Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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Stout - Sweet / Milk
Ranked #9
Ranked #293
4.46 | pDev: 7.17%
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
Notes: Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout.
Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 522 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Beejay from Virginia

4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Many thanks to Bolte for this brew.

A: Dark black in color with a very dark brown head, that rises out of the body of the beer.

S: Like most of the Hardywood Barrel agings, this one does not shy away from the barrel character. Huge oak and apple brandy character. Some apple crumble notes as well as dark brown sugar.

T: SWeet up front with baked apple and brown sugar. Oak and vanilla come out as well as a roasted grain character with just a touch of smoke. Finish is toasted marshmallow and coconut.

M: Rich, smooth, and creamy. With a long linger.

O: This is a pretty phenomenal beer. You should get one.

Apr 24, 2020
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Riff from Virginia

3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with minimal chocolate brown head that fades away to nothing shortly afterwards. Smell is brandy heavy with notes of chocolate. Taste is apples and brandy, chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Lighter body than I expected but still about medium heavy. Little to no carbonation. I like the flavor of this, but it can't hide the booze so there is some noticeable heat that may turn off some. A solid stout though a tad pricey for what it is compared to some others available.

Feb 23, 2020
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teromous from Virginia

3.49/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There does not appear to be a date on the bottle but this was purchased at the brewery for the 2019 release.

Appearance: The body is black and it never forms a head even with a vigorous pour. It starts to develop just a very light film of bubbles but they go away almost instantly, leaving a sheet of black onyx across the surface. There are some very small bubbles around the edge of the glass that don't even form a ring. Even for a beer that has "ALC 13.5% BY VOL" (as indicated by the label) it is still below average looking.

Aroma: It is very boozy smelling. It has a brandy liqueur aroma which is very noticeable. There is a light aroma of Bing cherries. A light aroma of wet wood sneaks around in the background.

Taste; It has a very strong alcohol presence. It tastes more like spirits than beer. There is a light fruitiness to the beer that is not distinct to any specific fruit, but tastes a bit like red wine and plum. There is a lightly charred flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel: It is very smooth and although there is a high presence of alcohol in this beer it maintains a nice full body that never feels thin. It is a bit sticky at the end and carbonation is low. It is definitely a sipper.

Overall: It is a very boozy beer so that could be a turn-off for some. The label states that this is an "IMPERIAL MILK STOUT AGED IN APPLE BRANDY BARRELS." It does have the aroma of brandy and there is a mild fruity character to the beer but nothing that tastes specifically like apple brandy. The Imperial Milk Stout flavors are lost behind the boozy character of the beer. There was a light char to the beer but that could just as easily have been from the barrel as from the grains. I recommend drinking this with a palate cleanser or some food due to how boozy it is. I would say that it is worth trying, especially if somebody gave it to you at a get together, but it isn't put together well enough for me to recommend seeking it out. I could drink it again, or not.

Oct 31, 2019
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A sipper of a beer with a full yet slick mouthfeel that is offset by a bit of char and alcohol bite.

An oil slick out of the bottle generates a finger and a half of dark mocha head. A medium ring of that dark creaminess lasts, though no lace is produced.

Nose has the sweetness of brandy (though not apple specifically, to me) that mixes with a dark chocolate roasted malt, burnt brown sugar, and dark sweet fruits with a hint of the barrel itself. The silky liquid coats with a little bit of sweetness from the lactose at first, morphing to include a bit of a charred brown sugar impression as it warms. The apple brandy gives a mix of fruits, most often fig or prune when mixed with the malts, though I get a blueberry jam on occasion. The apple part of the brandy is specifically noted as the bolder notes fade about mid-taste.

A very nice big beer, right in line with others from Hardywood. The flavors mix the base stout with the barrel aspect pretty well, with the milk stout keeping the lead role. As stated, the minor problem I had was that, even with a few months on this beer, there's still a slight harshness in the back that tugs the experience downward slightly.

May 28, 2019
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VABA from Virginia

4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very dark color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has malt, chocolate and slight apple brandy hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a malt, chocolate and a slight apple brandy flavor
M-A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
O-A good Stout

Feb 26, 2019
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice dark brown head that dissipates fairly quickly while the beer itself is a sweet and delicious looking dark chocolate brown with a very good syrup like texture to it that makes it look even more appetizing.

The smell is very good. It has a delicious mix of green apple, slight alcohol note with light vanilla notes. The milk chocolate note comes out more in the finish while there is a bitter molasses note that cuts straight to the nose.

The taste is pretty good. It has a strong green tart apple note upfront with a slight bit of alcohol to it. The chocolate note is hidden underneath it all and it lost that molasses note except in the aftertaste.

The feel is good. It has a heavy body with a syrupy feel to it.

Overall, a pretty interesting beer that's worth getting a hold of if it's available even if it's a bit too sweet.

Feb 15, 2019
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TheSixthRing from California

3.37/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From tasting notes 11/09/18
Had on-tap at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, VA

Appearance - Served up in a "wide flute", pitch black with a barren surface. No lacing.

Smell  - Strong molasses and bourbon booze aroma. Lesser hints of oak, vanilla and chocolate.

Taste - Follows the nose. Crazy amount of molasses. Strong boozy burn. Notes of chocolate, earth and vanilla take a backseat.Molasses rules all. Eh.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low but tingly carbonation. Syrupy texture that quickly turns dry and sticky with a warming booze finish.

Overall - Not terrible, but way too sweet, sticky and boozy for my preference.

Jan 13, 2019
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Had this beer on-tap at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, poured into a snifter glass. Had a dark brown / black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a 3/4", creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Fair lacing.

S: A very good aroma of chocolate, caramel, malt, cherries, apples, and molasses.

T: Tasted of a moderate amount of malt (present throughout), a definite creamy quality (especially in the finish), a good shot of chocolate, some of the advertised apple brandy, light cherry notes, and a little molasses. This is an extremely robust, complex, and powerful flavor. It has lots of character and even some subtlety.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a smooth, creamy finish. Full-bodied.

O: An exceptionally well made, easy to drink beer. Drinkable.

Jan 01, 2019
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(Review under construction. Thanks Craig!)

Pitch black, clean, and with one handsome reflection. A thin creamy dark brown ring of foam. Cold pressed coffee looking.

Tons of booze and chocolate. Light coffee. Wood. Brown sugar.

Similar flavor with a sweet and tart fruity bite. Roasted. Cinnamon stewed apples.

Very creamy. Big booze warmth.

Damn good. Sipper if there ever was one.

Dec 25, 2018
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tremendously good - I'm a huge fan of apple brandy barrels, and this is an exemplary representative of how much depth, complexity, and dimension those barrels grant a beer. The nose is all rich, boozy brandy. The taste and mouth feel have a nice light barrel presence, slightly thinner, but bursting with brandy flavor.

It's a killer beer. I am embarrassed to say that I chugged a good half of the bottle on video while at a share.

Oops? At least it's not golden showers in a Russian brothel.

Apr 14, 2018
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Slack from Virginia

4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown to black with tinted head.

Nose is a mixture of roasted malts, caramelized sugars, apple brandy, and vanilla

Taste is sweet apply brandy mixed with cocoa, a bit of roasted coffee, and a bit of vanilla

Mouthful is heavy, coating, and a bit cloying. Carbonation is medium to low. Finish is subtlety sweet.

Apply brandy beers done well are rare and this falls into that ballpark.

Apr 14, 2018
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Trickery tulip glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a thick black inky body with a dark brown one finger head that reduces to leave a ring of foam and spotty lacing.

Aromas are heavy on the brandy-bourbon, vanilla, surprisingly I get a good amount of apple-brandy, which I don't usually get from apple brandy aged stouts. Cocoa and milk chocolate are present on the nose as well.

Taste starts out with lightly sweet vanilla-chocolate-cocoa, light apple-brandy, whiskey, followed by coffee and finished with bittersweet chocolate, bakers chocolate and a nice roastyness that lingers on the tongue. Body is thick, rich, medium carbonation, near perfect.

This beer did not disappoint, and for 13.5% I barely got any burn. World class!

Feb 22, 2018
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GeuzeInTheHouse from District of Columbia

3.83/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice jet black color with notes of apple and chocolate on the nose, which were a bit faint. Flavor is the same as the nose, but not overwhelming. I'm finding this a bit one note, with medium mouthfeel. overall decent beer.

Oct 08, 2017
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Radcpa from Washington

4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Aged for two years. Very dark appearance with slight tan head. Aroma is a very pleasant slightly sweet brandy. Taste is also a slightly sweet apple brandy that has very little alcohol bite.

Aug 29, 2017
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edthehead from New York

4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Black with brown head that dissipates after a few minutes. Unbelievable Apple brandy bourbon and chocolate nose and flavor, yet perhaps that star of the show is the mouth feel ... thick viscous and rich. Must try!

Jul 27, 2017
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the incomparable cejaev for this 750ML C&C bottle. I’ve come to love Hardywood’s barrel program, & that love has rubbed off on my trading partner’s leg. I hope. Split with my wife.

The pour is black, no white from the milkiness of milk stout. Looks rather menacing. Nose is surprisingly light: lovely old apple brandy dusting (emphasis on the brandy), chocolate powder, booziness. What I know is a lovely base beer is hidden, nose-wise, by the staves.

Trickery: wow. Foolery was excellent; the apple brandy barrels takes this up another notch, & there ain’t too many more notches until we’re Dancing on the Ceiling. Again, the brandy fingerprints is all over this: massive brandy notes with a bit of Honeycrisp. Underneath the sublime barrel are boomingly sweet malts, lactose, Wisconsin maple syrup, cocoa, brown sugar.. Alcohol muddies the senses. Thick. I’d like to drink this until I fell asleep sitting up.

Better than many advertised whales, this is an elite level beer. A. Mazing.

Jul 02, 2017
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JebBeerFish from New Hampshire

4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2015 bottle.

A: 1/2 head on gentle pour; very darkish brown/black.

N: Nice sweetness. I don't drink brandy so I can't say that I noticed brandy in the nose, but it was very nice.

T: Very good. I have had a number of Hardywood stouts, and this one clearly stands above all that I have had. This will probably seem too simplistic, but if BCBS was aged in brandy barrels, this is what I imagine it would taste like. I've had a number of Brandy barrel aged beers, and this is the best.

O: A very good beer, and one which does not trade at whale like levels. Seek this one out.

May 10, 2017
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fireazzi from Massachusetts

4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

trickery 2015 bottle.
look was dark and thick. body sticks to the glass
smell is a nice apple brandy smell. great nose.
taste is smooth chocolate and brandy
feel is very nice and smooth.

May 01, 2017
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YodersBeerEmporium from Iowa

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything I thought it would be!!!! Enjoyed Batch 3 with friends last friday but still have the first 2 batches cellared!
Awesome chocolate, cinnamon and Apple Brandy Barrel notes here! Cant wait for the other 2!

May 01, 2017
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wulfie85 from California

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really excellent example of what an apple brandy barrel aged beer can be. Mouth feel was great and the barrel came through just perfect. Smooth and delicious

Apr 28, 2017
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ragnar3 from Iowa

4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a taster. Pours pitch black with a dark brown head. Taste is milk chocolate and apple brandy with a touch of roasted malts. Nice balance of sweet and roasty, very enjoyable overall.

Apr 10, 2017
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quick review: Black black black, dark brown mocha head. All apple and brandy on the nose. Boozy with more apple and brandy flavor. Best mouthfeel I've ever experienced - coating everywhere; it was almost hard to swallow because it was just everywhere. Loved it. Can't wait to try Foolery.

Apr 06, 2017
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rabbott2 from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/2015 bottle (I think) drank on 3/4/2017

L-pitch black, medium tan head

S-subtle apple brandy, molasses, vanilla, some oak, deep dark chocolate

T-follows the nose

F-very drinkable...certainly has that milk stout creaminess to it and the lactose is noticeable

O-very glad I was able to try this. Excellent offering from Hardywood

Mar 06, 2017
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mothman from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Tan head. Black color. Very nice looking beer.

Loving the apple brandy barrels here. Oaky and vanilla. Sweet. Chocolate. Molasses.

This beer is thick. Smooth. Rich. Warming.

Very impressed here. Well done!

Feb 11, 2017
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Lochnessmonster from Florida

4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The guy I shared this bottle with said that it was the best beer he's ever had. And while I wouldn't go that far, it might just be Hardywood's best. Which is also saying something because they have an amazing lineup; I struggle to think of any disappointments.

Feb 06, 2017
Trickery from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 522 ratings