Bare Knuckle Stout | Anheuser-Busch

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Bare Knuckle StoutBare Knuckle Stout
200 Ratings
Bare Knuckle StoutBare Knuckle Stout

Brewed by:
Missouri, United States

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottum on 03-05-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 200 |  Reviews: 172
Photo of Tang07
2.36/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sampled this beer at the AB brewery in St. Louis at the hospitality bar after the free tour.

It poured very nicely. It leaves a very nice laced glasss. It looked like a stout and had a very nice head and the draght separated like a nice creamy ale. Unfortunately, that's where the niceness of this beer ends.

It doen't smell like a stout, because it doesn't smell like much at all.

Surprise, surprise. It tasted like Bud. So if you like Bud but want to look like you're drinking a nice dark beer, this is the one. If you actually like a stout, avoid.

The beer is very "thin" and doesn't have the creamyness of a good stout.

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Photo of sideshowrob
2.5/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had this one on-tap at the A-B brewery in St. Louis, which I toured on a dare...

Beer poured from a standard CO2 tap, not from nitro, as is fitting to the style. It took about 2 minutes for me to realize that there WAS beer in the cup of foam they poured me. Plastic cup helped to hid the color, but it look pretty close to black. Not much in the way of smell, very faint sweet aroma. Beer actually didn't taste too bad, off of nitro it might even be good! I'm surprized that A-B is actually brewing it and marketing it as one of their own. Beer was easy to drink at least, with an odd mouthfeel for a dry stout, again thanks to the CO2.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a thick, light brown two-fingered head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Black color, totally opaque. Nose is coffee. Starts on the burnt coffee side, finishes smooth with just a little bitterness. A-B can make a decent beer but it has very limited distribution - $5.40 for a 16oz draft, apparently available only at Grogan's Pub, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg,VA.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.36/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

not a bad offering from a-b. not that great, but definitely drinkable. it pours a dark as hell nitro-ed black colour wit ha moderate tan head. would have expected a bit more of a fluffy head from a nitro tap, but this one looked pretty good nonetheless. the smell is fairly faint and average at best. some roasted malt and barley dominated here. the taste was creamy barley and malt, with some sweetness throughout. i didnt detect much coffee flavouring in my pint. mouthfeel was thin for a stout. i'd have preferred this one to be a bit chunkier. overall, it's not on par with your typical nitro stouts: guinness, beamish, murphy's. it lacks the flavour and the body of these three. still, this one is rather drinkable, and i think i see a-b's plan here: with guinness being a fairly popular choice, why not have their own nitro stout, and thus stranglehold on another tap at the bar. not necessarily the best strategy from a beer lovers point of view, but rather smart from the marketing/buisiness end. in the end, if it's the only choice amongst bud, coors, miller, bass, yuengling types, i'm definitely going for the bare knuckle.

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Photo of cbl2
3.03/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Pitch black with quarter inch tan head.


Served way too cold to detect much scent, & smoke in the bar impeded sniffing as well, though there is a faint roasted malt quality to it.


Smooth and creamy with a slightly bitter finish that is very similar to a Guinness.

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Photo of Beastdog75
3.06/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this one at an Applebees. Seeing as how their beer selection is usually quite poor, I decided to give this one a try. Bare Knuckle Stout is a very obvious attempt by AB at crashing Guinness' marketing niche. It turns out that this was a drinkable brew, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get one and it certainly doesn't hold up to a real Irish stout.

Bare Knuckle pours a near-black dark brown color with 1 finger of tan foam. Looks nitro-induced and it actually retains quite well. Sheets of foamy lace are left down the side of the glass. There are some roasted grain aromas along with some alcohol smell to it, maybe some frutiness to it as well. The mouthfeel was reasonably smooth, but was a bit more watery than a "real" stout and had very little carbonation. The flavor was decent as well, but of course lighter than a Guinness. Typical dry roasted malt flavors, some notes of chocolate. A fruity, green apple like flavor is present throughout the whole beer and it heavily reminds me of Budweiser. Maybe this should be "Bud Dark"? There are low amounts of roasted dryness in the finish. The aftertaste is way too clean for a stout, with just some graininess, and the brew finishes with no alcoholic warmth.

"Drinkable" and "decent" sum up this brew pretty well. I was expecting the worst, and while this isn't the worst it is a bit boring. It was better than the other tap selections available (Coors Light, Miller Lite, etc.). I could take or leave this brew.

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Photo of finepaws
2.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

ok, so I'm fairly new to the dark beer world, but as with wine, and coffee, I started light, and ended dark. Tried this at an irish bar/restaurant in Huntersville, NC. Wanting to try new beers, I said what the heck. Asked waitress for a description. When she said it was made by budweiser, I hesitated, when she compared it to guiness, I scoffed. Had to try this. It looked great in the glass, that's all I can say. There was nothing to write home to mom about. Very watery tasting. Maybe a hint of chocolate, or something there of. I kept drinking it, and looking at the glass, it looked so pretty. Dark, with a creamy frothy head, but no stout taste. I agree it would be a great dark beer for first timers who want to look like they are drinking dark beer.
As for me, I switched to guiness, and I must say it was wonderfull with my beef tips braised in guiness....yum!!!! Oh well, better luck next time...

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Photo of beerluvr
3.83/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep tan head, very creamy. Dark brownish-black color. Light roasted barley and subtle fruit nose. Kind of thinnish mouthfeel. Flavors of roasty barley with little sweetness and a bit of hoppy bitterness. Finished dry and quite drinkable I must admit. Sort of reminded me of a "kicked up" Guinness Stout. A decent session stout...I liked it!

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Photo of Billolick
3.16/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

AB's Guiness knock-off, Decent stout presentation. Off white creamy head. left nice creamy lacing. No nose that I could detect. Thin, fairly watery mouthfeel. Roasted malt noted along with some bittering, chalky hops. A decent starter stout. Seems abit watered down. I'd go for Guiness, or murphys or anything else if I had a stout alternative.

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Photo of yen157
2/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Hmmm... I finally came across this one so I figured I'd give it a try. Well, it did have a nifty tap handle.

Slightly more auburn than black wearing a scummy little foam head. Nose was a little roasty and a little sweet. I knew I was in trouble with this one becuse there was not much there. It tasted pretty much the same as it smelled, a little roasty and a little sweet. Only hints of something more complex, maybe coffee, kept from feeling like this was a complete bust. Very thin a watery in the mouth, nothing "stout" about this.

I would say that their Michelob Black and Tan makes a better stout than this!

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Photo of stegmakk
2.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a very nice dark brown almost black.
Aroma was very faint roast malt.
Taste barely drinking water you use to wash out a coffee filter. Mostly water but does have a hint roasted malt. Bitter and dry.
Mouthfeel thin.
Drinkability maybe if there is this or regular bud.
Not good. But better than any other AB product and at least it looks nice

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Photo of bewley
2.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ordered this one at the Muddy River Smokehouse (Portsmouth) after being informed that this was the only stout or porter being offered on-tap.

First, I must admit that I was really impressed by the appearance of this beer. The head was off-white, rich, thick and held its form for a long (and I mean LONG time). For this reason I assume that it was poured from a Nitro tap, though I cannot say for certain. It held its form so well, in fact, that I truly believe there may have been some chemical (egg white??) added by AB to make the product more attractive. Think of the liquid foam some bars use when making sour drinks like whiskey sours, etc and you get the idea.

The taste was almost, but not entirely like Bud. Honestly, it was like drinking bud with food color added. Creepy. I think this is AB's attempt to tap into the the stout market for the masses. A stout for those who don't like the taste of traditional dry stouts.

It wont kill ya to try it, but, if you can't find it anywhere--just grab a budweiser, mix some dark food color, add a little liquid foam and shake. Wait five minutes till it settles, sip it, then pour the rest down the drain.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
2.56/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Proudly promoted by a fine "Irish" pub at St. Armand's Key, I ask the question, why? This attempt by Busch to co-opt the dark beer market by placing this cheap knockoff on the same row of taps as Guinness is an insult to those liking better beer. I expect the marketing incentiives are great, but that's little excuse for a proper publican to promote this against Guinness. Supposedly it fills the void for those who want a dark beer without the bitter strength of Guinness. Baloney, I say!

This dark mahogany brew sports a rocky tan head that laces not. The nose is mostly of standard Bud hops and some roasted malts. The nose is sour-like and the taste is anything but smooth compared to Guinness. Thin of body and taste, this is best left to the mass market types whilst we enjoy our Murphy's, Guinness, and even finer Imperial stouts.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
1.81/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Had this one at SeaWorld Orlando of all places. Saw a stout, and got excited, didn't know it would taste like crude oil.

Poured from what I would presume to be a keg, it looked vaguely like Guinness from a far but on closer inspection I noticed that what little head there was was not the fault of the keg jockey beind the counter and just the beer itself. Ugh.

Tasted like, as I said, crude oil...not that I've ever tasted oil, but I can asume it tastes just like, or better than BareKnuckle stout. There is little to no carbonation and the beer just slides down the back of your throat. It tastes vaguely like coffee, but not in a good way.

Overall...steer clear.

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Photo of arizcards
2.78/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had this at Chuy's in downtown Phoenix while out with some friends. Never heard of it so I thought I have a few pints.
Appeared to be a fine looking stout with a nice head poured and the start. As I was sampling my first few sips I noticed that there was not much of a lacing was being left behind. The smell was of toasted malts. The taste was a burnt nutty malt with a lingering coffee aftertaste. The mouthfeel was very thin for a stout. It was not an overall very drinkable beer.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
2.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

All in all not a horrid product from swill-producing A-B, but at the same time not what I would buy when faced with other options in the dry-stout category. Poured a near opaque black with a nice cascading nitro effect and a creamy head. What lies underneath that head is the problem. It is entirely too thin for a stout. There are some good hints of flavor here with some malt, chocolate and coffee thrown in there, but they don't make up for this beer's shortcomings in texture. But, since A-B isn't know for producing much besides swill, that earns this beer a few extra points in my book. I wouldn't be opposed to having another one if there was nothing else of interest on tap.

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Photo of hungryghost
2.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer looks okay. Dark in color, bubbles rising and all that.
I have to say going in I did not realize this was an Anheuser-Busch product. Had I known, I might not have ordered it. I was at a 'respectable' beer pub and thought, wow a dry Irish stout sounds good right about now.

Some roasted malt in the smell, not much else to speak of.
The taste was okay, it has some flavor, the malt, some coffee and a bit of hops, but the thing that killed me was how thin the beer is. I felt like I was having an ale with some dark coloring added.
I could not believe that the Irish would export something like this. Then again this is America.
Do not be fooled by the name.
This beer is not a stout!

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Photo of Fabric8r
2.71/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had a small paper cup of this at Sea World in San Diego at the A-B building. I thought they snuck this in to satisfy the folks who think other A-B products have no flavor. (like me) I was quite impressed, and even snuck around for another sample. Seemed like they were going after the Guinness lovers. I dunno how it compared to Guinness without both there to compare, but I didn't think it was too far off.

Then, my beer review brain started working and I thought It has flavor, like a stout, but It would be one of the worst stouts I remember having. The mouthfeel was strange because, like other A-B products it was overcarbonated. Drinkability, again I loved it at first, but then started thinking comparatively to other micros I like, and naw . . . not really that good.

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Photo of TinusTime
3.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at AB's theme park Busch Gardens in Virginia in the "Irish Pub" there were having a special buy a pint keep the glass so i gave it a shot. Appearance is shockingly Guinness like. Dark Black with the cascading creamy head. Smells Ok with roasted notes and coffee undertones. Taste-- Hmmm kinda like a Jr. Guinness. Not nearly the flavour, the stout for non stout drinkers. Not the mouthfeel either of Guinness, it was a bit too light and to slick and didnt have that nice bitter edge that Guinness can have. Drinkability would be high if it tasted more like guinness.. Not a horrid attempt, easily the best AB product ive ever had. But then again that isnt saying a whole lot.

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Photo of rabidawg
2.07/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Black as night with a coffee-colored head.

Smell: Burnt chocolate and roasted malt with nitro leanings. Slight coffee background.

Taste: Honestly, quite like a Guinness (maybe AB used a clone kit), but with inferior mouthfeel and balance. Watery aftertaste and a noticeable (surprisingly) alcohol profile. Distinct metallic tinge to the brew. Also quite spritzy for the style.

Notes: Honestly, I barely finished this beer. It's really not worth trying, except for diversion and confirmation.

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Photo of Gusler
2.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Well, saw this on tap at my favorite watering hole, and decided I must at least give it a sample.

Color dark, head average, nose mostly malt and the start sweet and malt laden, top cadaverous, finish mildly acidic, the hops "AWOL", aftertaste dry and lingering, can't say I find any redeeming qualities accept for the color.

As far as I'm concerned don't waste your money on this "Macro" even if it says from their micro division.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.36/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This stout poured black with hints of red-brown near the edges, with creamy, tan foam (typical nitrogen foam). The smell was very minimal, but there were hints of malt and even of milk(?). Perhaps lactose is used in this stout? The taste was actually not bad, though a bit harsh with dominant flavors of very dark malt. The flavor was semi-sweet though fairly dry overall. There was a bit of hop bitterness and hints of coffee and caramel. The mouthfeel was fairly dry and smooth and relatively clean, but with an underlying harshness. The body was on the thin side of medium with low carbonation feel. The drinkability was OK. I was pleasantly surprised by this stout.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
2.11/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Easily the worst stout I have ever had. I have never had a stout, or any beer, that is so lacking in flavor. Even the cheap macro lagers that AB puts out are more flavoful than this. The appearance wasnt entirely bad...nearly black, but no head at all! Mouthfeel is quite similar to Guinness. To me, this is simply a Guinness knockoff, that can't even stand up to Guinness. And Guinness isn't even that great, but it beats the hell out of this beer! I felt like I was drinking thick water. There is ZERO flavor. Mild aroma of coffee. No flavor. Definitely an AB product.

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Photo of Jason
1.97/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at the Sunset Cantina.

Appearance: Little to no head and two shades from black. Not sure how this is supposed to be served but it was on the same CO2 as the rest of the beers and even after I stirred it up the head dropped like a soda.

Smell: Odd sweet aroma, a bit coffeeish with perhaps too much residual sweetness.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, creamy and slick … very weird feeling in the mouth. Watery coffee with a faded roasted grain flavour. Faint hopping and a very sweet palate, some charred flavours and a clean finish do not impress.

Notes: This stout will never match up against any of the more popular dry Irish stouts, don’t even bother trying this.

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Photo of scottum
1.68/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Well I had a sample. Yuck! You call this stout? This is a black bud. Sickly sweet for a non milk stout. I'm not sure how Busch plans on going head to head with Guinness with this crapola, but hey, these are the same guys that brought us Tequiza and Michelob Ultra. You can really taste the adjuncts here fellow BAs. Stay away; stay far far away.

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Bare Knuckle Stout from Anheuser-Busch
Beer rating: 2.77 out of 5 with 200 ratings