Bourbon Barrel Stout | Odell Brewing Company

very good
349 Ratings
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 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 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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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to daniloknezic for this beer sent as an extra!

Appearance: dark brown bodied beer with a light to medium brown colored head that honestly looks like a rootbeer float. Massive head probably 3 fingers high. Super sticky lacing and decent retention of head.

Smell: Mild bourbon and faint roasty malts.

Taste: moderately sweet and mild roasty malts. caramel, bourbon, some vanilla, a little oak, and mild almost watered down coffee note. Getting a little fruitiness from this stout maybe cherry or currents that in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with high carbonation. I think that the body is bit to thin for the style, but it probably because of the carbonation being too much for this beer.

Overall: It is decent beer, but not my favorite in this style. Odell has alot of really great offerings, but this is not one of them.

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Photo of vobr0002
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- no head at all really, but the beer is dark and no light is seen through it.

S- faint smell of bourbon and roasted malts. Idk if my mind is playing tricks on me from hearing so much about the infected beers, but I swear I got a hint of vinegar. Its probably just some of the faint bourbon hopefully.

T- roast flavors then then hints of bourbon come through. Maybe some cherry flavors in there too. Not like many other stouts. Reminds me of a bourbon like wine, maybe I'm crazy.

M- its very flat. I don't know if its my bottle or this batch was under carbed because of some of the previous over carbed issues. Almost feels like a wine. Full body but not creamy though. Interesting.

O- not what I was expecting. It seems like they are still trying to get this beer right. I can see what they are trying to do but it still needs some work.

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Photo of TVolt1
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Almost a purple/pruney color to it. No head, but clear annd great color like a deep red wine.

S: Has a mild smell. You can smell cherries, a little bit of dark chocolate as well as a little bit of roasty smell.

T: Reminds we first of a wine with a deep wine taste, the finish then reminds me just a little bit of a stout. Not much of a stout tasting beer though. Very interesting taste.

M: Good medium mouthfeel. Not very carbonated but it suits the beer well.

O: overall, this is an alright beer. Doesn't taste much like a stout but I don't mind drinking it.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot of head from the pour, off white in color. Brown to black pour. Great retention and lacing. The smell as some alcohol, but is covered by chocolate and roasted malts. No bourbon is noted at all. The taste is a bit light. Chocolate, booze, oak, dry finish. A bit too much alcohol for my likes. Light in body and too much carbonation mix with the booze to make a beer I'm just not crazy about. I'm not a huge fan of oak forward BA beers, I much prefer the bourbon being at the forefront. Other people liked it but I thought it was just OK.

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Photo of quaybr
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter a dark dark brown moving towards black. Had a thick and bubbly light tan head.

Smells gorgeous. Bourbon, cocoa, coffee, and a subtle vanilla aroma make up the nose.

Taste follows the smell: bourbon and malty goodness send the tongue into overload. This is just swell. As expected, this beer really comes to life as it warms up a bit.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Glides across the tongue. A few sips seemed just a tad too carbonated.

This is a great beer. Fortunate to have a bottle that was not infected. As always, enjoyed more thoroughly in the company of a good friend.

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

on tap in a 10 oz pour

A- pours a black thick color with a tan,cherry head and good lacing

S- was bourbon, cocoa,vanilla,roasted malts, chocolate

T- was pretty good with oak and vanilla mixed with roasted malts coffee,chocolate,bourbon in the finish

M- was thick and full but not creamy or silky smooth, the bourboun was there but was not aged or smooth

O - a good BB stout but 2nd tier IMO, but will drink this anytime i see it on tap,probably wont buy a bottle of it though

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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 Huhzubendah
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Darrell. Thanks man.

The beer is dark brown with an inch of khaki colored head. Ample lacing left on the tulip. The aroma brings some malt with a musty, yeast character. The scent is generally pretty weak. Unusual, though not off putting. While the beer is not bad, this is without question a beverage that has been invaded by wild bacteria. Light tartness and mild sourness with hints of roast. Sweet and sour cherries. Bourbon presence is secondary to wild yeast flavors. Not at all what one should expect from an imperial stout. If the style category was changed to American wild ale, this beer would make more sense. Overall, interesting, and worth a try, especially if you're a fan of both stouts and sour ales.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into my Stone snifter, this beer is super dark black, no highlights. Head is pretty bubbly/somewhat rocky, very high, 2 fingers, barely receding at all, and light tan in color. Lace is substantial.

S - Aroma is pretty light in general. Notes of dark roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee beans/espresso, caramel, a bit of wood/oak, lighter but noticeable bourbon aroma and bourbon spice, and a bit of root beer. I think it takes some decent warming for most of the aromas to come out. Once it warms, the vanilla, caramel, oak, bourbon, chocolate, and coffee not only come out a bit more but they meld together very nicely to form one of the nicer smelling Bourbon barrel aged Stouts I've smelled that's lighter on the bourbon.

T - Taste is much the same as the aroma. Light but with notes of sweet milk chocolate, light but present roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, root beer, more chocolate, hints of bitter dark chocolate, bourbon, and oak. Taste doesn't open up as much as the aroma did after warming. Taste really doesn't bowl me over that much, for as nice as the aroma smelled, especially after it warmed a bit. Above average I would say.

M - Carbonation is a bit high for an imperial stout and detracts from the brew a bit in my opinion. Consistency is almost viscous, body is a bit higher than medium, and the finish is light and fairly short-lived.

O - A good barrel aged stout overall, but certainly not one that I'm really going to write home about. Carbonation hurts it in the mouthfeel section and somewhat in the taste. The aroma really led to a disappointment in taste.

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