Curly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial Stout
BarrelHouse Brewing Company

Curly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial StoutCurly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial Stout
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,151
Ranked #4,295
4.14 | pDev: 9.9%
BarrelHouse Brewing Company
California, United States
Curly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial StoutCurly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial Stout
Notes: Curly Wolf ~ Maple Vanilla Imperial Stout - Maple | Vanilla | Bourbon {UNFILTERED}

Introducing the first beer to be released in our Reservado de Robles Series. This oak barrel aged, limited release series is the canvas for our beer artists. Creamy and complex, this Russian Imperial Stout was aged in 11 year old bourbon barrels for 6 months until the time was just right. We added fresh maple to the boil and whole vanilla beans into the barrels as it aged to impart sweetness and complexity. This beer is dangerously smooth, 100% barrel aged and 100% delicious!
ABV 9.4% | IBU: 58 | S.G. 1.086 ~ Limited release, Taproom, Select Draft Accounts, & 22oz Bottles
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 105 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JamarcusMarinovich
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into pint glass. Deep dark, almost black, color and little tan head. Love the aroma of this stout...totally pick up the bourbon influence but not overpowering. No maple nose (which I was actually NOT looking forward to!) but taste does have just a slight hint of maple on the back of the tongue. Not as much vanilla as a few other porters and some stouts have, but still a very nice mingling of the flavors. Not overly malty, didn't pick up any burnt/coffee/cocoa that seems to come along with some stouts. Drinks very smooth and not overtly alcohol for a 9%. This is a very good offering.

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Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 11/1/2019. Listed @9%. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Thick foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, fudge, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of dark fruit, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Mild booze in the aromas as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon barrel notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, fudge, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of dark fruit, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Very mild herbal, grass, peppery, roast, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, fudge, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, dark/brown bread, dark fruit, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an amazing roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Mild increasing dryness from lingering bitter/spicy/tannins. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety, and lightly slick/sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is fantastic. Mild increasing warmth of 9%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged flavored imperial stout. All around amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV, with the mildly bitter/tannic/drying finish; amazing soft/silky fel for the ABV. Perfectly balanced super rich malts, maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon barrel presence/integration from 12 months of aging. Light residual sweetness with lingering bitter/tannic dryness. A highly amazing offering, and top tier quality style example. Wow.

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superspak from Michigan, Mar 19, 2020
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

$ 16.73 (Including shipping)/22 oz bottle ($ 0.760) from Tavour, Seattle, WA. Reviewed 1/18/19.
No date other than “2018 Release” on label. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 54 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.25
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque. When held to the light, still totally opaque.
Head – Large (Maximum 6.5 cm, aggressive center pour), tan, medium density, excellent retention, slooowly diminishing to a scalloped five to twelve mm ring and a rocky, thick, partial layer.
Lacing – None, as expected with a 10.6% ABV BBA product.
First pour – Brown, clear.
Aroma – 3.5 – Weak cocoa, maple, vanilla.
Flavor – 4 – Begins with bourbon and maple flavors with some maple syrup sweetness. Ends with some alcohol (10.6% ABV) vapors teasing my hard palate. No diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 3.75 - Extra credit given in “Appearance” for the head size and retention time. While not complex or flavorful enough to justify its price, this is a brew that is very easy-drinking, almost alarmingly so considering its 10.6% ABV. The palate is a little creamier than expected for an American imperial stout and the aroma, while moderately complex, is very weak for the style. One and done.

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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania, Jan 18, 2019
Photo of John_M
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at beer o'clock.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good retention and lacing. The beer is listed as a bourbon barrel aged stout with maple and vanilla, and I do pick up some vanilla and light maple. Also getting some dark chocolate nad maybe a hint of bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this light weight ba impy stout, though there's a bit more bourbon on the palate. The beer tastes nice enough, I just wish there was more of everything. Mouthfeel is medium bodied in what is a surprisingly light weight impy stout. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, and frankly I'm a bit surprised by the 10.6 % listing.

Shrug. Given the price point ($9 for an 8 ounce pour at beer oclock), this is a less than impressive effort. Can't imagine ever ordering another glass of this stuff.

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John_M from Oregon, Dec 31, 2018
Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is dark brown and clear, but in the glass clean black with just a bit of obsidian translucence around the edges... Center-pour into an over-sized snifter produced a pale head maybe a finger high... Roasted dark malt aromas are suffused with vanilla, maple, bourbon, and oak notes... A stout like this can easily be too sweet, but this one has a drying, mild bittersweetness - instead of being a sugar-bomb, it shows great restraint... Roasted malts present typical cocoa and coffee suggestions, with ample vanilla, maple, and bourbon flavors - best of all is the oak barrel element, drying and airing the beer out... I am sometimes disappointed in the body of a barrel-aged, high abv stout if it is too thin, and though this beer does have a relatively light weight, it feels just right and the bourbon barrels come through very nicely... Despite potential trappings of a heavy, sweet, boozy beer, this is a refined and graceful sipper...

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Greywulfken from New York, Nov 22, 2018
Photo of Zythophile
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: none, but purchased about a year ago
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Look is a super-dark brown that doesn't let any light through. Light tan head that hangs around.

The smell is mostly that really dark chocolate, like 80%. Dark, dried fruit, like figs and dates, too. There's also a bit of what I can see striking some folks as vanilla, but it hits me more like whole milk or coffee creamer.

Taste is a bunch of dark and smoky things. Raisins, straight-up cacao, prunes, charcoal, plus the figs. Matured cigar tobacco. There's also some spice in there, nutmeg and non-sweet cinnamon mostly. A slightly lactic element (smoky creamer?) hits first, then the dark fruit follow.

It's thick, even for the type, and fortunately I was in need of dessert. It's smooth, and the alcohol isn't readily apparent. The aftertaste is mostly the raisins, but there is also a green wood taste that I haven't come across all that much.

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Zythophile from District of Columbia, Jun 04, 2017
Photo of RyanK252
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at BarrelHouse Brewing Co

A: Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a frothy khaki head that settles to a light layer and leaves a little spotty lacing.

S: Smooth bourbon,dark sugar, maple, vanilla, hints of molasses, roasted malt, a touch of chocolate, and a little spice.

T: Dark sugar, maple, smooth bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate, and a little spice.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation.

O: Straight up fantastic beer!

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RyanK252 from California, Jan 13, 2017
Photo of whatthehull
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine glass from a 22 oz bottle

A - A deep brown almost black (except near the rim of the glass), barely any medium tan head and sugar legs/lacing

S - Roasted malts are really nice and prominent up front, french/american charred oak, underlying earthy hops below that, vanilla is sexy as heck, super nice maple, pipe tobacco, bread yeast, lots of brown/green earth, molasses, slight licorice and/or anise,

T - The malts/grains up front are very nice, sweet/toasted/roasted, the vanilla is as fresh as can be, the maple syrup is very nice, sultry tobacco, very nice anise, some sweet booze notes, classic bread/cracker yeast,

M - Medium minus acidity, medium minus carbonation, very nicely balanced, very nice complexity and a huge sweet malty/vanilla/maple ride from beginning to end.

D/O - Easiest drinking stout I have had in quite a long while. Silky smooth and huge (but not over the top) flavor from beginning to end. Heck this beast even lights up as the stout warms. Age-able for sure though smoothness is not what you will acquire. Instead you'll probably end up with a close to perfectly balanced ale.

Final thoughts - At $13 a pop and a near 10.5% this is a value indeed. One of the few BA stouts I have had that are across the board easy to drink, not to sweet and the booze is very nice. Love almost everything about this beast of a stout.

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whatthehull from California, Apr 11, 2016
Photo of DVMin98
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened at True Pizza bottle share. The smell was of roasted malts. Mild bourbon. Taste is the same. Unfortunately I get no maple or vanilla. good body. Would score much higher is flavor followed the name

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DVMin98 from North Carolina, Feb 05, 2016
Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
3.34/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

What can I say about this...

Look- typical of so many imperial stouts pours a bit brownish black. With a Hint of brown head. Not much lacing and the head doesn't stick around.

Smell- good lots of vanilla and wood. I think the maple get a bit buried here.

Taste- cocoa vanilla, cola even a bit. Maple is definitely lost. I think of maple as a tasty donut or on pancakes I think in a lot of instances it just ferments out a bit too much.

Feel- a bit oily, not bad but lingers a bit like a cup of coffee.

Overall- not disappointed I love a good Yeti, or other imperial stouts offered by the likes of Ballast Point or the strong ales of Firestone. I'd pair with pancakes of course, dark chocolate or salted cured meats. I think you would have a real winner here if you trod the line between a real maple-y tasting beer and a Maple syrup "Malt Bevereage" Would try again oooo just tried it with brusslesprouts and walnuts! The walnuts set this off !

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Uncle_Jimmy from California, Jan 11, 2016
Photo of Furlinator
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bourbon, oak and vanilla on the nose. The taste is the same, with bourbon, charred oak, faint vanilla and some cocoa. Only a hint of maple is detectable. Texture is a bit thin. Tastes hotter than 9.4 ABV. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

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Furlinator from California, Sep 18, 2015
Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

- 4oz. pour off tap at the tasting room (Paso Robles, CA) into flight glass on 5-Sep-15

The coffee-like roast dominates the aroma and flavor profile, and the bourbon barrel is veerry subtle; I had to really search for it, but it's there. Overall, a decent take on the BA vanilla stout. Note: this could be biased as I've had BCBVR and FO just couple months earlier.

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Rollzroyce21 from California, Sep 05, 2015
Photo of ihazabucket7
4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a flight. Had this on tap at the brewery in Paso Robles. You get the coffee and vanilla on the nose. Not very bitter or boozy but it was sweet and very tasty! Glad I took home a bottle!

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ihazabucket7 from California, Jul 19, 2015
Photo of emyers
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with a thin beige head.

Smell: Roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon, smoke. Not getting much maple , but there is a very distinct smoke flavor that really takes over the aroma. Certainly very complex, but lacks the integration of components of the top examples of the style - bourbon clashes a bit with the base and the smoke smell is a bit out of place.

Taste: There's a lot going on here - bourbon and vanilla are the most prominent flavors along with oak, peat, a bit of maple (which is more prevalent than in the nose), roasted barley. Honestly there's a little too much going on without anything to really tie it together - a bit of a random compilation of flavors. Definite alcohol bite on the finish. Ultimately comes off a bit harsh.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth, fittingly low carbonation. Very good in this department.

Overall: A little too much going on and could use a bit more balance, but there are a lot of good flavors nonetheless and I like the idea.

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emyers from Illinois, Jun 09, 2015
Photo of Ernie_The_Dude
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I dig this beer. Had this at Lock N Key social Drinkery in Downey, Ca. Poured nice with a thin lacy head. Color was dark and deep, very nice. aroma was like any other barrel stout. Taste started with coffee and finished sweet and boozy. I would definitely have another if I see it again.

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Ernie_The_Dude from California, Jun 01, 2015
Photo of Nugganooch
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber purchased at the brewery
Sampled on 10/11/2014 – Barrelhouse Brewing snifter glass

A: Pours dark coffee brown body nearing black in the glass with not much light making it through. A willowy short lived dark khaki film settles over top. Leaves some wispy suds and a few dots left clinging to the glass.

S: Smoky maple with dark chocolate, toasted bread, instant coffee, and a touch of licorice root on the nose. I get a dash of earthy hops towards the finish with a waft of stingy booze. Smell is interesting. Not getting much bourbon here at all. Definitely has some breakfast scents to it but seems a bit muddled and slightly overrun with the alcohol content.

T: Starts off a bit rough at first with some harsh char, astringent coffee, and alcohol components. Better as I make my way through it. Picking up some rich molasses and maple sugars with spent coffee notes and toasted breads. Has an all encompassing smokiness to it with some bakers chocolate and a finish of charred marshmallow. Again light in the barreling department. Flavors are all there but it just doesn’t really come together for me like I was hoping.

M: Medium to heavy body but not particularly thick. Smooth and frothy on the palate with some astringent points towards the back. Dry in the finish with a bit of alcohol heat.

D: A bit rough at times with some harsh charred notes and alcohol presence. I really wanted this to be better…like CBS good. But unfortunately it is far from it. Glad I only made the single purchase.

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Nugganooch from California, Apr 15, 2015
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share at Skuter's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, char, vanilla, wood, and slight bourbon and maple aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice bourbon barrel aged qualities even though this one spent only 6 months in barrels.

Serving type: bottle.

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UCLABrewN84 from California, Mar 01, 2015
Photo of avwrite
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Delicious. You can really taste the Vanilla in there, and it has a nice sweetness that mixes in well with the bitterness. So good, I'd drive down to Paso Robles just to get more.

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avwrite from California, Jan 02, 2015
Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cola brown liquid with a decent head of foam that produces some strands of lacing

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, cherry and some piney hops

Taste: Roasty, with chocolate, Bourbon, vanilla and cherry tones developing; piney hops build, in the middle, and are quite present in the finish; the maple is not clearly apparent

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Flavorful, but the Bourbon and the hops clash at this time; needs to settle down with some time in the cellar to realize its potential

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Nov 25, 2014
Photo of RSJames
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Bottle poured into a tulip. Purchased at brewery October 2014, enjoyed two weeks later.

Dark, very little light transmission, no head.

Aroma of bourbon and vanilla. A bit of alcohol heat on the tongue. None of the flavors in the description - bourbon, vanilla or maple - shine through individually, but blend nicely. The flavors definitely meld, and not layer. Contrasted to some similar beers where the flavors overwhelm, the maple and vanilla are very subdued. I actually wish for them to be a bit more forward. Overall, a very good imperial stout, but don't expect the vanilla or maple to come through strongly.

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RSJames from California, Oct 20, 2014
Photo of neurobot01
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm.

Look: pours about the color and consistency of Dr. Pepper. In the glass, dark brown with some noticeable wateriness. Essentially no head. Mild, very fine carbonation.

Smell: definite vanilla, some cherry, and slightly harsh chemical note. As it warms, the chemical note gives way to almost overpowering whiskey. Any maple is due only to the power of suggestion.

Taste: a lot of whiskey up front, but without any alcohol heat, and a pretty mellow flavor (I'm not a whiskey drinker, but I like the taste of this). Also lots of vanilla, toasted marshmallow, subtle cherry, oak, and roasted malt.

Feel: more viscous than I was expecting based on the appearance. Medium-to-full in body, with minimal carbonation (but acceptable for the style).

Overall: they really manage to pack a lot in the flavor, without any one element being too dominant, nor creating a disorganized mess. Not especially complex, in that all the flavors are fairly compatible and blend well, but very tasty. Think I'll pick up another bottle to lay down for a while to see if the whiskey backs down at all to let some of the other flavors take the lead.

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neurobot01 from California, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of Mshea805
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer has incredible smell and flavor. Tons of bourbon, the vanilla, some chocolate and a little of the maple. All the tastes and smells I hope for in a great barrel aged beer, the mouthfeel was a let down tho. It just seemed oddly light/thin for the style. Thicker and maybe a little stronger would make this much better

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Mshea805 from California, Jul 05, 2014
Curly Wolf - Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Imperial Stout from BarrelHouse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 105 ratings