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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 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 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 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 btuthill
2.46/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours thinner than expected with no head to speak of. Blink and you might miss it. The smell is nice for this bourbon lover, but would be higher if it weren't so potent. The taste is one-dimensional, unbalanced, syrupy, and (frankly) pretty bad. There is nothing but bourbon from the front to the back of the palate, and it's strong enough to leave you wanting something to balance. Mouthfeel is decent for the style (if a bit underwhelming), and I would not want to drink more than 1 of these. Ever. In fact, I'd rather drink 0.

Very disappointing, and I will not be drinking this again.

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Photo of whartontallboy
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%

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 it...as 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 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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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 ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.7%

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 Goliath
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black and completely opaque with a very thin coffee colored head. Poor retention and no lacing.

The aroma is fairly obnoxious. As soon as I popped the cap I was overwhelmed with the aroma of cheap bourbon, and it only intensified as I poured it into the glass. I'm kind of afraid to stick my nose in it. But definitely big bourbon notes, kind of oaky, and fairly roasty too. Some burnt chocolate and vanilla in the nose as well.

The taste is ok. Huge bourbon note all throughout, which is slightly sweet. A nice bit of oak as well with some big roasty malts. Bitter chocolate dominates with a touch of vanilla. I was hoping for some coffee but I'm not really getting any. Not as bad as I thought it would be after my initial experience with the aroma.

The mouthfeel is medium, but pushing full bodied and slightly creamy. Lightly and finely carbonated accentuates the beer and makes for a pretty decent mouthfeel.

Drinkability is on the low end. The beers flavors are decent, but it certainly has some rough edges. The bourbon notes are strong and the oak seems fairly young. It's a bold beer, and a decent attempt which I can appreciate. I would have liked to see more depth of flavor though with some varying profiles in the malt and I would also liked to have seen the bourbon turned down a notch.

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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 maximum12
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a four-pack of this beer I'd never seen before during a September visit to Chicago & stuffed it into socks & shoes for the flight home. Was it worth it?

Well. This beer is definitely classified wrong - I believe it should be "Bourbon Aged in Imperial Stout Barrels" because holy bourbon-ass, man. The bourbon smell is overpowering, as is the taste, wiping out any trace of the brew. I think this could have easily been a bourbon barrel-aged hefeweizen & it wouldn't taste much different. Mouthfeel is flat, boozy, with no head & little in the way of carbonation. Couldn't drink more than one of these, & as is, I'd like to have about six ounces of it rattling 'round with a couple ice cubes in a tumbler. With some Ronnie Milsap on the radio & the screen door banging in the wind.

Not bad if you like bourbon, but too one-dimensional. I'll leave the others rest in their bottles for a spell to see if it moderates any.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Overlord
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Schneid for the brew, and congrats to him on his first review.

Pours a dark black with a surprisingly robust deep tan head. The appearance, sadly, was the best thing about the brew.

Smells of bourbon. Which I don't mind, but I like a bit of something else to balance out the aroma. The taste adds some chocolate, maybe a hint of vanilla, and a wisp of malt; but it's mostly bourbon. I'm growing weary of heavily bourbon-ed beers, and this is an example of the style. Nice thick/viscuous mouthfeel.

Not a bad brew by any means, but I may have sampled it at the wrong time in my reviewing career.

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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 DefenCorps
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received from brewcrew76 in an IP trade at DLD. Thanks, man! Into my snifter

A: Pours a jet black with a thin dark brown head that settles to a disk fairly quickly

S: Bourbon vanilla boozy goodness. Vanilla's a bit more prominent than I'd like - in fact, i'd have liked it if the Southern Tier Creme Brulee had this amount. In the back, there's some malt character, with a heavily roasted malts, almost burnt and acrid. Decent

T: Short of the Brewdog Paradox beers, no beer I've had has such a massive liquor quality. This beer is bourbon all the way - massive with a TON of vanilla. Some oaky sweetness. There's a little bit of chocolate and coffee in there somewhere but damn, this is all bourbon

M: There's a big enough body to this beer to go with the bourbon but the carbonation is a little higher than I'd like. The finish is long and boozy

D: This beer's an experience in booziness and everyone should try it. However, I'm not sure I'll be drinking my other bottle in a hurry - just too much bourbon - and this from someone who thinks the GI BCS is great as is.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
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 CrellMoset
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle as an extra from Elric73 - thanks! Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A foamy one-finger deep brown head, fine-bubbled, with good retention. Deep black body. Minimal lacing, but very attractive.

Aroma: Soy sauce and other meaty, salty notes are prominent, a bit too much. Bitter chocolate and coffee are of course present, as are a few darker fruit notes - dates, particularly. Tobacco flourishes at the front end. Vanilla, oak, and other woody notes all come through as well. Hot alcohol note near the end.

Taste: Cocoa powder and grassy, citrus coffee notes, a few nutty notes - almonds, walnuts - and more saltiness. There's plenty of milky creamyness here - the tart citrus mingles with the creamy dairy in a way reminiscent of plain yogurt. Sweetness with the roasted malts lends a French toast taste. Vanilla and woody notes again, as well as bourbon. A slight papery oxidation, as well.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with a slightly higher-than-expected or -than-usual level of carbonation.

Drinkability: One that both seems like it was aged too long (the oxidation and salty notes) and seems like it could stand to be aged a little while longer (a lot of flavors seemed a little harsh or hot and could have used a while to meld), which concerns me. Perhaps it was a bad bottle. Not a bad beer, however, and it did have its good points.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with no head and very little carbonation with a thin ring of lacing.

Scent of chocolate, oak, bourbon and some roasted malts. I really like this scent, it has a very strong oak and bourbon presence with the malts giving it a strong backbone.

Taste on the other hand, lacks behind the wonderful scent. Starts watery with some sweet sugars, oak and coffee. Roasted malts come in and last through the finish with some raisins. I don't care for the finish on this one, it leaves a sweet and sour taste in the back of the mouth.

Mouthfeel is thin and slick, feels like watered down maple syrup.

This beer had a lot going for it initially, a nice appearance and great aroma. At first I was pleased with the taste, but the finish and lingering flavors almost ruined the beer for me.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jay for the opportinity to try this beer.

Poured at about cellar temp. VERY Dark beer! Ink black with about three inches of foam to top it off. Not much lacing but very good retention.

Oooof, a strong bourbon aroma upfront, alcohol, wood, dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, and toast. At first there is a very strong bourbon and alcohol character on the nose but as the beer breathes it tones down and the sweetness of the malts begin to shine, as well as the vanilla from the oak. There is a sweet cookie aroma that mixes well with the vanilla, bourbon soaked raisins, cherries, and some cocoa powder. Toasted and slightly nutty malts. Good aroma but it tones down after a few minutes and is not as intense as when it was first poured.

Roasted barley dominates the first sip with a slightly dry finish and a bit of bitterness but mid-palate there is some chocolate malts and dark fruits that balances out the roastiness very well. A bit of black cherry and cocoa in the finish. Sweet raisin in the aftertaste. When I first poured the beer I was afraid that it would be very alcoholic and hot but that in not the case at all, it is very smooth and well balanced. A little vinous and it might be the fruity alcohol flavor. A little more chocolate but more like cocoa, it feels dry, and a bit of coffee too. The bitterness moves from the front to the end of the palate, only enough to balance out the beer. Very good but I feels like it could use a little more flavor in the middle as most of the flavor seems to be in the finish and aftertaste.

Smooth on the palate, softly carbonated, but it finishes a bit thin.

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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 kmeves
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opache black with a small brown head. Aroma is medium sweet with bourbon, vanilla andchocolate. Flavor is very sweet with roast, bourbon, chocolate and nice bitterness. Full bodied, sticky texture. Nice long bourbon and sweet finish. A very nice beer, I will try others by the brewery.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep coal black with a small tan head.

The aroma was predominantly bourbon and vanilla with note of chocolate. Not much roast to speak of in the nose. Even when cold, the aroma was a little boozy.

The flavor of the beer was simple sweet chocolate with strong candy-like bourbon and vanilla note woven in. Like the nose, there wasn't much roast to speak of in this beer. A non-distinct hop bitterness was there in the background to help round things out.

The mouthfeel was slightly syrupy and the body was full. The carbonation was delicate and light, appropriate to the style

Overall, this beer lacked any real depth and complexity. It was kind of a simple sweet brew. I'm not sure how they were able to achieve such a dark color with essentially no roasted malt flavors. The lack of roast killed this beer. The bourbon notes also lacked any real depth. Perhaps they had sub-par barrels for aging? Still, there were no off flavors of anything offensive.

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