Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Bourbon Barrel Porter | AleWerks Brewing Company

167 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerSox on 08-03-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 575
Photo of RacerX5k
5/5  rDev +18.8%

My favorite beer. So damn complex and drinkable, huge aroma and flavor. As good as any beer I've ever had. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark northwest cherries, freshly picked blackberries, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, butterscotch, oak, and bourbon. Yea I said all that. One bottle I swear tasted a little coffee even. Beyond smooth, and drinks much bigger than the listed 9%. Must be some damn good barrels, and the base beer is also amazing. Reasonably priced and overall perfect every time. Yes, perfect.

 520 characters

Photo of rpjordan
5/5  rDev +18.8%

I've only rated 95 beers on BA, and only given a 5 to one other beer. The complexity and smoothness of AleWerks BBP put it at the top of my list. I'd match it against any other porter for flavor, but it's so smooth that it remains very drinkable. Suitable for drinking by itself or having with a steak or big burger.

 319 characters

Photo of WallingBrew
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

In my opinion this is on par with Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Ok - the review, like a dark chocolate tootsie roll dipped in bourbon and smooth as silk. Well done Ale Werks. Well done.

 190 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into Efes tulip. Bottle number 2011-2145. Off-white head, low retention. Body not totally opaque, but close to black with a touch of ruby. Clear, oily lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma is dominated by coffee, malt sweetness and a touch of chocolate and vanilla. Nice, thick mouthfeel, very smooth. Taste includes vanilla, malty sweetness, coffee, slight alcohol. Overall, highly drinkable, especially considering the abv, really a delicious beer.

 465 characters

Photo of Xenoreactive
4.81/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A phenomenal porter. Next to world-class.

Look: Pours thick and oily. A viscous and luscious beer looking at that low carbonation, next to no lacing and liberal amount of overall foam.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate, plums, milk, and cookie sweetness.

Taste: Similar to smell, but far better. You get a buttery and textured taste that announces all those nuances in flavor. This is an incredible porter that will only get better with age. The bourbon presence is certainly established, but not overwhelming. This is essentially a chocolate mocha with a heavy dosage of vanilla, bourbon and charred malt. This is reminiscent of Alewerks' Cafe Royale, but more oily with a boozy complexion that equates to a porters' smokiness.

Feel: Medium-bodied with low carbonation and a lingering aftertaste. Keep enjoying it.

Overall: Will continue buying as long as I see it on shelves. This is a phenomenal beer that will do well with cellaring. Will update with a 6 month and 1 year date.

Edit: 1 year aged is incredible. Very few barrel-aged beers hold up nearly as well as this deliciousness. Bourbon and wood somehow got more pronounced while the smoky characteristics of the porter died away.

 1,204 characters

Photo of jasoncheb
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a dark black, with a two finger yellow-hued head which dissipates rather quickly.

S: Bourbon is really heavy on the nose, same as previous years. Some sweet malt smells come through once the beer comes up to room temperature.

T: Bourbon from the initial taste through a very smooth aftertaste.

M: Strong bourbon burn, with medium carbonation.

O: Exactly what I have come to expect from this beer. Alewerks has done a great job with consistently putting our a beer that tastes exactly like what you would expect. If you love bourbon, you really need to get your hands on this beer.

 594 characters

Photo of ksurkin
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first rating! bottle #21/2009 from grape & gourmet. pours a beautiful, slightly oily, very dark brown, with a thin, light khaki head and great lacing. aroma is excellent with huge notes of praline, vanilla extract, burnt caramel, and sweet brown sugar with hints of dark chocolate, toasted coconut, maple, and roast coffee with the slightest touch of oaked bourbon. flavor is absolutely decadent and honestly tastes like german chocolate cake dipped in bourbon. big, sweet notes of chocolate, vanilla cream frosting, coconut, brown sugar, and toffee up front followed by bitter, roast coffee, nutty malts, and a hint of dark fruit with smooth, slightly smokey, oaked bourbon notes elegantly coming through in the long, lingering, roasty finish. palate is silky smooth yet full bodied and mildly carbonated. the flavors in this brew peak after about 15 minutes in the glass and that’s when it become spectacular. call me a homer, but this is a perfect example of barrel aging done right and one hell of a great brew. *UPDATE* fresh, 2010 edition, bottle #2008/2010. wow, hard to believe that this one is better the second time around. tasted on tap @ greenleaf and out of the bottle the aroma and the flavor have a massive kick of roasted coffee, burnt caramel, and wood (those new barrels are the real deal!) with a more elegantly integrated bourbon and vanilla presence with huge dark chocolate on the finish. palate is more substantial than last years version as well. wow, this is truly an unbelieveable beer. i am now forced to do an ’09-’10 side-by-side!

 1,565 characters

Photo of jvillefan
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: a dark dark brown with a deep mocha head.

S: Harsh bourbon with subtle dark malts.

T: Bourbon is dominate here. There is dark malt, chocolate, oak, and subtle coffee here.

M: Excellent carbonation and excellent viscosity and retention.

O: Excellent. A must get.

 268 characters

Photo of brew3crew
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- brownish black body with little to no head at all

S- sweet bourbon with malt backbone.

T- follows the nose. Very sweet and delicious. Keep going back for more. Mellow bourbon makes it a treat

M-medium body and smooth

O- very good beer. Surprised, pleasantly. Wow.

 271 characters

Photo of QuadLover
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh pour into a 750 ml bottle

A ~ black with brownish hints. Small head with a good amount of lacing.

S ~ Deep aromas, candy sweet, molasses. Toasted, creamy chocolate, vanilla, a small hint of coffee. Sweet bourbony hints.

M ~ Gentle, mild carbonation. Smooth full bodied, warm mouth feel.

T ~ Sweet bourbon and toasted oat. Sweet coffee with chocolate hints. Loved it. It’s intoxicating even without the alcohol.

O ~ I loved it! Now you must take into account that I’m a total slut for these types of beers. With that said, it would still be difficult (especially this time of year) to drink more than a glass or two. A number of the folks that I shared it with made comments that it would be a great “dessert” beer…I’ve always thought that one should eat dessert first!

 792 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours from a 22oz bottle into a slender Harpoon pint glass. Emerges a sort of hazy, dark chocolate color with an impressive, creamy and milky tan colored head. Looks so creamy it could be a nitro pour.

Aroma is fantastic. A perfect amount of bourbon mixed with bitter bakers chocolate.

Nice flavor too. Bourbon, oaky, vanilla, chocolate, roasted grains, alcohol, licorice, figs, cardamom. This one runs the flavor gamet.

I wasnt sure what to expect from this one. I had high hopes and those hopes were most certainly met. A perfectly crafted bourbon barrel aged beer.

 582 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with off white head.

The smell is slight alcohol, bourbon, and chocolate.

The taste is roasty chocolate on the front then the slight wood and bourbon hit you on the back like a mad man as well with a burnt chocolate/coffee on the back of the back (yup I said it).

Overall a great beer that is incredibly balanced with the barrel character. Awesome.

 370 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes from stout tasting.

A- dark brown, light tan head.

S- wow! Lots going on, mix of bourbon, vanilla and oak.

T- vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, coffee and bitter chocolate.

M- full body, lots of bourbon but not hot.

O- very good, reminds a bit like parabola actually. Great bourbon barrel characteristics.

 327 characters

Photo of jnn4v
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 1667 of 2009. Was purchased the week it came from distribution and stored in a refrigerator since then.

A: Dark brown color with a very small amount of light brown head. No sediment. Almost opaque.

S: Initially it smelled like a typical imperial porter, but with significantly more coffee. However, after 30 seconds, a wealth of rich flavors evolved including chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel and fudge. This may be the perfect smelling porter.

T: Yes! The flavor actually does well enough to live up to the scent. Lots of bourbon and toasted oat. Sweetened coffee and chocolate right after. Some bitter coffee as the other flavors trail off. Coffee, bourbon and a hint of medicinal in the aftertaste. Very good overall.

M: Very rich and creamy. Wonderful texture. Heavy, but not syrupy or oily like some bourbon aged imperial stouts can be. Fine carbonation.

D: Not sure the ABV, but this is a very smooth, very complex, yet subtle beer that has wonderful flavors and could be drunk any time of year. One of the best beers of any genre I've ever consumed.

 1,077 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 1667 of 2009. This poured a nearly opaque black mahogany with some tan head. It smelled like lots of bourbon and oak, with some fresh roasted coffee and toasted oats and cooking vanilla, and a bit of dark chocolate and sour cherry. It tasted like strong and smooth bourbon and oak, with roasted coffee and cream and dark chocolate, with some toasted oats and molasses. It was thick and oily with a bit of carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this beer is wonderful, with a ton of depth and complexity and richness. Its smell and taste and body were all fabulous. It hid the alcohol entirely, which made it exceptionally easy to drink. But to savor this beast, it's really worth sipping. I would rank this beer up with KBS or BORIS, except it's a porter instead of a stout. Maybe the best beer brewed in Virginia.

 845 characters

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.61/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black color with almost no head. Small patches of caramel colored foam manage to cling to the side of the glass.

S: The aroma is that of strong bourbon vanilla and oak notes, with roasted malt in the background. 

T: Hits with an initial bourbon heat that subsides into a fantastic coffee/chocolate experience with subtle vanilla and oak hints. More bitter then sweet, but very well balanced. 

F: Feel is smooth and creamy, full bodied, with a surprising little carbonated tingle. 

O: Super pleasant to drink, I'll have no problem finishing the bomber in no time at all. A little more bourbon forward then some of its counterparts, but in a good way. That heat would probably fall off slightly if given more time, but I see no reason to go there when it's this smooth already. Very impressive. 

 817 characters

Photo of nandemo1
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark brown that is almost pitch black. The head was tan and about a finger, and a small amount of carbonation can be seen sliding up the side of the glass. Lots of sticky tan lacing.

Smell is sweet vanilla and bourbon. Taste includes a slight bit of coffee, dark roasted malt, a little chocolate and vanilla, all enveloped in sweet bourbon. Amazing.

Mouthfeel is spot on for an imperial porter, thick enough but not chewy. Smooth and creamy.

A fantastic brew, period.

 484 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to msulinski for a very nice trade this spring that included this bottle. 1055 of 2009 released per the label.

Pours black. The label said it would, too. The smell is a bourbon frontal-assault, an almost harsh explosion of the barrel drowning out everyone else. I like bourbon, or this would have been overwhelming.

The smell alarmed me a bit, until I took a sip. Holy crap. The blitz of bourbon in the smell relaxes into a hammock of perfectly balanced booze & dark, tasty malts. Underneath is a bevy of flavors. Roast is high on the list & helping to tame the barrel. Warm, pure vanilla, of course.

What sets this apart might be the porter base. This is a lighter, warmer, less intense version of a 'typical' barrel-aged dark beer. The porter holds up very nicely, & markets itself as a sipper, without the belly-filling characteristic of a BA RIS. While I split the bomber with my wife, I could easily take this down all by myself. The balance & drinkability is superb.

Excellent, excellent brew. One of the better barrel-aged efforts I've had in a while, & likely the best BA porter I've ever tasted. I hope this is an annual event!

 1,151 characters

Photo of lurpy1
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Kwaide for sending on this underrated beer in a recent trade. Expert use of the barrel complements a solid base beer. In terms of taste and smell, tough to distinguish this from other BB dark beers. But it is differentiated by a thinner body and lower ABV. I've come to appreciate both, allows for more endurance drinking!

Great beer, but go ahead and keep rating this beer as just very good. Makes it easier for me to acquire!

 438 characters

Photo of lupercmda
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black color with a nice 1 inch head. Awesome oaky vanilla Bourbon smell. Excellent vanilla notes in the finish with just the right amount of alcohol taste. Vanilla lingers in the finish. Nice thick mouthfeel.

 222 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This fine offering from the folks at Williamsburg
Alewerks is deep deep brown with little hints of ruby chestnut around the edges.
The head is tan but small. It is dense and mousse like none the less leaving fine sticky lacing about the glass. With a considerable amount of time you can glimpse deep into the beer and yes, yes! it's has ample carbonation.

Aromatics is where this bird shines. First sip is vaque, there is aromas of rich malts, roasted malts even burnt malts. Chocolate and coffee come through too. Bourbon oak is, to me very understated and quite sutle. No, to me and only after some time musing of fine aromatics does it hit me, this aromatic brew has fine aromas of a chocolate shake yes a chocolate shake... with coconuts for crying out loud. A very fine smelling beer.

Taste is very good. You must throw in some old ale essence to for a proper discription.
The taste at first has notes of rich malts roasted malts coffee and chocolate but there is a depth of flavor similar to an old ale. Of oak and leather. The second part is the smooth bourbon and warming alcohol. Complete and utter opposites.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy like a melted chocolate shake then finishes dry and near burning alcohol.

A wonderfully decandent beer. Perfect for desserts of rich deep chocolates.
A good beer to share around the fire with old friends at Christmas.
Also I think the beer would make a delicious...wait for it... ice cream.
I wonder what aging would due to this baby.

 1,487 characters

Photo of Traquairlover
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22-oz bottle, number 1842 of 2009, poured into tulips.

A = Deep mahogany, completely opaque, about a one and a half finger light cappuccino tan head with decent retention, medium lacing.

S & T = Strong smells of cocoa powder at first sniff, with sweet bourbon, oak and maple showing up in second sniff. In the taste I first get deep rich flavors of dark 70% cacao chocolate, cream, roasted coffee beans, the bourbon and oak characteristics are present but very mild, the overriding taste sensations I get are of dark, rich chocolate. Long, bitter finish which is interesting because there is a sweetness to this beer that keeps the finish from being dry, but the bitterness that is present does nonetheless slowly keep the thought of taking the next sip constantly on the mind.

M = Heavy body, exceptionally good mouthcoating, luxurious creamy feel, slight heat from the alcohol, but no medicinal alcohol tastes.

D = This is a sipper, so not exactly highly drinkable, but very enjoyable.

 992 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

$8.50 bomber from Abe's.

Perfectly black body, no highlights. Dark tan foam went from three fingers to oil slick in under a half minute. No lace.

Incredible bourbon aroma - oak, vanilla, licorice, booze - that entices even while you're just letting the beer breathe a bit at arm's length.

Taste follows the nose, with the oak, vanilla, licorice, and then adds a big dollop of Hershey syrup to he mix. Bit of booziness.

Thick and rich mouthfeel, but with a good deal more prickliness tha the typical bourbon barrel beer.

A terrific if somewhat unsung beer. Highly recommended.

 581 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black with a huge towering head on the top that would not quit. Spilling over the sides it left everything just completely soaked and sticky with a thin chocolate covered film. A wonderful mess indeed. Rich notes of bourbon and Vanilla welcome you in on this one and play off each other nicely. Warming lets a touch of the chocolate underneath peak its head up but not as much as I would have liked, still, very nice. As I take a sip, it crashes over the palate. Richness that is well served to say the least. Creamy and full bodied the deep chocolate and roasted malts interact with vanilla and a leather and tobacco note making it all so smooth and full that it was absurd. Enormous flavor here that was simply hard to withstand. I really could have just sat there with a glass of this all day, it seemed to really come together quite well.

 842 characters

Photo of scottyshades
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a viscous black color with a dark khaki foamy tight head. Awesome retention, nice look

S: Chocolate, fudge and cocoa right off the bat, oak, vanilla, and maybe a touch of lactose. The barrel throws this into the next dimension. Alcohol pokes through along with dark chocolate covered berries

T: So smooth and rich. Big vanilla, fudge, oak and bourbon come through and balanced by come lactose and coffee. Really decadent and big...this has some depth and complexity for sure

MF/O: Very viscous, minimal carbonation with a bourbon/coffee/fudge finish. Alcohol is present and warming but not flawed. Awesome beer

 622 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.