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Bo & Luke | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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84 Reviews
Bo & LukeBo & Luke

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

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

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 863
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased by stillmatic2232 from Oliver's in Albany, NY, shared and poured into two tulips. Thanks man!

I stare into the abyss as I look at the glass. So dark and black, like obsidian. A mocha-colored head rises up out of the abyss and sticks around for a while.

Aromas include coffee and roasted malts, a bit of smoke, and slight alcohol.

The taste is much the same, with additional hop bitterness, smooth bourbon sweetness, light char, campfire smoke, oak, caramel, coconut, and vanilla. Awesome!

Full and delicious mouthfeel here. Low but nice carbonation. Very drinkable for the ABV.

Awesome collaboration here, and one I hope to drink again.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Just got this bottle from the local beer store this week though, so I'm confident that it's fresh. My second beer from Against The Grain Brewery. My bottle lists a 13.00% abv, instead of 14.00% abv. The orange wax was extremely tough to conquer.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark woodsy brown; opaque black in the glass with three big fingers of beautiful dark tan mocha head. Excellent head retention for the high abv. Some very nice thick scattered lace. Looks excellent.

S - Initial blast of musty yeastiness, but then dark silky chocolate and dark roast takes over. Tart & earthy from the cherry wood. Subtle notes of smoke / char / leather. Chocolate. Vanilla. Fudge. Cookie dough. Caramel. Some booze fumes. Some orange citrus? A very complex and intricate aroma.

T - Silky chocolate, fudge, smooth vanilla, some bourbon booze heat, smoked malt / char, fruity orange / cherry tartness. And then more sticky fudgey vanilla goodness. Very complex, layered, and enjoyable. Mild alcohol astringency.

M - Mouthfeel is very good, if maybe a touch too thin. Perfect level of sweetness, booziness, and bitterness. Lingering dark roast on the palate. Medium full bodied with perfect carbonation.

Overall, a delicious barrel aged stout from Against The Grain Brewery. Very delicious and complex; there is a lot to ponder about with this one. Very drinkable for the high abv, but a nice warmer of an imperial sotut. A deliciously layered beer. Highly recommended.

Against The Grain Brewery Bo & Luke ---4.5/5

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Photo of dar482
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a thick dark black color.

The aroma has big smoked malt, bacon, bourbon, chocolate.

The flavor follows with those notse. Sweetness of chocolate, coffee, fudge, vanilla. Then a baconey smokiness picks up and then the bourbon attacks and melds with it. Mouthfeel is medium full.

A great attempt at a bourbon barrel smoked beer.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark chocolate brown with a small milk chocolate head on tap

S - Bacon, chocolate, light smoke, salt, butterscotch pappy

T - Butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate before a salty bacon comes thru. Finish is dark, astrigent chocolate

M - Rich chocolate creaminess with a slight astringent finish and as well as dark chocolate thickness that lingers on in the finish

O - One of the better smoke beers I've had as the smoke blends well with the rest of the beer. It tastes like chocolate covered bacon with a light butterscotch pappy presence

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Photo of arusso13
4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed on-tap at The Owl Farm in Brooklyn.

A: One finger, quick fading khaki head. Pitch black in color.

S: Bourbon immediately hits you, giving way to coffee and chocolate. Faint smell of smoke.

T: Sweetness up front (think milk chocolate, caramel, toasted marshmallow), followed by slight bourbon notes (but very little burn). Smokiness plus added sweetness on the back end. Very drinkable despite it's high ABV.

M: Not as full-bodied as I would expect, little carbonation.

O: A very complex, well done BA stout. Worth seeking out if given the opportunity.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from trade. Big thanks goes out! After 10 minutes of battling the thick orange wax on this I finally got to pour it in my tulip glass. Pours dense black with a creamy one finger mocha head that sits and sits there and won’t go away. Aroma of bourbon, smoke, vanilla, bacon, oak, roast, and a tad of bittersweet chocolate. Flavor is big and smokey with plenty of bourbon and a hint of vanilla, then mid palate sees a good bit of molasses, dark fruit, raisins, bitter chocolate, and finally a finish with more smoke and oaky bourbon tones. Much more fruit character than I expected. Rich silky mouthfeel, heavy bodied, with low to medium carbonation. A nice beer and excellent smoke-bourbon integration. I was hoping for a bit more rich chocolate or vanilla but overall a very nice and rich treat for the last day of my winter holiday break.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I’ve heard great things about this beer, and about Against the Grain in general; thankfully, I was able to snag a bottle when a case of this stuff showed up in town. I’ve been waiting for some real down time to crack it open, and now I’ve got nothing to do but enjoy a great drink – cheers!

A: Pours fizzy and without that thick syrupiness you’d expect in such a huge stout: the head, though fleeting, is no more than a dark brown collection of popping bubbles when present. Interesting. Pitch black body.

S: Bacon and booze, a winning combination. Actually, it’s more of a honey-glazed ham note – sweet and meaty – among a menagerie of corn, cedar sawdust, and intense rye whiskey scents. If that was it, you could call it robust, but there’s much more there: charcoal, burnt toffee, Hershey’s syrup, and blackcurrant, among others. Every little space in this nose is filled with rich, complex aromatics.

T: A palate that’s brimming with delicate flavor; this is truly a gourmet beer. Dense, bittersweet fudge and toasty-sweet caramel corn provide a blanket of natural, earthy sugariness, first in line. The meaty char and salted pork tastes of smoked malt then start to creep up, giving contrast without becoming the dominant flavor. In fact, there is no dominant flavor to this beer – it’s balanced exceptionally well (and, thus, insanely drinkable). The middle is a duet of bold bourbon and wood, a mellow warmth. Toward the finish, the campfire starts to come out, causing an aftertaste as pleasing as ever: smooth smoke. This is an exquisite beer – it tastes just like fine chocolate, intricate and dark.

M: Full-bodied, but only to an extent: it has a subtly fizzy carbonation and a body that could be described as moderately-creamy. First impressions are that it’s a bit thin, actually, but it ends up filling out a little more as it warms. And for a beer that’s aged in bourbon for three months, its burn is pretty mellow. No fire from a whiskey as nice as Pappy, I guess.

O: Kentucky, meet Holland – wow, what a partnership! Bo & Luke is a meal in a glass (or at least dessert), and I certainly got my fill. Truly world-class beer.

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Photo of Ri0
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Growler from the brewery shipped to me courtesy of Harold. Thank you!
poured 12-14oz into a snifter.

A - Obsidian with a 1.5 finger tan head. A thin ring remains after the head fades. Small spots of lacing trail behind as the liquid slides down the glass. Nice looking for a BB beer.

S - Tons of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, marshmallow, and just a hint of light smoke. Smell is not bourbon dominated, but rich and decadent.

T - Huge sweetness from this beer, in a complementary way to the bourbon and smoke. Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, and marshmallow lead the way. Faint wood and smoke linger around at the end. How is this 14%? The alcohol is so hidden, I best be careful.

M - Silky smooth, rich and creamy. Nice carbonation for the BB style.

O - I should be sipping this much slower than I am. It is a really nice BB stout that more people need to experience. I fell very lucky to have had the pleasure of drinking it.

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Photo of maximum12
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a taster of this at the Great Taste of the Midwest & couldn't wait to try it again, one of the highlights of the day. Funniest part was running into a few of my young friends (hell, they're all young punks) & asking if he understood the "Bo & Luke" reference. Uh, no, they didn't. 750ML bottle, orange wax, interesting dead-inspired artwork. Oh, & thanks to incubuscience for this one!

First off, there's a special place in hell for breweries that wax bottles like this. It took eight minutes & a single Abrams round to knock off the six inches of accumulated wax. Finally, the damn beer. It's black. Moderately life. Nose brings moderate smokiness, peat, & vanilla. Not as aggressive as I recall, but hey, it's just a smell.

Bo & Luke used moonshine in the General Lee & thank goodness they didn't have this around for fuel. A smouldering peat bog hits the senses first & for a moment I think "uh oh all smoke no fire" but then we're sliding past, into a deep barrel character that delivers both whiskey & vanilla. Mid-palate lovely chocolate, light char, drying oak, & as a bonus, the vanilla comes along to finish up & lend a wicked smoothness that gives a big fat lie to the ABV number. My chest says 13%, my mouth says 4%. I suppose my head will feel it, eventually.

Not as transcendental as on tap, but a damn excellent beer, especially since my tastes don't run strongly to smoked malts. Was kind of hoping my wife wouldn't like her glass, but alas...I did, however, leave some in the bottom of the bottle to sneak...

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a very dark brown, appearing opaque black in the glass, with a thin light brown head that dissipates leaving a thick ring around the glass and light lacing. Aroma of bourbon, dark toasted malt, vanilla and smokehouse smokiness. Flavor is rich, sweet toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon with an overlay of wood smoke, very well balanced and integrated. Finishes with a bit of bourbon booziness, smoke and nice hop bitterness. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A very smooth, nicely balanced bourbon imperial stout. Not as heavy bodied as expected, but the flavors more than compensate. Smoke is deftly done. Alcohol is well covered, but this is definitely warming and carries a punch. Well done, and glad I stumbled on a bottle of this uncommon beer.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into HF fest class. First beer of Donfrap's birthday tasting, also first beer of the 4 bottle set.

A- Pours a translucent brown but appears opaque black in the glass with some translucency around the edges. Slight mocha head that recedes fairly fast leaving some light lacing that slides back into the glass. Appears a bit thinner then I was expecting being a 14% stout.

S- Smoked meat is pretty apparent with smoked ham and smoked wood, faint chocolate malts in the background and faint sweet bourbon. Fairly aromatic with a nice balance.

T- Sweet nicely integrated bourbon balanced with smoked meat, a bit of wood, smooth dark chocolate that comes out a bit more on the finish.

M- Nice carbonation, very smooth, a tiny bit thinner then I was expecting but body fits nicely.

O- This beer was a little bit smoker and thinner then I was expecting but overall this beer was fantastic. The booze was very well hidden and the flavors came out nicely. Definitely worth trying and looking forward to trying the variants next.

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A looks like a double. Huge legs on this one, tho all these big stouts basically look the same

S vanilla, bourbon & some dark fruits. The nose could be bigger but as it is its very nice

T really nice barrel flavors on this one. Some imperial stout bitterness but the barrel is huge. Its very complex and changed quite drastically as it warmed. Not a big fan of smokey beers but this is done really well. The lingering aftertaste is mostly imperial stout.

M its a bit thin but I think it helps to make the beer more drinkable.

O this is quite a unique beer. Its part imperial stout part old ale part quad. The barrel character is huge. Not my favorite BA stout but still very enjoyable.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - pours damn near black with a finger of rich chocolate head. OK retention, decent lacing.

S - Tons of smoked bacon, definitely dominates. SK.e sweet vanilla booze and chocolate as well

T - Super smokey, some mild vanilla and chocolate. More Smokey dark fruits at finish/aftertaste

M - medium/full bodied minimal carb. Pretty ideal

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Photo of pjkelley82
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at a bottle share on 10/21/13... thanks Joe For Bringing this bottle and getting to try it without opening mine...lol..

Right before we tried this beer there were 3 comments made(from non smoke beer lovers) about how smoked beers are overly smokey.. just had smoke from the oak mind you... this beer settled all their worries....

Listen.... screw A, S, T, M, O.... this is "the" Imperial Stouts of smoked beers... whatever that pappy van winkle is...keep it.. it does wonders for this beer... its a supremely goos stout base with subtle smoke flavors... everything is so smooth and so well put together... I can't say enough about this brew and is definitely a must try...

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Photo of KYGunner
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured viscous and smooth with virtually no carbonation in the body this stout had an opal like hue. The head was thick and brown and rose slowly from the top until it muffined above the rim.

The aromas were chocolatey with some strong malt character. Vinous fruit and bourbon provide almost a texture to the scent.

The flavor is incredibly diverse with constantly changing complexity at every sip. The chocolate is certainly the backbone with caramel, praline and molasses. I also caught glimpses of chocolate covered cherries, honeycomb, pecan, maple, woodsy oak, vanilla and ever so slight dry coconut. The dried fruitiness was evident but I was unable to identify just which ones. With all that I still tasted some strong malt and a hint of bourbon.

The feel was a tad astringent with a piney metallic aftertaste and feel. The overall feel was not nearly as thick and viscous as the appearance would suggest.

This is a fantastic beer with all the subtleties and nuances beer lovers look for and proof that ATG is the real deal.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
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!

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Photo of Vegasbeer
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery, September 14, 2013. Served in a snifter. Creamy colored 1" head, excellent lacing. Appearance was dark and oily. Smell was bourbon, caramel. Taste was slightly sweet, subtle smoke, light bourbon, vanilla. Alcohol was not overbearing, despite being 13-14%. Has a smooth mouthfeel, light carbonation. Was fortunate enough to try a couple of variants on this trip, including port barrel aged and the peanut butter from the Bo and Luke 4 pack. This beer lives up the hype. Delicious.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a wine glass.

Appearance - Jet black. Inky and viscous. Small mocha head.

Smell - Smoke and chocolate in perfect balance. Whiskey aroma, but it's not strong. Vanilla.

Taste - The smoke is very strong. Stronger than the aroma. Sweet chocolate, kinda fudgy. Whiskey is present, but never a centerpiece. A little bitter form the smoked malts.

Mouthfeel - Sweet as hell. Heavy. The smoke gets dulled by the sugars.

Overall - The barrel is muted and the beer is too sweet, but otherwise the flavors work very well together.

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

End of the keg, about a 6-7 ounce pour, for free!

Appearance: Jet black with a thin dark brown head, solid retention with chunky lacing.

Smell: Oak, chocolate and a ton of smoke. Such a great aroma, with hints of the bourbon coming through as well, lots of sweetness to counteract that.

Taste: Silky smooth, chocolate, molasses and caramel, with notes of charred oak, bourbon, and more alcohol. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but surprisingly smooth. Very easy drinking with little heat for its size. This was a small pour but quite easy to drink.

Overall: Fantastic beer that I'm glad I got to try. Worth seeking out this rare brew.

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

On-tap at The Beer Temple, in Amsterdam.

Bo & Luke is black as the char inside the bourbon barrel in which it was aged. Dark as deep space, with a coffee-coloured head, the contents of the glass look thicker than concrete. It's obvious off the bat: this is not the beer to order if you're in the mood for something "normal".

Smelling the beer is akin to licking the inside of a charred oak barrel that still contains portions of its former alcoholic contents. The use of cherry wood smoked and rye malts really serve to accentuate the singe and spice of the bourbon (Pappy Van Winkle, by the way). Notwithstanding, there's far more to this Russian Imperial Stout than simply whiskey...

Bo & Luke drinks with exalted flavours of dark chocolate, vanilla cake, and cinnamon spice. These three flavours play out in order, again and again like clockwork with each mouthful before giving way to a very dry and smoky finish that subjugates a chunk (though by no means all) of the alcohol. It tastes a little like what the inside of a cigar box smells.

It's my experience that few beers can age more than a short period of time; this one could probably outlive you. At a not-so-hard-to-believe 14% alcohol, I savored my six ounce pour patiently. There's no other way to do it; each sip is formidable and rewarding in its grandeur.

Bourbon-barrel aged stouts can be monotonous, but Bo & Luke was truly special. Pappy Van Winkle is an expensive (several hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars/bottle) that is very rare and regarded as arguably the best bourbon in the world. I've never had the privilege of trying it but if its effects on this stout are any indication, its praise is warranted.

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

On-tap at Tørst.

A: Black body, brown highlights, 1 inch of fine, creamy light brown head. Excellent retention and lacing, particularly for the strength. Gorgeous.

S: Enormous bourbon, vanilla, oak, and chocolate-covered raisins. The oak in particular is incredible.

T: Nutty vanilla oak up front, with delicious bourbon and chocolate midway through. Marshmallow, coffee, and more bourbon on the finish. Warming booze on the aftertaste, but alongside lingering coconut and vanilla. Wow.

M: Smooth, full bodied, and creamily carbonated. Lovely.

O: I hadn't heard of this beer before a friend ordered one, but the second I smelled his I ordered my own. This is one of the best Bourbon-barrel Stouts I've had in a while. Really intense, really great. Wish I could have it again.


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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.87/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On draft at Local Option in Chicago.

Jet black with a deep purple head that is maybe 1/4 inch. Lots of scents on the nose including coffee, dark chocolate, some bourbon, and fruitiness. The taste is sinful. So deep and smooth with sweetness that is apparent but not cloying. You get the vanilla from the bourbon and it enhances the sweetness. Only light coffee and limited dark chocolate on the finish. The front end has more of a dark/dried fruitiness. This is the 2nd beer I've had aged in Pappy barrels, and they've both been home runs. I had this beer after Baudonia, and this was just as good if not better. If you have the chance, make it a priority to taste this beer.

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Photo of RockAZ
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

OMG! I thought I had just tasted bacon grease pressed through an espresso coffee machine! On the first sip... I warmed to it. The beer demands food that can fight back, which I did not have available. Still - Highly recommend you try this beer if you ever get the chance, it is so unique and others have described it better, you owe it to yourself to take it on.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

When I heard they were tapping this at Trappist Provisions the other night, I knew I HAD to check this out. My ultimate goal is to add a bottle of 20yr Pappy Van Winkel to my aspiring collection of spirits, so this would be the closest that I'd get so far to trying something that had some of its flavor. (Although, how long this spent in such barrels, I've no clue. My guess is a year, give or take.) Poured in a 6oz tumbler.

Contains, as expected, an opaque, blackened color with an off-khaki head that makes the beer resemble a glass of thick espresso over being an actual beer. Ridiculously monstrous alcohol legs on this thing, with such strength that nothing sticks to the sides of the glass. The head sticks around for a while, which is rather surprising. Perhaps the tap provides forced carbonation? I would have gladly had this served in a tulip glass instead, but it still looks rather intimidating even in the small tumbler.

The aroma is definitely everything I was expecting, and more - lots of candied notes resembling toffee, butterscotch, dark chocolate, and soaked woody vanilla flavors. Dark fruits, especially cherries, come out as this warms up. The barrels definitely did their job in enhancing the beer's complexity, perhaps to the point of overriding so many of the stout's flavors, such as the roasted malts and grains. I barely get any zest to speak of, but there is an undeniable stinging feeling on the nostrils, no doubt imparted by the large ABV. This definitely opens up as it warms, but as first it's definitely a dark chocolate coated bourbon aged drink to the max.

The flavor is a little bit more intense, in which the dark cocoa and woody soaked alcohol dryness really comes to full fruition. Lots of a vanilla in the finish, which is very much expected from the bourbon. The alcohol is pretty well concealed overall, and flavor eventually turns from woody to candied, to slightly bitter and roasted at the finish. Definitely the amount of high quality bourbon in this thing makes a lot of the beer's aspects slightly muted, but it's still pretty delicious. Lots of heat comes up at the finish from the alcohol, and I definitely had to have a glass of water alongside this in order to dispel the bone-dryness.

Very intense and intriguing take on the imperial stout style for once, although this is definitely on its road to being a hybrid. It isn't difficult to finish and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it did take me some time. Not sure how easy it is to come by, but I recommend this as a must try to bourbon and stout fans from all over. A good way to end a long day, for sure.

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Bo & Luke from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
4.3 out of 5 based on 863 ratings.
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