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.

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 80
Photo of CrellMoset
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
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 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 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 gford217
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Elric73 poured into a Terrapin snifter.

Pours oil-slick black with a thin but dense mocha head that lingered for quite a while and left some very good lacing. The smell is bourbon all the way with only hints of malts and dark fruit behind the massive boozy aroma. The taste starts with bourbon as well but brings a little bit more to the party. There's some chocolate malts and dark fruits in there but the bourbon comes back in the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is very good though a tad light for my liking. This is a nice bourbon barrel stout but could use a little more balance to be great. Thanks again to Scott for sharing this one.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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 SacoDeToro
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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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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 btuthill
2.46/5  rDev -35.6%
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 avaulteriam
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a pretty decent beer, very roasty and a touch hot for now, though it will most certainly get better with age, much like BCS. Very rich and thick, nose of molasses, bourbon, cookie dough. color is deep with red around the edges. Finish is sweet with a bit of boozy kick.

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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 emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
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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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 joe1510
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$9.99 4-Pack
Sams Marcey


America's Brewing Bourbon Imperial Stout pours black as night with a fluffy two finger mocha colored head. I can't see the carbonation until it hits the head and keeps it in place. The head has some staying power and leaves decent lace lines down the glass. This is a deep dark good looking stout.

The barrel aging added a wet oakiness that is a little on the sour side. Roasty malts, cocoa, and dark chocolate combine with a light vanilla from the oak aging. As this beer warms the sourness seems to disappear. I must be crazy but I keep thinking I smell, although very faintly, some sort of processed sweetened strawberry. It's odd but I like it. The bourbon comes through very nicely as this one warms and the sour oakiness disappears.

Flavor follows the nose closely. The oak comes through nicely although it's more along damp oak then the huge vanilla laden oak like you find so often. The bourbon is there just enough to add a nice complexity but the roastiness and chocolates come through nicely.

The body is on the heavier side of medium but a little light for my tastes. There is a nice silkiness present that really helps with the drinkability.

This goes down easy. If the mouthfeel was where I'd like it the drinkability wouldn't be as high as it is with the lighter body.

My first taste of anything from America's Brewing and I like what I've come across. The barrel aging is nicely done, not overly so like so many others.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep black with a thin creamy tan head and patches of lacing.

S - Big mocha and milk chocolate aroma followed by bourbon, vanilla and oak.

T - Heavy bourbon, vanilla and oak that overwhelm the Imperial stout qualities of chocolate and coffee. I love bourbon so I enjoy the heavy bourbon flavor.

M - Thick with little carbonation making this one a sipper.

D - I have always enjoyed ABC's bigger & barrel aged beers. Glad to see this one in the bottle now and look forward to others in the future.

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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 Overlord
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
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 schneid
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first review - and it's about time.

Tasted from a bottle from Binny's in St. Charles in late March 2008. It was about $9-11 for a 4-pack.

Poured into a Sam Adams tasting glass. It had almost 2 inches of dark tan head and no lacing. Within one minute, only 1/2 inch of head remained. (When I had this in a pint glass, it had very little head.) It's black and not as thick and oily as you would expect.

The aroma is mostly bourbon but not overwhelming, with some coffee, vanilla, and cocoa. No hop aroma.

There's a little refreshing acidic edge on the beer which seems surprising for a beer of this type. It has a very smooth, slightly slippery mouthfeel. Not much carbonation. It's thicker than your standard stout but not nearly as thick as a Founder's KBS or Bell's Expedition Stout. This makes it more drinkable for me.

The taste is bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and toffee. The bourbon is just a tiny bit too strong for my taste. I would like to taste a little more of the other flavors, and some hops, which I can't detect at all. It's not terrible complex, but still enjoyable.

I can drink a whole bottle, which is hard to do with a thicker, stronger imperial stout. In fact, I just polished it off in 10 minutes which I definitely can't do with a Bell's Expedition Stout.

A good effort and it's great to see small breweries trying this style, and bottling it too!

- schneid

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Photo of westweasel
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured out like a dark brown syrup. The color is opaque and dark brown. There is a thin ring of tan bubbles on the surface that leaves some lacing along the glass.

The aroma has a strong bourbon scent with a bit of vanilla and maybe just a little bit of oak. The taste goes in a slightly different direction. Of course, the bourbon flavor dominates everything. But in the taste I'm getting a little bit of roasted grain and coffee.

The mouthfeel is full and smooth, with very little carbonation.

This beer is fairly drinkable, but too heavy in the bourbon flavors for me. (I actually had this at the brewery and was told there that I was sampling some that had been in a barrel for 475 days. That sample was very smooth and the bourbon was more of a component of the flavor rather than most of it.)

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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 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 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 BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very fine imperial stout. Like most, this beer looks opaque, black, and with remarkable tan head retention. Smells of roasted malts and barley sweetness. A light lactose sugar aroma adds a twangy scent. Hop detection, but not overpowering. Flavored with roastedness, coffee, chocolate, and a fruity touch (plumbs?) Unlike most imperial stouts, this one is aged in Blanton's Boubon Barrels which adds a serious kick of cocoanuts, vanilla, pecan, and caramel. The wood age always mellows out the hops to very smooth levels. The bourbon aging adds another layer of alcohol warmth and sweetness. Thick and heavy to the palate but smooth and silky. Not over carbonated or prickley to the palate. Mild cherry notes in the alcoholic finish. Lingers with roasted grain and fruity alcohol. Very nice.

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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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