
3.74/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage poured into snifter

A- pours dark, like a stout. Absolutely no head, if you can get a head on this beer you got skillz.

S- having this after king henry its pretty similar. Lots of bourbon, chocalate, vanillla, figs, dates, raisens, smooth and no burn

T- followed nose, lots of chocalate and bourbon

M- this is where the beer falls short to me, flat as a door, very syrupy, needs a bit more carbonation which probably wont happen since this was bottled a month ago.

O- if this beer had carbed up I would put it right up there with king henry, but alas it hasnt so I give it this score. Cant see age really helping it either

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Photo of vonnegut21
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a deep, dark black. Very little head that dissipates instantly.

S: Bourbon, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Lingering sweetness. The alcohol is well hidden.

T: Sweet, syrupy vanilla bourbon. Roasted malt. Dark chocolate and mild hops in the back end. Very tasty.

M: Flat and syrupy, but I don't mind that in this style. Big, bourbon barrel aged beers can survive being a bit flat.

O: Very tasty beer. This is allegedly 17% ABV, but you'd never know it from drinking. This is a sipper of a beer, but very, very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to opening my other bottle in a year or two.

EDIT: Opened a second bottle 8/10/13 and it was significantly worse than the first... not sure if there's huge bottle variation or this thing just fell off a cliff. Score indicates average of the two experiences in case I just got one bad bottle.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.55/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sweetwater mini-snifter.

I'm gonna put this out there right away: This stuff was very similar to the non-barreled version, so the following words are going to, in large part, resemble those from my review of the aforementioned non-barreled edition. Just sayin'. Anyway, this stuff pours a deep sunset garnet-amber topped by a half-finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises boozy molasses, candied orange peel, and plenty of bourbon. The taste brings in more of the same, with the bourbon continuing to power through. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, the barrel definitely helped things, but not enough to elevate this stuff to anything close to greatness.

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Bourbon Barrel Monster 29 from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 216 ratings