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

very good
68 Ratings
no score
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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
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 63
Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
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 t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown body with a full, frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Weak aroma with just some tired, musty pale malts, a pinch of white pepper, and a handful of sawdust.

Taste: Pale maltiness with vague tastes of caramel and cinnamon spice. A few wooden popsicle sticks. Earthy bitterness. Light, nominal boubron characteristics are all insignificant. If it didn't say "bourbon" on the label, you could easily miss it. Astringent, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: No thanks. Hardly even average. I dare say the barrel aging didn't pay off one bit.

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Photo of russpowell
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
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 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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
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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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!

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Photo of Wasatch
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to JohnGalt1 for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a very nice reddish amber color, very nice carbonation, a nice one-finger plus creamy off-white head, lots of nice thick lacing follows. The nose is malty, some bourbon, some plums, figs, and raisins, with some caramel. The taste is malty, nice notes of bourbon, dark fruits, caramel. Medium body, the alcohol is a little too much up front for me. Drinkable, not bad, but would not drink again. After having this brew warm up, it is much better, so I scored accordially.

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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.

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Photo of John_M
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've always been a big fan of the Old Knucklehead and was excited to hear about this latest bourbon barrel aged batch. I didn't have time to make it over to the main brewery on the NW side, but figured the Alehouse on Hawthorne would probably be carrying it was well. Thankfully, they did.

The beer pours an amber brown color, having almost a tawny toffee look about it. Head retention and lacing were fair, and the beer smells big and malty (as expected), but with a hint of underlying hoppy bitterness. The flavors on the palate pretty much replicate the nose. The beer is very malty and sweet, but there's a good dose of hops in this beer, giving it a dryish, somewhat bitter finish. The bourbon barrel aging is very noticeable on the nose and on the palate, imparting a pronounced vanilla and sherry note to the beer. While the beer is not too heavy or tiring to drink, one does notice the 10% abv., and that along with the vanilla makes the beer just a bit cloying. Frankly, I think this beer could really use some aging in the cellar to smooth out some of the rough edges.

This is a good solid Barleywine from Bridgeport. With luck I'll hopefully be able to try this beer again sometime down the road after it has some age on it. It is a very good beer now, but has the potential to be outstanding I think.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
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 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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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

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Photo of DrJay
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one recently from mikesgroove. Thanks!
Hazy reddish amber with a thin layer of fine, off-white foam and a substantial collar with some soapy bubbles. Some lacing, decent head retention. There was an initial whiff of bourbon when I cracked the bottle, but by the time the beer was in my glass this had faded away. In its place was a fair bit of ripe fruit, floral hops with a hint of citrus, bread, brown sugar, and cinnamon, backed by some alcohol. The flavour was quite similar to the aroma, but with more caramel and more prominent alcohol. There was a little bit of wood character, but this was mostly tannin and reminded me of popsicle sticks. Hops were floral and citrus, and it finished with spicy alcohol warmth. Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation. The texture was quite smooth and creamy, very mellow to contrast with the heat from the alcohol and the dryness in the finish. Not bad at all and quite drinkable, but sorely lacking in bourbon barrel character that would have made it something to remember.

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Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to biegaman for busting this out at his summer saison tasting!

Pours a hazy reddish brown, thick white head forms, drops to a thin layer leaving a nice amount of lace on the glass, looks good. Smell is very fruity, some floral hopping, caramel, sweet brown sugar, some bready malt, more fruit, no bourbon. Taste is similar in the lack of any bourbon character whatsoever, just sweet malt and caramel, citrus and flora, lots of light fruitiness, alcohol, kind of weak. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Not sure why they call this bourbon barrel-aged, consensus was none present at all. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle courtesy of msubulldog25 and I am surprised that the label doesn't feature the current knucklehead's image. This is a decent looking specimen of a barleywine, ruby red with a huge off-white head that quickly becomes a smattering of bubbles. The first whiff from the bottle suggested juicy fruit gum but it is quickly gone. The aromas from my glass are straight alcohol fumes and a very subtle orange-rind smell with some notes of wood. Whoa, very bitter flavor at first that bites my tongue, then some oakiness but not quite bourbon with a prickly feeling from the alcohol. The more I sip the more I taste wood and then some fruity gum flavors pop up. It has an astringent yet interesting mouthfeel. This is a very good deal for $4.50 considering it is barrel-aged and not widely distributed. I actually think this may improve with about six months, hopefully taming the fumes and astringency but I don't see anything about bottle conditioning on the label. I love breweries like Bridgeport and Full sail that put out bombers of barleywine for less than $4. Oh yeah, if you read this far, make sure you let the beer warm up a bit before drinking it.

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Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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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.

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Photo of tpd975
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one on a preorder from Liquid Solutions.

A: Pours a wonderful brownish red hue with a nice big thick bubbly head. The head dies down but nice thick patches of lace are left behind.

S: Nice malty aromas with definite woody notes. Very high octane bourbon can be noted as can hints of sweet brown sugar.

T: The taste is rather subtle. The wood is definitely there as is the booze. It is nice and woody with a hint of smoke and vanilla. The sweetness is rather nice and this one is definitely heavier on the malt than hops.

M: Nice and smooth full bodied brew.

D: Fairly drinkable for a Barleywine.

Overall: I enjoyed it. It is no where near the best barleywine in the world, but it is a tasty gem, that should be sought out and given a try.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Old Knucklehead No.12 (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
3.91 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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