Bourbon Barrel Porter | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel PorterBourbon Barrel Porter

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

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

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Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 591
Photo of BeerImmediately
2.84/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 - 4646 bottle into Chimay goblet.

Pours w/short brown head over deep brown body with amber edges. Head fades quickly, and body leaves no lacing to speak of.

Aromas are heavy on the bourbon and oak/vanilla, but backed up by molasses and maple syrup sweetness. Inviting.

Thick on the palate. Flavors are ... whoa. They're thick with bourbon, real maple syrup falls to the background, and the alcholic heat just takes over the finish. Some burnt bark-like bitterness also accompanies the finish. Tastes like I'm eating a burnt bourbon barrel.

Rich and chewy mouthfeel - a little much, but not unexpected given the style, ABV, and barrel aging.

Overall, I can't recommend this unless you are simply in love with bourbon. It takes over the beer, and does not let go. Maybe a couple years of cellaring will smooth things out? Had to drain pour the last half of this $10 bottle.

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Photo of corby112
3.24/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a half finger mocha head that immediately settles into a very thin ring. Minimal lacing.

Sweet, slightly roasted aroma with a nice bourbon barrel presence that's countered by the dark malt notes. Subtle toasted oak with lots of sweet bourbon and vanilla followed by some chocolate cake, toffee and coffee bean. Bourbon well integrated into the nose without overpowering the other characteristics.

Medium bodied with a blast of sweet, boozy bourbon that dominates the flavor lingering over the other barrel notes and roasted malt into a fiery hot finish. Bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon along with some dry wood and very faint vanilla. Could use some more to balance things out a bit. Underneath the bourbon there is subtle sweet and roasted dark malt. Hints of chocolate, coffee, toast and oatmeal but the bourbon really overwhelms and overtakes these notes. The oak compliments the roasted notes, lingering into a dry finish.

Overall this beer started off nice with a decent pour and an impressive aroma but it's very one dimensional with too much bourbon flavor and lingering heat for my liking.

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Photo of d5001986
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%

22oz bomber poured into Spiegelau tulip.
Bottled 7-5-13

A: Thin and dark, but not quite black. A finger of tan head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S: Molasses, black licorice, bourbon, alcohol.

T: Booze forward. Molasses, bourbon, a hint of vanilla and cherry. Alcohol in the finish.

M: Smooth with low carbonation, but not enough body.

O: Too boozy and just lacking overall complexity. Can't recommend this one.

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Photo of brystmar
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dtmets84 for sharing!

Black body, plenty of tan head leaves beads of bubbles on my glass. Aroma is exceptionally sweet: smells like sticking your face into a vat of liquid caramel. Taste is equally sweet, akin to drinking a jar of caramel ice cream topping. Supremely imbalanced, though I actually like overly sweet stouts.

Glad to try this but it's not a very good beer.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours a brownish/black, tan-colored head, thin ring.

S - Very sweet upfront, chocolate, caramel, oak, and light booze. A lot sweeter then I expected, but not too sweet for me. The booze is pretty smooth and enjoyable but not as roasty as I would like.

T - Not nearly as good as the nose. It's just cloying sweet but the booze is nice and smooth. Too sweet for me to really enjoy much of this in one session. Not much balance, no roast at all, which is a disappointment.

M - Light to medium, a bit too thin, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Not a huge fan of this porter, but not terribly bad either. I'm not a fan of the huge sweetness and the lack of roast is what really hurts this beer for me. I wouldn't try and obtain another bottle, and I'm not really sure if I'd even go for another pour, if offered.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this one at TJs during the "The Scraps" event last weekend. Reviewing this one from notes.

Ruby hues show up in the light through a garnet/brown body. There is only a thin layer of creamy head, and it produces no lace. A quick swirl reveals a generally thin film of liquid that doesn't really create any legs or any oily slick on the glass sides.

There are hints of barrel notes in the aroma, along with toffee, chocolate, a light roasty character, and some coffee, but everything seems a little bit subtle for the style and the fact that this is a -bal. The flavor intensifies the notes more, as the vanilla, oak, and bourbon come through and balance well with the toffee and coffee notes in the porter base.

Overall, the feel is thin and fairly average. I would have liked a little more body, though the texture that was there was nicely creamy for the style. Carbonation is low, so the properties of the beer really do come into the spotlight. Unfortunately, this is just a slightly above average beer.

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Photo of aasher
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked this up at the Greenville Beer Xchange a couple months ago during a trip to the Carolinas.

It pours a medium bodied, dark chocolate brown in color with no head at all, just a slight beige lacing around the snifter. The aromas consist of chocolate, cream, vanilla, and a touch of bourbon. It's really smooth and I appreciate the level of authentic bourbon present in the nose. The flavors consist of chocolate, roasted malts, light coffee with cream, vanilla, barrel and alcohol. The 9% isn't hidden at all and after the nose, is pretty surprising. And it isn't the bourbon that is overpowering, it's the abv of the beer itself. It just drinks really, really boozy. It's too bad. I thought we were going somewhere but this just didn't finish with the complexity it needed or that I wanted. As it warms the booze lessens a tad but it is still pretty prominent. Overall this was a decent bourbon barrel aged porter but it needs refined in my opinion.

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Photo of hippityhops85
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a chilled bomber into my Victory snifter. Label says 2011 - 4297. Purchased from Whole Foods for like $7 I think. You'll basically get me to buy anything that says bourbon barrel on it.

Pours a midnight black with a tan/mocha head that dissipates quickly down leaving only a thin layer on top of the brew. It leaves spotty lacing.

The nose has tons of vanilla on the front. There is a slight chocolate tone to the beer but there's also a really nice, dull dark fruit aroma. Kinda happy about that. Definitely not one-noted.

The taste is literally like chewing on vanilla beans but not in a bad way. The beer totally coats your entire mouth. There is a definite alcohol presence on the back end which distracts from the beer a bit. Lots of milk chocolate, tons of vanilla, not too bourbon-y.

This beer has a HUGE mouthfeel. It is super, super thick. I'd like to have seen a little more carbonation out of it... there seems to be virtually none.

Overall the nose was the best part of this beer. I think it may do well with some time to let the vanilla flavors tame down a bit and let the more "stout" characteristics come out. Overall, not a bad beer but probably won't go out of my way again for it.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.49/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Limited Release 2011 - 5132.

Out of the bottle she pours chestnut brown, but hits the glass and doesn't quite suds up. Barely a one finger cocoa brown head manages to form, but settles into a thick 3 millimeter sized puck for a bit, then gives a solid obvious nice collar. Body color is dark garnet red and dark walnut brown, but the beer when poured looks a little flat.

Nose is rich and huge. Classic bourbon aging character of thick rich sweet cream. Some vanilla, but one giant creamy sweet bomb. I am rather enjoying that, even if it is a little one dimensional.

A light body porter taste indeed, but doesn't seem to go well with barrel aging. The palate hits with a real light feel, good for a porter, not so much good for the sense of the big nose you expected. Malt flavors come with a light char, and almost a fruity yeast quality. Light texture continues on swallow but there is some strange carbonation on this which is kind of hot and sting the middle of my palate after awhile. Slow warming stomach quality as your gut fills up. After sometime there is a distinct aftertaste, and it took me awhile but I know exactly what it feels and tastes like. It feels like mud, literally dirt and soil on the rooftop of my palate, swishing around in a thick sensation, and then drying out on my tongue with an arid dustbowl dirt sensation and bringing some carbon roast character with it as well.

Overall you get the impression of something really robust is coming but it doesn't happen. Rich malt textures and tastes don't come out, it's sort of a mismatch between two great ideas but they just don't seem to work that well when put together (at least for this beer). I get a rich thick nose, and then a light drink, with robust character, and a drying powdery feel afterwards. It's drinkable, interesting, certainly passable, but perhaps I don't think a real good marriage. It is taking me some time to think if I really would get into this idea of barrel aging a porter, because there is no question in my mind the brewery was doing everything right here. But I guess I am just not a fan of a barrel aged porter (or at least not this one). I don't think this works. Still like the brewery though, keep on going there and thanks for making this and I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.55/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle 0284:
Poured a black body with a frothy offwhite head that left a little lace. An oaky, roasted malts, caramel, vanillla and toffee malt smell (did not really pick up any chocolate). A smooth, creamy yet slightly sticky/syrupy medium body that mixes sweetness from vanilla and caramel and a little chocolate but mixes a dry roughness from the bourbon barrels and toffee/roasted malt presence. It has a sweet taste but I felt it was slightly unbalanced with the strong bourbon/wood presence and 1 bottle is enough for me.

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Photo of hophugger
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep chocolate brown that doesn't want to let any light through. Aroma is very strong bourbon and not much else. Taste is, well......bourbon, with a beer back. The bourbon is strong and takes away from the actual porter flavor, too much bourbon. I do agree, though, that this a is a good beer, but I wish the bourbon is less. A nice alcohol burn on this one and a bourbon lover's dream !!

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Photo of Spider889
3.59/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and slightly thinner than average.

The aroma is built of strong bourbon notes. Clean and fresh, the bourbon presents sweet vanilla and melds with the porter to produce some toffee. The base beer is providing nice chocolate aromas as well.

Tastes sweet - brown sugar, molasses, bourbon, vanilla, and some coconut booze.

Nice strong carbonation with a medium body.

Overall this is a well done beer, but nothing exceptional, though the potential is certainly there.

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Photo of ChristianBlack
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A friend sent me a bottle of this. The appearance was good. Good head and okay lacing.

The smell was nice for what it was.

This is where I may differ from most. I didn't really like it all that much. Maybe it was an old bottle. I'm not sure. But, there was something off about this beer.

Mouthfeel was good.

And, the drinkability I put as average. But, I had to pass it off to another friend to finish. I just wasn't as impressed as others here I guess.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Numbered bottle out of 2009, poured into a nonic.

Chocolate brown, near opaque color with ruby highlights against light. A large, fluffy dark coffee colored head that is very retentive and leaves some clean rings of lacing. The barrel aging dominates the aroma, oak and vanilla. Some chocolate and dark fruit and alcohol in the finish, nicely balanced in general. Mouthfeel is biggest let down of the beer, very low carbonation, body is very slick and smooth and could use a little pinch of carbonation to balance out some of the sweetness. Flavor is malty milk chocolate and mild dark fruit with strong notes of vanilla and oak in the finish, along with a strong, but balanced burn of alcohol. My first impression of this is divided, I want to like it and everything seems well balanced but overall I feel like some complexity is missing somewhere.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle

A- Body is a dark brown nearly black opaque color. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy off-white head. Head quickly fades to a thin collar but some lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Caramel and toffee are most dominant in the nose-this is followed by hints of oak and a slight alcohol astringency.

T- A lot of alcohol and oak initially. Hints of caramel, toffee, and chocolate in the background. The bourbon really kicks in for the finish and leaves a big alcohol heat as well as a hint of alcohol astringency and roasted malt.

M- Medium carbonation and a body with slight alcohol astringency.

D- This one is still a little hot and boozy-but has nice complex undertones. Decent and a great bourbon barrel brew to try overall- but nothing that really amazes me. Overall good job done by this brewing co.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Mark.

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with a finger of khaki head.

S: Oak, bourbon, and vanilla let you know right away that this beer was barrel aged. Plenty of roasted malts with a bit of coffee. There's a definite butter note to it which sort of ruins the aroma.

T: Like with the aroma, there are nice bourbon and vanilla notes with a decent flavor of oak/wood. Lots of chocolate and roasted malts with a mild coffee flavor. No butter here, at least, and the flavor is actually pretty nice.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation.

O: Tasted pretty nice, but the aroma was definitely off.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The most striking part of this beer is how it pours without any head. Even with a vigorous pour, nothing rises up. Otherwise the beer is really dark black. No light getting through this one.

S: The aroma is full of bourbon and rich chocolate. Some vanilla and a slight amount of roast come out as well. Definitely a bourbon-forward aroma, I hope the taste brings a little bit more balance.

T: The taste delivers. Still bourbon-forward, the taste is bolstered by a nice hit of chocolate that lingers on the palate seemingly forever. The very backend leaves a hint of booze to remind you the bourbon is still there. The roast isn't really anywhere to be found, making the beer pretty sweet. Some vanilla and maybe a slight amount of oak are also left over from the barrel. The taste is balanced, but not particularly wowing as a porter aged in bourbon barrels.

MF: The body is thin at times, but it's also very drinkable. I wish it was a bit thicker just to hold the body together a little more. With that said, I simply had no problem drinking the whole bottle. I also enjoyed the smoothness of the beer.

O: I liked this a lot, but thought it could have been better overall. It's hurt by an average look and smell, but the taste does stand on its own. I'd say it's worth your time if you see it.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared with steepH2O. Bottle number 1184 of 2009.

Chestnut brown with red highlights, some oily legs, and set of puddled islands along the edges.

Sweet bourbon, dark chocolate, roast, and vanilla. A very nice smelling bourbon barreled beer.

Uncertainty around the bottling date leaves me to believe this is a 2009 bottle based on the bottle number. If so, the taste seems to make sense: bourbon is sharp and abrupt leaving a short hot finish. Base porter is shattered by the barrel, leaves mostly a "bourbon delivery vehicle" says Chris.

Body is thinned and watery. A good barrel aged stout that I had higher hopes for.

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Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Radek's bottle, thanks for sharing. A good porter, 2009 edition. A tad of smoke, clear bourbon taste that is showcased well, some coconut, some cocoa. Middling mouthfeel, a llittle creamy. Bubbly head on dark body, spidery lace. Bottle 1251 out of 2009.

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Photo of liamt07
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591 in a BIF way back. 22oz 2010 vintage, but the fill barely even came up to the neck on the bottle. Batch 1108.

Pours a few shades off black, with some mahogany transluence. Creamy khaki head, good lace and medium retention. Nose has some vanilla and oak, mild bourbon notes and subtle notes some ripe plum (among other non-descript dark fruits). Taste holds alot of oak and dark chocolate, brown sugar with some roastiness coming through midway through the mouthfeel. Bourbon shows up around that point as well and lingers with the roastiness out into the finish. Adequate carbonation and medium heavy body, with some creaminess in the feel. I felt like this took on alot of the character of the barrel, and would've been curious to see what the base beer tasted like to put things in perspective. Pleasant but not fantastic.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from writerLJberg's cellar, consumed at Beermongers, Portland, OR
Thanks for the share!

Poured a dark brown color, nearly opaque, with a small cap of tan head. Aroma of oaky bourbon, roasty malts, a bit of coffee, notes of vanilla and maybe a hint of diacetyl. Bourbon-soaked oak and sweet vanilla in the taste, roasty malts and cocoa, with a bit of coffee. Medium body, maybe just a little thin, with moderate carbonation. Pretty good overall.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly during the bella vista bash

Pours a mostly blacked out color, slightly tanned head, decent retention while drinking and some filmy lacing on the glass.

Stiff scents of bourbon with vanilla and oak, nuttiness, faint dark fruit and booze, some chocolate as well.

Roasted malts with bourbon soaked notes, oaky wood and vanilla sweetness. Dashes of cocoa and chocolate with some nutty qualities. Decent malted base with sweet tones, finishes boozy and warm.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, a bit creamy, pretty smooth. Drinks nicely, not as good as their Cafe Royale but a pretty solid bal aged beer.

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Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large shared bottle.
Rich and rather boozy although the alcohol is well hidden in the mouthfeel. Still, warms as swallowed. Light wood but plenty of whisky in this ale. Full body with good if light carbonation. Bitter sweet with too much booze in the flavor.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a bit of transparency at the edges. Small khaki head and a very thin collar.

Smell - Bourbon is strong. Oak behind it. Vanilla rounds it out. Some milk chocolate and roast.

Taste - Bourbon is equally strong. Dark chocolate. Coffee roasted malts. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Impressive. Great bourbon flavor that works well with the beer.

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Photo of DCon
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a 1 Pint 6 Fl oz. Bottle of this w/ friends @ the Royale in St. Louis, MO. Poured from the Lightest Tan Labeled bottle w/ a Barrel behind the lettering into a 12oz Shaker Glass. Has 2011-1900 on the front but no bottled date.

Aroma- has a huge bourbon aroma upfront with quite a ton of sweetness as well. Porter though?


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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 591 ratings.
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