Bahl Hornin' Imperial Boont Amber Ale
Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Red Ale
3.91 | pDev: 8.95%
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 37
Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz glass at, yup, you guessed it, Beer Rev's Anderson Valley tap takeover.

This beer appears a clear, glassy, dark bronzed amber hue, with nary a cap of indescribable (due to its non-existence) 'head', which surprisingly leaves a bit of stringy lace in places around the glass as things drop away.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel malt, a touch of toffee, some wet dark breadiness, mild leafy, citrusy, and piney hops, and a suggestion of warming alcohol. The taste is bready caramel malt, simmering toffee pudding, concentrated apple and pear compote, more tame orange citrus and leafy pine hop notes, and boozy florals.

The carbonation is pretty understated, barely registering a blip on the froth-o-meter, the body medium-heavy in weight, and actually quite smooth, the hops not possessing the chutzpah to meddle here. It finishes on the sweet side, the fairly complex malt starting to see less and less of the bitter side of the still fruity hops.

When you 'imperialize' a regular ale, usually that means more hops and more ABV, even for amber ales. Not here - Imperial Boont is just a larger dose of malt sweetness, enough hops to barely keep things honest, and yes, a large-ish amount of alcohol. Not an overly interesting prospect, and equally banal in its delivery. Give me the Lagunitas or Green Flash version over this one any day.

 1,346 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Yard House in Northridge, CA.

Pours a clear copper with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with fruity and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that lives up to its imperial name with a fairly strong alcohol presence.

 556 characters

Photo of Bung
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ducks Ballyntine. Cloudy orange/amber pour, finger of off white head.

Aroma, malty, nutty, some leafy hops and tea.

Malty caramel, brown sugar up front. There's some tropical fruit in there that doesn't work so well for me. Brown sugar and the fruit carries through the finish. There is a muddling dose if herbal hops here as well.

Medium bodied and coats nice. Drinks pretty well, other than the heavier body it could pass for the regular amber drinking wise. After reading the reviews was just expecting a bit more of a malt bomb.

 536 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured red-orange with a one finger mocha colored head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, and earth. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, earth, and brown sugar. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I was honestly concerned about this one as I have had a few bad experiences in the past with Anderson Valley. However, this one came across as a pretty tasty brew. All of the characteristics in this one flowed quite nicely and complimented each other well. I think it could have done without the earthy note in the flavor as it really didn't add anything to the brew overall in my opinion. Worth trying if you see it around.

 848 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Birch & Barley in DC.

Pours a clear amber-brown color with a thin light tan head.

The aroma is pretty nice, with caramel, roast, and molasses with slight hop and a little alcohol.

The flavor is decently tasty. Caramel malt base with slight nuttiness, molasses, and toast.

Medium-bodied with average carbonation and slight booziness.

Pretty good overall, like a stronger version of Boont Amber really.

 415 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A "doubled" recipe from the original and classic Boont Amber Ale. Though twice the malt, twice the hops don't translate to the same balanced flavor as the Boont, the Imperial version delivers an intense malty attitude for lovers of strong and sweet ales.

Pouring a deep amber-bronze color, the beer carries a medium haze and creamy carbonation that carry a lot of visual weight. A very dense and thick foam stance tops the beer with persistant and stubborn fashion, with low lace.

Caramel, toffee, sweet breads, and bread crust frame the nose with a decidedly sweet and malty aroma. Only a mild herbal and piney presence offer any rebuttal from hops. Alcohol tingles the nose and prepares the tastebuds for the strong beverage.

Toffee, caramel, and bread all hit the mouth, but with more power than suggested by the nose. Succulent and sweet, the caramel rich taste is rounded by true malt flavors of yeast and dough. Honey, tea-like herbs, with a light woody, pine, and somewhat minty hop taste that culminate in a taste that reminds me of freshly cut tobacco. The sweetness and herbal notes morph into a malty-rich yet medium bitter finish from seemingly English-style hops.

Robust malt textures accompany the caramel sweetness to start; the beer retains its structure until very late in the taste, just before a sweeter and stickier finish that only becomes semi-dry or malty-dry late as the bitterness gives a lasting impression in aftertaste. Alcohol warmth accents the dryish character and keeps the beer from cloying in the finish

Because I don't mind sweeter beers, so this one fares well with me. But the one-dimensional caramel flavor with only a timid hop presence and strong alcohol taste doesn't give the depth, roundness, or complexity that stronger, sweeter beers as these so badly need. I don't mind the simplicity of the original Boont Amber becuase of the ease in drinkability; but as a sipping Imperial version, I need a bit more. Similar to Avery's Kaiser in flavor and feel.

 2,001 characters

Photo of WoodenEye
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very malty beer. I would almost put this into the Barley Wine ale category.

A-Not of your typical amber color. Almost colored like a porter when served into a pint.

S-Sweet smelling, though not enough to elude to the high malty-ness.


M-Very smooth on the mouth. Very thick feeling.

D-Easy to drink, and not too bitter.

I am traditionally a "Hop Head" but recently I am switching to the more malty beers. Currently I am trying to replicate this in my home brew recipes. Any input?


 529 characters

Photo of bbb099
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Woodstock's. Served on a pint glass.

A - Clear, deep amber with a thin layer of white foamy head.

S - Faint aroma of caramel malt.

T - Great combination of thick nutty malt flavor and moderate amount of citrusy hops on the finish. I was a little disappointed however that it tastes like a hoppier version of regular boont. I was expecting a much different taste.

M - Medium to full bodied. Moderate carbonation.

D - High drinkability. Creamy and goes down smooth. Pretty much what you could expect from Anderson Valley.

 534 characters

Photo of argock
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Velvet brown with soft 1-finger nearly white head with good retention but scant lacing.

S: Mostly malty plum aromas with some boozy tones. Hops are mostly floral and herbal.

T: Plummy alcohol flavors are really all I get from this brew, even with warming. Even then, the solvent characteristics of the alcohol come through subtly. Floral hops are around but are not enough to cover the heavy booze tone.

M: Medium-to-full body, relatively crisp feel for the ABV, carbonation is pretty low.

D: Definitely my least favorite AV brew of all time. Stick with the original version unless you like one-dimensional booze-infused malt bombs.

 718 characters

Photo of grittybrews
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber with ruby highlights into a pint glass with a finger of long-lasting fluffy white head. Extremely floral and fresh hoppy aroma dominated by grapefruit and caramel sweetness.

Despite being billed as an imperial amber, I would have thought this was an IIPA. Lots of hops off the bat with plenty of citrus and floral notes. Very fresh and resinous mouthfeel with ample carbonation, almost like biting into a hop pellet. The amber comes through in the solid biscuit and caramel malt backbone and helps balance the hop presence on the finish.

Fresh, extremely drinkable, and totally delicious, I really hope to find a bottle of this at some point.

 664 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Twisted Spoke, served in a tulip glass.

Murky russet color, sticky tan foam. Visible carbonation around the edges. Nearly opaque, with a muddy appearance. Retention was fairly good, only spotty lacing.

Mellow malty caramel aroma, some fruity sweetness, pleasant but not pungent. The hops were present but not dominant. Smelled like an old Double IPA, where the hops have faded and the malt tips the balance.

Cantaloupe and melon, toffee, caramel, some earthy bitterness. Sweet up front, segueing into savory rich maltiness for the majority of the time, with a slightly resinous herbal bitterness in the back. The fruity notes are hard to pinpoint, likely from the hop varietal and not the yeast strain. Full feeling with rich malty fortitude. Very smooth body. At 8.8%, one was enough, and I enjoyed it over the course of half an hour. Their anniversary DIPA may be my personal preference, but this will satisfy devotees of malt and hops alike.

 959 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken on 11/10/10 at the Armsby Abbey. Poured into a stemmed tumbler.

A - Deep brown just barely cloudy pour with a rich two finger head that fades to roughly half an inch that hangs around throughout. Some really nice heavy, clumpy side lacing too.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits and a light almost floral aroma. Some light citrus too.

T - Big fruits and carmel. Not really dark fruits, but more of a grape type flavour along with nice earthy tones. Light, light hops on the back end. Not picking up any typical malty flavours, just a really solid flavor profile.

M - Light carbonation but not heavy or syrupy. Not really what I would call crisp but it just feels refreshing.

D - Super flavours and mouthfeel combine with really stellar aroma. Really wish I could buy a bomber of this!

 798 characters

Photo of Phelps
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: clear dark amber, shadowy, with a tiny half-finger head of furry khaki foam that quickly becomes a large oil slick top layer and a persistent ring.

Smell: very sweet. Grapes, raisins, Belgian candy sugar, a tiny bit of citrusy orange and caramel.

Taste: malty throughout. Begins mostly dry, with flavors of toasted bread and almonds. Mid-palate the beer opens up into sweeter, sugary flavors of honey, light grape juice, Dr. Pepper, orange peel and cinnamon. Finishes just on the sweet side with light vanilla, vodka and a lingering acrid toastiness.

Feel: noticeable heat travels down the throat like heartburn. Medium-light in body with a fizzy, expansive medium carbonation.

Drink: this one's odd. There were a lot of competing malt and fruit flavors here that never really seemed to coalesce. I never really got what was going on with this beer, and even after I had finished the pint I was left with little cartoon question marks over my head.

 962 characters

Photo of MLucky
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This strikes me as an excellent ale for malt lovers.

Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass, it has a lovely (yes) amber body and creamy tan head. Good retention, nice lacing.

The nose pretty much tells the tale: lots of bready malt and fruity esters, not much hops.

Very drinkable. Caramel malt flavors, fairly strong alcohol, but somehow it blends nicely into the malt. Only a very slight hop presence in the finish.

I like this. Even if my ideal amber ale might have more hop presence, this is delicious, and I could see myself recommending this to friends who are interested in craft beer but overwhelmed by the hoppiness of many BA favorites. I'll definitely buy this again.

 691 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice amber color with good carbonation and dirty white bubbles

S: Smells of some bread, toffee, maple

T: Very good feel, plenty of malts, bready, some caramel, toffee and booze. Pretty sweet as well, hints of fruit and buttery at times.

M: Nothing skimpy here, this brew had great body to it.

D: I would drink again

 333 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours amber with a mild white head, lightly fizzy, average retention.

S: Super malty (crystal), definitely has some booze to it, a pleasing scent.

T: As with the nose the malt dominates crystal style. Nowhere near as hoppy as I thought it'd be, almost drinks Old World. Tasty malty flavour, mild hop profile.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, the ethanol is there, it feels more like 10%+, but it melds seemlessly with the base beer flavours.

D: Really solid, on first impression I thought I might get a boozy malty mess, but this is pretty darn good. Definitely a sipper, an after dinner libation.

 621 characters

Photo of Offa
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a stronger version of the regular Boont Amber Ale, just released as the first of a new "Bahl Hornin'" (Boontling for "Good drinking") series. I just had it at the inaugural tapping at Toad in the Hole, Santa Rosa (the Anderson Valley guys were late coming down from Boonville, so, with many anticipating it , there was great cheering as their truck pulled up and they hauled in the kegs).

Very deep but bright red amber, it has a small pale tan head slowly shrinking and leaving some lace.

Aroma is gentle, mostly very fruity with a lot of plum, hints of port and fermented bread.

Taste also is very fruity, with plums, raisins, spicey raisiny-plum but gentle alcoholic character with light woody-spicey leafy hop element, rich and fruity. It has a strong quality of toasted barley soaked in rich port, especially at the aftertaste. It is lightly on the sweet side, full bodied but not too heavy, not oily.
It is richer, fruity, but easy drinking, leaning to the sweeter and maltier side but still with noticeable gentle hop character. The character holds up very well with food and it is easy to drink despite the strength.

It really is truly like a stronger, more robustly flavourful, more fruity, slightly sweeter version of the regular Boont Amber, with the same character profile essentially intensified, and, thankfully, successfully.

 1,355 characters

Bahl Hornin' Imperial Boont Amber Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 37 ratings