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

very good
80 Ratings
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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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 |  Reviews: 72
Photo of brandoman63
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.7/5  rDev +23%
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 barleywinefiend
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to brewcrew76 for throwing this in.
Poured a deep, deep brown almost black, much burnt motor oil with a big tannish head and excellent carbonation. This brew looked damn good! Nose is bourbon upfront, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla. Taste is bourbony and boozy good, not so boozy as to be obnoxious either. I thought it was very well balanced and the taste followed the nose. Mouthfeel is nice, wanted a little more thickness to it but damn good. Exceptional beer!

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Photo of zonker17
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.49/5  rDev +17.5%
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 jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to DavidEddie for this amazing extra!

Pours an opaque darkness with a scant foamy dark tan head that fades fairly quickly. Spotty patterns of lacing. The smell is thick rich dark chocolate vanilla cherry bourbon. The residue on the top of the bottle smells like a sticky molasses. Oooh baby this is going to be tasty! Lightly carbonated, but alive with the tang of bourbon without being overwhelming. The mouth feel is full bodied and the texture sweeps across the tongue in a wonderful coating manner. Full flavored, the bourbon barrel treatment is balanced nicely with the malty chocolate goodness. The taste from the barrel aging lingers nicely. Wow...really liking this one!! Quite a nice drinker. The image on this bottle must be the production impressive stately brown and gold crown and crest of barrel staves. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kasper
4.46/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big props to SQNfan for tossing this one in as an extras. If you like BCS, this is a close second. Was genuinely impressed given I'd never heard of this beer before.

A: Pour's like dark chocolate-cored motor oil with absolutely no head on an aggressive pour. Kindly just plops down into the glass leaving you saying, WTF?

S: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, cream. The aroma kind of rivals Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, which is extremely impressive.

T: Smooth, rich dark/chocolatey malt with a hint of vanilla right before the bourbon takes over and floods the palate. There's some alcohol burn, but the lead in is so tasty that it doesn't matter much. Didn't get any hops here. Have a feeling this was pleasantly aged.

M: Thick and chewy, but routinely smooth given the near absent carbonation; nice and woody on the finish.

D: This is a bourbon-enduced full bodied sipper, and a treat at that. Overall, one of the biggest surprises yet for me. Wouldn't drink more than one in a sitting, but would drinking often if I had access to it. Awesome brew.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
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 Vancer
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

No dating or abv on the production label of a stately crown burned into barrel slats. Guess this is now in production as their "Signature Series".

Pure black as night pour of rich motor oil, still manages to pop up a nice inch of tan head in the Corsendonk tulip. Sheets of lace slide down the glass.

But the aroma, my, are we on to something - sweet cherry bourbon mash with a dose of malt and vanilla. And good Lord, this is bourbon beer in a glass - guessing Jim Beam, my favorite, for the barrels. When one picks up a bottle with "Bourbon Barrel" on the label, wtf would ya expect?

One bummer ; body was on the thin side.

First beer from this brewery and only picked up one bottle from Corral Liquors - GOTTA get some more of this great beer.

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Photo of hopdog
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a dark black color with a small sized brown head. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, wood, chocolate, and roast. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, wood, and some dark fruits lurking in the background. Definitely a bourbon barrel aged beer - and I'm still a sucker for those! I found the alcohol content to be fairly well hidden. The body was a little on the thin side.

Notes from 7/20/08

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Photo of waltonc
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't care if this was brewed by Walter Payton, it's really good. Very dark brown, initially with a nice tan head. Smells of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and coffee. Similar notes in the flavor, along with oak. Not as deep a roasted and charred quality as Founders KBS, which isn't a good or bad thing. Just different. Nor is the there much soy presence compared to many imperial stouts. I could drink at least a couple of these in one evening, which means the drinkability is very good, given the style.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- legitimately black beer with a very small creamy tan head. cant ask for anything more from it.

S- strong bourbon odor mixed with alot of vanilla in there too. some lesser chocolate and alcohol notes. very excited to try this one after the sight and smell.

T- 457 days in a bourbon barrel? very believable. ive yet to come across a bourbon aged beer with that had a stronger impact on the taste and smell. some coffee and chocolate tastes in their too. a much stronger alcohol presence than the odor, but at 12% what do you expect?

M- a little thin and watery with a creamy smooth feel.

D- very drinkable for being a 12% monster. this is something you should really check out if you ever get the chance.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.34/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with very dark brown and garnet highlights. No head at all, but a light string of fam that reminds me of people at Starbucks making cool shapes in your latte. The aroma is a warm brownie mocha. Lots of milk chocolate. The taste is warm throughout the whole palate. Lotsof creamy chocolate with the hops tricking you into thinking its 78% cacao. ery complex, malty beer. Great alcoholic warmt that integrates splendidly with the flavor profile.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
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 GbVDave
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Val-Dieu goblet.

A: Pours a slippery looking and very still coal-black color. Covering this is a foamy/bubbly one-finger head that's a lovely dark khaki color. The head recedes very quickly and leaves a few little gobs of lace in the glass.

S: The bourbon really comes through in the nose with this one. Add to that a large helping of vanilla, cherry, licorice, dark fruit, molassas, tobacco leaf, and charred oak.

T: Once again, big bourbon shares the stage with dark chocolate covered cherry, tobacco, black licorice, vanilla, blackened malt, dark fruit, burnt bark, and brown sugar/molassas.

M: Slightly on the thin side but there is a lot of interesting things going on here to draw attention away from that. Quite tingly/spicy on the tongue. Leaves a nice and sweet coating on the lips which contrasts nicely with the spicy and bourbon-y burn going on in the mouth and throat. Creamy chocolate and tangy fruit in the finish.

D: Not sure of the abv, but this feels like it weighs in at the 9%-12% range. Very interesting and great to see this bottled and available for sale at the beer store.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
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 OStrungT
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
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 erosier
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
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 MPLS
4.24/5  rDev +11%
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 jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tattorso for this one!

Pours opaque/pitch black...can see my reflection perfectly off the glass! The brown head builds, then stays a bit before descending to a thin cover. The cover eventually becomes a few islands. Not much lacing, but "legs" do stick.

The smell is of a very nice bourbon (checked out website, but don't know which one was used - will call during the week to find out, if I remember.) Regardless, it is used correctly - it smells of bourbon that has strong vanilla notes mixed with a stout that had strong chocolate and earthy, dried dark fruits, with a hint of cinnamon (from oak? or alcohol?) coming through. This is the smell of a nice bourbon/stout mix.

The taste, while very nice, does take a hit because of the water that is mixed in. It has chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, musty oak. Delicious! There is water, though it doesn't seem to change the taste, just softens it. It has a nice balance of sweet, with some sour fruit, and a touch of bitter. Alcohol is very well-hidden in the taste. Finishes with a soft dryness.

The body is on the thin side. But, then - it adds to drinkability. It is not syrupy, sticky or thick. I checked out the abv on the website. It is stated as 12%. Not in the taste or feel...maybe in effect...It is carbonated, though it is not fizzy.

The body does add to its "dangerously drinkable" aspect. This is a great bourbon-barreled stout with characteristics of both (Bourbon and American Stout) showing!

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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 Gehrig
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impenetrable black body like motor oil with a finger of tan foam with amaretto drizzle that fades quickly; little lacing. Nice aromas of bourbon, oak, and vanilla that also dominate the taste, with no shortage of berry present, either. What impresses me about the taste is that although the bourbon pervades this DIS, living up to its name, the level sweetness is somewhat unexpected. Very nice and smooth, well balanced, malt heavy--well done all around. More of a sipper.

Well worth the grab. Not spectacular but very solid.

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4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
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 RedBrewer83
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
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 jasonjlewis
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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
3.82 out of 5 based on 80 ratings.
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