Bourbon Barrel Stout | Odell Brewing Company

very good
189 Reviews
Bourbon Barrel StoutBourbon Barrel Stout

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged in Buffalo Trace and Old Fitzgerald bourbon barrels. 2011 batch was aged in Stranahan's barrels.

Added by waltonc on 09-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 349
Photo of Dope
1.45/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

(review from 02-11-2013) 2nd review of 2011 batch since I think my first was infected.

A: Pop the cork with nary a hiss. Not a good sign. Pours about as flat as you can get. Very dark brown body. 1/4" head from a really aggressive pour. Head fades quickly, zero lacing.

S: Smells like pure wine or sherry. Fruity, tart, sour, dry.

T: Sherry, sour fruits...solid chunks. What the hell is in this?

M: Thin and completely flat.

O: Welp, this one is definitely infected, much worse than the below review. Instead of being overcarbonated it is flat and disgusting. Revolting. 0 for 2.

(review from 04-14-2012) 2011 batch.

A: A pure black pour with a ridiculously over the top light brown head. Huge, dense foam. Retention is great, fades very slowly and never really goes away. Leaves decent splatters of lacing on the glass. (4.5)

S: Loads of boozy bourbon in the nose. Burnt caramel and oaky vanilla mainly. Hints of dark fruit. Boozy. Just the lightest bit of roasted malt but mostly it is overpowered. Great aroma despite the roasted malt being so subtle. (4.5)

T: Lots of bourbon up front for sure. Again with the caramel and tons of oak to follow. Getting a lot of licorice and leather. Earthy throughout. A bit yeasty like sourdough. Tastes a bit funky, like some belgians can be. Touches of dark fruit here and there. (3)

M: Relatively high carbonation makes this one feel thinner than it is. (3)

O: I was worried about infection (like many others), and I'm even more confused now that I've drank it. It looks great, smells great, and tastes halfway decent. But it's the least stout-like stout I've ever had. Honestly besides the label description and the color, I never would have expected this to be a stout. I don't really get much roasted malt flavor - I let it warm up completely and really there is almost no roast, chocolate or coffee in there. Very high carbonation for a stout like this too. It tastes like a bourbon barrel quad or a belgian strong dark. The question is whether or not that was intended. (3.5)

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Photo of corby112
1.65/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

750ml, 2009(?) vintage

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a one finger frothy beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic rings and spots of lacing are left behind.

Slightly tart and metallic smelling with hints of sweet boozy bourbon and earthy oak. Faint roasted malt underneath but this one is dominated by notes of infection and barrel character.

This beer is overly oxidized and pretty badly infected. Tight abrasive carbonation up front that lingers throughout into a sour metallic finish. Some of the intended flavors are evident(sweet boozy bourbon, oak and vanilla from the barrel as well as some dark, roasted malt notes) but the overwhelming vinegary metallic infected notes kill off almost everything pleasant about this beer. Only a few sips and then down the drain.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.84/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks to nickd717 for opening this.

A: Pours a dark brown body with a huge tan-colored head. Fluffy bubbles with substantial lacing. Very energetically carbonated. Kind of a bad sign for a barrel-aged stout...

S: Yep, as I suspected: it is infected. Cherries (tart with a light sourness), bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak. The bourbon reminds me of honey a little bit, with some spiced character. I tend to be unforgiving of infected stouts, but the effect here is reasonably nice.

T: It kind of works in the taste, too. Cherry tartness complements the milk chocolate sweetness of the base beer. Oak and bourbon are noticeable, with pretty good balance between all of the characteristics of the beer: nothing is particularly dominant. It tastes like it would have been pretty good without the infection. Even now it's fairly decent, and I liked it more than the uninfected Blue Frog 10th Anniversary next to it.

M: It's a little on the dry side; lower than medium viscosity. I guess it will only get drier as the infection takes hold, but it's not at a terrible point right now.

D: While clearly infected, it wasn't irredeemably bad at this point. I found the base beer still shone through and complemented the cherries and barrel character reasonably well. It's only going to get worse, so I would drink sooner rather than later.

Also, two straight years of infection and it has an A- rating? Ridiculous.

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Photo of JamisonM
1.92/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2011 Vintage poured into a Tulip glass big pop on the cork

A: A slow pour yielded a huge mocha head body is black as night.

S: No bourbon notes here? A musty citrus note here along with slight chocolate and vanilla notes. Smells off.

T: Yuck this is infected! Tastes just like there wild yeast strain. Musty Citrus some black malt vanilla and chocolate. The wild yeast taste is really overwhelming the beer. No body no sweetness it has a very dry finish, not what I was looking for.

M: Body is not what I expected, its med low. High carbonation too high for the style. A very dry beer too.

Overall: Another infected batch?? Really Odell?? I paid 14 bucks per bottle I expect something better. Looking and the bottle more closely I see there is yeast at the top of the bottle near where the cork was. Maybe one day I will get to try a really good version of this beer, this was a huge let down.

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Photo of Never2Dark
1.97/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A huge let down. I think this bottle must have gone horribly wrong. There was a plaque growing around the cork. Is this normal? For such high reviews, I felt this beer was on the verge of being foul. Still though, one of the best infected beers I've ever had.

A: Poured dark brown with a moderate head. Appeared thin. I was expecting a thicker beer for $16 a bottle.

S: I think it was corked. The smell was off, smelling almost of urine, backed up by a dark roasted malt, obvious bourbon-barrel tones, and alcohol.

T: An even bigger let down. Overwhelming oak, alcohol and stout, in that order. If I wanted bourbon-oak-tea, I would have invented it. This beer is lacking "Beer" flavor, as it is lost in the overwhelming oak taste.

M: Thin. If it wasn't so intensely flavored and scented, it would feel like a bud.

Overall: I wouldn't drink another even if offered one for free. A major let down. I'm a huge fan of bourbon, but this pairing was not meant to be.

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Photo of mdvatab
2.01/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2011 Vintage
Poured from 750ml bottle into KtG snifter

I'd really been looking forward to this one based on great experiences with other Odell brews, and positive buzz about this one. I purchased in late 2011, and cellared the corked & caged bottle on its side since then. The cork was tight. In most cases, when a c&c bottle is properly carbonated, the cork will get easier and easier to pull as it works its way out. Unfortunately, this one was a struggle the whole way, leading me to believe the was a carbonation issue...

A hard pour straight into the bottom of my snifter only resulted in a small group of large bubbles--no tight collar of foam here. Reminiscent of one of my early homebrews that failed to carbonate. Color is a dark cola brown/black-- a bit thinner than anticipated.

Before even tasting this one, I suspect that there's a major issue. With a sip, this one falls flat, both with respect to carbonation, and also flavor. Some malty, chocolate sweetness, moderate cardboard, a hint of oaky barrel, and a slight bitterness. This is obviously not what the brewer intended, so I'll stop the review there. Proceed to kitchen sink. Pour.

Unfortunately, I believe this bottle set me back $18, which is very frustrating. After reading other reviews, it appears that there is some significant inconsistency with last year's batch. Short of being offered a free replacement bottle this year, I won't be going after this one again.

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Photo of mothman
2.01/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into Town Hall chalice.

Pours 1 finger of tan head. Amazing retention with splattered lace left. Color is an oil black.

Aroma: Nice chocolate notes. Subtle bourbon and vanilla notes with fresh grassy hops. Peanut butter and golden delicious apples.

Taste: Blend of vanilla and bourbon. The chocolate and oak hit next. Slight coffee flavors with roasted malts. Again, it tastes like a 2nd graders lunch: peanut butter and red apples.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy. No heat showing at all. Medium to full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a little malty/dry, but pretty clean.

Overall, one of the worst -bal aged stouts I have had. I was not so impressed with Odell in this one. It mainly tasted like peanut butter and apples. wtf. It is expensive and I will probably won't grab another bottle. I don't recommend this one.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.05/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 1/14/12
*From notes

-- Thanks for bringing this one back east, John --

*When I pull the cork, there's no hiss or pop. There's also this weird and nasty crust surrounding the cork and the entry to the bottle. Not the best of starts.

A: Dark maple brown in color. A hard pour down the center of my glass yields no substancial head, just a mere pop of carbonation that falls off. No lacing or collar.

S: Before I even poured the beer, I jammed my nose in the bottle to get a feel for the beer. Bad idea. This thing smells like rotting, concentrated black fruit. Entirely devoid of anything resembling a quality BA stout. Once in the glass, it comes off a bit like bubblegum, with a heavy dose of alcohol esters and wood.

T: Not quite as bad as I expected after the train wreck called the bouquet. Lots of bourbon, bubblegum, rubbing alcohol, woody char, fake vanilla extract and a good bit of ass puckering tang.

M: This lacks carbonation, and in the worst way. It's a bit of an oily mess. Oh, and did I mention how thin it is?

O: I'd been dying to tick this beer from day one of my craft beer addiciton. I remember trying to trade for it, not having the kind of meager ammo the other guy wanted. With that in mind, I'm extremely dissapointed to see that the current vintage is an infected mess. Here's to hoping that this is merely a one-time occurance, and not a continual trend.

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Photo of harrymel
2.07/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2011 from the dentist

A: black with three fingers of persistent toasted foam. Spotty lace.
S: leather, green olive juice, hints of cocoa
T: mostly leather, some green olive juice, some coffee grounds.
M; thin and hi carb. Dry.
O: unimpressed at best. Tastes like it will be an infectious mess soon.

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Photo of treyrab
2.19/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Got this as an extra in a trade - thanks for the opportunity to try this! Poured at cellar temp (55F) into a snifter...

A: The cork was a monster to get off. Needed to get out my wine corker. When I did finally get it off, it yielded a huge pop, with ample ghostly smoke coming out of the bottle. Poured into the snifter, it yielded a two finger tan head. Not so much creamy, but more of a spritzy head.

S: You know the smell when you are cooking and food boils over the pot and gets onto the oven and burns? That is what this smells like. Burnt toast, burnt grains, burnt food scraps, burnt coffee, and oddly, sour grapes. All blended with a touch of astringent oak. Burnt oak.

T: Pretty much the same. I never ate the burnt food that burned on my stove, but I can imagine this is what it tastes like. Astringent burnt roast, tons of oak, a hint of sour grapes, and ass.

Overall, something is odd with this beer. Could be showing signs of infection, but that does not explain the abundant oak and roast. I'd try again, but only if a different vintage.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.29/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to holden303 for sending me this one as part of the N00B BIF 6!

2011 vintage.

I have heard these have a track record of being infected and unfortunately I think I got a bad bottle.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson brown with a huge puffy 4 inch khaki head that doesn't settle. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sour fruits, bourbon, and wood. I am getting no normal stout aromas whatsoever. Taste is of roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood along with abnormal sour cherry/berry and metallic flavors. There is a roasty bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has way too much carbonation with an extremely bubbly mouthfeel (even more so than soda). Overall, this is just not a very good beer and some sort of infection is apparent here. I assume this could be really good with a normal bottle but this one is a drainpour for me. It's not completely undrinkable but pretty close in my opinion.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.33/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

750mL corked and caged bottle. 5036-2011 is on the label.

almost black, massive thick tan colored head that leaves bid clumps of lacing, with great retention.

the aroma is not was is expected. instead of bourbon or roasted malt, I get maybe some malt, raisin, and a bit of black cherry.
taste is similar, a bit tart and dry in the finish. none of the flavors indicated on the bottle label (chocolate, vanilla, coffee, oak, caramel) show up at all.

smooth, but still significant carbonation. expected to be thicker.

overall, a big miss for the style. maybe some QC issues?
Unfortunately after I took the trouble of flying this bottle back from a trip to Colorado, I read about infection issues with this beer. So I drank right away. Can't say for certain if some wild yeast is talking hold or not. It's not bad, but not good. certainly not worth the price tag.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.48/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle shared by Thorpe, thanks. This was the biggest disappointment of the day, in fact I'd go as far to say that this beer failed completely.

Beer is dark brown and forms a thin tan head that leaves a little lacing, the beer is carbonated mildly.

Aroma is a little malty, a little bourbony, and a little...fruity. What is this giogn to taste like.

Its nearly impossible to be an active beer taster and not come across several bourbon barrel aged stouts, this is the worst. First off, its sweet at the front but super thin. The sweetness gives was to an odd funkiness and lactic acid. It finishes without bitterness but there is this odd tartness that lingers later, this was no all.

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Photo of thagr81us
2.5/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks goes out to the BA who sent me this one as an extra in a past trade (BM me if it was you) so that I could share it at one of our random Sunday tastings! Served from bottle into a Sweetwater 15th Anniversary snifter. Poured pitch black with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, earth, earth hop, wood, sweet alcohol, and metallic. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, wood, metallic, oxidized, and roasted malt. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a less than average brew. I’m not really sure what went down here, but this brew was not happy about sitting in my fridge for awhile before getting to open it. There was a pop when cork was pulled, but this one was definitely oxidized. Really hated to see this happen if I am honest. There was some nice notes going on in the nose, but in the flavor it was completely dominated by the oxidation. Such a shame.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.73/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Hawkeyedaz for this bottle. Opened at a recent tasting.

Pours a dark shade of brown with a tan head and some light lacing. Nose brigs some roasted malt, bourbon, and the always-feared (at least in most styles) light dark cherry scent. Not too bad in the nose and well integrated to an extent, but it let us know what was coming.

Taste brings the aforementioned roast but also brings a pretty good amount of sourness that does not work well. I'm not too sure how common this is, but I would consider drinking bottles soon or wait and let them develop, as a dark bourbon sour could be interesting.

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Photo of billab914
2.73/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle poured into my Flying Mouflan glass. I believe this is a 2009 vintage, but it could be 2010. Dark brown in color with a thin tan head scattered around the top and concentrating around the edges.

The aroma has some sharper dark fruit notes to it. I get some brown sugar sweetness and a little bourbon but the imperial stout flavors are pretty well hidden. The sharp, tart dark fruits definitely hint at something being off in it, but it doesn't completely ruin it.

The sharp, tart, moderately acidic fruit flavors come through even more in the taste. It definitely has more in common with an American wild than an imperial stout at this point. The bourbon barrel comes through a little and adds an interesting twist to the tart fruits.

The mouthfeel is thin for the style and carbonation is above average. Overall, it wasn't what I expected or probably what was intended but it wasn't terrible. It was a drinkable American wild but not a good bourbon imperial stout.

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Photo of chugalug06
2.8/5  rDev -28%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Nice 'Pop' from the C&C bottle. HUGE, sticky, lingering, layered, Tan/straw head with tons of foam and tightly wound soapy bubbles. Thick black brew flows from the bottle. Moderate lacing; especially at 11.5%...

Very light bourbon nose. Is this brew (again) tainted? Pretty cardboard-y and slight sourness...

Very bland and generic. Metallic and powdery. Not much bourbon, but lots of bourbon burn. This is not the BBS of old... Even with over the top head, it still drinks decent. Mild coffee and super light chocolate. Light on the tongue too.

Ok, so the debate rages...To review a potential tainted brew, or to not... IMO, one should review.

I love Odell, and it's not my intent to hammer them, but seriously? Twice, twice now BBS has been Funked. This is super disappointing, b/c I know how great BBS can be. I hope I'm able to re-review this brew in the future, but for now, steer clear, infection coming though :(

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
2.81/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Settles to pitch black color with an enormous light mocha colored head that rises up rocky and frothy - doesn't seem to fall until I begin to sip in which case it plants it's remains on the side of the glass in the form of thick chunky lacing. The aroma brings out subtle bitter chocolate, a slight vanilla, some "roastiness", boozy bourbon and some woody/earthy notes in there. The flavor is underwhelming....definitely boozy as the sting from the alcohol is pronounced and topples over the creamy chocolate and dark roasted malts that I was anticipating - definite bold flavors, but not in a good way. The flavor is only surpassed, or should I say, harshened due to the over carbonated mess of a mouthfeel - I'm left with a harsh boozy almost acidic/sour flavor in my mouth. I was pretty jacked for this release....and then I drank the beer, it's as simple as that. I am quite partial to Odell, in fact they're my favorite brewery that distributes to my area and it saddens me that I didn't get a wonderful bourbon-bal aged stout experience that I 100% expected of them....maybe the forum posts of infections and such are true of this brew, but it's rated so highly....I hope to one day try a delicious batch of this.


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Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle of this based on someone's recommendation, big mistake. Dark black color, a little head. Smells like alcohol, booze, a bit of stout and more booze. The taste had slight notes of grain and coffee but it was mostly alcohol, rubbing alcohol in fact. This was really poor quality considering the cost and I'll be really cautious purchasing their 750's in the future, probably just stick to the IPA and Lupulin.

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Photo of Kaiser81
2.89/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Rye726 for this as an extra.

Heard there may be infection issues, so decided to open this. I guess it's worth to celebrate my hat trick in my soccer game tonight.

Poured into my snifter glass.

A - A light black, if there is suc a thing with a finger worth of tan colored head. It lingers for a really long time, and leaves nice lacing on my glass.

S - Lots and lots of tart cherries mixed with whisps of oak and bourbon. Slight boozy smell from the bourbon as well. If this was a blind smell, I'd think it'd be supplication or something along those lines. ::sigh:: infection.

T - Tart cherries, metallic tinge, some roast and barrel mixed in. I'm sure it's a former shell of what it used to be. Too bad this is infected. I'd love to give a fresh bottle of these a try.

M - Medium to light medium mouthfeel with over carbonation.

D - I'm sure I would really like this if it wasn't infected. It's not bad...I'll finish the bottle, but it's not what it's supposed to be.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.91/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to boatshoes for this one. He has been overly generous to me. EDIT: 100th review for this beer!

I pull this one from my box, the star of the lot. Sure there are rumors (well actually confirmations) of infection in this beer, but I remain hopeful.

A- The beer looks great. Just the right amount of head with unstoppable retention and precise rings of lace that mark every sip.

S- The smell is where I get my hopes dashed. Sure the roastiness is there, hell even the bourbon is accounted for, but there is a minor level of tartness and acidity that is a tell tale sign of contamination. I must admit that its not that awful, Ive certainly encountered non-infected beers that smelled worse. It just has some things out of line, thats all.

T- If the smell wasnt confirmation enough, the taste is. Sourness and acidity are minimal but still there. The biggest thing is that this beer isnt the rich, decadent stout that it should be. Its as if a huge hole opened up in the flavor and things were lost.

M- This isnt over fermented enough to created any sort of over carbonation problem, yet. Although the body does seem to be a touch on the light side.

Say what you will about reviewing beers known to be infected, and I certainly battled with my conscience on this subject. The conclusion that Ive come to is simple. A review of a beer with an infection issue can help others determine that they have a bottle with the same problem. And besides that, this is how the beer was as it hit stores.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.96/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A-pours an extremely dark brown, almost black beer that lets no light through. The head is not thick, but not thin. It is tan in color and lingers for a good bit of time. Some light lacing is left on the glass

S-the nose is a little light but really shows a lot of oak in this. The oak lasts throughout the entire smell, light bourbon and dark chocolate touches the nose up front with notes of vanilla. Just a hint of roasted malt comes in towards the back. This is really oak dominated

T-the taste follows the nose, the oak is really dominant in this one. The oak hits you right away with dark chocolate, slightly bitter, and a nice bit of vanilla setting in. The bourbon is in the back accompanied by some dark fruits to sweeten. Dark cherries and plums.

M-medium body, so a little thinner than I would have liked, smooth and chewy. Fair amount of carbonation, crisp finish.

D-the thin feel makes this so easy to drink. The 10.5% alc is completely hidden and the only alcohol I detect is from the bourbon barrel, and that is light. The oak is strong, but in a good way adding vanilla as well. Not as much roasted malts as you would expect; but still a damn tasty brew and well done on the barrel aging.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

975th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
750 ml

2011 vintage

Thanks to poonamibaxter for this one (i asked for one, not his fault)

App- A very dark chocolate brown. Much like liquid chocolate in a glass. A huge 2-1/2 finger very craterous crackly head with only a small ring of bubbles and only a couple dots of cling.

Smell- Whispy booze notes open this one up. The vanilla, chocolate, barrel notes are gone. Replaced by a very prickly note of hop bitter and grainular impish malts.

Taste- I am so dissapointed in this one. I waited forever to land one. Nothing about this screams BA stout. This infected bottle is like a export stout with grainy malts and a bit too much bubbles.

Mouth- A medium body and a prickly high carbonation. A little too prickly from carbonation. No residual chocolate, barrel or vanilla notes.

Drink- 2 words- Damn it !!!! I wanted this for so long and wanted another gem like BASC! I hope one day I can find it on tap

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Photo of kojevergas
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It took some digging around on the internet, but I've finally ascertained that the bottle I have is a 2011 vintage. 11.5% according to the label. 750ml brown glass bottle with rustic barrel-like label art and branded black hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork acquired a couple years ago at Argonaut Liquor and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high; I'm a huge fan of Odell and I'm in the mood for a bourbon barrel aged stout. "0554-2011." No bourbon brand is identified on the label.

Served chilled - after a period of rest following its removal from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Yields only a minor pop upon removal of the cork; there's no carbonation hiss.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Retention is poor - sub 30 seconds. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black - almost a jet black. Sleek and glossy. Rich. No floating yeast particles are visible, but it's so dark I doubt I'd see them if they were present.

Overall, it's looking quite attractive for a bourbon barrel stout, but the lack of head and seeming undercarbonation are concerning characteristics. Not unique or special. There are no egregious flaws here.

Sm: Vanilla - not as authentic as vanilla bean, not as artificial as vanillicin. Milk chocolate. Dark malts. Cream. Light bourbon, but no real rich toasty oak or barrel notes. It's quite timid and reticent for a bourbon barrel aged stout, lacking seeming depth. Very subdued - this is not the intense aroma you'd expect from an imperial stout. Any coffee has faded with age. I'm also not finding any roasted barley. Plenty of sweetness here.

A pleasing inviting aroma of surprisingly light strength. It doesn't seem alive; there're no yeast notes. No alcohol is noticeable.

T: The subdued timid vibe from the aroma continues in the taste. Very reticent/closed-off. Dark malts. Chocolate malts. Cream. The bourbon lacks depth, but as a trade-off is near seamlessly integrated; all I really get is some faint vanilla, but it isn't the rich vanilla bean of superior imperial stouts. Milk chocolate. Caramel. Faint marshmallow. It's nicely balanced, but the simplicity is a big drawback. Lacks the complexity, subtlety, intricacy, and nuance of the best beers in the style. Maybe it's withdrawn with age and was more bold fresh.

Roasted barley is sorely missed here. I need far more from the bourbon as well as from the base; it just doesn't open up to the drinker at all. And any coffee it's supposed to have is not coming through at all; age has likely taken its toll.

Below average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. It's far less boozy than many examples of the style, which I admire.

It isn't as clean as I'd like, and has some earthiness and graininess lurking beneath the surface that I figure is left over from the absent coffee notes.

Has a bitter vinous off-note I'm none too fond of.

Mf: A big flaw here is the slight dryness and thinness/weak feel of the finish. Overly smooth and wet otherwise. Carbonation is near perfect. Lightly sticky. Sleek and slick. Pretty good thickness. Full-bodied. Nice presence on the palate. Soft enough, I guess. Could be creamier.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, rough, or boozy.

Dr: A drinkable bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, but not one that's up there with the best in the style. Its reticence is its undoing, and the barrel notes just don't add enough to the base beer. Not worth picking up at this price point. I do love Odell and I like this beer, but there are far superior options available at or below this price point. Hides its ABV pretty well.

Overall, this a middle-of-the-road bourbon stout that won't impress the discerning drinker. I'd like to revisit a fresh bottle, but apparently they're no longer brewing this beer so I won't have that opportunity. I can say that most bourbon stouts taste better with age than this does.


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Photo of sweemzander
3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks for sharing this one Matt! 2011 vintage.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced some tan froth and lace.

(S)- Some nutty oaky notes. Bits of prune and raisin.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Lots of raisin and oak with some bourbon notes (but subtle).

(M)- A rather high; almost fizzy carbonation level. So high that it actually makes this feel thinner that it probably is.

(D)- Not bad, though with the super ridiculously high carbonation level, it really throws this off for me.

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Bourbon Barrel Stout from Odell Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 349 ratings.
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