Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub

Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Barleywine - American
3.93 | pDev: 10.69%
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
Notes: IBU's: 60
ABV: 10.0%
Color: Dark Amber, Toffee
Ingredients: English and American hops, blended with three types of pale and roasted malts.
Description: A barley wine style ale that is aged in American Oak Bourbon barrels, creating notes of vanilla, toffee and sherry.
Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 68 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a goblet at Haymarket.

If only Bridgeport were Canadian, then they could call this beer "Old Canucklehead". (Yeah, I stole it from X-Men...) Anyway, it pours a clear sunset brass topped by a finger of dirty cream foam. The nose comprises perfume-y sweetness (as vague as that description), some potential oak (still not sure, though), and a light nuttiness. Yup, everything is all ephemeral and vague and whatnot. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a vein of whiskey for the sake of it. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth-ish feel. Overall, a decent barrel-aged barleywine, but nothing to get at all excited about.

Feb 16, 2013
Photo of kencarman
kencarman from Tennessee

3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

"No longer available?" Update BA! This is the newest edition, a new "new edition that makes me wonder, "Why did they bother?" More an aggressive, higher (somewhat taste-wise) abv amber than barleywine. Out of balance. Nose and taste and MF: upfront oak with almost no bourbon as this year's edition promises. A bit sticky, but barleywine can get so. This is probably the only barleywine sense that matches other bws. Could parameters: could use more malt and more everything but oak sense.

Don't get me wrong. Not a bad beer, but one dimensional and less bw than it should be. I will age and reassess.

Jan 26, 2013
Photo of Beerzebub
Beerzebub from California

3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have no idea how old this is, probably 2008 since that's what other reviews seem to say. Poured from a bomber into a Bruery glass, probably about 50 degrees.

Murky reddish-brown, small beige head, looks fine.

Smells like fruit leather, with some malt and wood, not rich and enticing like one would hope, but kind of interesting, not bad.

Tastes pretty good: grape/raisin, tasty caramel malt, fairly mild bourbon barrel, mild oxidization, and a surprising amount of hop flavor and deep earthy bitterness. Good balance between sweet and bitter, finishing completely dry; fairly long earthy bitter finish. Maybe there are some unattractive tannins from the wood or grain husks in the background in the finish, but the hop bitterness covers it up pretty well so it's hardly noticeable.

Medium-full bodied, some richness, easy to drink, and pretty enjoyable given my low expectations.

Jan 05, 2013
Photo of vkv822
vkv822 from Oregon

3.27/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2008 vintage.

Pours a dark red with a foamy light, toffee colored head.

The aroma is a smooth blend of bourbon, caramel, oaky vanilla, dark fruits and some faint sherry and light booziness.

The taste is a bit one dimensional, slightly oxidized sherry notes, finishes with some bourbon and caramel.

Surprisingly there is still quite a bit of carbonation, and the body is a bit thin.

A decent beer, I wish the taste had lived up to what the aroma led me to expect, and the mouthfeel wasn't quite what I look for. I can't really see this benefiting from any more aging.

Jan 01, 2012
Photo of Eldalonde
Eldalonde from Ohio

3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This pours a murky golden color with a nice thick head.

S - Smells of heavy caramel, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, fruits, and a bit of earth. Rather complex aroma to this.

T - Sweet caramel and strong hops with a bit of chocolate. The finish is a touch bitter as well.

M - A little thin, but nothing distracting. Perhaps a touch sticky

Overall, the aroma was bit odd as well as the flavor. Not sure if it was just the bottle or what, but this oddity did detract from the overall enjoyment of this.

May 27, 2011
Photo of ccrida
ccrida from Oregon

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a case of these on release almost exactly 3 years ago, had one fresh, wasn't impressed, and forgot about the rest (although it looks like I must have traded one off early on). Poured into my Delirium snifter, Old Knucklehead No. 012 is garnet with a sizable tan head that is slow to settle and leaves scattered lace.

Smell is malty, a bit oxidized, hint of bourbon, like the watered down last swig in a glass on the rocks that were melted, caramel.

Taste is pretty darn good, the malt is richer then I expected, a little bit of grape, with a hint of vanilla from the bourbon barrels. Nice hop presence, stronger then fresh actually, leafy. Bit of raisin as well. Oxidation will probably start to become predominately negative soon, drink up.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, soft and sticky.

Drinkability is pretty good. Much better then fresh, and while still not a mind blower, a bit on the simple, restrained side, it's come together nicely, exemplifying all I look for in an aged BW. I'll drink most of the rest in the next year, and save just a few for the long haul.

Mar 06, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking from Indiana

3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amberish brown color. One and a half finger light tan head shows medium retention. Light streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- There is some nice caramel and toffee like aroma in the front. Light bourbon notes linger around with some even lighter vanilla notes. Some earthy tones in the ending make a interesting ending for this beer. There is almost like a grassy hop in the backing to. The aroma seems to be less hot than I remember it from the first time around.

T- Caramel and toffee notes hint with a light alcohol presence in the front. Earthy tones as well toward the middle balance out a sweetness that most barleywines have with this one being no exception. Light bourbon notes blend well with a toffee like addition toward the ending. No real oak flavors come out but there is a sweet alcohol ending in this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the beer I think. Caramel and toffee malts are left on the palate with a hint of darker fruit. Aftertaste is alcohol and darker fruits. Medium-heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were a little muted at times but blended well I feel overall. Light off flavor at times but good flavor overall.

D- This is a fine BA barley wine. Nothing over the top and a little settle at times. The ABV shines throughout the entire beer which can be heavy at times to take in. Overall I would say this beer is either about to hit its prime drinking or on a begining downfall from top.

Dec 03, 2010
Photo of accordselux
accordselux from Minnesota

3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown.

The head is a creamy color that seems almost gray.

The beer smells earthy, with hints of sweet chocolate.

The taste is of leather, tobacco, and molasses, with the vanilla flavor of the barrel aging.

There is a bit of oxidation, and the alcohol is still potent enough to burn a bit on the way down.

Was not sure what to expect. I would probably not drink this again, but since it was a one time, that doesnt' seem to be an issue. I'd like to have tried it fresh...

Sep 17, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator from California

2.03/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared a recent tasting. From notes.

A: Pours a deep ruby color (hard to see since we were outside in the dark), with decent head and some lace.

S: Toffee, caramel, restrained bourbon (a surprise; for some reason I just expected this to be really strong), earth.

T: Same as the nose: it's not a bourbon bomb. It's not that complex in flavor, either. The base beer seems muted and doesn't bring out much besides toffee. The caramel itself blends well with the bourbon. There's some earthiness that balances out the sweet flavors, which is nice. But this is your typical Starter Barleywine with Starter Bourbon Barrel flavors. No oak, vanilla... the age hasn't done any complexifying wonders.

M: Surprisingly thin-bodied, and oftentimes watery in the finish. Wow, terrible.

D: Bourbon-barrel barleywines aren't THAT common, but this isn't in Perfect Storm or CW or Kuhnhenehehnehhhafhasfujsfdgn territory. It's simply poor.

Jun 26, 2010
Photo of nickd717
nickd717 from California

3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber shared by Arbitrator on BA.

Pours a hazy mahogany-brown color with a good-sized light beige head.

Aroma is caramel, oak, and some resinous hops.

Flavor is somewhat sweet caramel malts, oak, bourbon, and slight dark fruit notes.

Medium-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and a good carbonation level.

Not very good for a barrel aged barleywine, but not terrible. Drinkability is OK.

Jun 24, 2010
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bottle, 2008 vintage, purchased from Liquid Solutions (RIP) upon it's release. Uncapped and poured into my standard shaker glass. Old Knucklehead appears a murky crimson brown with about a finger of fluffy off white foam. Nose and flavors consist of caramel, raisins, not too much bourbon barrel action here, sweet malts, plums, some wood, slight sourness, mild brown sugar notes. Body could be a bit fuller for a BW. Decent carbonation and very little alcohol heat. Worth trying if you have the chance.

Mar 02, 2010
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
BigMcLargeHuge from Arizona

3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of RB's own fishingnet, you know what I like. Pours copper with tan head. The aroma is a bit bourbony to go along with pine, malt sweetness and fresh wood. The taste has yummy rich sweet malt notes mixing with wood, a couple of dashes of vanilla and a moderate thick layer of caramel. Pretty damn good stuff.

Oct 07, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84 from California

4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 08/19/2009 and poured into a snifter. Received in a trade with Fishdawg71. Thanks Geoff! Judging from my cellar inventory list and from the date of the earliest review entered into Beer Advocate, this beer is roughly 18 months old.

When I uncap the bottle the air is suffused with the aroma of bourbon. The beer pours dark rust with a fizzy light brown head that rises roughly an inch above the elixir. A little lacing is left clinging to the glass when the head recedes in an under a minute.

The aroma is somewhat muted until it fully warms, but when it does notes of toffee, brown sugar, caramel, and ample bourbon come through. Vanilla, dates, alcohol, and an earthiness are also apparent. I also get a little butterscotch. The bourbon really complements the nose.

The flavor is boozy, sweet, and bitter. The taste is reminiscent of caramel and toffee, with bourbon soaked dates. The hops are surprisingly strong, imparting a medium level of bitterness and some earth and pine notes. The finish is sweet, with bourbon and lingering booze heat.

The beer is medium bodied with too much carbonation. I swirled my glass around for 30 minutes and now I'm digging the mouthfeel, but it initially there was excessive carbonation.

Aug 20, 2009
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lasting soapy head on medium cloudy golden body. Expecting it darker, really. Bourbon aroma. Above average mouthfeel. A bit drying and boozy. But essentially, this is ale conditioned in wood, it works, though it is one dimensional, it is balanced between sweetness and some bitterness.

Aug 09, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend from Washington

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep burnt orange in color with a small white head. Nose is malty and caramel sweet aroma. Plenty of floral hops but the caramel sweetness really dominates. Taste is malty flavor with a nice hop bitterness. There is plenty of bourbon and vanilla but not overwhelming. Very drinkable and good bwine

Aug 02, 2009
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to pwoods for this one, cheers Patrick!

Pours an effervescent dirty brown that clears to a nice amber with a finger of rocky tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Oakyness, tannins & bourbon & dark fruit

T: Bourbon, oaky dryness & leafy hops up front, plus figs & plum. Dryness dominates as this warms, leafy hops & dark fruit also are there, with some booze on the edge, plus slight smokeyness, plus a touch of brown sugar. Finishes with some booze, brown sugar, & more leafy hops

MF: Not much body for the strength & style & a bit too much carbonation, but a nice warming sensation

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, started really promising & just faded a little bit. Maybe this needs some aging to to calm down the carbonation & dryness? Not sure how much this will really help

Apr 09, 2009
Photo of scottoale
scottoale from California

4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber I got in a recent trade, thanks Travis! Poured into a Chimay chalice a dark coppery red with a short lasting 1/2" ivory head that leaves minimal delicate lace. A hearty looking ale none the less.

Sweet honeysuckle and faded bourbon, with hints of fruit and charcoal. The nose reminded me of HotD Fred...very similar. The taste is sweet and fruity with lots of characteristics from the bourbon and oak. Most notable is oak and vanilla, with raisens, molasses, plum, fig, tobacco, charcoal and a faint bit of bourbon to the finish. A very tasty and complex barleywine.

Full bodied with good carbonation and an ABV of 10% that starts to really come through after minimal warming. Smooth to slight astringency on the tongue, with the help of the carbonation, from start to finish. Very good and drinkable brew if you prefer big ales with some punch.

Apr 01, 2009
Photo of dqderrick
dqderrick from California

4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, slightly cloudy. Some sediment...

Very light vinegar barrel aged smell.

Dee-lish. Low-low sweetness and just a little bitterness from the hops. Bourbon is showing up throughout each sip.

Very bubbly but smooth and playful on the palette.

Very drinkable. I also poured a splash of Woodford Reserve bourbon. Smelled and tasted... wow. As the beer got warmer, I picked up more bourbon.

OK, one last thing... I poured some of the bourbon in wit the beer. Why? Because it was there. I enjoyed it but I'm sure Woodford and Bridgeport wouldn't be happy...

Mar 31, 2009
Photo of younger35
younger35 from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've had this brew sitting in the back of the cellar eyeing me up and down for about a year now. Somehow this is the first Bridgeport beer I've ever reviewed. Sort of crazy because Bridgeport IPA was my "gateway beer". Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark ruby brown with a decent half finger head that is a dirty tan. Once the head recedes no cap or collar remains.
Smell- Big and meaty as the malt is full of toffee and caramel and slightly sweet. Surprisingly I get more of a cherry like smell than I do of the bourbon. Don't get me wrong, the bourbon is there, there's just more of a fruity aspect. Figs and raisins along with a slight bit of wood and vanilla really come through as the beer warms. Slightly herbal with a light bit of alcohol as well.
Taste- Starts with a very fruity subtle sweetness that honestly isn't anything like I was expecting. Black cherry, raisin, prunes and figs all are detectable at some point. The malt isn't all that assertive (especially for a Barleywine) as it just adds a bit of light toffee. The bourbon is the same. It's light and barely detectable most of the time which is actually kind of refreshing for once. Most bourbon beers are very aggressively bourbony. Sort of earthy with a light bit of vanilla and very little alcohol on the finish.
Mouthfeel- Pretty darned light body for a Barleywine. A tad bit astringent with a light watery feel and very light carbonation.
Drinkability- Well the beer is ugly and a bit light but I did really enjoy the taste. Its fairly light for a Barleywine and very easy drinking. I'm not 100% sure if the beers just mellowed a bit since conception or if it was like this the whole time. I'm guessing the latter. Either way, I enjoyed this quite a bit. Recommended for sure!

Mar 24, 2009
Photo of DrDogbeer
DrDogbeer from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Tayner! Poured into a lg tulip. Pours a very murky dark reddish- brown. Nice off white head that dissapates after a few minutes. Light aromas of bourbon and coffee. Taste is of sweet, sweet malts. Not a lot of hop presence here. Some oaky notes as well a bit of vanilla. Really creamy, full mouthfeel. This is a sipper, but the alcohol seems well hidden. Good cold weather beer.

Mar 20, 2009
Photo of djeucalyptus
djeucalyptus from Oregon

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into an oversized snifter, a creamy khaki-colored one-finger head sits atop a mahogany and burgandy, almost tawny port like hue. transparent, with a steady stream of carbonation rising to the top, which results in impressive head retention that eventually fades to a thin cap that deposits beautiful lacing to the bottom.

aroma is fairly run of the mill for a good barleywine. some toasted malt, woody spice, dark fruit - cherries and currants, a bit of ginger, a touch of herbal hops, and some brown sugar. brandy, a hint of port, and a touch of vanilla. As this warms to room temp, the aroma really blooms nicely. Nothing outstandingly noteworthy, but definitely smells delicious.

taste is fairly complex, and a bit of a shift from the aroma. Woody spice, herbal, earthy hop notes, and a heavy earthy malt dominate, while the cherry, brandy, raisin and sugar notes take a back seat. It caught me off guard after the brandy fruit sweetness in the aroma. The bourbon barrel aging is apparent, although subtle. Sherry, caramelized vanilla, and a bit more woody oakiness adds some impressive depth.

The mouthfeel suffers from overcarbonation, as the first few sips are fiercely carbonated, accentuating the peppery notes in the beer. A few good swirls in the snifter resolves, however, leaving a fairly smooth, easy drinking barleywine with just a touch of thick syrupiness and a nearly imperceptible alcohol burn.

All in all, an impressive barleywine with some nice complexities. Nothing really leaps out as being significantly unique, although the flavors are smooth, complex, and delicious. This goes down easy and is significantly less harsh than many 10% barleywines. The barrel aging, while very subtle, adds some nice complexities without being in-your-face bourbon. which is a nice change. If you dig barleywines, this one is definitely worth seekin' out.

Feb 28, 2009
Photo of Zorro
Zorro from California

4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received from thethrone in the Barrel 'O Beer BIF.

Reddish brown colored beer with a thin brown colored head.

Good sweet whiskey scent and light and fruity. Melon and vanilla and a slight scent of ash. Malt and a little herbal hop scent.

Taste starts out little neutral malt sweetness. Really mild for a Barleywine vanilla, toffee, oak and mild melon. If this has a weakness it would be that mildness can only produce so much complexity.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Drinkability is where this beer really shines, no indication at all that this is 10%. Terribly easy to drink.

Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured an hazy deep amber/copper color ale with a medium size fomay head with good retention with some good lacing. Aroma of sweet barley malt with very subtle hints of toffee and bourbon. Taste is a mix between some sweet barley malt with some notes of toffee. Vanilla and bourbon notes are very difficult to notice. Full body with good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable. Not as compelx as I would have liked it to be but very good nonetheless.

Dec 27, 2008
Photo of hopdog
hopdog from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Poured a deeper amberish / brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood, a little earthy, dark fruits, toffee, and some boubon. Tastes of boubon, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, and oaky woodiness. Light alcohol in the finish. Its not an 'in your face' barley wine or barrel aged beers, but it is quite drinkable and I did enjoy it.

Notes from: 5/9/08

Dec 24, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude from Arizona

4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass summons forth a creamy, dense, four-finger thick, nicely amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a deeply red stained, dark amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, red dyed, dark golden color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of washed out toasted malt, candied berries, faintly grassy hops are noticeable at first. At first blush the aroma seemed fairly bland, and very tame for a Barleywine. As the beer warms & opens up though some additional complexities start to come out, though it never gets the big aromatic presence one would expect from a Barleywine. Aromas of cherry liquor, some fruity brandy notes, a bit more herbal hops, and biscuit like malt add a little more interest to the nose.

Lightly sweet, with a viscous full mouthfeel that was almost a surprise coming off the week aroma. The beer has a light Bourbon Barrel influence that in addition to the usual notes of butterscotch, vanillin, warming alcohol and lightly spicy wood seems to play up an anise like flavor and some soft brandy notes (including a raisin and grape note). The Bourbon barrel is quite tame here, this is actually at a perfect level as it is just another component of this beer rather than a quite dominant one that many a Bourbon Barrel beer has. There is quite a bit of hop character here as well; nothing on the order of say a Bigfoot, but there is a nice herbal component, flavors of ripe pine needles, some candied citrus zest and a touch of menthol. The carbonation is a bit aggressive, but a quick swirl of my glass gets rid of the excessive fizziness and a touch of the pepper-like carbonic bite. I really like the fruity, sort of brandy like, perhaps cherry-cordial-esque note that this beer picks up; it is subtle, but quite pleasing.

I like that this is pretty easy drinking for a Barleywine (assuming you get rid of the excess carbonation) and the light barrel influence is a huge plus. Having said that the malt complexity is a bit lacking and the aroma is down right, even deceivingly so, weak (though it is decently complex as it warms up). While this started out slow, as I work my way through this 22oz bottle it really starts to come into its own; the flavor ends up really becoming quite well integrated, mellow (this can be a good thing even in a Barleywine), but distinct. A good beer, that is much more enjoyable than I was expecting.

Dec 21, 2008
Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 68 ratings