Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
78 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: 78 | Ratings: 604
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to AndresR for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a clear super dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, gingerbread, Christmas spice, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with dark gingerbread and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a great gingerbread and barrel aged presence that comes across much better in the smell to me.

 691 characters

Photo of oline73
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark brown color with a layer of off white head that fades to a ring.

Smell: This one is quite sweet with bourbon and vanilla right off the bat. I'm getting some spice and a chocolate note. There is also a dark fruit component with the bourbon.

Taste: The bourbon is quite apparent, but it's not particularly hot. I'm getting sweet roasted malt along with a chocolate note. The Christmas spice is there, but it blends in rather than dominating. The finish has a slight bitterness to it along with some oaky bourbon sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The body could be thicker. There is a good amount of tingly carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: I prefer this to the regular version. The balance was spot on. The spice level was great. I'd definitely have more.

 832 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.64/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I was pretty let down by the regular version of this beer after falling for the hype, but fortunately, I enjoyed this one a bit more. I have a couple bottles of my own, but someone graciously shared a bottle at SS13, so thanks.

Mahogany brown pour, deep and slightly hazy, with a small tan head that receded to a ringlet, and left a little lacing on the glass. The bottle was open well before I got to it, and thus had a few moments to breathe. Sweet aroma, caramel, cinnamon, ginger, booze, more like flavored vodka than bourbon. As in the regular version, there was a definite cookie taste going on, like a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie, but it wasn't as pronounced as I would have hoped, and in this version it was also competing with the vanilla/bourbon/booze flavors. Regardless of that, I do think that this version tasted better, and the bourbon aging improved it, though there was still a bitter, woody unpleasant aspect to the beer. Again, like the original, my main beef with this beer was the body. It's quite thin for a stout, and leaning more towards an English stout or brown ale. It would be interesting to see if they tweak GBS and try to improve it in the future, but considering the hype over it, it's probably not going to change. I definitely wouldn't turn it down if someone offered it to me, but it's not worth standing in line for however many hours to get it.

 1,386 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I couldn't make it to the release today, so Paul graciously hooked me up. Thanks man! Served in a Hardywood glass, because it was there.

The beer is opaque with a thick beige head. The head lasts for a few moments before fading to nil. The aroma offers cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, oak barrel. The flavor is a step up from the aroma. Lots of holiday spices with only a touch of bourbon. Silky smooth on the palate. Beautifully balanced. Like eating a gingerbread cookie. Sweet but never cloying. A great beer for the holidays.

 526 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body that looks dark brown at the edges. Not much of a head. Thin off white collar.

Smell - Graham cracker and chocolate. Cinnamon. No real barrel. Slightest hint of bourbon among the booze.

Taste - Still no barrel, even less than the nose. Maybe some oak and vanilla. A really tasty graham cracker and cinnamon flavor. Some chocolate but it's mostly adjunct.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Kinda boozy. No real barrel.

Overall - The slighest of barrel characters. Wish there were more, but it's still very good.

 567 characters

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.

 183 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a globe/snifter type glass not unlike the one pictured on the label. Vintage 2014, nice to finally get a proper review of this thing. Solid pop off the cork when opening.

A real nice thick and creamy light tan head. Very fine bubbles in it's creation with some silky like occasional ring lacing while it very slowly settles. A very nice dark walnut brown to mahogany stain, with just a touch of red to the edges. Slight clarity to the light, and a great looking brew.

Classic aroma not unlike regular gingerbread stout but with a much more mellow controlled tone, and a surprising hint of vanilla sweetness. Hints of spicy sushi like pickeled ginger. Hints of molasses and spiced clove and pffernues like cookies. Creamy, and very dense smelling though and very bready, but even manages some sense of lighter body. Very impressive.

About as big as a barrel aged milk stout can be it seems on the palate. Still a milky and light palate but manages some vanilla cream thickness in flavor on first sip. Ginger follows but with lots of good spiced nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar. Light bodied and gets as much as a barrel aged milk stout can get in mouthfeel but doesn't get into real round coating flavors, or lots of classic thickness. Mild boozy warmth on the finish but very tolerable, and very masked on the palate. Some warmth even brings in some nice black licorice tones and flavors as well after some time.

Overall, about as big as a milk stout gets it seems, and quite tasty. Much better than I had in the past too. Very nice.

 1,580 characters

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!

 879 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Gift from Lunch, thanks Paul! Beer served in a Hardywood glass (again Thanks Paul!). Beer is dark brown and hazy with a tan head of small bubbles.

Aroma is sweet with hints of ginger and spice.

Beer is medium in body and has this odd coconut flavor to it that grows with every sip until it is all I can taste. I heard this tasted different on draft and I would be interested in trying it but ultimately the beer was not ginger enough, too much coconut or whatever that was and too thin, not a repeat for me.

 509 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cap and collar, short lived head. Alcohol legs, sticky lacing.

Initial smell reveals a toned down cinnamon-esque spice. Ginger snaps. Nary a barrel note in the nose.

I like that ginger spiciness. "Doesn't taste phony or artificial." Do not get much barrelness until the tail end/aftertaste.

Medium mouthfeel. Low but biting carbonation.

Very unique, solid. Hard to describe better than that. Thanks for the share egrace84!

 426 characters

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

 201 characters

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

Bottle shared last night at Umberto's tasting.

Smells like ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, and a light amount of bourbon.

This is really decadent. I haven't yet had the regular Gingerbread Stout, but the other people last night said that this version was a little bit sweeter than the regular. There's honey, vanilla icing, strong ginger, some light sweet bourbon, and a little bit oaky vanilla.

This is medium bodied, not quite as thick as it could/should be, with a lower level of carbonation, and a creamy, full mouthfeel.

This is a really decadent and tasty treat.

 578 characters

Photo of dar482
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The beer has a wonderful gingerbread and ginger spice aroma. Obviously follows with cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of vanilla, and roasted malt.

The flavor follows with that punch of ginger spice in the front, onto a combination of the Christmas spices. There is not much bourbon character, but it probably makes the beer smoother with vanilla character in there as well.

A great beer for spice lovers, though not much bourbon character comes through.

 446 characters

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.

 585 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, some chocolate, cinnamon and oak. Almost zero barrel presence, standard southern treatment. Thin to medium mouthfeel. Good carb. This is pretty good.

 174 characters

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.

 326 characters

Photo of barczar
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More vanilla than the original in aroma, with less ginger dominance. Definitely more balanced.

Flavor is far more melded. The bourbon counters the ginger nicely.

 162 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to egrace84 for the share! Thanks elliot!

poured into snifter glass.

reviewed from notes taken 01/03/13.

Appearance: light to medium black bodied beer with a thin white cap of head.

Smell: Mellow barrel notes and huge gingerbread cookie and cinnamon. It smell just like GBS with a splash of bourbon.

Taste: This beer tastes just like GBS with a splash of bourbon! The barrel notes give this beer a touch of bourbon and vanilla. But the gingerbread flavor is fantastic and does not have an artificial flavor at all. Cinnamon and nutmeg also have a big prescence in this beer complimenting the gingerbread really well. This beer is sweet, but not even close to being cloyingly sweet, just the right amount of sweetness!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. This beer is so smooth. Its so balanced and just a little bit of creaminess! ABV is well hidden. No harsh booziness just a faint warming sensation.

Overall: Hardywood makes another crazy awesome beer. Honestly, I hope that GBS and BA GBS are going to be a Winter tradition for the brewers at Hardywood. GBS & BA GBS are the best christmas beers that I have ever had and no other beer even comes remotely close! The barrel really complements the beer; it still lets alot of the flavors of the base beer shine through and accent all of the regular GBS flavors!

 1,365 characters

Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown color with a medium size tan head slowly recedes to leave some decent lacing.

Aromas begin with bakers cocoa and ample gingerbread, toasted brown bread and some sweeter honey notes. There is some equally large vanilla and lesser cinnamon; much more barrel induced vanilla and maple sweetness with minimal oak.

The tastes begin with some brown bread and milk chocolate with a solid growing gingerbread and honey/maple sweetness. The ginger is much more mellow here compared to the original GBS; more vanilla, maple and baker's cocoa. Light oak but really a minimal bourbon barrel induced flavors besides the vanilla.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is fairly mellow and slightly sweet from the barrel aging.

Overall, I enjoyed this version much more than the original version which tasted way to ginger-forward and almost like a messy homebrew. The barrel aging has imparted very little bourbon flavors (which is good IMO for this style of beer) and adds a pleasant vanilla and maple sweetness with a light ginger spicing in the background. Glad I didn't dismiss this after not loving the original.

 1,179 characters

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.

 1,376 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.79/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a nosing glass. Vintage 2012.

Matte black with light head and heavy lacing.

Smells like an oxidized old ale. Meh.

Wow though, it tastes great. Soft chocolate. Hints of dead yeast. Also a bit of booze.

 238 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, thanks @blackie

Was quite dissapointed by the standard version - upon popping the cork, you can immediately tell that overcarbonation wont' be an issue here. Not a particularly robust aroma - hints of ginger cookie, bourbon, spice. The flavor profile opens up a bit with clear defined notes of ginger, molasses, chocolate, coconut, bourbon and the like. To me, the intended flavor profile works a lot better in this version. Not without its flaws though - a bit thin, and 12 weeks in a barrel seems a little rushed.

 530 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured an opaque cola with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like spicy gingerbread with some oak and cocoa powder and toasted coconut.
T: It tasted like gingerbread and mint, with some cocoa powder and oak. It had a sweet and mild aftertaste.
M: It was watery with a little carbonation. Light body.
D: This was a nice brew, with relatively simple but really enjoyable scent and taste. The body was weak, but the finish was super smooth with no alcohol noticeable. So it was all too easy to drink. Not sure how it would age, but it's already so mellow, it doesn't need it. Wish there was a bit more complexity, but this was a solid drink.

 645 characters

Photo of papat444
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


Enjoyed at EBF 2014.

Sugary, gooey goodness; real gingerbread in a glass all mixed in with bourbon and there's hints of vanilla sprinkled in there. Nice and sweet but never cloying. This one delivers on its promise. Very, very good stuff.

 277 characters

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...

 828 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon GBS (Gingerbread Stout) from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
4.3 out of 5 based on 604 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!