Bishop's Barrel 8
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Stout - Russian Imperial
4.49 | pDev: 7.8%
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 100 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of tbryan5
tbryan5 from Louisiana

4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours an oily thick black with no head.
S- Dark Fruit, bourbon, raisins. SO good...
T- More of the nose with a bourbon oakiness that is velvet smooth and lingers after every sip.
M- Dense, rich, and oily. Low carb.
D- I'm glad I have one more bottle. This BB is AMAZING.

May 06, 2016
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One area where the base beer lacked a bit for me was in the nose. This beer has a wonderful bourbon based nose, along with toasted coconut and vanilla. Body is jet black and with a toasted bread crust brown head. Flavor follows closely with that same coconut and vanilla feel. Zesty and electric on the tongue. Barrel aging plays quite well here.

Dec 12, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.46/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a teku, bottled 12/23/15
Aged in Woodford Reserve barrels

A- pours jet black and thick as motor oil, producing a small foamy khaki colored head hat reduces to just a ring around the edge

S- strong boozy bourbon up front with plenty of barrel notes, giving some oak, vanilla & coconut. Deep layers of dark chocolate and fudge brownie follow, with notes of marshmallow, caramel, port wine, prune, fig & toasted walnut

T- plenty of bourbon up front gives strong flavors of barrel juice, charred oak, caramel & toasted coconut. Dark chocolate mixes with fig and date, along with a hint of toffee & coffee, the finish gives flavors of toasted nuts with hints of caramel and straight bourbon on the linger

M- medium-heavy body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a warming finish

O- very bourbon forward stout, bringing out plenty of Woodford Reserve notes. As a bourbon lover, this beer was right up my alley. Very good

Oct 31, 2015
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mothman from Minnesota

3.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tan head black color.

Molasses with a little bit of peat and charred malt. Bourbon up front with coffee and vanilla. Lots of chocolate and caramel.

Rich and full bodied. A little sweetness. Ends with roasted malts.

Overall, solid offering, but not my favorite in the series because of the peat flavors.

Aug 08, 2015
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Kurmaraja from California

4.09/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very close to excellence but falling short ina few areas. The aroma is quite muted - vanilla, toffee, vanilla, some dark fruit (prunes?). The taste follows and layers on a rich bourbon flavor. Impressive in that it carries all of the flavor and noneof the heat. The feel is a bit thinner than I'd like.

If you want a very bourbon forward flavor, but still well integrated, this is a beer for you.

Jul 16, 2015
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Wayne17 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I feel this has been the best in the series so far. What really set it apart from the other stouts was the rich thick body which gave this excellent mouthfeel.

May 31, 2015
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zonker17 from Texas

4.19/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, minimal foam, no retention or lacing. Has dropped off but very good. In the world of big, barrel aged stouts this one is more tame, especially on the nose. Taste of roasted malt, molasses, very light on wood and bourbon. Above average body and low carbonation. Only a little sorry to drink my last one.

May 01, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.89/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3

Brief notes below from a bottle share. The bottle's a twist-off...what!?

A: Opaque dark black. No head, no lacing. Appears undercarbonated.

Sm: Suggests a syrupy sticky brew with a warm bourbon presence that has more barrel wood than most bourbon barrel beers; it's not oak, it's just bourbon soaked indistinct wood. Some marshmallow. I'm not getting a lot of roast, and the bourbon could use more one-two punch of toasted oak and bourbon.

Aromatic intensity is average.

T/Mf: Hefty and weighty on the palate, with an unfortunate syrupy thick viscous heavy presence. It's well-carbonated, though, and the heft fits the heavy malt bill. It's strangely dry - especially on the the finish - which is odd. Lacks creaminess and softness.

The base is underwhelming; there's not much roast. Maybe some faint peat? The bourbon barrel - while interesting - is oppressive of the base. Heavy notes of wood, but not much vanilla, oak barrel sugars, or toastiness. There's no harmony of texture to taste whatsoever. Molasses, dark malts, shwarz malts, and chocolate malts round out the dark malt backbone. Marshmallow stands out, but should be more prominent. Could use a cleaner bourbon character, more vanilla, and more chocolate. The barrel doesn't melt into the base the way it does in top notch beers in the style.

Ov: She's a sipper. The dryness, roughness, and oppressive wood character aren't great, and it lacks a gestalt build as well as harmony of texture and taste.


10/29/15: 2nd impressions from another bottle below.

HEAD: Just beautiful. As rich and dark as some of the best imperial stout heads I've ever seen, with a viscous thick consistency and plenty of creaminess. It's rare I see a head so thick and heavy. The complexion could be better, but the retention is stellar - easily 10+ minutes, with no signs of recession for a good 4 minutes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast is visible within. It's not an ink/jet black, but it's dark.

It'sa great looking beer, bar none. I'm excited to revisit it.

AROMA: What happened? This is so simple and reticent that going from the appearance to the aroma feels like running over a speed bump. Cream, off-putting weird chocolate syrup, butterscotch diacetyl off-notes, and artificial vanillin. Something is very wrong with this, and there's zero bourbon barrel presence...a huge disappointment given they used Woodford Reserve.

Aromatic intensity is average. I don't know what's happened in the better part of a year since I had this last, but the aroma is frankly disgusting. The diacetyl is off the charts...

TASTE & TEXTURE: Vomit-ridden Hershey's chocolate syrup and artificial vanilla is all I pick up initially, and the beer is weirdly thick - some would say like motor oil; I'd say like a tootsie roll. This beer really goes South with age. Chewy as hell, and the flavours are dreadful...generic dark mat sweetness, butterscotch/diacetyl, and chocolate malts.

OVERALL: This is the thickest beer I've had since Mikkeller Black, and the viscosity is just disgusting; what happened to this beer with age? The thick, overbearing, stringy (I know, what the hell?) texture is probably the worst I've ever experienced in a beer aside from Budweiser Chelada. There's zero bourbon barrel presence - which is a damn shame since Woodford Reserve is a good bourbon - and it's as simple and shallow an imperial stout (now) as I've ever experienced. I'd never age this, and it's fallen off in just a few months like I've never seen...and in good cellar conditions, no less. Ugh.


Mar 12, 2015
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TX-Badger from Texas

4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous dark brown almost black with thick khaki colored head. Bourbon, coconut, oak, roasted malt, and milk chocolate on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a little sweetness that gives way to the whiskey.

Feb 05, 2015
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MottsDemerl from Texas

4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ohhh that smell...can't you smell that smell! Jet Black, Boozy, Bourbon Barrel Aged, Woodford Reserve, Texas, Russian Imperial Stout, ridiculously delicious, was lucky enough to get three bottles! Do yourself a favor and find some...if you can! Cheers!

Jan 29, 2015
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donspublic from Texas

4.81/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok I just paid 16 bucks for this at a bar. My wife is going to kill me.....but it will be worth it. I have 20 more days before she gets the credit card bill from an obsure bar I never go to. On to the beer. My weakness is bb aged stouts. My previous favorite was karbach 007 but I think this one has surpassed it. L: dark pour no light will dream of passing thru this beer. Non aggressive pour yielded a weak tan head. S: .....people are staring at me. Smells so good, can't remove it from my face. Smells like a shot of bourbon. F: Goes down so smooth. No hint of alcohol. T: first thing you get is the bourbon. In your face, then a finish of vanilla and everything else that makes this genre so appealing to me. Get it while u can

Jan 16, 2015
Photo of ilikebeer03
ilikebeer03 from Texas

4.16/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a tan head, about a half finger. decent retention and lacing.

S: oaky bourbon and vanilla, dark chocolate coffee, roasted malt. sweetness. slight alcohol

T: just awesome. easily the best of the bishops barrel seiries. oak, bourbon, vanilla upfront follow by a delicious dark chocolate and coffee. residual maltyness with a trace of alcohol burn round out the finish. a delicious beer.

M: thick and creamy, low/medium carbonation.

O: great beer. maybe the best from SA yet.

Jan 16, 2015
Photo of champ103
champ103 from Texas

4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a near opaque black color. A small amount of ruby/brown around the edges. On a vigorous pour, a tan head rises to over two fingers. The creamy, dense foam has excellent retention, and some light lace.
S: It takes a minute to open up, but once this come to temperature...amazing. Big oak tannins at first, but vanilla, toasted malts, bakers chocolate take over. Then more of the barrel. Wood, light bitterness, and slightly warming alcohol in the finish.
T: Like the nose, big wood tannins up front. Though that is quickly balanced with vanilla, light roast, bitter bakers chocolate, and more wood barrels. The balance is really incredible. Considering the amount of time in the barrel, the tannin like wood character is very much expected and welcome.
M/D: A full body, and the perfect amount of carbonation. Which makes this crisp, but silky smooth at the same time. Not heavy, or overly viscous at all. Which adds to the incredible drinkablity (yes I used that word). A great sipper that hits the mark between something that is a treat, but at the same time really moreish.

After having three in one day, I can say this is incredible. Superb balance, with complexity, and something you have to come back and enjoy again and again. Considering this is aged over a year in a barrel, and the balance is out of this world good. Just amazing, maybe one of the best beers made in the state. Rivaling only Live Oak IMO.

Jan 13, 2015
Bishop's Barrel 8 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 100 ratings