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
Reviews by pmcadamis:
Photo of pmcadamis
2.82/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - This deep, deep brown brew lets no light through it's murky depths, while the head is thick, luscious, and dense. The head is a very dark shade of brown, and the cocoa powder lace sticks all over the snifter.

S - I can smell bourbon and brown sugar before I even get anywhere near the glass. Up close, I smell shredded and sweetened coconut, black strap molasses, brown sugar, sweet bourbon BBQ glaze, and a hint of terryaki (sp?) sauce. Nutella, woody-ash, marzipan, and what almost smells like clove cigarette smoke. This smells wonderfully like a fatty steak glazed in sugary coconut-bourbon sauce, enjoyed with a snifter of bourbon, and finished with a nice cigar. Outstanding.

T - Smoky and a bit sour. This is REALLLY smoky. I'm not even kidding, this is like a super-rauchbier or something. The smoke here, though seems artificial... like sipping a bottle of "bottled smoke" that you use in meat marinades. I normally love smoked beers, and this one isn't terrible but it is way off base compared to the exquisite nose. Smoke, ash, soy sauce, and a sour lactic note that is way out of place.

M - Full bodied, but thinner than it should be. This is RIDICULOUSLY dry and ashy, and the finish is really harsh. This might stand up well to an extremely full bodied maduro-wrapped robusto, but this seems like it would dominate almost any food or cigar.

D - Looks beautiful and smells like heaven, but what happened on the taste? I bought a four pack and I hate to say it, but I might use the other three as a nice smoky marinade for some brats or a couple-a steaks since it is now officially grilling season. I might try another one later today with an Alec Bradley "The Maxx" over-sized robusto (it's like 60 ring gauge!) I have a feeling that that fat-boy might stand up to this formidably nasty brew..

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More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hand bottled 12oz given to me at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer in Chicago. This is an Imperial Stout aged in a Blantons bourbon barrel for 10 months. It pours from the bottle a big, viscous inky black with a half inch of bubbly dark tan head on top. Zero light passes through this one..a bit ominous. Aromas are a collision course of rich chocolate and coffee coupled with a big dose of vanilla, caramel and some woody tones. Smooth bourbon integrates into the aroma nicely. Rich, roasty and downright wonderful.

First sip brings a rich, sweet, roasty chocolate maltiness with an equally impressive roasted coffee flavor. Seemlessly intertwined is a rush of vanilla and a warming ribbon of bourbon. Hints of toffee and caramel mix in. A bit of a woody aspect as well, I really enjoy how the bourbon accentuates the flavor here. Finishes smooth with a great balance throughout the beer.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy with a laid back carbonation that works really well. Begins warming me up around halfway through the glass. Still, it's really tasty and quite drinkable, although not in great quantities. A stellar bourbon barrel aged imperial stout in my humble opinion. Cheers to brewmaster Mike Rybinski and everyone at America's Brewing for this one. I hope to get over the Walter Payton's Roundhouse and sample more brews soon, maybe I'll get a chance to have this again someday!

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to schneid for this brew in an in-person trade at DLD. Cheers!

Pours jet black with a thin head. Big smell of bourbon which overwhelms any other scent. Taste is very interesting: bourbon, vanilla, and some coffee/chocolate flavors. As per the website, the ABV is 12% but the mouthfeel is smooth & this a drinkable big beer. I am glad I had the chance to try this beer from a brewery which is new to me. Cheers.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color. It boasts a thin brown head that fades a little too fast, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a mellow Bourbon aroma. It smells slightly oaky, with a mild vanilla aroma. It has a mild chocolate aroma as well. Some dark fruit mixes in also.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Bourbon, and vanilla. Some oak, and dark fruits. Very mild flavors, but also very complex. Nice.

This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a bourbon like aftertaste. It is very thick. It is low in alcohol, suiting the style.

This beer may not make the best session beer because of the undoubtedly high alcohol content, but it sure does taste good, and I could drink it all night.

Overall: Thanks go to Orbitalr0x for generously sending me this beer. Unlike some other reviews, I dont think the Bourbon aroma is over the top at all. I think it is mellow. I like this one, and am very pleased to have had the opportunity.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a pitch black body of opaque liquid with a thick creamy dark tan head that last as a thick ring and sticks to the glass with each sip. The beer is too dense to see any carbonation except for a few random tiny bubbles sliding up the edge of the glass.

S- This beer has big chocolate roasted malt aromas wit oaky bourbon and a flowery vanilla aroma that grows with each sip. The aroma is strong even during the pour, and makes me just want to sniff and sniff the beer.

T- The roasted bitterness of black malt has a creamy chocolate velvety flavor with some slightly sweet vanilla notes to follow. There is a nice full bourbon and oak flavor with the oak growing into a cream and butterscotch pudding flavor as it warms. There is a bitter bite from the black grain at the end that finishes the beer nicely.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with some alcohol heat that compliments the flavor nicely and a creamy texture that really gives this a nice mouthfeel.

D- This beer is delicious. It is quite the sleeper, rich complex malts with a great big barrel flavor and a wonderful smell that can keep me sniffing for days. The black roast blends great with the alcohol making this a perfect winter sipper.

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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 alovesupreme
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Thomashardy for the extra.
Pitch black with a petite dark brown head.
BOURBON. Raison, chocolate and a hint of soysauce. An excellent malt finish.
The few bubbles that made their homes in this thick liquid moved very slowly. This beer coats your tongue and does not let up.
A great beer that I would like to enjoy again.

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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 russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Got this up & comer front jo1510, thanks Joe!

Pours ebony with 2+ fingers of brown/mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Maple syrup & vanilla

T: Molasses, toffee, vanilla, & butterscotch up front. Slight boozeyness & maple candy as this warms. Finished oaky with leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied with slightly too much carbonation

Super quaffable, purists may sneer at the sweetness in this, but I really liked this! Went great with my rib eye, but would sure as hell work with dessert or breakfast!

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wasn't going to review this one, seeing as that I had low expectations for it, but man, was I surprised. I have pretty high expectations for Bourbon Barrel Aged beer, and I did not think this beer was up to the task. Into the Ommegang anniversary goblet...

A - Not much in the way of head... The cap has a big dent in the middle, bottling line issues perhaps? Dark body.

S - Very pleasing aroma dominated by sweet vanilla. Alcohol is not in the nose, but not overwhelming. Sweet coco mix and bitter chocolate with mild cinnamon (?) thrown in made this a pleasing aroma.

T - Starts out with caramel and chocolate sweetness that begins to melt into the familiar bourbon flavors of cherry and vanilla. Fruity esters seem to compliment every flavor from right after the entry to the long finish. Alcohol his still somewhat hot, suggesting laying this down for a bit would be advantageous. The finish is still sweet with chocolate dominating, but a good presence of smoke and bitter chocolate
M - Not quite as big as the best examples of the style, but still nothing to complain about either. Silky mouthfeel, with very little carbonation. The alcohol does leave a bit of lingering burn on the mouth.

D - Might not be the most complex of flavor profiles, but considering the price and the availability, this beer will definitely have a place in the market and in my cellar.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Payton's Roundhouse.

Poured a deep brown with no head. Served in a snifter.

Heavy smells of bourbon, wood, and smoke. There is also a light coffee scent.

The bourbon is very noticable, as is a smokey almost burnt tasting malt. Typical coffee and chocolate flavors are present, but not pronounced. It has a very interesting bourbon profile that is the focus.

The body is thick and creamy, but extremely dry on the palate and forced me to order a glass of water to keep my tongue from shriveling up.

Needless to say, the dryness made this hard to get through, plus it sits rock heavy in the gut. The smokey flavor gets worn out quick, too.

Overall, very interesting and huge on flavor, but also extremely hard to get through just one because of the mouthfeel and weight.

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Photo of zonker17
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First thing I said after sniffing this beer: wow...not a WOW! or a whoa, a plain wow followed by a slight pause to sniff again. The last time I tried to review this beer I had a stuffy nose, this time I'm free and clear and glad I didn't review this beer back then.

Comes out of the bottle like most good imperial stouts should, glugy (you know...glug glug glug, like that, like used motor oil...come on! you know what i mean!) and black. Followed by a cascading, root beer float like head.

Big on bourbon and vanilla (this is the quiet wow factor folks) bit of oak, char, and caramel, but just massive massive amounts of bourbor a beer to have. Goose Island probably would think this is excessive...and I think this is what hurts the beer in the end.

Again bourbon, that's first and foremost and really, really likes to make its presence felt throughout the entire tasting, almost (and actually, probablly) to the behest of other flavors. Still there is a good amount of oakiness that comes out in the very long finish, along with a slow, warming, hop bitterness. Also quite a bit of tobacco in the finish as well. Thick, coating mouthfeel, could stay with you for days if you have bad hygine.

It's really hard for me to put my finger on this beer. It has the punch you in your face, wood aged, bourbon quality that so many other/rarer beers are lauded for, but it just doesn't quite seem up to muster. It's good but there is just too much bourbon here, texture is lacking in the mouthfeel and a bit too sweet and hot to be a truely earth stopping beer. Still I like a lot of what is going on here. A very suprising beer to say the least.

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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 akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hwwty4 for this 12 oz bottle.

A: The stout is a dark black color that pours with little head.

S: Chocolate and sweet bourbon battle for prominence. Vanilla, oak and alcohol play a big role in the nose.

T: Vanilla beans and cocoa powder drive the flavor. Woody oak amplifies the vanilla. Roasted grains and coffee linger behind the bourbon. The range of flavors run their course in a short period of time, leaving only the dark stout elements in a short period of time. Vanilla does pair with the roasted flavors in the finish.

M: Lots of vanilla up front, this ale isn't afraid of its barrel origins. It doesn't taste like a 12% monstrosity.

D: While it doesn't weigh heavily on the taste, the 12% price tag is a tough one to really swallow. The bourbon is good, not great.

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Viscous pour, black liquid with a creamy head of chocolate mocha. Some lacing, it manages to stick around.

Aroma of wet oak barrel, some light roasty chocolate and vanilla.

Lightly bitter dark chocolate is up against a hefty level of astringent oak/whiskey. This disperses quickly, and leaves a tasty bourbon/chocolate/espresso aftertaste. It may be slightly rough around the edges, but it tastes great. Lingering bourbon flavor isn't too overpowering. Slight alcohol burn in the esophagus, but not perceptible in the overall flavor.

Feels slightly thin, but has a good milk chocolate lactic quality about it. I liked this, even though I wasn't sure what to expect.

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4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I actually have to sip off the top of the growing head as it reaches four fingers and over the top of the glass. Spots of lace are left behind. Body is pure total blackness. Nose has distinct bourbon notes with hints of toffee, raisens, vanilla and dark cherry alchol. The alchol is a bit hot as it wraps around burnt malt, slightly soured dark fruit and anise with first sip. The palate is really painted with blackness and stays with a more bitter than sour feel on the back of the tongue. The bourbon feel is there in the hot alchol throughout. This brew would benefit from some time in the cellar. Solid drinkability now and especially as it warms to room tempature.

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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 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 mikesgroove
4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Elric for the great extra. I had never heard of them before but that was about to change. Served straight out of the fridge, I poured this twelve ounce bottle into a snifter glass. Consumed on 07/31/2008.

The pour was jet black, rich with a nice one inch tan head that quickly faded leaving behind nothing more then some token side glass lace. Some residual crown across the top, broke up and clung to the sides producing a little bit of interest in the dark chocolate brown liquid.

The aroma was bourbon gone mad. Rich notes of bourbon and vanilla dominating everything in sight. It was intensely sweet on the nose as well, really pushing through how long it had sat on that bourbon. The taste was more of the same. I have to admit, this was one of the strongest effected bourbon beers that I had yet to try. Rich notes of vanilla washed in through the bourbon, with highlights of oak and molasses. A slight boozy touch on the finish, but super sweet, and just all around very well done I have to admit. The feel was nice, adequately carbonated and a bit slick, but still done very well. A sipper all the way on this one, and to be honest I am not sure of the alcohol level, but it felt very nice, not too hot, just overwhelming hints of vanilla which were stronger then even some of the Alesmith BA I have had.

Overall I was shocked by how good this was. I had the amber easier in the night and was equally as impressed with that. This was an all around fantastic beer that I would love to get more of, in fact I need to go work on that one.

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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 erosier
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours a deep black color with little to no head and very little lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, some caramel aromas and a nice big whiskey aroma at the end.
T: Very thick and sweet tasting roasted malts with hints of caramel and chocolate and then a huge smooth whiskey flavor that has a tiny bit of bite at the end.
M: Very thick, smooth, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable, especially for something that tastes so much like bourbon and has 12% abv.

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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 FtownThrowDown
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to SQNfan.
Very dark brown in color, with a slight mocha colored head that forms on the pour. Smell is oak, vanilla, bourbon, roasty and some underlying cocoa.
Taste is much the same, but with the bourbon and barrel qualities dominating. The mouthfell was a bit thinner than I prefer, but still taste and felt good. Needed something to work with the barrel on this one. The barrel aging was done very well, but it needed just a little something else to compete with it. Still a very good beer.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4.0-good 1 ½ finger head, good retention viscous dark brown color
4.0 STRONG bourbon aroma undertones of vanilla and licorice. No real roasted characteristic to speak of. Sort of a chocolatey, vanilla bourbon smell that dominates.

4.5 smooth bourbon flavor with undertones of chocolate, vanilla, and licorice. It takes all the astringency of drinking bourbon liquor away. Very unique flavor profile. The bourbon really dominates.

4.5 smooth and creamy mouthfeel

4.5 Good job at keeping the fusel alcohols low. Nice smooth big stout. Well done.

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