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

very good
68 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 63
Photo of Tilley4
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to tayner for sending this one in a recent trade..

This one is dark and murky and beautiful... Big fluffy head sitting on top of a mahogany colored brew...awesome..

This is a crazy smelling barleywine! I can smell the hops and malt, but I smell chocolate and pineapple mixed as well. This smells unbelievable!!! As it warms, the bourbon really comes out and puts this one on another level..

AWESOME! I could elaborate but the 5 that I rated it should speak for itself. Chocolate, bourbon, hops, malts...delicious..

This just might be the best barleywine I've evr had.. I love Bigfoot and Old Ruffian and Hog Heaven but the Bourbon puts this one in a class by itself..

 683 characters

Photo of josiahschlender
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

 1,223 characters

Photo of tbeq00
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of DIM
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear ruby red with copper highlights. It pored with a smallish light tan head that faded fairly quckly.

s: Fresh, sweet dark fruit aromas come on strongly without being cloying. Plums in particular stand out. The hops are present to a lesser degree. They are citric and smell mostly of oranges. These aromas all blend extremely well with mild bourbon notes. This is barrel aging done right.

t: Here again the fruit flavors from the hops and the malts compliment one another very well. Super fresh orange and grapefruit hops and semi-sweet plums are both gently blanketed by faint bourbon flavors. The finish brings a much stronger bourbon flavor along with some oaky vanilla. Bridgeport has achieved an outstanding balance with this one.

m: The carbonation is gentle and long lasting. The body is silky and a bit creamy.

d: I absolutely loved this, one of the best barleywines I've had. If you get the chance, grab some of these.

 949 characters

Photo of genog
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from Tayner, big thank you my friend.

poured a perfect burnt orange/reddish color with a slight white cloudy head that dies away to just leave tracings of what used to be.

Smell is very similar to a strong west coast IPA with lots of malt and earthy hops. Promising syrupy molases sits around as well.

Taste is candy like sweetness with strong cascade hops followed by some nice citrus flavors. Woody oak and vanilla notes hit the back of the taste buds as it washes away the IPA taste.

Texture is very smooth balancing out a strong barleywine/ipa. This one played very well with the Dark Lord weekend beer lineup.

 639 characters

Photo of orcasteve
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a BIG thanks to mikesgroove for the lif to try this one, poured into my duvel 2006 tulip glass.

this is an amber brown in the light and ritch earthey brown away from the light. the first taste and i see the glory of the bourbon barrel ageing!!! this is a big sightly sweet then monstresley hoppy barley wine, the wood flavor trumping over all outher flavors, after trying this big bold brew i feal that all barley wines should be aged in this way. i feal that the beer gods have truley blessed me in giving me the oppertunity of trying this peace of pure heaven. if you see this one or can trade for one of these consider yourself one of the luckey ones. this is one of my top 25 beers of all time and one that i will try to get anouther one of

 745 characters

Photo of bloberglawp
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
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!

 251 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having six vintages in a row all the way back to 1992, I'm really looking forward to this one.

Pours perfectly clear, dark amber with crimson hues. A dense, beige head of an inch or so leaves some fair lacework of ropes and dots.
Aromatics are malty, fruity, and boozy.
Malt-forward as with all the Knuckleheads, in a very juicy way. Ripe fruit aplenty, followed by some pine notes and plenty of vanilla. Bourbon is there from start to finish.
The mouthfeel is medium, creamy, and sticky.
Slightly crisp while being quite tacky.
The pallet is malt-laden and fruity. Bourbon-soaked oranges intermingles with caramel and doughy two-row.
The bourbon is substantial, but not overbearing. Plenty of vanilla and a hint of oaky dryness, especially on the exhale.
Faint spruce bark and stone fruit lend an earthy quality.
Finishes with a lightly building heat on the throat, with a firm bitterness that reaches for dryness but is overuled by residuals.

Wowza. I would be tempted to drink this bottle in two parts, but it's just too damn tasty.

 1,043 characters

Photo of tayner
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle.

Poured a shoe-leather brown with a creamy, off white head about 1 inch that settled to a thick ring and skim coat with some decent lacing for a beer of 10% abv.

Smells of wood and earthy hop notes. not alot of alcohol in the nose.

Taste is malted wood up front, followed a hint of jack daniels bourbon and some peppery hops at the end. This is definitely on the sweet side, English side. The hops are present and stand up to be noticed, but not until the finish to help dry the palate.

The mouthfeel is medium to thick, sweet and coating, but enough hops and alcohol to have a dry finish.

This one is super drinkable. The 10% is VERY well hidden and will easily sneak up on you if you are not careful. This is one of my favorite barleywines to date, malty with just a hint of bourbon and wood along with earthy, peppery hops to balance it out.

This one is quite drinkable now, but i plan on putting a few away and see how they age and mellow the hop profile. At under $5 a bomber this is a must try for any english barleywine fan, or any fan of bourbon aged ales.

 1,095 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of scottoale
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 860 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

 756 characters

Photo of SeanRedd
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh mommy; I am coming of age. The minute details of your vuluptious, confident charater inspire me. Your dark grapes, molasses smothered black berries, and vague match-stick smoke burn, melt my defenses. Did I have to blow dust off your bottle? Have I mistaken you for a port, sherry? Your dark fruits are so submissive, your 10% ABV masked...almost non-existent. I bow to you almighty yogini; your balance suspends me in awe. I must close my eyes, I am blown away.

 465 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bridgeport Old Knucklehead, bourbon barrel aged....

poured into a Duvel glass...loads of bourbon notes spill out...I want to bring it closer...

Dark, opaque, deep, ruddy crimson brown, lush creamy head,

Aroma seeps out leather, molasses, dark fruit, raisins, carob, spice...bright berries and cherries....burnished, rich, ridiculously full...malt and hops at play.

Taste: huge whiskey flavor, big, beefy, lush and tasty. ..bodacious...thick and slick on the palate...sweet and luscious....

"a special brew...to be savored"... I am savoring!

hot, sparkling, full of flavor, indulgent...a great swath of fat bourbon goodness all over the place. damn, it's something else. An excellent indulgence, beautiful nightcap....I almost wished I'd saved it to share with friends, but...hell, I was thirsty!

 802 characters

Photo of dqderrick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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...

 577 characters

Photo of ElGordo
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

 685 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
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

 387 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Released in February 2008 in 22 oz. bottles (only 75 barrels/1,100 cases produced). I debated whether or not this was worthy to add as a new entry and ultimately decided that a tweaked recipe/ABV (10%) and partial barrel-aging (10% of the batch held in used Jack Daniels' barrels), not to mention the new 'Bridgeport Big Brews' bottling, were reasons enough to add it...poured from the bottle to a standard pint glass.

From notes found on 'Guest on Tap' blog:
"BridgePort's Old Knucklehead Barley Wine Style Ale, No. 12
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."

This is dedicated to the newest 'knucklehead', John De Benedetti of Portland's F.H. Steinbart (homebrewer supply shop).

A: Fairly clear auburn/chestnut orange color capped with about 1-finger of light tan/yellow creamy head. Good rising carbonation, steady and evenly spaced. The head drops rather quickly to a thin film, tighter and clingy at the edges. In general, one of the lighter colored barley wines I've seen, but still a pretty color

S: Wow, sweet! Toasted malt that smells strongly of caramel/toffee, sweet fruit/citrus (tangerines, pink grapefruit), a little syrupy booze and a fading vinous, grape-like aroma. Does have a decidedly vanilla and cocoa aroma, too; even flagrant dashes of spice.

T: The elevated (60) IBU level is only apparent as a lasting bittering. The upfront flavors are toasted wheat, juicy sweet orange and herbal/grassy hops, with some ill-defined cocoa powder. Vanilla and oak are repressed and found towards the finish; they provide a nice sweet/tart conclusion to an otherwise malty, more English-feeling barley wine.

M: Exceedingly smooth; for a beer with double digit alcohol this has only a subtle heat. Smooth & mellow with just a faint grassy bittering and latent fusel heat; otherwise, it's nearly perfectly balanced, medium-bodied.

D: Drink right now, no need to age. The subtle heat, fine malt/hop balance, and traces of barrel/wood combine to create a soft, smooth sipper. Alcohol is hidden well but could creep up if you're not careful. Regardless, a nice one to seek out, and an absolute bargain at $4.50/22 oz. bottle.

 2,365 characters

Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber color with a silky tan head. Good lacing. The nose has light hops over a bed of malts. The taste is nicely balanced. Lots of sweet sugars complimented by bitter hops. Full body goes down nicely. Not much bourbon noticed in this one, but still quite good.

 265 characters

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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

 613 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a reddish, hazy caramel color, lots of bubbles to this one. Two fingers or more, rising up above the top of the Sam Adams glass. Recedes very slowly and is well-supported by a steady bead from underneath. A foamy cappucino-like top, very creamy and resilient, leaving plenty of lace coating behind.

Aroma - a distant grain that is hard to place, but a very orangey, citrusy bit that is easy to pick up. Some piney bits in the background, too.

Taste - predictably sweet and grainy. Also predictably hot. A nice bit of oak and whiskey have enough strenght to get through the abv veil. They are tasted more right after the swallow along with some piny hops. The finish is hoppy, dry, boozy, and whiskey, all combined, with the piny hops having the most persistence. Ends with a breath of roasted grain, perhaps even a bit of chocolate but it's hard to tell. A little rough with alcohol heat but certainly the best time to appreciate the full hoppiness of the brew.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and slick, a touch heavy. The carbonation is actually more spritely than the heaviness portrays. The head retention is so good yet the smoothness tamps it down some.

Drinkability - an enjoyable beer, though awfully strong. Definitely will be laying a few down for a couple years.

 1,288 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 2,150 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 375 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

 2,406 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 572 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
3.91 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.