Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series) | America's Brewpub

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Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)
Very Good
80 Ratings
Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)

Brewed by:
America's Brewpub
Illinois, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged in 10-year-old Heaven Hill barrels.

Added by GbVDave on 03-08-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 |  Reviews: 72
Photo of zonker17
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of whartontallboy
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of brandoman63
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of imagese
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured to snifter @ Lunar

A- jet black viscous pour that yielded a faint head that faded fast and left little lacing

S- holy s**t! Just pouring this beer had an intense bourbon kick. Once poured, it smells like a black cherry chocolate shake with a bourbon floater

T- tart dark fruit kick, followed by a nice oak driven chocolate bourbon assault. Booze level is high, but oh so awesome

M- a little thinner than the pour would make you assume, but perfect carbonation and the oak resin boozey taste that lingers make up for it

D- for a 12% abv beer, this is smooth and seductive. It'll draw you in, and kick your ass!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.64/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. No date or info.

My thanks go out to orbitalr0x for this brew. I didn't even know there was a brewery in Aurora!

A - It took a vigrorous, splashing tall pour to coax the finger-tall dark mocha head from the beer. Did the room get darker when I poured this? It's as black as ink. Moderate retention and a lack of lace from the head.

S - Slap-in-the-face strong oak and bourbon unleashes from this beer. Alcohol isn't shy one bit and it seems a bottle of soy sauce may have accidentally made it into the batch as well. Roasted malts are an afterthought and give the beer a little character beyond booze. I like the wood but the soy and hot alcohol need some taming.

T - Bitter chocolate, coffee, and molasses hide helplessly behind an onslaught of hot bourbon, dry oak, and a disgusting soy finish. The first sip was a punishment to my taste-buds but somehow I worked up the courage to try some more. It's not so bad when you're expecting if that's a good excuse.

M - This is surprisingly thin! It's more medium-bodied and very booze-rich but not solventy on the finish. Dry and acrid bitter but not too strong in that regard.

D - Sorry Don! I hope it's not an insult to you and the home-town boys, but I won't be finishing this one, but I appreciate the chance to try something new. The flavor is pure alcohol and I trembled with fear when I smelled the soy sauce as it sent my mind reeling back to the horror of Sam Adams Triple Bock. It seems that it was in barrels far too long or the original beer put in was incredibly weak. This needs some real work to hang with the bourbon-barrel-big dogs that dominate the market right now. Additionally, from a brewery that calls themselves "America's Brewing Co." (maybe there's history to this - don't know) I'd expect something a hell of a lot better.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Extra in a trade. 12 oz. bottle...

A: Super pitch black. 3 inch thick mocha colored head that slowly fades but never really disappears. Very good.

S: Sweet black licorice upfront blended nice with creamy vanilla. A nice oakiness in the middle and roastiness on the backend. Good.

T: Carbonated chocolate upfront blended with hints of vanilla. Hints of booziness in the middle with roasty licorice on the backend. A little strange of a blend. Kind of like chocolate flavored sparkling water. Good.

M: Over-carbonated. Ok here.

D: Goes down decent. After you get past the strange blend of flavor, it goes down. Decent.

All in all, this is a decent brew. A strange blend of flavors, but not bad. Good brew to try at least once.

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Photo of Bung
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. From notes, 2008.
Dark brown/black pour. Rather dark brown head that disappated quickly. Boozy aroma, some roast malts. Taste was a little light, roast malt, caramel. A bit of tartness. Oak barrel comes through a bit as it warms. Finishes with too much alcohol. Definetely on the thin side as well. In my opinion the stout was not able to stand up to the barrel aging.

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Photo of mikey711
3.11/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black with a nice puffy head that is not too big with decent rentetion but no lacing

S: It smells like markers mark or seagrams 7 with lots of woodiness and heavy bourbon notes, however it also is lacking the punch i would have liked for such a bourbon bomb

T: It falls a bit flat as the bourbon is there but it is mellow and lacks any sort of roastiness. It reminds me of black ops but way better in the sense that both are clearly using wet barrels but they end up having a damp woody taste

M: Somewhat flat and somewhat light in terms of body, it seems like a lot of sugar was used just to up the alcohol

D: Not bad, and I would be up for trying this again but it i was happy with what i had

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Photo of cheezdawg
2.45/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Single bottle bought as I am a big fan of barrel aged beers I was very anxious to try this. It was a huge let down.

It looked like a normal stout, it lacked that motor oil appearance.

Smell was okay, not too bourbony, mainly rich chocolate notes.

Taste was horrible, tasted like a burnt beer. It was not a nice winter sipper beer as I had hoped.

Mouthfeel was WAY to watery.

Drinkability was poor, after my two sips it was poured out.

Will not seek this one out again, at least my 3.50 for a single bottle won't have me crying to the bank. No substitute for BCBS or KBS.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.26/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Lightly chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. A very generous gift from Dyan. Thanks, man. I was waiting for a tasting to share this, but I seem to miss them all lately.

A: A pitch black body in my Palm tulip. A vigorous pour is rewarded with a finger of dark mocha-colored head. Retention is short, but the film persists as a thick, fine-bubbled collar on the brew, with some broken film on top.

S: Caramelly bourbon and chocolate. A hint of tannins and vanilla. Light booze and a hint of soy.

T: Leads off with bourbon, caramel, bourbon, and hints of bourbon over chocolate. The mid-taste produces a hint of roast and more tannins than I encountered in the nose. The finish brings out vanilla, smoke, and notes of oxidation (manifesting as a salty soy flavor). Slight peppery sting in the finish. Not bad, but decidedly supbar and one-dimensional for an oversaturated style.

M: Oily texture and a fairly viscous body. Low carbonation. Some booze is noticeable in the finish; I don't know how old this is, but it still has some heat.

D: I didn't hate it, but for a barrel-aged IS, it's well below average. I appreciate the opportunity to try this, though. Thanks, Dyan.

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Photo of webmanspidey
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Duvel tulip glass. Dark black/brown with some tan lacing. Smells of bourbon and cherry with a very wine-like characteristic. Taste is a sour mix of bourbon and wine with a strong acidic vinegar presence, very offbeat for an imperial stout. Silky rich mouthfeel. Alcohol is hidden well.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Thanks, stubone!

Pitch black pour. Late-blooming mocha colored foam. Head reaches about one finger. Good retention, with some nice stickage.

Sweet caramel, chocolate, bourbon. Some roasted barley, but not nearly enough for a quality imperial stout. The sweetness dominates. Lightly boozy.

Again, not nearly enough of a roasted quality to be a great barrel-aged imperial stout. Definitely favors the sweet side, with a light woody flavor in the finish.

Good texture. Thick, just short of chewy. Low carbonation level is appropriate. Outside of the nose, the alcohol is never really noticeable. I was quite surprised to see this one weigh in at 12%, as it was a pretty easy drinker.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into snifter...

A: Pours like motor oil, pitch black, thick, viscous, and absolutely no head....

S: Wow...this smells unreal! Huge bourbon, oak, molasses right off the bat. Definitely get some dark fruit almost like rum soaked raisins and cherries, smells very sweet and the abv really comes through as well. In the background I pick up some vanilla and cocoa as well.

T: This is delicious! Follows the nose, lots of bourbon and molasses upfront, caramel malt mixed with dark fruits, definitely get the raisin coming through, did I say lots of bourbon?! The vanilla and chocolate round out the complexity, along with a faint bit of roasted coffee. Very nice overall!

M: Heavy mouthfeel, borderline syrup here with only a faint hint of carbonation, just enough to remind you that its a beer. Would be nice to have just a touch more but its still nice for 12%.

D: You can taste the booze, but not like its 12%, hides it very well and the complexity of this beer is so good it could go down very easy!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm broke and still drinking random stuff from the cellar ... Tonight seems like a RIS night. Got this one way back in October '08 from orbitalr0x ... Don hooked my up with an awesome trade.

Poured into my Delirium goblet.. Short lasting brown head... no real lacing.. black brew.

I don't know if the age helped, but this smells fantastic... Deep milk chocolate .... nice bourbon and vanilla notes ... hints of brown sugar and cinnamon ... really a great nose.

Flavor loses anything from the nose... a bit of dark cherry essence rounds out the RIS flavors... fudgy toward the finish.. oak seems a bit musky/tannic.. medium body with good carbonation.

The nose couldn't get much better... the flavor while good, was a little too fruity and had too much oak for my tastes... this is gonna take me a while to finish this.


Thanks again Don... We should do it again sometime.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours like a melted chocolate bar, dark in color and thick. The head is thin and the color of cappuccino. It thins and fades as I type and is gone before I even have a chance to take a proper smell.

Mmmm BIG beer. The nose is an homage to chocolate, earthy charred oak and vanilla bourbon. There is even a little hint of coffee and sweet coconut milk. This begs to be drank and the scents get more pronounced as it warms to room temperature.

The flavor goes more towards the coffee side of things with a bitterness like an acrid cup of joe. Sweet boozy grains follow with chocolate and vanilla notes. Following weakly in the background are the barrel flavors. The nose has plenty of the bourbon barrel tones but the flavor seriously lacks any of that character. What it does have is a dry boozy flavor that tastes more like a processed extract beer then a really good sumptuous Imperial Stout.

The mouthfeel also dips from the high water mark set by the nose. An Imperial Stout should be thick and chewy with a rich velvety mouthfeel. It looks like it would but in actuality this brew is thin, watered down. It's got more body then your typical ale but not really in the neighborhood of stouts. Combine that with a dry and crusty finish instead of the big flavors lingering and you have a beer that looks and smells better then it actually tastes. It's still a very drinkable beer but it looses it's steam in the end and ultimately is a disappointment.

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Photo of MPLS
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for this brew Brady. An interesting offering that is unavailable in MN.

A: This beer poured pours easily with no head to speak of at first; however, a small 0.5 cm head began to from eventually to form. Nice swirl on the top of the brew, but no lacing or head retention to really speak of.

S: Immediately reminded my of an ugly cousin of BCS. This beer has a big vanilla component, add in bourbon, oak, alcohol, molasses and cinnamon.

T: First I have to say I cannot believe this beer is 12% ABV. The flavor of this beer is sweet chocolate and vanilla, but the roasted malts, oak, and touch of dryness come out in the finish too. Tastes like a mellow BCS that doesn't have quite the right flavor profile, albeit still enjoyable.

M: This is the beer could maybe have used a little more carbonation, it's has syrupy qualities.

D: I think it's very drinkable especially considering how well it hides the 12%. Good opportunity to try this, but probably won't get to again.

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Photo of fropones
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - pours a nice black with a thin coffee and cream colored head that doesn't last long.

S - Big wafts of bourbon, vanilla, some unsweetened chocolate.

T - Roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, a tiny hint of alcohol in the back of my throat, but nothing that major. A little too sweet.

M - Nice light carbonation and creaminess, but the body is a little light and watered down.

D - Drinkability is almost too good for 12%. This one could be dangerous, as I could have a couple of these without thinking and hit the floor.

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Photo of photomike
1.72/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours an impenetrable black with a light brown, half inch head that quickly dies down to almost nothing. Some surprisingly decent lacing keeps this from being pretty mediocre-looking.

Smell: Are you joking me? Crazy, artificial smoke is the predominant smell with a massive wallop of vanilla and oak. I can barely whiff this without backing away in disgust.

Taste: I can't wait until I'm done with this review to drainpour this. Just a mountain of artificial peaty smoke flavor. Some weird fruity acidity going with a big smack of vanilla. Goddamn this is bad. I truly cannot understand how this beer has a B+. Stick to football, Walter Payton.

I guess mouthfeel is this beer's most redeeming quality. Creamy with a light, effervescent carbonation, the body of this brew is medium-heavy, and right on.

Drinkability? Nope.

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Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from notes...

Thanks to Josh for sharing this.

Appears a thick, black motor oil with a dark hue. A tan cap slowly fades. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, butterscotch, toffee, caramel, and cream.
Taste is of the aromas with some tart berries mixed with bourbon and oak.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, chewy, and mildly tart in the finish.

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Photo of trbergman
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Opaque dark brown with a thin khaki head that quickly recedes.

S - Cocoa, roasted barley, caramel, vanilla. Some bourbon is present, but not overwhelming, though it does become more apparent as the beer warms. There are also notes of dried dark fruits: raisin and fig.

T - The beer begins sweet with flavors of rich dark chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut. Around the middle, gentle hop bitterness offers some balance and flavors meld with a bit of whiskey and a bit of fruit into a long, pleasant finish. As the beer warms, the bourbon becomes more obvious and the beer is less noticeably sweet. A bit of warming alcohol rounds out the palate.

M - Rich, oily, and full-bodied, with very low carbonation.

D - A little too sweet for my taste until it warmed to near room temperature. Once it got there, it was pretty good, although a sipper. Maybe it's normal for an imperial stout, but I felt like just getting through this one was enough. It was a good experience, but I'm not sure I'd have it again.

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Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series) from America's Brewpub
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 80 ratings