Bourbon Barrel Cru
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Bourbon Barrel CruBourbon Barrel Cru
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Style:
Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #39
ABV:
12%
Score:
91
Ranked #4,029
Avg:
4.09 | pDev: 10.51%
Reviews:
75
Ratings:
389
From:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
 
Virginia, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  52
Gots
  110
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Bourbon Barrel CruBourbon Barrel Cru
Notes: "Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Cru is brewed in the fashion of the abbey quadrupel, the grand cru of many of Belgium’s revered monastic breweries. Bourbon Cru displays a sunset orange hue with a substantial head and brilliant clarity after months of barrel aging. The maturity and melding of flavors brought on by the freshly drained bourbon barrels lends an extraordinary sense of harmony to Bourbon Barrel Cru. Almond toffee and oaky vanilla aromatics give way to dark cherries, raisins and mature whiskey. A bit of plum flavor is greeted by caramel overtones and an assertive yet incredibly rounded body and a lingering, bourbon-laced finish.
Abbey-style Quadrupel Aged in Bourbon Barrels
12% ABV
18 IBU"
Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 389 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Clear dark amber, like a light roast coffee. One finger of off-white head with short retention.

Smell: Sweet dough, bourbon, and stone fruit.

Taste: Sweet malt with a stone fruit backing, plus a little bit of alcohol heat and a nutty, almost savory aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy, with good carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic quad that's worth the price.

Jun 25, 2020
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from Tavour. Small pop on opening, hazy mahogany , small fizzy head. Aroma is raisins, plums, brown sugar with a hint of booze. Taste starts out sweet, pit fruit, molassess, some barrel notes. Not overly boozy and relatively smooth.

Jun 14, 2020
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A well-executed quad using this relatively new trend of aging in barrels that once held spirits. Bought from Tavour.

Bourbon Barrel Cru (BBC) Looks interesting even on this bottle's fourth day open (it's the orange tinge that makes it different among barrel quads.) Smells tell me lots of dark fruit is coming. It does in the Tastes and, then, gives me some nice dessert flavors that highlight vanilla and toffee. BBC can sit in my mouth all night and, this bottle, did on four different nights. A memorable finish.

I went on Hardywood's website. They were pioneer crafters in Richmond; one of the first to use the new law allowing taprooms, starting some 11 years ago. Now they have two. They also give back to the community, particularly in the conservation and sustainability areas. So, I give them good OA hugs.

May 31, 2020
Photo of srw
srw from Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a clear brown-copper color with minimal head.
S: Caramel, raisins, hints of bourbon.
T: Sweet caramel, raisins, toffee, hints of vanilla with the bourbon starting to show up as the beer warms up.
M: Medium body and low carbonation. Very easy to drink considering the 12%.
O: Interesting take on a quad. The bourbon barrel adds some nice notes and the alcohol is very well hidden.

Jun 28, 2019
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout from Georgia

3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750mL bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 13.99. No apparent bottling info given. Served in an oversized Bruery snifter. Enjoyed 8/1/18.

Pours a deep mahogany with remarkable clarity given the dark color. The frothy three fingers of sand-hued head recede to a velvety blanket and generous edging,

There is an initial strong smell of fruity Belgian yeast. That is joined by plums, caramel, toffee, butterscotch and a hint of chocolate.

Flavors of spicy whiskey, nuttiness, dark fruit skins, dark cherries, toffee, caramel, apple, cocoa and estery Belgian yeast.

Smooth medium feel with lively carbonation. Whiskey tinged Belgian yeasty finish.

Hardywood’s Bourbon Barrel Cru is a pretty good take on a barrel aged quad. The right notes are there and it never gets overly boozey despite its heft. S

Jan 07, 2019
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hardwood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA

A: The beer is hazy brownish red in color. It poured with a dense beige head that has excellent retention properties and hardly died down.
S: Light aromas of bourbon and vanilla are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of oaky vanilla with notes of bourbon. Faint bits of alcohol are also present.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't overly heavy on the palate and does a relatively good job at hiding most the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: on-tap

Aug 11, 2018
Photo of jpkand
jpkand from Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: a nice clear reddish brown. Looks suspiciously for a quad
S: some kind of dark fruit alcohol, almost like rakia. Nice caramel and oak notes
T: with a quad in a bourbon barrel I was expecting heavy alcohol, but it is not overwhelming. The oak and vanilla from the barrel are there. A sweetness comes through later, but it's not cloying. Caramel, a little toffee, maybe funky ripe plums. The alcohol is noticeable at the end but doesn't overwhelm..I think the barrel sofens it nicely
M: not heavy, pretty easy to drink. Dangerously so given the alcohol content. A medium body on this
O: this version of a quad is what makes the American craft beer scene so interesting. If I tasted it blind I wouldn't say it's a quad, and you can that can be good or bad depending on who you ask. In any case this beer is excellent. Perfect as someone said below to share with people and enjoy on special occasions or just when you feel like you have some minor thing to celebrate. Kudos to hardywood! I'll definitely be buying multiple CRUs next year!

May 22, 2018
Photo of CDGoin
CDGoin from Virginia

4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

MUCH better cold, and DANGEROUS when Cold too..

It already hides its high ABV and booziness within its complex and yet sweet smoothness.

Cold its so drinkable you could swear its a simple belgian.

Drink it room temp or even say a little on the hot side and the bourbon really comes out.. and you can feel the alcohol hit up front.

Either way its a favorite and I look forward to it every year.. buy a few cases to celebrate and for special events.. A great beer to share with others.

Apr 25, 2018
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich amber brown, no head or carbonation, like scotch. Aroma begins with whispers of plum & dark cherry liqueur before warm bourbon caramel & oak overtake. Light phenol throughout. Reminiscent of sherry. The bourbon really isn't heavy on this, which is refreshing with so many booze bombs out there. Classic dark fruit phenols upfront - fig, plum, etc - with those bourbon flavors entering on the mid-palate - toffee, caramel, vanilla. Very well-balanced, flavors compliment each other nicely, very rich. A kiss of heat on the end. Perhaps the classic quad flavors could have been more consistent throughout, but that is a bit of a nitpick. Great beer.

Nov 28, 2017
Photo of teromous
teromous from Virginia

3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle has an image of a barrel on the back that says: "CUVEE DE RVA 2015"
The front of the bottle says "2016 RELEASE"

Appearance: The body of the beer has a brown tea color and it is opaque. It has no head but a lot of small carbonation bubbles form along the surface of the beer in a fizzy fashion.

Aroma: The beer has an obvious alcohol aroma but it is quickly replaced with the scent of dates, cherries, and brown sugar.

Taste: Up front the alcohol kisses the edges of the tongue. Then, a sweetness rolls over the palate with a brown sugar and caramel flavor mixed with a light touch of cherry. It is a sweet tasting beer but it feels mellow and easy to drink so that the sweetness never becomes too strong. The aftertaste is a bit more of the alcohol with a bit of what tastes like cinnamon. Over time a bit of toffee flavor develops on the palate while drinking the beer which is very nice.

Mouthfeel: It's a very smooth and easy to drink beer with good carbonation. It's just a very enjoyable beer.

Overall: The aroma was decent but it was nothing compared to the flavor and smoothness of the beer. It is the kind of high alcohol beer that you could sit back and enjoy. The beer focuses on a sweet caramel and toffee flavor which is very mellow.

Aug 17, 2017
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HattedClassic from Virginia

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

A really nice clear cherry red look that borders on a brown. It's very good looking. The bourbon is fairly powerful but not enough to dominate the quad and adds a nice sweetness as a result. The smell is a nice dark fruit and light caramel malt smell with a slight toffee in the middle of all of it. The taste has a much stronger bourbon and alcohol note. You still get a good caramel note to it but the other notes aren't as strong. Still good.
The feel is heavy and slightly syrupy but a bit smooth. There is a small thinness and burn from the alcohol but it isn't half bad. Go for it.

Jun 24, 2017
Photo of Riff
Riff from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color with about a half finger of white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly to a little ring around the glass. Smells strongly of caramel upon opening the bottle, bourbon, vanilla, fortified wine. Tastes of raisins, fortified wine, vanilla, bourbon, plum, and a note of cherries on the finish. Lighter than I expected but a nice feel to it. Finishes rather quickly and cleanly. Fantastic beer, good flavors, light, and certainly doesn't feel like it's alcohol level.

May 08, 2017
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a bright orange-y color with ruby tints and a clear consistency. There was a two inch, foamy, somewhat long-lasting. Not much lacing.

S: An aggressive aroma of citrus, whiskey, malt, and a bit of vanilla.

T: Tasted of a fair amount of malt, some Belgian yeast (not a whole lot), a lot of citrus (orange), a hint of vanilla, a big shot of whiskey, caramel, raisins, and some other dark fruit. An interesting flavor, due to the barrel aging. It doesn't always seem to work, but is still fascinating.

F: Not a huge amount of carbonation with a slightly syrupy finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Bourbon Cru is an uneven beer with some good qualities. Oddly drinkable.

Apr 14, 2017
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle:
It has a nice clear deep ruby brown body, but the head fizzes away like a Sprite commercial.

Nose is a light dark cherry with a little orange zest. There's a little fortified wine nature that comes out with the barrel aspects.

Flavor is a little more pitted fruity than dark fruity, the cherry and a little sweet plum with a half splash of orange liqueur. Vanilla notes add to the sweet impression, with the rawness and spice of the bourbon alcohol countering it. A little sticky sweet feel up front, that dissipates with an unexpectedly high level of prickly carbonation. There's a hint of a semi-dry red wine in the ending. Time diminishes the carbonation, helping the feel a tad.

There are some nice notes to this beer, especially the nose. The flavors need to blend a little better, and are thrown off to me by the feel early, which I expected/hoped would be smoother. That aspect weighed oddly heavily on my overall enjoyment.

Apr 12, 2017
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a muddy brownish copper with a half finger of head. The nose has really nice bourbon notes. The bourbon comes through really well in the flavor profile and there is no discernible burn. The downside is that the body is thin for the style and the rich sweet readiness that I love so much in a quad is just not present.

Apr 11, 2017
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a dark brownish reddish color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has whiskey and fruity hints
T-The taste follows the nose with whiskey and fruity flavors
M-A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
O-A good Quad

Dec 04, 2016
Photo of obywan59
obywan59 from Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Grapey brown in color with a 2 finger light tan head. Murky.

Aroma of cherries and bourbon with vanilla and musty oak Very fruity. Along with the cherries, I get raisins and plums with a hint of spice and sometimes, substantial caramel.

A taste similar to a fortified wine, grapey and rich. Again, bourbon and oak with dark fruit and caramel. The alcohol is noticeable.

Possibly the best Virginia beer I've sampled,. Outstanding in aroma, taste, and body. Luxurious. Decadent.

Full bodied with low carbonation, but very warming alcohol. Smooth and creamy.

Aug 31, 2016
Photo of wethorseblanket
wethorseblanket from California

4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Pours a dark amberish with a thin tan head which leaves spots of lace. Dark fruits, molasses and some vanilla notes. Taste follows the nose. Boozy and full bodied.

Aug 28, 2016
Photo of vainosuomi
vainosuomi from Virginia

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap in a snifter

Look: Deep amber.caramel color, frothy tan head, no sediment
Smell: Booze, dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla
Taste: Follows nose, quite sweet, rich plum and raisin up front, followed by faint but bright citrus/sour notes, caramel
Feel: Smooth, moderate carbonation, medium to heavy body, warm

Overall a solid quad, rich malt flavors.

Aug 23, 2016
Photo of cjohns73
cjohns73 from Delaware

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a nice copper originally that turned cloudy and sludgy. Smell is smooth vanilla. Taste was pretty much whiskey cut with some beer. Overall very smooth.

Jul 25, 2016
Photo of Guppy314
Guppy314 from District of Columbia

3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle from Whole Foods, pours mid-darkish hazy brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is a smokey malt. Taste is malt-forward with oak and a sharply high alcohol "sting". Decent carbonation, but mouth feel is syrupy. Interesting at first, but I was pretty well over it half way through the 75cl bottle.

Jul 07, 2016
Photo of KevCan
KevCan from Virginia

4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 750ml bottle from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. 2015 release. Poured into a tulip glass.

Look: Reddish brown, slightly hazy, lots of visible sediment, well-carbonated but with little head retention. Not as dark as a typical quad.

Smell: Sweet like cherries, bourbon.

Taste: Just a little bit sour/tart/acidic, very interesting! Good balance of sweet and sour. Very little to no bitterness. The high ABV is very well-hidden.

Feel: Just a little syrupy. Decent carbonation.

Overall: Very enjoyable!

May 28, 2016
Photo of Jimmys
Jimmys from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

A: pours fairly hazy. a bit too much so. copper otherwise. head is slightly off-white and frothy.

S: a little bit of bourbon, a lot a bit of plums. this thing smells like a quad. big time. alcohol heat. dried raisins.

T: starts sweet and really dark. brown sugar, rum, Belgian candy syrup, dark malts and fruit. any alcohol in here is perfectly fitting and is not overpowering. perhaps the age lent some to that, but I cant say for sure as I have never had this fresh. lingering sweetness isn't cloying, but is loaded with dessert like dark fruitiness.

M: moderate carb on a very full body.

D: overall I feel like this has held on over the years pretty well and really mellowed out. however, I think most of the bourbon flavor and aroma has dissipated too much as well. it is definitely a really good quad, however I am disappointed by the lacking bourbon character. with that said, I don't know how to review this overall. I guess drink fresh if you want some heat (perhaps), age if you want a solid quad.

Feb 06, 2016
Photo of AndyAvalanche
AndyAvalanche from Massachusetts

4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 Bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Comes out a pretty light brown in color. Gave it a somewhat hard pour and a small eggshell colored head foamed up but it fizzled away quickly. It had chunks of yeast sediment in it but other than that it had good clarity.

Smells good. Certainly some bourbon/whiskey aromas, but nothing too crazy. Some dark dehydrated fruit aromas along with a little bit of tobacco/leather.

Taste is good too. Some of the same bourbon whiskey flavors, but it doesn't overpower the beer. Some apple skin and fig flavors.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Light bodied yet some lingering flavors. Sweet, fizzy and a somewhat dry finish only the slightest bit of heat. Very drinkable. I'd do this one again. Thanks T Love for the bottle.

Dec 08, 2015
Photo of cvm4
cvm4 from Mississippi

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2015 vintage

L - Pours a semi-opaque orange/amber body with a light tan one finger head. Not much retention or lacing to the head.

S - Lots of oak, vanilla, caramel and leather at first with the backside being classic prunes/dates/plums profile.

T - Compared to the nose, the taste is a bit all over the place. Big bourbon presence. Oak, leather and malts upfront. I'm not getting a big dark stone fruit character, but coconut and pineapple.

F - Light to medium bodied and low carbonation.

O - Just a bit of a mess taste wise. Nothing really brings the beer together.

Sep 29, 2015
Bourbon Barrel Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 389 ratings