Bourbon Barrel Cru
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Bourbon Barrel CruBourbon Barrel Cru
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Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #40
Ranked #4,492
4.09 | pDev: 10.51%
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
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: 80 | Ratings: 397 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the small bottle, it pours a clear darker amber with a very small head that reduces quickly to a thin ring. In the nose, it is a bit boozy with notes of bourbon and dark malts. In the mouth, smooth feel with notes of alcohol and malt - no off flavors. Enjoyable, but, be careful...

Mar 29, 2021
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DIM from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pleasantly sweet, boozy treat here. The label says this aged in freshly emptied whiskey barrels and I believe them. Lots of oaky whiskey notes, not necessarily top tier but satisfying none the less. The Quad characteristics manage to shine through. Some brown sugar, plums, and cherries.

Very good overall, glad I got to try it.

Oct 05, 2020
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CraigDeMoss from Kansas

4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber with a decent creme head. Some clove and banana coming through, malty and boozy, definitely BBA. Heady, smooth feel, medium full body. Just a tad akin to the heavy Trappist style, more like a strong/old ale though. Seems to get mixed reviews. I enjoyed it.

Oct 01, 2020
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LiquidAmber from Washington

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

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a dark, slightly cloudy reddish orange with a thin light khaki head that dissipates to patches with light lacing. Aroma of candi and caramel malt, plums, raisins and light bourbon. Flavor is dry caramel malt, raisins, plums, hints of light stone fruit, mild oaky vanilla and mild bourbon. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Hits all the expected notes for a quadrupel with a light suggestion of bourbon barreling. The flavor kind of fades out near the end of the taste, but leaves a pleasant dark fruit and caramel aftertaste. Could have used a bit more barrel character, but a nice domestic take and barrel variant of the style..

Aug 09, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear mahogany brown with no head. Aroma hits the bourbon and oak with a hint of char before incorporating the dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. Nice but not very distinct. Taste is underwhelming: watery bourbon booze and molasses with dark fruit, oak, and caramel finish that doesn’t pop. Feel is warm, thin, sticky, and just flat. Surprising coming from Hardywood

Aug 03, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

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

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
Bourbon Barrel Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 397 ratings