El Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Aardwolf Brewing Company

El Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-AgedEl Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Aardwolf Brewing Company
Florida, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #299
Ranked #1,089
4.41 | pDev: 6.35%
Aug 05, 2022
Jun 11, 2015
El Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-AgedEl Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Notes: "Mexican-Style" stout with cacao nibs and conditioned with Ancho chilies, cinnamon, and vanilla beans, aged in brandy barrels.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.5 by paulish from New York

Aug 05, 2022
Rated: 4.23 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Sep 26, 2020
Rated: 3.9 by AleHunter805 from California

Sep 12, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by BEER88 from North Carolina

Aug 21, 2020
Photo of Roguer
Reviewed by Roguer from Connecticut

4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Latest bottling, specifying "Apple Brandy." I will maintain this review under the original "Brandy Barrel" entry unless the brewery decides a separate entry is warranted.

Basically no head; a slight fizz eventually appears, but quickly disappears to a completely calm, flat body with no hint of foam. Body is a dark, purplish-black.
Edit: second pour from the same bomber (a full day later) produced a very solid 1/2 finger of dark foam, including modest retention - albeit from a more turbulent pour. Still, the head reaction from two different pours, from the same bottle, is baffling. The rating has been adjusted to reflect the second pour, which is likely more true to an on tap experience.

Apple brandy notes are quite noticeable on the nose, to the extent that very few of the many flavor additives are noticeable. There is a slight, nutty char, chocolate, brown sugar, red grapes, and vinous peppers, along with perhaps some cream, vanilla, and cinnamon notes that tend to blend in with the brandy.

Very similar presentation on the palate, with the apple brandy treatment at the forefront, and maintaining prominence throughout the sip. Cinnamon and peppers add accents in the first third, with just a kiss of chocolate. The middle is almost entirely apple brandy, cinnamon, vanilla, and cream, before dark chocolate and cinnamon carry the finish. Peppers carry virtually no heat (likely due to the time spent in the barrels), but there is a bit of a green, vinous touch present primarily up front, blending with oak and brandy.

Despite the lack of head, the body is just lively enough - and full bodied enough - that it works very well. The sip is quite long with a lingering finish. Slick.

A lot of the original character of El Mariachi is lost in the mix here. Chocolate is definitely noticeable, but not as strongly as in the original; the peppers are an afterthought; and while the vanilla and cinnamon are prominent, they blend with the barrel so well as to not actually stand out. That might sound like a criticism .... if it didn't work. Fortunately, it really, really works! The result is a delicious treat, neither hot nor overly sweet.
Oct 02, 2019
Photo of kevanb
Reviewed by kevanb from Illinois

4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
650ml bottle, Brandy Barrel Aged stamped on the label, 2017 vintage, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a deep black color, cola brown hues with a thin tan head that has no retention and only a few spots of lace clinging to the glass. The aroma is great, bakers chocolate, light spice, a bit of heat, caramel forward cognac barrel, light wood and vanilla. The flavors are very good, rich and decadent, tons of chocolate, smooth grains, smooth cognac barrel, oak and brown sugar, light stone fruits, sweet vanilla bean with a light heat from the pepper blend. The mouthfeel is good, silky and smooth medium body that coats well and finishes easily with a touch of heat from the peppers and warmth from the booze.

Verdict: A good barrel aged stout from Aardwolf. The cognac is really nice and helps tone down the pepper heat but the balance is great, the vanilla comes across well and the chocolate character is excellent. Nicely done beer.
Mar 26, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by Jamison85 from Indiana

Mar 20, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by Beerbuddha from Florida

Jan 20, 2018
Rated: 4.54 by ufmib from Florida

Aug 29, 2017
Rated: 4.33 by joemochas from Florida

Aug 21, 2017
Rated: 4.69 by Jlang2012 from South Carolina

Apr 03, 2017
Photo of IckyT2012
Rated by IckyT2012 from Florida

4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Tastes like a cycle stout without the hype.
Mar 08, 2017
Rated: 4.55 by South2NW from Oregon

Nov 12, 2016
Rated: 4.4 by Chris-1911 from Illinois

Oct 10, 2016
Photo of jzeilinger
Reviewed by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A - Pitch black pour with a micro-thin lacing ring.

S - Brandy, dark chocolate, cocoa.

T - Brandy, bourbon, dark chocolate, cocoa, oak, some spiciness on the back end, and lingering brandy chocolate sweetness.

M - Big and full bodied with an oily slick mouthfeel.

O - Recommended.
Sep 22, 2016
Rated: 4.16 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Sep 22, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

Sep 22, 2016
Rated: 4.15 by Kevinpitts from Illinois

Sep 17, 2016
Rated: 4.43 by rawfish from California

Aug 22, 2016
Rated: 4.51 by Franktankthe from Florida

May 07, 2016
Photo of Lochnessmonster
Reviewed by Lochnessmonster from Florida

4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Another fantastic offering from Aardwolf. This doesn't quite reach the flavor levels of Early Bird Special and White Russian, but it's pretty damn close. Wish I still had another bottle left to hold me over until it's next release..
May 03, 2016
Rated: 4.3 by Sk8sean86 from Massachusetts

May 02, 2016
Photo of maximum12
Reviewed by maximum12 from Minnesota

4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Thanks to moose3285 for a couple bottles from this brewery, I enjoyed the first one, let’s hope I go 2 for 2. A concept my Twins are wholly unfamiliar with at the moment.

The pour is impenetrable, with few bubbles even on a hard pour. The nose is nice, dark sweetness, baking cocoa, apple cider spices. Warm. I like.

El Mariachi - Brandy Barrel Aged tastes like rum to me rather than brandy, likely due to the spiciness running up, down, & through the line of scrimmage. Cinnamon, nutmeg, & vanilla appear before the beautifully balanced chiles come mincing across the palate. The heat is exquisitely added: not too much, not too little, but juuust right. Sticky. I could drink an entire bomber of this happily.

Whipping up a chile beer is not easy: too little & you are left with a boring stout, too much & you have Crime & Punishment eating your drain pipes like sulfuric acid. This gets the balance right (with apologies to Dave Gahan). Excellent beer.
Apr 10, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by brians52 from Virginia

Mar 21, 2016
Rated: 4.35 by hilgart1 from Illinois

Mar 13, 2016
Rated: 4.27 by mattreitz49 from Florida

Nov 08, 2015
Rated: 4.15 by thatoneguymike from Georgia

Oct 05, 2015
Rated: 4.43 by Jas45678 from Michigan

Sep 12, 2015
Rated: 4.37 by ricoslim from Florida

Sep 04, 2015
Photo of jshusc
Reviewed by jshusc from South Carolina

4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Really enjoyed this beer. Pitch black with a thin amber head. The nose on this beer is incredible picking up chocolate, cinnamon, a bit of pepper and heavy barrel notes. The pepper flavor minus the heat comes through and the brandy barrel is perfect compliment. Great thick feel. This is a great beer.
Sep 04, 2015
Photo of stakem
Reviewed by stakem from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Big thanks to Warren for hooking me up with a bottle of this in our most recent exchange. I was a huge fan of the base beer when I got to try it on tap at Aardwolf so the idea of brandy barrel aging this just seems too good to be true.

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. It appears black in color with a tan cap that holds with just a ring around the perimeter. Rising bubbles maintain just a line around the edge of the glass.

The nose encompasses notes of chocolate, anise and solvent alcohol. A minor earthy pepper character with faint woody cinnamon and vanilla sweetness. The taste is roasty with solvent alcohol, bitter chocolate, earth, slight pepper that gives a bit of vegetal feel. Some vanilla sweetness emerges as it warms.

This is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. A decent brew that sadly pales in comparison to how fantastic the base, non-barrel aged version is. Having had 2 different BA beers from these guys, I just get the feeling that id rather have their plain non barrel aged offerings instead of these limited releases.
Sep 03, 2015
Photo of Suds_With_Buds
Reviewed by Suds_With_Buds from California

4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
So happy to have gotten this in a trade, this beer was truly wonderful.

Look: Oil black, with a fine light brown head.

Smell: The peppers do magic for the nose, giving it an almost cinnamony scent when mixed with the strong Brandy notes.

Taste: Wow, brandy chocobomb. I let this warm for over an hour and this beer just kept getting more complex and drinkable.

Feel: A little on the thin side, but only slightly. Oily.

Overall: I need to try more of these Aardwolf Brewing Company beers, because this is one amazing beer and I need to see what else these guys can do!
Aug 30, 2015
Photo of flskydiver
Reviewed by flskydiver from Florida

4.84/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Finally getting around to my first review! Here goes:

Look: Jet black and oily with a minimal one finger tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves nice lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smell: Lots of sweet brandy alcohol on the nose mixed with big chocolate notes. This beer is very inviting and smells heavenly.

Taste: Just like the smell, the brandy barrel shines through beautifully in this one and it's the first thing I taste. The vanilla mixes well with the barrel to create an almost toasted marshmallow taste. As I swirl the sip around my mouth I am getting lots of rich earthy, chocolate. Slight ashy,leathery, star anise notes too. At first I barely notice a small burn of the peppers at the back of my throat but they become more prevalent as the beer warms. This beer finishes with a big chocolate kick mixed with that sweet pepper burn and it coated my cheeks to where I could taste it for the next half hour. Very nice!

Feel: Smooth, and oily with no alcohol burn whatsoever. No too chewy, I'd give it a 5 out of 10 on the viscosity range.

Overall: A great beer from Jacksonville's best brewery. They really knocked it out of the park with this one. I was so impressed I went back and bought 7 bottles, one for each of my groomsmen in my wedding recently. Cheers!
Aug 29, 2015
Rated: 4.24 by Jdub2839 from Florida

Aug 11, 2015
Rated: 4.91 by badboy7113 from Florida

Aug 03, 2015
Rated: 4.59 by Craft_advisory from Florida

Jul 22, 2015
Rated: 4.88 by Armando_Perez from Florida

Jul 19, 2015
Photo of donnyowens
Reviewed by donnyowens from Florida

4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Great mouthfeel. Strong brandy on the nose. Every element shines. The only negative is non barrel aged El Mariachi has great heat on the backend and the barrel aging has basically killed the pepper contribution. Get that solved and this will be a world class brew.
Jul 17, 2015
Rated: 3.86 by lillitnn92 from Virginia

Jul 14, 2015
Rated: 4.74 by Lovely85 from Florida

Jul 02, 2015
El Mariachi - Brandy Barrel-Aged from Aardwolf Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 45 ratings