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Folklore - The Tale Of Van Winkle | Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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Folklore - The Tale Of Van WinkleFolklore - The Tale Of Van Winkle
Very Good
67 Ratings
Folklore - The Tale Of Van WinkleFolklore - The Tale Of Van Winkle

Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Maryland, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Huhzubendah on 08-17-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle pour for Best Damn Night Of The Barrels held at The Beer Company in San Diego, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cocoa, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell and some tasty flavors.

 595 characters

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Easily seduced by the mere mention of anything Pappy Van Winkle, I'm expecting greatness from the utilization of the strong base of toast, pepper, and fruit of Stillwater's base Folklore ale being all nestled into those charming bourbon barrels.

Like any in the Folklore series, the beer pours with a billowing pour that nearly topples the snifter with foam. Tan in color, the head erupts from the dark brown beer beneath and holds with firm withstanding retention and intricate lace on the glass. Dark and hazy, the beer's demeanor speaks Belgium, where the color says stout.

Bourbon and toast mingle in the nose in the most sultry and saturated scent. Hedging on roast character, the heavy char of bread, coffee, chestnut, and tart berries pull from the supple molasses malt notes and give the beer a dryish scent. Seared wood, campfire and peppercorn notes pronounce as the bourbony nose of caramel, coconut, vanilla, cherry, vinous red wine, dry oak, and char also rise in complement.

Flavors follow that of aromas. Hard candy sweetness of molasses, root beer, and chicory lay a foundation of creamy sweetness that paves the way for the fruit esters of grilled dark fruit- blackberry, cherry, plumb, and currant and then the peppery balance of fresh ground peppercorn, vinous wine-like tartness, and peat. Deliciously smooth already, the barrel complements of rich and sweet bourbon- with all its carmelly glory, vanilla, coconut, cherries, red grape, charred oak, and faint must. The beer aspects continue to fade as the bourbon attributes grow greater into a prolonged finish that's surprisingly drinkable.

Medium-full in body, the mind want a richer and bolder texture, but the Belgian dryness and efforvesence instead pulls the beer off the tongue and ushers in a drier notion much quicker than the palate has a chance for exploration. As the beer continues to lighten, the bourbon flavor resonates in finish with alcohol heat, spicy tannin, and light powdery mouthfeel.

As the gold standard of the Folklore experiments, this is Stillwater's crowning achievement. It's a masterfully crafted ale to start and the employment of the bourbon barrels are executed to perfection. Although the elegant bourbon complexities ring true, the taste didn't exalt the signatures of Pappy Van Winkle in the way that a few other beers have. Instead, the beer could have employed a lot of different bourbon barrels and would have gotten the same or similar flavor. It's that thumbprint in taste that makes Pappy so desirable, and that's simply lacking here.

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Photo of oline73
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque dark brown color with some red at the edges where the light hits the pour. There is a half finger of tan head that fades to a small layer on top of the pour.

Smell: There is a lot of bourbon here. Some dark fruit and a smokey note. I'm getting some pepper from the bourbon and some heat from the alcohol.

Taste: The bourbon definitely dominates this beer. Not a ton going on underneath. Peppery bourbon with some smoke and peat. There is some heat from the alcohol in the finish. There is also some dark fruit in the background.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This reminded me of watered down bourbon. The bourbon was the star, and it is really good. I enjoyed this beer, but I wouldn't want to buy another given the price.

 862 characters

Photo of largadeer
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.94/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle split with Amyliz4 and yourefragile at Of Love & Regret last night. Served in stemware. Pours nearly ink-jet black with a few bubbles of a head that quickly recede. The nose carries loads of whiskey. It’s a nice whiskey, but there’s nothing else really below it. I wouldn’t be able to say whether the base was a black saison, imperial stout, or whatever else had I not already known. The same goes for the flavor. Body is a bit hot, but not beyond the 8.4%. Overall, this really just tastes like watered down whiskey with a bit of carbonation. I think this could have turned out much better if it were blended back quite a bit.

 640 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apparently, this is a different beer than the bourbon barrel Folklore, as the label specifically cites the Pappy Van Winkle barrels.

The beer is dark brown with a viscous beige head that leaves ample lacing on the wine glass. The aroma offers roast, oak, bourbon. The flavor brings a silky smooth bourbon character with mild roast and a touch of chocolate. A nice bready character is in there as well. Really easy drinking with an outstanding feel on the palate. Hard to go wrong with PVW barrels. A nice offering from Stillwater.

 533 characters

Photo of stakem
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to BA wishuwerebeer for sharing this with me. 375ml bottle into a tulip. A rough pour yields a black brew with skimpy head formation. A few bubbles are swirled out and that produces a few spots of lace on the glass. Around the edges some dark brown clarity is noted.

The nose of this beer is all about the barrel treatment. It smells of coconut and oak before turning to sulfur and cheese. A hint of coffee and roasty grain essence is mild mingled with a bourbon fortified scent of alcohol. If you removed the barrel aging, whats left in the glass is dull and forgettable without any distinct stylistic character.

The taste is somewhat bitter like the roasted char quality of the grain. A mild hint towards something coffee-like coupled with oak, bourbon, coconut and burnt caramel to vanilla. The aftertaste has a somewhat nutty flavor about it that is grainy before transitioning to just a dull flavoring of booze.

This is a medium bodied brew with a very low level of carbonation. A bit boozy and overall just lacking. It is one of the most basic, plain and lackluster brews I have had in a long time. Even with the special pvw treatment, this brew was boring. If I paid $15 for this small format bottle, I would be livid. This brew is a shining example of simply aging a beer in a pappy barrel does not make magic. Im surprised by the favorable reviews before me...

 1,383 characters

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of MasterSki
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Tan foam settles to a wisp, partial cap, solid collar, and specks of lace. Very dark brown body.

S - Massive bourbon and oak presence, with some vanilla as well. There's a hint of char and anise in the background. Once you get back the aggressive barrel presence, there's a solid beer in here, but the oak is harsh and heavy-handed.

T - The taste is significantly better, with more vanilla than oak, light touches of chocolate and dark fruit, and only some moderate bourbon flavor. Improves as it warms, with a nice fudge flavor coming out. Drinks more like a stout than a Belgian, as I don't get any overt yeast flavors.

M - Thin-bodied, with moderate carbonation. Smooth texture, but a somewhat hot and boozy finish. Undersized to begin with or aged too long; not sure which.

D - The nose is rough and the body is thin, but the taste is pretty enjoyable. Hard to justify at the premium price, but not completely lacking in positive qualities. Dial back the bourbon and oak about 30% and this might be quite excellent.

 1,093 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of John_M
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Max's the other day. One of only two sixtels, according to Casey at Max's.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with almost no head or lacing to speak of. The beer appears to be practically still, something I was not expecting. Don't get a lot on the nose initially (the beer was served VERY cold), but as it warmed, I picked up an attractive aroma of dark chocolate, light vanilla, light bourbon and a hint of underlying spice. As the beer warmed some more, I picked up a slightly nutty sherry aroma as well, that was attractive (there seemed to be something of an oxidized component to this beer). Alas, this was to be as good as things would get with this beer. Upon tasting this beer, my immediate reaction was WTF!!! The beer tasted flat, and not in a good way (it had all the hallmarks of a beer that had been left out sitting too long), with a thin mouthfeel and short finish. Given the abv., I was surprised by how light and simple the flavor profile was. While I got some chocolate, vanilla and bourbon, the flavors tended to fade very quickly, and it just seemed as if something was missing from this beer. On the bright side, the alcohol seemed pretty well integrated into the flavor profile.... no one would call this beer hot or heavy. Also, aside from something of an oxidized, old aged ale flavor to this beer as it warmed, I picked up a light sour component as well. This beer is just odd.

Like a lot of folks at Max's this past Sunday, this beer was the primary reason I came down at 10:00 in the morning. I knew it would be expensive (that goes with the territory with Stillwater beers, especially the barrel aged ones), but I was hoping the beer would be so special, it would be worth it ($10 for a 6 ounce pour at Max's). So to say I was a bit disappointed in this beer would be an understatement. Very, very glad I didn't purchase any bottles of this stuff (they were available at Max's for $20 for an 11.2 ounce bottle).

 1,956 characters

Photo of yourefragile
2.58/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I've held off on reviewing this until I had a few samples for reasons that will become obvious. Tried a bottle at Of Love and Regret, at my residence and on draft at Maxs.

Pours a still, opaque dark black with minimal tan head. Looks like a stout. Smells like bourbon and... bourbon. Tastes like a glass of bourbon on the rocks that has been sitting around for two hours. Literally, no trace of the base beer in any sample I've had of this, just straight up, watery bourbon. Held off reviewing after the first two bottle samples, but this on draft today was actually more disappointing than the bottles were. The JD version of Folklore (that was sold in 750s) was infinitely more interesting and enjoyable than this was. Get a grip everyone. Aging in PvW barrels does not automatically make something amazing.

 810 characters

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Axnjxn
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cosmicevan
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

tremendous thank you to bmur112 for helping me get a taste of this. enjoyed from my stillwater wine glass.

a - deep purple pour with a light coffee colored head. semi creamy head that hung out for a while and slowly dissolved to a thin skin. lacing is full and clings to the glass and links to the surface.

s - creamy rich milky chocolate. vanilla and soft wood. more chocolate and stouty than BSDA. really clean and creamy though.

t - interesting. kind of a dance of plum raisin and BSDA flavorings and rich gourmet creamy chocolate. some nuttiness. although tasty and easy to drink i find myself wishing that the base beer was a stout.

m - the mouth is just velvet. really super silky. pretty boozy as well.

o - overall, this beer kind of seems to be undergoing an identity crisis. i don't know if this beer in these barrels really works. i would think that this beer would do really nice in rum barrels instead. the barrel definitely imparts a chocolatey creaminess but on a BSDA? seems like an interesting idea to play with, but sadly the results aren't really worth chasing down. it is definitely a treat and an interesting taste, but the barrel was wasted on this beer.

 1,180 characters

Photo of drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is black with creamy tan head. Nose is milky chocolate, notes wood and and some alcohol, fruity behind, pappy starts to come out as it warms. Taste is more wood and booze forward, dark malt, milk chocolate, faintly chalky. Lighter on the fruit but all in the back. Well integrated and rather different. Good stuff.

 319 characters

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Folklore - The Tale Of Van Winkle from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 67 ratings
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