Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | Arcadia Brewing Company

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Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutArcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by aforbes10 on 12-03-2006

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Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 217
Photo of stooge
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- Brownish black with a nice head immediately after pour. No lacing, settled out quickly.

S- Very pleasant to the nose, aromas of malt and boozy bourbon prominently featured

T- Bourbon stands tall, perhaps a bit hot, but I prefer my barrel aged stouts to be on the boozy side. Dark roasted malt, oak and vanilla tones, with a nice lingering coffee finish on the back end.

M- Superb mouthfeel, this brew is lighter than expected, but it is well balanced and has the perfect amount of carbonation for the style.

O- Similar to BCBS, but not nearly as complex, with less body; well balanced and perfect mouthfeel. Probably a bit on the boozy side for many BA's, but personally this is right up my alley and I really enjoyed it. Wish I could find a few more bottles, thankful for the two that I scored.

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Photo of Raime
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours extremely black with a one finger mocha head that leaves no lacing.

S - Smells like straight up bourbon. Seriously smells like Jack Daniels straight outta the bottle.

T - Loads of bourbon and oak with a bit of vanilla. Pretty much tastes like the previous contents of the barrel.

M - Very light, boozy body with light carbonation.

O - Overall, It certainly lives up to it's name. A hot, slow drinker. Smooth for the ABV.

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Photo of chanokokoro
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Fairly aggressively poured from from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter branded with Arcadia Brewing Company's logo, the Celtic knot

Pours midnight black with a bone white one finger head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, no evident lacing. Bakers chocolate, oak, and bourbon notes on the nose. Opens with dark, bitter cocoa, some fleeting dark stone fruit notes midpalate, finishes with strong oak and bourbon boozy notes. The lighter end of full-bodied, low carbonation; fairly smooth and slick. Enjoyable, but the barrel tends to slightly overwhelm the base beer at times. Less time in the barrel would actually do this brew some good, so the base beer shines through a bit more.

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Photo of robhbest
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass.

A: Brownish / black with thick off white head.

S: Chocolate, slightly sour.

T: Vanilla, caramel, green olives.

M: Good mouthfeel, thick and creamy.

O: I expected more, not that its bad by any means, hopefully time in the celler will tell for this one. It hid the 12% ABV pretty well I think. The slight sour flavors have me wondering if something is seriously wrong with this beer or not. Not a bad beer but for the money I'd probably pick out something else.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.47/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle cost me $7..
Immediate thoughts-- not worth half.

BA Shipwreck Porter BLOWS this is one away.

This is just not very good. Rather thin, watery feel, undercarbonated.

Dry roasty malt has a hint acrid smokiness before the bourbon comes in--- it it completely over the top boozy bourbon, and it isnt a good thing. I liie a big boozy punch in the face, when it is done well... here is a poor example.

The finish offers a strange cola note.

The appearance is the best single attribute, but even that is flawed. Deep dark body with a slight head of 3/4 finger. The head was composed of giant bubbles, and when those poppped, they went quickly. From 3/4 finger to flat cola in about 18 seconds.

Overall--- no thanks.
Some beers just don't work with a barrel. I have $7 that says this is one of those.
Not worth the time or money.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1758th Review on BA
Bottle to Woodshop Snifter

Waxed 2012
Purchased from Binnys, Naperville, IL

App- More along the lines of a brown bordering on black in the glass. Was very dense but not as deeply rich as I wouldve thought. The head made this beer. It was a nice 2 finger light tan/brownish with a great cling line.

Smell- A lighter aromatic BA stout. It was a nice RIS with a small malt and chocolate component behind it. The oak was semi-subtle with a bit of prickliness behind it. Wasnt overly aromatic with one flavor dominating the nose. Was just a couple ticks abover average.

Taste- It was good for a BA stout. Not on par with others I have had. A bit thin on the barrel with the base RIS seeming to poke out a little more with small roast, chocolate and bitterness behind it. Semi layered to me with it being prickly vs. smooth as well.

Mouth- A lighter prickly medium body with a high medium carbonation. Bubbles danced on this one. Residual oak and chocolate with a small roasty component.

Drink- It was good. Thought this wouldve been a bit better. Semi-balanced with a good prickly flavor and a small oak tinge. Needs a bit more body and layer IMO.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to genuinedisciple for the hookup. enjoyed from my eclipse snifter.

a - brew poured a silky black with a thin off white beige head of bubbles that bubbled away fairly quickly leaving a single island of bubbles on the surface and a ring of bubbles clinging to the glass at the surface. definitely has that barrel shine.

s - dark fruit coated in chocolate and soaked in booze.

t - decadent chocolate slaps you in the face. as it finishes leaves a boozy sangria like tingle in my mouth. nice dark fruit element.

m - thick and chewy. alcohol tingles.

o - overall a bit hot, but damn enjoyable.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.37/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Pitch black with 1 finger of brown head.

Dark chocolate, fudge and vanilla. Dark fruits, coffee and hints of bourbon.

Dark chocolate, fudge and vanilla. Rum raisin, figs and notes of dark roast coffee. A light bourbon essence. Very light on the barrel character but big on vanilla.

Medium bodied, silky, smooth and warming.

Arcadia continuously surprises me with their barrel aging program. 12%? I would have never known. :)

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I picked a bottle of Arcadia's Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout last month for $7.49 at The Lager Mill. I picked up one of these along with some Bourbon Barrel Cereal Killer and I thought the Cereal Killer was pretty good so I have high expectations for this one, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a waxed brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label is pretty standard just like their other Bourbon Barrel beers, simple and straight forward and it's got a lot of red wax that made it a little difficult to open. It poured a dark black color that didn't let any light come through with a fingers worth of slightly darker tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and left a little bit of lacing behind with some noticeable alcohol legs, This beer looks good, it's true to style, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a really strong and distinctive woody oak aroma followed by some bourbon and vanilla aromas. Up next comes the malts that impart some roasted and lighter chocolate aromas followed by a nice caramel and toffee like aroma. This beer had a pretty good aroma but I wish the roasted malts showed up just a little more.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed followed by a good amount of flavors that were imparted from the barrel, the oak is still the most dominant but the bourbon and vanilla show up nicely and all together the barrel aspect isn't too overpowering. Up next comes the malts which impart a medium amount or roasted malt and chocolate with just a slight bit of dark fruits and a little bit of caramel towards the end. There's a lighter amount of bitterness with a noticeable amount of warming alcohol that is actually well hidden and it doesn't seem as strong as it. The aftertaste had some nice roasted malt and light chocolate flavors along with some bourbon. This is a pretty good tasting beer, the bourbon barrel went well with the base beer, but i wish the base stuck out a little more to add some better balance to this beer.

M- Pretty smooth, a little warming, medium bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but I wish it was a little thicker and chewier with a little less carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a solid example of the style, I have had better, but I have also had for worse, I admit I thought the base beer was just ok, the barrel helped it, but I still think a more robust malt aspect would help this beer out a good deal. This beer had good drinkability, it was pretty smooth, and the flavor did a good job at holding my attention, but I think one is enough for me, I might get myself into some trouble if I decided to drink another one by myself, it had good drinkability for the style though. What I liked the most about this beer was the taste, it was pretty good and true to style. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel, Just like the Bourbon Barrel Aged Cereal Killer it was on the thin side and it had a little more carbonation than it needed. I would buy this beer again, I only bought one since I wasn't the biggest fan of the base beer but this one turned out pretty good and I think I might grab another bottle or two at the store while they are still around, it's a little on the expensive side but at least it's not a $20 Bomber, I recommend this to anyone who likes Bourbon Barrel aged beers, it's worth a try. All in all I was happy with this beer, it wasn't as great as I hoped, but it's still good. I think Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter was better than this and it had a stronger malt backbone, but you won't see me turn down this beer anytime soon and it makes for a nice distraction while I wait for the next batch of Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter. Good job guys, I've been digging these specialty bottles and hope to see more variants in the future.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage poured into a snifter

A- Pours Syrupy pitch black with little of a tan head.

S- Oak, Bourbon, Roasted malt and chocolate. A smooth, somewhat subtle and pleasant smelling brew.

T- Big whiskey notes up front. A big sour mash flavor, A big alcohol flavor as well and a good bit of oak at the back end. The roasted malt is subtle enough to allow the bourbon to dominate the palate but is quite light on flavor by itself. The roasted flavor is ever present but doesn't leave an lasting flavors on the tongue. There is a slight chocolate and caramel as well but the flavors are somewhat subdued.

M- A good feeling beer, Thick, yet drinkable and doesn't destroy the palate. A bit hot.

O- This is a solid BA stout. A strong bourbon profile and a clean palate. It is "hot", which personally doesnt bother me and may fade with age. Still. Quite good.

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Photo of maximum12
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my burgeoning mule, lurpy1, for hiding this in a suitcase & bringing it back to MN for me. Always good to have friends who travel. I offered to pick him something up in Austin, MN, but his response wasn't terribly printable. 12 oz. waxed bottle.

Pour is black & very lively for a stout with big, bad-ass pretensions; kind of like a pink hat on a body-builder. Nose is similarly notable & very distinct: double backhoe of chocolate, in about equal parts bourbon, vanilla, & dark fruits. I hope that's intentional.

Arcadia's Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout should carry an ad from Hershey's. Bitter chocolate knocks first, second, & third, hard. Just like the nose, it's aggressive enough to nearly drown the other flavors in their cradles. On the downslope there's some vanilla that coats the tongue more than one can taste it, & the bourbon is just a hint in the back of the uvula; nice touch. Undefined fruitiness winds in & out of various sips, which I'm not wild about. Finishes with a nice sting of bitterness. For the heft of this one, it certainly doesn't linter in the glass.

The subtle barrrel treatement is a nice departure from the norm - just the hint of raw barrel - but the chocolate is too dominant, the fruit distracting. As a stand-alone beer, this is good. As a barrel-aged RIS, this is a faceless black beer in a crowd.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to AndresR for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with a cocoa and woody finish and an alcohol kick. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some very nice barrel aged aromas and flavors.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From 01/26/12 notes. Big big thanks to lansman for getting a few bottles of this out to me; really wanted to try it as I love the BBA Shipwreck porter. 12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one finger of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks fantastic, like a big RIS should.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, vanilla, coconut, alcohol, and some caramel malts. Nice and a ton of barrel to it; I like it but it is pretty hot overall.

t - Tastes of bourbon, sweet chocolate, oak, vanilla, coconut, caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, sugar, milk chocolate. Taste is a bit sweeter than the nose with more chocolate. Still very hot and a ton of bourbon, though I like it.

m - Full bodied stout with moderate carbonation. I like the body and carbonation levels, but docking it a bit as it is still pretty hot and the alcohol definitely comes through.

o - Overall a good beer, but I was a bit disappointed at how hot it is. I love their BBA Shipwreck porter and this is very good with a lot of chocolate and bourbon, but the alcohol is prevalent. A good BA stout that has potential to be great, given some time. I will hold onto my remaining bottle for probably 8-12 months and see how it develops.

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Photo of BB1313
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours jet black with a small khaki head that sticks around leaving nice film and lacing. The aromas are very nice. Lots of caramel. The bourbon and the chocolate blend harmoniously, giving this a wonderful nose. There's subtle hints of wood/oak, but the chocolate and bourbon clearly dominate the nose and there's a good balance. The flavors are pretty nice, but not exactly mind blowing. Lots of chocolate malts and vanilla. Some butterscotch. Very earthy. The booze from the bourbon never goes overboard, but becomes one dimensional after awhile and somewhat falls flat. It's not hot at all, which is a good thing. Mouthfeel is wonderful. It's full-bodied, not milkshake thick, but it's thick. The carbonation is there and it's smooth like motor oil. This makes a great sipper and is easy to drink. The alcohol is extremely well hidden at 12% abv, but still remains a sipper. I wouldn't have guessed this was 90 IBU either.

This is a very solid barrel-aged stout. I just wish the flavors popped more and had a little more going on, but it's still tasty enough. I would imagine this beer would age very well, but it's drinking quite fine at the moment. I was expecting it to be hotter while fresh, but there's a nice balance, which is always a plus.

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Photo of UnderJoath
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle - Pours a deep black with thin fizzy tan head. Smells roasty malt with faint bourbon scent. A sweet malty and again, a faint bourbon presence start it off before falling off completely to a bitter aftertaste. Not as complex as I had hoped after being a big fan of their Shipwrecked BBPorter.

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Photo of founder26
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage served in a snifter.

A- pours pretty dark brown, not black, looks kinda thin. No head to speak of.

S- lots of chocalate covered cherries, some barrel/bourbon and vanilla on the back end.

T- same as nose, lots of cherries and chocolate up front followed by some oak vanilla and bourbon

M- kinda thin not much carbonation, blah

O- if this was priced under 4 a bottle then it would be great, but at 7.99 it was not worth it

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Photo of WesM63
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a near non existent head. A small film of bubbles and lace settle on the top. No retention but fair amounts of lacing.

S: Smells of bourbon, dark chocolate, minor amounts of vanilla and some roasted malts.

T: Close to the nose. Lots of bourbon up front followed my some chocolate, vanilla and dark roasted malts.

M: Medium to full body. Moderate amounts of carbonation. Fairly hot at the beginning and end with a decent little trail down the back of the throat.

O: Overall, it's a decent BA Stout. It's hard to compare it to other BA Stouts as I feel it's a bit thin nor as creamy and velvety as others.

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Photo of laynethiele
5/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There is nothing I didn't love about this beer. Yes, in a year it will mellow and the booziness will subside. The smell was absolute joy! Cherry, bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, bready-malt, CHOCOLATE, semi-sweet cocoa,'s all there! The taste, ditto! Let this gal age a year or more, wooow! Can't wait!! But I must. You can sit there and dissect the front, back and middle all you want, this is one damn great brew which will only get better with age. Pick up at least two if you can and drink one now and let one sit in the cellar. Enjoy, I did!

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Photo of dbc5
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce waxed bottled poured into Southern Tier Pumking tulip.

A: Pour looks thick. One finger tan head, color is lighter than I expect from a big barrel aged imperial stout. Black body with no light shining through when held to light.

S: Nose is dominated by milk chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla. As it warms, a bit of the barrel becomes apparent, but the three previously listed are the dominate aromas.

T: Taste follows the nose. Nice blend of milk chocolate and bourbon up front. Some vanilla and a coconut like character at the end. The barrel is well integrated in this one; the bourbon and oak isn't as upfront as in some other BB stouts such as Bourbon County or even KBS, but it definitely makes its present felt and contributes an excellent character to the beer. Very slight residual bitterness on the tongue.

M: Oily and dense. The thickness that was apparent when pouring carries over to the mouth. Fairly low carbonation, but it works well with the overall mouthfeel.

O: A really nice beer, although I would put it a notch below the heavy hitters such as BCBS, KBS, and Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth. I was slightly disappointed by the $8.99 price tag on this bottle, but despite that, I'm enjoying the drinking experience.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at MBGF2006.

Poured a black color with a moderate frothy light brown head that diminished slowly and produced sticky legs.

Good roasted malt and sweet bourbon aroma.

Full body with a smooth texture.

Complex sweet stout flavor with a smooth bourbon woody finish.

Very well balanced barrel stout.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this just as they opened up the barrel at Arcadia for their 10th Anniversary celebration last night. I don't think there's a plan to bottle it. Looks nice in the glass. velvety black. About right for style. Has a small light brown head for a minute or two, and then nothing. Smells kind of barely chocolatey and maybe a bit fruity. Taste is, i have to say, a bit odd for the style. Up front I get a bunch of chocolate covered cherry flavor dominating. Like TONS of cherries...not bitter cherries but sort of creamy chocolate cherries. Some weak bourbon/alcohol flavor in there. Then the flavor is more like a creamy chocolate and coffee with a coffee-like finish. It's a think and well-balanced beer and not bad overall. Definitely easier to drink than some others within the style. And i wouldn't say it tastes much like their regular Impy at all.

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Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 217 ratings.
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