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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 1up
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of Mike
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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 jmgrub
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of MIA4IPA
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of BKArmstrong
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of bobhits
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of AllanC
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of AgentZero
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of beerman999999
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of JasonHast
4.87/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

I love bourbon almost as much as I like beer... The smell alone made me want to smack someone. After snorting the aroma for say 45 seconds, I slammed that first gulp down and the taste was everything I could have wished for. Dark, rich and full bodied... just like my wife likes her men. This is a perfect beer to slip on while having a cigar. I need to find more!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 2,553 characters

Photo of kevanb
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz bottle poured into a Microbrasserie Le Naufrageur chalice.

This beer pours a deep black color, a bit thinner in texture than I'd expect, intensely opaque with no head, just a few loose bubbles that vanish instantly, no lacing. The aroma is very barrel heavy, bourbon, molasses, toffee, oak, dark stone fruits with some rich dark grain. I was skeptical of this beer after the pour which was somewhat disappointing but the aroma is really wonderful. The flavors are nice but the body is weak, as expected from the pour, and it really detracts from the experience. The barrel is much more muted in on the tongue, stone fruits are more dominant, cherry and plum, chocolate, molasses and some oak and sweet alcohol. The body is just so disappointingly thin, it still does coat the mouth well, which is one saving grace and does help the flavors come across better.

Verdict: This one was a miss for me, the weak body really hurt this beer. The flavors aren't potent enough on their own to come across without the support of the lively carbonation. The aroma is spectacular but the rest of this beer literally falls flat. There is a lot of potential here and I'd be very interested to try the other variants.

 1,211 characters

Photo of FrankShirley
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of ngeunit1
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a hint of brown, finger of frothy chocolate-khaki head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Oak, vanilla, Bourbon, dark caramel and chocolate malts, dark fruit, coffee, Belgian yeast, a bit of spices, some booze.

T - Dark caramel and chocolate malts, dark fruits, vanilla, oak, Bourbon, Belgian yeast, spices, touch of black licorice, coffee, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Amazing balance. The Van Winkle barrels add some great depth and complexity to the beer.

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Photo of TotallyHosed
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge tan head forms on top of dark brown liquid that does not allow any light to pass. The head takes its time to recede into a splotchy veil. Some light lacing is left on the glass.

The nose has quite a bit going on. I can smell the funk of the base beer, toasted oak, dark chocolate and alcohol.

The flavor is slightly more complex than the nose. I get the same funk of the base beer, followed by alcohol, then finishes with dark chocolate, toasted wood and grain, and vanilla.

The feel is thin with some carbonation. The brew does coat the mouth with toasted grain flavor.

Overall this is a decent experiment. The barrel seems to overpower a bit. For the flavors that are found in this brew, the feel needs to be thicker. The toasted wood and grain flavors really rescue this beer. My biggest complaint is the price. Of the series, I highly recommend Stateside.

 870 characters

Photo of smokeypeat
2.83/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Was glad to finally find a bottle of this as I generally like Stillwater beers, and I love PvW.

Pours a deep dark brown bordering on black. Initial dark coffee colored head disappears quickly. Seems to have low carbonation.

Smell is bourbon forward. Alcohol, dark roast, lot of oak woodiness, slight coconut, but none of it is "shining" through, it's just sort of there.

Taste is mediocre. Base beer is not strong enough for the bourbon. It really is just a watered down bourbon beer. The pappy character that I've found stands out in other beers aged in those barrels is not present here at all. More like an Old Grand Dad bourbon flavor than Pappy if that makes sense.

Mouthfeel is where I think this beer gets dragged down a lot. This beer is bordering on flat after it sits in the glass for awhile. Very thin and watery. I get that this is not a stout, but whatever the base beer is simply not up to the task of carrying the bourbon.

Overall one of my bigger disappointments this year. I really wanted to like this beer, and perhaps my expectations were too high. I factor $$ into reviews as well, and when a 12.7 oz bottle cost $15 it needs to deliver better than avg in my mind. Unfortunately this beer does not and I can't recommend it. Pick up other Stillwater to try as I don't think this beer is a good representation of what you typically get.

 1,361 characters

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of TheBeerologist
2.83/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a CBS snifter

Pours a translucent black with a 1/2 finger khaki head

Smells strongly of bourbon - a bit of dark fruit and roastiness behind the booze, but the base is hard to detect

Taste as well is over the top bourbon for me. No base beer here - just a carbonated watery glass of bourbon.

Light to medium bodied and smooth, this is nicely carbonated.

This beer is all about the barrel - almost seems like it wasn't anywhere near empty when the beer was put it the barrel. This is one of my least favorite barrel aged beers I've had - mostly because the beer is almost nonexistent. Can't complain about the bourbon though!

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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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