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Bo & Luke | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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Bo & LukeBo & Luke
BA SCORE
4.25/5
Outstanding
924 Ratings
Bo & LukeBo & Luke
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States
atgbrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally an Against the Grain Brewery and Brouwerij De Molen collaboration beer. For the first incarnation, De Molen head brewer Menno Oliver hopped in a muscle car and drove straight through from the Netherlands to Louisville, KY (that's USA folks) to brew this bourbon inspired ale, and we liked it so much, we decided to do it again. We took the ingredients in bourbon whiskey (Barley, Rye, Corn) and then smoked them with cherry wood and brewed a huge imperial stout with them. Then to top it off we aged it in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels. The resulting beer is rich, smokey and complex, with a bourbon character of caramel, vanilla and spice.

Added by TMoney2591 on 10-08-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#856
Reviews:
93
Ratings:
924
pDev:
9.65%
Bros Score:
4.4
 
 
Wants:
384
Gots:
250
Trade:
33
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 924 |  Reviews: 93
Reviews by TMoney2591:
Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Au Cheval.

A PVW barrel-aged smoked imperial stout. Okay! This stuff pours a bleak onyx topped by a half-finger at best of tan foam. The nose comprises bourbon, roasted malts, dark chocolate syrup, oak, vanilla bean, and a kiss of char. The taste focuses mostly on the bourbon barrel, with the roast and molasses coming in a distant second, and a tiny bit of smoke clinging to the edges. This would usually be fine, but the bourbon seems to drown out any other flavors for most of the drinking experience. The body is a light hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thick, chewy feel. Overall, an intense bit of beer, one that, considering how much it focuses on the bourbon aspect, hides its alcohol dangerously well...

 758 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of joe1510
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml
$14.99
Binny's - Willowbrook

Wax enough to make a sane man crazy and a crazy man crazier. Bo & Luke looks like a big bad stout should. It's midnight black and swallows light. The foam is instantly creamy and mocha brown with steady streams of carbonation crawling up the glass to bolster the head. The head leaves behind ropey lacing. Purty!

The nose is packed full of goodies. Cherrywood is the first thing that comes to mind, a few tendrils of smoke. After that I'm overtaken with stoutiness. Cocoa and fudge in heavy doses are followed by vanilla and underripe berries, blue and black mostly. There's an undercurrent of blackstrap molasses as well. Huge roasted barley. This beer is even handed and well done.

The nose set a high standard and the flavor stepped up. The sweet smokiness of cherrywood has it's fingerprints all over the delicious roastiness of this stout. It's rich in roast with a big note of blackstrap molasses running along the back. The dark chocolate again is heavy and bordering bitter. Underripe berries and soft peppery booziness wrap it up. Again, great depth with some surprises here and there.

The body is rich with a good density but it never even comes close to cloying. The carbonation is active enough to cut the lush body before the swallow. The finish actually dries up eventually with some peppery booze and roast bitterness left behind. It's pretty easy to put away all things considered.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a big fan of the majority of Against the Grain but they, and de Molen, nailed this beer. It's reminiscent of the BBQ I cook (lots of fruit wood), roasty as all get out, complex as hell, and simply delicious. It seems like a lot went into this beer. It's all even handed and expertly done. Nice job!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

De Nolen is the master at ultimate roast taste in beer. Yet Against the Grain explores the anti-expected hit that's certain to arise in their beers. The blend is certain to be be an imperial stout, but with a twist...

It's abyss-black pour is given on site with a dark beer that is as deep as any other. It's just like staring into nothing. Yet there's something in there; and it rises to form a frothy mocha head, full of both loosely-knit, and tightly woven bubbles- all complementing the beer's durable retention and broken lace.

If the style prescription is to pile on as many aromas as possible, then Bo and Luke has delivered! Robust roasted grains push the scent of campfire, burnt embers, cocoa, bold roast coffee, and charred fruit- currants, grapes and berries all fold into the beer's roasty and savory matrix.

And yet the flavors deliver all that, but in different balances. What starts out with burnt malt sugars of black-strap molasses, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate quickly turns to a semi-strong taste of smoky meats, mesquite, charcoal, and burnt fruit. Grilled berries, currants, plumbs, figs, and grapes suggest both peaty scotch and vinous red wines. It's a complex taste that finishes with a woody bitterness that extends with bourbon-like alcohol sweetness, mild vanilla, caramel, and baked coconut.

Incredibly, the beer rests upon its robust malt body that facilitates early sweetness with creamy and semi-arid textures. But as the beer extends into middle palate it dries and turns powdery while remaining semi-sweet. Alas, the finish closes the session with a firm roasty, (some would say ashy, texture that's anchored with chalky roast, broad alcohol warmth, and semi-dry spice.

Bo & Luke absolutely captures the essence of both De Molen's best and Against the Grain's best attempts at beer. Its and experimental ale, an absurdly robust ale, and a cellar contender for years to come. Whimsy and power align for a complete strong taste!

 1,971 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.16/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this as a surprise bottle from claaark13 a while back. Cheers dude! Was always a huge Duke Boys fan when I was a kid.

From a 750 into a snifter
Impossible orange wax on this one.

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear brown and yields a two finger, looser looking, light tan head with very good retention. Clear bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a full wisp. A foamy ring remains until the end leaving a few dots of lacing down the glass. Too light in color and an average-at-best-head.

SMELL: Roasted and smoked malts with bourbon, coconut, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate on the nose. Light soy notes and smoked meat with touches of caramel and molasses as well. Very bold and nicely complex as well. Good stuff.

TASTE: Very different and relatively disappointing compared to the nose. Lots of caramel, licorice and soy sauce up front with bourbon and alcohol into the swallow. A big and lingering finish of bourbon, alcohol, smoked malts, coconut, vanilla and a hint of bitter dark chocolate as well. Licorice, smoked and roasted grain with bourbon and oak linger. Flavorful, but the licorice and soy flavors made it less pleasant than the nose. Doesn't quite match the complexity I'd expected.

PALATE: Slightly thinner body with higher levels of carbonation. Not really creamy, a touch prickly perhaps, goes down okay and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some heat lingers. Sub par, unfortunately.

OVERALL: This was okay, but nothing special. Certainly glad I didn't bug people for the entire set of these. The nose was certainly nice, but the flavor didn't match the complexity I'd expected and the feel was too thin and carbonated for the style. Not a bad beer per se, just not something worth writing home about. Thanks again for the box claaark13. Always good times.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smoky and roasty, dark chocolaty sweet with bittersweet char around the edges; hints of marshmallow and vanilla, and a little dark fruit under airs of bourbon barrels. Nice full body, smooth and easy-drinking.

 209 characters

Photo of rypkr
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So BA has this classified as a RIS but all the notes I read has it flirating with a smoked ale. And since rauchbiers and smoked ales are my favorite offerings I'm extremely excited to dip into this guy.


2016 bottle, only let rest out of the fridge for 15 minutes. Going to be consuming this slow and noting the evolution as it warms.

Holy fuk the wax game was strong on this.

L - teku pour. Wow this is gorgeous. Deep inky, oily black with a pillowy damn near white frothy head. Lacing is so frothy its nuts.

S - I read reviews where people complained of no barrel character. Well that's not the case so far on the nose. It's heavily laden with bourbon all throughout the nose. Lots of vanilla and caramel sweetness. Not a lot of smoke sadly. Cream corn? Yeah I'm getting that.

T - boom. Holy smoke. Holy unique smoke. This is unlike any smoked beer I've ever had. There's an element to this beer that I just can't put my finger on, something in the grain bill is so prominent and assertive, but foreign to me and I don't know what it is, but it's delicious.

There's a definite spicyness to this from the rye. Deeply riasty and yet sweet at the same time. The smoke is like tobacco much more so than sausage or meat like a rauchbier.

I'm in agreement with the other reviews that there is very little barrel throughout. Though with this beers intense complexity, I'd have a hard time justifying a want for anything to change.

F - very big. Very dry. Very filling. Very satisfying. It's a meal in a teku.

O - I love this. This is on my top 20-30 beers for sure.

Value - this was a very generous trade extra, but I'd gladly pay heavily for another. Speaking of which... I wonder if I have off for this year's release...

Warming notes - as I aprroach 50% through and nearing in on room temperature I can't help but feel stuffed. This is seriously a meal, and the warmer it gets, the richer and more filling it becomes. Yet another case for a beer that really should be in a 12oz format. Perhaps even may be a reason I shy away from future trades or purchases for this... I'm pretty much done with it half way through.

 2,126 characters

Photo of cardsfan
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Was really underwhelmed by this. Heard lots of good things but was immediately concerned after the look. Extremely thin. Smell was great but taste didn't back it up. Feel was just what I was expecting after the look. Not a bad beer but very overhyped.

 251 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the post-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a clear super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, smoked malt, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, smoke, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice balance of smoke and bourbon barrel aged qualities.

 654 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Green Lady. Served in a 5oz taster glass.

A - Medium, creamy, tan foam that lingers, leaving behind specks of lace. Very dark brown body with a hint of transparency at the edges of the glass.

S - Big vanilla, bourbon, dark breads, light smoke, hefty doses of milled grains, caramel, and dark fruits.

T - The taste is similarly sweet and and heavy on vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, and dark chocolate. The bourbon character is very Pappy-esque in the high level of sweet oxidation and sherry-esque character to it. There's some smoke, but it's quite restrained.

M - Big, chewy, sticky, and viscous. Some mild tannins, but definitely more on the sticky side. Lower carbonation. Well-hidden alcohol for 14%; I would have guessed closer to 10%. Quite nice for the style.

D - A good beer in small portions, but it'd take me a while to work through a snifter. The smoke is quite nuanced, which I appreciate, and there's good balance between malt, bourbon, and barrel. Not quite as good as 70k, but well worth trying.

 1,024 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Mike for splitting this gem! A smoked beer aged in Pappy barrels... what could go wrong? Pours a deep brown, teetering on the edge of black, but certainly not there just yet. The beer sits, thick and still with a quickly receding head that's a few hues lighter than tan. No lacing left on the glass; just the slightest bit of alcohol legging upon swirling.

Bo & Luke hits your nostrils like a sack of potatoes; nothing to hide, here. Rustic, woody smoke, both meaty and peaty, mild liquid sweet smoke, oak, smooth and warming bourbon, a bit of underlying, sweet roasted malt, and even a little bit of caramel and/or brown sugar. A very old times-y feeling brew with lots to offer. The oak, the smoke, the meat, the bourbon... a unique combination of aromas - I'm digging it so far.

Pleasantly warm bourbon greets my taste buds with the first sip; none other than Pappy Van Winkle. No, I wouldn't have been able to guess "Pappy" just from the taste, but knowing this fact afterwards helps to justify the smoothness. Sweet, liquid smoke, a subtle campfire woodiness, light cocoa malt mixed with burnt, roasty malt... The taste, much like the aroma, has so much to offer that it would be easy to overlook something if you don't pay attention!

Very smoky, woody (oaky) and lightly sweet in the finish with a touch of cocoa, while the mild bourbon warmth is left, lingering in the back of your through. Yeah, the warmth is there, but it's surprisingly drinkable for 14% ABV. Medium bodied... I would expect heavier or thicker for the style, but it works well here; borderline sticky, with a lasting mouth coating that'll keep you tasting smoke and bourbon for a while.

When Mike first pulled this out and told us what it was... I didn't really know what to expect. But damn, this beer was pretty tasty. Like sitting around a warm campfire, smoking some delicious meats and taking a few shots of bourbon. Smooth, warm, oaky bourbon. I don't think I've had anything quite like this before, so it definitely gets brownie points for uniqueness. Tasty and drinkable considering the style - thanks again, Mike!

 2,113 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
3.94/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of SanFranJake
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed after about a 14 mile and 2000+' climb on my road bike with @commanderofawesome. 'Twas a somewhat cold and foggy day on Mt Tamalpias and we nededed to warm up a tad. Good thing we had this waiting.
[URL=http://s1355.photobucket.com/user/jake_white4/media/FF87AB7C-8DAC-4DCB-8384-B1304B116699_zpsexejt93m.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1355.photobucket.com/albums/q707/jake_white4/FF87AB7C-8DAC-4DCB-8384-B1304B116699_zpsexejt93m.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
As you can tell, poured into unbreakable Dixie cups, so no clue as to color or lacing but suffice it to say it was black and the lacing, much like the enjoyment of this delicious RIS, stuck around a while...once I got the plastic cap off. I came prepared with my fire fighter issue Swiss Army knife which has a 4" saw blade as no civilian knife can get tho off.
The aroma and nose on this beer is amazing. Rye, some smoke an some barrel and a whole lot of goodness. As we warmed (us and the beer) this got even better...more of the rye, smoke and barrel.
Much like the ride, I enjoyed the hell out of this beer. Lots of build up and worth the effort.
Even at $28, I'd grab it again.
Just like the show of old: open, sit back and enjoy for 23 minutes. You'll love it

 1,211 characters

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #81 (Oct 2013):

Originated from a collaboration of AtG and Brouwerij De Molen. Nothing short of epic; so well put together that this beer must happen again and again ... please. This beer simply just laughs at other, overhyped Imperial Stouts. A sipper, and one to take care with, as it becomes more desirable after each taste. Cheers to AtG for this re-creation.

STYLE: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Smoked Stout
ABV: 13.0%
AVAILABILITY: Rotating

LOOK: Pitch-black, tan lacing

SMELL: Even smokiness, roasted grain, black currants, dark-roast coffee, burnt raisins, mild bourbon, wood, cocoa powder, fleeting vanilla

TASTE: Stodgy, creamy, sweet, smoky, molasses, candied dark fruit, espresso, chocolate pudding, charred wood, modest carbonation, mild wood tannin, big mellow warmth

 814 characters

Photo of sabitu
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of joel66
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JayGreezy
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Shagator
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of bishopdc0
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of CocktailJunky
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of mmcurran
3.64/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of aquazr1
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mikejonze
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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Bo & Luke from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 924 ratings
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