Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter | Arcadia Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck PorterBourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Baltic-style Porter has a robust malt character and a slight herbal hop bitterness. Aged for 12 months in 10-year-old Kentucky bourbon oak barrels, this alluring dark liquid features appealing undertones of vanilla, oak, cocoa, and coffee. The aging occurs in abandoned mines in Michigan, at a constant temperature of 45F.

Added by jale on 02-01-2011

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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 1,010
Photo of JohnnyHopps
2.35/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

In terms of the genre of bourbon barrel aged beers, I have never had one that I hated. I do have a strong dislike for this one.

Poured into a snifter, this beer has the expected black color with low carbonation and very little head. The aroma was a grapey-like whiskey aroma. This was not a typical whiskey aroma, which should have been my first clue that something was wrong. The initial taste was the smooth yet biting sensation of alcohol. Rather than drinking beer, it felt like I had a mouth full of cheap whiskey. Amidst, the burn were hints of a bunred dark malt, vanilla, and dark fruit. These pleasant notes could not overcome the burn of the alcohol in my mouth that continued to burn in the aftertaste. There was no sense of balance to this beer. I am able to recommend several good barrel aged porter, but this would not be one of them.

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Photo of Gaddabble
2.47/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.25

Appearance is expected dark brown with very little head. Smell is of booze, slight bourbon, and red-wine. Taste follows smell, but very harsh booze and unflattering red wine. None of the typical rich chocolate flavors one might expect from the style. Only positive note on the tasting was some vanilla, but otherwise difficult to drink. Smooth, velvety mouth feel, but carbonation was too low. Personally, I hold barrel-aged beers to a higher standard than non-barrel-aged beers as, even if it is marginally well-done, barrel-aged beers typically have a lot to offer. I can say unequivocally that this is one of the worst barrel-aged beers I have had.

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.65/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from Main Street Party Store (Ann Arbor, MI). 7.49. No bottling info. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours deep dark chocolate brown with wisps of mocha head.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla and cocoa.

Taste is a big boozy bourbon bomb. The bourbon pretty much dominates but some other flavors seep through. Vanilla, oaky wood, chocolate and bitter cherry skins. The alcohol is never hidden.

Medium bodied (much lighter than expected) with mild carbonation. Hot bourbon finish.

Not bad but it's not not for me. It doesn't seem to even try for balance. The base beer never quite surfaces. There are much better and well rounded barrel aged beers out there for far less money.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.93/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Shipwrecked porter

Wax-dipped 12 oz bottle of most recent vintage poured in a DFH signature glass. 

A: Appears to be deep brown, but when held up to light, clear amber brown is revealed. Wispy brown head and no lacing. 

S: Light aroma of bourbon, dark fruits and alcohol. No appreciable dark malts. 

T: Stronger bourbon than expected hits front of palate, then a vinous wave of dark fruits, especially red grapes and red-grape skins wash through taste. Some damp wood and caramel. A noticeable lack of roasted malts. Not sweet. Finish is somewhat boozy and definitely short-lived.

M: Inappropriately high level of carbonation and thin body. Somewhat warming and quite astringent. 

D: The lack of depth adds to the beer's drinkability but that is more than offset by too much barrel and attenuation. A sipper, for sure, but not a particularly interesting one. 

Thanks to cetherid for the assist!

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Photo of guityler83
3.02/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: The head built in the glass just shy of a finger tall and quickly fell into the black liquid. The tan foam left some stepped lacing before it fell and a dusting on top. Although very dark and black at first glance, peaks of dark mahogany around the edges come out. And of course some of the wax fell in my glass.. it took a ridiculous amount of time to get it open even.

S: Light milk chocolate aroma with a kind of milky lactose aroma? Oak barrel character is very low and there is some earthy hop aroma present. Light overall.

T: The base beer has mild milk chocolate flavor with a chalky flavor. The bitterness comes off fairly assertive with the barrel flavors adding to the hop bitterness. The barrel flavor itself is moderate and keeps with the vanilla and caramel standards. Soy sauce character in the finish.

M: Carbonation is low to mild. Defiantly getting some alcohol warming. Body is moderate and there is a sharp bitting character that comes off as bitterness, but not the normal hop bitterness, more of a drying mouth feel from the barrel sugars? Guessing here. Also gets slightly creamy as the sips get bigger.

O: I picked this up on a trip to Michigan on a recommendation from the store owner (it's the last bottle!) but have to say this fell flat for me. If the aroma was better and some of the off flavors I was picking up (maybe it was age, or an infected bottle?) were fixed it probably would be a very solid beer. But this one.. not so much.

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Photo of nkersten
3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into Darkness tulip. Black with brown edges and a tiny brown cap that fades quickly to a collar. Smell is cheap bourbon, sweet oak, artificial fruit flavored candy, some dark roasted malts. Taste is much different, slightly brash oak flavor at first, vanilla, toasted oak, alcohol, bourbon, finishing with a hot burn. Mouthfeel is medium to thin with a medium carbonation. Overall not a terrible beer but certainly not worth $7 for a 12oz bottle. Definitley a bit hot and overcaronated, maybe this will get better with a little time.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a Lakefront Brewery Fixed Gear Red Ale 12 ounce glass.

Appearance- One shade off pitch black with white foaming head that quickly settles to the surface. Very thin head stays nicely on top with decent lacing.

Smell- Lots of burbon and sweet fruit. Minimal alcohol scent in the nose.

Taste- My problem here is that the star of the show is the burbon with the porter being more of a supporting actor role. I would prefer the burbon to be more of a nuance in the porter.

Mouthfeel- A bit watery and over carbonated for what I like I a porter.

Overall- Decent but to much burbon flavor for my liking.

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Photo of drumminbrewer
3.2/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

50 ibu's 12%abv

Pours quickly with a large, elegant head. Solid head retention which laces the glass well.

Malty nose...sweet bread, raisins, vanilla and some boos.

First sip. MUCH thinner body than I was expecting. Quite unexpected. Flavor profile sits most strongly on the back of my tongue. Burned coffee, charcoal, vanilla and a very present alcohol taste (maybe not enough malt to hide behind?)

Long finish, but rather astringent and out of balance.

Not a bad beer, but I think it kind of loses it's identity as a porter through excessive alcohol presence. I'll let one sit for a year then give it another shot.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a translucent cola brown, but opaque in the glass. Slim sudsy tan head that soon dissolves into a faint fog and a dirty halo

Smell -- Cocoa and molasses, bourbon, sticky oak, and vanillin. The base beer is difficult to pick out from the barrel notes, save some roast malt sweetness.

Taste -- Very much barrel-forward, with lots of sour mash bourbon, woody oak, and vanillin. The base lends flavors of roast malt, cocoa, and some molasses. It does a fair job of masking the alcohol, though it still slightly boozy. Finishing bite of boozy alcohol, vanilla, herbal hops, and roast malt.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with ample carbonation. Not over-carbonated, but mellower bubbles would've been preferred. Also slightly thin. Alcohol presence is moderate for 12% abv.

Overall -- There seems to have been a lot of hoopla when this was released, but I'm not seeing the appeal. It's not bad by any means, but I'm really not floored. The barrel really overwhelms the base beer, and I'm willing to guess that this would've been better as a partial BA blend. In any case, it was definitely worth the cost to try this handsome bottle.

My suggestion is to pick up a bottle of you have it available, but keep your expectations grounded.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.27/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to CBS snifter. No apparent bottle dating.

A - Poured dark brown, settled black with one finger of bubbly espresso coloured head that quickly receded to a few scattered bubbles.

S - A huge hit of bourbon up front with vanilla, oak and some noticeable alcohol. Some faint roasted malt notes in the background but the barrel aromas dominate the nose.

T - Lots of char and a huge alcohol kick up front. Some oak is evident but the wonderful vanilla aroma from the nose is non-existent and the bourbon is barely noticeable. Some roasted malts and a touch of sweet chocolate are present in the background but the alcohol completely overshadows the flavours from the base beer.

M - Medium body but thin at times. Light carbonation.

O - Way too boozy. This would probably benefit from aging and become a completely different beer.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Found in MI on my last trip out there. Not cheap at about $5/12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan tan. Rich aroma of molassess, oak barrel, bourbon, and light roast. Medium mouthfeel. The alcohol not only adds flavor but seems to also thin out the body a little bit. Booze, roast, and then back to bourbon. This one just seems it needs to mellow out a bit as it is pretty hot right now. Some lace.

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Photo of champ103
3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color with a bit of ruby/brown around the edges. A small, bubbly tan head forms and recedes in a second. Not much lace.
S: Light roast and some coffee. Vanilla and chocolate with a light barrel character in the nose.
T: Again, light roast and coffee. Vanilla beans and chocolate seem to be the big players here. Along with a fusel, almost ethanol like alcohol punch.
M/D: Thin, watery, and low carbonation. Especially for being barrel aged, and the ABV to boot. A slow sipper, and one that will take me a while to get through. To much fusel almost burning alcohol, and not much more to take away from that.

Pretty mediocre here. Not outright bad, just to thin taste and body wise, with to much fusel alcohol.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.37/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Pours a very dark brown, almost black color as it sits in the glass. A light-ish, tan colored head perches on the top of the beer at a little less than a quarter-inch, but grows significantly when the glass is swirled.

One whiff of this and there's no doubt that this baby spent quite a while inside of an old bourbon barrel. Bourbon is probably the heaviest smell up front, along with some mild oak and a soothing vanilla aroma. It's obviously malt heavy but still a little sweeter than I would have imagined. Very syrupy and molasses-like with lots of melted brown sugar around the edges. Very light oak and wood aromas join in at the tail end, but don't impeded or stick around for too long.

Much like the aroma, the taste is very bourbon heavy as well. Very, very hot at first, almost akin to the burn from taking a sip of straight-up scotch or whiskey alone. Wow, did they forget to empty the barrels when they aged this stuff? There's a huge oak and wet, musty wood flavor that pops through in spurts between the blanket of heavy booze. Light vanilla and coconut notes travel through the profile but again, they're not match for the heavy bourbon. Despite the heavy booze, the beer is still extremely sweet, almost cloyingly so, and it has a strange soy-sauce like flavor heavy in the aftertaste. Medium-heavy body, slick and oily with medium carbonation.

Eh, I was definitely let down a bit by this one. A little too sweet, way too bourbon heavy, and has some strange flavors that didn't mesh well. Maybe it's the 2011 version? I've heard later releases have toned down the bourbon quite a bit, but this one was a little too much.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

No Date - Red Wax dipped 12oz Bottle

I was underwhelmed by this one. Most likely due to the almost non-existing barrel presence, thin mouth feel and an overall lack of flavor. Weak in the nose, but I found a little roasted malts, even less vanilla and some chocolate. I don't know, I really wanted to like this beer. I like more of a bourbon flavor forward, and from what I've read, the 2011 vintage was probably for me. Definitely going to give it another shot.

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Photo of cmadd
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep and dark body with hints of brown. Nice lacing.

S: Sharp alcoholic bite with the classic bourbon profile: oak and vanilla. Not much in the way of roast or sweetness.

T: Really sharp profile, heavy on the booze and oak. There are a few hints of vanilla and sweet malt and the finish has a bit of the hop bitterness; the heat of the bourbon lingers until the bitter end. Not enough malt presence to balance the bourbon and oak.

M: Nice and light, pretty good for a porter. Maybe a little bit too carbonated for my tastes.

O: Honestly, pretty out of balance. The barrel-ageing is overdone and the malt underdone.

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Photo of emerge077
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a snifter it pours out a reddish brown, no foam at first but later a thin cap of tan foam materializes. Soon it dwindles to a thin ring around the edge, no lacing. Still and glassy surface.

Brown sugar, vanilla, roast and earthy chocolate notes in the nose, seemingly dry and subdued even when at room temperature.

Flavors are similarly muted, drowned out by a steamrolling astringency and a deadening alcoholic presence. Some vague vanilla, roasty malt, and boozy barrel elements. Body is oddly thin and boozy also. Seems like the alcohol got a little too rampant, the barrel obliterated the nuances of the original Porter. Wafting heat rises off the palate, leaving a bone dry finish with some lingering roast malt in the aftertaste, but it lacks nuance and depth. Not something i'd revisit, or consider all that successful overall. More body and less alcohol would definitely improve things...

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium to dark brown body with red highlights and a gushing / fizzy tan colored head. This beer looks like can of pop poured into a glass. I am used to darker colored porters, i was surprised by the color.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, and cola.

Taste: Nice bourbon notes pairing up with the malts. Dark fruits and milk chocolates. Vanilla and wood. Flavors well integrated. An unusual cola aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thin, but sticky. Alot of carbonation for a barrel aged beer. Medium body.

Overall: Nice beer just needs more backbone with a thicker body. It reminds me of a doppelbock and its dangerously drinkable. No much booziness considering it being 12%.

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Photo of biglite351
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Considerable orange through the center of the glass. Tight creamy tan head.

S - Heavy bourbon, vanilla and a hint of cocoa

T - Bourbon but not nearly as heavy as the scent. Raisin, coffee and malt.

M - Thich with okay coating. Tingle on front of tongue and back of throat

O - Good for a bourbon aged brew, but not worth the rather high price.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.42/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L: Black with a tan head
S: Subtle bourbon and dark fruit juices
T: A little bourbon, dark fruit with peppery notes. Lacks flavor, I had high hopes for big flavor since it's and aged in bourbon barrels. 12%
F: Kind of thin, a bit of carbonation and it finishes dry.
O: Not terrible, just not worth buying again.

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Photo of monitorpop
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: slightly transparent black with a one finger chocolate tan head.

S: Strong bourbon with light chocolate and sweet vanilla.

T: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, subtile oak and vanilla. Harsh lingering bourbon.

M: Thin body with a mild alcohol burn in the finish.

O: Too thin and not as smooth or balanced as I would like.

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Photo of amalburg
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

opened up a bottle from 2014. Smells great, looks great, but there is an off taste that I can not explain. I liked this a lot more without a year of being sat in my basement.

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Photo of hardysf
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a rating based on style only. The beer tastes good but definitely not worth the 7.99. This is the 2015 version with wax cap. Not much carb and what there is goes away immediately. Smell is a bit bland but some notes of vanilla shines through. Some roastiness and some chocolate. Well balanced. Not much bourbon flavor at all. Smooth to drink, but cost prohibitive when there are so many other better BBA beers for cheaper.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. Poured from a red waxed 12 oz bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

A- pours black with a 2 finger tan head. Small blotches and big trails of lacing remain on the glass.

S- chocolate, bourbon/booze, faint vanilla

T- dark chocolate, alcohol/bourbon, slight spice and bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Lighter feeling with some creaminess,

O- ok BA porter. Whatever barrels they use for this beer I get more booze than a specific distill.

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Photo of pagriley
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Eww, Not sure if this is a bad bottle or just a bad beer, but odd. Earthy and off smelling, but not sharp or acidic. Muddy and muted on the palate with no real defined barrel character or clean base chocolate / malt notes. Overall a mess of a beer.

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Photo of ThirstyHerf
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From Blind BIF #6. Reviewed last night with Chaseabeer. Poured into two snifters as instructed.

A Pours very dark brown with a slight amber hue, very little light allowed through. A nice tan & creamy finger and a half of head, nice big bubbles in the head (i used the words Fluffy in the middle). My immediate thought is this is some type of porter 3

S this has the smell of a milk stout - lactic acid, cream, light chocolate, raspberries, & alcohol, 3

T Chaseabeer remarks that the beer tastes as if it was slightly barrel aged, I agree. I am getting raisins, fruit, sweet lactic flavor, sweet malt, vanilla, cake & alcohol.. this is perplexing me.. the appearance and smell says Porter but the flavor has me thinking a BA barleywine.. the more i drink, the more i pick up on the porter characteristics.. My guess at this point is CW Mudpuppy porter. 4

M this is nice. smooth mouth feel, coats the mouth. It is just right for a porter. The alcohol while present doesnt effect the creaminess this beer permits. 3.5

O I am pleased with this beer. It is familiar, yet I am racking my brain. I would definitely seek this beer out and drink it again. we are both voting a CW beer at this point 3.5

The reveal: what?!? BA Shipwreck Porter by Arcadia Ales. Awesome! I havent had this before but what a treat! Thanks Alewatcher!! Simply delicious.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,010 ratings.
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