Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter | Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's PorterAtwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DrDoitchbig on 09-28-2011

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 182
Photo of dfillius
4.38/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint
A: Moderate pour yields 1 finger of TIGHT tan head with superb retention. Near opaque dark brown with the slightest red hue on the edges.
S: Slightly sweet caramel bourbon aroma. Dark chocolate and pumpkin when you scoop it out for a Jack-o-Lantern. Subdued, could be a bit bolder. Bananas Foster.
T: Nicely balanced and not boozy. Roasty cocoa and essence of bourbon. Slight tobacco, tangy caramel, slight tannin. Bourbon becomes a bit more dominant later. Bananas Foster.
M: Smooth, silky, chewy. Slightly warm - in a great way.
O: High drinkability for a BBA beer. Lovin' it! I'd definitely order another. I might buy 6!

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Photo of DannyDan
4.28/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

POurs out a black hue with a 1 and a half inch tan head that maintains good retention and some nice lacing. The nose is a pleasant aroma of burnt roasted coffee and dark chocolate. The taste is a nice balance of some sweet malts, chocolate, coffee and a hint of hops. Some bourbon comes in at the finish. This is a very nice smooth creamy medium bodied beer that is a pleasure to drink. This is by far Atwater's best beer. This is one of those beers I would have expected from Dark Horse or Founders, not Atwater. A very nice surprise from an unexpected source.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.25/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Traditionally brewed in the Baltic Region". "We use the finest ingredients including; Munich, Chocolate and Black Malts (plus, German Hops)"
ABV 6.8% IBU 32 per the bottle, $1.79 for a 12oz bottle.

Pours out to a clear very dark brown, near black, forming a nice creamy tan head with very good retention and solid sheets of lacing. Mild carbonation. The aroma is quite nice, much better than the Shaman porter I had back in 2006. Black walnut, burnt chocolate, vanilla, cocoa, and burnt marshmallow. Reminds me a bit of Bells stout in the nose...nice black patent roastiness. Mouthfeel is creamy with a medium body. The taste is a recap of the nose...lots of dark malts, and the mild woody green leafy hoppy bitterness is balanced nicely by long lasting roasted notes and a light sweetness. Very nice balance here, although it's definitely not as sweet as a baltice porter, nor does it have those fig/date/prune notes. There is a just a hint of bourbon in the finish, although I would be hard pressed to guess it was even there in a blind tasting. No off-flavors or aromas here. Seems they have improved their quality control.

This is a really good porter, and considering the price, I would buy it again. The first beer I've tried from Atwater that I can recommend.

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Photo of BBP
4.12/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark yet clear black. Head is present very quickly but it doesn't fly up or maintain itself well. Lacing is nice.

The aroma is really solid. There's a definitive bourbon without the heat. The next smell up is roastiness which is embedded into the bourbon. Dark malt is there, but it's pretty minimal. There might just be a sliver of caramel malt that works underneath the bourbon as well.

The taste was a bit lighter than the aroma suggests. I sort of expected a stronger taste, but this brings the bourbon out without any heat and it has a pretty solid balance. The drinkability is tremendous for that reason too. The malt bill and the bourbon don't really meld all that well, but it doesn't clash. First the bourbon comes in and really makes an incredible taste, but then it fades away to leaving the malt looking a bit unimpressive. Overall, this has tremendous potential, but I felt that the malt wasn't sufficient to hold it's own after the bourbon faded.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and medium to high heaviness. The finish is moderately dry and considerably sticky.

Overall, this was a solid beer, but I wish they put just a little bit more into the malt and hop bill. I'm very curious to try all their other offerings now though. This was very tastefully done.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown. Moderate amount of bubbles and a big three finger tan head that settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A roasty and sweet dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. Dark roasted barley malt with hints of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, biscuit, dough, caramel, nuts, and yeast. The barrel is kind of subtle but there are some hints of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Also some hints of brown sugar and subtle hops. A pretty decent aroma.

Taste: Like the nose indicates, a roasty and sweet dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate and bourbon. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, coffee, caramel, and yeast. Some barrel notes come through with some bourbon whiskey, vanilla, and oak. Subtle notes of dark fruit and hops. Also some brown sugar sweetness. A solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, silky, and smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a Porter. Nice roasty malt flavor. The barrel presence is subtle but I wouldn’t expect a small beer like this to be boozy.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours dark brown producing a 1” tan foam cap that recedes rapidly.

S: Fruit and bourbon with some grains, dark malt, vanilla, and a trace of fruity tartness that suggests cherry or plum and subtle wine notes.

T: Chocolate vanilla with a suggestion of cherry, light fruit tartness. More of a fruity tart bourbon porter with a dark malt background than a bourbon porter that emphasizes the malt. The tart fruit flavors are medium the malt flavors are medium to medium low.

F: Very creamy wit a medium body and carbonation.

O: Its a good beer but richer malt would improve it a bit.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice BBA porter pours a murky blackish brown with a nice light tan of foam that settles to a thick ring with light lacing. Nose of chocolate, light coffee, toffee, vanilla, and subtle bourbon. Flavors follow the nose with subtle bourbon and brown sugar mingling with coffee and a dash of dark cocoa on all sides. Back fades with light bourbon and vanilla mixed with some light grain notes. Finish is heavily roasted malts that is subtly dry and heavily carbonated with a touch of warmth.

I am surprised at some of the reviews for such a nicely balanced brew. WARMTH brings out a lot more character. Give it time, it is rewarding.


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Photo of DrDemento456
3.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is pretty much everywhere and even though these guys suck I still try their new offerings in hopes its better than the last.

A - Fairly good carbonation well over an inch of deep mocha hue head. The beer itself is very dark almost pitch except for a bit of ruby hue in the base.
S - Slightly sour (oh no infected?) dark fruits, mild bit of chard oak, and just the slightest hint of bourbon but a lot of sour cherry.
T - Well it taste better than it smells very mellow oak mostly caramel and porter like roasts. It surprisingly not to dry with yeasts which is nice yet the barrel character is faint if anything just giving me wood flavor and sweet caramel. Not bad at all actually.
M - Medium bodied kind of thin for a "Bourbon aged" beer but not too bad to have a couple.

Overall the flavors are lacking and the smell is not super desirable but the overall beer is decent enough to finish. Wish it had more barrel character maybe they should make an imperial version of this?

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

September 2011 Bottle Date

Jet black. Absolutely no light getting through this one, even around the edges.
Had a one-finger tan head that didn't last for too long, but it did leave behind a little bit
of lacing.

Some roasted malt and coffee up front, but then there is a fairly strong aroma of sweet chocolate. Some minor notes of wood and bourbon, but not that much.

Roasted malt hit first and was pretty consistent, but just enough to provide a good backbone for everything else. coffee, vanilla and licorice changed to sweet chocolate which became the prevalent flavor, but was controlled by the roasted malt. Light oak at the end and a clean finish

Very smooth and a little bit syrupy. Full bodied, but just heavy enough. Again, very clean finish.

A very drinkable and interesting porter. Didn't get too much of the bourbon barrel aging, so it certainly wasn't what I was expecting. All the flavors that were there were pretty well laid out and it surprisingly wasn't muddy.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Champane's Cellars. Underrated Baltic porter. Some decent taste. Black coloured body and some retained head. Roast aroma. A little much roast but liked the bourbon and chocolate, nothing overpowering. A bit thin for the description, but good drinkability.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with over a finger of beige head. Some of the head retained and nice lacing was left behind. The nose has notes of roasted malt. Roasted malt is present throughout the flavor profile. The finish is bitter with a slight lingering bourbon note.

This offering is an odd candidate for barrel-aging because it is a bit thin (even for a straight-up porter) and low on the ABV scale.

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Photo of mntlover
3.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black some red brown showing around the edges. Finger and a half dark tan head that falls ring fairly quickly with some sparse lace.

Aroma is light bourbon barrel, burnt malts or maybe more toasted and a good ripe dark fruit aroma.

Taste is bourbon upfront then toasted malts little bit of the burnt notes along with earthy hints and a good smoke notes. Finish seems little watery but for a regular porter that seems fine.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation seems peppy but does not come off fizzy. Fairly smooth just light on back end.

Overall not bad brew bourbon is on the light side but it is a regular porter so that seems fine also. A decent enough brew not one to seek out but worth a try for sure.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled October 2014. $3.29 single poured into a shaker pint, since it's all that was clean. Not expecting much here because: 1.) Atwater's almost always mediocre at best and 2.) A BBA'd beer for only $3.29? Eek.

Appearance: Hard pour gives off two fingers of a soapy tan head with big bubbles that goes down to one. Bits of lacing. The beer looks the part of the porter -- black with a ruby tint and perfect clarity when held to light. At least it's a very nice looking porter.

Smell: I don't know what I'm smelling, really. It's not immediately obvious to me. It feels like I'm smelling it through a cloth or something ... muddled, for sure. I can say one thing, it doesn't smell especially BBA'd. I get maybe a little bit of barrel and vanilla characteristics, but very little. Other than that, a little roast, and dark fruit in almost equal amounts. Quite underwhelming.

Taste/feel: I just backspaced my entire review of the taste because the beer opened up a lot when it got a little warmer. The chocolate flavor got semi-sweet, the feel turned a little creamy, the barrel became much more noticeable, the metallic aftertaste left the building, Etc. Nice roast and chocolate flavors throughout, with only a little of the dark fruits I had when it was right out of the fridge. It's not a "holy shit" BBA'd beer, but it's also a porter (not a stout), and under 7% ABV. The feel is pretty good for the style... pretty high prickly carbonation with a light body.

Underrated... that's all there is to it, really. At first sip I was hugely underwhelmed. As I sipped my way down and the beer approached room temperature, I was more impressed. Is it comparable to other BBA'd beers out there? No, because it's Atwater (don't expect too much from them), and mostly, it's a 7% porter, not a 12% stout. The barrel doesn't have a huge presence in this beer, so it makes it accessible to anyone who's interested in trying the style, but doesn't want to completely shock their palate. It's not an AWESOME beer, but one I could see myself having again considering the price. A solid "poor man's" BBA'd porter.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

very interesting to have a bourbon barrel beer so low in alcohol these days. it always seems like its reserved for the massive beers, so i found this take quite refreshing. nice color on it, maybe a little thin for the style, and not much head after a few seconds. there is not as much bourbon barrel influence as expected here, very mellow in all of its flavors. not a ton of bitter malt either, just some earthy roast and a moderate oak gentleness that work together pretty well, but its all a bit understated. this couldnt have spent too long in the barrel i cant imagine. it could use just a bit more body, but i found the carbonation level and overall drinkability of this to be extremely high. this is a nice respite from the bigger wood aged beers, and serves that flavor dynamic well with a very sessionable ale.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 10/2014. Pours clear nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, oak, bourbon, toast, dark bread, licorice, smoke, light vanilla, herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, dark bread, oak, bourbon, licorice, smoke, light vanilla, herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, dark bread, oak, bourbon, licorice, smoke, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good robustness and solid complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and slightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very solid barrel aged Baltic porter style. All around good robustness and solid complexity of dark/roasted malts, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of FanofHefe
3.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recommended by local beer guy who said it was a new arrival and very good. Label is marked Sep 11, and so I told him it was old (thinking it was a best by date) but he said it was the bottling date. I'll take him at his word since he's never steered me wrong before.

Pours a very deep black color with slight hues of red around the edges. A less than one-finger mocha head that does leave a little lacing.

The aroma is fairly muted, but yields a small amount of roasted malt and a touch of chocolate. A hint of coffee but no bourbon in the aroma that I can detect.

The flavor is not terribly close to the aroma. Much more bitterness from the roasted malt is present, standing out with the coffee. Not much of the coffee flavor present either, but there is a small note of bourbon coming through. Honestly, the bourbon flavor does not mix very well with the other flavors for me.

Medium to light mouthfeel and no real notice of alcohol. Assuming this is fresh by the dating, it may mellow and blend better with age.

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Photo of matt_duthie
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Bottled Sept. '14, so we know it's fresh. Still, for the decent near-black appearance and charred, roast, chocolate, cherry, and bourbon aroma, there are still some off flavors in the finish. Like most things Atwater, it's a bit thin and disappointing in general. I keep trying to find one I'm really into but keep striking out. Closer here, but it needs some better barrels and probably a heartier base beer to start with. Not bad for a sub-7% BA beer, but not quite what I was hoping for.

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Photo of n2185
3.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that fades into a thin ring with barely any lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet cocoa up front followed by vanilla and a touch of licorice. There are also hints of oak and bourbon, but they're faint.

T: Roasted malts with semi-sweet cocoa and coffee at first. Licorice and vanilla come through here as well along with just hints of the oak and bourbon.

M: Medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer could use a creamier body or more carbonation to avoid feeling watery.

O: An alright beer overall, though not great. The licorice notes are a bit weird and the bourbon is almost undetectable. Still, it's far from undrinkable.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Black with a tan head and strands of lace.

S - Imitation vanilla, sweet cocoa, milk chocolate, roasted malts.

T - Imitation vanilla, licorice, sweet cocoa, lightly roasted malts, milk chocolate.

M - Somewhat thin and watery.

D - The bourbon isn't really noticeable. Tastes like a lot of imitation vanilla.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle dated October 2014. Pours a dark, almost black burgundy color. Thick tan head. I let it sit for a while - it was almost room temperature by the time I tasted it.

This is a robust porter - almost tastes/feels like a stout. Moderate carbonation accentuates the thick, chewy mouthfeel. At first, bourbon flavor predominates. Later, there was vanilla and maybe licorice. Little if any hops presence. Unfortunately, there was also an odd aftertaste that I can't identify. Tasting started off well ("hey, this might be pretty good") but in this case first impressions proved unreliable. I ended up feeling like I needed to brush my teeth.

There are better BBA porters out there.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.27/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Bourbon: drink of the shamans. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember hearing that sometime during sophomore year... Anyway, this stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises bourbon, mild cocoa, light roasted malts, and a hint of what may or may not be oak. That bourbon is definitely the star of the show. The taste reinforces this notion, though now the bourbon comes across as, well, cheaper (for lack of a better word at the moment). Some cola is tossed in there as well. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, an overly-thin, cheap-whiskey-centric porter. It's not terrible, but it's not all that great.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.15/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pub-style pint glass.

Near-black with 1 finger of khaki colored head.

Dark chocolate, cinnamon, mint, and roasted barley.

Strange...tastes like mint leaf, cinnamon, and perhaps cedar wood. Some notes of oaky saw dust. Roasted barley, root beer, and cocoa nib.

Medium-light bodied, crisp, and off-dry with a medium bitterness.

Not the best barrel presence on this. Strange flavors of cedar, cinnamon, and mint.

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Photo of mchegash
3.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance - 3.75/5
A dark, almost black color, lets no light through, except you can see some shades of dark red near the sides of the glass. A tiny bit of head.

Smell - 3.5/5
An unexpected spicy breadiness, as in a saison. Some whisky/boubon smell, along with a fairly strong alcohol smell. Not really what I was looking for or expecting here. The smell isn't terrible, I just don't want my porter to smell like a saison.

Taste - 2.75/5
A darker roasty malt taste along with strong levels of smoke and alcohol flavor. Perhaps some molasses or licorice as well. Can't really taste any of the spicy-breadiness here, which is good, because I don't want that taste in my porter, but bad because I would rather this beer taste like the smell then how it actually tastes, since it doesn't taste that good.

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
Medium bodied, medium level of carbonation, fairly smooth. The beer has a decent feel and consistency.

Overall - 3/5
This would be an okay beer if it tasted totally different. Anyway, I was not very happy with the taste of this beer. Atwater always let's me down, but I keep trying their stuff for some reason.

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Photo of justinp444
3.1/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle Dated October 2015.
Review Date: Nov 30 2015. Poured into a stein it has a 3 inch thick beige head and a black body. Smell of bourbon, vanilla, slight medicinal, some roasted malt, chocolate, and just a touch of coffee. Taste is of metallic, maybe a tad bit medicinal, cheap whiskey, roasted malt, tiny bit of chocolate, some vanilla. Mouth feel is moderate with a good amount of crisp soda like carbonation and a light to moderate body. Not a very good whiskey flavor whatsoever and it tastes almost infected, wouldn't really recommend.

Review Date: March 22 2016. Poured into a pint, looks the same, just with more head. Smell is a bit of cherry, a bit of funk, and some slight green apple and still mostly the same as before. Taste is a ton of cherry, green apple, a bit of funk, bit of a rose/floral taste, and tons of fruity esters, it only gets a bit more chocolaty as it warms. This batch was definitely infected, but not necessarily badly, it tastes more like a decent sour porter with age.

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Photo of silentjay
2.99/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

6.8% seems kind of low for a barrel-aging candidate, but we will see how it held up in the barrel over time. Never really had luck with Atwater, so I'm not expecting anything special.

pours black. pretty decent-sized dark tan head that quickly recedes yet laces well.

roasted malts, some butterscotch, light caramel, a bit of toasted nuts and absolutely no bourbon in the aroma. pretty on-point for an English-styled porter, though.

pretty on-point with the aroma. lots of candied nuts, sweet malts, butterscotch, caramel. no bourbon again. at all. a bit of char on the finish is nice and really saves this beer from being below average like the rest of Atwater's lineup that I've tried. It's at least average.

lighter side of medium-bodied with subtle carbonation and a watery finish.

I don't get it. I mean, did they put this in a bourbon barrel for a day? Why bother if you aren't going to test it to see when its ready? no bourbon, no wood, no oak.... wtf? Its just an average porter.

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Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter from Atwater Brewery
3.29 out of 5 based on 182 ratings.
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