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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 580
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Umberto tonight.

Pours a fairly dark black, with a half inch foamy mocha-colored head, with a little bit of lacing.

Smells great, big bourbon waft, with big flashes of chocolate and vanilla.

This is surprisingly awesome, really hit the spot. The barrel comes through fairly strongly, some vanilla, oak, and a lot of bourbon, with chocolate, and a bit of roasted malt bitterness.

This has an amazingly full mouthfeel, creamy, silky and velvety, with a lower amount of carbonation. Utterly and amazingly drinkable.

This was a big sleeper hit of the night, really tasty.

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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.

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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 sierratwohearted
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%

a- dark amber, completely opaque/no head. s- at first the smell of bourbon shot out of the bottle, now i'm smelling alot of chocolate notes. a little sweet maltiness. t- heat up front. bourbon-definetly, alot of chocolate. very full-bodied and smooth. heat in the finish- i can feel the heat at the back of my throat(like drinking bourbon). is this a porter or a stout? come to think of it: whats the difference anyway? This seems to lean more towards a 'stout porter' in my opinion. this is my first beer from Alewerks since i moved to VA, a very enjoyable porter(stout).

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Photo of blbarnett3
4.25/5  rDev +1%

From a growler filled six days ago, poured into a large tulip. One finger (well, a pinky, anyway) mocha head that subsided fairly quickly, leaving no lace. First, let this beer warm up before you form an opinion. Cold, it's boozy and a bit harsh. Nearing room temperature, it's still alcoholic, but much smoother. The bourbon is very apparent on the nose, along with coffee and a bit of chocolate, along with something a little bit funky that I can't quite put my finger on. This beer has a gorgeous mouthfeel, thick and a bit oily. The bourbon is still there on the palate, as well as the coffee, and maybe a bit of plum or prune - fairly significant sweetness - and a faint tinge of bacon fat that my favorite porters seem to evince. Just my opinion, but this is a beer that you might want to go out of your way to find. Among local offerings, it isn't quite up there with Lickinghole Creek's Enlightened Despot (different style, Imperial Russian Stout), but it's in the same ballpark. Extremely enjoyable!

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Photo of doremite
4/5  rDev -5%

Nice bourbon presence with a deeper porter mouthfeel to help balance it out a bit. Slightly hot but not over powering. Makes me curious about the base beer as this is a fantastic BA Porter. First from Alewerks for me. Def bourbon forward but worth trying if you trend toward more bourbon heavy BA beers.

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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.

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Photo of sommersb
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 07-20-2014
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Nonic pint
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance: Dark brown beer, nearly black, with reddish highlights. The tan head is thin and leaves small traces of lace on the glass.

Smells: Oak and vanilla, dark cherries, and aromas of alcohol, including some bourbon sweetness but also fruitiness of something like a cognac.

Taste: A wide variety of flavors include licorice, roasted malts, dark bittersweet chocolate, cherries, raisins, figs and vanilla. I don't taste much in the way of hops.

Mouthfeel: Very thick in body, with low carbonation. The finish is sweet of dark fruits, molasses and vanilla notes.

Overall: Quite a hefty brew, I found it to be a delightful sipper although maybe a tad too sweet for my tastes.

Thanks to Treyliff for the beer!

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Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22-oz bottle served to chalice. Acquired in trade back in September 2013. 7-2013 bottling date, consumed 5-24-14.

dark brown appearance, minimal head, but the lacing's decent

typical porter aromas at work, with very faint oak barrel undertones (understandably, the latter are more prominent as the beer warms). dark chocolate; toasted coconut (much more prominent with warmth and swirling); caramel; vanilla notes

the opening salvo's oak and bourbon, but then, even cold, there's a delicious dulce de leche sweet caramel, with toasted coconut to boot. the alcohol's noticeable, but not off-putting

the mouthfeel's not the thickest, but this is a porter, so I wasn't expecting sticky sweet. lingering caramel on the tongue though

I'd yet to have a truly enjoyable bourbon barrel porter . . . until now. This demonstrates what a good barrel can do. I dig the toasty, roasty coconut sweetness. Alcohol + Mounds. Yum. Want another.

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

A: This beer pours black with a healthy copper head. Good head retention with a fair amount of lacing.

S: There's a pleasant alcohol aroma with a good bit of oak. The bourbon comes through and is well complimented by a woody, earthy hop note. There's a lot going on here, dark fruits, chocolate and dark caramel. a bit of raisin.

T: Up front there's a strong but pleasant alcohol bite, quickly followed by a big dark malt presence. I get a good amount of chocolate and a bit of dark roast coffee with a background sweetness. The oak and bourbon are present throughout the beer but don't overwhelm the balance of roasted flavors. The earthy hops aren't in the forefront but lend themselves to the oak flavor.

M: full body with medium carbonation. A nice chewy porter.

O: I had this beer on a recent trip to Williamsburg and what can I say, this is one of my favorite porters ever. It has everything I like in a difficult style to master. Barrel aging tends to be a subtle science but Alewerks has proven they have mastered the wood. This is by no means a session beer, I wouldn't be able to drink a lot of it, but I would drink it every day. I suspect the only thing that is keeping this brew from being on the BA top 250 is a limited distribution, but as has been shown by other small breweries (The Alchemist for one) it's just a matter of time before their secret is out. Well done Alewerks.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at ChurchKey in DC. From notes.

A - Black pour with a two finger fluffy light brown head. Spotty lace rings and a film of retention.

S - Bourbon up front, sweet sugary notes, dark fruit, nice chocolate. Really nice.

T - Woody, mild bourbon notes, leather, drying coffee, chocolate, cola. Lot's going on.

M - Frothy, strong carbonation, medium to full body, sweet boozy finish. Too much carbonation for the style.

O/D - Body is off and the intense carbonation held it back. Nice aroma though, and a nice flavour with the barrel playing a good role. Good stuff.

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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 silverblaze540
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Motor oil black. No head

S - Sweet and sour with chocolate notes. Almost a soy sauce smell.

T - Sweet front with barrel flavored aftertaste. Hints of bourbon.

M - Silky smooth, medium feel, and mild alcohol burn.

O - Very pleasant overall. No single taste element is overbearing, and the aftertaste and burn are very mild. An enjoyable beer.

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Photo of JandJMD
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally found a bomber while traveling through Williamsburg. Usually can only find Bitter Valentine and Café Royale.

Nice dark color, a little lacing on the glass, but little head or carbonation. There is a bit of a bourbon scent, but not too strong. Chocolate with more of an oak flavor than an overpowering heavy bourbon taste, more vanilla and a sweetness like toffee. Light alcohol burn on the finish, but a great aftertaste. Silky smooth and creamy. Very happy to finally pick one up. This might change my mind and replace Café Royale as my favorite from Alewerks.

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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!

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Love this one. Had it in the pay but must've not reviewed it? Enjoyedbfrom an alewerks snifter.

a - brew pours a silky black with a finger of creamy of white head. Spotty lacing.

s - nose is fantastic. Decadent booze soaked chocolate. Not very porter since any char is overtaken by the wood and rich chocolate. Roast and kind of stouty.

t - gorgeous and lush as the nise advertised, but even better. Really tasty and again the barrel takes the char and kicks it into stout territory. Chocolate is the star and the booze glazes happiness over the top.

m - mouth is the highlight here. So silky smooth. Lush from the wood hides any porter char but this one stays light and fluffy and not heavy like a stout.

o - overall, this beer is a highlight in a catalogue of many amazing beers from alewerks. Truly a brewery to keep an eye on. Very worth picking up and or trading for. You will not be disappointed in this beer unless you hate amazing beer. Fantastically done.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The pour is deep brown with a small head. The nose is cocoa, dark chocolate, a bit of sweet marshmallow and vanilla. The taste is dark chocolate. Roasted figs, dark fruits. More vanilla. A touch of boozy wood. Full body, moderate carbonation. Smooth, quite drinkable, pleasant.

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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.

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Photo of teromous
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black body with a quickly fading coffee-cream colored head that leaves a ring and a few islands on top. No real lacing.

S: There's a very rich chocolate smell to the beer. The scent of oak leaps out of the glass as well, and is very pleasant. I get no alcohol scent, and I don't pick up the scent of bourbon either. If it had a more "bourbon-esque" scent then it would be a perfect 5.0

T: Right off the bat I get a bit of coffee and chocolate. The oak creeps up around the sides but is unobtrusive. It's fantastic. Again I don't really get that bourbon touch. At this point it just tastes like a very excellent oak aged porter.

M: The beer is completely drinkable. It is smooth and easy going down. It's not something that you'd have to sip to enjoy, which can be dangerous, so watch out! The beer has good carbonation and a decent slickness to it. It is full bodied but it feels like it could use a little more. It's like a V8 that needs a little more torque for the heavy car (flavor in this case) that it has to pull.

O: Overall I thought the beer was very outstanding. Bourbon barrel beers usually run the gambit of very light to an in-your-face bourbon explosion. This one is on the lighter side of things. If you like oak aged beers but aren't a fan of bourbon, I'm confident you'll enjoy this beer. Some bourbon barrel beers will also have dark fruit flavors, but this one has more of a coffee and chocolate edge to it. It's very interesting and delicious.

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Photo of jd18
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a surpringly delicious barrel aged beer. Stouts get all the hype but this porter was a pleasant surprise. Wonderful bourbon, malt aroma. Mouthfeel for a porter was near perfect. Appeared black as night, consistent body for a porter and a thin tan head of a fingers width that dissipates to a thin layer of foam. Taste is warm bourbon and malty deliciousness. I would recommend and drink again.

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Photo of beerloverofbham
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ksurkin for this one. Shared this 22 oz. bottle with a friend in some stout-esque glasses. Pours very rich and very dark--darker than I expected, even for something that's been sitting in a Virginia Gentleman bourbon barrel for a while. Smells strongly of bourbon, oak, and toffee. Initially, I taste dark chocolate, coffee, plums and dark cherries, and later, vanilla, caramel. Very rich, with a lot of layers--the flavor of the bourbon is included in there but is only one part of a complex profile. Velvety.

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

Good Bourbon Barrel beer. Pours a dense black color with no light coming through. A hard pour produces a big light tan head with decent retention. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is vanilla and bourbon/wood. Strong, pleasant.

Taste still features the bourbon barrel influence and vanilla, but there is also some good roasted malt as well. The bourbon may be a bit too dominant but the other flavors are prominent as well.

Mouthfeel is rich. The bourbon provides a little harshness, but the roasted malts smooth things out after the initial bourbon blast.

A good slow sipping beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigSexy410 for sharing a vertical of this. I'm reviewing the 2011 version.

The beer pours a nice nearly black color with a decent off white head and lacing, not super thick looking and with certain light it reflects some reddish notes back.

The first thing I notice is a nice sweet palpable bourbon oak barrel that seems to pair really well with the fudge and semi roasty porter base. As I get my nose in there, I get some baking supply sort of vibes like vanilla extract, cake batter. Nice.

The flavor is very close to mimicking the smell almost exactly, and has a nice lingering bittersweet and roasty finish with also a bit of rounded out barrel tastes too. Not the thickest beer,it is actually a little thinner than most porters of this abv and barrel influence. Definitely some big alcohol burn to this, more than expected and its a little off putting.

Good stuff, definitely tasty and decently easy to drink for a bourbon aged beer, nice.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sam and Russ for this one. 22oz. bomber into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger rich mocha head with good retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is layered and sticky. Very nice.

Nose is chocolate, molasses, lactose, fudge and bourbon. There's a bit of an off ethanol smell that lingers in the back a bit. Aromatic.

Opens chocolate, roasted malt, fudge, and molasses. Some smoke and bourbon in the middle. More molasses with notes of liquorice and a touch of leather at the end. Finishes sweet and syrupy with the same aftertaste. Really good. The flavors are appropriate and they complement each other very well.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down with a touch of heat but very smooth overall. Finishes messy with a lingering, sticky sweet aftertaste. Perfect.

Another winner from Williamsberg Alewerks and easily one of the best porters I've had to date (though this drinks more like an Imperial Stout). Definitely worth seeking out.

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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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Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 580 ratings.
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