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

Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series)
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 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 waltonc
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
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 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 RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours completely black with a smaller dark tan head that disappears quickly. Nose is deep but fairly mild. Cocoa, molasses, vanilla are all present. Flavor is sweet with vanilla. Roasted tones on the backside. Liquid feel is slick and the carbonation is lower. A sweeter barrel aged stout.

Thanks to TATTORSO for the sample.

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Photo of beereality
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black thick pour that was dropped into my 22 oz tulip, and it took the whole glass to hold the huge reverse cascading head. Little to no lacing though. Big bourbon smell! kind of woody as well. Very strong smell. First taste is bourbon and wood right up front, with some coco through the middle and finish. Not as thick as it looked during the pour. really woody. Improves with warming, has more of a rounded and even flavor. Still lots of wood and bourbon with a little alcohol presence. For 10 bucks a four pack, this is well worth the try. I like it.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black - almost no head. Small, mocha bubble floaters on top. Thin bubble lacing, although not much. Hoped it wouldn't be flat.

S - The wood overshadows the smell, combined with bourbon, burnt malt, chocolate and coffee. Pretty busy nose.

T - Refined, nice creamy sippin beer with notes of booze, coffee and bitter chocolate.

M - Good coating, not so much carb, medium to full bodied.

D - Would exhaust easily.

Nice one! Although BA has not been updated, their site says 12% and I believe it!

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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 jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
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 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 jwinship83
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
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%
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 -1.8%
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 +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of 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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Photo of kasper
4.46/5  rDev +16.4%
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 -35.8%
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 avaulteriam
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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 +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Got this up & comer front jo1510, thanks Joe!

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

S: Maple syrup & vanilla

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

MF: Medium bodied with slightly too much carbonation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of joe1510
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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 +8.4%
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 +13.3%
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 -8.4%
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 schneid
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
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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Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Signature Series) from America's Brewpub
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 80 ratings
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