Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel Aged | The Bruery

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116 Reviews
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Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel AgedSmoking Wood Bourbon Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States
thebruery.com

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2014 Vintage is 14% ABV

Added by UCLABrewN84 on 03-19-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
116
Ratings:
636
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
11.65%
 
 
Wants:
109
Gots:
238
For Trade:
29
User Reviews
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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 636
Photo of Furlinator
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

Bottled on 05/16/14.

Pours opaque black. The thin tan head quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace.

The smell is of plums, black cherry, bourbon, cocoa and pipe tobacco.

The taste is of dark fruit: plums, cherries and raisins, roasted malt, bourbon, faint cocoa and barbeque char.

The texture is full bodied, thick and somewhat oily with low carbonation.

More dark fruit than I expected. Not much smoke in the nose. Prominent bourbon presence. Very good. The 2014 vintage clocks in at 14% ABV.

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Photo of MDHopster
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

A) black with small cream head by time it arrived at table in 10 oz goblet. Draft serving.

M) silky but with alcohol burn

S). Strong bourbon aroma of oak and vanilla

T) strong bourbon favors of oak and vanilla, coffee aftertaste.

I've really taken to rye beers and barrel aged beers lately,esoecially bourbon barrel aged brews, and so far this is one of the best I've tasted.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.56/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

750ml bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color. Seriously, this is dark as hell. The head is a finger high, and tan in shade. Retention...is about what you'd expect from a 14% barrel-aged monster, and so is the texture (read: it's creamy). Not much lacing is left behind, if any at all. (3)

Smell: Like most big beers from the Bruery, there's a ton going on here. At first I pick up a lot of bourbon (read: vanilla, oak, and even banana), tempered somewhat by its dry, woody smoke (and dry, woody smoke is good!) After a while, it develops a significant dark chocolate note. Actually, it's heavy on the umami...it almost resembles soy sauce on occasion. Also like most big beers from the Bruery, it's a bit meandering and lacking in cohesion. On the plus side, I'm not picking up an ounce of the 14%. It's a very effective aroma, but will the flavor profile be effective? (3.75)

Taste: The smokiness comes to the forefront, and again, it's more woody than hammy. It's not as roasty-tasting as its immense darkness would suggest, though - it's very sweet, in fact. There's a huge midtaste of dark chocolate, before the melange of bourbon barrel notes finish it off. It's a bit boozy, about what one might expect from 14%. It's also quite complex. The problem is, while it delivers great depth, it's also extremely messy and imbalanced (for example, some sips are almost pure soy sauce! WTF?) Literally nothing seems to coexist. I should enjoy something like this - but it's so out of whack, I just don't care. To answer the question I proposed earlier: no, it's not effective. Not. At. All. (2)

Mouthfeel: Like most of the big hitters from the Bruery, it's both incredibly sweet and relatively thin. Also like most of the big hitters from the Bruery, it tries to have good drinkability for 14%. I can tell from the carbonation trying to poke through the big(ish) body. Unfortunately, it fails: there's just far too much lingering sweetness. It's not drinkable, it's not rich, it's not balanced, it's just stupidly big for the sake of being stupidly big. (2.25)

Overall: Man, I've just been handing out a ton of bad scores today, haven't I? The problem here is that while the individual notes are actually quite good, it's so damn sloppy tasting, it completely ruins the effect this beer was trying to achieve. I just don't get it...why is this a 90 again?! (2.25)

2.48/5: Messiest. Beer. Ever.

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Photo of Beejay
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

2014 Edition.

A: Deep jet black in the glass with coffee and cream colored head.

S: Huge hit from the bourbon. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla come right out. Rich caramel maltiness, and a dark earthiness round out the aroma, but the bourbon barrel rocks on through. In the very finish there is a nice hint of smoke.

T: Malt, bourbon, and smoke. Man this beer is tasty. Nice malt richness, enough bitterness to keep it from cloying, and a deep luxurious smoke flavor. Not sure wht type of smoke they used, but often times with Cherry malt it comes off a little too sweet, in this case the smoke is dense, rich, and counteracts the velvety goodness that is in this beer. The bourbon is a little more subdued than I would have thought from the smell, but it is still fairly present. The booze is well hidden in this one.

M: Rich, thick, and malty. Carbonation is a medium and helps to balance out the rest of the body.

O: Overall, just a damn fine brew.

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Photo of PeaJayTheGr8
5/5  rDev +21.4%

I'm a novice when it comes to craft beers, especially BBAs but I know that I have found my new favorite style of beer and this brand delivers.

I love the combination of the BBA and smoke. I've tried a couple of BBAs and smoked beers but haven't had a combo until this one. I could drink this one and never have another craft beer and be satisfied. But I will be diving into more.

If you want to take advice from a novice, there you have it. Great brew!

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Photo of macher0
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

Pours very dark bown, nearly black with a frothy amber head that slowly retreats to a fine rim.
The nose is equal dark malts, bouron-soaked oak, and smokey char. Very nice cause the smoke is subtle
which brings out the vanilla/bourbon. The taste is equally balanced. Lots of dark malts, and bourbon, with a very
subtle smoke. The smoke is simialr to opening a smoker with ribs on the rack - not nessesarily bacon.
Super smooth feel, moderate carbonation, and full body. This is very similar to ba smoked stouts. The
smoke is subtle and the barrel and bourbon definately come through. Recommended.

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Photo of pants678
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Black with a brown head that fades.

Smells more so of bourbon. All bourbon, real pungent.

Delivers. Wood and smoke jives with the bourbon and rich roasted malt. The burn from whichever of the three is there and gone. Not much in the way of subtlety, this one's a big boy beer. Knock back is it doesn't have that charred, marshmallow campfire thing.

Could be a stout, could be a porter. Either way, not particularly smooth, which is fine.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

perhaps moderately less insane than the rye barrel aged edition, which blew my mind right away. this might be just a little more in line with all the other bourbon stuff out there, but to me it is obvious that its one of the best dark beers in the world, with more smoke than I remember from the other one in the finish, and a whole lot of sweet bourbon character. also cool because its a porter not a stout, and a warmer ale fermentation gives it a unique character. huge body, lots of oak, and a certain drinkability to it for a beer that's 14% abv. super rich too, but there is a dry element as well, its a number of traditional contradictions that seem to resolve themselves in one beer. dark chocolate and tobacco and a ton of smoke as it finishes, meaty and almost like jerky in some ways. colossal body and a long finish, but it isn't sweet. I think the spice of the rye whiskey barrel made it next level, but I like the bourbon one almost just as well because it illustrates how good and special the base beer is, and its insane. the bruery can do no wrong by me, so this is flawless really. I want to cellar one.

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Photo of antott0523
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours from the bottle like a dark brown, opaque engine oil. The head is burnt sienna and resembles the rich head on a shot of espresso. The head settles to a thick ring around the edge of the glass with swirls of brown foam across the top of the beer. Minor amount of lacing.

S: Sweet notes of bourbon, brown sugar, booze, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and some dryer notes of smoke, ash and dried tobacco.

T: Follows the nose, but falls apart a bit as it warms and turns to mainly sweeter notes of milk chocolate, bourbon and a touch of smoked wood.

M: Thick, no carbonation, and a slight unpleasant burn from the booze as it warms.

D: Very drinkable, especially at 14%, but the beer seems to have a more complex profile at a colder temperature. I thought the beer fell apart a bit as it approached room temperature, but overall is a very good barrel aged smoked porter.

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Photo of ronricorossi
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

bottle bought at CityBeer in San Francisco, CA.

the barrel aging throws a bourbon-soaked-towel over the smokiness. The front end is like syrup covered burnt sausages, like a weekend breakfast, your smoky breakfast meat slathered in syrupy sweetness.

The nose is smoky, but boozy. The taste is smoky, but boozy, muted, and pushed back to the finish. After you sip and swallow, then, at the finish, that's when you get canadian bacon burnt a little in the frying pan and straight to your plate, that's when you get "I don't smoke, and I just smoked a cigarette", yes, smoke at the finish.

I'm enjoying how the bourbon interacts with the smoke. It's by no means a perfect beer, but it's an interesting take.

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Photo of corby112
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Dominic for hooking me up with this bottle!

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source. Half finger beige head that quickly recedes into a thin, lasting ring. Pretty good retention for the style and ABV with sporadic spotty lacing left behind.

Meaty smoked malt aroma with a strong bourbon barrel presence that's nicely integrated into the notes of the base beer. Some subtle dry oak but not overly charred or toothpick-like with hints of roasted coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, marshmallow and sweet, spicy bourbon followed by charcoal, campfire, barbecued bacon and liquid smoke. The smoke and barrel notes are countered by a complex malt bill with a nice balance of subtle roast and silky, dessert like sweetness. Hints of burnt toast, oatmeal, dark chocolate and coffee grinds along with a bit of flour less chocolate cake, fudge, caramel, toffee and baker's chocolate. Complex yet very inviting with a nice balance of smoke, bourbon barrel, roast and sweeter malt character. A touch of boozy sweetness but doesn't smell too hot. Could use a bit more smoke for my preference but otherwise smells pretty good.

Medium body with a very strong roasted malt flavor that somewhat overpowers the smoke and barrel notes. Dry, bitter and verging on acrid with lots of burnt malt, ash and used coffee grinds. As it warms,the barrel stands out a bit more with dry, toasted oak and spicy bourbon. A bit too boozy for my preference with strong bourbon flavor and lingering heat but not too offensive at 13%. The smoke has mellowed out at this point with subtle hints of charcoal, smoked meat and liquid smoke. After the palate adjusts, the sweeter malt notes stand out with hints of dark chocolate, caramel, toffee and slight fudge-y chocolate cake. Decently balanced and surprisingly easy to drink considering the high ABV but it's a bit thin bodied and lacking in complexity. Could also use a lot more smoke for my preference. I'm a huge fan of the regular version of this beer so my expectations were very high but I found this variant disappointing. Not bad but this isn't a beer I would seek out again.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Finally getting around to this year-old 750ml from sstorck (thanks!). Split with buddies into brandy snifters.

A: Small hiss when popped - dark opaque brown with a small amount of khaki head and some nice lace.

S: Smoke is really subdued on the nose...malt, chocolate, rye, with hints of oak and bourbon and some nice smoky wood in the background.

T: More char and campfire here, chocolate and rye malt with a slight touch of spice, toasted oak and bourbon barrel. The smoke is balanced nicely.

MF: Low carbonation in this beer; I'm not sure if its the smoke or the temperature but the body leans just thin of 'full'.

O: I drank this one cold, as I do with most smoked beers, but overall I think the smokiness was subdued in general. This beer steers clear of smoked salmon and cigarette butts, which is a good thing. Nice rye and chocolate malt presence, and just enough bourbon barrel.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a snifter at a Bruery tasting.

A: Blackish with a tan half finger head that didn't linger. Not much head or lacing to speak of.

S: Bourbon and vanilla stand out with dark fruit in the background. A slight smokiness but not overwhelming.

T: Dry with bourbon doing a tango with chocolate. Caramel and raisins slide in to finish the job. Once again, the smoke doesn't overpower; just adds some clout to the mix. The 13% didn't even register until I had to take a seat. Whoosh.

M: Medium with light carbonation.

O: Another winner from The Bruery. These guys continue to bend the borders on great taste. One of the stellar breweries.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to mlaroche for this bottle.

Pours a black color with a thin tan head, head isn't much to look at and there isn't much lacing but this beer is wicked dark, when held up to the light I'm not getting any shine through.

Smell has a surprisingly strong dark fruit aroma, quite boozy with a large woody character, picking up figs and vanilla, only a touch of smoke.

Taste starts out with a smokey char flavor (more pleasant than that sounds), strong roasted caramel backbone with a raisiny flavor, woody flavor throughout, bourbon is quite a standout but isn't too overwhelming, definitely picking up the strength in the mouth and in the throat, the smoked aspect isn't too strong which I'm glad for but it does add enough to give some complexity, carbonation is on the lower end of things yet adequate enough.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle acquired through the Reserve Society. No readily accessable bottling date but I believe this was a mid to late 2012 release. Served in a Bruery snifter.

Pours oily black with a half finger of mocha head that fades quickly. Very little retention and no lace to speak of.

Smells sweet, smokey and faintly meaty with vanilla, bacon, oak and a little chocolate.

Flavors are full and rich. A good deal of bourbon and barrel character mixed with a bold, smokey, meaty malts. Bourbon, chocolate, peat, oak, smoked malt, burnt caramel, dark fruit, jerky and a healthy bite of alcohol. It all blends well for an enjoyable quaff.

Smooth, creamy full body with light carbonation and some alcohol cooling . Peat and bourbon finish.

A worthy smoked porter. Although to call it just a smoked porter sells it short. This big, bold, barreled brew compares favorably with many of the more popular barrel aged imperial stouts. I think I prefer this bourbon variant over the rye whisky version. I think my remaining bottle of each will age well for another year or two.

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Photo of Resuin
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. I am pretty sure that this is from 2012 but I do not see a bottling date.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep brown/black and leaves just a hint of really dark brown head, which fades to just the rim.

Smell: Bourbon comes out first, followed by spicy, smoked meats, chocolate, molasses, more smoke. The smoke and bourbon aromas intermingle well and are pretty well balanced with each other.

Taste: The smokiness comes out first, followed by some vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, caramel, and then the bourbon dominates the back end. Plums and figs. A good, well balanced amount of smoke. I swear there is just a hint of spiciness to this one as well. The alcohol is hidden amazingly well, probably the best I've found.

Mouth-feel: Thick, creamy mouth-feel with a medium carbonation. I think the higher carbonation then expected gives this one a slightly different feel from counterparts. Finishes smooth and smoky.

Overall: This is a well-crafted brew. The smokiness really compliments the other major flavors and masterfully masks the alcohol within. From the smoked meats of the aroma to the nice bourbony finish, this is a top-to-bottom delicious beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing Matt!

(A)- Pours practically pitch black in color. Some good tan froth formed.

(S)- Quite smoky in a hickory sense that meets some subtle cocoa, raisin, and a rich jerky-like meat aroma.

(T)- Very interesting. Thick chocolate covered jerky meets some raisins. Subtle caramel sweetness on the end/finish.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level meets a campfire in a beer. Rich and meaty but obvious hints of the base beer.

(O)- A very unique take on a porter. It is heavy on the smoke but thankfully not completely overwhelming.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks Ward for this bottle, almost a year old now.

The beer pours jet black, dark for a porter, with a generous tan head that fades quickly. The nose is sweet, slightly smokey, and definitely boozy with the ethanol and bourbon taking over after a big whiff. The taste is toffee/caramel sweetness upfront with a subtle smoked graininess and boozy finish. This is definitely a full bodied, chocolatey dessert beer that I'd recommend letting warm a bit before serving. The beer was paired with some grilled shrimp and sausages, but was a bit overpowering for such light fare. I'd recommend leaving this beer for after dinner as it would pair better with a chocolatey dessert than BBQ-ed sausages. Needless to say it's a big, bold, boozy porter that highlights the bourbon barrel exceptionally well. A touch of metallic smokiness is definitely present in the aftertaste. I'd have liked a bit more smoke, but it may have faded some with age. This is definitely an exceptional beer, but is a bit heavy-handed with the smoke, bourbon, and chocolatey porter grain.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a medium size dark brown foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of vanilla and bourbon with medium smokey notes and some roasted malt with some residual sugar. Taste is a complex and well balanced mix between some bourbon and vanilla notes with some medium smokey notes and some residual sugar with light dry roasted malt. Body is full with an oily texture and some medium to low carbonation. I really like the balanced between the flavours and the fact that the smokey notes don’t overshadows the other flavours. A bit rich to drink a whole bottle by yourself though.

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Photo of Auracom
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle share with Dan, first RS allocation we've cracked in a while. 12 oz. poured into a Founders tulip on February 23rd, 2013.

A - Surprisingly thick for a Bruery concoction. Deep oily black with virtually no head beyond a thin mocha lacing. Marginal legs given 13%.

S - Smoke indeed, hugely-so when below 55 F. Slightly lesser dark cocoa, oak, and cinnamon. You really need to let this hit room temp otherwise the aroma is way too single-note, dominated by smoke.

T - Plentiful roasted almond, espresso bean, and bourbon-soaked fig. Rear-palate is dense, pitted fruit and nicely offsets the heavy roast upfront. Wonderfully unsweetened compared to so many other Bruery offerings.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, semi-smooth with a dry finish.

D - Really pretty decent, and memorable beyond what I'd expected. The smoke is well balanced and the flavor really gets kicking with some air. I think Black Tuesday suffered greatly this past year, leaving my impressions of this beer even greater. Not everything needs to taste purely sweet.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a bit of brown and a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. Fades normal.

S - Roasted chocolate malts, vanilla, oak, Bourbon, smoke, coffee, earthy hops, molasses, and some booze.

T - Roasted chocolate malts, vanilla, oak, Bourbon, smoke, coffee, rathy hops, some bitterness, molasses, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, smokey, and warming finish.

D - Great smoked porter. The barrel adds some great character and the balance is great.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage poured in to Bruery tulip.

A - Black with a thin layer of medium brown head that quickly reduced to a ring around the edges of the glass.

S - A big smoke aroma up front, as expected. Lighter bourbon and chocolate aromas on the background.

T - Much more balanced than the nose indicated. Smoke, bourbon, toasted oak, chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Some roast and spiciness form the rye in the background. A really nice balance of the base beer and the barrel.

M - Medium, almost full body. Chewy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 4.5 dark black with good clarity and almost no head
S: 4.0 nice smoky smell but a little over powering 
T: 4.0 very strong smoke s,ell upfront then a little boozy and the. A very pleasant aftertaste. 
MF: 4.0 huge body and poor carbonation
O: 4.0 for smoked porter beers. I am not a huge fan of smoked beers but this one is pretty good.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured an almost black body with decent-sized tan head and lace patches. Meaty aroma, to start, along with a strong alkie smell and some sweetness. Taste/mouthfeel is more of the same as the meaty, jerky taste associated with smoke beers is there but instead of being dominant they only have a slight edge, thanks to great balance, over the sweet caramel, chocolate, maple and molasses(?) malts. Goes down easy and the alcohol is restrained making this a great sipper.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a very dark brown in color pretty much almost black with signs of brown highlights and a nice finger worth of head that left some good frothy lacing sticking to the glass..

S: definitely had the smokiness upfront in the aroma with a good bourbon boozy sweet presence, was able to sniff out chocolate, toffee and a little molasses but good oak notes.

T: plenty of burning wood flavor was dominant on the palate with chocolate molasses sweetness alongside pleasent vanilla notes, oaky wood accents, bourbon barrrel character and a little booze coming through as well.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a semi sweet, mild boozy, oaky, chewy and smokey finish.

O: I enjoyed both version but liked this bourbon barrel version the most.

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Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel Aged from The Bruery
4.12 out of 5 based on 636 ratings.
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