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: 589
Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Excellent lacing.

S: The bourbon is very evident in the smell, almost to the expense of the other ingredients. Still, not a bad aroma.

T: Tasted of chocolate, malt, light coffee, and a big shot of bourbon. Like the smell, the flavor is heavy on the booze, but it manages to keep itself balanced. Lots of flavor here.

M: A generally well-carbonated beer with a slick finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

O: If you're a fan of bourbon barrel beers, give this one a shot. It has a big taste and lots of character.

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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.

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

Purchased as a 22oz from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen VA - Tulip

Pours a very dark but not black, some tobacco edges. decent head and decent lacing. Smells awesome, vanilla and caramel from the barrel, a little boozy on the nose but still nice. Taste is smooth and delicious, great sipping brew. Feels nice and smooth however it stings a little from the abv.

Overall this is an awesome porter, I would buy again

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle shared by Mark at Woodshop Classix, thanks!

A: Near black with a small brown head that quickly recedes.

S: Caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate with light oak. Vanilla is faint and malt is moderately roasted. The caramel is great with the bourbon and chocolate.

T: Lots of roast with pronounced booze and chocolate. bourbon is lighter than in the nose. The beer finishes with cocoa, oak, and a little vanilla.

M: Lower full body with matching carbonation.

Overall: A good beer from a brewery I'd never heard of.

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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 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!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

4.0 A: Black color. Just over one finger of creamy, light brown head. Retention is good and a small ring of lacing is left.

4.5 S: Still plenty of bourbon character in this. Indeed, it is the most apparent aroma. Leathery with a light peat and dark fruitiness. A good bit of oak and vanilla. The beer underneath gives a slightly grainy vibe with a strong caramel malt backbone. Sweet and fruity with rich milk chocolate. Nearly no booze. Very nice here.

4.0 T: Again, the bourbon is the dominant character. A tad bit more astringent than the nose. Otherwise, lots of leather and peat. Nearly as much oak and fruitiness with a slightly subdued vanilla. A touch of booze. Underneath, there is a decent roastiness to this. Plenty of caramel, but not as sweet as I suspected it would be and the milk chocolate is much less apparent.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess. Slightly astringent aftertaste.

3.5 D: Good beer, but this is a little more astringent than I'd prefer.

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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 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!

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Photo of chilly460
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown, golden tan head. Head disspated quickly, but left a lot of splotched lacing.

S - Mild bourbon hits immediately, you know it's been aged but it's not overdone. Backed up with nice medium roasted malts.

T - Very nice, light tasting chocolate is the immediate taste. Followed up with warm sweet bourbon backing. Not much hop profile, and that's perfect for me.

M - Mouth is creamy and a bit chewy, nice for a "bigger" porter.

O - This is definitely a bigger porter, full of flavor and heavier bodied, but it's as expected with a barrel aged variety. Big flavor, well beyond more pedestrian English style.

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

Bottle 1515/2011 shared w/Heyta – Thanks!

Pours pitch black but not so thick. A great head crowns the beer and quickly fades. Smells mostly of thick boozy bourbon with just a tad dark fruits in the background. First sip is so very nice with tons of bourbon dominating and well supported with dark fruits, chocolate, plums, light smoke and a touch of vanilla. Body is light but in the range for a porter. Flavor is both strong and bold. Very well done!

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Photo of dafizzif
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 - 1815 Bomber poured into a pint glass.

Look- Very, very dark brown, with ruby highlights and loads of tan head. Lots of lacing down the glass. Pretty but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Smell- Lots of delicious bourbon and some chocolates. A bit of vanilla and cream as well. Not very complex, but it is fairly alluring.

Taste- One word: heavenly. Loads of chocolate at first, just like the Alewerks Washington's Porter, but after the initial taste, there is a complex melding of lighter chocolates, bourbon, and a bit of vanilla. Finishes with some hoppy and coffee bitterness with some spiciness from the alcohol. Unlike many beers I have had, the booziness really compliments the other flavors instead of taking away from them.

Mouthfeel- Full body with not a lot of carbonation. Kind of creamy and very mouth coating. Goes down smooth which is dangerous with the ABV (I can already feel it and I am not even half done).

Overall- Another new favorite from the Alewerks. Certainly a treat. I would recommend you buy this for a special occasion (I personally just finished my summer finals) or as a gift for that special beer/bourbon lover in your life.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 - bottle 1317

Finger of tannish creamy head, good retention, opaque dark brown body. Laces decently.

Smell is rich milk chocolate and a hint of fresh coconut.

Holy cow this is good. I'm heavily reminded of New Holland Dragon's Milk in a good way, but it's different. Where to begin: there's a bit of hops at the beginning, followed by a wave of milk chocolate, a bit of the coconut, and some vanilla bourbon warmth. On the finish, a trace of bitter coffee and another bit of balancing hops, faintly biscuity. Powerful and balanced, not in the sense of neutralizing, but in the sense of being both bitter and sweet. Not under-hopped, but as a person who doesn't love hops, I don't frankly mind.

Rich mouthfeel, not distracting, finely textured.

"Bourbon barrel porter" can mean a lot of a things-- in this case, it means something awesome. I really need to start taking Williamsburg Alewerks more seriously-- after Grand Illumination and this-- I'm impressed.

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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 Jwale73
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for sharing. Pours a deep cola color with no head. Nose reveals bourbon, dark malts, a slightly solvent-like quality and a buttery character. Taste is malty, boozy and rich with some vanilla notes and a boozy/hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a lively carbonation. Great drinkability on this beer. At $6.99 a bomber I would buy this often if I had regular access to it.

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Photo of flyersfan900
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up two 22oz bottles today (the day they finally started selling it). Having one now and cellaring the other.

'2011 - 0673 LIMITED RELEASE'

A: Very dark brown, not quite black. Very thin head. Solid lacing throughout the glass.

S: The main smell I'm getting is chocolate. There's also a touch of caramel.

T: The first thing you taste is chocolate. Then the warmth of bourbon. I also get a hint of mocha and even vanilla. This is followed by a hint of sweetness, almost a fruity taste. The beer finishes with a hint of alcohol as it goes down.

M: This beer is pretty heavy. It fully coats the mouth and seems to linger.

O: Overall this beer is pretty damn good. I certainly get the bourbon flavor, although I didn't really taste any oak flavors. As others have mentioned, you can certainly taste the alcohol, although this was not a turn off for me. Solid beer, I'm looking forward to the other bottle.

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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 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 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 FLBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pulled from the back of my cellar, been aging since last spring, since the trip to Williamsburg.

Pours jet black with an thin tan head that leaves very little lacing.

Nose is pretty strong bourbon, some chocolate & roasted malts. Some smokiness comes through as is warms.

Taste is bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts and some woodiness an a faint hop bitterness. More chocolate and a little smokiness as it warms.

Mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation. ABV is well hidden here, can't believe this is 9 ABV

This is a nice bourbon aged porter, lots of flavor, nice body, worth picking up.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bottle, sent at some point in mid-2010 by beer bud Metalmonk (thanks, Jeff!), and opened/poured/consumed in March 2011.

'2010 - 1732 LIMITED RELEASE'
Imperial Porter Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels for Two Months

A: Opaque pour, very dark/'black'. An inch of fluffed almond foam fades in a couple minutes to a sticky cream. Terrific lace in wide dripping bands, like frilly garters.

S: Pleasant intensity: fudgy chocolate in waves, the sweetness tempered by mild wood char (with a little 'smokehouse', too). Sweeter and fruitier as it warms, lush berries mixed with toffee/caramel.

T: Sturdy porter with plenty of dark coffee roast, surprisingly potent given the chocolate-y sweetness in the aroma. After a year or so since bottling and many months in the cellar, a slight astringency and oxidation may be just creeping in, but the result is a mild grapeskin/tannin and tangy/bittersweet cocoa. Some sweetness in the finish, caramel and brown sugar, and a tamer smokiness.

M: Sits pretty heavily on the tongue, fills and coats well. Lasting sweet bourbon, cinnamon spice, and a dirty char. Medium-full body and kinda chewy, smooths after an initial carbonation eruption.

O: Lots to like from the more savory, slightly dry porter. Barrel-aging works well and a year of cellaring probably doesn't hurt. Still, a surprising alcohol warmth, though, which knocks drinkability down a little. Very good and worth a recommendation.

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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 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 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 bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recieved this in the quick and easy hight card BIF. The beer was poured into 2 oversized wine glasses, jet black pour with a slight white head, light lacing. The aroam is full of sweet vanilla, bourbon and oak. The bourbon and oak are up front in the taste, without being overwhelming. The vanilla hits midpalate and it has a lingering bourbon finish. The body is medium, carbonation is light. The alcohol is there but in balance. A damn fine ba bourbon beer.

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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 589 ratings.
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