Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

The Hammer - Barrel Aged | Phillips Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
The Hammer - Barrel AgedThe Hammer - Barrel Aged
BA SCORE
4.08/5
Exceptional
54 Ratings
The Hammer - Barrel AgedThe Hammer - Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada
phillipsbeer.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Smooth with oak and smoke notes, this special version of the Hammer is aged in Bourbon barrels, yielding a more mellow version of the Imperial Stout.

2017 Notes
This year’s vintage was carefully aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. It pours a deep earthy brown colour and features a full-bodied, roasted flavour profile with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla and coconut. This beer pairs beautifully with dark winter nights, or if you have the patience, is a great candidate to make disappear for awhile in your beer cellar gulag.

Added by BDTyre on 01-16-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#5,848
Reviews:
25
Ratings:
54
pDev:
9.07%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
7
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, more weird Soviet-era workers' imagery on the label, with the beer name's font conflating the diacritics and alphabet of at least two different Eastern Bloc languages. All is forgiven, though, for the mention of 'roshambo' in the marketing spiel on the side.

This beer pours a completely solid black abyss, no highlights, no how, with two fingers of tightly fizzy, and puffy mocha head, which leaves a low ebbing wall of drooping painted lace around the glass as it slinks away, under cover of, erm, the dark.

It smells of strong roasted caramel malt, bitter dark chocolate, espresso, demerara sugar, and some mild, woody alcohol. The taste, up front, is more slanted to the dark chocolate than the caramel, but together, they add up to one big malty Ivan Drago punch to the palate; this is all quickly flattened out by a dry, toasty wood edge, aided and abetted by a strangely vodka-like booze warming, with some anise notes flitting about here and there.

The bubbles are quite reserved, but not entirely AWOL, and lend a hand in rendering a medium-full, silky smooth body. It all finishes nicely balanced, some sweet choco-caramel malt going the full count against the barrel's wood astringency and simmering booze heat.

Having the wood-treated version before the stock version of such a big beer is a bit like seeing the movie version before reading the book, but, hey, my bookstore doesn't carry the 'regular' Hammer. Mixed metaphors aside, I do rather enjoy this - while not as full in weight as one could imagine, that just means that you can put it away that much more readily, marveling at the various players vying for your attention.

 1,661 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma consists of vanilla and wood with some light dry roasted malt. Taste is also a solid mix of vanilla notes with light woody notes and some black chocolate. Body is below average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and quite enjoyable though a fuller body would have been better.

 409 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to Matt for sending this to me for my bday!

A: Pours dark black, quite oily, with a small tan head with little retention and spotty lacing.

S: A little bit of coffee, some bourbon, molasses, a bit of brown sugar. The bourbon becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

T: Lightly roasted dark malt, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and a nice sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied (maybe a touch thin) with nice carbonation. Very little alcohol heat and extremely smooth.

O: Very nice beer, liked it very much. While the bourbon was present, it wasn't in your face like some other barrel aged stouts, but I still would have liked it to have been come through a little bit more.

 706 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from wordemupg, 650ml into a tulip.

Black with a light brown cap. OK retention, leaving a ring and some light retention. Nose has loads of chocolate, cocoa, oak, light bourbon but generally features a sweeter vanilla/oak character. Taste has chocolate, oak, mild bourbon, light roast in the finish. Sweet on the whole. Medium full feel, lower carbonation which suits this beer perfectly. Simple, but satisfying for a BA'd stout.

 436 characters

Photo of Erik-P
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

A - Poured black with a thin layer of mocha coloured head.

S - Roast, bitter espresso and a hint of licorice. The nose doesn't even leave a trace of barrel.

T - Bitter dark roast, baker's chocolate, light licorice. The barrel presence shows up in the palate, but still takes a back seat to the base beer qualities.

M - Very light; watery. Carbonation is almost non-existent. Drinks more like a 5% porter than an imperial stout.

O - Disappointing. The mouthfeel was the big let down here. But the barrel was also more subdued than it should be in a barrel aged stout.

 584 characters

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into tulip 8/2/12

A pours pretty dark right out of the bottle, there's a little cola at the edge but not much, a thumbs width of dark foam leaves a single ring of lace and a few spots afterwards

S bakers chocolate and milk chocolate somehow work together with a little coffee, molasses and charred smokey wood. the barrel has some effect but noting extreme and there's some faint booze

T much more charred wood and smoke then the nose, perhaps some nutty toffee, fairly earthy with just a little licorice and the booze is a little better concealed then the nose

M not as thick as one would expect from how dark it is, bubbles are there and help its cause, lots of wood on the finish

O good beer for sure and its already fairly mellow fresh, not the thickest BB aged RIS but respectable for sure

I thought this was a good beer but still missing something to put it in the elite class, that being said for a little over 6$ I might be buying a couple more of these to age

 997 characters

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stop ...Hammer time.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin, slightly bubbly, espresso foam head.

Smell. Beautiful roasty malts and vanilla and nice toasted oak. Smells really good.

Taste. Roasty malts and coffee, a hint of licorice with a nice vanilla, woody, and slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation

Overall. Maybe not the big sipper one would expect from the intimidating name, but a really nice stout that drinks easy and tastes great. The barrel flavours really improve on the regular version which is already good stuff!

 582 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: roast, molasses, sweet, malts

taste: molasses, sweet, roasted malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body

overall: very nice well balanced imperial stout. didn't get much flavors from the barrel but still was enjoyable.

Cheers,
The CPJ

 315 characters

Photo of papat444
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wordemupg for this one.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: Pours one of the darkest bodies i've seen in recent memory but the dark brown head barely makes it over a fat ring and dissipates a little too quickly.

Smell: Espresso beans, roasted coffee, vanilla notes, raisins. Doesn't let up and real nice.

Taste: Real strong espresso coffee followed by some baker's chocolate, very roasted with some creaminess, a bit nutty, hint of metallic finish at some times.

Mouthfeel: Tad high carbonation but the body is robust and drinkable. Finish loses a little as it warms but still solid.

Overall: Wished it had better head and retention because it would have ranked higher. Not complex but tasty and worthwhile.

 751 characters

Photo of Whatup14
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager in a recent trade. Thanks again for the brews man!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, mocha colored head with decent retention. Head quickly fades to a faint wisp and ring. Jet black body with almost zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Roasted malts, dark chocolate and whisky notes. Vanilla, sweet cream and iced cappuccino in there as well. The whisky is bold enough and works well with the light coffee, cappuccino and chocolate aromas. Really nice stuff.

TASTE: Roasted notes, with some wisky and vanilla flavors up front, then dark chocolate and coffee at the swallow. Milder but lingering finish of iced cappuccino, coffee, dark chocolate, and then some whisky, vanilla and sweet cream from the barrels. The barrels are mild, but the sweetness works and makes it taste like a desert beer. Easy to drink as well.

PALATE: Medium, lighter body with a touch higher amounts of carbonation. A little light on the palate, but creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry. Could be a little heavier and mouth-coating for the style, but passable.

OVERALL: A really nice beer for sure. The nose was fantastic on this one, but the flavors would need to be a little bolder for top marks there. Moreover, the palate needs to be a touch bigger to help carry the flavor a bit more. In any case, this is a good beer that's well worth the effort. Thanks again Rutager. Another good Phillips beer.

 1,579 characters

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ZachT
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Black as your mother's soul, three fingers of thick, dark amber head
S: Malty, smokey, rich vanilla and subtle fruitiness, strong alcohol presense, get a wee bit of oakish notes in the background
T: Very rich and smooth malt flavour, hints of vanilla, slightly smokey oak flavours, leaves a rich, bitter but malty flavour behind
M: Medium-heavy body, smooth, but not as smooth as other barrel-aged beers this season, nice bitter-sweet finish
O: Really nice imperial stout, not as harsh as other similar styles, quite drinkable, the barrel-aging adds a nice complexity compared to the regular Hammer version. I had very high hopes after trying the regular version, and although this was a fantastic brew, it wasn't quite as "exceptional" as I was hoping. But still a damn good beer.

 784 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The barrel aging really adds another flavour element to the Hammer with out being OTT. I have always liked the Hammer and when you look at the price point ( about $7) compared to Singularity this is a great beer. The barrel adds some oaky notes which seem to meld seamlessly with the big chocolate and coffee notes of the beer. The lower than usual ABV of an RIS make it very drinkable ( It will cellar nicely but there seems to be little need).

 445 characters

Photo of Beervana
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IronDjinn
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 650 ml brown bottle. I haven't tried the original Hammer yet, so I'm at a bit of a deficit here when it comes to how this barrel-aging has affected or potentially enhanced it. However I'll assess it based on its own stand-alone merits.

Pours out an oily opaque black colour, with a couple finger's worth of creamy mocha head that retains to a thick cap.

Coffee, cocoa and roasty malt on the nose, a little bit of boozy sweetness, faint wood and herbal hops.

Light semi-sweet cocoa and mild roasty malt up front in the flavour, a character of cafe au lait develops in the middle, while things tend to lazily disappear into the finish, although some sweet vanilla-tinged whiskey is revealed into the aftertaste, and the vanilla coats the lips. Flavour comes across very light and mild for the style.

Mouthfeel is light for the style, rather thin with a silky smooth/slick texture, yet with moderate carbonation.

An easy drinker, that's for sure. Although I'm enjoying the vanilla notes from the bourbon barrel still coating my lips after the glass has been emptied, the impression of the actual ale itself gets more and more faint. Seriously mild for the style, which may help make it an okay entry level beer for those wishing to take baby steps, however doesn't quite live up to spec as advertised. Hate to say it, but this hammer doesn't have much force behind it.

 1,378 characters

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of LampertLand
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Phillips Brewing 'The Hammer' Barrel Aged Imperial Stout @ 8.3% , served from a lot of 650 ml bottle purchased for $6-8
A-pour is a dark cola brown from the bottle to an oily black in the glass with a small tan head which is quickly dissapating leaving a lace film along the pint/snifter after every sip
S-mellow roasted barley malt , bourbon especially the '14 vintage
T-way smoother than the original Hammer , mellowed by the barrel aging perhaps , definate bourbon aftertaste/bite ,
MF-low carbonation , full bodied
Ov-a much smoother sipping beer than the original Hammer , not quite the best beer buzz ever but a damn fine one , vintages sampled '12 & '13 with one year in the cellar , '14 & '15 with two years in the cellar
prost LampertLand

 754 characters

Photo of schnarr84
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Bunman3
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, so good. This is truly one of my favourite styles, and Philips absolutely gets this one right. I love the look of this brew - pure black, with a substantial dark head. The dark, smooth nature of this beer is everything I love in a stout - chocolate, smoke, roasted malt and the faintest hint of wood. The high alcohol content doesn't pop its head up until you are well into the glass, a quality I enjoy. Definitely one of my top ten beers.

 443 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 54 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.