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: 332 | Ratings: 1,017
Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The ever-steady Shipwreck porter goes under the knife, or at least under the barrel for an extreme make-over that hardly resembles the original robust porter. This bourbon infused taste is extreme in its bourbon character and savory because of its added age.

The Bourbon Barrel Shipwreck is the common deep and ominously dark brown, hinging on black although brazenly tawny at its extreme margins. As the nose hovers over its dainty creme-like froth, the strong booze of bourbon is obvious, along with its oak, charred fruit and roasted grain. To taste, its the malty-sweet molasses, chocolate and caramel to coat the palate first.

Those sweeter malt tendencies saturates the mouth deeply and provides a buffer for the intensity of bourbon to come. Burnt toast, espresso and an nutty taste transitions from sweet to earth while the booze soaked flavor grows. Grilled cherry, berry and currant lurk in the background while the barrel's caramel, vanilla and oak presence dominates the finish.

Full to taste but dry and roasty,the porter carries a dry, semi-ash, semi-powdery tannic character in mouthfeel. With the coffee-like bitterness balancing the sweetness and facilitating dryness, its the palate numbing bourbon that shapes the final impressions and turns this otherwise somber and drinkable porter into a slow sipping affair, easily replacing sherry or cognac as an after dinner digestive.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours black with a very thin tan head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate.

T - The flavor follows the aroma with bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate upfront. There are some dark roasted malts and oak that really show up midpalate. Light alcohol warmth in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

O - Very tasty beer. Lots of rich flavors throughout. This is a delicious sipper.

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Photo of NavyGoat
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just tried this Porter and I would drink again; probably paid too much for this 12 oz bottle but what the heck. Very nice smell of oak bourbon barrels and great look. The taste is yummy but does have a slight bite.

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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 StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

huge fan of the style, i say that a lot, but this bourbon barrel edition has to be one of the most decadent beverages going. at 12% abv and with enough boozy sweetness to render its lager yeast past a distant memory. a half shade lighter than shiny black shoe polish, the head surges near the rim of the glass on the pour, and only relaxes slowly. it smells incredible, dry fruity must, the wood is very very prominent, and the lack of bitterness in the malt base means the sweetness of the bourbon is high. they may have overshot the grain bill just a bit, as this beastly bodied brew has enough sugar to keep on going up. good bourbon barrels i suspect, as there are no weird thin fusel notes on this, and the charcoal aspect is there all the way. ashy almost burnt malt flavor in the middle, before it gives way to traces of rum, licorice, and espresso. potting soil earthiness to it as well before the sugars come on. the alcohol is very strong, no denying that, i wonder what lager yeast they used to get it here. the science is as interesting as the final product. a bold but elegant brew on the whole, my first form arcadia. maybe not my favorite baltic porter, as the thing that makes that style awesome is paved over a bit here, but the beer is of astounding quality. id like to cellar one awhile. thanks to thebrewo for opening this one with me!

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: black body of beer, slim finger of tan foam atop; naught but a few motes of lace trailed behind...

S: potent bourbon, chocolate and vanilla issued forth and persisted throughout the drink...

T: the bourbon and wood, chocolaty malts and vanilla-like accents from the nose were all there, coupled with a strong anise/licorice flavor

M: medium-bodied, low carbonation, low bitterness; vague bourbon barrel vapors in the mouth; the licorice character really wrapped itself around my tongue and stayed there - the best feel of any porter I've ever had

O: completely stunned - not often partial to porters, this one easily eclipsed the very best of 'em - the bourbon barrel aging was superior, coupled with some favorite flavors and feels. Gotta try it.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

dark brown pour, rich creamy beige head. massive bourbon aroma right away. tons of vanilla as well. taste is creamy smooth with the vanilla really shining through. lots of chocolate too. the bottle has been sitting for over 2 years now so i dont get much booze. age has done this well. i think im drinking it at the perfect time. body isnt the fullest but its not meant to be for the style. very very easy to drink. awesome!

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Photo of breakingbland
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle. Let it warm-up a bit from fridge temperature. The beer is a nearly opaque black-brown with red highlights. There was a scant dark brown head. The aroma is fairly typical of a barrel aged beer: oak and bourbon with a hint of sweet malt -- and virtually no hops. The taste follows, but the oak and bourbon are slightly downplayed compared to other similar barrel aged beers, letting more of the porter's character to shine through. As a result, some roasty malt is evident. The body is medium with medium-light carbonation. Overall, this is more what I'm looking for in a barrel aged beer: less of the cloying oak and bourbon sweetness that is characteristic of many others. Too bad it's so pricey, so this one will remain a special treat.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown body, quarter finger offwhite head, fair retention time, minimal lacing. Pours essentially to flatness in a hurry. About as expected for a big BA porter like this.

S- Milk chocolate, bitter roast, bourbon, a bit of oak and mustiness. Mostly bitter roast and chocolate. A reasonbly hefty bourbon barrel nose, hints of vanilla as well.

F- A bit of an astringent bitterness, bourbon flavours, milk chocolate, coffee. Decent complexity, but a hefty amount of bourbon makes this a fairly hot drinker. A bit of umami. It all seems to be a bit muddled in my opinion, but certainly not terrible.

M- Medium-thin bodied, low in carbonation. A bit sticky with some umami on the aftertaste. As mentioned previously, it is quite a hot beer.

O- Not my thing. Decent, but hasn't melded together as well as it could have.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

January 11, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Black, slightly oily, with high viscosity. Appears to be clear, but mostly opaque. A thin layer of light tan head with low retention.

S – Vanilla and bourbon, oak barrel character is up front. Some roastiness and chocolate, caramel. Hop aroma is not discernible.

T – Vanilla along with some bourbon, oaky, alcohol warmth. Roasted but not very bitter malt, with some chocolate in the mix. Hops might be slightly herbal/medicinal, but that may just be the bourbon. Hop bitterness in the finish.

M – Alcohol is a bit harsh. Low carbonation and medium body, relatively thin compared to complexity of aroma and flavor. Very sweet to start and then bitter to finish. A bitter and slightly astringent aftertaste.

O – Has an aroma profile to match the best barrel aged beers, but the alcohol is a bit harsh and the bitterness is not very pleasant in the finish. A tasty but unbalanced beer, to a fault in this case.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very bourbon forward barrel aged porter. The booziness is apparent from the nose right from the get go. Definitely get a lot of toffee, caramel and chocolate here. At 12% this packs a punch, but it goes down easier than the ABV would have you imagine. A sipper with complexity and a smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is a fantastic example of this particular style of beer.
Perhaps a bit extreme in some respects (the bourbon flavor/alcohol bite) but overall a pretty awesome brew.
Delicious. Recommended.

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar but very dark brownish red near the edges of the glass when held up to a bright light. It poured with a short white that quickly died down, leaving only wispy lacing on the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon and associated vanilla are present in the smell.
T: The taste follows the smell and has moderately strong flavors of vanilla and bourbon. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and finishes a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slight bits of warming from the alcohol are perceptible.
O: This beer tastes nothing like a 12% abv beer and is incredible drinkable because the alcohol is very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Whopping $8 single -- same price I paid for the BCBS I had a couple weeks back. No wax cap on mine -- instead it had a cute little tin foil red hat. No bottling date at all: no month, no year.

Appearance: Slow pour right down the middle of the glass gave a light, creamy tan head about a finger high. The beer is just what I expect from a porter: clear black/ruby when held to light.

Smell: Just when pouring this I could smell all of the bourbon. They say this is bourbon barrel aged, but are they sure the barrels were empty? Loads of bourbon on the nose with vanilla. Strangely, it's almost as if the roasty notes and faint dark fruit aromas are what's accenting the barrel, rather than the other way around. I really don't mind much, since I don't think much can smell better than a BBA'd stout or porter, but a little less bourbon would make more sense for balancing reasons.

Taste/feel: First things first, very thin. This beer just about has the body of a 5% porter. I was expecting a little more of a body than what this one has... I liken it to skim milk. There's a light prickly carbonation in there, but it almost comes off as a bit flat. The feel just doesn't quite match the ABV... a *little* more body would be great. The taste has plenty of bourbon, but it's not overwhelmingly intense. In fact, the thing I'm most impressed with is the mellowness of the alcohol -- I honestly get nothing in the smell, taste, or feel. I would guess this was something like a 7% BBA'd porter. If you don't like bourbon though, you likely won't like this beer. Some BBA'd beers just accent the base beer: while I haven't had regular Shipwreck Porter (does it exist?), this beer is all about the bourbon with vanilla notes, some oak, and then the coffee and dark chocolate you'd normally expect.

Really nice beer that slowly gets better as it warms. It stays true to being a porter with its mouthfeel, but I still can't help but feel it could use a little bit more body. As it stands, it's way too damn drinkable for an 11-12% beer. This beer is an absolute treat, but at $8 a single, it makes me hesitate... but it also makes me wonder, why do I think twice about getting a 12oz bottle for $8, but I don't double take at the price of $18-$20 for a 22oz bomber?

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Photo of Dan_Inreallife
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours oily black with almost no head to speak of, but a creamy and lasting lacing on the edge of the glass. Smells of rich caramel and oak with hints of chocolate and booze. Taste is similar to the aroma with a strong Bourbon presence and lots of toast and toffee. Mouth feel is slightly more smooth / lighter than what you'd expect from the malt profile and barrel presence. Finishes sweet and clean.

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Photo of rooskey379
3.75/5  rDev -9%

A: thicker dark khaki head than expected. Pitch black up to the light.

S: bourbon, booze all day. Vanilla.

T: boozy, bourbon comes through, less complex than expected. Really, it's booze, a hint of choc, and a hint of vanilla. Was expecting more.

M: thinner, felt like coating could have been better.

O: for 9$, I will skip.

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Photo of mchegash
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with hints of red along the edges of the glass. About one to two fingers of dark-tan head.

Smell - 3.75/5
Vanilla, alcohol, oak, bourbon. The aroma is slightly sweet.

Taste - 4.25/5
Vanilla, oak, bourbon. Fairly sweet. Tastes similar to Dragon's milk except much less roasty, and more alcoholic flavor. I think I prefer Dragon's Milk.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Smooth, carbonation is fairly light. Medium bodied.

Overall - 4/5
This was a fairly good Oak-bourbon-barrel-aged beer. However not my favorite. I would prefer Dragon's Milk or Backwoods Bastard any day. Also, definitely not worth the $9 I paid for a 12oz bottle.

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Photo of ClePaul
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look 9/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 34/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 88/100

Really good BA Porter, very smooth and extremely easy to drink at 12% Was also extremely pricey which will keep me from giving it a ringing endorsement, however price aside, it was a very good BA ale worth a try. No huge bourbon tones, just lots of rich dark chocolate flavors. Really not as complex as I would hoped~

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%

Review taken from notes in early 2014.
This batch was just released and the review was taken the day it arrived.

12 oz brown bottle with a cherry red wax covering the cap running down the neck. Very nice look. Black label with white and gold lettering and all the info needed letting you know this is indeed aged in bourbon barrels. Poured into a 12 oz stemmed tulip snifter.

A - black in color with shades of deep brown in the light. Head poured bigger than expected and it's dark tan color leaned toward a shade of brown. Head settles to a nice ring of lacing leaving decent stick to the walls of this tulip snifter. This also has some particles floating about its midnight black body.

S - straight from the barrel, bourbon aromas. Big vanilla, hints of chocolate, little touch of chewy caramel, and roasted malts all grab hold of the nose and take you running on a barrel of bourbon barrel aged goodness.

T - nice big bourbon flavor. Vanilla, sweet caramel, faint hits of bittersweet chocolate, big roasted malt character with the sweetness balancing the roast to near perfection. Dark fruit and fig flavor find themselves dancing among the bourbon sweetness and roasted malts as this warms. Finish has some booziness from the alcohol and big bourbon flavor, but only add to its excellent taste.

M - full bodied and flavorful. I was worried this may be a bit thin, but boy was I wrong. The texture and thickness were exactly as I want in a big bourbon barrel aged brew. It has some booze, but I found it very drinkable with a smooth, sticky, coating texture.

O - Bourbon barrel aged Shipwreck was a real treat and honestly a bit under appreciated in my view. This thing is class in a bottle and I will look for it every time a batch is bottled. It keeps true to barrel aging big brews while adding some unique character from the Michigan brewery. This put Arcadia on the map for me and opened up many other experiences for me and their offerings. Very delightful stuff.

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Photo of JefferyLaGrow
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

A: Black as night. Little head and what is there is heavy and dark

S: Lots of bourbon upfront. a little hint of vanilla, and roasty malts

T: Sweet, with a little bit of caramelized sugar in the initial taste. Dried fig. BOURBON. This puppy had some booziness to it. Almost too much.

M: Slightly rough on the tongue, followed by the heat from the alcohol. Perfect carbonation level.

O: I really like this beer. It has a great flavor, and some booze to make this a great fall sipper. It didn't seem to mellow as it warmed, and the alcohol intensified. I still enjoyed every sip...

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Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Wow. This is a huge brew. Really wow sums it up.

The blackness is full of booze, and you get this huge booziness in the aroma, taste and aftertaste. It overpowers all of everything else this porter has going on.

The roasty goodness that brew could be is completely overbalanced by the booziness. That said, I would still recommend this for a huge beer that does not hide it's hugeness but rather wears it proudly.

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Photo of BakaGaijin
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%

Poured from a bottle. Really difficult to get the wax off the top. Not sure how old this bottle is.

A - Pours very dark. Small head with tiny bubbles. Decent lacing.

S - Dates, caramel sweetness, bourbon

T - Nice date flavour up front, then some bourbon, then it is too bitter and astringent.

M - Fairly thin mouth and you can taste the alcohol, however, considering that this is 12% that is to be somewhat expected.

O - Not bad. Wouldn't go out of my way for another one, but it was decent.

*additional note - I drank the second half of the bottle at a colder temperature and it was more pleasant. Some chocolate notes came out and the finish was less bitter.

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Photo of emyers
4.36/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours near black with a thin beige head dissipating quickly into lacing. Leaves a slight lacing down the glass.

Smell: Bourbon up front, cocoa powder, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Similar to the smell, with bourbon leading the way balanced nicely by dark chocolate and vanilla. Some roasted malt and oak on the finish. Good bourbon presence but remains very balanced throughout. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied. Appropriately low carbonation level. Very smooth.

Overall: Strong work from Arcadia - really nails the bourbon barrel presence without letting it take over the beer.

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Photo of Smokesnotes
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Almost hard to open wax was so thick!

Pours nice, very dark brown almost black.
Not much head and is surprisingly white not brown.
Great smell, vanilla, oak.
Good up front taste, a little creaminess, bitter finish.
Very thin mouthfeel.

Overall a very good beer. Not quite as good as a BB stout but worth a try.

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Photo of garuda
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Black, with a brown head that has good retention and lacing.

S/T - Bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, vanilla, touch of smoke, pine hops deep in the finish.

M - Full body, but not as chewy or thick as I like for the abv. Medium carbonation. Stays smooth, coats the mouth.

O - With an abv like this, I can't help but compare to others in the same range. This is very good, but not quite THAT good.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,017 ratings.
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