Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
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Stout - American
4.07 | pDev: 15.48%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by yourefragile. Thanks Michael.

Served alongside Earl.

Gusher! Upon settling, the beer appears dark brown with a lasting tan head. Aromas include oak, bourbon. Coffee presence is minimal in the nose. Ok flavor. Nothing off putting. A bit bland, but hey, this beer is getting old. Some distant port / sherry notes attributed to age. Light oxidation. Regardless of the current status, a treat. Fun to try.

Aug 10, 2014
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Skrip from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle poured into a Craft Gear snifter.

A~ black as night, with a slight tan head and a little bit of lacing. very inviting!

S~ tons of bourbon sweetness, dark malts and not much else...

T~ alright i'm glad it opened up! i can't believe the coffee still has a huge presence! huge bourbon sweetness up front, followed by charred coffee, bitter dark chocolate, then slight oatmeal comes smashing through the bourbon wall of death, and vanilla caramel sweetness on the finish. this remind me of a perfectly aged KBS. mmm..!

M~ nicely carbonated, extremely smooth, and the thickness really plays its part but its not overkill, thats for sure!

O~ one of the best BA stouts i've ever had! once again the balance and complexity shines. the vanilla that comes from the bourbon adds such a nice aspect to the charred coffee flavor. its like the perfect balance of a vintage Bourbon County and a KBS. holy shit get a bottle right now!

Jun 23, 2013
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Jeffo from Netherlands

1.81/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Got this bottle from jedwards a while back. Cheers for the trade man, and thanks again for all the cool HF bottles. These guys are slowly becoming one of my favorite stout/porter brewers in the USA.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: This one slowly started to foam out after opening. A brown pour yields a huge, four finger, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Transparent bistre brown in color, almost black, and no carbonation evident. Head is massive, but eventually fades to a rocky, foamy, bubbly thick cap and leaves some chunky lacing down the sides. A half bubbly wisp remains and leaves lots of bubbly lacing down the glass. The foaming and massive head make this one look infected.

SMELL: Definitely smells infected as well. First wiff is tart cherries and vinegar. Yikes. After a few more wiffs, there is a touch of bourbon and oak in there, as well as a light hint of cocoa powder. Still, this smells tart, which is never a good thing for this style.

TASTE: Sour and tart as well. Some roasted malts and a touch of cocoa in there, as well as oak, vanilla and bourbon from the barrel aging, but there is definitely a sour and acidic flavor that dominates it all. Tart cherries and vinegar accompany a touch of bourbon, oak anf light bitter coffee in the bold and lingering aftertaste. This is 100% infected. Unfortunate.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry. Some acidity definitely lingers.

OVERALL: Can't imagine this was the point. While it calmed a little as it sat, this bottle is clearly infected, which is very disappointing to say the least. HF has been nothing but phenomenal so far, what with BoT, Damon, and Daybreak being spectacular, so ignoring this little blip will be easy. Be wary of searching this one out. Drain pour. Cheers again for the trade jedwards. The rest of the beers were world class.

Jun 07, 2012
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle shared with Adam and Jeff.

Near black with a light tan head that fades to a thin collar with minimal lacing. Roasty, slightly acidic, burnt coffee aroma with mild bourbon barrel sweetness. Flavor is fairly light, dominated by roast and stale coffee with a mild, sweet vanilla, molasses and bourbon finish. Smooth, medium bodied, light carbonation. I enjoy regular Earl much more than this iteration of the BA version as the barrel doesn't seem to be very well integrated with the beer.

Nov 23, 2011
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IdrinkGas from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a BIF and couldn't wait to crack it open. 500ml bottle into a LA tulip.

Typical deep dark black with a large off white head that didn't stick around long. Lacing was gone pretty quick as well.

Burnt oak, coffee, bourbon, smokey & roasty notes.

Some coffee up front then the bourbon takes over. Finishes with chocolate and oak.
I like the bourbon flavor of this one. You get the flavor of the bourbon without the usual heat.

Medium body. Creamy mouthfeel but the carbonation helps it not feel too thick.

Nov 12, 2011
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not being a coffee fan, I was approaching this one with mixed feelings,thinking it would be the least favourite of 3 HF I received. This was not the case at all. Tremendous intergration of coffee and barrel. As good an aroma as is possible with these ingrediants. Big soapy head on extreme dark brown body, three-eighths of an inch retained soapy head. Thick lace. Full mouthfeel, satisfying. Tremedously drinkable rich coffee and canila and some bourbon. Not too boozy.Absolute masterpiece. One of the better beers I have had in a long time.
Thanks Steve S.

Sep 15, 2011
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rvdoorn from Netherlands

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thnx to channan for this one!
Look: the beer pours a deep black with a nice thick head
Smell: Coffee and espresso. Roasted malts, chocolate and some bourbon
Taste: Nice bitter roasted coffee, with some hints of sweet chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Aftertaste is bitter coffee and oak
Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation
Overall: Nice beer full of fresh coffee.

Aug 14, 2011
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cosmicevan from New York

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed this at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 alongside flora and art.

dark with a mocha head, standard looking. deep rich coffee smell with great roasted malts. the bourbon is not in the smell at all. however, the bourbon comes out to play in the taste, but doesn't feel like great bourbon is in there. The roasted coffee and chocolate are nice, but I feel that the barrel aging detracts from this one (i'd love to give regular earl a whirl). the taste is good, but not great. the coffee shines through nicely. the mouth is smooth and good. overall this is a nice brew, the barrel hurts it in my mind. but the base beer seems like it is fantastic.

Aug 08, 2011
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woosterbill from Kentucky

3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a proper Hill Farmstead wine glass.

A: Fully black, opaque body with a nice solid finger of fine light-brown head; ok retention, light lace. Solid, but uninspiring.

S: A little understated, but very interesting: bourbon, raw oak, coconut, coffee, vanilla. Nice balance of barrel + coffee.

T: Vanilla, caramel, coffee, and raw oak. Some more oak + booze on the finish. Quite tasty, but the bourbon isn't too present and the finish is a bit sharp.

M: Sticky, moderately carbonated, medium body. Ok.

O: This was an enjoyable beer, but I certainly expected more from a bourbon barrel aged coffee stout from one of the hottest breweries in the country; this really could have used some more heft, as I don't think 8% is quite enough to stand up to both a coffee addition and barrel aging. Make it 11% or so and I bet it would be phenomenal.


Jul 28, 2011
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ColForbinBC from New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter
Big thanks to Jebus3513 for this one

Pours an ink black with a large, fluffy, tan head, which, considering the barrel aging, was a welcome sight. Excellent retention and loads of lace along the glass.

Bitter dark roast coffee grounds and dark chocolate dominate the nose with layers of bourbon, toasted oak and vanilla round everything out.

The dark coffee grounds are leading the charge as the bitterness lingers. Bourbon, toasted oak and light vanilla take a bit of a back seat while the bitter coffee, oats and licorice take over the palate. I am a little disappointed in the barrel aging, as it never really presents itself as a force.

Medium body, lacking in some overall heft, but still smooth and creamy. Carbonation is on point.

Overall this is a nice oatmeal stout with some interesting things going on, but it never fully won me over. I like the barrel aging, but it such a small component of the big picture it almost gets lost in the shuffle.

Jul 26, 2011
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on my phone back in March. I'm not 100% sure this is the right place for this review but it seems most fitting. This was an unlabeled bomber described by Shaun as being Earl aged in Utopias barrels. (Which technically I guess could have previously been a bourbon barrel.)

The pour yields a dark brown almost black colored brew with a rich tan head. When held to the light, some clarity and lighter brown hues show around the edges. The cap that hangs tight to the walls of the glass. A light swirl revives the strength of the cap back to nearly a finger.

The smell of this brew includes fresh coffee, minor notes of anise to black liquirish, bourbon and woodsy fresh barrel presence that is quite oaky. Despite the barrel presence in this brew it is fresh and toasty from a combination of the roasted grains and coffee inclusion.

The taste is dark roadted malt slightly astringent. Bold, fusel alcohol inclusion. Some coffee comes across less aggressive than indicated in the aroma. This brew is very woodsy just like the aroma hints towards but without the smooth vanilla character that sometimes is present. Overall very roasty which imparts a pleasant bitterness. Quite enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation imparting a smooth, easy drinking feel. As it warms up, it develops and becomes very deep and interesting with the coffee, bitter
chocolate and barrel aging notes blending together. This brew tasted a little hotter than the listed 8% but there was no issue emptying the glass. I'd like to try this again sometime.

Jul 05, 2011
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Reagan1984 from Massachusetts

3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to BearsonAcid for providing this in a trade a couple months back.

Pours with a 2 finger tan head that stays for a while, then vanishes almost in an instant. Funny how quickly it went once it decided to exit the scene. The beer is a dull dark brown with just a hint of light getting through at the edge. Only a spot of lacing.

Aroma is nice. Bourbon & coffee dominate with lots of straight wood notes and a touch of alcohol. Seems to be coming from the bourbon vs. the beer itself.

Coffee (unsweetened) a shot of wood (oak) and a hint of bourbon. More bourbon aroma than flavor. Interesting. A touch of sweetness would have made all the difference here. Rather dry finish. Roasty coffee comes back late.

Prickly dry carbonation. Medium body.. I would have expected the oatmeal to provide a little more softness in the mouth feel.

This is a pretty good beer, but I was hoping for a little more. A touch of sweetness and a slightly more rounded mouth feel would have been nice.

Jun 25, 2011
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brokensail from California

3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Unlabeled bottle courtesy of Todd.

A: Pours almost black in color with a couple fingers of off-white head.

S: Lots of coffee and coffee grounds on the aroma. Some dark chocolate and roast with only a little bit of oak/barrel. Maybe a hint of acidity from the roast. Faintly sweet, too.

T: The coffee flavor is quite strong on the palate, too. A bit more chocolate and roast than were present on the nose, and a more pronounced oak and vanilla flavor. Not too much spirit character.

M: Medium on both body and carbonation.

O: A pretty decent stout, but it didn't blow me away.

Jun 21, 2011
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jrallen34 from Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to spycow...Dark brown with a light tan head, very light and watery... Aroma is all ground coffee, a bit too much, light molasses and cream come through... Taste is a bit light, but better balanced, chocolate and light bourbon on the front, a bit of coffee on the finish... A little too light... Nothing special but I’d have again

Jun 14, 2011
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GoGriz from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at the 1st Anniversary Celebration.

Lots of head after a non-vigorous pour. Lots of lacing left on the glass. Dark cola color.

Smell is fantastic. Coffee is super dominant and leads way to a semi sweet chocolate scent. Exactly what I want in the scent of a coffee stout.

Taste is also coffee dominant with vanilla shadowing the back-end of the flavor. Not much bourbon just the oak. Some soft bitterness lingers afterward. After letting this beer warm, I got more chocolate and a little more of a dynamic flavor out of this beer. A little one-dimensional for me to give this an overly glowing taste review but it tastes as the style would lead you to believe.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking.

Overall, this beer is more or less as advertised but I have come to expect near perfection from Shaun so this is a tiny bit of a letdown.

Jun 08, 2011
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AgentZero from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotta love it when your wife agrees to drive part of your 14 hour trip home from Maryland so you can do beer reviews (from notes of course). Props to spycow aka Chris for hooking this up.

A - Black beer that turned brownish/reddish with a a brownish head that faded to a tight ring.

S - A lot of burnt and roasted coffee notes without any lactic sugar or sweetness to "mocha" it. If someone didn't tell me this was bourbon barrel ages I probably would have missed it as it's not particularly strong and the coffee is dominating. I do like strong coffee beers though.

T - Bourbon is more present in the taste than on the nose. Some barrelly oak and vanilla with lots of ground coffee. It's kind of on the nose, but still pretty good.

M - Pretty smooth, with lower carbonation on a medium bodied beer.

O - Nice beer, coffee enthusiasts will love it, there's enough going on that even those who aren't a huge fan of it will find stuff to pick out.

May 29, 2011
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rtepiak from Poland

4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


a well blended porter with a balance of coffee, english mineral notes, chocolate and coffee. coffee is added. a firm but not excessive and dominating amount. looks as it should with a nice head. solid nose of bourbon vanilla... and hints of tobacco notes. palate of bourbon warmth, tobacco, coffee. nice and cream but not an elixir... the accent is turned by the bourbon-izatioin. not a word but populate. a different act but something that is smooth which counts a lot in this case.

May 27, 2011
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Sean9689 from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris for this one! Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, light tan-colored head, thick collar, spotty lacing.

S - Huge coffee grinds, slight bourbon note, roast, some chocolate. Lots of coffee (obviously) from the nose mixed in with the roast...reminds me of waking up in the morning to my coffee maker.

T - More bourbon then the nose and less coffee, which I prefer. A smooth roasty character that when combined with the bourbon, makes the coffee subtle and more enjoyable. Some oak and earth notes in there as well. Very smooth.

M - Medium, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I wish there was a bit more bourbon in this one, but I didn't have the regular version to compare it with. However, I really enjoyed this coffee stout and would love to try the regular version side-by-side. Enjoyable.

May 16, 2011
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

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

Bottle courtesy of Chris. Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving wisps on top and spotty lacework. Black body with a glint of red-brown at the fringes.

S - Coffee, wood, charred malts, dark chocolate, and oaky vanilla that emerges as it warms up. Whiskey character is present but fairly mild - is this one of those re-purposed Utopias barrels?

T - Taste seems more bourbon/spirit forward, and also has more chocolate sweetness. Less char and coffee ground character than the aroma for sure, but still plenty of oak and vanilla.

M - Body is a bit light for the speculated ~9%. Carbonation is medium-low and quite pleasant, and the texture is quite smooth and creamy as oatmeal is wont to do. Lightly tannic finish that evokes barrels and coffee grounds.

D - It's an extremely well-executed barrel-aged coffee stout, and its indicative of the overall quality that comes out of Shaun Hill's workshop. I had a similar beer from Rock Bottom - Chicago a few weeks ago and this is a definite step up. Would gladly have again in the future.

May 15, 2011
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to sisuspeed for opening yet another Hill Farmstead bottle at the Rosso release. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours nearly black with a nice tan head that sticks around for a bit before falling into a nice collar. The nose immediately brings some nice bourbon as well as some chocolate. The oak plays in very well and adds a bit of a vanilla character. Slight roast in the background. The flavor is an excellent mixture of bourbon, chocolate, oak, and mild roast. Really well blended. Hard to beieve this is such a young beer. Mouthfeel is incredible smooth with moderate carbonation. Another fantastic brew from Shaun. Thanks again, John.

Apr 20, 2011
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Verecund from Texas

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black (with the tiniest bit of mahogany hues at the edge of the glass) with one finger of mocha head that recedes to a thick lens. Lacing is thin, but dense.

Lovely espresso nose. Rich fudge, roasted malts that evoke the tiniest bit of charred oak, and a pungent sweet bourbon and vanilla aroma à la KBS. Coffee through and through.

Opens with roasted coffee beans, along with a caramel nuttiness found in espresso roasted beans and burnt toast. The barrel contributes a nice bit of spiciness mid-palate furthered by an earthy and spicy bitterness on the finish - finally, the coffee peeks through once more on the tail end of the finish. It's warming.

Quite dry. Lower carbonation (unlike most HF beers, it falls a little flat here), Earl is creamy and medium-bodied.

Definitely a different beast than most coffee stouts. It has little of the sweet bourbon typical for such stouts. I like this, but I'm not in love with it.

Apr 08, 2011
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sisuspeed from New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass. Large, creamy, mocha head. The body is pitch black. Waves of lacing left behind. Looks great.

Sweet, boozy bourbon and coffee on the nose. Light oak and vanilla mix with chocolate cake and dark roasted malts. The bourbon is well balanced.

Coffee, chocolate, bourbon and vanilla wash across the tongue. Nice oak presence throughout. This is quite tasty. Great mix of flavors. The barrel presence is heavier on Earl than Everett, which I like.

Mouthfeel is super smooth as usual. Soft and creamy. Carbonation is spot on. Wish it was a tad thicker, but that's a fairly minor complaint.

Overall, this is another excellent beer from the Hill Farmstead. Goes down way too easily. The bourbon shines through well without being overdone and there's lots of chocolate. A great after dinner drink and highly quaffable, which could be dangerous. Glad I have a few more of these.

Apr 02, 2011
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Gtreid from Florida

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another rarity opened by urwithdave during stout night.

A: Black with reddish hues around the edge. What head does appear fades rather quickly.

A: Big roasted malts with hints of chocolate and coffee. Bourbon barrels bring the typical vanilla and caramel notes.

T: Barrel is not overpowering, I still am able to pick up on the nuiances of the base stout. Chocolate and coffee with roasted malts. Vanilla, caramel, and a nice earthy profile as well. Finishes dry, with a noticable alcohol heat.

M: HF does a nice job with their barrel aging, again, this is not oily and slick. Heavy body.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is nice for a brew like this. Overall, I thought this was one of the highlights of the night that included some fantastic brews. Well done HF. Skal.

Mar 15, 2011
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SFLpunk from Vermont

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL brown glass pry-top bottle. Opened at about 55 degrees from the cellar.

Pours a moderate black with some creamy light tan colored head.

Nose is all about spicy whiskey and charred oak. Some graham cracker, maybe a hint of aged vanilla beans, and coffee grounds.

Palate medium bodied and crisp with coffee. Fairly dry for a bourbon-barrel-aged stout. Toasty, roasty notes aplenty. Carbonation is creamy and low, true to the HF style. I like it a lot in this beer.

Notes: The bourbon flavors here are really well integrated and are more spicy than sweet, more about toasted wood than vanilla. This version seems drier than the draft standard Earl I had the other night at the Farmhouse event.

Mar 07, 2011
Earl (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 63 ratings