Bois - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
The Bruery

Bois - Bourbon Barrel-AgedBois - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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English Old Ale
4.37 | pDev: 9.15%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bois - Bourbon Barrel-AgedBois - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: The traditional fifth anniversary gift is something made of wood, or "Bois" in French.

Bois is our fifth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. A portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year's production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Bois is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark this major milestone.
Reviews: 161 | Ratings: 1,345 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EMV
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wax topped bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: A cloudy viscous caramel/mahogany brown pour. Thin fizzy white head... modest ring of lacing.

S: Rich and sweet. Caramel, sugars, dark fruit, and toffee. Vanilla and booze.

T.F: Just like it smells. Rich and sweet up front. Loads of molasses and toffee... boozy and warming. Fig and raisin. Nice vanilla and bourbon from the barrel. Compliments the big sweet beer nicely. Thick and sticky on the tongue. Better as it warms.

O: A fantastic big, boozy, barrel aged Old Ale. 6 years in and this was still amazing.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Semi cloudy color with deep mahogany with medium to heavy bubbles creating an off-white head rising to just about half a finger's length off the body.

Smell: Deep deep whiskey scent, it definitely improves as the beer warms up.

Taste: Complex toffee with hints of malt which offset it with a punch off light bitterness. A touch sweet but the bourbon used to age this beer is on another level. Personally I'm in lust.

Mouth: This is one sticky beer and with it's sweet finish you can put it down for a very very long time and the finish just lingers.

Overall: This brew design is nothing different but it is definitely a gem. It is a touch more complex than it's brethren and honestly it is very hard to keep the glass down. Grab again and again if you see it.

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Photo of Gaddabble
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sweet toffee/caramel, dark fruit, coconut, bourbon, alcohol. Some alcohol heat even after 5 years, but relatively smooth for 15% ABV. Flavors slightly muddled. Probably a little past its prime but still excellent. Definitely good to share as a whole bottle gets a bit diabeetus heavy by the end.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.91/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Spieglau BA glass.

Look is a hazy opaque brown with barely a sliver of head.

Aroma is sweet malt with a lot of oxidized dark fruits.

Absolutely amazing! I can't believe this beer is five years old. Incredibly amazing. Goes down super well. Nice snow day sipper.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Toffee, caramel, figs, plum, oak, vanilla and booze. This is probably a bit past it's prime, as the flavors tasted oxidized. Lots of the sugars aged out. Finishes dry. Medium to medium thick bodied. Still pretty good.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Man these anniversary beers are huge and awesome. This is the 5th in the series? A very good beer, just not as good as Fruet (4th and possibly the best of them so far). Pours a dark brown. Looks like a lot of the Firestone Walker anniversary beers too. Blends. The head is tan, deep (1") and impressive. Aroma is super bourbon coming at you. Drowns all the other smells.

Taste, what a great sipper. Still hitting tons of bourbon and caramel notes throughout. I've described these as boozy liquid cracker jacks. Plenty of that burnt and roasted brown sugar throughout the mouth feel, its a big beer, but doesn't drink as big as you might be worried about. Vanilla also helps this drink easier than it should. Held its carbonation well, marshmallow in there too.

Classic stuff. Open a bottle on a special occasion, it ain't cheap.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The appearance was a super nice dark brown close to black color with a slightly half finger white to off white foamy head that concaves and leaves barely anything in the center of the brew. Holy Be-jeebers, actually, I believe I liked this show. The smell, whoah, how the hell do I explain this one. Okay, its a sort of a cherry to almond to oaky/woodiness and then leading onto a slightly vanilla sort of aroma all delicately packed together and inviting me towards a finer quality of leading me on and into the night of Memorial Day. The taste is sweet and oaky/woody and it leaves a fairly sweet vanilla-like quality of an aftertaste and then ends up leading to a semi-dry yet sweet but not watery finish. I say that because there’s something I had about this beer that seemed to show a fairly watery finish. No worries. On the palate, it sits about a medium to heavy on the body and shows a decent sessionable quality running about the mouth and tongue. The carbonation is decent for the Old Ale style and good for me as there’s just enough harshness pervading the tongue but not overbearing. Overall, in my opinion, this is actually an exceptionally well done Old Ale that I would more than worthy welcome again. Is it up there with Smuttynose’s Really Old Brown Dog Ale, which is actually one the best that I’ve tried to this date? Hmmm...well, to pay $30 to have this again, or ask for a Really Old Brown Dog Ale. I’ll take Smuttynose’s even though I haven’t had that in a super long time.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 4/10/13; drank 5/27/15 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Muddy brown/red appearance.

Minimal khaki head; almost no lace.

Raisin, brown sugar & a hint of booze heat in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Raisin, marshmallow, maple syrup & brown sugar flavors up front; mild booze heat emerged as this warmed. A sweet, tasty dessert treat.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
1.79/5  rDev -59%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This was terrible. Unfortunately, another overrated Bruery beer. I slightly chilled it, look was ok, pour with minimal head. All looked good, but then the taste...sweet, overboozed nastyness. Shared with two other drinkers who were pretty much of the same thoughts.....too sweet, too boozy, and just a real chore to choke down. We took a few sips hoping that letting it warm up would make it better, but it only made it worse as the slight chill was masking even more sweetness and nasty boozyness. Unfortunately, another beer from the Bruery that it massively overrated. Really hit or miss with these one-offs....some are pretty good, this one is awful!

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

look: Not sure whether to call this very dark ruby, or dark mahogany. substantial tan head on the pour that recedes to a ring around the rim.
smell: Oh yea! Decadent, rich toffee, vanilla, butterscotch port. Bourbon soaked dark fruit.
taste: And the taste delivers what the nose promises. a little alcohol burn but after 3 years, this is pretty damn smooth. Bad-ass.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown topped by a finger of dense tan head that fades quickly leaving minimal lacing
S: Smells of bourbon barrel goodness with notes of oak, caramel and toffee. Along with the obvious bourbon there's some dark fruits and toffee from the base beer,.
T: Taste is dark fruits, toffee, caramel, vanilla and oak with a slight vinous note to it. Swallow is more toffee and dark fruits with hints of alcohol soaked raisins on the back end. Oak, caramel and vanilla linger as well.
M: This beer is full in the mouth with soft but adequate carbonation and a dry finish from the high ABV.
O: This beer is fantastic. The flavors are great and the beer has an immense amount of complexity. It's still a little boozy but the boozy notes work well with the beer. This one has held up very well.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.58/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark cloudy brown color ale with a large brown foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of residual sugar with some deep caramelized notes is intriguing. Taste is a nice mix of strong caramelized malt notes with some heavy residual sugar notes and light bourbon notes are also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation with no real apparent alcohol notes. There was light oxidation notes which I didn’t really cared for and the sugar is somewhat too upfront and hides other flavours.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 4/10/2013. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, butterscotch, leather, tobacco, bourbon, toasted oak, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, butterscotch, leather, tobacco, bourbon, toasted oak, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, butterscotch, leather, tobacco, bourbon, toasted oak, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a fantastic malt/bourbon/oak spiciness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and very full body; with a very creamy/silky/slick, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is incredible. Alcohol is well hidden with a light-moderate warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely world class old ale. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on slowly for the enormous ABV. An insanely delicious offering.

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Photo of JFear
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Two years has done some crazy things to this beer. It's still boozy, but that aspect has been toned down a bit with age. There's notes of salted caramel, apple brandy, apple skin, coffee, and then, when the mouthfeel dries your mouth out a bit, there's lingering lemon flesh/rind, and bitter, medicinal herbal qualities. Really just an amazingly lovely beer.

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Photo of kdahnke123
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
L - Poured a slightly hazy medium brown with a minimal head. The head lasted not much longer than it took to pour and left no lacing.
S - Smells of banana, vanilla, caramel, oak and bourbon.
T - Tastes of candied fruit, bourbon, vanilla with a moderate amount of esters.
F - Medium mouthfeel with a little tang from the alcohol
O - A very nice old ale with plenty of dried fruit character. Having had the subsequent two vintages the integration of the flavors is progressing well.

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Photo of Tele
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle
Consumed: 10.23.15

A: 4.25 The beer opens with what sounds like a surprising amount of carbonation for 2.5 years old. Pours a murky, brown-red with a one-inch tan head.

S: 4.75 It smells quite sweet, but immediately you can tell there is a lot going on. There’s loads of bourbon, of course, but plenty of toffee, caramel, vanilla, honey, banana, and cinnamon. This reminds me of an amped up Sucaba.

T: 4.5 Taste is similar to the nose. Starts off rather sweet with the bourbon and caramel flavors, but it quickly moves to a surprising amount of malt presence, providing just enough roast to round things out. A bit of coffee and spice work into sweeter vanilla and raisin flavors finishing with some raspberry and slight booziness – almost like a cognac barrel flavor.

M: 4.5 The body is great and doesn’t feel too heavy. Carbonation is also really nice. Definitely pretty drinkable for 15%.

O: 4.5 This is a very impressive beer from The Bruery. There’s a lot going on but it’s really balanced. I was worried this would be too sweet and boozy for 15%, but it is much better than expected.

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Photo of SoCal_Matt
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage served in a Teku.

Pours a medium brown with very little head. Heavy bourbon on the nose with oak and brown sugar. Taste is similar and very sweet with a bit of vanilla. Feel is about medium and very drinkable. Overall, this was excellent. A bit sweet at first, but balanced towards the finish.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aged for about two years, poured into Teku glass.

Pours a nice chestnut brown, small head, no retention.

Smell is bourbon and oak up front, roasted malts, dark fruits, a tiny bit of funk alcohol.

Taste largely follows smell, some vanilla up front as well.

Fairly well balanced, aging has been helpful. Moderately carbonated, medium mouthfeel, a little alcohol burn but certainly permissible for this amount of ABV.

It's good.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is loaded with bourbon, toffee, caramel, hints of oak, leather and burnt sugar. Flavour profile matches with heavy bourbon, toffee and caramel. Sweetness is nicely balanced with the slightest ABV heat, but given the strength it's incredibly well hidden. A celebratory brew indeed and well worth a try.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle has smells of dark fruits, toffee, leather, carmelized sugar, bouron, and vanilla.

Tastes much the same with a little bit of musty wood. The bourbon is more noticeable in the nose than the taste, but either way, it provides a little more heat than flavor.

Slight syrupy thickness.

It is still a pretty boozy beer, but not as much as some other Bruery stuff.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml waxed bottle into a Teku at fridge temp, allowed to warm.

Look: dark but very clear ruby reddish brown, small tan head.

Smell: vanilla, caramel, almond extract; more coconut, cherry as it warms.

Taste: pure sweetness up front, followed by cherries, soy sauce, oak, tobacco.

Feel: medium/full-bodied, slick and juicy. Absurdly drinkable.

Overall: this is a really good beer, tho not sure it's great. And probably brought me less overall happiness than the two bottles of, say, Stickee Monkee I could've gotten for the sticker price.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2013 vintage consumed in early August 2015. Very close to perfection! Drinks like an old port wine. Not too hot despite the hefty ABV.


2013 vintage consumed in January 2018. Still good, just barely faded. All the goodness of an old ale minus the heat. A real treat.

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Photo of rhartogsq
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

shard bottle at a beer bar in DC last night. The aroma was simply awesome. it never eroded. The beer was a touch thinner than I was expecting. Overall, the beer was great. Don't have much for tasting notes, sorry.

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Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted as part of a horizontal of all 5 Bois treatments.

This one is again just hot, hot, hot. Dominated by booziness that overwhelms all other smells and flavors.

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Photo of Jjski
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bourbon soaked figs and raisins drizzled with vanilla scented caramel brandy. Leather, tobacco, epic old aleyness. A definitive sherry type oxidation with orange peel hints, dark toffee with a faint bitter sourness with boozy finish. Boozy? It's 15%, that's the way it should be. expansive yet perfectly cohesive.

What it is, what shall it become? The standard.

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Bois - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Bruery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1345 ratings