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Bourbon Barrel Stout | Odell Brewing Company

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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 348
Photo of woosterbill
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750ml cork'n'cage bottle from the 2010 vintage, poured into a 25cl Duvel tulip. I picked this one up while on vacation in Wyoming a couple summers ago, and finally got around to opening it with friends at a tasting. I've heard rumors about the chance of infection, so here goes nothing...

A: Once I get the extremely tight cork out (with the aid of a buddy's Leatherman), the beer pours a not unexpected black body that glows with clear orange highlights around the edges; on top is a finger of ultra-fine tan head. Mediocre retention, spotty lace. Ok.

S: Whew, nothing off about this. Pretty powerful oak-forward aroma, including bourbon, vanilla, and spice. Some molasses and chocolate fill in behind. Light char. Very good.

T: More chocolate here, with the bourbon-soaked oak close behind. Some spicy booze meshes well with chocolate and vanilla on the finish. Long, sweet, woody aftertaste. Great, vibrant flavors.

M: A little thinner than ideal, but still substantial; plenty of fine, lively carbonation. Not bad, but no better than average.

O: I'd been eyeing this one like a potential impostor in my cellar for a long time, expecting the worst from a possible infection. Boy was I glad to find out that not only was the brew uninfected, it was delicious! Even after a couple years it's maintained a remarkable intensity of flavor, with the barrel notes still right up front - just how I like 'em. Great stuff.


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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 jera1350
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Solid brown/black with a tall head of sudsy light brown foam.

Sweet malt, chocolate, light bourbon, hint of vanilla.

Thin milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, oak with underlying bourbon. The bourbon is a bit on the lighter side.

The body feels a bit thin for the style. Carbonation is above average. Not as soft and creamy as I'd hoped.

I enjoyed this one much better last year on tap. Not as good this time around. A good beer, but not great. Certainly a steep price to pay for the product, but not a complete loss.

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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 inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from the 2011 vintage. Poured this one into a Boulevard tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark dark brown color. It's not totally black compared to the BCBSs that we'd tackled prior. Good carbonation on this one compared to them. I actually had a little tannish head to start. Solid lacing.

S: Being worried about infection with this bottle, I thought I smelled something off initially. It was almost a funky Belgian smell. Up front I didn't get much vanilla and oak but it was in there..

T: Thinner than the others. Good molasses, char and roast character. Some of the bourbon hints DO show up. You get that toffee, vanilla, and some wood presence as well.

M: Full. But thinner, than the others.

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Photo of iSip
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout, 22 oz bomber: An outstanding achievement in beer! Start with a beautiful bottle and label. Get out the wire clippers to remove the cork cage. Pour. I let the Bourbon Barrel Stout settle for a few minutes. It has a huge head that forms a surreal cloud like formation atop the black stillness of the body. The aroma is very smooth, mostly vanilla. The flavor is not big and brash as some stouts go, it is smooth and well balanced. Is it a stout? A porter? A Belgian double? All of these thoughts come to mind. Whatever you decide, the flavor is amazing and the brew is very drinkable. Be sure to buy a second bomber or you will wish you had.

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Photo of derkfromwi
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage 1PT 9.4oz

A: Nice tan two-finger head, dark black color, carbonation is present, some nice lacing

S: Molasses, wood, vanilla, some chocolate, bourbon

T: Same as smell, bit of coffee beans and some warming alcohol

M: Decent feel, a bit thin, okay carbonation

O: Good bourbon barrel stout, will try again if I come across

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Photo of morimech
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage

Pours dark black with no head whatsoever. A ring of tiny bubbles attach to the glass that does leave a tiny amount of lacing. Sure does not look like much.

Nice aroma. The bourbon does not overpower the stout, but compliments the malt aromas. We are given notes of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon.

The flavor falls off a bit but I blame the lack of carbonation for that. The bourbon comes out more in the flavor but it still does not dominate the malty stout. I get more vanilla but the chocolate disapeared being replaced by a hint of coffee.

Being very generous with the score here. Feels more like a full bodied red wine than anything beer related. It is full bodied and with proper carbonation, could really shine.

It does deliver where it counts but it is terribly flawed. I expected proper bottle conditioning from this very experienced brewer. Especially for the price.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured black with two fingers of thick, bubbly light brown head with good retention and nice lacing.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Some licorice and oak in the background. The bourbon doesn't dominate the nose as it tends to in many bb stouts.

T - Some bourbon, vanilla and oak up front giving way to roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. Very good balance of the barrel aging qualities and the base beer profile. Some licorice and noticeable alcohol in the background. The licorice becomes more prominent as the beer warms up.

M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation. A touch watery at times.

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Photo of Merkur
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a mug.

Beer pours a dark black color. No head hardly at all, just some bubbles.

Beer smells strongly of bourbon. Notes of chcolate and slightly of vanilla.

Roasty chocolate notes highlight the taste, with a fairly potent bourbon taste on the backend. Fairly boozy.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and pleasant.

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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: God....how 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 oline73
3.27/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Unibroue goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark brown with a ton of light tan head. The beer looks to be thinner than I would like and it foams up way too much.

Smell: Roasted malt along with some bourbon up front. There is a strong note of dark fruit and perhaps mild cherry. I'm getting a mild alcohol burn and some chocolate as well.

Taste: This one isn't bad at all. I was worried given the talk of infection, and I think it will end up being very sour in the future, but I'm enjoying it enough. Some bourbon and dark chocolate with hints of vanilla. The finish has some dark fruit and alcohol in it.

Mouthfeel: The body is definitely on the thin side with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This one is in the process of going bad. Still a pretty good beer, but we'll have to see in the future.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles this season: one to cellar and one to enjoy! Poured from the bottle to NBB globe. The beer pours a thick oily black with a 2 finger creamy mocha-colored head with excellent retention and lacing. A pleasant mix of aromas:chocolate, vanilla, espresso,oak and bourbon. Alcohol hidden quite well. The flavor starts right where the nose left off with large chocolate roasted malt flavors mixed with oak and bourbon, though not overpowering, though you can taste the higher abv it isn't distracting in the least bit. Full bodied and smooth. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Can't wait to see how it ages.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml. C&C bottle into DFH signature glass. 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a deep jet black color with a creamy khaki consistent head across the top. Some sticky, frothy lacing remains. The head is very small bubbled, and provides a really nice coverage. Very long and impressive head retention.

N: A real nice toasty character shows well, along with notes of coffee, and minimal amount of bourbon? Bottle says bourbon barrel aged, BA says Stranahan for the 2011 vintage. I'm not getting a whole lot of bourbon. Good amount of roast coming through as it warms a bit.

T: It's got a boozy hit to it at first, but fades quickly to some nice vanilla, and a bit of oak. A bit of espresso, and some crisp chocolate, almost bitter.

M: A fairly dry mouthfeel, compared to alot of the BBN stouts that I have had recently. A bit thin bodied, with a high level of carbonation.

D and O: Bah. It's a good beer. I'm glad that I didn't "seek" this one out. It was a pleasurable drinking experience, dont get me wrong, but I wouldn't go out of my way to drink this over some real good Midwest locals like CW or even Dragons Milk.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass at altitude in Denver.

A: Pours an oil black color with a small but creamy mocha-colored head that leaves an appealing cap. Quite a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Chocolate, espresso, vanilla, oak and bourbon. The booziness is surprisingly subdued all things considered.

T: Chocolate notes are the most prevalent, with floral oak overtones all the way through. Doesn't taste as strongly of bourbon as I expected, and there's some definite heat as it warms up.

M: Full-bodied and smooth, but very dry. The dryness definitely detracts from the beer in my opinion.

D: The dryness makes this one a sipper. I would find it difficult to drink the whole bottle by myself despite the fact that it tastes good.

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Photo of JoRado
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Overall I was very relieved that I didn't get an infected bottle. After reading a lot of the reviews about this beer, I was really nervous I got an infected bottle.

A: Pours a dark black, not too much lacing, and adequate head.

S: Very strong whiskey aroma, kind of intimidating.

T: Once again I am so glad I didn't get an infected bottle. I got good roasted chocolate notes, with a hint of whiskey too. I'm glad the whiskey taste didn't match the level that it smelled like.

M: I imagined it would be a little thicker/creamier, but overall it has a nice crisp feel to it. Still enjoyable none the less

Overall I really enjoyed this and I am very glad I have another bottle to store in the cellar. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed hoping that bottle is also a good one.

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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 Scotchboy
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes, sampled 12/26. Broke this out of the cellar early to see if my bottles are infected.

2011 bottling, 750ml corked & caged split into 2 long-stemmed tulips.

A: Appears a very robust chocolate color, opaque for the most part with red showing along the stem. Lots of carbonation visible on the sides of the glass, and good foamy head retention for a beer this big.

S: At first I could have sworn that I detected some sourness, but I think my mind was playing tricks on me. This beer smells like bourbon, vanilla, and oak; these three aromas dominate.

T: Honestly, follows the nose; bourbon, vanilla and oak. Hardly any bitterness, and no booze at all, just a very nice warming sensation as you drink. A touch of astringency shows up as this beer warms.

MF: Full, chewy mouthfeel. Very creamy and smooth.

O: Very impressed, in the 2 months or so I've cellared this one the booze is almost completely gone. I don't believe we tasted an infected bottle, since my brother and I were both pulling out the same flavors and no one tasted anything 'off'. We'll see how my other 750 holds up.

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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 cindyjeffsmith
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Mahogany, not as opaque as most imperial stouts (or stouts period). A surprisingly large foamy head that mostly subsides but leaves lingering lace.
smell: Cocoa, dry and quite subdued. Smells more like a stout than an imp. Hints of bourbon but certainly not front and center.
taste: Tasty but a little thin for an imp. not very complex. Quite dry.
mouthfeel: Thin, quite carbonated.
overall: Nice, good beer, not great. 2 more in the cellar. Maybe some age will transform.

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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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Photo of alpineclimber
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml corked and caged bottle with a date code of 4069-2011. I popped this one because of infection fears.

A huge tan head on a black brew. The huge frothy head recedes to leave lacing and a small layer of bubbles. Good carbonation.

Smell is of bourbon, wood cask, cola, chocolate malt and a slight smell of booze. I don't smell infection.

Taste is of bourbon, wood cask, tabacco and chocolate. Alcohol is preceptible in the tate which I kind of suspected in a young beer that is 11.5% ABV. The finish is drier then expected and the mouthfeel is big, with a good amount of carbonation.

I think I got an un-infected bottle. I don't detect any cherry or sour notes. Overall it's a good beer. The bourbon barrel dominates the taste, more of the stout would have been desired in the taste. If I could even get this beer I would be inclined to wait until the infection issues are sorted out.

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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 FightingEntropy
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bit hard into a pint glass, the 10.5% ABV imperial stout piles up high with a tan, thick, rocky head that looks like foamy snow drifts after a storm. Dark black body that's opaque except for fleeting dark maroon highlights that appear with a strong back light. Nose seems a little subdued, but a quick swirl opens up a very pleasant roast that predominates over bourbon, alcohol hotness, light hop spice and oak. Creamy roast taste to start the beer, and a clean spice with caramel, malt and vanilla. Odell website description includes coffee, but I get it only after reading it. For an imperial stout, it has a prickly mouthfeel, seemingly from a carbonic bite which contributes to the very strong head formation. Letting the bottle warm up while open, the top-off pour forms a more stable and tightly bubbled head. Might be a bit over-carbonated in the bottle. Oak off the back of the tongue with a sting of bourbon.

As this beer warms, the dark fruit, especially cherry notes come out strong. Didn't notice the fruit flavors at all when colder--a solid argument for drinking beer slowly. A strong beer should improve as it warms--an important trait for big beers for me. However, for this beer, the mouthfeel thins and the alcohol becomes very hot in the nose with the increased temperature causing the balance to worsen and become acrid. Nothing is wrong with this imperial stout per se, but tonight's pint lacks a certain pizzazz. Well worth the price of admission for a good beer that won't become a cult hero.

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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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Bourbon Barrel Stout from Odell Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 348 ratings.
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