Cascade Bourbonic Plague
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub

Cascade Bourbonic PlagueCascade Bourbonic Plague
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Style:
American Wild Ale
Ranked #126
ABV:
10.5%
Score:
95
Ranked #950
Avg:
4.29 | pDev: 10.26%
Reviews:
138
Ratings:
622
From:
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
 
Oregon, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  613
Gots
  145
SCORE
95
World-Class
Cascade Bourbonic PlagueCascade Bourbonic Plague
Notes: This blend of strong dark porters was aged in oak, wine and Bourbon barrels, then blended with a dark porter that had been brewed with vanilla beans and cinnamon. The blend was then aged an additional 14 months on dates.
Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 622 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BerryKumquat
4.9/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Golden darkness but not a true black.
S: Lots of fruit notes.
T: A wild ride of dark notes much akin to a stout but with a mix of Cascade's usual fruits.
F: Sharp, citrus and a bit of heaviness.
O: Wacky mix of fruits and darks.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Have had a few vintages of this, still have a bottle in the cellar. Most recent bottle was at 2015 March Madness, vintage 2011.

Pours a ruddy brown. Some dark red to the edge, the barest smattering of a head 1/20" and no lacing. Appearance is its weakest link. Aroma was complex, leather, bourbon, cherry, tart and sour, brown malt, wet oak. Some roasted malt and cinnamon beyond that.

Taste allowed for all those complexities and blends to come together nicely, pushed along in the mouth feel with a mild vanilla presence that helps with cohesion. The cherry meets roasted malt and leather aspect brought a flanders component to it, but this beer is much bigger than most anything with the name flanders in it. Brett notes throughout, the sour aspect is similar to an old world porter, it really only clocks in about a 3 on the 10pt scale. If that. So much going on here, tough to write up everything that was going on, but it also made me sit back and realize that a lot of what Cascade does doesn't get the props it should, like this beer.

On the one hand is an expensive beer, but I would be hard pressed to not have one around just for the sake of breaking one out when I wanna show off.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So Raul got himself some of the bubonic tonic - yeah, I like that. Kind of different, ya know? My main man who served it to me called it a ‘sour stout.’ Raul wouldn’t go that far, but it was dark and fruity like Carl Winslow. I don’t know, I just liked it!

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Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Had this on-tap at Whole Foods - Short Pump, poured into a snifter glass. Had a dark brown color with ruby tints and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a thin, off white, foamy head that quickly dissipated. Very good lacing.

S: A solid aroma of bourbon, a vinous quality, yeast, vanilla, and chocolate.

T: Tasted of bit of Belgian-style yeast, a hint of vanilla, a good shot of bourbon (and the barrels), a bit of chocolate, some of the vinous quality, and a little cinnamon thrown in as well. One of the more fascinating wild ale flavors I've tried recently. The bourbon and wine throws you for a loop but they play well with the other ingredients.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a sharp, clean finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A very likable wild ale. Well worth a try.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tap pour at Grizzly's Plymouth MN.
Black colored body. Minimal head, and no lacing.
Interesting combination for aroma and flavors of dark porter with chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon, and the sour side with lots of bourbon and wine barrel.
Medium mouth feel.
Excellent take on a sour beer, with the dark porter well blended in with the wild ale aged in bourbon and wine barrels.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a fantastic take on the American Wild Ale! It is pushes the idea of what a sour can be, by having a dark roasted malt character of a porter, with a wine like sour finish. Nice aromas of cinnamon, chocolate, spices, and sour fruit. Body is thicker than most sours, but still feels like a sour on the palate. Rich depth of flavors, fun and complex.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.76/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. What is life? A sour porter? This is truly some Gypsy Magic. 5oz. pour at the tip tap room. Pour is black with a brown head. Aroma is all sorts of berries, chocolate and vanilla. Taste is all of the above with the essential tartness and a semi creamy taste. Feel is medium carbonated. Overall, I wish I had more so I could really really dive into this masterpiece.

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Photo of nuggetlover
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Whole Foods Glen Mills
Black and oily, minimal tan head.
As advertised, massive bourbon in the nose. Crazy boozy, every one of the 12% detected.
And then you sip it. Some bourbon, but the lacto is in full effect.
Nice balance between the barrel imparted flavors and the tart finish.
Not what I'd expected. The nose got better once I was drinking it , but this went from potentially disappointing to "would seek again" by the end of my first sip.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 750ml brown glass format. Wirecage and cork.

12% ABV. "Ale aged in Oak barrels with Spices." 2011 project. "NW style sour ale." "Blend of spiced Double Porters that were aged in Bourbon and wine barrels for 18 months before aging on dates and spices for up to an additional 12 months." "Bottle-conditioned sour ale."

HEAD: Fizzles out quickly, receding inside 2 minutes - but that's respectable at 12% ABV. Pale khaki in colour. Thin and weak. Airy and light. Not creamy, full, dark, or robust.

BODY: Opaque solid dark sanguine-black. No yeast/lees are visible within.

Appears adequately carbonated. Not a unique look for a beer, but its vibrant reddish hues render it appealing for a sour ale.

AROMA: Some damp cardboard indicates slight oxidation. Leathery and a bit oaky. Barrel vanillin. Red wine. A blip of gooey bourbon is buried in there (probably in the second act). Slight wine acidity. Spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom. Fruitwise, I wouldn't have pegged the dark fruit for dates in a blind tasting, but there's definitey gooey dark fruit present in the aroma; I can't decide between date, prune, or raisin. Malty sweetness runs throughout, suggesting both dark malts and amber malts. There's no chocolatey sweetness or roasted barley (as one might expect in a beer with a porter base).

Some brettanomyces funkiness is present throughout, along with a kiss of lactobacillus bacteria-induced sourness, but it clocks in at a meagre ~2-3/10 in terms of sour intensity and the funkiness is easily more prominent; I'd like to see sourness exceed funkiness (particularly in a sour ale).

Suggests a chewy brew that doesn't betray its well-disguised ABV.

Aromatic intensity is average.

No overt hoppy or yeasty flavours. Aside from the damp cardboard, I find no off-notes.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Gooey almost jammy dates inject heavy dark fruit sweetness into this sour ale, drowning out the mild sourness (think 2/10 in terms of intensity) with sweetness...the result is a brew that doesn't really deliver on its sour ale categorization. The bacteria (lactobacillus only; I don't find any pediococcus in this) can't withstand the sweet onslaught of dark malts, chocolate malts, amber malts, and grape & date fruit, and the spices (cinnamon in particular, backed by subsidiary cardamom and nutmeg) throw off the mouthfeel, bending this brew towards a scrapey dry coarseness lending it a rough unrefreshing feel on the palate. More smacky tartness and more of a light medium-bodied refreshing feel would do this wonders.

Bourbon undertones are present throughout, bringing notes of barrel vanillin, gooey bourbon, subdued reticent oak, and barrel sugars into the fold along with (unfortunately) some undeniable wet cardboard off-flavour blatantly indicative of oxidation. Maybe I aged this too long?

Wine acidity is present throughout, reaching full intensity in the third act wherein it helps accentuate the fruity flavours. Ruinous brettanomyces funkiness bludgeons the drinker, making this feel almost more like an infected imperial porter than a true-to-form sour ale. Why the funkiness is so prominent yet the sourness so reticent is beyond me.

Depth of flavour is average. It's a complex ale, but it doesn't come together to comprise a gestalt harmonious whole of a beer; the spices clash with the brettanomyces yeast(s) and both clash with the bourbon and porter-like flavours.

Well-carbonated. Average flavour intensity. Moderate flavour duration.

Alcohol warmth is present but also welcome, helping play to the gooey leathery bourbon. But since the leathery rough texture isn't in service of the flavours being showcased here, I can't say it's effective overall.

OVERALL: More drinkable than I expected of a 12% sour imperial porter brewed with dates and spices, but still a sipper. Unlike sour dark beers from The Bruery, this offering from Cascade doesn't marry sour ale flavours with dark ale flavours to favourable effect. The drinker is left navigating a complex yet clashing hodgepodge of flavours, and one can't help but wonder if the beer would have been better if brewed as a straightforward barrel aged imperial porter. More commitment to the bacteria is needed (and let's throw in pediococcus instead of just lactobombing, Cascade), and I'd like to see them ditch the dates and spices. A more jammy fruity wine barrel (maybe Napa Cabernet Sauvignon) would play much better to this flavour profile, and a more memorable bourbon barrel could bring more to the mix. If not for the troublesome wet cardboard off-flavour, I might like this quite a bit more, and I do think there's real potential here, but as-is I can't recommend it to others even though there's a lot I like in this. Not a beer I'd buy again (especially at Cascade's prices), but I'm glad I got to try it and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle.

High B- (3,38) / WORTHY

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Photo of OKbrew89
4.11/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Holy barrel aging batman. Gorgeous dark brown pour with a monster head that doesn't fade and leaves a ring of lacing. Nose of bourbon, oak, and more bourbon. Taste hits dark fruit, cinnamon, and sour with a whisper of bourbon on the finish. Light body and medium carbonation.
It reeked of barrels but actually came through with a sophisticated and layered beer. Balanced and enjoyable, and definitely not straight bourbon.

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Photo of Moose90
3.86/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a deep dark dark brown nearly black, very oily head.

S — Smell is holy Bourbon and spice, vanilla, cinnamon, vinegar, tangy and rich.

T — Rich vanilla, cinnamon, Bourbon and oak. Sour caramel.

M — Medium-Full bodied with a lingering warming finish.

O — Fantastic, very unapologetic barrel character.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery.

A: Opaque cola brown with a tan ring around the rim.

S: Bourbon, oak, porter, dates, raisins and caramel. A vinegar-like tartness pervades throughout.

T: Wow, this one is all over the place, in a very good way. Oak and cherry co-mingle with booziness and vanilla beans. Then, chocolate, toffee and a sweet/sour smack to the tongue get this one moving. A wine-like finish brings it to a crashing close. More, please.

M: Medium with medium, dry carbonation.

O: The best sour I've ever had. My taster's glass was too small for the amount I really wanted/needed. Recommended.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip. “2011 Project” on label.

A: Pours cola colored with cola like carbonation: dark caramel brown with a fizzy and short-lived light brown head. No lace.
S: Lactic acid tartness and a touch of acetic acid and vinegar hit first. As the head fizzes away I get hints of sweet candied fruits, candied dates, and a touch of bourbon and tobacco. There is quite a bit of funk to the nose as well reminiscent of both hay and baby diaper.
T: Thankfully the acidity is way more toned down than the nose suggested. I predominately get flavors of the base blend and barrel treatments, with hint of acidity and tartness. Caramel, chocolate, honey/toffee-like sweetness, and leather hit first, with hints of tobacco, vanilla, and cherry following. There is a suggestion of red wine or sherry in the finish, and the aftertaste has a sweet yet mellow greasy, buttery, oak flavor that lingers alongside a the caramely/honey sweetness.
M: Full body but not an overly heavy or thick mouthfeel, low carbonation, low acidity that is very mellow and pleasant.
O: Drinks extremely well. This had an impressive balance between base flavors, barrel notes, and tart flavors.

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Photo of rand
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Toronado, Beer Week 2015

Complex and layered, with seemingly disparate flavor profiles. Vanilla, oak and cherry bounce off notes of yogurt and wine and a touch of funk. The nose is boozy and juicy, not quite forecasting the flavor profile to come. Weighty and creamy on the palate, the brew closes with a long finish, leaving distinct sweet and sour residuals.

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Photo of jlindros
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud

Light fizzy darker head fades fairly quickly though nice at first, little lacing, nice legs, super dark chocolate brown with no real light.

Nose brings typical sour dark, tart sour malts, little cherry like, tart lacto sour lactic acid, dark caramel malts, hint cocoa, some dark caramel, hint of bourbon, wine vinegar,-dark candied sweet fruit like date, brown sugar too, sweet raisin bread.

Taste brings more lacto sour funk, little flemmy slimy sour, lactic acid, wine vinegar, etc. Big sweetness, brown sugar, caramel dates and candy, sweet candied raisin date bread, little oaky barrel and bourbon but very little. Dark malts, little cocoa, dark caramel, fudgey cocoa, molasses, hint of booze. Finish more booze warmth little tingle, sticky flemmy sour and acidic, more candy molasses date raisin bread.

Mouth flemmy acidic lactic, booze warmth comes through later, decent carb.

Overall eh, def not my cup of tea. Solid beer if that's you're style.

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Photo of rudzud
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 project. Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown hue with a fat one finger head that fades to leave light wisps and halo.

S - Aromas of sour chocolate cherry, lacto, light bourbon, vinegar red wine. Light date sweetness too.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Decent chocolate fudge, sticky sugars and date, raisins, caramel, the bourbon is somewhat restrained, the wine is rather vinegar.

M -Mouthfeel is brightly carbonated, a bit syrupy and flemmy on the finish.

O - Overall this beer hit all the notes, however, the sour chocolates cherry just doesn't do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of maximum12
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Moses_Malone; I have been lusting after a bottle of this since I had a few ounces at a tasting last winter. 2011 Vintage, 750ML C&C Weapon of Choice (with apologies to BRMC) split with my wife.

The pour is a dark brown - not to be confused with the more opaque light black - with a 73 year-old man ring of bubbles around the edges. The nose brings some of the advertised qualities to the fore: a fruitiness that’s likely the wine barrels, funky sweet dates, mild bourbon. I like where this is headed.

Bourbonic Plague: like an old girlfriend, can this live up to my fading, idealized memory? The answer is Jessica Ely (translaction: yes…well, I don’t know that for sure, but trust me). True to its name, the barrels are all over this beer: massive bourbon notes with a strong, dry fruitiness that denotes a good Pinot Noir. Underneath the pile of barrel is a whole pantry: mingled spice cabinet, vanilla, maybe a hint of malt of something beerily sweet, rich caramel, with a shot of tart cherry right at the end. Alcohol is felt, but not tasted. Mouthfeel is silky smooth, unusual in a ‘wild’, but likely attributable to the underlying porter. I could drink a metric yard of this. Tonight.

Whatever the base beer, it’s been masterfully remixed into a beast Saruman would be proud of. Huge, aggressive, double-barreled, & just sublime. An extraordinary brew.

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Photo of oceanman907
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A deep murky off-white, tan head with a very dark opaque cloudy dark brown ale
S- Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla, Green apple, brown sugar some barnyard influence
T- Assertive green apple flavors and a wonderful caramel, brown sugar, with strong vanilla notes
M-Rather thin for how high the alcohol level is for this beer, but the carbonation is right.
O- A really interesting beer, odd combination of flavors: sour, sweet, syrupy, crunchy, boozy. the contradiction of sweet date flavored, caramel porter with strong bourbon and vanilla flavors, matched with a wonderful sour funky profile. a beautiful contradiction.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this is about as much bourbon character as can be packed into a beer, i mean, its insane, and even though the description here says red wine, this is all about the bourbon. there is definitely a fruitiness to it, i assume a combination of the dates and the malt in it. it also says porters, which i dont necessarily get, the beer is brown but not all that dark, and certainly less roasty on the grain front than most porters i know, especially strong ones. the nose and taste both drip bourbon. mature oak, sweet vanilla, char, and booze. all are apparent and all are perfectly compatible with the chocolaty base beer. im looking for the cinnamon and not really getting it definitely, but i absolutely get a spice element that livens it up in the middle before the bourbon overtakes it in the finish. i love the complexity here, and from a process standpoint this is pretty epic. its fuller bodied but not the least bit heavy or viscous like some huge bourbon barrel beers can be. its more approachable than that. finishes with notes of dried dates, tobacco, and maple, all three things i enjoy in their purest form. cascade keeps pushing the envelope with these barrel aged blends, and this is yet another sparkling gem from them. a must try for wild ale lovers, even though the bourbon definitely trumps the funk this kick at the can.

edit: just had the 20th anniversary edition of this from 2016, which i cannot tell if its a different recipe or not. i dont recall the orange peel in the original, but perhaps other than that its the same beer, just really mature now. i feel like the sourness and the complexity has ramped up here from what i remember from the other one, maybe more mellow on the bourbon, with some of the other elements finding their place a little more readily. plenty of wine fruitiness and tannins on this too, vanilla, brown sugar, dates, toffee, clove. i really dont get much cinnamon, but i dont miss it. this seems like a somewhat different beer, but its hard to say if its just a product of age. either way, this is exquisite stuff, definitely worthy of the occasion of their anniversary. a pleasure to drink this again!

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Photo of Wobbly
4.64/5  rDev +8.2%

Outstanding, complex, and unusual brew from a very talented brewer. Advanced my understanding of beer, which does not happen with every beer you buy. Hard to get but worth it. Not at all like most American Wild Ales I have tried (and much better). In fact, I am not sure that this is the best style to house this beer in. Yes, it has many of the hallmarks of a wild ale, but this is so unlike the rest I have tried. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the terminology and definitions of the wild ale style?

At any rate, this beer has a dark, purple-black color; you can see the yeast floating around. Decent head, that slowly evaporates. One of the richest, most decadent flavor profiles of any beer I have tried. Fig, vanilla, dates. Really solid beer.

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, not much carbonation, clear amber brown when pouring.

S-Chocolate, dates, dark fruits, some roasted malt, bourbon and wine. Some funk.

T-Same as the nose but the flavors are not meshing that well together.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation and a tad thick.

O-I was expecting more from this beer, especially given the price tag.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml, Vintage 2011
IME snifter

A: Pours a murky deep brown color. You can see some light through. Collar of light tan. Some lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruit. Dates. Vanilla. Oak. Funk. Dry.

T: Big dark fruit up front. Those dates come through. Vanilla. Oak. Funk. Really tannic. Lots of Cab Sav character. Dry finish.

M: Fuller medium. Not as carbonated as other sours.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 Project. Wow, this beer is something else! It pours with an intense rush of bubbles that allude to a seemingly high carbonation. As dark as night with ruby undertones. The nose is sour fruit, bourbon, spice...so very pleasant. I would say "decadent". This beer is balanced! In no way does any nuance overpower another. The porter is smooth and creamy(this is not over carbonated like I suspected). The sour is subtle and sophisticated. The bourbon smooths everything out and completes the circle of flavor. I hesitated at the $30 mark for this beer, but after this I am sold. Cascade has now twice blown me away with this and Sang Noir.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 project.

Appearance - Brown body. Nice khaki head. Thick collar and a few islands of foam.

Smell - Bourbon. Oak and vanilla in turn. Acetic, vinegary acididty. Fruity, too.

Taste - Sourness up front. Not as vinegary. A little roasty. Borders on soy saucy. Bourbon permeates the whole drink. Oak and vanilla. I don't get a ton of spice, though.

Mouthfeel - Heavy, syrupy, sweet, and sour. All at once. Medium carbonation.

Overall - I don't know how I feel about this. It's complex, as all Cascades are. It's abrasive, too, though. I keep going back for more, so I guess I like it.

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Photo of draheim
3.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL (2011 project) into a tulip. Pours a cola-colored reddish brown w/ a thin head.

Aroma is sugary sweet, almost grapelike, balanced by a punchy sourness.

Taste is likewise syrupy, fruity sweet and simultaneously almost vinegar-sour. Lots of residual sugars here. Some bourbon heat too. An unapologetically big, flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel is sticky and pretty thick.

Overall a strong, powerful beer but it lacks the finesse and complexity I was expecting at such a high price tag. A nice sipper but probably a one and done for me.

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Cascade Bourbonic Plague from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 622 ratings