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Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

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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

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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 599
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

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Photo of nhindian
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
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).

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
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...

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of Mdorinsk
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - Nearly black, with deep red hue in the light.

Smell - Incredibly subtle bourbon (at least in the 2015 batch) and honey

Taste - The barrel aging magnifies the amazing vanilla flavors that are already in the base beer without losing the honey and ginger. The beer is sweet and to my palate, extremely drinkable. The boost in ABV is detectable, but doesn't detract from the taste at all. Some have complained that the barrel character (Wild Turkey according to the man who poured my draft on release day) is too subtle this year (2015), but I'd say they struck the perfect balance -- accentuating existing flavors without losing anything from the base GBS.

Feel - Slightly thinner than their Mega-Stout and many other stouts of the same ABV, but not lacking in my opinion.

Overall - My shelves are drooping with the weight of all the Bourbon GBS I've squirreled away. A well balanced beer that will undoubtedly serve as a "gateway" BA stout for many. I bought bottles of this at each of Hardywood's December releases and look forward to aging a bottle or two.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a tight, tan head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of bourbon notes layered over chocolate and ginger.

Tastes of roasted malts with notes of ginger and bourbon. Roasted noes lead off with chocolate and some caramel as well. This gives way to notes of vanilla and oak. Spice notes of clove and cinnamon come next. Finishes with a lingering roasted note.

Mouthfeel is full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a tasty addition to an already great beer.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Visually, everything you would expect from this type of beer -- dark, thick -- inviting. Nose a bit light compared to the other 2015 GBS varieties. Caramel/bourbon dominates; some vanilla, ginger and just the right amount of bitterness to finish. I prefer the balance of flavors in the Kentucky Christmas Morning, but this is still an outstanding member of the GBS families and a real holiday treat.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL corked bottle poured in a stemmed glass. Stoked to finally get my hands on a bottle, thanks to my dad going to the Navy package store where they had quite a supply. This was one of the few times I was hoping for a bit more bourbon barrel flavors, but still an outstanding beer. I've been recognizing Hardywood as the go to brewery for perfectly balanced barrel aging. If there was a touch more bourbon whiskey barrels flavor in here, it'd be mind blowing. Some breweries are too over the top when it comes to barrel aging, making the booziness intense. I'm glad I finally got to try this, and will definitely seek out more. Get it when you see it.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black body with one finger khaki head that is slow to die. Mostly a dry, woody, boozy aroma as the barrels overpower the gingerbread aspect (still a bit of sweet ginger and a breadiness is apparent). Silky smooth thanks to the wood aspect from beer, creamy, even lactic, medium bodied . Sweet tastes like vanilla, cinnamon and ginger sweetness are balanced with barely noticeable booze and this sticky honey-like note on backend. A really sweet beer that seems sweeter than usual GBS due to "vanilla/booze" like sweetness and more balanced/put together than the Rum GBS.

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Photo of vicinandp
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like the bourbon version noticeably more than the standard version. The standard in my opinion is better with some age because its a little too much for me fresh, but this is a perfect blend of the spices and a nice oaky, vanilla and bourbon taste.

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Photo of dvmin98
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Did a vert with reg, BBL and RBL...this was by far the best of the three. Much more complex than the rum. The feel seemed thicker and the overall barrel was way better. Regular was next and then rum

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Photo of maximum12
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to cdunk11 for this Last Bottle Standing from a long-ago trade as I continue some clean-up. 750ML corked & caged bottle split with my wife & as a side note, I like barrels on labels.

The pour is black hole dark & the copious bubbles cannot escape the gravitational well, but they try. The nose may have faded some with age as it’s light: vague spice that might clock in at cinnamon, honeyed sweetness, but I get more clove than anything else.

Gingerbread Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged: the cast of Shrek would be horrified & the little guy probably needs two new legs now. Gingerbread + gingerbread! Spicy, doughy, cinnamony, with a framework of sweetness that’s likely a combo of the malts & honey. The mid-palate brings the vanilla from the barrel & hefty tablespoons of ginger. The alleged bourbon is no more than a rumor. Slick & oh-so-drinkable; I couldn’t do quite as much of this as I could do of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but it’d be a photo finish.

Honestly? You couldn’t fit more than a wisp of ginger’s difference between this version & the regular version. I don’t know if the bourbon has faded that fast - I’ve never experienced it going so quickly - or if it is just supremely tame, but it doesn’t add much except perhaps another layer of vanilla sweetness. But hey - the base ain’t no slouch & this is still an excellent beer.

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Photo of Stolenface1
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage 750ml - Pours a deep black/brown with dark khaki head. Aroma of chocolate, molasses ginger, honey, cinnamon, caramel, slight coffee and vanilla. Flavor is slightly sweet, with all of the aromas in the flavor along with brown sugar, milky(lactose) sweetness, roasted & chocolate malts, bigger vanilla & ginger, bourbon and slight booze. Flavor is more concentrated than the non BA, both in the ginger/spice and the malts, obviously to evaporation in the barrel. MUCH better in my opinion. Really well balanced considering everything going on. The feel is on the medium+ side, a little lighter than one would expect but it kind of works with the sweetness.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Faint bourbon presence and loads of spicing, feel is just shy of thin. A bit thicker base and more bourbon notes would round this out and help chill out the gingerbread. Fun but not great.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: a lot of carb. Light tan, dark but some light coming through around the edges. S: wow, so much cinnamon. This smells like Christmas morning. I'm in love. T: cinnamon, gingerbread, not a hint of alcohol. Just a lovely spiced stout. M: a bit thin, but barrel aging thins them out a bit, so I dig it. O: kind of wished I'd saved it for the winter, but I love this shit. One of the best extras I've ever gotten

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Photo of I_eat_beer
4.61/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A delicious, bubbly combination of gingerbread, bourbon, and all the things that make an imperial stout one of the things that make life worth living.

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Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
4.3 out of 5 based on 599 ratings.
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