The Hammer - Barrel Aged | Phillips Brewing Company

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87
very good
54 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
54
Reviews:
25
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
9.23%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
8
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of 604growler
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of IanSpindler
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of ericj551
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of schnarr84
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650ml bottle. Pours a typical blackish brown with little in the way of brownish-tan head. Nose has a little smoke and dark malt notes. Taste offers some nice sweet vanilla and coconut notes as a result of the barrel aging. Overall feels a little thin, more like a Baltic porter, maybe. Certainly not poorly made, just doesn't have the heft and booziness we've become accustomed to in this style.

 409 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
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 papat444
4.09/5  rDev +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 Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
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 liamt07
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
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 ChuckGnarly
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of shagal
3.25/5  rDev -19%

Photo of Converge
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into a 13.5oz tulip. This will be my first barrel-aged imperial stout, so if I end up going nuts over what is considered a somewhat mediocre BA RIS, that might be why.

A - Pours pitch black and extremely viscous, with a big rocky head of brown foam that dissipates quicker than I would have liked and doesn't leave much to look at on my new tulip. One of the darker beers I've ever seen, for sure.

S - Big, dark and roasty. Roasted malt upfront, with some smoked malt, resinous earth, and oak. Not as much coffee as I had anticipated, but more-so sweet with cocoa and dark chocolate. Rounds out with hints of anise, vanilla and molasses. As it warms a bit more I start getting some fruity notes, with raisins being the most prominent.

T - Opens up big and dark, with roasted barley and lots of dark malty goodness. Cocoa powder and dark chocolates fill the mid-palate, giving it a short lived sweetness, before it opens up to a long-lasting finish of smoke, roasted malt, oak, anise, vanilla and a touch of molasses. Roasty bitterness and subtle coffee grounds lingers long after, along with a touch of alcohol warmth. While this beer boasts an undeniably big flavor profile, and offers a variety of flavors and respectable complexity, it feels a bit underwhelming overall.

M - Thick and full, with low carbonation and big body, keeping it nice and smooth. This one also wastes no time getting sticky on the lips, but doesn't feel syrupy or oily at any point. I expected a bit more bite at the back of the palate on this one, but it feels smoother this way.

D - I don't have a witty metaphor like biboergosum to justify why I'm drinking the BA version of this brew before the stock one, but my reasoning is the same; I've simply never seen it. So it should go without saying that with no prior experience with BA stouts, and not having tried the original Hammer for reference, I have little context when it comes to these ratings. That being said, I still found this one to be a bit underwhelming. It definitely lacked a certain bite I was anticipating. Overall it was still an excellent beer and one I hope to try again.

 2,146 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
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 IllNate
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the blackest beer I've ever seen. With a finger of mahogany head. Subsides quickly to lacing. Immediate impression of smoke in the nose. I would be surprised if this is due to the smoked oak entirely and I think it likely there is some smoked malt in the recipe. Along with the smoke come coffee, cocoa, currants and oak. The palate follows with cocoa, nutty coffee, smoke and currants. Mouthfeel is smooth and the alcohol is well hidden. Overall a great imperial stout. But I've had better.

 497 characters

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

A: 1/2" brown head that dissipated quickly over black liquid.

S: Toffee, coffee, roasted malt.

T: That string bean/peanut malt flavour similar to the flavour of the malt in the Trainwreck Barley Wine came out first. There was some toffee, coffee and roasted malt as well. The oak of the barrel is lost in the taste of the other malt, as well as other flavours the barrel may have influenced.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: Despite the great appearance, again I am disappointed with the flavour of the malt that is used by Phillips. A number of their beers are so close to being great beers, that unfortunately this aspect keeps them back. I am no brewer, so I don't know if it is the malts they use or part of the brewing process; but if they changed this one aspect their beers would be much, much better.

 884 characters

Photo of mmurphy525
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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 IronDjinn
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
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 schopenhauerale
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
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 wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
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 DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of pudoo
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of EskimoDave
4/5  rDev -0.2%

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The Hammer - Barrel Aged from Phillips Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
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