Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #9
Ranked #159
4.52 | pDev: 8.19%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Notes: Damon (1993-2004) The time spent with loved ones, now lost, seems to affect our mind and body perpetually: memories happen upon us, unsuspectingly, and bring about tears of fond remembrance. Damon was our brother – devout and patient in an age of busyness and distraction. In his honor, we crafted and conditioned this Imperial Stout in bourbon barrels from our favorite distillery. We still reflect, daily, upon our Damon and his scruffy chin of grey – of his loyalty and his love.

Aged in Blanton's bourbon barrels.
Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 832 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps from Oregon

4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 28 March 2018, received in trade with rodmanfor3.

Jet black with a dark brown head with good retention and lacing. The nose has a lot of dark chocolate, licorice, a little anise, soy, vanilla, a little booze and plums, a little tobacco. Rich and deep.

The palate opens moderately sweet, with plums, dark caramel, dark chocolate and some bourbon. Dark honey, buckwheat honey and licorice follow, with an anise spiciness complementing the bourbon notes. While sweet, this isn't cloying, favoring balance and structure instead ( but what did you expect?). Fruit cake, dessert like and rich, but still approachable and also uncompromising. Flavors of molasses, particularly the bitterness one finds in treacle, temper the sweetness. Full in body, softly, creamily carbonated, this is spectacular on the palate. Luscious, full,creamy and luxuriating. Sweet on the finish with lingering plum and tobacco to go with the leathery booze note, this is quite stellar. This beer is an older school stout barrel aged in an old school way. The flavors lean heavily on the malt, especially the licorice and tobacco notes, and the barrel provides a little heat but also oxidative softness to the flavor profile. Impressive.

Despite my limited description above, there is incredible depth, balance and poise to this beer.

May 04, 2020
Photo of ktr5010
ktr5010 from Illinois

4.84/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a pitch black. Small amount of mocha head. Smells incredible with lots of bourbon but not overpowering. Taste is complex and nuanced probably due to the extended time in the barrel and it lasts a long time after finishing a sip. Feel is very smooth and coats the mouth. Overall a standout non-adjunct barrel aged stout.

Feb 25, 2020
Photo of gcamparone
gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a hill farmstead bulb.

Pours a deep black body, pretty viscous with a dark brown head that reduces slowly to leave good retention and lacing that sticks around for a while.

Heavy bourbon and dark chocolate aromas, cocoa, molasses, caramel.

On the tongue there’s a rich medley of what I’d describe as dark chocolate hot cocoa with sweet marshmallow, oaky bourbon, fudge brownies, heavy roast on the finish and follow through. Moderately sweet, velvety rich body, low carbonation.

I really enjoyed this beer. It opened up more as it warmed it. Perfectly balanced and complex, easy to drink and indulgent.

Jan 09, 2020
Photo of jheimbigner
jheimbigner from Washington

4.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Late 2019 release

Pours onyx with a mocha head that leaves minimal lacing. Nose is of strong bourbon, oak, vanilla tobacco/leather, fudge. Taste vanilla,dark chocolate, smooth bourbon and oak. Feel is milk like thickness, and coats the mouth like wax, minimal carb. Overall, excellent complexity for being non adjunct, very drinkable and balanced with a great mouthfeel.

Jan 01, 2020
Photo of Hyptochrons
Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled march 20, 2019
Pours out looking like motor oil, very minimal head
Aroma is pretty mellow, there is some molasses, bourbon, fudge, tobacco, and oak qualities.
On palate is a beautiful blend of decadent barrel sweetness that really develops as it warms – there is caramel and vanilla truffles, rich fudge, some roasty character invoking roasted nuts, plenty of oaky wood quality, burnt brown sugar, molasses, marshmallow covered in melted bourbon chocolates, toffee, warm spice quality. Dark fruit flavor becoming more noticeable as it warms and opens up, definitely some raisin in there and a licorice flavor dancing around. Lots of complexity led by some truly decadent flavors, a perfect brew to enjoy on a holiday evening. I am sipping on this one with family over the course of a few hours, must say that the flavors are always delicious but become absolutely stunning about an hour in.
Despite the bold flavors mentioned above, the end result is smooth and almost restrained, everything is so balanced and harmonious. The mouthfeel is medium plus and has a velvety texture, very complimentary and accentuates the flavor profile without being sludgy or cloyingly thick.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of Phineasco
Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer smells of bourbon, wood, bakers chocolate, raisins, and tobacco. It tastes of chocolate fudge, licorice, char, molasses, and powerful bourbon barrel. The beer is rich, with some drinkability.

Nov 11, 2019
Photo of Vidblain
Vidblain from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2018 vintage - drank on 7/13/2019. Definitely bourbon to the taste; plenty of anise, very complex. Thanks to jhavs!

2019 vintage - drank on 7/13/2019. Counterintuitively, this is smoother and has more pronounced chocolate. I prefer it to 2019. Awesome. Thank you to jhavs again!

Sep 30, 2019
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one pours a very dark black color, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

This one smells like roasted malt, caramel, coffee, oak, bourbon, vanilla, smoke, leather, maple, and dark chocolate fudge.

This is just about as good as it gets for non-"adjuncted" barrel-aged stouts. There's a ton going on here - it's primarily deep and fudgy. There's also caramel and maple sweetness, a bit of smoky bitterness, heavy roast, barrel vanilla, oak, toffee-heavy bourbon, and a little bit of coffee. This is hard to beat.

This is silky, but not super thick, with a very high level of drinkability. It just feels good in your mouth, you know...nothing weird?

I can see why Shaun thinks this is one of only a small handful of beers that he has nailed completely. It's really quite amazing. I bet Damon was a really loyal and excellent friend - to inspire a beer this well-crafted.

Aug 04, 2019
Photo of eppie82
eppie82 from Illinois

4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2019 bottle. Minimal foam head upon aggressive pour, with color being deep deep dark brown, with caramel color foam that disappears quickly. Aroma is of rich bourbon barrel sweetness, which also is beautifully present in the flavor. The barrel presence and sweetness shines without coming across too boozy. Still somehow very smooth and balanced. The mouthfeel is perfect, especially as it warms, and thicker than 2018 Damon . This beer should be served and consumed around 10-12 degrees C.

Hill Farmstead does it again.

Jul 06, 2019
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.09/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stark black with a fuzzy mocha head settling to a persistent creamy blanket leaving minuscule tan spots on the glass.

Like many of Hill's non-adjunct barrel aged stouts, this is absurdly woody with a smoky hickory character. At the same time, it's easy drinking, as the smooth fluid light body delivers sweet chocolate and accents of ground walnut before finishing semi-dry. As it warms, creamy vanilla and some waxy oak develop before the warming bourbon exhale.

Jun 20, 2019
Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
NotAlcoholicJustAHobby from Vermont

4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3-28-18

L-The beer pours glossy and black allowing no light penetration even at the edges. The head is a modest 3/4 finger high and mocha in color. The head recedes to a thin film with thicker central island. Lacing is minimal but can be raised by swirling.
S-The nose is dark chocolate with bourbon riding over the top of it.
T-The nose translates to palate exactly. There is a fantastic dark chocolate base which transitions mid palate to a pleasant medium strength bourbon presence. The two elements mix in the finish with the chocolate from the malts lasting slightly longer into the aftertaste.
F- Mouthfeel overall is on the higher side of medium. Carbonation is light. This is one of the thicker barrel aged stouts that I've had. It has a slick, silky feel on the tongue which coats and allows the flavors to linger.
O- A beautifully crafted sipper of a beer. None of the flavors are new or innovative, just crafted in a way which demands your appreciation. Honestly I can't recommend it highly enough.

Jun 16, 2019
Photo of Dankacheese
Dankacheese from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. However, I still felt somewhat disappointed considering its hype and trade value. GoM and Beyond Good & Evil were better offerings in my opinion.

Apr 16, 2019
Photo of M_C_Hampton
M_C_Hampton from Georgia

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

A: served draft at the brewery into a long stem tulip glass, intensely dark with a massive tan head that lingered leaving great lacing, clear, side note: this beer was from a separate tap served warmer than others

S: supreme sweetness and bourbon, molasses, toffee, roasty malt

T: like a marshmallow chocolate milkshake with a hit of coffee and a generous pour of high quality bourbon, a hop snuck in there at the end to remind me this is a beer

M: thick milkshake with no taste of alcohol

O: I almost wish I hadn't tried this, because I think it ruined me. Every other barrel aged imperial stout will now be judged against this. Sorry KBS; I still love you.

Apr 06, 2019
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured inky black. Minimal head. I (as I believe most) love and have loved this label for years. Finally got around to trying it. Honestly I thought it was lacking in barrel character. The other flavors and aromas were tasty but I think it needed more barrel. Still good. I actually believe I had the Port version a few years ago and remember liking that one more than this.

Mar 25, 2019
Photo of ManapuaMan
ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Luxurious, oaken, bourbon-y, smooth, warm, silky, sweet and slightly bitter. What a gem of a barrel aged beer.

All components march in lockstep, which the silkiness and balance of the beer being the two standout characteristics. Dark malts, bitter chocolate, oak, earth, fudge, licorice and a hint of leather. Complex, dark, deep, robust - all of these apply. Alcohol warmth without giving off any heat.

Thick but not viscus, substantial but not heavy - it's a sipper that won't occupy your palate for en entire evening.

Jan 29, 2019
Photo of MeLoynes
MeLoynes from Missouri

4.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aromas of caramel, toffee and chocolate. The taste of milk chocolate with a hint of roast hits your tongue and lingers to the finish. The mouthfeel is fluffy. Overall terrific unpastried BA stout.

Jan 03, 2019
Photo of AMCimpi
AMCimpi from New York

4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A black, beautiful beer with a tan head. Dark fruit, bourbon, char and vanilla are the dominant smell. Just the most wonderful stout you could want, big barrel character with the dark fruits and vanilla to round it out. If I could knock it a little, it would be mouthfeel. It could be a touch chewier, but overall this is a delicious beer. Cheers!

Dec 24, 2018
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Revisited 101/12/19
A-Pours a very dark hue with a nice chocolate brown head and lacing
A-Aroma has roasted malts, dark chocolate and generous bourbon hints
T-The taste follows the nose with roasted malts, dark chocolate and a generous bourbon flavors
M-A medium bodied moderately carbonated beer with the flavors opening up as the beer warms
O-A very nicely balanced Russian Imperial Stout

Nov 11, 2018
Photo of Radcpa
Radcpa from Washington

4.56/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark appearance with slight tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is a pleasant vanilla and bourbon. Taste is also a nice blend of vanilla and bourbon.

Oct 29, 2018
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

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

500ml bottled on March 28, 2018

This beer pours pitch black with a lasting dense creamy tan brown foam head. Smells like beautiful black cherry, dark chocolate, charred oak, some meaty smoke, smooth rich bourbon, caramel, vanilla, dark brown sugar, some toasty roasted malts, with mild hops to balance. Taste is off the charts with huge robust dark chocolate notes, beautiful black cherry, some meaty smoke, charred oak, smooth rich and sweet bourbon, caramel, vanilla, dark brown sugar, toasty roasted malts, with mild earthy herbal floral grassy pine. Feels super luxurious and smooth, rich and sticky, thick and viscous, medium plus bodied with low carbonation. Overall a really great and truly amazing bourbon barrel aged imperial stout that I thought would be hard to live up to it's hype and the wait in line, but it’s worth it.

Oct 25, 2018
Photo of SABERG
SABERG from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 2013 vintage into the test glass
A - Deep dark delight on full display.and aggressive pour yielded an off white cap, thin french lacing clings to the glass
S - Sweet dark vanilla, toffee, coffee, white oak, cedar, a bit of alcohol in the nose
T - Wow, complex, toasted malts, dark cocoa, mashed with vanilla bean, cinnamon, tobacco, anise, and a hint of smoke
M - Thick in body, palate is fully coated with a slick feel. alcohol cleans that up, just enough to keep things moving, linger is sweet and dark
O - What a treat, so well constructed, the bourbon barrel adds to an intense stout.
World class on all levels

Oct 22, 2017
Photo of alpineclimber
alpineclimber from Canada

4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle date of August 2013.
Cracked on a nice warm October night.
Look: Pitch black like the bottles namesake pooch.
Smell: Sweet melted caramel toffee, charred oak. Smells a little hot for 10.5 points.
Taste: A huge hit of bourbon, the base stout is in there somewhere but I can't quite place it. Fairly sweet and boozy overall.
Feel: Thin to medium mouthfeel.
Overall: This bottle being four years old maybe past it's prime unfortunately. I can almost imagine the stout being more robust in taste and thicker in mouthfeel. Now that the stout is starting to fall apart the barrel treatment is overpowering and is out of balance.

Oct 07, 2017
Photo of amano_h
amano_h from Oregon

4.96/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I don't normally start by stating the overall impression of the beer, but Damon is quite possibly my platonic ideal of a barrel-aged stout.
This is definitely a labored metaphor, but remember the first time you tried Everett and realized all other porters are child's play compared to Shaun Hill's magnum opus "Robust Porter"? If there were a genre of beer called "Robust Barrel-aged Imperial Stout" Damon would definitely fall right into that categorization. Every little complex nuance that captivates fans of dark viscous liquids aged in wooden containers is amplified beyond the wildest of imaginations, while at the same time striking a perfectly harmonious symbiosis.

An impossible concoction of charred oak, french vanilla, chocolate fudge, medium-roast coffee, raisins, tobacco, molasses, and jammy figs form the heavenly aromatic range associated with this tributary beer. As the brew warms up, the malt-based features of chocolate and coffee take precedence over the more bourbon-inspired olfactory attributes of the pitch-dark nectar of the gods.

I quite possibly use this phrase to the point of cliché, but the nose, as expected, is flawlessly replicated on the palate. Every sip of this obsidian magical concoction screams "bourbon! coffee! chocolate!" followed by quiet whispers of "molasses, dark fruits, light vanilla." The flavors that bombard the tongue throughout the drinking experience remain remarkably consistent; I drank this over a span of twenty minutes sandwiched in-between pours of a different BA stout from OH and a half-barleywine half-stout half-whatthefuck madness from WA, but the flavors remained steady and uninfluenced by the imposing characteristics of both brews upon revisiting. I almost want to call this the Heady Topper of BBA stouts, given its consistency and ungodly balance of flavors throughout the entire drinking experience.

The body is thicc like Mya's thighs. I'm about 97% sure that this beer goes to the gym and squats three plates four to five times a week. The no thigh-gap thickness is accompanied by a velvety creamy initial mouthfeel which oddly feels somewhat cool and refreshing to the touch; I might as well just start stringing together random positive-inspiring adjectives to describe this beer and I'd probably still be in the ball park of what it actually smells/tastes/feels like. Gentle simmering carbonation.

Jul 10, 2017
Photo of WanderingFool
WanderingFool from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Flat black with a thin layer of tan foam. No leave. Aroma of oak and vanilla. Smooth creamy body, low carbonation. Flavors of dark fruit, oak, vanilla, roast malt. Nutty and grassy finish. Lingering oak and vanilla when time.

Mar 19, 2017
Photo of yasky
yasky from Canada

4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour, offwhite head. Amazing aroma, bourbon , dried dark fruit, coffee, roasted malt. Black chocolate giving way to bourbon, coffee, blueberry, dark malt. Fuller body. Amazing.

Jan 25, 2017
Damon (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 832 ratings