Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale | Fremont Brewing Company

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164 Reviews
Bourbon Abominable Winter AleBourbon Abominable Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Lovingly referred to by Fremonters as the B-BOMB, this bourbon barrel-aged edition of our winter ale has a warming spicy aroma and rich carmelly notes of bourbon, wood and vanilla added to dark roasty chocolatey malt flavors and subtle hopping.

Down & Dirty: 2-Row, Crystal-120, Munich, Roast Barley, Carafa-2 & Chocolate malts with Columbus, Willamette & US Goldings hops.

Aged in 15 year-old American oak whiskey barrels. Blend of 24 and 12 month-old bourbon aged Abominable Ale.

Added by olympuszymurgus on 01-15-2010

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Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 999
Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out with a fudge brown color and a modest head; not too much lacing on this one

Smell: Caramel, Bourbon, char, dark fruit and vanilla

Taste: Opens with caramel and dark fruit tones, with depth of char and molasses, underneath; in the middle, the Bourbon makes an entrance bring oak and vanilla elements, as well; the finish is somewhat boozy, with sweetness lingering

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A pretty decent beer but just a tad too boozy and sweet to me; still, glad to have tried it

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Photo of rlee1390
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger off white head.

S-Bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, molasses.

T-Good balance, Starts with bourbon and oak. Caramel, chocolate, vanilla and molasses.

M-Medium bodied, nice carbonation and velvety.

O-A really good beer, good balance, nice barrel flavor. Thankful to have tried it.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle of the 2013 vintage split between a pair of pint glasses. Poured side-by-side with the non-barrel-aged version.

Pours black and opaque, with small light brown head, and with low carbonation. Small head is fine. Smell is bourbon. Smoke and vanilla. Nutty. Alcohol. Dark fruit.

Taste is holy-shit fruity. Dates and cherries are raining from the skies. Sweetness is unbelievable, with a nice chocolate bitterness that isn't quite powerful enough to actual balance -- more of a muted counterpoint. Something about this hints at pomegranates. There is almost a cola flavor. This beer is very complex, although not everything is well integrated there is a lot of stuff going on here. It tastes pretty good, but it is godawfully interesting.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. Carbonation is apparently present but not very visible. It's definitely there, I can feel it.

This is more interesting than it is good, but it is quite good.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a thinnish, very dark, opaque brown with an espresso foam head. A thin collar sticks around for quite awhile, with a few streaks of lacing.

S: Big aromas of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, and a mild roasted malt backbone.

T: Wow, thick and delicious liquid dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, and vanilla, with a bit of a coffee bitter finish. Really big flavors but well integrated, deep, complex, and not overwhelming in any dimension. A real treat.

M: Despite the appearance, this is a chewy, thick, full bodied beer with a medium-light carbonation that imparts a slight bite which is just perfect. Alcohol is almost completely hidden.

O: A phenomenal beer, on par with the best BA barleywines/strong ales.

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Photo of cvm4
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 vintage

A - Pours pitch black with a minimal espresso head peaking up.

S - Huge bourbon characteristics of vanilla, caramel and oak.

T - The taste follows the nose with the addition of dark fruit notes. The ending is a semi-sweet molasses finish.

M - Light to medium bodied with light carbonation. A smooth, velvety body. The sweetness on the ending seemed a bit cloying to me.

O - It's a really great, not excellent, beer to me. I can say it's definitely above mid-pack, but for the rarity of it others are better.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very dark, nearly opaque. A few cola highlights peeking around the edges. This beauty looks more like a imp stout but no worries.
smell: Oh yeah, this is the stuff. Rich and decadent. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits. Redolent with all kinds of goodness.
taste: And the taste delivers all the promise of the nose. Doesn't get much better than this imo.
overall: Man, this is a well done brew.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours up a little bit of head which has some retention but that does not seem to be the gist of this beer. The head is a dark beige/ochre while the body is an opaque, chocolate black. Some lacing has been left behind.

Nose- I love those brash coconut noses. So dominant that I didn't really get anything else on the first sniff. Shows more depth after subsequent tries- very toasty and very rich with tendencies toward vanilla, caramel, and toffee. The glass reflects this but with much more cherry and chocolate. This is a very good start. Underpinnings of vanilla, caramel, and toffee from the glass as well.

Taste- Lots of coconut which proceeds through a number of notes- toasted, creamy, and very rich. It's fairly dominated by the coconut aspect and is reminding me a lot of Bois at the moment. Cherry notes, some chocolate. Light vanilla, mild heat that hangs around the edges. This beer doesn't taste fresh (this is not a negative)- it tastes like a beer that has been aged a bit before it was released. The alcohol does creep up and is coating my tongue at the moment. It's definitely a really good beer but I don't know if it achieves the greatness that its ratings suggest. Some oak in the back of my throat. More bourbon barrel characteristics come out as I slosh it around in my mouth- broader, more mellow coconut, defined and rounded chocolate with oak and vanilla. Slight bourbon. Normally, I would be critical of its lack of presence but the softness of all the notes prevents that. It appears that the brewer was more interested in producing a highly drinkable product upon release rather than relying upon the assumption that it will be aged further. Raisins with small hints of citrus around the edges. I wish I could get this fresher (a blend of a 6 month old and 18 month Abominables?) but this is a really good to great beer. Lacks the deep malts you would get from an Imperial stout or a Barleywine but this beer isn't either of those. I would categorize it as an Old Ale above anything else. The coconut is pushed out and radiating warm but dark chocolate takes over.

Mouthfeel- Just below medium bodied with slight carbonation. Best described as slinky with silky tendencies.

Drinkability- Very inviting but it also gives warning- the alcohol is there and it is part of the entire drinking experience. 15 bucks a bomber seems quite reasonable for a beer of this caliber. If it were possible, I buy more bottles for aging (?) and trade.

Overall- After a few more sips, this might graduate to a great beer. It is, without a doubt, a really good beer and it's almost great. This is a must try and I'm leaning toward great. No flaws, absolutely solid, complete with an endearing sublimity next to evident alcohol. Very well put together- I appreciate brewers that are this meticulous.

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Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

Pours a dark ruby red color that appears almost black and completely opaque in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring.  Streaks of soapy lace left behind.  

Strong barrel presence in the nose which is dominated by bourbon and a strong oak presence.  Slight toothpick oaky character with a little bit of coconut, marshmallow and vanilla along with spicy and sweet bourbon notes.   As it warms, I'm picking up sweet and roasted malt as well as a bit of dark fruit.  Hints of chocolate cake, fig, dark cherry and other vinous berries. 

Fuller end of medium bodied with soft carbonation.  Really nice mouthfeel for the style.  Thick but not viscous with surprising crisp carbonation that really helps.  Again, the barrel presnce is really prominent with lots of bourbon flavor but it's not hot or overly boozy.  Sweet bourbon with some spicy rye along with dry, toasted oak, vanilla bean and some toasted coconut.  After the beer warms, I'm picking up more dark malt, spice and vinous fruit sweetness.  A little peppery spice and rye compliment the spirit flavors.  There's also some cherry and other dark berries along with some silky chooclate sweetness and subtle roast.  Still, this beer is a bit bourbon heavy but the lack of heat makes it pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of kevanb
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, 2011 vintage, poured into a Fremont snifter, generously provided by BA Bigelow.

The beer pours a deep cola brown color, murky and opaque, with a soapy head, bone colored, that rises about a finger high with moderate retention that yields no lace. The aroma is fairly complex and intriguing, lots of molasses and bourbon, soft toffee, oak, rich malts, light cocoa and a touch of stone fruit. The flavors are similar, molasses, bourbon, charred oak with a distinct chicory root flavor that brings out a bit of a cola flavor, stone fruit pops up nicely, and the grain character makes a nice, rich malt finish. The body is lively, carbonated, a bit thin but coats nicely and finishes easily.

Verdict: A nice Bourbon treated beer from Fremont. The chicory root flavor isn't my favorite, but the smooth and rich flavors are very nice, it's just a touch on the earthy side and it could use a bit more body. That being said I had no issue finishing a bomber of this.

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Photo of Tilley4
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to screamforme for sending this bottle of awesomeness my way sometime last year... I went camping last weekend and I saw this lurking in the back of my beer fridge and something told me it was time... that something was right...

This beer was amazing on all levels... I havent given a beer 5's across the board in a long time but this one deserved it... Oaky bourbon mixed with warm vanilla beans and smooth dark chocolate... hints of booze here and there... nice warm feeling in the belly after each sip... the bourbon isn't overdone here... its a key player but not a dominant force... the warm chocolate aspects really shine through and the nuances of the barrel make this a true delight to sip and enjoy... this beer made the campfire seem warmer, the friends seemed friendlier and I was happy as could be the entire time I was enjoying this. What more can one ask for in a beer?

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Photo of DaveRinn
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is the middle of summer and yet i'm drinking this awesome ale. Very strong at 11%, yet balanced and delicious. Very little head, and an intricate flavor pattern that changes as it watms and yet maintains the bourbon undertones. I love this beer and still have four left!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Label says 2011.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that doesn't retain long before reducing to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Pretty much no lacing as there's just a solid thin ring left behind on the glass.

S- Oaky, somewhat boozy aroma with little else coming through. Some caramel and molasses sweetness struggles to find its way past the wood and alcohol.

T- The taste is a different story. Wonderful chocolate flavors come through and play well off the bourbon notes creating a sweetness that's lovely. Vanilla, oak and caramel are all there as the slightly astringent aftertaste lets you know this baby's strong but there's barely any heat. I'm gonna have to be careful with this glass.

M- Creamy and slick with medium-low carbonation and a bold, hefty body.

O- This one kills it in the flavor category. Obviously, age has treated it well. Thank you SatlyMalty for dipping into your cellar to send me this dangerously tasty brew.

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Photo of tut2528
4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

lats night in Siesta Key... terrific vacation, finishing it off with this!

A: pours deep dark brown almost black with dark brown head formation that dissipates rather quickly.

S: as soon as the bottle was opened, i immediately got blasted with bourbon and chocolate. wow this is awesome. getting in closer, i pick up on an awesome sweet toffee, chocolate, bourbon, sweet dark fruits, caramel and an amazing vanilla creaminess that immediately gets the mouth salivating.

T: hot damn this is so fucking good! beautifully balanced beer between the chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. some alcohol heat is detectable, but its so inviting and the vanilla really blends nicely here.

M: full bodied, chewy, leaving a nice sugary film along with vanilla sweetness on the palate. some alcohol heat is felt along the upper gums and cheeks, but like the taste, its inviting.

O: damn this brew is so freaking good. and i will be always ISO for it. mouthfeel is everything that i want in a BBA brew. big thick, chewy, beautiful lingers sweetness that can cut out the alcohol heat. simply terrific.

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Photo of spicelab
3.89/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber shared with nicks6217. Reviewed from notes.

Choclolate brown with a minimal beige head that abates to a collar.

Liqourice, bark, nutmeg, port soaked raisins, redskins. Assertive barrel character and minimal sweetness.

Syrupy and full with surprisingly lively carbonation. Slightly biting booze with an odd tartness to finish.

Overall very nice. Restrained and untainted.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark chocolate brown with small off white head.

S - Tons of bourbon and vanilla with a slight malty presence to it

T - Bourbon and vanilla dominate up front. Lots of oak, brown sugar and caramel. Light chocolate aspect to it near the back end. Really a flavorful strong ale.

M - Thick and velvety smooth body. Light oak and alcohol in the finish.

O - Great flavorful beer with lots of vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. The amount of barrel in this one makes you understand why they call it B-Bomb.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml red waxed 2012 bomber poured into tulip 13/5/13, cheers Rutager for yet another gem

A quite black right out of the bottle, deep cola edge with a thin film of dense mocha foam leaves a single ring of lace, looks thick

S chocolate syrup, vanilla, fudge, woody whiskey is hard to miss , faint spice, molasses, and some dark fruits I can't quite place but I can't place some raisins and faint booze but nowhere near 11%, smells strong and sexy

T even more barrel and the booze is stronger too, still loads of chocolate and vanilla but not quite as much going on in the mouth compared to the nose, I'm not sure how much bourbon I'm getting but the wood is quite noticeable

M thick and silky with low carbonation and just a little heat, slight tannins and slightly sticky on the lips with chocolate fudge and whiskey lingering on the finish

O I could've gone a little higher in a few departments so slightly higher here to compensate, looks OK but solid else where, quite rich and thick with the booze kept in check for the most part

easy to drink for a big beer and I'm wishing I had another couple bottles to age as I could see this improving with some time behind it. well worth seeking out but grab one now and one for later

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Photo of Fux
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared with my beer buddy Pixieskid along with Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway while everyone was looking for him to go to his wedding ceremony. The best moments to be shared! Thanks Brandon!
A: Dark, opaque, almost no head at all. Some brown / mahogany glints come throughout the glass.
S: Nose on vanilla, coco, toasted and roasted malts, chocolate, dried fruits.
T: The palate shows much barrel flavors, with vanilla, courbon and alcohol. Also dried fruits, soaked fruits (grapes, figs and dates). Finishes on bitter chocolate.
M: The palate is smooth and oily.medium bodied but with a good carbonation, very easy to drink despite a detectable presence of alcohol.
O: Rich, complex, strong but easy to drink. Very pleasant.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, red wax, poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing this Ben!

A- Pours a super dark brown color, thin khaki head, recedes to a collar.

S- Lots of barrel character here, bourbon, which smells great, vanilla, and oak. There's also some chocolatey and caramel / brown sugar aromas from the base. Smells great.

T- More bourbon, dry oak, leather, the caramel and vanilla sweetness comes in towards the end. Nice amount of chocolate, molasses and subtle roasted malt.

M- Full-bodied, moderate to lowish carbonation, smooth, creamy feel.

O- A really tasty beer, the barrel flavors are sweet, rich, and just all-around delicious. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared thanks to Bigsexy410, thanks Ben!

Pours a beautiful nearly jet black body with some nice lacing and a ring of tan head.

great smell. Tons of bourbon barrel in this beer, balanced nicely to the malt in the base beer. nice alcohol sweetness and complexity, its very warming and inviting for winter weather. brown sugar, oak, etc, all good stuff.

the taste is really nice, hits the right notes in terms of the leather, bourbon, oak vanilla, super big sweet dessert with lots of character. Feel is also well bodied and carbonated (not very carbonated, but I like that in strong ales), for the style.

Overall a very pleasant beer.

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Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brewpub draft, 2011 release

a: served in a small chalice, essentially black in color, sporting a lasting ring of tan carbonation

s: rich barrel sugars, bourbon vanilla, booze soaked wood, semisweet chocolate and rich roasts, toffee, pine hops, hugely complex, pretty great

m: carbonation low to moderate, smooth, with a slick, full body

t: loaded with bourbon barrel supplied vanilla over a body of black, smooth roasted malt carrying loads of dark and semisweet chocolate notes, sweet toffee and caramelized wood sugars, moderate pine hops, long lingering, delicious

o: a big fan of this one, almost running into stout territory, but more towards the balance of rich sugars and bourbon/vanilla with some chocolate accompaniment that roast-focused

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Photo of Rutager
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle.

Appearance. Pours a thick looking deep dark brown with a half finger of tan head.

Smell. Sweet and very woody bourbon, vanilla and maple, with some molasses and chocolate.

Taste. Dark chocolate, nice smooth and very woody bourbon, vanilla and a bit of molasses, Really nice.

Mouthfeel. Full body but not heavy, medium-low smooth carbonation.

Overall. A fantastic bourbon stout. Really diggin' this one and a perfect way to start a 4 day weekend!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel DC for the bottle share. Vintage 2012. From notes.

A nice dark walnut brown body with a faint tan collar, some nice mahogany brown edges along the sides of the glass underneath.

Nose has milk chocolate, and a big candy malted whoppers feeling. Lost of milky powder sensations, Nestle Quik with a hint of mild caramel like sensations.

Palate continues the milky sweetness, and even some dense milk chocolate comes out. Faint mild roast but a good sense of playful carbonation. Carbonation hints at some Coca Cola like sweetness.

An interesting take and result for a barrel aged brew. Fun one to drink also, and very easy drinking also.

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Photo of bum732
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Hugh bourbon, maple syrup and maltiness. Very intense, fairly strong barrel character.

L: Thick, very dark brown, boarding on black. Light tan head that dissipates.

T: Intense maltiness bordering on roastiness and peanut butter? Low bitterness with a prominent bourbon barrel character mixing with the rich maltiness with just a touch of roast. Finishes with some barrel and toasted marshmallow. Fairly dry finish. Lots of dark fruits as it warms.

M: Medium full body, medium carbonation.

Phenomenal. Intense maltiness and barrel flavors without being too sweet. Just amazing overall.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Carleton - thanks dude! Served in a Russian River tulip. I think this was the most recent vintage?

A - Tan foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and spotty lace. Body is a near-black, dark cola brown color.

S - This smells like bourbon barrel-aged Dr. Pepper. Mix of oak, bourbon, cola, cherries, dark fruits, caramel, perhaps a hint of spice and sarsparilla. It's a bit hot and heavy on the oak, but otherwise it's quite nice.

T - The taste is quite similar, with a heavy cola and spice note in the finish. Bourbon overwhelms, but with notes of chocolate, black cherry, caramel, and vanilla. Oak isn't quite as heavy here, which is appreciated.

M - A tad thin, with a flat soda kind of vibe going on. Medium-bodied, a bit watery, lower carbonation, but otherwise smooth and creamy.

D - Interesting stuff. It's definitely a 'winter' ale and somewhat hard to peg style-wise. A bit more heft and spritz would do this wonders, but it's still pretty enjoyable. I'd have this again, although I don't know if I'd go out of my way to trade for it in the future.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to whomever brought this one to the tasting! Pours a dark brown, might as well call this one black, topped off with a light-tan colored head that doesn't stick around for too long. The nose is full of bourbon and oak with an underlying, woody-vanilla sweetness. Some lighter tones of cocoa, toasted caramel, and sticky molasses. Labeled as a "strong ale" but this could easily pass as an English barleywine.

Creamy and silky bourbon is the first thing to hit the palate, and it comes off as more of a sweet bourbon flavor than a harsh one. Light plums and dark cherries lead the forefront of the fruits, playing atop the hefty malt backbone, complete with molasses, caramel, and some other sweet and syrupy flavors, maybe even a bit of burnt brown sugar. I start to pick up some dark and bittersweet cocoa flavors as this one goes on, too. Woody and oaky with a nice helping of wet bark in the aftertaste, right alongside the warm bourbon flavor. Silky and creamy on the palate, heavy bodied and lightly carbonated.

Devilishly smooth and easily drinkable, complete with the traditional flavors you'd expect from a BBA barleywine, though it's labeled as a "strong ale". Creamy bourbon and oak, along with a unique bittersweet cocoa flavor that comes into play.

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Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 999 ratings.
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