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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
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States
atwaterbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
41
Ratings:
181
Avg:
3.32
pDev:
18.37%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
29
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 181
Photo of Neverdie7
1.18/5  rDev -64.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Unfortunately I didn't read the reviews before I tried this beer. Atwater has burned me before and they definitely did it again with this one.

What the hell is this terrible sour tasting whatever it is im drinking here? This is supposed to be a barrel aged porter? Is Atwater putting the wrong labels on beer again? This tastes like a sour cherry stout. I get no porter taste at all, none! No barrel taste at all, none! What I do get is a massive sour grossness in my mouth that I can't stand. 2 drinks into this beer and I have to give it up. Drain pour. Waste of $11.

Also, I don't know what it is with Atwater and their labels, but on the beer carton it says 7.5% ABV yet on the bottle label it says 6.8. Which is it Atwater? No matter I will never buy their beers again. I thought I would give them another try after they screwed me on some voodoo vator a few years back. Shame on me.

Dear Atwater, please take your beer back to Michigan and keep it there! We didn't miss you when you pulled out of WI a few years back and we don't need your crappy beer now! Too many good beers around to waste money on this garbage. Beware of anything Atwater peeps! Too bad I couldn't rate this a 0 because that's what it deserves!

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Photo of DaveinFF
1.67/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Not sure but may have been infected..the color made head were promising but that's where it ended. Very thin mouthful. Smelled of green apple maybe with a light hint of bourbon. No vanilla or oak. Light carbonation with a sour taste and burnt bitter aftertaste, not much in the way of bourbon. I hope this was an infected batch. If not, then........

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Photo of montesown
2.02/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not sure what they do with their beer - but this was terrible. No taste of the bourbon at all, in fact I am not really sure what I was tasting. Kind of like a bunch of chemicals added together.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
2.1/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Atwater Block we meet again. $1.59 for a single of a bourbon barrel aged beer? It's worth a shot.

Appearance: We're off to a good start. An aggressive pour yielded an impressive 1 1/2 fingers of creamy mocha colored head. The beer itself was jet black with minimal garnet hued edges when held to the light.

Smell: And the downward spiral begins. The aroma is nearly non-existent. There is a faint whiff of dark chocolate coupled with some roasted malts and perhaps a bit of booze hiding in there but nothing that specifically points to bourbon.

Taste: Sweeter than the smell would suggest but the taste still consists of mostly dark chocolate and roasted malts. If this stuff was barrel aged it was only done for an extremely short period of time. I do pick up some vanilla towards the finish which could be a byproduct of aging but that's about it. It's not horrible but it does misrepresent itself.

Mouthfeel: I wouldn't call it watery but it is too thin for the style. Carbonation is at an acceptable level but that hardly saves the experience.

Overall: Does Atwater have no quality control? Did anyone taste this beer before it made it to the bottling line? Calling this bourbon barrel aged is a joke. I didn't expect much at the cheap price point but I still managed to be underwhelmed.

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Photo of NM_Che56
2.15/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

This tasted like someone soaked corks in used cheap Canadian whisky and dumped it into an unremarkable porter. Doesn't smell much better. mouth feel wasn't remarkable on way or another.

Absolutely disgusting.

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Photo of StoutHunter
2.28/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

I picked up a bottle of Atwater's Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter last week for $4.29 at The Lager Mill. I reviewed this beer a few years ago when it had a different label that didn't really say anything about it being barrel aged, at the time I gave it a 1.86, so lets see what I think of it now. 2014 Vintage Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, but i don't see how it goes with the name and I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a dark brown color that was a little close to being black and it didn't let any light come through with a finger and half of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some patchy lacing behind. This a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with a light roasted malt aroma being the first to show along with a little bit of chocolate and some coffee showing up in the background. Up next comes a watery aroma with a slight fruity aroma that goes right into the barrel which is really light and only imparts a light oaky aroma. This beer didn't have a great aroma, it was very light for the style and the barrels hardly showed up,

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and just as light, it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they only impart a light roasted malt and chocolate flavor with no coffee showing up this time. Up next comes a light fruity yeast aroma that leads right into the barrel s which show up more than they did in the aroma and they impart some somewhat lighter oak, bourbon and vanilla like flavors. On the finish there's a slightly higher amount of light bitterness with a light roasted malt and fairly like bourbon barrel like aftertaste. This wasn't a great tasting beer, the barrel showed up a little more than they did in the aroma, but the porter base was just as light and bland.

M- Smooth, fairly clean, crisp, a little prickly, sticky, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel wasn't bad, but i wish it was less carbonated and a little less sticky.


Overall I wasn't a fan of this beer and I didn't think it was a good example of a Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter, the barrel was pretty light, but that wasn't the deal breaker, the deal breaker was how light and bland the porter base was, the barrel didn't have a nice base to be showcased. This beer didn't have the best drinkability, it was smooth, fairly clean, crisp, a little prickly, sticky, not too filing and the taste didn't do a good job at holding my attention, I got bored half way through this beer so one would be my limit. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance, it was a pretty nice looking beer and it was the highlight of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was the how light the porter base was, it really didn't bring much to the table and the barrels only showed up a little more than the malt base. I wouldn't buy this beer again, I should have just stuck with my original review, I don't thinks this beer changed much. I wouldn't recommend it since it's just not a good example of the style. All in all I still don't like this beer, for some reason I thought Atwater might have done a better job with this beer since last time I tried it, but that didn't happen and it's just as bad as I remember. It's one of my least favorite Atwater beers and it's my least favorite of the style. Better luck next time guys, I think you need to go back to the drawing board.

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Photo of divzqt
2.31/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is honestly just awful. It smells like some artificial bourbon flavor was added. The taste is even worse. I'm not even sure how to describe it. It finishes like you just put a penny in your mouth. Very strong bitter chemical flavor. I feel like Atwater puts flavoring extract into bad beer and throws it on the shelf. Pass on this one.

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Photo of woodychandler
2.37/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I have said it before, but I find Atwater Brewery's beers to be the most wide-ranging, hit-or-miss lineup that I have encountered. They make a lot of different beers and some of them, they do really well and others just completely miss the mark. Here's to crossing my fingers & hoping for the best ...

From the bottle: "A Porter traditionally brewed in the Baltic region. We use the finest ingredients including Munich, Chocolate, and Black Malts along with German Hops to create the smoothest Porter you have ever tasted. Shaman's Porter will thwart any tricksters or evil spirits!"

I Pop!ped the cap and began a gentle pour, but the foam just kept rising uncontrollably to the point that I had to stop. I ended up with a finger of foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration & evincing dark-brown highlights only at the edges. Nose smelled like a vat of green olives. Just what sort of bourbon and/or barrel was this aged in?!? Mouthfeel was full, wildly overcarbonated. The taste was slightly bourbon, but it had an odd woodiness that was giving it an off flavor in total. Oof. It was not infected since it was not sour, but it was not my idea of a pleasant drink, either. The finish was semi-dry, but the odd admixture of tastes left me shaking my head. Another miss for Atwater!

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Photo of SFNC
2.38/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Most likely my last beer from Atwater. I dont know why, or if it's just me, but all their beers taste like chemicals. This looks good in the glass, dark blackish brown with slight ruby highlights. A minimal head that leads to moderate lacing. Smell is light, not bad, some roasted barley, a whiff of wood and a slight chocolate scent. Then you taste it. Ugh. Cola like on the fromt end, followed by the oak, followed by Lysol. The aftertast is harsh, bitter and not of the natural world. The mouthfeel is thin for a Baltic Porter, low carbonation. I feel my liver retract with each sip. Sorry, this one sucks.

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.39/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

12oz bottle from waston (thanks!). Bottled 11/2013. Served in a goblet.

Pours dark, near-black brown with an out of control four finger biege head. The bubbles slowly reced to a respectable layer of froth that leaves some decent sheets of lace.

Smells of sweet cocoa extract, cherry skins and a vague vanilla. Ok.

Strange flavors for a bourbon barreled porter. Semi sour cherry, bitter woodsy char, cocoa powder and cheap bourbon. Having never tried the base beer I'm not sure which is worse- the beer or the barrel taint. This is just a weird mess.

Fairly thin body with a little too much carbonation. Acrid imitation vanilla, cocoa and old dark fruit linger in the rather unpleasant finish.

Just strange all the way around. Not sure why they decided to barrel age such a thin, weak brew and why they chose whatever seemingly suboptimal barrels that this atrocity had apparently been wallowing in. I'm going to need to agree to disagree with the folks of Atwater. This is the fourth or fifth dark beer I've had from them and I just don't care for their take on things. For my tastes I say pass on this and perhaps on the brewery in general.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.49/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased by Jason, although I think I picked this out at the store. Served in a tulip.

A - A thin tan foam settles to a collar and some wispy patches. Very dark brown, with a glint of red-brown transparency at the bottom of the glass. A few stray splotches of lace.

S - Intense bourbon and fusel alcohol, as well as some licorice. 6.8?! Really?!? Some oak as well. Base beer has been obliterated.

T - Dark chocolate, some mild vanilla, and significantly better hidden booze. Less barrel presence, and surprisingly mild compared to the aroma. Actually kind of dull.

M - Body is medium-light and too thin for a barrel-aged porter. Lower carbonation, and little tannic character - guessing this wasn't aged in barrels very long.

D - The excessive booze in the aroma was the highlight of this beer when it came to interesting features - unfortunately it was a negative. A pretty boring beer in most other regards.

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Photo of tsauce2
2.56/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a New Belgium snifter

A: SRM is dark brown. Nearly opaque. Head is tan, 1 in, dissipates to line the top of the beer. Medium carbonation. Medium lacing.

S: Light roasted malt. Light notes of the sharp smell associated with porters. Vague bourbon and oak.

T: Light malt and chocolate flavors. A touch of bourbon. Slightly bitter. Aftertaste is lightly malted and a touch of bourbon.

M: Medium body. Something causes an adverse feel of bitterness and a lightly burnt/ash feel.

O: Swing and a miss. The flavors were not good, I hardly got any bourbon, no "classic" porter taste, and this beer was way overpriced. ($3.99) This is the first, and probably the last, beer that I have from Atwater Block. The appearance was nice, but the rest of the beer did not follow suit.

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Photo of Kain05
2.67/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip at fridge temp and drank over an hour to experience the full range of flavors.

Love the look. Nice and dark

Smell is medicinal, burnt coffee. Doesn't change over time.

Taste changes over time, but for the worse I am afraid. Initially, after the first taste of burnt marshmallow, it gave way to some nice butter toffee flavor. I was hopeful that this toffee flavor would become more prevalent as the beer warmed, but was disappointed. No real bourbon/vanilla taste. Bitterness increases as the beer warms and I'm reminded why I bring water from home when I am in Detroit.

This is a miss. There are just too many barrel aged (non-whale) beers of significantly better quality to come back to this one. Not to mention the plethora of amazing beers available from Michigan.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.73/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Tony412 for this one!

A: Pours a dark brown with a thin mocha colored head on top. Very little retention, settling to a thin cap. Thin lacing forms around the sides.

S: Some roasted malt, a little caramel, and if I make myself believe, there is a hint of bourbon and vanilla, but very faint.

T: Rather boring..tastes like a very generic porter. No bourbon influence at all. Some roasted malt and a little bit of chocolate.

M: Light to medium bodied for style. Medium carbonation.

O: Not very good. Would never have guessed this had a bourbon influence. Even compared to regular porters this beer is boring.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
2.88/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First, I feel I must point out that I only purchased this beer because it was $6.99 for a 4 pack. That said, my hopes were not high despite liking some beers from Atwater in the past.

The beer pours a dark black hue which is probably the most striking aspect of the brew. Malt is the most striking part of the aroma which hints at the problems to come. The flavor itself is more malt than anything. One has to really use his/her imagination to detect any hint of bourbon barrel aging in the initial taste. There are some hints that there is something more to this porter in the aftertaste. However, it is not enough to save this beer from disappointing. The little taste of oakiness is too subtle. Perhaps the most average aspect of the beer is the mouthfeel, smooth as it should be.

When a brewery tries to make an elite/limited edition beer, it sets the bar high. The fact is, this beer is below others in the field.

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Photo of Floydster
2.93/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle

Appearance is black with minimal light shining through, two inches of light brown head, good retention, some lacing

Smell is roasted malts, burnt cereal, dark fruits, light coffee, not much of any barrel characteristic

Taste is slightly sweet chocolate up front, fades into a mild sweetness that is neither fruit of barrel, more of an underwhelming vanilla bean, not much changes as it warms, again no signs of being barrel aged, where is the bourbon?

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, more carbonation than desired for this style, not too sweet, roasted notes provide balance

Overall had it been just a porter, my score would have been a lot higher, but the fact that is was barrel aged and there was no evidence of that in the aroma or flavor brought this way down

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Photo of silentjay
2.99/5  rDev -9.9%
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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Photo of justinp444
3.1/5  rDev -6.6%
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 mchegash
3.14/5  rDev -5.4%
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 justintcoons
3.15/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

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

Appearance
Near-black with 1 finger of khaki colored head.

Nose
Dark chocolate, cinnamon, mint, and roasted barley.

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

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

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

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.27/5  rDev -1.5%
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 brewcrew76
3.33/5  rDev +0.3%
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 +0.3%
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 n2185
3.42/5  rDev +3%
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 matt_duthie
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%

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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Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter from Atwater Brewery
3.32 out of 5 based on 181 ratings.
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