Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | The Schlafly Tap Room

406 Reviews
Read the review
Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial StoutSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is brewed with a big malt flavor, plenty of hop bitterness for balance and roasted barley that imparts notes of dark chocolate. As a finishing touch, the beer is transferred to freshly-emptied Kentucky bourbon barrels and aged before being carbonated and bottled. The barrel aging gives the beer a spicy, vanilla character and a pleasant, warming finish.

In the 18th Century, Imperial Stout was first brewed in London for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. The beer had to be robust enough to maintain during transport.

This beer will continue to age well in a cool dark place for several years, but it is ready to enjoy now.

40 IBU

Added by maxpower on 11-23-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 406 | Ratings: 956
Photo of macher0
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Very dark brown, not quite black. Poured a frothy amber head that retreats to a fine-bubble rim which creates spotty laces.

S. A nice balance of figs, vanilla, and toffee are created from the dark malts and bourbon barrels. The barrels are certainly present but not an overwhelming bourbon presence.

T. A very nice relationship with the nose. A noticeably bourbon/barrel relationship that creates notes of marshmallow, coffee, vanilla, tannins, and chocolate. A little booze on the end.

M. Not very smooth, high carbonation, full body, and moderate viscosity.

O. A good BA stout. The are better and certainly worse. I like the way the hops mesh with the other variables to create a bitter coffee character. I dig the smell but the taste and feel fall short from the booze on the end. It's not as hot as others, but enough to influence the overall scores.

 861 characters

Photo of M_J_Z
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Had a little bit of this last weekend. Good stuff! My notes from Untappd: "Creamy, milky, a lil' funky, boozy ... lots going on here." I was impressed. Not a perfect RIS or barrel-aged beer, but very enjoyable, smooth and delicious. I'd like to try more at some point. 4-4.25 (I rounded up to 4.5 on UT).

 304 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pop the top on a 750mL of their 2013 stock, pouring into our now broken-in St. Bernardus goblets. The coloring reflects tones of sticky blackstrap molasses, while its one finger head shimmers a lighter shade of sandstone. Retention is reasonable, with cakey sheets of lacing left around the glasses. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be medium. The aroma offers big drying oakiness, moss, heavy fruity booziness, nail polish, sugary sweet chocolate and coffee malts, vanilla bean cloy, almond extract, sea salt, smoked cinnamon sticks, black cherries and aged strawberries, soy sauce, rich hazelnut chocolate mousse, corny bourbon, and salted caramel. The taste opens with the liquid sugar of dark and milk chocolates, sustained vodka booziness, soured oak bite and char, chocolate covered cherries, cherry liqueur, licorice, confectioner’s sugar, tamarind and soy, distant lime soda, latex, buttery diacetyls, matchstick sulfur, creamy coconut milk, gentle but sticky piney hop bitterness, powdered yeastiness, spiced bourbon warmth, white paper, and maple bark. The body is thick and oily, and the carbonation is medium to high. Slurp and smack pull nicely on the lip, but cream and froth are lost to that oily, slickened background. The mouth is left densely coated, with high grade sting lingering from the alcohol, and touchy dryness from the oak. The abv is stylistically appropriate, and the beer sips accordingly.

Overall, this is one hell of a sweet beer; so much so that the sweetness is in place of flavor. This is not to be confused with boldness, it is just very sweet. It is only after you wait three to four minutes after the sip that you begin to appreciate its subtleties of flavor. If we’re going to be extra picky here then we do have to mention that, if you’re calling this a Russian Imperial Stout, then it just simply isn’t bitter enough. The oak tries to work you down, in all of its sourness and char, but this appears when the beer reaches room temperature, and not really a second sooner. Once you get used to it, it does seem to go down smoother, much in the same sense that Choklat does. Other than general quality of ingredients, what really sets this beer apart is the heavy oakiness. This adds to nearly every aspect of the beer, obviously including flavor as mentioned above, but it is most notable through the feel where it effectively dries off an oily base. This is a fine beer, and perhaps a fresher bottle would have given us more of that Russian intensity, bitterness, and balance that might have put this one over the top for us.

 2,620 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

This is a big beer with tons of Bourbon character. The nose is a bit deceptive with some sweet tones of vanilla, coconut and the whiskey creaminess. The flavor is strong bourbon flavor as if some one spilled a shot directly into a stout. As it warms I get more chocolate from the base beer with barrel added coconut and vanilla. The finish is a bite of liquor with an after thought of raw whiskey. As bourbon barreled beers go this seems to have absorbed more of the liquor than any other stout I've had. That's a good thing for me.

 532 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a dark brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of vanilla and strong bourbon notes with sweet roasted malt notes. Taste is also dominated by loads of vanilla notes with strong bourbon notes and quite a bit of residual sugar notes with light black chocolate. Body is somewhat full with an oily like texture and medium carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Bourbon notes are quite dominant but there is just too much residual sugar for my taste at the end of the day.

 542 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage

I don't think it aged well. Getting more oxidation than I had hoped with some slightly tart off-flavors. Bourbon and some chocolate are in the mix as well. You win some and you lose some.

Mouthfeel is week also. Made the mistake of loosing this one in the cellar until recently so I'm sure this is better fresh.

 327 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2007 Vintage

A-Pours dark brown with an almost oily texture as it drains from the bottle. Lacking any head.

S-Clearly smells oxidized. Hopefully it isn't too badly blown out. I get much more dark fruits than I was expecting. It smells very, very sweet. The bourbon has faded but it's still there.

T-Oxidization is a problem here but it hasn't ruined the beer. Aside from the oxidization, there is a tons of alcohol-soaked dark fruits and figs. Raisins, and booze-plums. Loads of molasses and an old coffee flavor. Softer whiskey flavor as well. Well integrated flavors.

M-Nearly cloying. Chewy sweetness. Could use a sip of water after some of this beer. Flat.

O-A bit too old. It's aged into a beer that isn't all too Stout-like in flavor. Aside from the Oxidization, I was impressed that the whiskey barrel flavor still stuck around rather well.

 852 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 vintage.

Appearance - Black with some faint red flecks when I hold it up to the light. Nice off-white head. Thick collar. Some nice lacing in the glass.

Smell - Lots of dark fruits. Bourbon. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. Smells kinda like Pannepot, as odd as that sounds. It has that dark fruit and cola thing going on.

Taste - More stout-y. Roasted malt. Dark chocolate. Still an ample caramel malt presence as well as some dark fruits and cola flavors. Dry oaky finish. Seems a little oxidized, but in a pleasant way.

Mouthfeel - Not all that boozy. Easy to drink for its size. Creamy.

Overall - It's a-typical, especially in this era of craft beer. It just doesn't taste like a huge imperial stout loaded with bourbon. It tastes like a well balanced stout with ample, but nuanced barrel notes.

 838 characters

Photo of bryanbullock
3.51/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The bros were right this is not a 90 plus bba stout. The pour is high carbonation, but more transparent coloration than you want in a bba stout. The aroma is quite nice with very strong coffee and chocolate with something of a coconut undertone. The taste is weak and does not do justice to a stout more like an imperial porter, the smoothness of a bba stout is consistent. The mouthfeel too watery but good carbonation. Overall a sub par bba stout.

 455 characters

Photo of Kcastr01
4.89/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one is at the top of my list. It's a fine celebration brew but not for a night out. It's heavy. You need to be prepared to sit and really focus on it after dinner. Heavy malt notes. Excellent aroma and oaky undertones. You can drink it alone but you better not be needing to drive. A Thick creamy head with a nice finish.

 326 characters

Photo of hardy008
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Vintage

Pours black with ruby highlights, and a one finger creamy tan head with nice retention and lacing. Has a very nice aroma with chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, coconut, dark fruit, and oak.

This beer tastes every bit as good as it smells with chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, coconut, dark fruit, roasted malt, and oak. Sweet without being overly sweet. Creamy and warming. The alcohol is well hidden, especially for a 10.5 % abv beer aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and creamy. Just a very well made beer, which is a pleasure to drink.

 606 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark black colored with just a smidgeon of light getting through when held up to a light. Brussels lacing. Nearly a half inch of khaki colored head with a few large bubbles of carbonation mixed in with what is otherwise a tightly knit head. Aroma is a luscious blend of fig, plum, black licorice, bourbon and roasted barley. The taste is a very compelling blend of sweetness along the lines of fig, black licorice, bourbon and plum. You then get the roasted barley component on the back of the palate along with the warmth of the alcohol and then it's right back to the sweet notes of fig, black licorice, bourbon and plum on the fade. The mouth is silky as well as a bit warming on the back of the palate. In summary:It's complicated, but in a good way.

 754 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2008 vintage enjoyed from a schlafly tulip.

a - opened the box, ripped the cap off wax n all and filled my glass. Brew poured a watery brown that settled in the glass a bit darker. medium build head of grey foamy bubbles that didn't hang out but left some chunky lacing and a skin of bubbles on the surface.

s - nose boasts syrupy dark fruit with some boozer infused chocolate. Smells rich and a bit sweet. Brown sugar.

t - a bit oxidized and likely past its prime. Dark chocolate and booze notes over an almost hybrid stout and brown ale. Nothing too crazy.

m - surprisingly thin and watery for such a big beer.

o - overall this vintage had probably seen its day. A bit thin and the stout base seems to be lacking balls, but this is fairly old for a stout.

 762 characters

Photo of kdahnke123
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2013 Vintage. Poured into a snifter. The color was a little muddy and the head was very light. The smell is of the bourbon with light roasted malt. The taste is light with the bourbon coming through later. On the whole a very light stout with a small amount of bourbon. Not to be repeated.

 289 characters

Photo of argock
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottled on 102213 on sticker on the bottom of the bottle. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Opaque black in the center but more chestnut at the edge with a short cap of beige head which fades quickly to a rim of bubbles and leaves a few spot spare spots of lace.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, rum, raisin, date, and roasted malts. Alcohol is easy to sense.

T: The flavor is solid for a BA stout, but it is missing a few flavors such as coffee and the chocolate is muted a bit as the bourbon comes on kind of strong. I thought 3 months would temper this, but I was mistaken. There are some dark chocolat ebitter flavors and the vanilla is nice, but there could be more stouty flavors, and maybe a little more time would allow more of the bourbon to fade and the stout to come through. The bottle says though that it is ready to drink now.

M: The mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the style, a feature of some of the mid-tier offerings in the BA IS category. The carbonation is low as it should be. Any bitterness is related to the dark chocolate and a bit of mineral character.

O: Schlafly puts out some nice beers, and this is no exception. But compared to many other BA brews (e.g. KBS, BCBS, Cafe Royale), this one is a little behind the curve. Not bad by any means, but simply good and solid.

 1,372 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Took a picture of the bottle, but I can't tell from it what year/vintage this was.

Appeared pretty much like a typical stout: dark brown-black color, absorbing all light except around the edges; a lively tan head sank to a wispy layer, lacing the glass slightly. Aroma of dark roasty malts, and pretty hot with bourbon. Flavors of bourbon, dark malts, roasted coffee, unsweetened cocoa, ash, with some subtle dark fruit sweetness. Medium-full body, somewhat smooth, somewhat hot...10.5%ABV was not hidden. Overall a solid BA stout.

 532 characters

Photo of sprucetip
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage from a bottle.

Pours inky black, and needed an aggressive pour to get a finger of mocha foam that hung around briefly before fading.

After over 3 years at least, and proper warming, the nose is still booze pretty booze forward. I get the barrel, and the bourbon too, to a lesser extent. I can sense the malty body but not really smell it. I am not really getting any roast at all. A little bit of licorice. But the booze is too strong. Trying to imagine it fresh…

The booze is prominent in the taste as well, but not so much as in the nose, thankfully. Barrel, bourbon, booze, molasses, and malty sweetness are detectable. I just barely get a hint of the roasted grains, and not much of the expected vanilla from the barrel. I blame this on it being too hot. Still pretty damned good, but if it wasn't quite so hot (after 3+ years) it might maybe be an elite beer.

Low but adequate carbonation, full body, moderately viscous, and some gentle bitterness.

Overall, it's a very good and interesting beer. But it's too hot. The 2010 is too hot in 2014. So some of the complexity and layers are hidden under the boozy heat, or it might be amazing.

 1,164 characters

Photo of KFBR392
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 Vintage

Appearance: Pours with a medium dark color and sits black in the glass. Light brown head of about a half finger on the pour. Above average active carbonation for a IS.

Smell: Boozy bourbon front. Some mild medium bodied fruit accents. Strong backbone of heavy malt, vanilla, molasses, and caramel.

Taste: Creamy smooth front of vanilla and sweet malt. Barrel character takes well in the body providing balanced tones of bourbon and a slight potent sting on the palate. Earthy hop tones and medium bodied malt round out the back end. Fruit and some vanilla/bourbon tones left behind.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, certainly not light but could be heavier. A nice middle ground.

Overall: A good BA stout. Lots of traditional checkpoints you would look for but nothing is truly elite about it. The barrel character is definitely the strongest point of this brew, provides a ton of smooth creamy vanilla tones.

 924 characters

Photo of ISmith87
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4.5 - Pitch black, w a brown head. Dissipates down to a thick film. Nice lacing.
S - 4.25 - Dark fruits, chocolate, espresso, bourbon, coffee, vanilla, coffee.
T - 4.25 - Dark fruits, bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, espresso, little bit of belgian yeast type flavor.
M - 4.25 - medium heavy. Alc present but appropriate. Aftertaste is dark fruits, chocolatey caramel.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer, very unique. More dark fruits and red wine than the other imperial stouts. Not my favorite but a good one.

 528 characters

Photo of rapidsequence
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I think this is a 750 ml bottle. Crown capped from Pints OPlenty for $12.

Appearance: Pours absurdly thin. Brown translucent liquid. In the tulip it sits black and opaque except for a bit of reddish highlights. Bone white head with some decent lacing.

Smell: Bourbony vanilla, lots of sweetness, and some roasty malt notes. It smells good, but hardly complex. Very simple.

Taste: Wow, much better than the appearance and smell would lead me to believe. Much richer malt flavor profile. Restrained, but delicious bourbon contribution. Bitter, boozy, and sweet in the right amounts. Still not as full and complex as the great ones, but damn good.

Mouthfeel: Just thin, thin, thin and boring.

Overall: Weird beer. Its very tasty, which I guess is the most important thing. But goddamn it needs some body. Worth a try.

 820 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Shared with BPK59. 2008 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a darker brown hue with a thin brown head that fades relatively quick to leave light suds.

S - Aromas of malty bourbon, roast wood, light malt sweet. Super mellow and smooth.

T - Taste is super mellow bourbon, oak, light roast, malt sweetness, faint chocolate, alcohol hidden nicely. Slightly sticky/syrupy.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit heavy and syrupy.

O - Overall this was a fun stout, awfully sweet. Probably past its prime.

 499 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Stone IRS snifter. The pour is dark, clear mahogany (not black and not opaque) and sports a nice fluffy off-white head with some good retention for a barrel-aged beer. Nice nose with lots of chocolate, oak, and a hint of vanilla.

The beer has a medium-full feel and a predominantly sweet flavor. Up front you get a lot of sweet, creamy malt flavors with hints of milk chocolate. Right around mid-palate, the bourbon notes start to creep in and accent the chocolate with vanilla and oaky, boozy notes. On the back of the palate, the booziness intensifies just as the chocolate sweetness recedes and some dark fruit flavors come forward. A nice, warming boozy flavor is left lingering in the back of the throat.

Despite the appearance and a rather thin feel for this kind of brew, this beer has wonderful flavor and is a joy to drink. I passed on it several times until they offered it at my weekly beer tasting. Once I tried it, I decided to buy it the next time bottles were in stock (that was today). No buyer's remorse. None. Just good drinkin'. Cheers!

 1,085 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2008 Vintage

A: Pours a clear yet opaque jet black in color with very light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some amber + cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy light tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film (with a fair number of larger bubbles) surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon dominate the smell of this beer though there are some light/subtle notes of roasted malts and dark fruits.

T: Upfront there are some light flavors of roasted malts with some hints of chocolate and dark fruit sweetness (I detect some fig and plum). That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and light notes of oak. Hints of bitterness in the finish which linger.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol warming towards the finish as the beer warms up.

O: Due to the presence of alcohol and the strong bourbon flavors/aromas, this is a beer that needs to be slowly sipped. Nice flavors but quite rich.

 1,263 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Opaque black with a tan head that quickly dissolves into a thin collar. Naked and foamless by half glass. Our first beer in our etched wedding gift pint glasses.

A fine bourbon nose at first whiff. Black licorice bursts forward as it warms.

Bourbon, caramel and sweet vanilla dark malt flavor up front. No heat at all. Not much roastines either, maybe it's been in the cellar too long. Super smooth and velvety initially but dissolves into a too sweet syrupy mess after sitting in my glass for too long. A slow sipper but don't sip too slowly.

 545 characters

Photo of MikeWard
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Brick Wall Tavern, Asbury Park, NJ.

Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance was black, couldn't detect any othe tones, as it was a bit dark in our corner of the restaurant. Not much head to speak off, and what was there dissipated quickly. No lacing at all.

Smell was quite enticing. Strong bourbon smell, with accompany sweeness and malts.

Taste was dominated by the bourbon. It's reasonable to assume that this is this years winter offering. Aging would undoubtably soften the edges quite a bit, and improve the taste and balance. Packs a strong punch at 10.5.

Mouth was on the plus side of medium.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer, really starting to enjoy BBA stouts & RIS. But would be wonderful to taste it after 2-3 years aging.

 757 characters

Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from The Schlafly Tap Room
4.05 out of 5 based on 956 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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