Hellshire II | Oakshire Brewing

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Hellshire IIHellshire II

Brewed by:
Oakshire Brewing
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The second beer in the Hellshire series is an Imperial Stout that was 100% aged in Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels for 7 months.

Released November 2011

Added by msubulldog25 on 10-17-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 64
Photo of HuskyinPDX
1.51/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

22oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a dark, deep brown with no head at all.

S - Funky, sour, soy sauce. Hmmm.. Not good.

T - Woah, Way off. This tastes like a cat crapped in my beer. Not good at all. Tainted and infected. My first run in with an infected bottle.

D - No carbonation.

O - Infected, badly. Tastes awful. Ask my sink how it tasted.

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Photo of kkipple
1.74/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks UncleJedi for the taste! PNY 2.

A. No pop from the (nice artwork!) bottle. Purple wax job is a beaut. Goes into the glass a very pretty deep walnut with cherry-red highlights, but no head, no lace, no foam.

S. I can't believe it's not butter! Massive diacetyl - butter butter butter all the way. Slick and heavy and offputting, to say the least. Past that, if you can, an unusual red wine / acidic note that I'm sure isn't supposed to be here. Otherwise, coconut, roast malt... I dunno, I don't really want to smell it anymore.

T. Ugh... variations on acidic / sour and slick / buttery. The base beer is, sadly, completely overshadowed by these flaws. There's some bourbon in there somewhere, but this is bordering on undrinkable. It's a real shame.

M / O. Did I mention this is virtually flat too? The body is heavy and oil-slick. The finish lingers but is gross, clearly a multitude of things went wrong here. I take no pleasure in executing harsh judgement on Hellshire II (well, okay, maybe a little) but a few hours into it, this is the worst beer I've had all year.

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Photo of brentk56
2.31/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Despite an increasingly hard pour, no head arose over the espresso brown liquid

Smell: Dark chocolate, espresso, bourbon and sour tones

Taste: If you keep this beer isolated to the sweet receptor cells on the tip of the tongue, it is rather nice, with dark chocolate, coffee and bourbon tones; sadly, if you move the liquid back and wash it over the receptors on the sides of the tongue, the sourness from what appears to be a lactobacillus infection become apparent and overwhelm the stout flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with almost no carbonation

Overall: Sorry to see what has happened to this beer but recommend that those who have a bottle drink it sooner rather than later as the infection spreads as I doubt that it is what Matt intended; I really enjoyed his beers when he was at Flossmoor so I know about his capabilities; better beers are coming, I am sure

Thanks, chumba526, for the opportunity

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Photo of NWer
2.33/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aggressive pour into tulip resulted in minimal flat head and very little carbonation.
Initial flavor picked up is dark cherries. Aftertaste, a feel of wet towels allowed to mellow in the hamper for a few days.
A normal person would drain pour this puppy. I'm not normal. I'll drink it anyway while watching Tim sink into the abyss.
My only regret is that I have two more I picked up as a result of the hype surrounding Hellshire I and the release of Hellshire II.
Oh well. Can't win 'em all.
A definite swing and a miss with this one.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.45/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz. waxed bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a rather thick pitch black color. Produced a small cap of brown froth and lace.

(S)- Tons of dark fruits. Prune, raisin, plum, cocoa, and maybe faint bits of coconut and vanilla. Very dense in the dark fruit area.

(T)- A small, but very evident tart sourness and soy component that takes over most of the beer's flavor profile. Still, some of the dark fruits poke through though.

(M)- A very mellow carbonation level. Clearly infected with that sour kick. All the dark fruits are nice, but just adds to the infection bit. Very sweet and fairly thick too; even for the style.

(D)- Unfortunately, this is clearly infected. However, it is not an infection that completely makes this undrinkable. Honestly, it is not horrible with the sourness it has, but obviously not intended. It does show some interesting flavors, but you just cannot get around the sour infection.

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Photo of pmarlowe
2.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to archenemybrew for this. Pint glass.

A: Pours motor oil black and viscous with an espresso-foam head, just around the edges. Good retention and minimal lacing.

S: Rich cocoa, charred coffee, with a little bourbon and vanilla underneath. Smells decent although the char is a bit much.

T: Thin, sour cocoa and coffee. Pretty one dimensional. Ugh.

M: Thinner than expected, medium-light body and almost completely flat.

O: Drainpour. An infected mess. Only a glimmer of what it could have been.

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Photo of stakem
2.74/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Joe for the chance to try this. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears black in color with the faintest line of clarity and brown around the edges. When held to the light, there is a faint redness along the perimeter. A dark brown finger of head appears and as it slowly recedes, leaves spots and a webbing pattern of lace. A swirl revives a full finger worth of dark brown head.

The smell of this brew initially has cocoa, coffee and roasty elements with a hint of oak and vanilla. Those initial pleasant suggestions dissolve into a tangy fruit character and a touch of sulfur mixed with dirty diaper. More smells bring out more notes if sulfur that mixes with a mineral character.

The taste is tangy alcohol that is accented by whiskey with both flavor and warmth. There are faint notes of chocolate, oak and vanilla. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a dirty taste of sulfur and diaper that is off-putting a bit. The aftertaste is somewhat vinous with earth, tobacco and light coffee to cocoa quality. Unfortunately the unpleasant character to this brew outweighs the positives.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Very big alcohol inclusion here even while served colder than ideal. This currently tastes a bit off and was not very enjoyable. I was happy to have a chance to try it but not something I'd be terribly excited to have again.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
2.77/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

So from the reports Oakshire has put out, this beer has been spoiled with lactobacillus, which makes the beer taste acidic and tart. I'm still going to give it a shot, since I have a bottle after all, and not all of the beers were reported spoiled. An extremely aggressive pour leads to only a tiny, one quarter of head, honestly I'm surprised I even got that much. The head is a solid brown, maybe even dark brown, one of the darker heads I have seen in quite a while. The head has now faded down to just a sliver, and is pretty much all medium sized bubbles, more bubbly than even a head really. I can't really tell how the lacing is going to be, we will have to see as I get down the glass. The body is just pitch black, I mean crap this beer is dark. No light getting through, not visible carbonation, no sight of any kind, completely pitch black. The lacing will for sure play a big role in this appearance because it's so dark I can't tell the carbonation, or cloudiness, etc. As it is now, it's a decent looking beer, the head was not very good, but it did have a nice color, and the body being extremely pitch black is nice. On the smell it's hard to tell whether what I'm smelling is the sour lactobacillus smell, or just the barrel, heavy alcohol smell. I mean honestly I'm just getting a nice big bourbon aroma, with a very substantial chocolate aroma as well. Oakshire says this beer has coffee in it as well, honestly I'm getting more sourness than I am coffee, and I'm not getting too much sourness at all, so basically there isn't really much in the way of coffee here. Like I said it's very hard to tell what exactly I'm smelling, on some sniffs it smells more like sourness, and on others a nice bourbon smell. Either way you can tell it's a boozy beer. Even though I could very easily give this beer a 4, there is for sure some sourness, and to play it safe I'm going to give it a 3.5 for aroma, because my nose isn't painting a clear enough picture for me. If the sourness truly isn't there all that much I will bump up the grade for the taste. Yeah this is a damn sour beer. I mean is it undrinkable? No, but I'm...damn confused first of all. I mean the sourness really just makes it taste like they mixed wine with a stout, it's very sour, but you can also tell there are heavy malt, chocolate, etc. in the background. I mean the alcohol is really the only consisted, not super weird and surprising thing about this beer, it's boozy, as expected. Frankly not as boozy as a 10.5% could be, but for SURE there non the less. After that it's like I said, biiiig sour wine like flavor up front, then followed by some chocolate, big dark malts, a a bourbon flavor. I mean is it undrinkable? No, like I said. However, this is going to be hard getting through this 22. I know this isn't normal either, because unlike some barley wines, I can drink imperial stouts without any problem, a normal imperial stout would not be this "difficult" to put down. Anyways, what more can I say about the flavor, it's a sour ass beer that makes it taste like wine mixed with a stout. A 2.5 is about right, because it does have some good flavors. In fact it could even get a 3 because the sourness is dying down, but it's a spoiled beer, 2.5 is ok. The mouthfeel is actually the worst part of this beer, really no question about it either. It's an incredibly thing mouthfeel, almost nothing going on at all, it's like water. The carbonation is extremely low, there is barely anything there. I would go as far as to say I might not have a difficulty finishing this beer if the mouthfeel wasn't horrid. Drinkability is terrible as one would expect, I don't think this beer will be as hard to drink as the Hellshire one, because even though that was a decent beer, it had a burn like no other, this at least has some malt and other stuff to get me through the sourness, at least a little bit. Overall what more can I say? It's a bottle of wine mixed with an imperial stout, not a very good combination. Not the worst beer I have ever had, probably not even in the top 5 worst, but it's not a very good beer. I'm going to give it a 3 overall because I went a little rough on the taste, and overall it's not an awful beer, but for sure not good.

The appearance turned out to be much like what I expected, not too amazing. Other than a small amount of foamy patches here and there, there was no lacing to speak of. A small rim of "head" did stick around for most of the beers life, but like the original head, it was extremely bubbly and just not that good. I mean even though this beer had a nice body color, the head was bad and the lacing was bad. A 3 seems about right.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.81/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Strong Ale 2011

Pours essentially black in color with a finger or so of tan head. Smells strangely lactic and acidic. Quite a bit of coffee as well as roast, oak, and and whiskey. The flavor has a sharp acidity and astringency to it. Some oak, vanilla, and whiskey flavors. A little bit of cocoa powder and weird hint of a dusty sort of flavor. A bit thin in body for an imperial stout with medium carbonation.

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Photo of draheim
2.81/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The first infected beer (affirmed by the brewery) I've ever had. Here goes.

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep black color w/ a frothy, rich mocha head w/ oily little bubbles. A really beautiful beer, nice thick lacing clings to the side of the glass.

Aroma is chocolately w/ espresso and a hint of fruit - black cherries maybe?

Taste is dark roasted malt, chocolate and a slightly sour wine/cherry taste. Must be the lactobacillus infection. Tastes like it was aged in wine barrels, not whiskey. Not especially off-putting, it just doesn't taste right for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. I'm also not getting any of the vanilla, bourbon or coconut described on the label - perhaps they're overshadeowed by the sour cherry taste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and dry, clean.

Overall this is about what I'd have expected if this were an imperial stout aged in cabernet barrels. If I'd been looking for a stout with a slightly vinous, sour element I might not be that disappointed - although to be fair this just doesn't taste all that good. Because this is supposed to be a rich, chocolate vanilla coffee bourbon stout, I have to dock points for falling short of the mark.

As the beer warms the sour cherry thing becomes more prominent and this ends up a drainpour. Too bad because this was a pretty expensive beer and the only way to get a refund on the other bottle I bought would be to take it down to Eugene. I'll try my luck returning it to Whole Foods, but unfortunately even though they know it's infected Oakshire won't make any guarantees.

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Photo of Sean9689
2.96/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared at Alex's Birthday Bash @ Pipeworks!

A - Pours a muddy brown color, mocha-head, sticky lace.

S - Dark fruit, diacetyl, oak, light coffee. Slightly tart, sweet, and boozy..."interesting", to say the least.

T - Chocolate, berries, peat, lightly acidic, dark fruit, booze. The tart notes aren't actually all that bad, but I know this isn't exactly what the brewer was trying to achieve with this one.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, creamy tart finish.

O - Another "meh" beer from Oakshire. They're 0/2 on their Hellshire beers, so here's hoping for a home run on their next at bat. Can't say I'd want to have this one again.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.96/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for bringing this rarity to my birthday. I suspect he's been waiting a while to pay me back for all the 'great' beers I've shared with him. Served in a taster glass.

A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving a few wisps on top but minimal lace. Black body.

S - Smells a lot like the infected Alpine stouts. Tons of lactic and buttery flavors, mingling with roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, and more butter.

T - The taste has more cherry tartness amid the coffee grounds and chocolate, and a bit less lactic and buttery flavors. Not terrible, but very strange for a bourbon barrel-aged stout.

M - Smooth texture, medium-full body, low carbonation, well-hidden alcohol, and some tannic dryness in the finish.

D - Strangely this was more enjoyable to Hellshire I. For an infected barrel-aged coffee stout it was reasonably palatable. Actually, it's better than a lot of dark sours I've had.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.17/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle generously shared by milwaukeeclassic while listening to Monday Night Football on the radio.

Pours black with some medium sized chocolate colored bubbles.

Smells of beer jerky, soy sauce, and chocolate mousee. Oddly, it works. There's a wine note here that muddles with the bourbon that doesn't smell bad, but it hints a bit at what's to come.

The infection is right up front. There's a fruity tingle right on the tip of the tongue. Sour cherry and tart red wine segue into a creamed coffee and light mild bourbon. The finish is nutty with an ashy finish.

The feel is where the infection has presumably done its worst. The body is too light and seems thinned and tart.

Overall, despite the infection, this beer wasn't half bad. The no shit comment would be to drink this sooner rather than later, as I can't envision this improving with time.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.18/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Busted out by Matt Van Wyk at the East Burn beer dinner. Thanks to the brewer for the sample. Served in a small snifter.

A: Very dark brown with ruby edges, a small ring of espresso bubbles, fairly thin looking with minimal legs. 2/5

S: Good bourbon, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, and other requisite -bal stout notes are in attendance. Peppery alcohol singes the nose... in a good way. Nothing is really dominating and the balance is pretty good at this point. 4/5

T: Odd... This lands in the fruity category of the imperial stout family. Prunes are the dominant fruit presenting. Some slightly acidic roasty coffee shows through as well. I'm not picking up much chocolate and mention that now since it's frequently a characteristic in stouts. The bourbon is mild and in good balance against the stout. While not my favorite bourbon stout, I'm not really disappointed. 3/5

M: A slightly chewy beer yet small for what I expect from the style. It does finish quite clean which is a plus. 3/5

O: An interesting beer. Definitely a departure from a typical American imperial stout. I'm sure there will be plently of people who enjoy it. 3/5

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Photo of julian
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle bought at Whole Foods - Westlake (Seattle) - poured into a Westvleteren goblet

A: Love the label art and purple waxing. Midnight black in color with minimal mocha colored head. Viscous, but lackluster in the head department. At first I thought it was still, but I know the bottle was carbed from the "psssst" the cap made when I popped it.

S: Nose is abundant with coffee roast, toffee and vanilla

T: Up front I'm getting an unusual fruity tang, accompanied by coffee roast and vanilla. This is an unusually tangy and sweet beer.

M: Low-Medium carbonation, tangy, sweet with a mild hoppy bite on the mid palate. Finishes with a lingering tang.

O: I don't know. I'm glad I didn't go to the release of this beer. It's not worth the drive. I get very little bourbon in the aroma and taste, and overall this beer just has some unusual tangy qualities. Maybe with some age it will mellow and come into its own but right now it's a bit young and still tastes too "green".

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Photo of Mahlik
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber from Bridgetown Beerhouse in Portland poured into snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours an opaque black with almost no head. The minimal amount of head was a dark brown/mocha color and dissipated quickly. Little to no lacing; this beer appears to be thick and oily, looks like motor oil; Some carbonation bubbles could be seen racing up the side of the glass.

S - Coffee and dark fruits (prunes/raisins). Vanilla, bourbon and oak in the background. Some faint chocolate as well. Also almost a caramel smell. I do get whiffs of coconut but I was only able to pick that out because the bottle said so. You can get some the alcohol off the nose.

T - Coffee with an almost prune juice taste. It's a bit unusual. It's not terrible but something seems off. Vanilla and bourbon notes come through but not as much as I thought. The alcohol hits up front but finishes smooth. I'm not pulling out as much in the taste as I did in the aroma.

M - Full-bodied with very little carbonation. It's a thick, oily and a bit chewy.

O - A decent BA imperial stout. Not my favorite. It had an unusual taste. Definitely brings the beer down. I'm glad I didn't make the trip to the brewery for the release.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.46/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

One of a couple I bought around Thanksgiving at the local Zupans Market ($14.99/ 22oz. bottle, purple wax seal). Served out of the cellar on a pretty chilly day, so temperature is in the 40s, I'm certain. Tulip snifter.

First off, I'm not going into Hellshire II blindly. I've seen some reviews and read the banter in the BA forums, including some very forthright explanations from brewer, Matt Van Wyk, regarding the 'infection'. For what it's worth, I'll be as impartial as possible.

A: Perfectly dark, 'BLACK' for all intents. It's the way a heavy imperial stout *should* look: impenetrable. Crown with a thin layer of tawny cream, impossible small bubbliness, with a dollop of floating froth. Good lace, a sheet that breaks apart but holds as a constellation of speckles, a few loose strands.

S: A nice coffee roast, very earthy and vaguely smoky. chocolate and a little vanilla sweetness. A little papery... or is that cocoa powder? Mild tart fruit, but nothing overbearing. Good strength.

T: Had to mull this one over before filling in this category; given the unintentional tartness, it's a curious thing to rate. Dark and pungent, coffee and chocolate form a solid base, with an ashy/woody huskiness. Then there's the vinous, pucker-inducing cherry/lemon and sour grape that ebbs and flows, sometimes playing nicely with espresso and cacao, sometimes overruling it. Interesting and, for me, not offputting.

M: Rather thin feel and moderate-low carbonation. 'Smooth', yes, but also slick and somehow 'juicy' (my salivary reaction to the tartness). Long-lasting finish holds the worst of both the bitterness and sourness.

O: This reminds me a bit the love it/hate it 'infected' porter that Cascade released a couple years ago; the sour-lovers rejoiced while many others balked. Know what? I like this beer. Sure it's tart and oddly thin, but I had no problem finishing the bottle...and, frankly, wanted more at the end. Here's to unintended consequences and to Oakshire continuing to make forward strides...

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Photo of Duff27
3.63/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Short head form on a dark brown/black beer. Nice alcohol legs inducing spotty lacing. Little head retention.

Smells like lacotose, soured. Kinda Stanky! Faint cherries.

Definitey different, definitely soured. Some cherries, chocolate involved.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Well, I liked it...sort of! I can see how some would drainpour for some. Worth a shot if you get a chance...have some people on hand though. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.68/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Update from 10/31/14 "scary beer tasting". Way downhill at this point: cold, sour, black coffee. 2.0)

A: Dense coffee head, dark brown body

S: mostly chocolate, hint of coffee, slight spicy bourbon note.

T: Chocolate and coffee. A little burnt / acrid flavor, but not overwhelming. A good dose of oak.

M: A bit thin for the style. Nice medium carbonation. Coats the mouth well without being syrupy.

O: Not a homerun, but a nice beer that I can't complain much about.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.73/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak Tulip. Pours pitch black, very little signs of carbonation. Pour leaves a thin medium brown ring around the glass, but no lacing. Aroma is subdued, dominated by chocolate and coffee. Flavor starts with dark, roasted malt and coffee, followed by a very odd red wine component, almost like a stout had been mixed with an oaky red wine. Finish is also quite vinous, but with roasted malt. Medium to creamy bodied. Very little bourbon flavor. This was an apparently infected batch, which is too bad, the stout flavors seemed quite nice. It is still drinkable and I'm enjoying a one time chance for a stout and red wine combination. It doesn’t quite work, but still interesting in an odd way.

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Photo of ccrida
3.83/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber, my only one, picked up when it was first released and properly cellared since. Poured into my Delirium Tremens snifter, Hellshire II is pitch black with a ruddy, dark tan collar leaving light lace.

Smell is caramel, waxy, a blast of roast, a touch fruity.

Taste is, bam, sour cherries, lacto, with a very roasty finish. Quite good actually, reminds me a lot of older viscosity. Not at all the intent from my understanding, and not what I was expecting for a bourbon barrel imperial stout, but frankly it hits the spot and better suits my taste.

Mouthfeel is on the thin, slippery side.

Drinkability is interesting. First off, if you don't like lactic beers, you're out. I do, and find the attenuation increases the drinkability, as well as increases the complexity. Nice pucker, with the big roasty stout backbone, it's got a lot of depth. Nothing from the Bourbon barrels, but the bugs I guess.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights and a thin head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: weird tart quality upfront in the aroma with traces of chocolate, dark fruit, roastiness, and caramel with acidic notes that I feel are not suppose to be there. Not really any booze barrel character to speak of though.

T: the tart character was more apparent on the palate alongside some fruit berry notes, slight chocolate, more of a wine barrel flavor than bourbon, hints of acidic notes, and very little coffee coming through at the finish.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, slightly chocolatey, and tart finish.

O: I'm sure the way it turned out was not suppose to happen but was not as bad as other infected beers. I really wish I would have experienced the real deal, Oh well.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.93/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black as hell on the pour. Black as hell in the glass. Huge one finger head, mocha in color. Great retention and lacing.

S: Huge bourbon and coffee aroma. Slight sweet chocolate notes. Very boozy.

T: Milk chocolate upfront. Coffee in the middle with a slight roasted note. Big borubon. Light butterscotch. Finishes very boozy with a good alcohol bite.

M: Pretty light in body for an Imperial Stout. High carbonation. Decent creaminess. Big alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

O: A good Imperial Stout. With all the amazing Bourbon Barrel aged stouts coming out now it's hard to keep up. This does a good job but not amazing.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4



A: Pours pitch black and viscous with a small fast fading brown head. Nice color.

S: Lots of coffee and charred malt with dark chocolate. Licorice blends with oak, vanilla, and a little coconut. Dark fruit is faint. Bourbon is restrained.

T: Strong coffee with big cocoa notes. Bourbon is light, seemingly subjugated by the coffee, but wood is stronger. I get light vanilla notes. There's a charred malt presence with a little licorice. The beer is moderately bitter with notes of earth. Alcohol is well hidden. There's a hint of dark fruit tartness in the late finish, seems like a byproduct of the coffee.

M: Full in body with lower medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky and viscous with some astringency.

Overall: This is nothing crazy but it's good and definitely better than Hellshire I. 

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Photo of kswbeer
4.17/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours very thick, black with a hit of red/brown and next to no head. The last time I poured something this think was when we were reviewing Old Engine Oil.

With the first aroma I get a hit of bourbon and red wine with just a little maraschino cherry.

The first taste is complex. It starts as a Stout with a little coffee but quickly moves to a plum/prune followed slowly by a light bourbon and dark red wine. The taste left on the tongue is the traditional Stout chocolate/coffee. It’s a 10 ½ percent ABV but it really doesn’t hit you with the alcohol, its more of an afterthought.

Mouth feel is right in line with an Imperial Stout. It’s thicker, coats the tongue and hangs around for a while. My personal preference would be to serve it a few minutes after its out of the fridge so the temp/carbonation balance is right.
Overall I’m a fan. There are a few barrel aged Stouts out there right now and I think this holds up with any of them. I don’t think it’s a beer for a novice drinker (they just won’t enjoy it), but if you like Imperial Stouts I think you’ll like the complexities the barrel aging adds to it.

The lactobacillus is a big downer but I’ve had to pitch a more than 1 batch of my own homebrew. I had a fear of opening an undrinkable beer but I thought my bottle was just fine. The effect on the beer will completely depend on the storage conditions and time. I had mine in the fridge since I bought the bottle at the OakShire tasting room on Nov. 23, 2011 and opened it on Jan. 8, 2012. So if you have a bottle and are thinking about taking it in for the refund think about how you’ve stored it, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a good beer.

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Hellshire II from Oakshire Brewing
3.1 out of 5 based on 64 ratings.
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