Double Stack - Bourbon Barrel-Aged | Great Notion Brewing

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Double Stack - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDouble Stack - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
BA SCORE
4.36/5
Outstanding
Double Stack - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDouble Stack - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Notion Brewing
Oregon, United States
greatnotionpdx.com

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
5
Ratings:
11
pDev:
5.28%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
2
Trade:
0
 
User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 11
Photo of amano_h
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The chief complaint about this beer is that it’s thin. Yes, it’s relatively “thin” compared to the base DS, but in case you haven’t realized that wood (barrels) is a porous medium and anything that spends the (cumulative) amount of time this beer has purportedly has in such medium is bound to oxidize and lose some of that heftiness. But enough of the mansplaining and actually describing how “thin” this beer is: this is definitely not as thick as Barfly, the thickest BBA Stout I’ve ever had. It’s not as thick as BBA Damon, which I swear was getting thicker with each sip. But it’s still thicker than B-Bomb, BCBS, KBS, Parabola and many other comparably reputable BBA stouts that are released on a yearly basis.

For their first effort at a BA Stout, I give them an A- in terms of the body. It’s in line with and perhaps even more substantial than most BA stouts that are almost up to a decade in vintages at this point—the only people that will probably raise an issue with the thickness or the lack thereof of this beer, are the ones that stood in line and somehow tricked their entire family to drive up from Eugene to stand in line with them, because this doesn’t quite reach the thickness of the 1% (of the 1%) of whales that most of us have not or never will get to try in a life time.

Complaint #2: for the inordinate amount of time this beer spent in barrels, the “bourbon” isn’t quite as in your face as you expect it to be. Two points. First, is that there’s plenty bourbon to be inferred from this beer, as this beer goes down your esophagus like hot coals from all the ethyl alcohol that creeps up at the end of each sip. Second, is that this beer was originally painstakingly filled one barrel at a time due to the lack of space at their original storage facility back in 2016. GNB probably didn’t expect that they would grow and become the top tier calibre brewery they are today (top tier = Asians fly here just to buy the beer, drink it at their local watering hole, and display the empty can on the wall) and would have to fill much much more to meet demand, but I digress. I’m making a lot of conjectures here, but I’m going to suspect and assume that given what I know about GNB, that their first vision of BBDS was going to be a Maple Coffee Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with every aspect/ingredient originating from Portland. I’m also going to suspect that sometime in 2017, GNB realized that they’ve become a huge fucking deal in the craft beer world, and maybe they needed to make more DS and started the aging process for a “younger” BBA DS blend to complement the older batch they had sitting in the Bull Run barrels. In case you fell off a turnip truck, blending beer and somehow ending up with something that tastes better than the original is almost an impossible task unless your name is Armand Debelder, Pierre Tilquin, or Jean-Pierre Van Roy. Any time you blend anything, you’re not going to get a terribly concentrated amount of any one flavor, but a more dissipated but somewhat complex expression of many different flavors, unless you have no fucking clue what you’re doing and you’ll end up with a veritable craft beer suicide.

In the case of BBDS, however, there’s a strong hint of charred oak, French vanilla, a hint of licorice and some subtle dark fruit that accompanies the still vigorous coffee and maple present on both the tongue and nose. The bourbon doesn’t steal the show in the way you’d want a hype beer to, but here it rather complements and augments the flavors that we’ve come to expect and love out of Double Stack.

If you haven’t read anything else up to this point, this entire review can probably be summed up with these next few sentences: if you liked Double Stack, but thought the maple and the sweetness was a tad bit much for you to be opening a can every night as a night cap, then BBDS is straight up your alley, because it takes an already oversaturated beer (in terms of flavor and aroma) and wedges in what could otherwise takeover and mask every other flavor that was previously in a masterfully elegant way, that actually makes it possible to drink more than 8oz of any beer derived from Double Stack.
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Whereas the hypebros and the secondary shitlords desperately wanted Great Notion to put out a BBA Pastrystout, they actually stuck to their guns and released an honest-to-god BBA Imperial Stout at something like $30 dollars a piece. If I could take back all the passive-aggressive shit talking I may have done in regards to this beer prior to tasting it, I would except I’m supposed to live life with #noragrets, one thing I would suggest about next year’s release is to lose the beanie, because I do not have a single item in my wardrobe currently that can complement the awkward color scheme on that horrendous woolen abomination. Yeah I said it.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Rubber black with a bubbly uneven tan ring that doesn't stick around for long.

The aroma has a woody cola note up front, and that's the extent of the barrel aging I get out of this one. There's a slightly astringent coffee, like pungent green unroasted beans, and a touch of milky chocolate.

Taste is still all the maple drenched chocolate chip pancakes with nutty, brown sugar bruleed oatmeal via a much less than full body. A light froth brings out a sharpness and a cloying burn before the sticky semi-dry finish.

The barrel doesn't seem to add much character or oak, and this isn't all that different from the base really, aside from some added heat amplified by its cloying nature. It's still a tactical nuke of maple, if that floats your boat.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very dark appearance with a slight tan head. Mild maple aroma with a touch of bourbon. Taste is a very pleasant maple that is mildy sweet with a touch of bourbon

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Photo of John_M
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewpub yesterday. Tried this beer side by side with the regular DS and Sticky Bun.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and light lacing. This stout has the look of a beer that has seen some considerable barrel aging. The nose is pretty attractive as I get some maple, vanilla, dark chocolate, and light bourbon with a hint of tobacco and leather. On the palate, what really jumps out at you is how sweet this beer is. Regular DS is pretty sweet as it is, but this really takes things up a notch in the sweetness department. Otherwise, the flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though I'm picking up a bit more bourbon in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel seems a tad thin for a BA stout, but is still fairly full with a long finish. Alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, but again, the sweetness is a bit much and the beer is almost cloying. Coupled with the high abv., this is not the most drinkable BA stout I've ever come across.

Considering that this is the first BA stout GN has made, this isn't a terrible effort. With practice I'm sure they'll improve their technique over time. The biggest quarrel I have with this beer (aside from the high price and ridiculous hype) is that the barrel aging really subsumes a lot of the qualities I enjoy in regular DS. There's no coffee or pancake flavor to speak of, and the slight bacon grease aroma I sometimes get on the nose with the regular DS is no where to be seen in this BA version. Also, the sweetness is really over the top in this beer (I sometimes find the regular DS to be too sweet, but the BA version is a lot sweeter still). Not sure this is a beer I'd want to revisit any time soon (even assuming it were possible - I'm assuming it likely won't be).

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ok here we go.

Look: It looks like double stack

Smell: If you put this side by side with double stack, I don't think you'd be able to tell a difference in the smell. Maybe a light amount of barrel.

Taste: Initially it tastes like double stack. Most of the difference comes at the end, it has a slight oak tannins but not much barrel character. It almost tastes slightly oxidized, which isn't a bad thing, gives it that "aged" character.

Feel: Kinda thick and syrupy, but not much of a departure from the standard.

Overall: Expectations of this beer are very, very high. Am I glad I bought this? For sure. It's a very tasty beer but the barrel character feels hidden. Will I buy this again? Yes, and since this is their first stab at a barrel aged stout I can only see the following batches getting better and better.

Edit: I've updated my rating as its warmed. The coffee is quite bitter which I feel is a great counterpoint to the rest of the beer. Makes it feel more balanced.

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Double Stack - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Great Notion Brewing
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 11 ratings