Bishop's Barrel 1
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Bishop's Barrel 1Bishop's Barrel 1
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Stout - Russian Imperial
4.27 | pDev: 11.01%
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bishop's Barrel 1Bishop's Barrel 1
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 186 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.01/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Original #1 at March Madness 2017, another leftpaw contribution.

Pours black. Brown head, 1/3". The aroma was more bourbon than dark fruit yeastiness. I like that, as RIS tends to be my least favorite stout subgenre (unless fruited stouts is a thing, but even then, I really dig Bell's Cherry Stout, so who knows).

Taste still leads with the bourbon, but its relatively soft and backed up by a roasted grain and oak counterpart. Light notes of chocolate and brandy come in later, the brandy note is likely to be that of the yeast from this RIS base. Alcohol is moderately warm and not problematic, I would say ever so slightly that it does a good job hiding the booze. The dark fruit bitterness is largely tempered by everything else going on. It does a good job coloring within the lines.

This also gets a slight nod for being on of the earlier barrel aged stouts in a 12 oz bottle (yes CW, GI were doing it before, but they are the exception like these guys).

Oct 16, 2020
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Chris_Huston from Texas

4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Easily the closest my experience has come to matching the brewer's notes, and also a fantastic example of the dramatic differences within a style and from the same brewer. Very different from the Divine Reserve #15. Sweeter, lighter, more complex flavor and easier to drink.

StA recommends consuming it somewhere between 55-60 degrees, I poured mine on the other side of 70, as I usually do, out of a tuliped snifter. Mostly bourbon on the nose. That fills out in the taste with some spiciness at the front, the cacao comes through quietly on the backend. The light carbonation gives it a nice, drinkable feel. The lacing is more clingy than newer StA offerings.

Essentially, this is a great beer for beer and bourbon lovers. The bourbon is unmistakable, but civilized, playing nicely with the beer itself. Definitely one of my favorite StA and Russian Imperial Stouts.

Jan 03, 2016
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StoutFox from Ohio

4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This beer is comparable to a Bcbs it is a huge bourbon wiskey aroma with a dark fruit chocolatey flavors. Its only caviots are the drinkablity is low and the mouthfeel is a bit on the light side.

Jun 09, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mrbubbler for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon 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 great bourbon barrel aged aromas and tasty flavors.

Serving type: bottle.

Jun 04, 2015
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porbastipa from California

4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The look was a bit off, muddy, watery chocolate, the nose is dark fruits , raisins, dates with hints of bourbon barrel. The taste is similar to the nose with a huge raisin date flavor and wafering off with a solid bourbon barrel dry finish. Just the right touch of heat and sweetness to meld with the barrels. Mouth feel is middle to heavy with a creamy texture.overall this is a fantastic ale that ages gracefully I loved it!

Jun 02, 2014
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inkdemention from Nevada

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Here I have the remenants of a thank you package from cfh64. Brad has to be one of the top Ba's !

A: it poured thin enough I could see thru it, but no light thru the glass. Poured the bottle all at once into a huge dogfish snifter that easily holds the whole bottle. Had lots of head like it was going to have high carbonation . It quickly reduced and had minimal lacing.

S: at first I get this weird barrel funk , followed by fruit and then goes bourbon barrel.

T: mild roastiness up front , oak , fruit with a nice blended flavor of the above. Really nice .

M: it body is slightly medium-ish could be fuller but it works ! Creamy and well intergrated . I love it more with every sip !

O: stellar !! Seek out and hoard. Sell your girlfriend. Maybe down grade your car. Stock pile !!!

Apr 21, 2014
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AMG55 from Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle date was 10/29/12

I thought the first bottle I had was a hot mess back when it came out in 2012, way too much bourbon. I held back on my second bottle. I believe it was a little too long in the cellar.

The beer pours a dark almost opaque black with a dark tan head. Lacing was not significant. Little brown dots appeared on the surface of the beer, leading me to believe oxidation was beginning to set in. Aroma was very subdued, lacked the heavy bourbon characteristic I experienced two years ago.

Taste was underwhelming. Bourbon had subsided, no alcohol burn but it felt like I was tasting a splintered finished product. The beer lacked any pronounced flavors other than subtle bourbon. No discernible chocolate or coffee flavors to speak of. Mouthfeel was light and hurt the overall experience.

If I were you and you had a bottle left, drink it now. Not much time left to really enjoy it.

Feb 11, 2014
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Beerzebub from California

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown, with no head.

Smells delicious. The molasses really comes through, along with bourbon barrel, caramel, cocoa, coffee, and dark dried fruit along the lines of fig.

Tastes sweet, with lots of molasses and bourbon, and some milder but somewhat balancing roastiness. Some mild bitterness helps it end more dry and roasty. There's a hint of herbaceous hop flavor that works well. A gentle oxidative note just adds to the complexity. I poured it too cold, but as it warmed up it really came together and it tastes cohesive and delicious, with bourbon and molasses being the main flavors.

Good rich texture and small bubbles, although these flavors would work with an even fuller body.

Nice beer! Thanks Daniel!

Jan 19, 2014
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Can_has_beer from Texas

3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark brown, with no head

S- Not a lot going on with the nose. Roasted oats, coffee and alcohol.

T- A massive vanilla component on the tongue, as well as lots of oak. Bourbon shines through but was rather subdued. No lingering bitterness; smooth.

M- Not as chewy as expected. Just a tad thin for being 12% abv.

O- I definitely preferred the BB #3 over this one. Even though they were both the same recipe, I just don't think this one turned out as good. This was still a very enjoyable beer, I just had high expectations. I think the saving grace here were the vanilla and oak components on the palate.

Jan 14, 2014
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facundoCNB from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

a deep brown almost black in color with a finger of light tan head which diminished slowly into a tiny carbonation ring - nice amount of sticky lacing. huge nutty/vanilla/oak/bourbon aroma as soon as you twist the cap off.. wet pecans, butterscotch, maple. the flavor is just a world of awesome, with tons of bourbon hitting you up front. lots of maple, molasses follow, with a delicious wet pecan tone in the background. hints of milk sweet chocolate, subtle roastiness, light roasted coffee.
the mouthfeel is excellent.. a full body beer with low carbonation, nice smooth silky feel (you taste the bourbon but don't feel it - until it hits you in the chest and you realize it's got a nice bite).

this is fantastic beer for every category it could possibly fall in (stout, imperial stout, barrel aged beers, etc).. it has an amazing flavor profile that i can only compare to peruvian morning (just more on the sweeter side and with more bourbon). definitely worth seeking out, and am definitely glad i received this as a part of a blind trade last winter (and am even gladder i held onto it and let it age for a bit).

Oct 19, 2013
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twiggamortis420 from Texas

4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I cant believe this beer is nearly a year old already! 12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a hazed dark brown color with a modest cap of tan head. Not much for retention and lace.

Nose is a wonderful blend of coconut, vanilla, wood, blackberries, alcohol and toasted almonds. It is beastly on the aroma and smells really nice.

Taste is heavenly! Wow, this shows no signs of slowing down and might even be better than it was a year ago, the alcohol heat is much more integrated. Almond Joy dipped in bourbon and served on a cedar plank. BCBS is only 1% higher, but this one goes down with much less heat...though it is not quite as fruity or complex. It is big on the barrel treatment and the mouthfeel thins out as a result, but this is an excellent beer and would definitely fall within my top 20 barrel aged stouts, easily. Well done Saint Arnold.

Sep 18, 2013
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had at Avenue Pub New Orleans. Served in a snifter. Bottleneck says 102612

A- Pours a completely opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and random splotches of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a solid ring behind on the glass.

S- Heavy dark roast and you can definitely smell the molasses which brings with it notes of brown sugar. The barrel presence is certainly there too showing plenty of bourbon characteristics.

T- Where to begin? The roast comes in with a bunch of sweetness to balance and creates that savory barrel-aged stout flavor. Tons of chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. The bourbon sews everything together making for a dangerously drinkable beer.

M- Creamy and slick with medium-low carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- You can't really get much better than this, flavor-wise. This stacks up to some of the best BBA stouts out there. Very pleased with this beer which was totally worth the $14 for a 12 oz.

Aug 15, 2013
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Phelps from Arizona

3.87/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle into a snifter at World of Beer - Arlington. This one's a stout brewed with molasses and aged in bourbon barrels. According to the brewery, it started out at 9 percent ABV prior to the nine months it spent in Woodford Reserve barrels, and popped out at 12 percent. quite the jump there.

Black as tar, thin as milk. One finger of tiny, sticky tan bubbles.

Huge whiskey aroma, very sweet. Vanilla, toasted coconut, maple, molasses. A touch of milk chocolate, but not a ton of showing from the stout.

Molasses, licorice, a hint of acrid roast. Mostly, however, the flavor is all whiskey. Brown sugar, maple, toasted oak. A bit more malt here, in the form of dark chocolate and burnt toast. Lingering acrid roast.

The downside: the body is a bit too thin to support this flavor. Medium-light, a little watery. Mild electric carbonation. Tongue numbing alcohol.

Decent flavor. Needs more showing from the stout, a bigger body. Good bourbon flavor though.

Jul 11, 2013
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.22/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Not quite black. No real head. Pretty transparent. Wispy surface but not much else.

Smell - Nutty and lots of caramel. Some roast. Some bourbon. Molasses.

Taste - Just a bit of sweetness up front. Nutty caramel. Light chocolate. Some bourbon. Not much barrel character. Odd nutty caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel - Dry and medium body. Not too sweet.

Overall - Poor beer came after Grey Monday. Never gonna live up. This has a weird nutty flavor. Maybe I'd like it better in the early evening.

May 21, 2013
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cosmicevan from New York

4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

massive thanks goes out to cfh64 for surprising me with this gem. enjoyed from my eclipse sinfter.

a - brew poured a watery black with a thin fizzy head that was gone quick leaving a ring of bubbles around the surface clinging the sides of the glass and a few spotty bubble islands on the surface as well. the bottom of the cap says "Happy Holidays" and with the weekend around the corner, that's holiday enough for me.

s - HEY NOW! super rich and decadent chocolate. bourbon soaked wood. some vanilla. really balanced, but everything is turned up to the max. thick and lush.

t - HOLY CRAP! hello lover...where have you been all my life? this beer is perfect for what i look for in a barrel aged stout. booze soaked chocolate but not too hot

m - extremely drinkable. fairly light for such a big and heavy beer, but definitely on the full bodied side of the spectrum. a tad fizzy. leaves a sheen of happiness in my mouth as it goes down the hatch.

o - overall, this was great. i would love to have this again. i had not heard of this until it appeared in a surprise box (yep, that's brad for ya...), looked interesting but i had no idea. this is one of those hiding gems that everyone is always looking for. really well done.

Feb 22, 2013
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beerborn from Louisiana

4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First beer review, here it goes!

A: Pours a deep/dark brown, not quite what I would consider black (although could just be the brightly sunlit room I am in). The head is a typical pour, but very inviting. Not quite sure yet but I believe I saw some light sediment leave the bottle at the end-wasn't expecting that.

S: Has that great Bourbon smell to it. Its strong, but not boozy to the point it burns your nostrils. Could be noticing faint hints of the molasses it was brewed with, although that may just be a characteristic of the bourbon as well.

T: Truly remarkable in my opinion. The bourbon does what it should and supports the beer remarkably. Their is a strong presence from the bourbon barrels, but it leaves out that boozy throat burn other bourbon barrel-aged beers leave you with. Some slight hints of molasses do give it a "dark sweetness" to it, not sugary per say, but makes it enjoyable.

M: There is a good mouthfeel to this beer. It sits good on the tongue and seems to turn almost foamy in your mouth, leaving a good bourbon aftertaste to it as it slides down your throat.

O: This beer reminds me of a more drinkable Backwoods Bastard. The base beer has its own flavor profile that comes first, followed by a considerable but not overpowering amount of rich bourbon. I wish this was sold in 22oz and that I had more than one so I could note the change over time. Hands down a top beer for me.


Jan 25, 2013
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bobbrew from Washington

4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I hate to say this about a Texas beer but this beer is amazing! It's pushing the envelope of anything ever brewed. Hard to recognize as a RIP. It's a mouthful of plums and figs but soft and smooth. No edges on this brew. If you're into savoring, this will not be surpassed. I'm not sure what Thomas Hardy has been shooting for but 30 years of drinking everything they have brewed I think I've finally found it. Liquid mama. A first and hopefully not the last. This is what decades of beer exploration can come to. A Mother load of indescribable flavor.

Jan 06, 2013
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SavvyStudent from Texas

4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nothing out of the ordinary here with a slight head and overall dark appearance.

S: Right from the nose you pick-up the unique punch that this beer has to offer. The bourbon scent is very prominent with an OK back-end that was a little sour for me

T: The taste is where this beer really stands out: The most prominent Bourbon flavor profile to any beer I have ever tasted with a little burn at the end similar to drinking the liquor. There is also some hints of vanilla and dark chochlate that compliment it nicely.

M: A little on the fence as it was neither thick nor clean. Some bitterness as others have described below but it is hard to notice past the flavor.

O: If you get the chance to find this little beer try it. It is tricky to track down but the unique punch of bourbon is a must have if you are into the new trend of barreled beers.

Serving: Bottle

Dec 28, 2012
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inlimbo77 from Delaware

3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz, Nov. 2012
Hunahpu's snifter

A: Pours a really deep dark brown. I do get some light through edges. Reddish hues. Initially a pretty good head for a big stout, half finger light tan head. Faded quick to a ring of tan and thin layer in top. Getting some alcohol legs.

S: Getting that bourbon fresh in the nose. Nice rich vanilla. Underneath, some light hints of dark chocolate. Not getting coffee or dark fruits, but a little cold.

T: On the sip, first thing I notice: thinner than I would like. Wish there was more body. Up front, you get some dark chocolate bitterness. Some vanilla. Some caramel and light toffee. Finish has some tannic dryness. Lingering wood flavor.

M: It's a big medium. Wish it was a little thicker and fuller. Mildly over carbed. Prickly.

Dec 10, 2012
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Ford from Texas

4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Wow. This beer was pretty hard to get but did not disappoint. The first by Saint Arnold in this series of limited releases.

Plenty of bourbon, which is the point of the bourbon barrel.. but plenty of chocolate and caramel in there... the base Imperial Stout seems really good.

Up there with BB Hellfighter from Karbach to me... another great beer out of Houston. Would love for this one to be year round...

Dec 09, 2012
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EgadBananas from Louisiana

3.84/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black, some brown edges. Tan finger of head with a foamy cap. Nice bourbon barrel aroma, with oak, vanilla and caramel. Slight chocolate and coffee on the nose. Taste is a little boozy, with vanilla and oak, and touches of chocolate.

The feel is a little thin, but good. Creamy.

Interesting, tasty and I'm stoked st Arnold is doing this barrel project

Nov 22, 2012
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Bluestar from Texas

4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a bottle at Whip In on my way into Austin. Nice surprise to start my weekend trip...

Poured from a bottle into a whiskey tumbler at the advice/persistance of the bar staff. I asked for a tulip, but they told me this was the way to go, so I yielded...

Colour is a pitch black (this may have been due to the darkness of the bar), with a thin, tan head. Swrilled to develop a head - this quickly dissipated leaving little to no lacing.

Aroma is awesome. I am a big fan of the Woodford Reserve and this beer stinks of it. If you are a fan of this bourbon whiskey you will recognize immediately that's where the barrels must have come from. There are also some dark roasted malt and chocolate notes in the background.

Taste - here again the bourbon whiskey dominates the taste. The base malt is eerily similar to devine reserve #5 - which it assume it most likely is given that SA said they put this in the barrel in '05. Also some roasted malt taste in the background. It is apparent how boozy this beer is when it hits the stomach... an immediate alcohol warming feeling will creep out from there.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with minimal carbonation. Nothing to write home about, but very nice.

Overall a very enjoyable beer. Wish I could get a couple more bottles to hang onto, but i'm told it's not supposed to leave the establishment it's sold at... :(.... i feel that another year or 2 in the bottle and you would see improvement on what is already a great beer.

Nov 16, 2012
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Mora2000 from Texas

3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at the Holy Grail Pub in Plano.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a khaki head. The aroma has a lot of whiskey notes, as well as some roasted malt and oak. The flavor is boozy chocolate and roasted malt up front, with some whiskey, maple, oak and vanilla notes in the background. You can get notes from both the base stout as well as the barrel aging. My only complaint is the mouthfeel, which is too thin for my liking. Medium carbonation.

Nov 12, 2012
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JohnBender from Texas

3.28/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pitch black, little to no head.
S- Boozy boozy boozy. A tiny bit of cocoa nibs come through.
T- Tastes hot. Like an old DR with half a shot of Bourbon. Too Much, needs to be aged.
M- Much thinner than expected. Light carbonation.
O- Needs a year or more of additional aging. Hopefully BB2 will be more drinkable upon release.

Nov 09, 2012
Photo of Cambo04

3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is of dark cola with very little head.
The nose rings with vanilla and sweet bourbon, hence the barrels.
In the mouth it's extremely carbonated and ocerwhelmingly bourbon tasting. You better like whiskey if your gonna try this beer. It's huge!
12.1% ABV

Nov 08, 2012
Bishop's Barrel 1 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 186 ratings