Paw Paw (Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year Barrel)
Country Boy Brewing

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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
4.39 | pDev: 7.74%
Country Boy Brewing
Kentucky, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 38 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of macher0
macher0 from Kentucky

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A. Pours deep mahogany, slightly translucent, and a frothy head. The head slowly retreats to a nice film and spotty laces.

S. Not much fragrance at first. As it warms I get sweet malts, bourbon, oak, leather, and tobacco.

T. The taste is mild, it doesn't hit you with bourbon on the front. This ale really is balanced and works well together. I get a sweet medium malt bill with bourbon, hazelnuts, vanilla, and honey.

M. Very smooth, high carbonation, moderate body, with a little bite in the end.

O. I find most non stouts have a hard time holding up to barrel aging but this works. This is technically a retired beer but it can be had on special occasions in the bluegrass state. I for one grab it when the chance arises. Word on the street is being bottled so it may be the Micheal Jordan of beers (referencing his return from retirements and not his absolute greatness). Although this is a great beer.

Jan 13, 2014
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KYGunner from Kentucky

4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen it has deep mahogany color with a thick creamy head and tremendous lacing.

The scent is robust with thick barley grains over tell tale barrel aged notes. Coconuts and vanilla start a creamy caramel malt finish and it has hints of bourbon and oak.

Sublime creaminess lends to feel and taste as caramel, chocolate, barley, bourbon, oakey woodiness, slight char and thick toffee all come together in a full, viscous swallow.

A lot of hype surrounding this but it combines so much in its aging that it almost redefines the genre of amber.

Aug 19, 2013
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub in Lexington.
Small, weak off-white head over a dark red-brown body.
Smells great, with high-end whisky, some vanilla, burnt sugars and a touch of dark fruit. The taste follows, with a very well calibrated dose of whisky barrel treatment, and the high-end whisky shows. Lightly sweet.

Low carbonation and near medium body.

O: Excellent. Well hidden ABV. Best barrel aged amber/red I've ever had.

Aug 14, 2013
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deadonhisfeet from Kentucky

4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Party Town (Florence, KY) in a Country Boy pint glass. Very dark mahogany pour with a layer of foam that, while thin, exhibits some good retention. It's difficult to gauge the nose out of this glass, but I definitely get some oak, vanilla, marshmallow, and of course, bourbon notes.

The beer has a full body and lots of great bourbon flavor. Up front are heavy notes of toffee, caramel, treacle, and brown sugar. At mid-palate, here comes the bourbon! Really nice flavors of vanilla, caramel, and (yes) booze. There is a fair amount of bite here without being boozy. The sweetness is met very well by the bite and, although it's not what I would call refreshing, it is drinkable, tasty, and goes down quickly. It is not over-hopped and that is one of its strengths. It's all about malt and bourbon flavor without being too substantial. Color me impressed.

I've very glad I had a chance to try this beer (among several others) from Country Boy. I had heard about them and they certainly lived up to their reputation. This particular beer (for me) was very reminiscent of Backwoods Bastard, only with less sweetness and a bit more ``bite''. I honestly expected to be turned off by a bourbon-barrel-aged amber ale. I anticipated an unpleasant clash of hoppy bitterness and bourbon sweetness. The fact that the brewer did not go overboard with the hops tells me they are on my wavelength. I hope to see their offerings around here more often.

Aug 10, 2013
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is the first beer that I have reviewed from Country Boy and it is a doozy. Pappy Van Winkle 20 year barrels are a nice start. I guess it pays to have the distillery as a interstate neighbor.

Pours deep mahogany amber brown in hue, wonderfully warm and inviting. My vigorous pour from the growler achieves just over an inch of head. Head is golden biscuity tan in color. Retention is brief and lasts about 2 minutes.

Nose is a masterpiece in itself with rich malty layers of quality bourbon, carmel and toffee. Lush and mouthwatering smell fills the senses. Bourbon truffles come to mind.

The marriage of their imperial red and some of the best bourbon the country has to offer equals per flavor joy. Rich and delicately smooth on the palate. Just enough bourbon plays in this beer to really appeal to the appreciation of the spirit. Warm and sweet and just slightly cloying. Butter rum, sweet bread and toffee are some of the distinct flavors that come to mind. A hint of dryness lingers on the finish and creates a beautiful mouthfeel. Warms the belly nicely, but alcohol is well hidden on the body of this brew.

This is a crowning achievement in brewing. This ranks in the top 10 BA beers that I have had the joy of having. Very impressive brew.

Jul 09, 2013
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

And the barrel age program at Country Boy Brewing begins! The roll out of an American red ale, brewed to 7.5% strength goes into the twenty year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels and a whole lotta wholesome goodness comes out.

With appearances of port wine, the deep maroon hues of red are shared by the tawny bronze highlights that are obvious contributions from the barrel. Mild carbonation ensures the full appreciation of flavor and silky smooth weight, while releasing a light cream colored head that regenerates with a gentle swirl. Low on lacing, the beer instead delivers brandy-like legging when tilted toward the light.

Sultry aromas of maple syrup waft over the olfactory senses from the cumulitive notes of matures malts, caramel, coconut, and weathered oak. Nutty cashews and butterscotch keep the mouth whetted in anticipation of taste.

The masculine whimsy of port wine, fine sherry, and maple sweetened bourbon resonate on the palate like few do. The tase of Pappy Van Winkle is alive in taste as it complements the malt sweetness with its own caramlization as the wood sugars further seep into the beer. Light toasty flavors of graham crackers and buttered toast keep the savory complexities comming. Low in hops, the beer seems to achieve as much balance from oak tannin as it does hop bitterness.

The beer rounds out beautifully in mouthfeel as the creamy-sweet textures have a marshmallow effect early on. The bourbon alcohol penetrate the creamy feel and glide the beer across the palate like silk. The beer concludes with an extended powdery wood texture and lightly vinous cherry alcohol warmth.

I keep drawing comparisons to finer tawny ports, bourbons, and cognac as many of those savory aged notes of oxidation and and tannin make the beer wonderful instead of a distraction as they do in most other beers. That's the intangible character that makes this beer among the best red ales I have yet to try.

Nov 11, 2012
Paw Paw (Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year Barrel) from Country Boy Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 38 ratings