Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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American Imperial Porter
4.43 | pDev: 10.84%
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 79 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -23.3%

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep amber. Small khaki head.

Smell - Bourbon. Cardboard and some light sherry. Some caramel.

Taste - Lots of bourbon. Cardboard and sherry again. Caramel and some intense oak.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Oxidized.

Overall - Well it's boozy and very bourbony. And probably well past its prime.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.01/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Thanks to aussy13 for sharing this one.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with bourbon and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick 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 that has held up well until now but has a slightly better smell in my opinion.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.71/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2009) (608/817)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, itk1!

(Aged for ~4 years)

Very dark brown, very nearly black, with a small to moderately-sized dark brown head of small bubbles. Leaves the glass oily and spotted with stick. Pretty barrel-aged porter.

The aroma is the weakest aspect of this beer, and I believe age has not helped matters here at all. Especially at the cold temperatures, the main attributes were strong oxidation, leather, and some root vegetable characteristics, unfortunately. That being said, as the beer warms, truly nice layers of chocolate and a very mild bourbon and oak presence emerged. Overall, especially after reading how extraordinary the aroma was apparently in other bottles, the aroma was not great and was hurt greatly by time, is my estimation.

The flavor, however, was still quite nice, and not nearly as oxidized as the aroma. Nice layers of chocolates coat the mouth, along with a mild bourbon and oak character. There's some leather and oxidation as well. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden. Enjoyable, but not other-worldly.

A very full, rich, decadent, sticky sipper. Very nice.

Glad I got to try this one, but age did this bottle no help. Drink now if you got any of these leftovers sitting around!

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured almost black in color with dark brown highlights and a thin head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of sweetness in the aroma such as caramell, toffee, and brown sugar with great bourbon barrel character that showed nice vanilla notes but also with good roastiness and some booze there as well.

T: great bourbon barrel vanilla character on the palate which added nice dimension to it alongside caramel, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness, hints of coffee, good roasted malts and plenty of booze for the age of the bottle.

M: the brew was medium in body with fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, slightly astringent, boozy and creamy finish.

O: I'm glad to have tried the base beer allongside the BA aged version. Honestly thought both were solid but I like the robust flavors the barrel brought out so I'll go with the BA version.

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Photo of brystmar
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened alongside the regular '07 Decadence at a tasting last night. Thanks to RoyMunson for the trade!

Nose brings bourbon, toffee, cocoa, oak, a roasty base, and booze to my nostrils. Same notes in the taste, though there's an added layer of depth from the barrels. A kiss of sweetness midway through. A few of the other flavors in here reminded me of a Scotch Ale.

Although I enjoyed both thoroughly, this was certainly more complex than the base beer. The barrel character did wonders to the (already spectacular) base, creating a top-notch BA porter. Wish I had another bottle :(

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sharred with many BA's at this years Darkness Eve tasting. Thanks capra12 for sharing this beer.

A- The initial pour is a little darker than regular version, red hues come out as well, small bubbly tan head that dissipates quickly to nothing.
S- The aroma is very nice, love the vanilla and bourbon that comes out right away, roasted malts, slight coffee, slight chocolate, caramel, toffee, slight brown sugar.
T- Tastes almost identical to the aroma, perfect amount of bourbon comes out right away, sweet vanilla notes, caramel, slight roasted malts, brown sugar, really nice.
M- Medium/big mouth feel, well carbonated, smooth drinking, nice warmth as it goes down.
O- Really impressed with the Barrel Aged version, better than the original, adds a really nice layer of complexity that only improves the beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to jampics2 for bringing this to a Tuesday night tasting in northern OH (thanks Bobby!). This pours a dark brown color with a thick cap of tan foam. The aroma is completely perfect, the barrels used by Alesmith must have the perfect amount of liquor in them before the beer is added, they all end up being so appealing. Chocolate and vanilla, roasty sweet malts, bourbon, everything you could want and expect in a BA porter.

And it all comes through in the flavor, along with toffee-like malts, this is seriously tasty. No hops presence at all, this is a bourbon-heavy malt bomb that really satisfies. A slow sipper, i didn't want my glass to empty too quickly. Luckily there were only 4 of us and we all got strong pours, I made this last.

Medium carbonation, actually a pretty good amount of carbonation for a barrel aged beer, nice mouthfeel overall. This was as good as I'd hoped, highly recommended.

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Photo of BOLTZ7555
4.92/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle 292 shared by Sparky27 @ Hellbilly’s Holiday Tasting...THANKS ERIC!!! Pure ebony pour with a 1/2 inch creamy eggshell head that diminishes into a film that defiantly stays until the last sip. Incredibly fragrant. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, cocoa, and caramel fill the nostrils. Ignites the, chocolaty, and complex. So much going on. Maple syrup, toasted marshmallow, and brown sugar. Thick and viscous. WOW!!! AleSmith ROCKS!!!

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice light brown. Fairly Clear. Very nice bubbly head that almost completely disappears quickly. Smells of bourbon and vanilla with a sweet malty background. Some light roast on the nose as well. Tastes sweet and vanilla heavy. Some light oakiness on the tongue but the vanilla comes through strongest. Malts faid as the bourbon warms. Very smooth and well balanced.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous BA for bringing this bottle to DLD and to AgentZero for grabbing a tickable pour for me. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a nearly-black brew with a light mocha head that lasts for a bit before falling into a thin collar. The nose is pretty nice with some notes of vanilla, oak, bourbon, mildly-roasted malt, and chocolate. Pretty good complexity, but nothing out of this world. The flavor is on par with that--perhaps a bit stronger overall, though brought down by an increased alcohol presence. Good barrel character with bourbon, oak, and vanilla, though it's surprising there's still this much heat. Medium body and pretty smooth, other than the alcohol. Pretty good. Glad to finally have tried this one.

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Photo of clzcyclone
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up two bottles of the oak-aged imperial porter after waiting in line for over an hour at the brewery. That was over two years ago, so needless to say, the suspense was intense when I decided to finally crack open a bottle.

The beer did not disappoint! I'm impressed. It was worth the wait.

A: A dark porter, not quite black, hint of auburn, espresso-like crema when poured from the bottle.

S: Bourbon. Raisins and figs. Vanilla. Honey.

T: Chocolate. Light-roast coffee. Alcoholic warmth. Tinge of anise. Oak. Bourbon.

M: Coats the tongue without being syrupy and cloying. Just right.

D: For its ABV and the oak-aging, it manages to still be quite drinkable. Quite comforting and warming on this rainy night.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of another great midwestern trader, this one was poured in to a 22 oz. snifter. Bottle # 154/817.

Appearance: How is it that the barrel aged version of a beer could have an appearance superior to a non-barrel aged versions? Inexplicably, this one does, and it's not a minor step up - it's a huge step up. The color is similar - a smoky obsidian, opaque save for around the edges, with a nice two finger fizzy head that has superior sticking power compared with the non-bal version. But the lacing is remarkably improved, in a way that sort of makes me doubt the way I approach this sort of thing. Normally, one assumes that barrel aging thins a beer and its sticking potential and adds spirit alcohol and additional overtones and chemicals that disrupt the retention; at least, enough to overwhelm any retention positive that comes from the oak and the wood spike. Swirls and spikes and swaths of glittery bright tawny lacing decorate the sides of the snifter,

Aroma: Good, but not great. Mellow, aromatic, and solidly inviting, with a lot of good stuff going on. Toast and coconut mingle most expertly, both courtesy of obvious sources, though there's plenty of else to contribute here. Vanilla is sweet, and hints of cinnamon and oak are on equal footing with cocoa and bourbon to make for a pretty well-rounded nose.

Taste: An abundantly flavorful brew. First, let me echo everything I said about the non-barrel aged version of this beer. It's a quintessential porter, full of roast, toast, caramel, toffee, earth, cocoa, and stone fruit - from peaches and apricots to cherries and lychees, it's a fairly varied mouth. And certainly, the fact that it's an imperial porter sets it apart even further - it's a little more fruity, a little sweeter, and a little more ... well, everything than I imagine its traditional "joe plumber" porter would be. But I talked about all that in my previous review. What elevates this beer from a 4.5 to a 5.0 is the fantastic way in which the barrel aging augments, complements, amplifies, and enhances everything present in the base beer.

First of all, it's not intense. It's not over the top. And even when you sit there, hold it in your mouth, swirl it around ... it's refined, and well-blended. Perhaps part of that's the age - this beer is certainly four years old. But there's still a solid amount - and perhaps the right amount - of spice, energetic, bold, with enough counterbalance to the malt presence to make it refined, balanced, evenhanded. There's a slew of coconut and even more vanilla contributed by the barrels, but also a few wooden notes, including a very strong green oak note that actually does a decent job - at least for a while - of counteracting the bourbon presence. But the bourbon is enhanced significantly as this one warms, contributing a strong, sweet, toasty, earthy spice to the remainder of the experience. The sweetness here hits a true perfect balance, hitting that fantastically sweet sweet spot that lies right between "just right" and "just righter." Stellar.

Mouthfeel: Fat, a little sticky, slightly oily, but remarkably even, smooth, and velvety, with an excellent amount of lift. The carbonation on this lasts for quite some time, making for a creamy, toasty, bourbon-y milkshake sort of feel - thick but silky.

Drinkability: A step up. This paired marvelously with with some gouda, and I'm wishing I had some dark chocolate lying around. A beer that really exemplifies what barrel aging properly can accomplish, I enjoyed this much more than the -bal Speedway I had the other week for my 1200th review - much more balance and synergy going on here than in that beer. And the 10% - while noticeable and definitely present - wasn't too much of a hurdle to overcome. Definitely worth seeking out, though I imagine the supply has considerably dwindled at this point.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage generously split by ipa247. You're the man Jeff! Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours black with a finger of very dark brown head that receded into a thin collar which left some wispy lacing down the glass.
S: Notes of bourbon, coco nibs and sweet malts.
T: Easy going bourbon, sweet dark fruits, raisins, dates, honey, toffee, caramel and mellow coco powder. Finish is sweet and warm and the aftertaste is full of chocolate and marshmallows.
M: Full bodied, syrupy thick mouthfeel but not oily, with light carbonation. Alcohol has just the right amount of warmth.
D: A bourbon lover's dream. Fantastic bourbon flavor yet a great barrel aged mellowness. A very fine porter.

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Photo of bwv99f
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- dark pitch black small head foam some lacing. Smell - small touch of whiskey/boozy... taste -- dark chocolate since the bitterness is pronounced... caramel?? coffee ??? chocolate toasted Malta?? a combination of everything.g makesdelivers the beer as a yummy dark delicious beer.

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Photo of mothman
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jer for sharing this long time want.

Bottle 463/817

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head. Color is a caramel brown/black like the regular version.

Aroma: Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate, caramel, light roast. Top notch. Bomb aroma.

Taste: Coconuts, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, light roast, creamy, bourbon, and oak. Like a mounds bar.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends warm and roasted.

Overall, this was crazy awesome. The -bals did wonders to this beer. Absolutely amazing. One of the best porters I have had. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Jerz for opening this bottle

A - It's just like it's little brother '07 Decadence:
"Black color, a thin light mocha-colored head. It dissipates fairly quickly leaving some ok lacing on my glass."
But it has a bit more lacing.

S - Very heave on coconut and vanilla. This smells more like a pina colada than a -bal imperial porter. There is a touch of barrel, and a lot of boooze on the finish (boooze was taken from my tasting notes).

T - The coconut and the vanilla really shine through on this. It's insane, and all of us who shared this bottle (Jerz, Mothman, VacaX, Pliny the Youngest, and myself) couldn't stop commenting on it. There's light roast, some American chocolate (as opposed to the rich and delicious European types of chocolate) and some light booze on the finish.

M - Medim body with light carbonation. This is spot on.

D - MORE NOW, PLEASE! Alesmith, you got this one right.

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Photo of koopa
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml gold foiled bottle#112 of 817 poured into a Rodenbach glass.

Appearance: A vigorous pour results in a dark brown body with a 2 finger light brown crown that displays medium retention and good lace.

Smell: Nuts, oak chips, chocolate malt, vanilla, and toasted to lightly roasted quality...really nice but not extremely pungent 3 years later.

Taste: Light note of hershey's syrup over lightly roasted chocolate malt, pungent bourbon note, oak, a hint of almonds, and a whisper of vanilla. A tiny hint of bourbon alcohol appears in the finish. This is good stuff!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with perfect carbonation and a nice soft yet crisp mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Extremely high for a double digit abv brew.

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Photo of Phelps
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to Tlay10 for sharing this one on the fourth of July.

Looks: cola-brown and hazed to the point of near opaqueness, with notes of light amber and no head save a small khaki ring.

Smells: like sweet, sweet bourbon. The taste of the wood and liquor has become integrate with the base porter in the most amazing way. Vanilla extract, oak chips, toffee.

Tastes: like a heath bar. Milk chocolate, sweet toffee, vanilla, caramel. It's still a little hot, but nearly three years of age have melded the flavors wonderfully. The base beer reveals itself more as the brew warms, imparting toasty malt, chocolate and butter.

Feels: smooth. Medium-bodied and silky, it rolls around the tongue nicely. Carbonation is tingly, with a noticeably warming booze character.

Drinks: like maturity. It doesn't seem like Decadence 07 has completely reached its peak yet, but the flavors have become amazingly well-integrated and not overpowering in the least. A glorious beer.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A big thank you to jedwards for sharing this one!!!
Bottle 250/817
Pours dark brown/black. Tan head mostly a big ring. Smell is rich roasted malt, chocolate, buttery. Huge flavor - chocolate, black licorice, butterscotch, bourbon, coconut and some alcohol. Active carbonation with a fine structure. Medium/full body - really nice and smooth. Overall this beer is really something - smooth, rich and delicious!

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Photo of jedwards
4.61/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting for a good occasion to open this one up.

Poured dark brown with a surprisingly foamy head that quickly dissipated, but left a thin layer atop the entire glass. Smell is intense and only intensified at the beer warmed -- strong toffee and vanilla, distinct bourbon, and roasty but not burnt malt. Additional chocolate and light dark fruit notes as it warmed. Taste is equally complex with dark chocolate/coffee and caramel flavors giving way to a balanced bourbon and vanilla/oak finish with almost no hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is amazingly creamy and full without being syrupy. I could easily drink more if I had it, and I wish I did.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. Bottle 250/817. Poured the color and consistency of cola with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head that dissipates into a skim, but was refreshed with a gentle swirl. Some specks of lacing revealed during the tasting. Nose was incredible - bourbon, malt and a hint of booze. Flavors consisted of malt, bourbon, semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch, caramel and toffee. Mouthfeel was medium in consistency and lightly effervescent with a slightly creamy finish. This beer was absolutely top notch. Delicious without being cloying, with a complexity that evolved as it warmed. A truly memorable beer, and perhaps one of the best I've had to date.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle generously sent to me by my cousin, thanks! Dark black color with a tan head. It smells like (teen) SPIRITS! It really smells like bourbon or whiskey or something but still it is quite good. The flavor has a lot of booze up front and barrel and then a delicious chocolate like flavor. This was not bad at all and I don't really care much for booze-barrel aged beers.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Arbitrator for bringing this to the PtY release. Sampled on 2/5/10.

A: The pour is nearly black with a nice layer of mocha colored head which leaves some spotty lacing.

S: The nose is full of rich chocolate, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and a slight hint of oak. The alcohol is still noticeable despite the age of this beer.

T: Despite the fact that the beer still has some noticeable whiskey (and heat), it's still fantastic. The vanilla, chocolate, and coffee really work amazingly together to create a fantastic beer.

M: The body is quite full and creamy with a nice warmth that lingers on the tongue.

D: Even with the bit of heat that the beer has, it's still fantastic, and gets better each of the times I've had it. I really wish I had a bottle of my own to sit on for another year or so.

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Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to grub for sharing this one! Bottle 679/817.
The beer was dark brown with ruby edges. It had a sticky tan cap, very fine with a few large bubbles ringing the glass. Spotty lace, great head retention. Aromas of coconut, burnt malts and chocolate, nutty, dry cocoa, a bit of toffee and a hint of rose petals. The flavour was a little boozy, bitterness was medium to low. Malts were soft on the palate, cocoa and coconut, a bit of licorice, lingering alcohol. Pleasant vanilla towards the end with a bit of roast/burnt character. Creamy, silky texture, very smooth, medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. It had a bit of warmth and malty dryness. Quite nice and very delicious. A rare treat that was very much appreciated.

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Photo of Lothore
4.12/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep dark brownish hue with a solid head that dissipates to some nice lacing.

S- Lots of bourbon notes, vanilla, roasted malts and hints of whiskey.

T- Thick and creamy. Chocolate and roasted malt make up the backbone and give way to a big bourbon presence throughout the entirety.

M- Thick with medium carbonation.

D- This was a huge beer and didn't quite come together for me but I still enjoyed it.

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Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 79 ratings