Bourbon Little Brother | The Commons Brewery

very good
75 Ratings
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Bourbon Little BrotherBourbon Little Brother

Brewed by:
The Commons Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A portion of Little Brother is added to Heaven Hill bourbon barrels after primary fermentation where it picks up a rich, bourbon flavor. After a few months this is then blended back with a non-barrel aged version that had been cold conditioning.

Added by vkv822 on 01-01-2013

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 75 |  Reviews: 15
Photo of vonnegut21
2/5  rDev -48.2%

Photo of acurtis
2.65/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of drone
2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of djrn2
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Gonzoillini
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of stevec32
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of AlexFields
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of nmann08
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of spointon
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of HevvyMetalHippie
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of IndyDad
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Huge khaki head. Lasts forever. Great surface foam with a thick collar. Brown body.

Smell - Dark fruity character. Belgian sugars. Caramel and some yeasty notes.

Taste - Nutty caramel sweetness. Belgian sweetness. The only hint of a barrel is some vanilla in the back.

Mouthfeel - Way overcarbonated. Lingering sweetness. Medium body.

Overall - Pretty good, but where's the bourbon?

 437 characters

Photo of vkv822
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml : tulip glass
2012 Seasonal.
Bourbon barrel aged Little Brother.

Pours mahogany with a foamy off white head.

Bourbon upfront, transitions to dark fruit, as well as some caramel/toffee notes.

Medium body, with low prickly carbonation.

An enjoyable Belgian dark. When slightly chilled, the bourbon is the most prominent feature, but as it warms it becomes much more balanced between bourbon notes and dark fruits/toffee.

 438 characters

Photo of Sir_Goatman
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of SocalKicks
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of artoolemomo
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours up basically no head- I had to swirl it to get a sense of the color. The head is a light beige with malted notes while the body is a muddy, chestnut brown with slight hints of ruby which appears as a mix of dark amber and maroon when held up to the light.

Nose- Very subtle. Thought I got notes of bubblegum at first but that may have just been the banana that seems to be the dominant note of the aroma. Some cloves, a bit of ashiness which transitions into light bourbon notes that seem to suggest leather and tobacco. Slight oak. Swirling adds nothing to the aroma.

Taste- Starts off pretty thin, only to show big notes of grain and cereal. Not quite what I expect from a Quad/BDSA. Even a little bit of corn. I sure hope more notes show up. Some underlying dark fruits, some banana, but nothing that has much presence. Bubblegum even. Slight raisins. Huge grain, lots of brown bread. Some candi sugar. Very low on any sort of bourbon notes. Maybe some oak on the finish and linger? Some lemon citrus appears. Some cocoa, not really chocolate as mentioned on the label. Very low heat. Not a bad beer but doesn't really match the expectations I had based on the label. Above average to good. I wonder if aging would benefit but I'm not sure if I want to spend the money to find out. Good amount of complexity, balance, and integration- simply needs more presence. Less flattering notes fade and allow the more enjoyable fruit esters to show but nothing close to the complexity I wish for appears.

Mouthfeel- A little more than light bodied with very light carbonation. Pretty airy for such a high gravity beer. Almost delicate.

Drinkability- Very drinkable but also has a flavor profile that is very easy to miss. 11-12 bucks is reasonable for a 750 but I don't think I would buy this again. I would try it on draft again but that's about it.

Overall- Above to good beer which could be a really good beer if it just had more going for it. It doesn't really show any barrel aging but I can't complain as there isn't a hefty price tag to boot. It's pretty much in line with most of The Commons beers (which I really want to like but still haven't delivered that aha moment). I will keep trying- everyone else speaks so highly of them.

 2,262 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

reinheitsgematt brought this gem over tonight.. 2013 vintage... Pours a clear walnut... fizzy dark tan head... dies back pretty quickly... decent lacing... Thanks a bunch Matt!! New to me beer!!

Nose shows pretty strong dark fruity esters... not really enough malty backbone IMO.. bourbon shows a bigger vanilla.

Flavor mirrors the aromas but has more intricacies.. some light cocoa and hints of yeasty phenols remind me of clove.. bourbon barrel presence is there, but is pretty balanced and never gets out of whack.

Big carbonation for the style, but it isn't too bad.. just a little too prickly... and could use a little more background maltiness to help on the palate and it would also deliver the sorta convoluted flavors into one wheelhouse.

Again, big props to Matt.. This is a new to me beer from a brewery that I really like.


 861 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle courtesy of beastmaster from the Pirtland airport. Pours dark brownish purple with massive khaki head and a shit ton of sediment. Aroma of dark fruits, yeast funk, spices, banana, chocolate, and vague booze. Flavor is actually really nice. Funky yeasty banana up front with a bit of prunes and raisins, then there is a nice punch of sweet bourbon and vanilla, spice, a lingering vanilla caramel marshmallow, and some oak. Body is a bit weak on the thinner side for the style with lowish carbonation. Overall this was better than expected with a strong bourbon whiskey presence that is actually kind of nice and almost a spicy rye whiskey note with the quad-bourbon combo. Not bad.

 687 characters

Photo of Sarlacc83
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from the brewery

A: Pleasant brown with a reddish tint. Thin head around the perimeter. Light legs.

N: Sweet peas, bananas, cloves, some biscuit, raisin, prune. Brown sugar is also evident. Some caramel and vanilla, but it’s pretty light.

T: Biscuit, yeast, prune, some raisin, and lots of brown sugar. Yeast is quite evident with its clove and esters. A little bit of leather. Caramel and vanilla from the bourbon. The bourbon integrates with the body - don’t expect it over the top. Some smoke and leather.

M: Very well carbonated. Alcohol peaks out now and again, and it dancing on the tongue despite how heavy the body can be.

O: Could use some more bourbon to make it pop. A well made beer, but it needs some extra dimension.

 757 characters

Photo of jmccraney
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ArdyExfor
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of aasher
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of JMRSN
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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Bourbon Little Brother from The Commons Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 75 ratings.
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