Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

91 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout)Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout)

Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, described by BeerAdvocate as “freagin’ Christmas in a bottle,” is an imperial milk stout brewed with vanilla beans, cinnamon, fresh Casselmonte Farm baby ginger and Bearer Farms wildflower honey. Gingerbread Stout is then matured in Virginia bourbon barrels, where it adapts an incredibly mellow character with oak, caramel and bourbon undertones, and emerges 12 weeks later as Bourbon GBS. A festive blend of spice character laces this rich, chocolatey stout, which warms the palate and the soul.

55 IBU

Added by MasterSki on 12-10-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 658
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers that everyone goes bat-crazy for and I think it is "just OK". Had on tap at a barrel-aged event at POPE in Philly.

Looks alright but a little flat. The smell is all cinnamon and spices and Christmas dessert.

In the mouth, the bourbon is more prominent and balances out all the spice and sweetness.

The mouthfeel is rather flat and eventful, but the drinkability is off the charts for a 10.20% imperial brew.

Nice enough, but I don't get the hysteria.

 484 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 Release

Appearance: Pours espresso brown with a foamy head of khaki; streaky, leggy lacing lines the chalice while the head retains at a quarter of an inch

Smell: Gingerbread soaked in Bourbon, with undertones of vanilla, caramel and oak

Taste: Gingerbread flavors burst forward on the palate, with cinnamon and ginger prominent; caramel, honey and vanilla tones build, through the middle, with a slightly boozy blend of Bourbon, oak and milk chocolate bringing up the rear; vanilla and gingerbread tones linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: By far, my favorite of the GBS series; the barrel treatment is exemplary

Thanks, jonnyybp, for the opportunity

 748 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a goblet. An opaque ruby-brown color with a modest tan head that quickly receeded to a wispy cap. Wow - the aroma was there right at the uncorking: ginger cookies, caramel, toast, vanilla, and maybe a hint of whiskey. The first sip was as predicted with huge gingerbread flavor. The complexity built quickly with layers of bourbon, vanilla, wood, cherries, and coffee. A smooth chocolatey finish with a nice comforting warming on the palate. A beautifully balanced beer.

 482 characters

Photo of Tommo
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 bottle, This may not be the best stout ever made, but it is extremely delicious and easy to drink. The gingerbread flavor is very present, but not overwhelming. The body is very thick, smooth and velvety. The bourbon is on the lighter side for a BA stout, but delicious none the less. Overall i found this fantastic

 321 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.2/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2015 vintage; drank 3/19/16 @ the Palace.

Black/brown appearance.

Minimal khaki head; minimal lace.

Cinnamon & cream notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Cinnamon & cream flavors up front; faint booze heat notes on the finish Very thin & quite boring. Not one to seek out.

 282 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that lasted an average amount of time. Not much lacing.

S: A very alluring aroma of gingerbread, malt, oak, and bourbon.

T: Tasted of a little bit of malt, a whole bunch of ginger, some vanilla, a bit of bourbon (not as much as you would expect), some honey, and caramel. An incredibly complex flavor that's easy to drink. The bourbon isn't quite as prominent as you would expect, but this isn't a problem. This is a great flavor.

F: A fair amount of carbonation with a super smooth finish. Full-bodied.

O: Definitely a likable and powerful beer. Lots of character and power.

 723 characters

Photo of BuccoFan
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 edition, consumed December 2016. I gave this high marks for its look and feel, but only average marks for all else, including taste. The Gingerbread stout is a unique and well-crafted beer, no doubt. But for the barrel-aged version, I was very disappointed at the fade of the barrel after one year. Quality BA stouts retain the barrel flavor better than this did. I have the 2016 edition, and I plan to consume quickly.

 424 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, tan head that builds to a medium height and lacing that fades. Aromas of Christmas, Gingerbread Cookies and Bourbon. Notes of Gingerbread cookie, oak, vanilla, burnt inside of barrel, and Christmas. Full feel, slick, coats the pallet and finishes with a fantastic thick linger. What an amazing stout. Unique Gingerbread flavor and that bourbon cloak that makes this absolutely exceptional.

 407 characters

Photo of Riff
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a solid black with about a finger of dark brown head that dissipated fairly quickly, no lacing. Smells of gingerbread, a little bit of oak, and a hint of bourbon. Tastes of gingerbread with an overarching flavor of bourbon. A few hints of vanilla and a tiny bite of alcohol. Smooth, creamy feeling in the mouth. Overall an excellent stout, the bourbon barrels smooth out the edges in the gingerbread stout.

 412 characters

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours brown with a finger of dark brown head. Looks black in the glass.
A: sweet Carmel Apple, cinnamon and ginger. Not much barrel or bourbon
T: nice sweetness. Like the nose, Carmel
Apple pops.
F: thin, but smooth and drinkable.
O: this ba bourbon version brings a sweetness to the base beer which I like.

 311 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Microbrew pour. This was a tasty beer. Bourbon, Stout, and gingerbread all wrapped up in one. I liked the normal Gingerbread Stout enough; probably less than most. This one was bigger, badder and influenced with barrel. I just enjoyed the intensity and while I am not the biggest gingerbread fan, this stood out at a festival.

 326 characters

Photo of Barracudas
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is probably my favorite seasonal stout out of all the stouts out there as it is done just right with great hints of bourbon and cinnamon and an incredible superb taste!

 174 characters

Photo of Jay_P22
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Figured I would drink this for March Madness. Poured into a snifter.

Looks like a chocolate glass of goodness. Thick foamy head with layers of settling black layers in the foam. The head was a solid 3 inches, layered, sticky, and leaves a little lacing.

Smells boozy. Smells of chocolate and bourbon. Can't go wrong.

Tastes so damn good. The bourbon isn't to strong but still prevalent. Chocolate hangs on the front of u your tongue, bourbon on the finish.

Mouthful is smooth with great body. Coats y our tongue from the chocolate and bourbon.

Overall, I get the hype. Virginia residents went wild for this beer and I see why. Glad I found one. Wish I had another to age. Will buy a few next year.

 716 characters

Photo of Xenoreactive
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Preliminary: Had on draft and poured from a 750 ml bottle.

Look: Slimy and lacking any head.

Smell: Pure Christmas. Has all the elements of a chocolate gingerbread cookie. Despicably inviting. This beer has the best smell I've ever experienced.

Taste: Pure sex. Imagine a vanilla bourbon cookie mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, caramelized cookie and nutella fudge.

Feel: Not as thick as you would expect, but it is rich and dessert-like. No complaints.

Overall: Perfect. Will never have a better Christmas brew. Purchased a case just to evaluate it's integrity: even after 4 months, the flavor is incredible.

 612 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours rich dark chocolate color. Aroma is boozy and chocolate. Flavor is bourbon and gingerbread cookie. Has a nice mouthfeel and overall is really good.

 153 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Gingerbread, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon, roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and warm booze.

Taste: Wow, wow, wow. A nice blend of above aromas. Super smooth and delicious.. A little bitterness and warm boozy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, creamy, medium to full bodied, warm booze, light bitterness, and medium carbonation.

Overall: This beer is so good, I don't even know where to start. I'll try it again.

 605 characters

Photo of TheElectricOne
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and cage 2015 vintage into a snifter:

Appearance: jet-black and visibly thick and syrupy. The head is tan, and small, but lingering. Leaves a solid ring of brownish tan as the head dissipates. The body is incredibly dark....barely any brown even when swirled.

Aroma: bourbon character in this bottle is incredible. The aroma as a whole is amazing, but the bourbon sticks out. Not "hot" smelling, but all the pleasant parts of a BB-stout. Vanilla, little bit of char, some honey. All this backed up by a little bit of spice that comes out more as the beer warms.

Taste: incredible depth of flavor, with lingering sweetness and spice on every sip. Not boozy at all for a 10+ % beer,and it packs tons of sweet, subtle flavor. The lactose lends a base dessert-y flavor, which is added on to by cinnamon, honey, and ginger. The bourbon barrel just elevates all the flavors and creates an amazing profile.

Feel: full-bodied, with very little carbonation. Leaves plenty of lingering stickiness and a viscous, decadent flavor on the palate.

Overall: an incredible brew. Definitely one to seek out and savor.

 1,125 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2014 and provided by Lou! Great nose with definite ginger and spices evident, very creamy mouthfeel and taste does not indicate a beer of 10+ % ABV.

 156 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample at EBF 2016 Bourbon vanilla and oak behind some brown sugary maltiness with plenty of ginger to back it up. Almost too much ginger for my tastes, but I quite enjoyed this beer.

 183 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015. Poured from a cork and cage into a snifter, the beer is jet black, oily thick, with a low profile, bubbly, clingy, tan head. Aromas of rich gingerbread, subtle coffee, vanilla and bourbon highlights, rich chocolate, and woody spice notes. Wow, does this smell inviting. Flavors are rich and heavily roasted forward, with a solid booze kick to lead off, followed by a solid dose of ginger, milk chocolate sweetness, bitter roasted coffee, vanilla highlights, and a solid booze kick on the back of the palate once again. Bravo! Smooth, heavy, and rich bodied, with a dry, roasted undertone. The aftertaste is like dunking a giant piece of moist gingerbread into a cup of coffee spiked with bourbon. Delicious! The finish is smooth, layered, velvety, and with a subtle dryness. There is a solid ginger and chocolate linger, as well as a building booze warmth. Wow, great beer!

 879 characters

Photo of nhindian
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - This beer settles between a dark brown and black with a meager head. It fizzles away quickly but leaves a lacy ring around the edges.

Aroma - Yep, the first smells definitely impart that 'Christmas in a glass' aroma and balance the spices with a sweet background. The cinnamon and ginger in particular add a pungent bite that gives this a unique twist. There's a little bit of oak but I can't say I'm getting a lot of bourbon.

Taste - Woof, this is ginger bomb through and through. From the first seconds all the way into the finish, the ginger is the star and understandably so - it is bracing in a good way and downright refreshing. It cuts the sweetness and cinnamon while taking those notes on and transforming them into something altogether new. Some Christmas and spiced beers suffer from either being too subtle or too unfocused; Bourbon Barrel GBS is neither. It knows what its namesake is and it embraces the ginger to stellar results. My one criticism would once again be the lack of barrel. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I were tasting this side-by-side with the unbarreled version, but I'm not getting a ton of bourbon.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and very smooth. Unlike other barrel-aged stouts, I'm glad this one isn't too thick so that the spices don't become cloying.

Closing Arguments - An excellent beer from Hardywood and now I'm wishing I would've been able to get a bottle of the normal version to compare this to as it's been a few years since I've had it. Regardless, this beer stands on its own merit and the ginger keeps me coming back for more.

 1,609 characters

Photo of Beerfiend1
4.94/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy ma moly solid stuff.

Look: That perfect stout look, thick yellow head, motor oil black. Same as regular GBS.
Smell: Delicious smelling stuff. That vanilla, dark fruit, and wood of the bourbon barrel shine on the nose, and strong ginger on the back end.
Taste: Like dipping a gingerbread cookie in bourbon, or taking a big sip of some bourbon right after a cookie. Holy crap I want this all the time.
Feel: The regular gingerbread felt thin this year, but I also questioned whether some age would do it well. I'm not sure yet how much the bottle cellaring will help, but I can tell you this bourbon barrel aging did wonderfully.
Overall: Just pure awesomeness.

 669 characters

Photo of oldn00b
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours near black with a nice frothy khaki head that retains well but does dissipate to about nothing.

Nose is basically just like GBS - no real hint of bourbon or barrel comes forward.

Flavor is nice. I'm not in the camp of The Bros giving GBS a 100. It's nice, but it's not perfect. I think it needs something else - coffee like Christmas morning, or the barrel here. Hardywood doesn't tend to leave their beer in barrels all that long imho, but the time granted here was enough to smooth out the edges on GBS. It gives it a nicer, more rounded and full body. It doesn't bring the booze or throw on the vanilla notes, but it makes the ginger really shine. KY Christmas is better, but this is my second favorite at this point (still waiting to try the Apple Brandy GBS).

 781 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks, Xenoreactive! At first, the aroma reveals nice bourbon qualities, mainly oak. Letting it open up will reveal nice ginger notes. It smells damn nice, with a good coexistence between the two elements. It's flavor lives up to the awesome nose, with vanilla flavors from the barrel intensifying the finishing notes of ginger, molasses, and honey. It's a great-tasting dessert beer...but it's not a great-feeling dessert beer. Simply put, it's too thin - even compared to its non-BA cousins. Drinkability is great at least (it certainly doesn't say 10.6%), but I also sense that the flimsy texture lets the fantastic flavor down. With more bulk in the right ways, this would be off-the-charts legendary. Still, it's an excellent beer, one that's worth seeking out.

4.03/5: Excellent BA stout, shame about the slender feel...

 828 characters

Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Probably the best gingerbread stout I have ever had. Lots of cinnamon and gingerbread on the nose and taste with really nice balance. Nice thick mouthfeel and jet black color. Great beer.

 187 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
4.31 out of 5 based on 658 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.