Bourbon Barrel Porter | AleWerks Brewing Company

169 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 169 | Ratings: 587
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.

 1,051 characters

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.


 643 characters

Photo of jasoncheb
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a dark black, with a two finger yellow-hued head which dissipates rather quickly.

S: Bourbon is really heavy on the nose, same as previous years. Some sweet malt smells come through once the beer comes up to room temperature.

T: Bourbon from the initial taste through a very smooth aftertaste.

M: Strong bourbon burn, with medium carbonation.

O: Exactly what I have come to expect from this beer. Alewerks has done a great job with consistently putting our a beer that tastes exactly like what you would expect. If you love bourbon, you really need to get your hands on this beer.

 594 characters

Photo of ckollias
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this bomber bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick, 2-finger, brown head that slowly dissipates, leaving a great trail down the side of the glass and leaves a solid persistent lace.

S: Malty bourbon aroma. I try to smell anything else – but the bourbon is heavy on the nose.

T: Very sweet malt and bourbon flavor that has a smooth middle and finishes on the dry side.

M: Very strong - heavy body - med-high carbonation.

O: This is an excellent bourbon porter. Great aroma and flavors.

 536 characters

Photo of jvillefan
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: a dark dark brown with a deep mocha head.

S: Harsh bourbon with subtle dark malts.

T: Bourbon is dominate here. There is dark malt, chocolate, oak, and subtle coffee here.

M: Excellent carbonation and excellent viscosity and retention.

O: Excellent. A must get.

 268 characters

Photo of AltBock
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz. Bomber bottle with a simple classic beige label of an oak barrel. Right on the front is where you'll find the vintage date and a bottle number. This is a 2011 with a bottle number of 4972. To the left of the barrel is a description of the beer and to the right is the Government warning. 

I poured this barrel aged Porter into a Cigar City Snifter. This Porter poured a solid midnight black with no highlights. I held it up to the light to make sure it was a solid black and light just bounced off the beer. Not much of a head of foam on this beer. The head of foam was very fizzy, about 1/4 of an inch in height, and coffee brown in color. It quickly fizzled away. It only managed to leave behind about 2 spots of lace. It was clearly on the weak side. Great color, but the head of foam wasn't much to look at.

This beer had a nice roasted bourbon aroma. The first aroma that emerged was the bourbon. That was quickly followed by the dark roasted malt and dark roasted coffee beans. After all the roasted aromas had their fun, the aroma then finishes up with some dark chocolate, charred oak, vanilla, and a splash of black cherry. Great aroma! Nothing got out of control or completely took over the aroma.

The taste was a little like the aroma, but not as well balanced. The taste came on strong with bourbon, charred oak, and dark roasted malt. There was plenty of bourbon in the taste, but it wasn't boozy. After the strong flavors, the beer then goes into the roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, and a subtle pinch of vanilla. I would have liked more sweet flavors like the vanilla to round off all bourbon and oak. I know, I can't have everything. It was still pretty good where it stands.

This was a full bodied barrel aged Porter with a good strong aftertaste. Strong bourbon aftertaste with some charred oak, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, black cherry, and a little vanilla. The bourbon and oak will linger on for a little bit.

I would like to thank my good friend Vince who gave me this beer in a trade. Great aroma and with a strong not boozy bourbon and oak taste. The only down part of this beer was the head of foam and it's easy to get over that. Worth a shot? I'd say so. 

 2,222 characters

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.

 1,301 characters

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

22 oz. bomber (labeled 2011-4220) poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Liquid comes out about as dark brown as possible before turning black. Initially a nice tan colored head comes out and, it stays with the session for quite a while, but not much in the way of lacing.

Smell is outstanding. Plenty of oak, fudgy chocolate, vanilla, and absolutely some bourbon. Very roasty and a nice warm tickle from the alcohol. If I wasn't reading the label, I'd say it was an imperial stout.

Taste is equally as excellent. Super roasty and on par with the smell. The oak and vanilla sort of blend together. Coffee and sweeter than bitter chocolate come out and it's followed by the bourbon. Well balanced blend of all the flavors, I love it.

Mouthfeel is as close to perfect as one can get without actually being perfect. I'm sure there is SOME room for improvement. Full bodied and a great carbonation level. The warmth from the alcohol has a nice finish. It has nice drinkability, a perfect sipper on a cold evening like tonight.

I love this beer, and definitely want more. Thanks Ron for the KILLER extra!

 1,106 characters

Photo of raffy313
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into my NB globe. Shout out to eriktheipaman for an altogether awesome trade. Thanks Erik!

Pours a dark brown, almost black with very little to no head. Minimal lacing. Lots of bourbon, sweet carame/vanilla, some chocolate and abit of smokiness in the nose. Also a hint of oak. An altogether great aroma. Taste is absolute BOURBON heat initially, with a dark chocolate bitterness and vanilla. Not as sweet as the nose, but that's really a good thing. A nice smoky oak flavor rounds out this beer as it warms and mellows out the overall flavors. A medium body with an appropriate amount of carbonation for this style. A dry/bitter finish.

Overall, this beer is an absolute hit once it warms, and not bad at all to begin with. Nicely balanced and quite complex. Under the radar BB Porter here that holds it's own against the more well known BA porters. Would definately recommend and absolutely love to try again. Thanks again, Erik!

 954 characters

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.

 633 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a very dark brown, produces a thin head that quickly dissipates to a few wisps, leaves little lacing.

S- Lots of barrel aroma, vanilla is very prominent. Also getting some nice bourbon, oak, caramel and chocolate.

T- It tastes pretty damn nice, there's an initial rush of sweet booze and bourbon, as well as some chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark fruit. Once this subsides some more dark chocolate and roasted grain emerges, as well as some smokey charred barrel flavor and dry roasted bitterness. Leaves a bit of lingering vanilla, caramel/toffee flavor.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel with a dry, slightly boozy finish.

O- A very nice BB porter, this is the first I've had from Williamsburg Alewerks but I'm impressed and will be on the lookout for their brews in the future, this is some really tasty, drinkable stuff.

 898 characters

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.

 383 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours chocolate brown without much of a head on it. Nose is chocolate malts with nice vanilla bourbon notes. The taste is sweet chocolates up front. These fade to a nice vanilla flavor and some dry bakers chocolate flavors. Mouth is creamy and full. Solid barrel aged porter on display here - packed full of rich flavor!

 320 characters

Photo of philbe311
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition #4295

A - A finger's worth of slightly slanted lush thick khaki colored head... Modest at best retention gives way to a full rich lacing and a slight creamy collar... The color is an inky aubergine... Still with no discernible carbonation...

S - The warm booziness of the bourbon barrels is first to great the nose... Beneath the surface lies a refined sweetness... Milk chocolate... Caramel... Also some very faint notes of coffee and roasted malts... Very nice...

T - True to the nose... The bourbon barrel aging is ate the forefront, but never overpowering... The rest of the flavors compliment one another perfectly and create wonderful layers of complexity... Milk chocolate... Roasted malt... Coffee... Raisins... Marshmallow... Caramel... Each sip yields something familiar, but something new as well...

M - Medium to full bodied... As sleek and as smooth as they come... A bit chewy... Very light carbonation... A slight boozy dryness lingers on the finish...

D - Another outstanding offering from Williamsburg Alewerks... Any barrel aged offering of theirs that I have tried has been stellar and this is no exception... Highly recommended and I only wish I had easier access to their offerings...

 1,226 characters

Photo of joefuzz
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

pours a very deep brown with a tiny thick head. smells of vanilla oak and some slight chestnut, bourbon is present but not overpowering. taste is just as the nose lets on....well blended bourbon up front that gives way to an amazing porter underneath roasted malts dark chocolate and a slight smoke character 9%abv is nowhere to be found. mouthfeel is a little thin for the style I feel but not bad, carbonation is pretty on point. Overall very good beer wish i had more. I got this bottle around October of last year I have no idea why it took so long to drink it.

 579 characters

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Format: Bomber
Glassware: Tulip
Batch #: 2011 - 0844
Sampled: 23JUN12

[A] Pours with a small, semi-dense half finger high head, medium-light brown in color. Below average retention leaves a bubbly collar behind. The body is nearly black, rather opaque, but very dark brown edges can be seen when the glass is tilted. Random patterns of lace.

[S] The nose is exceptional. Clean bourbon with lightly charred oak and vanilla in the background. Medium roast coffee scent plus notes of chocolate syrup, caramel and brown sugar. Well layered

[T] The flavor follows the nose closely but a little less intricate. The bourbon, coffee, and chocolate stand out and there is light astringency on the backend. Caramel is a bit more prevalent. Slight warmth after the swallow with lingering notes of bourbon.

[M] Starts creamy and thick, then the carbonation sets in a bit early and thins out the last 2/3rds of the mouthfeel. Fine, tingling, overly-present bubbles seem to detract from the flavor

[O] Very nice beer overall. Williamsburg AleWerks has shown a lot of potential recently and has been putting out more and more beer that is worth seeking out. I have no problem recommending this beer to beer aficionados...or Coffeehouse Stout or Bitter Valentine, plus others. Keep doing your thing WAW.

3.5, 4.5, 4, 3, 4

 1,311 characters

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.

 478 characters

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?


 340 characters

Photo of n2185
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown with half a finger of khaki head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: roasted malts with sweet chocolate notes at first. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon follow, though they're a little muted.

T: loads of bourbon on the palate with oak, vanilla, and some caramel flavors. There are slight roasted malt characters as well with a decent alcohol burn.

M: medium-thick body with medium body, this beer has a pretty lively carbonation for the style. It's like a soda, almost.

O: a good beer overall. Very bourbony, though somehow not too boozy. Simple, but good.

 584 characters

Photo of areich6
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this with my good friend and fellow Beer Advocate pschul4.

A: Pours pretty dark with very little light coppery head. The beer itself is pitch black which looks pretty inviting.

S: The smell of sweet bourbon wanders pleasantly into the nostrils, as one would expect from a bourbon barrel aged beer. Im excited to try this.

T: Strong delicous bourbon taste along with a bit more sweetiness than other bourbon barrel aged beers I have had. It tastes as though there is more alcohol than there actually is, which is a very small negative to me. Overall, very good.

M: Good mouthfeel for the style, not too light, not to heavy. Almost perfect.

O: This is a very good bourbon barrel aged beer. It has a bit of sweetiness to balance out the bite of the alcohol and feels so smooth going down the throat. Very nice.

 826 characters

Photo of pschul4
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer #3 in mine and areich6's Fat Tuesday tasting

Thanks to Axic10 for the extra!

A- Pours a dark cola brown with a miniscule tan head that dissipates quickly into a ring around the meniscus

S- Lots of smooth bourbon on the scent but not a whole lot else.

T- Oh boy... This is good. Lots of bourbon (more bourbon flavor than you'd expect for a 9% abv). This tastes like a porter version of Central Waters BBS which means it's in good company

M- Quite light on the palate could benefit from some thickness but no one said this was a stout

O- This is awesome! I am very greatful to Axic10 for allowing me to try more bourbon barrel aged beers as they are my favorite!

 673 characters

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.

 848 characters

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

Big thanks to Slentz for this one.
Pours almost black with some brown edges and builds a small light tan head that fades quickly lacing the glass nicely. The nose is big with bourbon, chocolate, roasty malts and a hint of coffee. The taste has a pretty big wood flavor from the barrel, I love that. There's bourbon present with the chocolate and coffee as well as some roastiness and alcohol burn. It has a light to medium body with carbonation providing some sting and some burn. Very good beer, thanks David.

 510 characters

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, goblet.

Opaque, but appears cloudy. Great thick tan head that stays creamy looking and fades slowly.

Bourbon and oak in aroma are there but not overpowering. There is a nice dark fruit aspect that works well with the oak, complimenting while adding another dimension.

Taste is dominated by a warm booziness that is initially off-putting. A host of flavors accompany this though and are worth searching for. Some rich chocolatey notes, dark and fruity spice, vanilla, a mild woodiness. Lots going on here, a great beer to sip and turn inward to.

Smooth and creamy, with nice body and moderate carbonation. Easy o the mouth even as it challenges the palette.

An excellent beer.

 691 characters

Photo of axeman9182
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle received courtesy of BigTomZ. Bottle #124 from 2011 was taken out of the fridge a little bit before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter pours a solid black. About three and a half fingers of caramel foam rise up and sit atop the beer, displaying decent head retention, and lacing that's probably a step above "spotty". The nose is absolutely killer, waves of vanilla accented milk chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, bourbon, and oak crash across my nose, with the former two taking the lead in intensity. The flavor profile plays with those same notes, but displays them in a different (and less successful) balance. Specifically, woody oak and bourbon take the lead here and leave chocolate and caramel flavors relegated more to secondary players. The mouthfeel is the only area where the beer takes a bit of a hit. It's full bodied enough, but rather than having a creamy edge to it, there's a bit of astringency in the finish. I'd also argue that the carbonation could stand to be a touch higher. It's not perfect, but Williamsburg Alewerk's Bourbon Barrel Porter is a pretty good beer, and one I'd gladly have in my glass again.

 1,189 characters

Bourbon Barrel Porter from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 587 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.