Apple Brandy GBS
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Apple Brandy GBSApple Brandy GBS
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Stout - Sweet / Milk
Ranked #34
Ranked #985
4.34 | pDev: 7.14%
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
Apple Brandy GBSApple Brandy GBS
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 204 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2017, poured into a tulip

A- Black with a two finger mocha head.

S- Chocolate, apple brandy, cinnamon, oak, some ginger.

T- Chocolate, apple brandy, cinnamon, gingerbread, oak. Think apple pie and chocolate.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Love the apple brandy barrels with this. A great sipper that’s easy to drink.

Jun 29, 2019
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stortore from Illinois

4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. 2017 edition. Had 8/17/18.

Pours an opaque, dark brown, with a half inch head and soapy cling. Aromas of cinnamon, apple brandy, chocolate, malt, caramel, ginger, other spices, light oak. The flavor follows along- cinnamon, chocolate, apple brandy, malt, ginger, some caramel, light oak, spices- maybe nutmeg? Very smooth, a very good full body, well carbonated.

Certainly one of the best BA GBS variants. Rich flavors, incredibly smooth. The apple brandy and cinnamon star, decadent chocolate lays the foundation. This is one to have annually, well worth a purchase.

Mar 19, 2019
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a decent bubbly brown head that dissipates very quickly while the beer itself is a very dark brown that strongly resembles a black with brown hues to it. The smell has a good brandy and tart apple note right upfront while the gbs notes are fairly mute. There is also a nice wooden note to it as well. The taste is the same as the smell even though the wood is a bit more prevalent. The difference is the GBS notes come out more in the finish than it does in the smell. Spices such as the ginger and a bit of the cinnamon comes out but not much else. The beer feels much lighter than it should because of the carbonation but is otherwise full bodied and a bit thin. Overall, not bad.

Dec 24, 2018
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Riff from Virginia

3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours nearly black in color with an offwhite head that fades to almost nothing. Smell is ginger, cinnamon, faint apple scent. Taste is ginger, chocolate, a little bit of apple, sugar cookie, hint of gingerbread towards the finish. Bit of an alcohol bite. Medium body. Not sure what to make with this one, some things I like, some things are eh. Would like a bit more apple presence but really, I think this is more or less muddled.

Dec 01, 2018
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the local shedding his cellar for this one. 750ML corked & caged bottle split with my wife.

The pour is dark brown, with a touch of clear radish around the edges. Bits of brandy, chocolate, & ginger end up in my nose.

GBS – Apple Brandy Barrel Aged is the rare barreled-up GBS where the barrel doesn’t detract from the cookie. Christmas cookie including vanilla, gingerbread, cinnamon, plenty of brown sugar, dipped in an appletini of light booziness (well, light in the mouth, blazing a trail of warmth below…no, not that far below, I’d get a course of antibiotics for that). Plenty drinkable, goes down like a middling ABV stout, not double digits.

The rare GBS this brewery stuck in a barrel that didn’t experience a significant decrease in deliciousness, the apple heat seems like a lovely complement, especially if lots of marginal family is involved. Excellent beer.

Nov 29, 2018
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TheSixthRing from California

4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Beer Review # 2,000!
2017 Release

Appearance - Pours pitch black into my snifter with a hint of cola brown edging where the light can penetrate. Light tan, near finger width head that fizzes away somewhat quickly, leaving behind a mostly barren surface; a thin ring of suds encircling the edge of the glass. No real lacing. The few tiny spots that hang around eventually slide back into the drink.

Smell - The aroma hits the nose with abundance as the cork is popped, delivering ginger, chocolate, spice, faint baked apple fruitiness. Pouring into the glass produces much of the same, with that baked apple character standing out just a tad more.

Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate and ginger upfront, then a bit of cinnamon spice and baked apple character kick in, overshadowing much of the initial chocolate flavor. Light honey sweetness emerges mid-taste, along with a distant oakiness. Continuing cinnamon spice. A bit of chocolate re-emerges in the finish, delivering a lingering sweet, slightly apple-ish and semi-spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Near full-bodied but with a good amount of tingly carbonation, making it feel lighter than it actually is. Slick, slighty creamy texture makes this an easy drinker with a slightly dry finish.

Overall - On a whim I looked the other GBS variants I had, and fitting that Kentucky Breakfast Morning was review # 1,500. This is a hell of a beer. Unique as any BA stout I've had that I can recall. A perfect choice for review # 2,000. This also marks my going into semi-retirement. Maybe a handful of reviews a month after this. It's been a great ride, and it it will continue to be so; just less 'frequent stops' so to speak. :P

Jun 04, 2018
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml cork & cage bottle poured into a snifter
2015 Vintage

A- pours deep brown in color with a thin foamy off-white head that has short retention. Some light creeping through the edge of the glass

S- plenty of ginger and cinnamon up front, mimicking the aroma of fresh gingerbread cookies. The apple brandy barrel then adds notes of green apple peel & woody oak. Light undertones of brown sugar, molasses & brownies

T- ginger and cinnamon take the lead up front before giving way to chocolate and caramel malty notes. Mid-palate brings out barrel notes with a distinct green apple flavor and seems to be enhanced by the cinnamon. Also some woody oak coming through. The finish gives more gingerbread notes with a hint of boozy brandy on the linger

M- medium body with light carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel continues into a bit of a think finish

O- definitely one of my favorite barrel treatments of the series. The apple and cinnamon seem to compliment each other perfectly

Mar 30, 2018
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VeganUndead from Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Too cloyingly sweet for me to love it. The flavors work well together but I would prefer the base beer to this barrel aged variant. Favorite is still CM

Jan 21, 2018
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mdfb79 from New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BigSexy410 for this bottle.

Pours a dark brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of gingerbread, roasted malts, chocolate, cream, apple brandy, oak, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and sticky sweet fruits. Love it. Thick full body and moderate carbonation.

Overall I loved this'll; not as much as Christmas morning but more so than the normal GBS.

Jan 21, 2017
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours pitch black, with a fluffy head that fades fairly quickly; leggy, but not much lacing

Smell: Cinnamon gingerbread cookie, caramel, toasted oak, vanilla and apple brandy tones

Taste: Lots of cinnamon and gingerbread tones, up front, with vanilla, apple and caramel building; apple brandy tones, through the middle, with a sweet finish that consolidates the elements

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Really enjoyed the range of flavors here

Dec 24, 2016
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: pours light brown, but looks black in the glass. No head to speak of
S: Apple and cinnamon. Smells like apple pie, haha. The aroma doesn't pop, otherwise I'd give it a 5
T: wow! That is apple pie!!! Crazyiness, completely blown away. Didn't see that coming. Huge Apple, then chocolate and cinnamon. Delicious
F: thin, but smooth. The spices keep it from being crushable.
O: blown away how awesome this is. Didn't expect this, wow.

Oct 15, 2016
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nhindian from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Compared to the other beers within Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout collection, the Apple Brandy version seems to be a touch lighter in appearance. Even the head is a lighter shade of brown with short retention.

Aroma - The nose is a bit toned down on the ginger front compared to other GBS beers, but this allows the barrel notes to shine through. The Apple brandy notes potent and serve as a nice foil to the spices. There's a touch of tartness that sort of peeks through, but it's mild and doesn't distract too much.

Taste - This is where the Apple Brandy version of GBS really distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack. The ginger, for once, is not overwhelmingly dominant. Instead, the Apple Brandy, notes of honey and vanilla, and oak make up a bulk of the flavor profile. It is nicely balanced, but there is a bit of an astringent finish.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is medium in body with low carbonation. I would've liked a little more viscosity here.

Closing Arguments - Overall, this is easily the most balanced of the GBS beers and the one that allows the barrel to steal the spotlight. Despite this, the Apple Brandy version is probably near the bottom of my rankings. The aftertaste is a little off-putting, and personally, I really liked the aggressive ginger.

Mar 24, 2016
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Pourharddrinkslow from South Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Nothing fancy, black in color, pours thinly, little head and zero lacing.

Smell - Ginger, cinnamon, apples and brandy. Great aroma.

Taste - First impression is how much boozier than regular GBS this is, but other than that tastes very similar, plus the addition of some strong apple and a mild brandy flavor that gives it a recognizable kick at the end. Base is heavy on cinnamon, ginger and slight cocoa. Very smooth.

Feel - Smooth as you want a milk stout to be.

Overall - Significant twist on the base beer, some flavors are added and some are taken away. I put them on near even ground.

Mar 09, 2016
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.43/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle. Black body. Smells sweet. Strong gingerbread. Cinnamon. Apple brandy. Tastes very sweet. Lots of apple brandy here. Cinnamon and gingerbread. Milk chocolate. Lingering oakiness and a very dry finish. Heavy and boozy. Not as interesting as Kentucky Christmas Morning, but also not as intense.

Feb 23, 2016
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oldn00b from Virginia

4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a relatively typical pitch black with a frothy khaki head (pretty gorgeous actually) but fades to about nothing quickly. Lacing on a scale of 1-10 is about a 2). A bit standard but that frothy head is nice.

Nose is a bit lacking - I get the same sweet ginger and molasses notes from regular GBS, but I can't for the life of me pull any brandy or apple. If I could do a side by side but this is no different in the nose from GBS as far as I can tell.

Flavor is nice. GBS for sure, but there are some subtle hints of the brandy and, knowing it's there, I get the apple aspect. Closest cousin that comes to mind it Trickery and this is not Trickery. Aside from a different base this clearly spent far less time in the barrel than Trickery (3 months compared to 8-9 I believe). It adds a bit of depth and character that suits GBS well. I'm in the crowd that thinks the base is a bit overhyped and slightly un-deserving of the perfect 100 from the bros. However, this is a nice upgrade in my opinion. Not quite to the level of KY Christmas but it works very well and is a really nice treat.

The feel is in line with the others with no rough edges or dense viscosity to make this one a bit cloying - carbonation is spot on. But there is a bit of a chalk note here that brings this one down a notch for me from the others.

Overall, it's nice and I'm glad I tried it but I feel it could benefit from more time in the barrel. It is a nice variant and an improvement on GBS but it is not my favorite, still quite solidly KY Christmas Morning.

Feb 07, 2016
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lupercmda from North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with a minimal tan head. Smells of Vanilla, and apple pie predominate. Taste is smooth, sweet apple up front with vanilla and the brandy character coming in on the back end. Hints of the gingerbread spice also. An excellent beer

Feb 06, 2016
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Myotus from Texas

4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured gently at 48°F from a 750ml bottle (2015 vintage) into a tulip. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before consuming. Consumed on 03Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a partial line within 1 minute and 5 seconds. Black in color with no tint. There is a scarce amount of small rising bubbles. Lacing is nearly nonexistent.
SMELL: Strong aromas of gingerbread and sweet, alcohol forward brandy (not getting any apple brandy) are backed by mild aromas of cinnamon, coffee, and honey along with subtle aromas of chocolate milk and vanilla. Hints of oak are also present.
TASTE: The initial taste is of strong apple brandy and gingerbread flavors. The brandy flavors are much sweeter compared to the smell since the apple component is present. They are also less alcohol forward with the heat only being mild. Strong chocolate milk flavors and mild honey and cinnamon flavors immediately continue this amazing flavor theatrical as the sweetness from the apple brandy flavors grows slightly stronger. Subtle coffee, vanilla, and bitter roasted malt flavors enter lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for honey, which grow slightly stronger.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. Carbonation is moderate. Goes down smooth and somewhat creamy. Finishes with a mild dryness.
NOTE: An incredible variant of Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout. This easily makes my top 20 beers out of the 450+ that I have tried. I have one more bottle of this that I am aging. My main complaint was that the alcoholic warmth, although mild, did not play well with the other flavors. If that were toned down, this would be a 5 out of 5 for taste.

Feb 04, 2016
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black with foamy, cream colored head. Nose of tart apple, coffee, ginger, sugary sweet, and subtle booze. Flavors are deep and rich apple brandy forward, with a gingerbread cookie follow, and ribbons of rich chocolate and caramel. Amazingly balanced and rich, on a smooth, chewy, rich body. Aftertaste of tart and sweet apple, warming booze, and a ginger and sugar blend that almost turns this into a boozy apple pie. The finish warms, with a brandy and ginger linger. Amazing.

Jan 31, 2016
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Stevem68 from Ohio

4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has an aroma of brandy and roasted malts. Flavor is awesome, ginger, roasted malts and brandy. Finished super smooth. Overall this is fantastic.

Jan 24, 2016
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oskinker from Maryland

4.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Apple Pie in a glass. The GBS spices in the base beer meld together so well with the AB barrel. Little thin and a little carb'd but a really tastey beer on a night we got 3 feet of snow. Not perfect but a really awesome variant on an already unique base beer

Jan 24, 2016
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_LOD from Florida

4.91/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The smell was amazing and tasted the same!! The aroma filled the room and the nice kick from the ABV was quite deceptive!! This is a must try brew!! Awesome job Hardywood

Jan 20, 2016
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.76/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown body with a small beige cap. Lovely aroma of cinnamon and apple. Simply wonderful flavor. Brandy character is superb. A touch of honey. Elegant balance, nuance. Terrific.

Jan 19, 2016
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown hue almost black with a thin off white head that fades to leave light wisps.

S - Aromas of nice chocolate, gingerbread spices, creamy roast, light apple brandy. Almost raw cookie dough with light nutmeg. Really fragrant!

T - Taste is similar to the nose with phenomenal raw gingerbread cookie notes, great baking spices, light cardamom, little nutmeg. The chocolate is nice, with good apple brandy notes. Lovely apple characteristics with great cookie notes.

M - Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, wish is was heavier and chewy. That being said, the alcohol was hidden well.

O - Overall this beer was really excellent. Shows just what happens when you have a phenomenal base beer and an excellent barrel. Really well

Serving type: bottle

Jan 15, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to rudzud.

Nice fluffy dark head fades fairly quickly, no real lacing, decent legs, pitch black beer.

Nose is pretty nice, tons of nice cinnamon gingerbread cookie, biscuity cookie dough, nice toasted oak and vanilla, fair apple brandy, fresh apple cinnamon cookie, great gingerbread, apple core, also dark malts, dark caramel, little caramel toffee.

Taste brings more sweet gingerbread cookie, nice cinnamon notes, big vanilla cookie cinnamon apple cookie thing, little caramel brown sugar cinnamon apple candy. Little apple brandy, little biscuity cookie dough, sugar color, little burnt caramel, faint peppermint thing too. Finish is sticky semi sweet, gingerbread cookie, cinnamon apple candy cookie, caramel etc.

Mouth is med bod bit thin, decent but lighter carb, pretty much no booze though.

Overall this was awesome, so much awesome, great gingerbread cookie, cinnamon, candied baked apple, brandy, etc.. Delicious.

Jan 15, 2016
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Beerfiend1 from Virginia

4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had fresh this stuff was a little hot, or maybe it just depended on where in the tanks you were getting the juice from. Somehow that has settled down over the last few weeks and it is drinking wonderfully. Huge apple brandy nose and taste, with typical GBS backbone of deliciousness.

Jan 11, 2016
Apple Brandy GBS from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 204 ratings