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: 590
Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a speiglau BA glass.

Look is pitch black with just a thin cream white head.

Aroma is deep bourbon with notes of vanilla and charred oak.

Taste is astrigent heavy barrel in the best way possible.


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Photo of WindUpBird
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rich, sweet and boozy, this beer is like that friend with the loud voice who won't be ignored. It pours a thick dark brown with a thin tan head. The aroma is oaky with burnt sugar and alcohol dominating. The taste brings more burnt sugar, and dried fruits, The mouthfeel is heavy and thick, demanding to be savored slowly. A pleasant porter, perhaps more than pleasant, but one whose flavor profile and aroma demands the drinker's full attention. If you're drinking this, you're not multitasking.

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Photo of JohnKristan
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oily black with no head. Rich boozy flavor with a fair amount of roasty malt keeping the bitterness in check. Nice use of the bourbon barrel. Worth a try.

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Photo of stevoj
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle from share on 6/11/16. Dark brown, muddy pour capped off with a small beige, tight head. Barrel aging takes center stage in aroma and taste.Bourbon really brings out the smoky, chocolaty nature of the porter. Really knocked my socks off.

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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.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly full and very well done this showcases every aspect of the barrel. Woodsy oak, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, bourbonesque creaminess with a bit of toffee. Delicious!

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poyrs a fluid black with a trace of tan head. Sweet aroma bourbon and toffee. Rich bourbon boozy taste with hints of toffee and caramel. Fullbodied mouth...guite wonderful.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber (dated March 15) into a pint glass
L: Black in the glass with a thick finger of mocha head.
S:Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, caramel, and chocolate notes on the nose.
T:Follows the nose with lots of bourbon, toffee, vanilla and caramel flavors. A little alcohol warmth and lightness is present, and the it finish with more toffee, caramel, and chocolate notes.
F: Creamy but more towards a medium-light mouth feel. Consistent with other Porters.
Overall this beer has great bourbon flavor. Would like to try this with maybe a year on it to see how it changes.

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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 WesMantooth
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in March of '15. Poured into a Dogfish Head snifter.

It is almost pitch black in color. Slight ruby hues in the light. A frothy tan head that is very impressive and lasting for a barrel aged beer.

Tons of bourbon dominates the aroma. Vanilla, chared oak, alcohol, and even the mash bill junp right out. Their is subtle chocolate and roasted malts in the background.

The chocolate is much more prevalent in the flavor. Especially in the aftertaste. Fairly sweet initially, with oak, vanilla, and molasses. Then some charred flavors along with a lightly bitter milk chocolate and maltiness.

The carbonation is a tad prickly, but otherwise I am really impressed by the mouhfeel. The body approaches those blurred lines (not Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye style) of stout - porter. Especially considering it is a barrel aged beer.

I highly recommend this one. I think my favorite aspect may be the ABV. You usually don't come across a quality beer like this under 10-12%, and this one comes in at 9. Easy to polish of a bomber on a Sunday afternoon and not time travel to Monday. For me it is as good as Framminghammer, maybe better.

 1,147 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a large center patch of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a thick solid ring behind.

S- Good solid bourbon presence with notes of milk chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit. A bit of alcohol heat.

T- Once again, good solid bourbon presence with some grainy oak near the finish along with some char. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel and more vanilla. Definitely on the sweeter side but that's how I like it.

M- Milky texture with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- Everything here checks out for a repeat buy: contains well-integrated flavors from the barrel and base beer, high drinkability for the ABV and all at a good price. If this were available in 4-packs, it would rival Dragon's Milk for a year-round (?) affordable BBA dark beer that hits all the right notes.

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Photo of gopens44
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is just gorgeous. That thick beige head wasn't forced too much, but it was eager to show off certainly. Lacing is sleek and decorative as the head slides down. Coloring is equally remarkable as it somehow makes dark seem matte and stunning.

Nose is of sweet bourbon to start but gives way to vanilla, fig and faint plum.

Magnificent taste. Molasses, vanilla, fudge, maybe a little eggnog and of course, bourbon. Bourbon is nowhere near overpowering as it compliments the rest of the flavors. Balance between all the flavors in fact, is just art.

Mouthfeel is immediately dry before a hint of carbonation teases the tongue. Aftertaste is sweet mostly and maybe just a little cloying.

Clearly this deserves every bit of praise it receives. Just a magnificent beer.

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

From a bottle in TH Dudley Teku.
L: dark chestnut brown with a bone head.
S: barrel dominates without overwhelming; oak, some vanilla, a travel of menthol, underlying roasted malts
T: just like the nose, barrel is in the forefront but tight enough not to overwhelm, less vanilla, more oak and a notch or two more of pleasant methol (think maker's mark). Delicious. Warmth in the finish, but at only 9% and great BA beer without ridiculously high above
F: medium heavy. Definitely a lighter porter body and not a stout.
O: Alewerks has something special here. excellent.

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Photo of Zraly
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

World class bourbon aged porter on tap at their Tap room. Decent mocha head and the bourbon is smooth and soft; no harsh bite. Fudge, vanilla, dark coffee. Alewerks nails it. Lovely.

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Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours ebony with a thumb of tan head. Some viscous notes, okay lacing & worse head retention. Viscous, minimal head retention & lacing

S: Bourbon, figs, mocha upfront, Raisins & oak as it warms

T: Follows the nose, much dryness too up front. Vanilla, raisins & leafy hops as this warms, some oakyness too; boozeyness starts creeping in. Finishes dry with much dark fruit &a little leafy hop

MF: Medium body, slight carbonation, warming

Drinks easy enough, well worth a go

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Photo of oldn00b
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Have had many times, most recently on tap at the brewery.

Pours black, thin dark tan head forms and takes a while to recede.

Nose is primarily bourbon forward, lot of a dark malt flavor and sweet sugary caramel.

Flavor is big on the bourbon, with a nice dark malt sweetness taking over to balance the slightly boozy punch. Very nice body, good weight without being syrupy or too heavy. Might be the best batch of BBP I've had. I generally prefer it on tap though - I feel like keeping it on CO2 helps and bottles are typically more flat which I like less on this beer.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from ThatCracker (thanks man). Bottled 4/15/15. Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours a deep, near black brown with almost a full finger of khaki head. Held near the light some mahogany highlights can be seen around the edges. A wide collar persists and deposits a few wisps of lace.

Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, faint roasted malt and a hint of an almost rolled oat quality. Those strong, sweet, roasty bourbon notes keep pulling my nostrils back to the glass.

As in the nose, bourbon shines at the forefront of the flavor followed by dark chocolate, molasses, oaken vanilla, roasted barley, singed caramel, mild coffee and an assertive nip of alcohol. This drinks surprisingly hot for its 9% alcohol bill but is full of rich flavors that make it easy to drink despite the heat.

Creamy, medium full body with moderate carbonation. That lively bourbon remains the star through the sweet, lingering finish along with notes of chocolate, burnt coffee and some cooling booze.

Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter may run a tad hot for the abv but it is a shining example of the style. It strikes a deft balance of rich, sweet barrel and deep, roasty malts. This one is well worth a try.

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Photo of jshusc
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark with nice beige head. Roasty malt flavor with nice barrel character but subdued heat. Really hides the ABV well and can be consumed in one sitting despite it being 22 oz. Good beer from Alewerks

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a slow flow of carbonation bubbling and a thin, sparse, tan surface coating of head. Aromas of vanilla, molasses, coffee, chocolate, booze, toffee, and subtle earthy tones. Flavors are rich and tangy sweet vanilla crème, chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, booze, molasses, woody spice, and earthy tones. Amazingly balanced, with rich and sweet overtones providing the perfect accent. The body is robust, full, and smooth, with a rich chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon aftertaste. There is a subtle building warmth as you drink, which is very nice. Smooth, layered, velvety finish with a sweet, roasted, chocolatey linger. This is a great beer.

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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.

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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 tjmiller718
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: very dark brown, light black, mild carbonation, skimming brown head.
N: warm burnt sugar, vanilla, caramel, boozy bourbon, roasted malts, light coffee w/ heavy cream, low hop presence.
T: vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar, oak, bourbon, roasted malts, dark fruits, creamed coffee, boozy burn finish.
B: creamy, full bodied, low carbonation.

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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. 

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Photo of uvachief
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 6 month old aged 14 bomber into a snifter. Pours oily dark brown with a full finger of tan head that dissipated within a minute. Smells of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, toffee and maybe cherries. In the mouth it is lighter than it looks. Not as full in the mouth as I would have hoped, a little thin. Tastes are all of the above with the bourbon present but not overpowering. Very smooth. Pleasant aftertaste of bourbon and cherries with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Excellent porter. Tried another one 6 months later and it had mellowed and improved. Going to age another one longer and try it 18-24 months out. EXCELLENT PORTER.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber (no date, but bottle itself is '13) at cellar temp into a snifter.

Look: pours a robust, slightly oily brown with a short-lived light brown head.

Smell: bitter chocolate, booze, toffee, cherry, vanilla.

Taste: the bourbon isn't shy, but as someone who doesn't drink strong liquor, I don't find it offputting or overwhelming at all. Milk chocolate, cherry, oak.

Feel: very light feel for the style. Medium-dry, not much carbonation (but okay for style).

Overall: reminds me somewhat of something like Velvet Merkin. Better than a random BBA beer, very enjoyable, but nothing really kicks it to the elite level. I don't mind the thinner body, but people who need used-motor-oil thickness in their BBA beers should look elsewhere.

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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 590 ratings.
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