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Bourbon Cru | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
55 Reviews
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Bourbon CruBourbon Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hardywood Bourbon 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 ageing. The maturity and melding of flavors brought on by the freshly drained, half-decade old Virginia bourbon barrels from Fredericksburg’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery lends an extraordinary sense of harmony to Bourbon 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.

18 IBU

Added by YumYumGumGum on 05-02-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
55
Ratings:
334
Avg:
4.07
pDev:
28.01%
 
 
Wants:
52
Gots:
104
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 334
Photo of bmeehan
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good ass beer. It's not on par with Allagash's Curieux, but it's a great bourbon aged beer. It's got a vanilla aftertaste, which is easy on the tastebuds, but not extremely pleasing because it kind of tastes out of place, but it's a good product overall.

 264 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

The nose is very light but bourbon, malt, coconut cream, toffee and molasses can be found.

On the tongue is a light booziness, maple, an oakey malt, coconut and a slight honey candy. It ends with a bit of alcohol but it remains super smooth throughout.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured on tap at Churchkey into a snifter glass.

Real nice deep red and dark brown body color, very clear too. Forms a nice light espresso and coffee tan head. Settles to a solid collar that always gets populated.

The bouquet on this beer is stunning. Huge classic perfect bourbon notes of caramel, charred oak, charcoal, thick and full and lucisious. It smells more like bourbon than beer, no hint of Belgian style or malt or even sucrose like sweetness. Very impressive.

As impressive as the nose is the palate just doesn't deliver. Light bodied and quite wet for a quad. Virtually no Belgian character to this beer at all. Ashtray like char and the sensations on the nose don't come out on the palate. Some light toasty oak chips and very grainy character with a weak whiskey heat. There might be some mild sensations of grape like fruit towards the end hinting there might be something Belgian to this.

Overall it starts out very impressive, but for a barrel aged quad this really let me down.

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Photo of billab914
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker caramel color with a thin, spotty lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The bourbon is pretty noticeable in the aroma with brown sugar, oak and a little bit of booze. I get a pretty big sweet, crisp, apple juice like flavor to it as well as a touch of caramel. The bourbon is very nice, the sweet, crisp fruits felt a little overdone and sugary though.

The bourbon is the flavor that continues to shine for me in the taste. Again, I get a lot of very sweet, crisp fruits with apple juice coming through more up front as a little grape comes out in the finish. The dry, woody oak shines in the finish as well with a touch of vanilla to it. The Belgian yeast spice started to come out a little more as it warmed. The notes of brown sugar and caramel really mix well with the bourbon.

The mouthfeel feels a little too light and slightly watery for the style. Carbonation was a little on the high side, but very delicate and almost silky.

Overall I thought the bourbon flavors were fantastic. They managed to get all the really great flavors out of the barrel without much boozy alcohol at all. The beer flavors however seemed a little overly sweet and sugary to me with the lighter, crisp fruits being the focus of that component. I think it could have used a little more of a darker fruit character and a little more balance to the sweetness. I loved the bourbon flavors though.

 1,450 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a reddish brown with minimal head. I do pick up traces of plum and raisin as stated on label, but mostly pick up an oaky, boozy aroma replete with caramel, toffee and black cherry aroma. I did find this beer boozy at first, even a little heat, but it mellowed as I sipped and sipped. Touches of tart cherry, sticky caramel, toffee, possible vanilla and raisin, smooth, fuller body thanks to the barrels, overall a good beer but not something I would label quad, at least not in the traditional sense. Nonetheless an enjoyable beer that is a pleasure to relax with.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Sean. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - White foam that settles to a thick collar, but no lace. Transparent amber body.

S - Lots of oak and whiskey presence, with some fruity quad and treacle in the periphery. The barrel-aging is a tad heavy-handed but this still solid.

T - Again, lots of whiskey and oaky vanilla, with notes of chocolate, treacle, red fruits, and estery yeast backing things up. Alcohol is reasonably well-hidden.

M - Medium body, lower carbonation, super dry and tannic texture, and mild alcohol warmth. Perhaps a bit thin for the listed ABV.

D - Solid stuff, but not something I'd be able to drink in large quantities. I wish the whiskey wasn't so overpowering. Executed well enough that I'm interested in trying other offerings from Hardywood Park, as this isn't the easiest style to impress with.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 311 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From the 2012 release.

A: A deep red amber color, there is a small amount of off white head on the top, that looks soft, and slowly falls into the body of the beer, leaving a few fish eyes and a nice foamy halo.

S: Sweet raisins, caramel and maple syrup with vanilla and oak coming through. There are some nice dark fruit notes in the finish.

T: Bourbon is definitely there. Bourbon, oak and Vanilla start this guy off. Followed up by brown bread, some light toffee notes, and a hint of dried fruit. Finish is dark fruits and another hit from the vanilla/oak combo.

M: Medium light feel on the tongue, but as it goes down you can feel a little thickness to it, not necessarily syrupy, but on the way there. Carbonation is plentiful, but shy of the typical carbonation many traditional Belgian styles achieve.

O: Tasty. I would like to see a touch more of the barrel flavor, but the base beer is delicious, and the bourbon notes definitely pull it up into a higher level. Tasty, enjoyable, and dangerously quaff-able.

 1,025 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at his tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy honey brown with a foamy beige head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same but slightly watered down with a woody finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and drinkable.

 498 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on 2015-05-30 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge on tap

A - Clear mahogany

S - Mild caramel and bourbon

T - Sweet malt vanilla coconut

M - medium body and light carb

O - very tasty. Balanced.

 202 characters

Photo of stortore
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a chalice.

Pours a hazy amber, not much of a head, a little cling. Nice looking beer. Smell leads with malt; also grapes, dates, brown sugar, raisins, a little bourbon and vanilla. Taste also leads with malt, continues the grapes, dates, raisins. Adds some cherries and caramel. A little more bourbon and vanilla than the nose, some oak. Smooth for the ABV, has a good feel.

Good beer- flavorful and well blended. Have to admit to expecting this to be a little better.

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Photo of upton7418
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

bottle poured into a glass

A-Pours a dark caramel brown, light head the disappears quickly

S-bourbon dried fruit very sweet.

T-Taste is bready, dried fruit dates raisins, caramel, sweet bourbon finish.

M-Medium body and well balanced light feel on the finish. light carbonation

O-overall a great quad without an overbearing bourbon flavor. good beer

Serving type: bottle

 379 characters

Photo of dwren89
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: orangey amber, hazy brownish color, thin residual off white head

Aroma; spicy/peppery Belgian yeast phenols, sugary sweetness in the malth, thick bready scent, orange and banana fruit whiffs, slight bourbon aroma

Taste: Belgian yeast character peppery and spicy up front, heavy breadiness, slight bourbon like alcohol burn in the throat on the finish, slight banana and orange fruitiness, sweet finish

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, full bodied, slightly vinous with noticeable alcoholic strength, medium carbonation

Overall impression: A comparatively less complex quad than the true Belgian Trappists but with some interesting bourbon notes that make for an interesting sipper. Much closer to an abbey quad than a Trappist style quad because of sweet finish.

 775 characters

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 777 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle into a snifter.

pours a dark brown with a nice head. smell is kind of light on bourbon and sweet . taste is terrific with caramel, candy sugar and slight bourbon that compliments greatly and doesn't overpower. medium bodied, low carbonation. ABV very well hidden.

overall a very impressive quad!

 309 characters

Photo of CarolinaKev
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. Bomber into my favorite Westbrook tulip.  Nice ark orange reddish brown color. Smells of vanilla, apple and slightly sweet malt. Taste of vanilla, slight bourbon and sweet plum. Medium body lacking the spice of other Belgian style quads. Overall, very good brew from U.S. it has been in my fridge for about six months  waiting for cooler weather to enjoy. 

 379 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to portable 2014 vintage enjoyed from a GBS flute.

a - brew pours a rich transparent sienna amber with a thin bubbly kind of creamy head that never fully left...a thin skin was always there, some spotty lace if that.

s - nose is rich caramel toasted plum. Really nice.

t/m/o - really complex and flavorful. Toasted caramel toffee with a thick glazing of raw bourbony vanilla oak. Rich, decadent, and strong wood presence. Very well rounded beer with a fantastic flavor. Surprisingly light and thin, but overall super tasty and although somewhat hot, the booze is well integrated for the strength. Worth seeking out.

 633 characters

Photo of n2185
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours a murky orange-brown with a finger of beige head that fades into a frothy ring with a little lacing.

S: vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon up front with sour and tart fruits. There are notes of pineappleand cocnut as well. Interesting, but good.

T: similar to the aroma, vanilla, oak, caramel, bright citrus, tart fruits, and bourbon. Light alcohol presence.

M: medium body and carbonation, this beer is surprisingly light for a bbal quad. Which is a good thing.

O: a good and interesting beer overall. I suspect an infection, but so far it's worked for the beer's favor.

 585 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Real good vanilla, brown sugar and oak flavor. Nice balance to this. On the thinner side but don't mind. Sips easy with lower carb and a medium finish.

 151 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 1,030 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BJ for this awesomeness. Shared with a few friends at a beer tasting.

A nice, deep copper tone that kept quite clear until I poured the sediment in. It sported a light white cap that dissipated shortly thereafter. Very excited for the first sip. You can definitely taste the quad. A delicate front with notes of caramel and toffee, bringing forth a multilayered experience with malt, bread, vanilla, oak, and raisins. The bourbon accents the beer rather than dominating. Some may say that the bourbon is too light, but I found this to be a good quality of the beer. A bit prickly on the palate, had to swirl it a bit to reduce carbonation, but overall, a very tactfully crafted beer from a brewery that deserves attention.

 733 characters

Photo of reebtaerG
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Rustico Alexandria in a tulip

A-Pours ruby brown, two finger beige head. Great lacing!

S-Aroma has big bourbon, vanilla, molasses, dark bread malts, dark fruit.

T-Taste is dark bread, dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, sweet bourbon finish.

M-Medium body and well balanced light feel on the finish. Good carbonation

O-overall a great quad with the bourbon. Very is to drink and the ABV can sneak up of you.

 425 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

Conjuring up new styles, trends and flavors of ale to take along on a slumbering bourbon barrel journey, Bourbon Cru takes a pitstop with the stronger, darker ale that are famed of the Belgian abbey.

Burnt orange with light garnet low-lights, the ale pours with a mysterious but charming hue. More creamy than bright, the ale layers with a rich lather to cap the glass. Medium intensity of aromas shed sweeter notes of hard candy and brown sugar while dried, dark and earthy fruit layer gently on the early palate.

Woven tightly into a creamy, dense, and doughy middle, the fruit and malt sweetness tie together to suggest fruit and spice cake. But with the rising balance of peppercorn spice and bourbon nuances, the sweetness is held in check and the raisin, cherry, apple and fig fruitiness begin to recede.

More creamy and warm than dry and spicy, there's a barleywine character to the lavish texture, but keeps the brunt of twelve-percent held in check. Peppery, bourbony and numbing on the tongue, the ale echoes with the whimsy of oak spice, vanilla and dry caramel.

 1,076 characters

Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown amber color with a small off-white head and little lacing

S-malt, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit

T-dark fruit, caramel, slight nutty flavor, bourbon

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, some alcohol presence noted

O-a well-made BBA Quad for your sipping enjoyment

 277 characters

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to cw577enfield for this one!

Swampy ruby gold body with a half finger of milky tan head... great sense of lace.

The nose really caught me off guard, in a good way. Quadruples and bourbon barrels can produce a pretty overpowering nose on their own, so I expected this is really be strong. Not really, though... mellow sweet grains layered with honey and faint bourbon.

The heavy malts and bourbon both surface on the palate, but it's still surprisingly drinkable. Cereal sweetness, smooth bourbon, a bit of that metallic brown malt... velvety consistency. Nice.

Another tasty treat from Hardywood. Thanks Colin!

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.
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