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)

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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 80
Photo of imagese
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
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 -30.9%
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 +0.3%
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 -23.8%
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 -18.6%
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 -35.9%
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 -40.8%
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 -13.4%
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 -2.9%
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 +9.4%
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 JohnGalt1
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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 -7.9%
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 +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 fropones
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
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%
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 +2.6%
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 +7.1%
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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Photo of GregSVT
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: An aggressive pour yields a small milk chocolate head that quickly fades to a small ring with no lacing. I've seen this refered to as slippery slides down the side of the glass but doesn't stick.

S: Smell is wonderful...dark cocoa, coffee, and slightly vanilla and molasses aromas. This smells like a muted Bourbon County Stout.

T: The taste is a bit more like KBS though. Dark flavors of chocolate/cocoa, coffee, and roasted malt. I get small amounts of vanilla and molasses but nothing like BCS.

M: Extremly thick and viscous as it covers the mouth and allows the finish to last for much longer than normal.

D: I see drinkability as the ability to drink more than 1 in a night OR the want to drink more in the future. I'd have this again but it's not high on my list. Glad I only got one in my package and got more BCS.

This would be great if it had a bit more flavors from the barrel aging. I'll say if you are a fan of KBS then you'll probably like this. It also has some of the aromas/flavors from BCS but highly muted. It's about in the middle of those two maybe leaning more towards KBS.

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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 akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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 alovesupreme
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
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 chicagobeerriot
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Pours very dark brown (just a shade lighter than some of the strongest impys). Dark tan head that rapidly dissipates to a few persistant wisps that stay on the surface. Great true bourbon smell with the classic vanilla, toffee and oak smells right up front. First flavors to hit you are the sweet caramel and bourbon flavors. Not quite as bourbon-forward as GI BCS, but still satisfies. Hides its 12% ABV quite well. Doesn't have enough of the coffee / roasted malt flavor that typically provides balance for the style. This leaves an odd sour taste at the finish that, after a strong showing so far, is a sad note to end on.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
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 pmcadamis
2.82/5  rDev -26.2%
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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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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Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series) from America's Brewpub
3.82 out of 5 based on 80 ratings.
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