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 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 StonedTrippin
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

how phenomenal is this? my first alewerks brew is a winner to say the least. downright delicious. new cork and cage 750 ml bottles different from what is pictured here. obsidian luster to this impenetrable coffee brown liquid. a two inch dish soapy khaki head sits permanently on top. a nose od sweet vanilla bourbon and oak, above a dense charred barley base, which is both viscous and light, which is uncommon and even paradoxical, but a lovely interplay. bourbon first on the taste, with layered porter background. i taste a nice robust ale yeast in there, lighter than a stout in grain, but still incredibly sturdy. vanilla is there, oaky density too, but an airy feel and a long sweet finish make this beer seem far lighter than it really is. amazingly delicate on the palate, rounded edges, no heat. the bourbon highlights this beer really well, accentuates what is already beautifully brewed. im wishing for nothing but another pour. carbonation levels are only medium, but thats all that is necessary. more would be too much. porters dont get enough barrel love, and in this arms race of huge stouts, there seems room for more beer like this. highly impressed.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out with a nice black color and light tan colored head. The lacing is pretty nice looking and the retention is thin but there along with the lacing. The smell of this beer as It warms up gets better and better. The aromas of bourbon and wood shine through with a moderate boozy note on the nose. The taste is sensational, it's got some of the best natural vanilla flavors I've ever had. There is a spicy note in there too probably from the bourbon. The beer has a light dry roasted finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and slick feeling. Moderate carbonation also. Overall it's a beautiful beer. Very very good stuff here.

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Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with lovely ruby highlights; the bubbly one finger head retains with dignity and leaves nice patterns of lace on the glass

Smell: Toated marshmallow, bourbon, vanilla, oak and hints of coconut

Taste: Toasted marshmallow, up front, with a developing bourbon vanilla flavor arriving at mid-palate; there is also quite a bit of hop bitterness in there, too; lots of alcohol becomes apparent both before and after the swallow, where a burst of bourbon flavor jumps out; toffee sweetness lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I'm glad I bought two bottles, as I will want my other bottle to age for at least a year; I suspect this beer will improve a lot with age as it is certainly rough around the edges right now, as the hops and alcohol need to settle down; I loved the Rapidou, which I tried after aging it for a year or so, so I suspect this will be no different

Note: Had my second bottle on 9/25/11 and, with two years of age, the beer has settled in nicely as expected - bumped up the overall score to 4.5

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Nick. Mocha brown, nearly opaque but not quite there. It has a solid tan cap that settles to a collar. Pretty nice aroma, the barrel is well-integrated, lending some caramel sweetness to the roasty base porter. A bit tootsie roll-like as it warms, this smells good. Chocolate-caramel candy flavors are prominent, plenty of barrel, but it's at balance with the dark malts. Medium in body with a slightly fruity, roasty, sweet finish. This is great stuff.

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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 jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one thanks to msulinski, and shared with the Central New England BA Meetup.

A: Light creamy darker head over a pitch black beer.

N: Chocolate my friend! Chocolate is the key word here. Chocolate malt, chalky chocolate milk, bakers chocolate, nibs, etc. Some roasted malts, a slight fluffy malt, chewy nougat malt and some bitter hops with that, and a slight booze. A slight hint of oak and bourbon, but barely.

T: Again chocolate on the taste, lots of bakers chocolate, choc milk, malt, chewys malts with some caramel and nougat again. Then comes a strange wood flavor, woody esthers and like chewing on an old wooden shelf. A slight oak and bourbon that some out a bit more as it warms. Some vanilla too, with creamy flavors too. It starts to get bitter too with some roasty earthy charred malt flavors, but a little spicy earthy hop presence too. Slightly sweet in the flavor as well.

M: Semi thick and creamy, with decent carbonation.

F: bitter earthy charred malts, with lingering creamy chocolate milk and bakers chocolate. Somewhat malty finish too, a little more roasted malt and the slightest hint of warming booze. Semi dry as well. Again just a slight hint of oak and bourbon that seems to come out a bit more as it warms.

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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 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 ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slips out a clearish, dark brown body with ruby-hinted edges and a frothy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: A robust choco-vanilla union leads in the aroma with a smokey whiff of lightly charred malts, small traces of dark fruitiness, and all the usual bourbon barrel accents.

Taste: A dark chocolate flavor blanketed in good amounts of dark brown sugar and vanilla sugar. It's a sweet drink, but not overly so. Modest date-like fruitiness. Roasted malts provide for a hint of smokiness. Well-integrated bitterness. Bigger bourbon presence on the back half (and as the beer warms), lending more vanilla, brown sugar, oak wood, and even a touch of coconut cream. Finishes dry, warming, and still with an ever increasing bourbon quality until it all just ends.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body, with a mouthfeel that's both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An inviting, likable BA Imperial Porter, which is something I think we could all use more of.

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Photo of billab914
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, bottle number 883. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured black in color with a thin tan head barely covering the top of the beer. It didn't start with a huge head but what it did have stayed there pretty well. Moderate lacing on the glass as well.

The aroma shows the oaky wood flavor and some bourbon from the barrel aging, but isn't overpoweringly strong. There is some bitter chocolate and roasty porter flavors going on as well but they are a little milder then the barrel characteristics.

The taste has an oaky, vanilla flavor to it from the barrel. The bourbon is pretty mild and really adds to the beer and barrel flavors instead of overpowering it. This is pretty much exactly the way I like my bourbon barrel aged beers which is why I let it age a year. Besides the bourbon and barrel flavors, there is a nice dark and bitter chocolate flavor coming through along with a bit of roasty and burnt flavor. A little bit of brown sugar sweetness in the finish comes through very nicely. Excellent flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and carbonation is low. Drinkability is also very good, it had a lot of great flavors and was a really enjoyable beer to sip on this evening. A year of aging really suited my tastes nicely on this one. The bourbon and barrel flavors really mellowed nicely and complimented the beer flavors instead of overtaking them like a lot of barrel aged beers do.

Overall this has been one of my favorite barrel aged beers so far. I'm sure a year in the cellar helped that a lot. Excellent beer overall in my opinion. I'm glad I put several 2010's in the cellar this year.

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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 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.

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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 mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/25/11 notes. Thanks to jslot38 for sharing this one. 2010 vintage, bottle number 0558.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, chocolate, oak, roasted malts.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, bourbon, oak, and light vanilla. Very nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

o - Overall this was a really nice bourbno barrel aged stout. I thought the taste was very balanced and complex; I really enjoyed it. Would like to have again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Released a bit late this time 'round (or so I've been told), but worth the wait. It pours a nearly opaque black-brown topped by a half-finger of greyish-ecru foam, which builds up slowly but fades much faster. The nose is simple, comprising bourbon, roasted malts, and a vague sense of wood (I'm leanin' toward oak on this one...). The taste shows a Harvey Dent-esque character: One face is heavy on the bourbon and oak; the other comprises a very light coffee, some roasted malts, and some molasses. The two halves run parallel, equally strong, throught the tasting. The body is pretty thick, with moderate carbonation, and a slight coating is formed, complete with a lingering oak flavor. Overall, this is not the pinnacle of barrel-aged beers, but a solid offering nonetheless, especially for one of my local (sorta) breweries.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Whole Foods in Fair Lakes, Virginia.

The beer appears a near black shade. The head is about an inch thick and leaves a thick sheet of lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly bourbon and alcohol, with roasted malt and chocolates following behind. The beer is a little hot, but not so much that it ever becomes a distraction. Subtle oak notes add a nice touch of complexity. This is a good beer and seems to fly under the radar. It's definitely worth a try.

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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 AlexFields
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black color, with almost no head. Other pours seem to develop more head after the beer warms up, but at first the beer looks almost flat.

Smell is huge sweet vanilla and oak. Hints of chocolate too, but mainly the vanilla. Pretty one dimensional really, but that's definitely not a bad thing. Smells amazing.

Taste is similar but slightly less astounding. Tons of vanilla, woody oak, strong bourbon character, a bit of milk chocolate. Very sweet, very tasty.

Mouthfeel is a little thin--definitely not flat as it appeared to be, but could use some more carb for sure.

Great porter, reminds me some of Birth of Tragedy.


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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 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 Duff27
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a half inch tan head on a dark brown/black beer. Above average head retention and lacing. Nice alcohol legs.

S- rich chocolatey booze, barrel influenced.

Yum! Big time chocolate notes, bourbon. Would guess at a higher ABV than 9%

Chewy mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation.

Holy underrated beer! What a treat! Wonderfully intergrated -bal.
I don't know much else to out if you're a big beer fan.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its not a tasting unless there's a bourbon barrel aged beer in the mix. This is a "local" beer from Virginia. Lots of good beers in Virginia, they don't get enough attention in my opinion.

Beer is black with a brown tight head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Looks fine.

Beer is kind of sweet and bourbony in the nose. Smells good.

This beer is a medium body and a creamy mouthfeel. There is some minimal bitterness from the roasted malts. Drinkability is good, it is pretty easy going. Bourbon barrel character is nice and not overwhelming. Minimal oakiness, interesting overall.

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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 ShanePB
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a few months back, 22 ounce bottle shared with family. Poured into a tulip.

A: Dark brown on the pour, black as night in the glass. Some brown highlights where the tan head meets the body. Nice retention cap and really nice lacing on the glass. Impressive looking beer for a Porter.

S: Plenty of dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate, toffee, well roasted coffee beans and musky bourbon notes. The oak notes come out subsequently after you get past the dark, malty profile. The bourbon smells strange though, sort of like it's old, or stale (even though this isn't really possible).

T: Semi-sweet and dry bourbon that is seriously integrated with the oak flavors is up-front. Not necessarily overwhelming the entire flavor profile, but it makes itself known. Roasted chocolate malts, vanilla and touches of burnt caramel towards the back end. Finishing dry with a lingering bourbon element.

M: Fairly well carbonated but it's not overdone although a bit more than I'd like. Somewhat thin, either due to style or the barrels, finishing with some lingering heat in the chest.

Well, I really like this beer. I do remember enjoying it more when I had it on draft as the bourbon tasted more pronounced and "fresh." This isn't much different but I don't think I'll be letting the bottles sit in the cellar anymore.

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