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

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Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
Very Good
68 Ratings
Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)

Brewed by:
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by msubulldog25 on 02-21-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 63
Reviews by OWSLEY069:
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy deep amber/ copper color with a small tan head. In the aroma, dark fruit, and a small hint of bourbon. In the taste, dark fruits, small hints of bourbon and a small alcohol note in the end. Mostly smooth and a small bite in the meduim bodied mouthfeel and a dark fruit and alcohol aftertaste. Small bourbon notes, yet good and balanced. Easy to drink and good.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of pwoods
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber, purchased from Liquid Solutions, poured into a snifter. '08 batch.

A: Pours a deep bronzed ruby that's nearly opaque. A bit over 1 finger of lightly tinted head forms with good retention. A decent lacing.

S: Very crisp, citrus fruity esters but... not on the acidic side? Haha. Slightly white pepper alcohol zing in the middle of very robust, fat, chewy malts.

T/M: The white pepper I was smelling is more like a very dry, maybe lightly smoked oak flavor that is lacking the strong vanilla notes. Initial hop bitterness is controlled but becomes rebellious about midway and really starts to rip things apart going into the finish. The bourbon really stands apart from the wood and adds the most natural essence of bourbon that I've yet tasted in a beer... and it compliments the hops rather nicely. Following even more in line with the hops, the bourbon really starts to bite about midway and adds a punch to the back of the throat. Malts are very sweet and contain that added touch of bourbon.

D: 10% and it shows. Half way through the first snifter and I'm starting to feel it. Definitely a sipper but I keep going back for more.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting and excellent.
Pours a very typical barleywine brown with some red notes and a smallish head that quickly dissapates.

Aroma is surprisingly without the oak they say it is aged in. Barleywine sweet toasted amber malts and brown sugar with just a hint of hop bitterness.

Taste is again missing the oak wood barrel aging, for me. Sweet amber malts with a touch of vanilla (ok, there must be the oak wood), brown sugar and then a very pleasant bitterness from the hops. Overall very balanced.

Aftertaste is strangely dry...very dry...almost like powdery dry. Bit of alcohol warmth, some lingering sweetness from the malts and lots of hop bitterness adding to the dryness.

Overall...wonderful barleywine. Just wonder where the barrel aging went.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gorgeous burnt ruby color with a minimal but defiant head that tries hard not to turn into a crown. It does, but this is a big ol' barlewine...it'll do that. Looks almost exotic sitting there in the snifter.

Aroma is surprisingly reminiscent of an IPA or Double IPA. Very much focused on the hops, which are not even blaring, but certainly prominent and ready to slap the tastebuds a little. The slightest molasses/syrup sweetness comes in and reminds you this is a barleywine.

Candy-like syrupy sweetness and sour, pungent hops create a strong impression from the first sip. Orange comes on nicely as it gets even warmer (I started at cellar temp). Its intensity is heightened by generous warmth from the alcohol. New wood adds an earthy, green tone to the finish, and some vanilla adds more character, although I don't think the bourbon is all that strong. I expected it to be more prevalent, but it tastes more like the barrel itself than the bourbon that was apparently once inside it. It's only there as a trace flavor, and that's fine, as bourbon isn't really my thing.

Texture isn't too thick, hanging relatively in the mouth, but also comes with a layer of stickiness that isn't at all overdone or cloying.

Nice job...the malty side of this barleywine would probably be felt stronger given some age, which I think this could use, but if you like the hoppy barleywines, this sucker is ready for you right now. If only I could be enjoying this with Bridgeport's amazing pizza, which I was lucky enough to have tried last year. Oh yeah.

Mucho thankso to msubulldog25 for sending this and quite a few other barleywines.

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Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a deep brown/dark reddish hue depending on the light, topped by a small, creamy off-white head that fades rather quickly. Aroma of rich, sweet malt, a touch of mocha, hints of vanilla bean and bourbon, and a substantial whiff of alcohol. Palate is sweet malt up front, with a hint of fruity hops. The bourbon character emerges mid-palate, leading to a warm finish with a lingering alcohol presence. Body is full but not too thick or sticky. A thoroughly enjoyable offering from Bridgeport - I'm happy to have the opportunity to try a bourbon barrel-aged version of this beer, which has been a personal favorite for years now.

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Photo of nickd717
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
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

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Photo of jason_nwx
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber to a small glassb the liquid is dark copper with good carbonation. The head is good almost 2 fingers tan and leaves little lace.

The smell is Hoppy, wow lots of yummy hops, mixed with alcohol and oak and more alcohol. Really seem unique and should be excellent tasting.

The taste follows but does not work quite all well, still very good taste a must try and keeper for the cellar. Carmel notes, lots of hops and great barrel taste, really good.

The mouthfeel is bubbley, good carbonation, could be smoother and creamier, nice body.

The drinkability is good, a bust try and very good brew

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Photo of alleykatking
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz picked up at the Coop late last week for about $4.. poured into my New Belgium snifter.

3 finger head drops fairly quickly atop a deep amber brew.. only spotty lacing.

Aroma is complex but seemingly out of whack ... big caramel and toffee with bunchs of C-Hops going on... Woodiness for sure, but it isn't typical .. a little fruitiness and floral moving through the nose.

Flavor strikes me as a young BW with a ton of potential .. big everything .. but not huge. Caramel and toasted malts combine for a fairly thick maltiness.. The barrel aging strikes me in the palate as more of a dry tannic quality .. Citrus and Floral hop flavors.. big bitter backbone.. Some mild cherry fruitiness mixes well .. sorta like a toned-down kirsch essence.. I am getting very little "bourbon" .. a little vanilla as it warms significantly .. For the style ... mouthfeel is definitely on the shy side of medium.. carbonation is still a little prickly... although light... alcohol is still fairly heavy.. but that will go away with 6 months in the cellar.

I have no idea what to make of this brew.. I really like it right now.. but I know it is going to age like a champ.. Needs some time to meld for sure... It seems to have the hoppiness of an American BW.. but none of the bigger viscosity that is expected. Sorta reminds me of a wood aged DIPA.

Best thing about the Knucklehead #12 (in my Boise mind) .... it took 2-4 months of bitching and moaning ... and we somehow got it in Boise. Big thanks to Wildaho and reinheitsgematt for helping make a ruckus to get brews into Boise that we deserve.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first experience with the knucklehead, and needless to say, I was excited when the bottle came in the mail. I let this one warm up a tad above cellar temperature before pouring into a snifter. A beautifully hazy orange tinted ruby color then appeared before me. Very interesting color on this one, bright and subdued at the same time. A small head of white foam then graced the top, but hung on only for a moment before retreating to the sides of the glass and leaving its trace all along as it went down. No visible carbonation and a good amount of cloudiness to it.

The aroma was very hoppy, and I was a bit surprised by this. It had that nice fresh floral hoppiness mixed in with strong notes of alcohol. I could tell right from the start that this one was going to need about six more months to reach its full potential, but never the less we push on to see how it will unfold. A very nice sweetness starts to come though when it got to its peak temperature around sixty degrees. Very interesting blend of wood aromas and hops in here. The flavor was still a bit young as well, with strong notes of fresh alcohol and astringent hops coming through almost immediately. A good bit of sweet candy like malt in the background, that you knew it was going to take some time for that to really shine through. A nice woody flavor, though I really picked up no bourbon aroma or taste in this one. The finish was long and dry, and very bitter, reminiscent of the strongest and hoppiest of double IPA's. A nice smooth medium bodied ale, not overly carbonated, but not syrup like either. This was definitely a big barley wine, and in fact tasted somewhat bigger then it actually was. I finished the bottle, but it did take a while.

Overall I thought this was very nice, though it really needs some time to settle down to let some of the alcohol fade and allow the hops to tone down to try and bring out some of those bourbon barrel flavors that are getting squashed right now. Still though I think this has a lot of potential, and is certainly drinkable now, especially for the hophead. A really good call and it should definitely be sought out.

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Photo of bloberglawp
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky dark brown, a good head and a bit of lacing. Aroma of vanilla, oak and chinook hops. Flavor is a smack of chinook, some caramel malt and a fair amount of oak caracter, vanilla and tannins from the wood.

Quite a delicious ale! Look for it!

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Photo of josiahschlender
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Shared a bomber of this with some friends last night. Wow, what a great barleywine. Brown-amber color very nice, with a medium good-lasting off-white head. Darker than most barleywines I've tried, and looked hazy.

Very aromatic and pleasing. Lots of sweet malts with caramel. Floral hops, maybe just a bit of pine and citrus. Not as hoppy as many west coast barleywines these days. Just a bit of Bourbon and alcohol, which increased as it warmed up.

Excellent, balanced flavors. Dominated by the abundance of sweet, caramel and roasty malts, but adequately balanced by the hops. I definitely noted the Bourbon, but it's not dominating the beer, like many Bourbon-aged beers I've tried recently. My friend put it well... the flavors are "artfully" combined, not trying too hard to blow you away with the hops or Bourbon. Alcohol is expertly masked, one could hardly even notice it. I also think I detected a bit of light fruit/banana esters from the yeast. Made me wonder if they're using a German style yeast for this? Not sure.

Nice carbonation and feel. Flavors mingle and last well, but don't have an extremely long finish.

I wish I had more bottles of this laying around, it's one of the best barleywines I've had.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of scottoale
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of accordselux
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
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...

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Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - rich clear amber / orange color with a light tan head that lasts the entire bottle.

S - sweet malts, caramel, citrus and grassy hops, cocoa and a noticable abv presence.

T - a very assertive bitter effect dominates, not quite astringent but it's strong. Caramel / toffee, some citric / grassy hops, herbal hops. There is a bare hint of bourbon and oak but if I didn't see it noted on the label I'm not sure I'd look for it so hard.

M - full bodied, nicely carbonated, boozy, sweet and bitter with a lingering bite.

D - One was enough for me.

This beer seemed to be a jekyl and hyde beer for me. One sip was overly bitter, one sip was sweeter and another had a trace note of bourbon. It's a bit rough for me to call it a 4 for an american barleywine but the price point is such that I'd take a flyer and put 4 in the cellar to see if time sets this beer to rights.

If you're looking for a good bourbon barrel aged brew I'd try some others. If you like hoppy beers and want to try a very reasonably priced barleywine this is worth a shot.

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Photo of grub
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

sampled may 24/08 as part of biegaman's annual summer saison tasting, with a mix of BA/RB represented. biegaman shared this one. thanks jan!

22oz bottle.

pours hazy deep red, garnet when held to the light, with a small dense off-white head. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. a bit soapy. vanilla. light alcohol. bit of caramel. toasted multi-grain bread. tangerine. hints of grapefruit. no trace of bourbon here.

taste is ok. big blast of alcohol up front, but not really bourbony. low bitterness level. fruity, with some citrus and some dark fruit. grapefruit. tangerine. bread and biscuit malt. bit of toasty/roasty character in the finish. again, no bourbon.

mouthfeel is good. medium-low carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good, but other than a hint of vanilla i see no trace of a bourbon barrel here. there's lots of alcohol and a bit of vanilla, but not much else. unbalanced towards alcohol, but fairly nice otherwise.

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Photo of vkv822
3.27/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

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Photo of hopdog
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
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

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

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Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 68 ratings
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