Bourbon O.E.
Smog City Brewing

Bourbon O.E.Bourbon O.E.
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Barleywine - English
Ranked #18
Ranked #1,026
4.36 | pDev: 7.34%
Smog City Brewing
California, United States
Bourbon O.E.Bourbon O.E.
Notes: Bourbon O.E. or B.O.E. as we call it in the taproom has garnered a strong following since 2013 when it was first released. This beer boasts balance above all with beautiful vanilla, oak, and char characteristics balanced out with the malty complexity of a true English Barleywine.
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 150 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of micada
micada from New York

4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured cool to a Glencairn glass. Cold is ruddy copper, with a half-finger off-white head that burns down to a fairly persistant lacing and ring. Nose is a bit of caramel, bourbon, and some 1970s velvet…hey, come up with your own profile if that doesn’t make sense! First taste brings a fair amount of caramel and sweet malts, followed by some fresh, biting bourbon and wood. I’d say it tastes like it came out a wet bourbon barrel with that sort of bite. As it warms, there’s more stone fruit on the nose, and a lot drier finish in the taste. It starts to remind me of a mellow bourbon, though not at full bourbon strength. Later in the taste, there’s a strong hop linger. This is complex, with many changes over a relatively short time. I only had 1 oz of Utopias, but for some reason that comes to mind, though this is not THAT complex, and has much more hop bite at the end. Alcohol has a bite, but not astringent or distracting; no warming.

Sep 19, 2021
Photo of pants678
pants678 from California

3.02/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Brown with thin foam.

Vanilla or bourbon, or both.

Mild. More here than Newcastle Brown, I think. Cola, not much heat from alcohol.

Harsh, plenty of bite. I'm rather happy with the feel, spot on.

Aug 29, 2021
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a pecan brown color with some mild fog. Head is a finger of khaki foam. Aroma is pecan with candied sugar and molasses behind. Sweet, but with heavy booze behind that tips the scales towards the latter. Flavor profile follows suit, hitting pecan and candied sugar right off the bat. Toffee, molasses come in for a little depth, all of which are layered over caramely malts. Failing to come up with the word here, but the flavor profile here comes off a little... sawed off, or harsh. It doesn't quite sing out its full story, spiking into a more bitter, boozy finish. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a crushed velvet texture. Overall, solid with some great notes, but comes off a little short.

Served in a 12oz tulip from a 500mL bottle.

May 16, 2021
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a clear amber with creamy one finger off white head. Light soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is vanilla, toffee, raisins and bourbon.

T - The taste is toffee, vanilla, raisins, plums, oak and a big bourbon finish.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a sticky dry finish.

O - Top tier BBA barleywine. Huge oak and bourbon in the flavor. Definitely a slow sipper.

May 08, 2021
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Foggy dull penny copper to acorn reddish-brown with a thin khaki head settling to a creamy curled collar.

Bittersweet, mature and complex, we've got luscious caramel ribboned by vanilla that quickly takes a turn to Woody St. even becoming splintery. The oak's not hot or assertive, but significant and heady, transitioning to a bitter, woody walnut shell finish. It's got this dichotomy of sweet flavors contrasted by an overall bitter constitution.

The medium slick body has a crackly fizz that comes to an impressively bone dry finish. The dryness doesn't just come in feel, but also in flavor, with a dry brandy sort of character.

Jan 03, 2021
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reddish brown body with a tan head that settled into a ring. The nose is immaculate, especially as it warms: right bourbon, molasses, full toffee, brown sugar, toasty oak, vanillins everywhere, raisin, fig, with subtle chocolate and barley. Incredible! Taste is not far off this dreamy experience, the barrel is incredible, toasty oak, creme brulee and vanilla, with warm bourbon the whole sip. Want more of the supporting flavors from the nose, but the toffee is there is spades. Feel is warm, barrel led, toasty, and complex. Pairs well with raclette. The wife loved it

Oct 03, 2020
Photo of DIM
DIM from Pennsylvania

4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Really stoked for this one. 2020 edition, 14.9% abv.

The ever-(overly)loquacious folks at Tavour called this bourbon pecan pie. That's pretty darn apt I'd say. Plenty of decadent toffee, rich vanilla, and mellow spirits as well. These were wet barrels I guess, far more booze than oak. Easily up there with the best I've had. And my cheap ass only bought two...

Love ya for this Smog City!

Sep 29, 2020
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy to cloudy brown in color. It poured with a short off white head that quickly died down and left a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has flavors of bourbon along with underlying notes of toffee and dark malts.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation along with a touch of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer definitely seems like it is strong with all of the bourbon flavors, but more like something that is 9% or 10% and nothing in the order of 13%.

Note: 2019 vintage

Serving type: bottle

Apr 14, 2020
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle

Pours cloudy apple butter golden, yellowish white ring for a head.

Smells of biscuit, caramel, molasses, tobacco, fig, plum, raisin, oak, and bourbon.

Flavor is of toast, oak, tobacco, molasses, plum, raisin, apple, walnut, and bourbon.

Full body, stinging carbonation and boozy warmth throughout.

Very good barleywine, lots a flavor and not as sweet as a lot of English style BWs usually are. Drinks pretty slow and very boozy. A nice fireside beer for after dinner this Thanksgiving.

Nov 29, 2019
Photo of evanwoertz
evanwoertz from California

4.89/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

one of my favorites, of one of my favorite styles, “Bourbon O.E.” deserves an afternoon to be properly enjoyed. rarely does a beer have a quality, that it stands above the rest and makes it special.

Oct 01, 2019
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2019 vintage

Look: Hazy, muddy brown. One finger of off-white head with decent retention.

Smell: Sweet dough, honey, vanilla, dried fruit.

Taste: Very sweet, starting up front with the doughy honey characteristic followed by caramel and oak. No noticeable hops or other bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full body with surprisingly high carbonation.

Overall: A little too sweet, but still a nice beer.

Jul 04, 2019
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany body; thin ring of foam circling the glass (not bad for a high ABV beer). Heavy, rich aroma dried dates and figs; a bit boozy; roasted and charred grain notes. Powerful flavors; huge bourbon presence; notes of chocolate and brown sugar; chewing tobacco; figs. Heavy body; thick, oily and chewy; alcohol heat cuts through the residual sugar heft.

This beer is pretty outstanding, especially with its flavors. Bold complexity and incredible depth rule this beer. One of the best barrel-aged beers I've experienced in a long time.

Feb 25, 2019
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2018 vintage features Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, and Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels and has a 13.1% abv...

Pours a translucent, muddy golden orange-brown, producing just a brief flash of tan bubbles... Presents aromas of boozy pale fruits like apples, dates, figs, apricots, and plums... Flavors follow suit, as well as incorporating thick vanilla caramels and chewy butterscotch and toffee... Earthier suggestions of leather, oak, and tobacco round it off, adding depth and complexity... Feel is medium-weight, supremely plush and lush, smooth and pillowy... A real gem of a beer, on par with legends like Mother of All Storms, Hand & Seal, and King Henry...

Don't pass it up...

Jan 28, 2019
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to a good random on another board for pointing me to a San Diego bottle shop that had this gem. Red-waxed 500ML bottled on 5/14/18 with classy copper print on a dark grey background. Though I wish I could read the 3 point font on the back.

Looks like something a bug from the Jurassic era should be trapped in, with surprisingly long foam legs. The nose is wood-aged toffee. Strong.

Bourbon Barrel Aged O.E. tastes like the bitter hops of the Senate slipping away on Election Night 2018 (though nothing compared to the PTSD of 2016). +4 mace of booze whacks me in the face to start: hot alcohol, bourbon, & kind-of-remembered regrets. Delving beneath the impending hangover one can find plums, searingly dry wood, world famous toffee, molasses, light butterscotch (in a good way, because normally, butt-fuck butterscotch). This should come with a funnel. I could pound these until I woke up three days later.

This bottle is exponentially too small. And if anyone is looking for a birthday gift for me, John King’s cooler-than-KBBS magic wall of election results is on top of my list. So cool. This beer? It’s bloody amazing. I now regret only buying two bottles of this magical elixir. Prost, Smog City!

Nov 07, 2018
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage poured from fridge temp. Pours an inviting dark brown with almost no head. Nose is fantastic. Lots of brown sugar, deep toffee, raisin, fig, candy, and a bit of roast. Taste is out of this world. Could be one of my favorites of all time right here. A very rich and thick caramel, just the right amount of bourbon, some vanilla, raisins, cherries, figs, and a bit of smoke. Mouthfeel is perfect - thick and viscous. Overall, this is a masterpiece. Will seek out more.

Aug 12, 2018
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 500-ml. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve 10-oz. snifter
From: Darin
Price: $14.00
Purchased: July 1, 2018
Consumed: July 3, 2018
Reviewed as: English Barleywine (#BiL)
Misc.: 2018 release; Bottled on May 14, 2018; Maroon waxed cap

Was helping Darin pick out some beers at Monkish (easy) and Smog City (harder) over texts, and two days later I found out that he got me a bottle of this. I had recommended this one, and was mad that I forgot to ask him to buy one for me and I would pay him back. So was excited that he picked it up anyway. Beer Advocate description read, “Bourbon O.E. or B.O.E. as we call it in the taproom has garnered a strong following since 2013 when it was first released. This beer boasts balance above all with beautiful vanilla, oak, and char characteristics balanced out with the malty complexity of a true English Barleywine.”

Poured a reddish brown-to-chestnut brown semi-clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of frothy off-white head. Tons of bubbles coming up along the sides of the glass at a rapid rate. Bad watery lacing. Very good retention. (Sight - 3.50)

Smelled oak, toffee, boozy bourbon, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, figs, pecan, tobacco, leather and coconut. (Smell - 4.75)

Taste was almost as good. Wow. Just lovely. Got oak, smooth bourbon, vanilla, toffee, caramel, butterscotch, figs, pecan, maple syrup, coconut, tobacco, leather and milk chocolate. (Taste - 4.50)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Just an awesome beer. So much better than I thought it would be. Can’t wait to try it again. (Overall - 4.50)

4.50 | 100 | A+

Jul 30, 2018
Photo of deschutes_fan
deschutes_fan from California

4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid english barleywine with a nice bourbon backbone. Flavor is toffee and dates with some hoppy resin and alcohol burn on the way down. A good sipper for sure!

May 11, 2018
Photo of Jimmys
Jimmys from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 bottle.

Pour is a dark, little muddy mahogany hue. Head doesn’t stick around long. Very fruity aroma. Esters are strong. Dark toffee. Rich dark fruit flavor. Sweet brown sugar throughout the drink, especially towards the finish. Not too much lingering heat. Bourbon through the sips, but really not too loud. Wouldn’t mind more actually. This is good, very, but could use a touch more complexity for me.

Dec 17, 2017
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a slightly thin looking dark brown, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like tobacco, oak, wood, toffee, vanilla and light coconut.

This is pretty exceptional in basically every category. The barrel character is so nice- the beer picked up so many little nuances along the way. There's some light coconut and vanilla, and a big oak character. There's some sweet caramel syrup, and tobacco as well. This all works together really well.

This is medium bodied, a little creamy, with a lower level of carbonation.

This is definitely one of the best barrel-aged barleywines out there. Don't miss this one.

Oct 27, 2017
Photo of maltznhopz
maltznhopz from Nevada

4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A very tasty BA barleywine. Lots of caramel as well as toffee, raisin, plum, and a little oak. The barrel is not overpowering and neither is the abv. Sad i only bought 1 bottle. I will definitely be picking up some more.

Sep 06, 2017
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Off white head. Caramel brown color.

Toffee, caramel, vanilla, and a nice amount of bourbon and oak. This is the winner here. Smooth and warming. Dark fruits, molasses. Full bodied.

Wow, this really impressed me. I didn't know smog did a bw let alone a ba bw. This was legit.

Jun 10, 2017
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours dark golden, looks dark brown in the glass with no head
S: bourbon soaked raisins
T: there is a weird bitterness in between the sweet caramel raisin.
F: medium carbonation, syrupy / sticky feel

Apr 04, 2017
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

3.54/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from vanlingleipa a while back. Cheers!
Bottled April 2016
Bottle #2949
Barrel Collection – Limited Release

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a 2+ finger, looser, fizzy and foamy off-white head with lousy retention. Quickly fizzes and foams down to a half wisp and ring. Perfectly clear maroon red with a bit of carbonation evident. Only a ring remains leaving no real lacing on the glass.

SMELL: Big nose of caramel, toffee, butterscotch notes, bourbon, oak, vanilla aromas and coconut. Some decent alcohol as well. Bold and forthcoming.

TASTE: Caramel, toffee, bourbon and vanilla notes up front. Some butterscotch joins the show at the swallow, ushering in a big and persistent aftertaste of oak, wood, vanilla and coconut, lots of caramel and toffee sweetness, butterscotch, as well as some bourbon and alcohol. Big, boozy yet flavorful.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. A little airy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn and finishes a touch mouth-coating. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Good stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary. Like a lot of the beers in this style, I’d like to see a creamier, fuller palate, but within the style, this works just fine. Lots of character here and a well-measured booze presence as well. Definitely glad to have had a chance at trying this one, but since it’s nothing special in the style, it’s not necessarily something I’d jump at drinking again. Thanks gain vanlingleipa! Always a pleasure.

Jan 27, 2017
Photo of tbryan5
tbryan5 from Louisiana

4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is pretty much everything I want in a barrel aged barleywine. Nothing Fancy. The base beer is solid in and of itself. Deep complex malts. The barrel does not overpower the beer. It is not too boozy or not boozy enough. Great example of the style.

Jan 02, 2017
Photo of Hop_God
Hop_God from California

4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: murky medium brown some hints of mahogany and ruby red also thin wall define round OPEC bubbles with a khaki tint around the edges

S: very classic English style barley wine getting a lot of the bourbon boozing this leather molasses O'Farrell still wet freshly drained bourbon oak barrel sweet dates candied dark fruits figs and some subtle hops at the end

F: REIT creamy good thickness medium plus to almost heavy on the body slick it's got a good oiliness to it it's sweet but not clean it just codes the pallet perfectly the bourbon flavor and barrel is there it's prominent but there is absolutely no role alcohol harshness at all it's the alcohol is mast amazingly for being 14% but yet the flavor of of the bourbon and the booze is all over the place it is just great

O: yeah there's not much I can say that's isn't positive about this honestly reminds me a lot of bourbon county barley wine it might be a little bit lesser in overall quality but it's like a mini version of it and just slightly yeah I mean it's truly one of the best I've ever had I mean this is phenomenal I and I'm somebody who lives in California I've had a lot of smog city they don't dirt overall don't do a lot for me but this is truly one of the best beers They make

Dec 01, 2016
Bourbon O.E. from Smog City Brewing
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 150 ratings