Royal Oil | Bull & Bush Brewery

BA SCORE
96
world-class
33 Reviews
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Royal OilRoyal Oil
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bull & Bush Brewery
Colorado, United States
bullandbush.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Batch 12/4/15 (Bottled) - Aged 1.5 Years - 13.5% ABV

Added by Mebuzzard on 04-08-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
76
Avg:
4.52
pDev:
6.64%
 
 
Wants:
150
Gots:
28
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 76
Photo of rye726
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich, hazy, woody brown with a thin tan head. The superb color more than makes up for the lacking head.

Nose has dark pitted fruits, pecans, caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and lots of bourbon.

Taste is just as complex. Sweet camelized candies, chocolate, wood, vanilla, whiskey, plums, figs and cherries.

Thick, creamy body is delicately carbonated.

This is one of the best beers I have ever had. Quite impresive offering from Bull and Bush.

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Photo of Bitterbill
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Aaron for the hand delivered bottle just because I hooked him up with some BCBS in Casper.

Pours a hazy to cloudy deep brown colour ala a Thomas Hardy Ale. Small and then no head of foam, no lacing.

Huge caramel malt and dark fruits in the smell with port like notes. Got all of that immediately following removing the waxed cap. That. .got me all excited.

How is the taste, Bitterbill? Exactly like what the smell indicated. Caramel malt that is sweet but not overly so. Dark pitted fruit and that unmistakable taste of Port as in a properly cellared Thomas Hardy. I reckon that this is THE closest to That wonderful elixir the US has to offer.

Sticky full mouthfeel with the gentlest carbonation.

This is absolutely fabulous. Amazing. Incredible.

Easily makes it to my top 5 beers ever. Maybe even number 1. I'll decide that when I am finished.

Oh yeah, there's some definite heat to this baby but it is part of the beauty.

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Photo of waltonc
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Bull and Bush. 9 ounce pour. This is one of the better beers I've had. Pours a murky dark brown with thin tan head. Fairly still appearance. Smells and tastes of bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel. Very sweet, but not over the top. Hops are seemingly non-existent. This is up there with Abacus, Perfect Storm and Arctic Devil. Thick body and spot on low/medium carbonation for the style. I may have to go back for more today.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

4/6/2012

Big thanks to Jonathan for sharing the bottle. This version of Royal Oil was aged for over 2 years in Pappy 23 Barrels.

A: Dark reddish brown with a big beige head. Slightly hazy.

S: Intensely rich with radical toffee and caramel notes. The bourbon profile is fucking amazing. Nutty bourbon butter toffee with massive vanilla notes. Big brown sugar presence and faint oak with a dash of coconut and dates.

T: Blend of caramel, toffee, chocolate, and bourbon of the utmost quality. Vanilla melds with coconut and light oak notes. Nutty butter toffee with brown sugar and faint dried fruits. Alcohol is mellow for the ABV. This is outrageously good.

M: Full body with lower moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky, and chewy. There's substantial warming on the palate

Overall: This is the best barrel aged Barleywine I've ever had. The beer claims that spot with hauteur and an air of lofty disdain, as if it were its birthright. I expected a lot and it more than delivered. A beer fit for a king.

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Photo of sterstar1
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing find. We discovered this beer at the Boulder Strong Ale Fest last year. It was up against top beers from the best breweries of the nation and out of six true beer snobs, we all agreed that this one was the best. I thought I knew every brewery in Colorado and after tasting this beer, I said who the f--- is Bull and Bush? Needless to say, we all made our way to this delightful brew pub and bellied up for some more of the oil. It was SO good. They serve it in a large thick goblet at a cool but not cold temperature. There's almost no carbonation at all and it's very dark. The mouth-feel is exquisite and the taste is fruity with candy sugars like Twizzlers. Now, the only thing that might knock this beer down a bit is the fact that it's SO sweet. However, since you can only get this beer at Bull and Bush, if you pair it with some salty food like fries, the sweetness is more than tolerable. Anyway, my only complaint about this beer is availability. Make sure you call B&B before heading over. I've showed up there on many occasions just to hear that they're out. :( Definitely one of my all-time favorite beers. Cheers!

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Photo of maximum12
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Stardusthotel83 for slipping me this long-time want. 500ML bottled 12/14/15 which claims to be cellarable up to 25 years.

The cool black wax has some kind of stamp in it that my corrected eyes can’t quite make out the fine print on, & it’s a bitch to get off. Eventually it yields to my tender ministrations, & out comes a murky brown with little to no visible carbonation. Smells like caramel, many board-feet of oak, sugary sweetness, whiskey. Not bad.

Royal Oil drinks twice as big as its already heady ABV. Boozy whiskey big enough to land Apollo 13 carves a warm crick from throat to chest cavity; pretty sure I’ve seen this bottle around the neck of a St. Bernard. Whiskey for miles, heavy oak, liquid caramel syrup, Belgian candied sugar, brown sugar, caramelized sugars that haven’t even been invented yet. More bourbon, more caramel. Good bat love, the caramel. Thick, syrupy, & I’m so glad I have 500ML to myself. Sad I don’t have a full liter. Or six. And an external liver. Can you buy those at Office Depot?

Not complex, not trendy, just fucking delicious. I could drink this until I was wondering how I got that great view of the ceiling, & why my bladder was full to bursting. Amazing beer that could hold it’s own against the elite.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.84/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Bull & Bush just prior to GABF. Poured into a snifter. This beer has been aged in 28-year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels.

A- Pours a dark brown with a hint of burgundy when held into light. Produced a fingers width of tan head that quickly dissipated. Very little to no lacing.

S- Just a perfect mix of amazing aromas. Sweet molasses, caramel, loads of dark fruit with a nice cognac, alcohol background. I could smell this all day.

T- Even more complex than the aroma. The barrel aging in this was probably the best I have experienced. Dark fruits are the first thing to hit the palate. The complexity quickly comes into play as caramel and toffee come into play. There is a molasses-like sweetness in their as well. The beer finishes on the sweet side with a little bit of restrained alcohol heat and oak barrel.

M- Thick and viscous. Coats the palate perfectly. Low carbonation, but works perfectly with this style.

D- With so much going on, it was pretty amazing how easy this was to drink. It was on the sweeter side, but not overdone.

Overall, been wanting to try this beer for a couple year now as I am a huge fan of english barleywines. This more than lived up to expectations. The way the barrel aging blended in so seamlessly with the barleywine was absolutely remarkable. Easily the best BA barleywine I have had to date.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: pours a thick murky brown with no head
S: sweet caramel raisins and big bourbon
T: huge bourbon, a bit hot up front then leads to the caramel raisin sweetness and finishes with king sweetness and a touch of bourbon. Awesome beer!
F: a bit boozy and hot, but I kind of like that. It is very smooth and coating
O: glad I got to share this with a buddy

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured clear mahogany with quickly disappearing head. Smell is strong bourbon, caramel, dark fruit, and a tiny bit of dog food - a very small tick against an otherwise fantastic nose. Taste is classic huge tasty English Barleywine -- bourbon but no roast, caramel but not sickly sweet, thick and creamy but drinkable, bitter but not hoppy. Lovely dark fruit character but not a raisin bomb. Still just a bit hot for me, but I'm a wimp when it comes to alcohol heat, and I imagine it'll be at a perfect level next year. Overall, this is all I dream an English Barleywine could be. Exceptionally delicious and well made. Loved it.
Bonus: it's pretty much the coolest looking bottle ever, thick sealed wax, crisply printed label, matte finish.

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Photo of mentor
4.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy Crap! If I could brew this beer, I would never need to buy a high-end commercial beer ever again. Reviewed from notes found on several pages, as I've had this several times.

Minimal brown layer of fine bubbles over a dark brown liquid. Brown edgings when held to light. Amazing legs when swirled, no lacing.

Smells stunning. Cognac with heavy dark fruits and strong, but clean, alcohol. Flavor is dark raisin, plum, vanilla, pasty cookie dough, toffee, sweet nut, and lightly of molasses. Thick sweet is lifted off the palate by the alcohol. Nice oak and toasty undertone throughout.

Thick and lushious in the mouth with modest carbonation. Truly a stunning example of what beer can be. Plays the same game as Sam Adams Utopias, but better, as this beer is about flavor rather than simply shooting for the highest ABV possible. I can't get enough.

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Photo of session1979
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap in a heavy English goblet at Bull and Bush brewery.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown almost black with very little carbonation. The swirl around the glass leaves nice legs, thick almost port like.

Smell - Sweet Bourbon, oatmeal cookies, wonderful malt and molasses. A wonderfully complex nose that made me wonder if the taste would back it up.

Taste - Huge, powerful, complex, pure bliss. Tastes of sweet malts, bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla and caramel. I would say more but I don't want to complicate what was a wonderful experience.

Mouthfeel - Thick and viscous, coats the mouth with a smooth consistency. Lovely.

Drinkability - So this is a monster with a fairly high ABV but I just can't stop drinking it. I had two with dinner and if the alcohol hadn't taken affect I would of had one more. If anything, the sweetness of the beer is the only thing that hampers the drinkability.

Final Thoughts: If you couldn't already tell I love this beer. It is definitely in my top 5, I just wish you could purchase growlers of it! If you ever find yourself in Cherry Creek near Bull and Bush be sure to stop in, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours a dark amber, walnut, and mahogany with a thin soapy khaki-colored head
S: Caramel, figs, brown sugar, and bourbon on the nose
T: Decadent flavor profile that evokes oatmeal raisin cookies, toffee, dark fruits, oak, and molasses
F: Full-bodied, thick, and moderately carbed
O: Gorgeous strong ale from the first sip to the last. Very rich and showcases a variety of flavors. If you're a barleywine fan, you'll undoubtedly enjoy this one. Tastes a bit hot, but should age well over the coming years.

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Photo of bigdonniebrasco
4.7/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I will say up front that THIS is looks to be right in my "wheel-house". I LOVE English BW's, strong ales. Some of the Firestone Walker anniv, and Abacus is what comes to mind.

Look - If you told me that this was Firestone Walker Abacus (I refuse to call it the new name on principal) or one of their anniv ales I'd believe you. Dark amber, minimal khaki head that dissipates quickly.

Smell - once again - smells just like Abacus, brown sugar, caramel, sugary sweetness, figgy business, but.... smells a bit more boozy that the FW offerings

Taste - seriously, tastes exactly like the Abacus that I had 24 hours prior, HOWEVER... there is one deviation, Royal Oil, is a little "hotter". Their is a booziness that is absent in the FW offerings. That is NOT to say that this isn't a GLORIOUS beer... it truly is! But I like boozy where some people might not. AND I cannot fault his beer for that as the label clearly states ... "AGE FOR UP TO 25 YEARS" So this is green as a 2015 bottle!

What an amazing beer.... there is no way I'll ever be able to cellar one as I don't have the will power to not drink em!!

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Photo of MrMonkey
4.69/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at the pub on my recent trip to Denver. My buddy lives in an apartment building right next door and didn't know what the Bull and Bush was. He assumed it was some crappy local dive. Glad I convinced him otherwise.
Review from shorthand notes.

Pours a deep mahogany with barely any head, more of just a scattering of bubbles on the surface. Virtually no lacing.

Smells like toffee, caramel, dried apricots, hints of chocolate and vanilla, oak and bourbon.

Lots of bourbon right up front. It almost burns. Once the heat subsides it reveals complex layers almost identical to the nose: toffee, caramel, apricot, and oak. Lots of residual sugars in this one. Finishes with more bourbon and a nice warm feeling inside.

Sweet, almost cloying, with a medium-bodied mouthfeel and little carbonation.

Tasty, but sweet, and the alcohol is not hidden at all. Still, a very complex and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I could buy into this being a BW based on superficial appearances. But other than color, I'd accept this as a IMP Stout, either way, a damn tasty beer!

Poured chestnunt with a modicum of tan head. A bit of head retention & lacing

S: Bourbon, cakeyness & raisins

T: Dryness, rich cakeyness, chocolate & a bit boozey warmth up front. Brown sugar, rum, & a bit of caramel as this warms. Finishes oaky dry with plenty of candy sweetness

MF: Sticky with low carbonation & good chewyness

Drank great for the strength, the dryness & abv would eventually haul you down

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Photo of rallison
4.67/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes during my GABF 07 trip (had at the brewpub itself).

2005 Vintage of Royal Oil.

Notes (as copied exactly from my notebook):

Bourbon! Smells of sweet bourbon.

Taste is bourbon, thick caramel and toffee. Touch of dark fruits - dates especially.

Rich, thick & delicious.

A beautiful nightcap beer.

Anyway, I think I enjoyed this brew just as much as everybody else! Give it a try if you have a chance.

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Photo of bgold86
4.66/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12 ounce snifter, huge nose, lots of dark dried fruits, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Taste is really nice, very impressed with this one, more dark dried fruits, slight chocolatey raspberry going on. Very very impressive!

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally released in bottles for the first time. Had multiple pours at the B&B Xmas Beer tasting. Booming presence of caramel and leather on the nose and palate. Barrels play a huge role here with a major bourbon presence. This beer is quite boozy at the first sip, but delicious.

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Photo of gatornation
4.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BO 12/4/15 Pours a murky rusty mahogany color with a thin khaki head very little lacing, smell BA wood and bourbon with dark fruit toffee and caramel whoa! it smells great. Taste is superb! BA wood and bourbon on the front it mixes so well with vanilla ,dark fruits, slight hops with toffee and caramel just delicious, mouth feel is lower carbonation with a smooth silky luscious Bourbon barrel . This is one of the best BW ive tasted complex in flavor with excellence in the Barrel.

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Photo of zac16125
4.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle into a snifter
Bottle #250

Thanks to protonw07 for sending this one over in a trade!


A: Murky, opaque mahogany, 1 fingers width of fizzy tan colored head that dissipates quickly and leaves essentially no lacing. 4.25

S: Amazing aroma. Super sweet and quite boozy; tons of dark fruits; subtle cocoa, candied sugar, some oaky herbaceous notes, lots of barrel characters. 4.75

T: Like the nose its very sweet, dark fruits and candied sugar; big barrel notes with charred oak and bourbony vanilla, barrel notes are huge. Quite excellent. 4.5

M/D: Very low carbonation, quite smooth, full bodied almost thick, some booze is noted but the ABV is actually very well masked, drinkability is good. 4.25

O: Hits all the notes a BA English Barleywine should. Great combo of sweetness from the base beer and barrel notes. Does not top MoAS as my favorite, but still exceptional. Worth seeking out. 4.5

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.42/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle sealed with dark purple wax and a pressure cap.

Side notes: the wax job is quite well done and this brewery really does alot of little things asthetically... The wax is thick and really got into all the crevices of the pressure cap; not much air will be getting into this beer until it gets opened up for consumption. It even looks like they did two separate wax dips to the bottle. Also for a fancy touch, the Bull and Bush logo is stamped into the wax on the side of the bottleneck directly above the Royal Oil logo on the label. The label boasts a claim of the ability of this beer to: "cellar for up to 25 years" and denotes that this bottle's contents are infact barrel aged.

bottled on: 12/4/2015.
bottle #: 543

poured into Speigelau stemmed tulip. Yup, I took this one to the dome solo... all 500ml of the bottle and no I am not ashamed of that fact.

Appearance: When pouring the beer into the glass you see a very mucky brown bodied beer, but this beer looks to have a light black body with dark brown hue when the beer comes to rest in the beer glass. A hard pour yields a thin cap of white head that quickly drops to a thin uneven ring around the glass and eventually has no head to speak of. Well defined booze legs on the side of the glass that remains for long after each sip.

Smell: Huge barrel notes. Tons of dry oak with an entourage of vanilla, caramel, bourbon aromas. Dark fruits are the main player for the malt profile, but I also get a hint of a fudge note. As the beer warms, you get a jet fuel "esk" note to give you a clue that this beer is still pretty hot and boozy.

Taste: This tastes similar to how it smells; lots of barrel influence. Dark fruit malts for sure and the dark fruit flavor gets bigger as the beer warms. My favorite part about this beer though is the barrel notes... Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, coconut, caramel, and really great dry oak note. The finish is juicy prunes, dry oak, and fantastic mix of sweetness that includes caramel, coconut, and even more bourbon. Take away the bourbon note and booze note then the finish almost tastes like a "samoa" girl scout cookie with dark fruits and dry oak.

Mouthfeel: full body with low yet adequate carbonation. This is a bit boozy and has a light dry finish. This beer is very rich. The carbonation actually fizzes a little bit on your tongue...that does not happen too often with high abv barrel aged beers. It actually help to cut through the booze character and massive flavors of the beer.

Overall: You really should feel like royalty after drinking Royal Oil. I have been wanting to track down a bottle of this ever since I tried Bull and Bush Legend of the Liquid Brain back in spring of 2014. Bull and Bush has some serious barrel aging skills proven to me now, for the 2nd time with Royal Oil. I am reviewing this beer as an American Strong Ale because the label clearly states this is beer is in fact a "Strong Ale". It tastes like a barrel aged strong ale, but it is worth mention that this beer does have some significant English Barleywine characteristics as well. My immediate thoughts when I took my first few sips of Royal Oil was that this would be the products of conception if King Henry and a Firestone Walker anniversary beer would have been expertly blended together.

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Photo of mothman
4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark caramel brown. No head.

Lots of oak and bourbon. Warming and spot on. Lots of caramel and toffee. Lots of malt. Vanilla.

Full bodied. Nice warming bourbon feel.

Great ba bwine. This stuff is complex and delicious.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500mL bottle poured into an oversized tulip.

Pours viscous and caramel in color like a barleywine and settles the colors of raisins and murky in the glass. A foamy oatmeal-colored head forms but dissipates fairly quickly. 4.75

Smells immediately of port wine, raisins and dark fruit and spicy bourbon and oak. Vanilla and sweet bread show too. Very rich smelling and sets some big expectations. 4.5

Thick and gooey in feel with caramel, vanilla, bourbon spice, raisin and figs. 4.25

I'll reiterate thick and gooey. Very clean with almost no notable alcohol burn that I can perceive. Moderately sweet with light carbonation and a finish that resembles wine or port wine. 4.5

Damn. First Bull and Bush beer. Highly impressive. More than impressive. Outstanding.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

B/B unloaded this at the Boulder Beer Fest. Similar to their Legend of Liquid Brain, but a bit better IMO. Aged in Wild Turkey barrels.
Pours a silky black/dark brown, minimal head. Very smooth look to it.
Smells of slight vanilla, bourbon and caramel. Some toasted malt and maple. Strong, yet not overpowering. Alcohol is surprisingly small.
Taste is wonderful. A nice balance between the malts, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, sweet molasses and a touch of raisin. The caramel is warming and enduring. Stays with the palate long after the sip. A nice, clean residual taste. This makes the drinkability that much better.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.32/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the tap a rich, dark, stained oak color, with some minimal foam on top. The aromas leap from the glass, even before my nose gets close. Bourbon, vanilla, dried figs, raisins, and alcohol. The alcohol is immediately noticeable when I first take a sip, as is the bourbon. Caramel, dark fruits, oak, vanilla and dark brown sugar combine to round out the palate. What an awesome beer! My major complaint is with the fact I was not allowed to purchase a growler.

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Royal Oil from Bull & Bush Brewery
4.52 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
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