Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | The Schlafly Tap Room

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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

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Reviews: 406 | Ratings: 956
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

Appearance - pours opaque, a thin head of light mocha. Just a hint of brownish cola along the top edge when held below a good light. Short-lived on the cover, little if any lacing.

Aroma - boozy with bourbon, along with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Settles with coconut all the way.

Taste - roasty malts, sweet with a touch of ash. Hot boozy notes of bourbon alongside espresso. Big vapor on the swallow and lots of belly warmth. More a showcase of the bourbon than the melding of beer and spirits, but this is tasty nonetheless. Ends with a nice show of espresso, pairing nicely with some dark chocolate drops (intended for wine but way better this way).

Mouthfeel - thick and chewy. One massive body on this. Mouth-coating and sticky. Carbonation is lively, helping to move the beer around the palate.

Overall - no problem knocking this one off tonight solo, but if I had to do it again, I'd make sure to have one or two to share with. It could rest a few more years but I'm not sure that heat will tame down much.

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Photo of Tone
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged since 2008. Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of bourbon, sweet malt, roasted malt, yeast, alcohol, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, alcohol, slight yeast, hint of hop, slight bourbon, and hint of syrup. Overall, smooth body, mellow flavors, very tasty.

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

Served: pint glass poured from the bar tap.

Appearance: pours a dark black with mild carbonation topped with a tan head.

Scent: coffee and bourbon notes with a sweet vanilla scent along with the roasted malt and caramel.

Taste: silky smooth going in! Extremely well balanced. There is a bourbon tast that contributes a sweet layer of brown sugar and vanilla. There is a bold coffee taste that is undeniable and satisfying.

Mouthfeel: mildly carbonated and a weighty presence with full flavor.

Overall: I really enjoyed this stout. Very smooth, loads of flavor, and strong presence. Will definitely order again!

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Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Been in the growler for a day with some headspace.

Pours an opaque brown/black with a frothy half inch mocha head that lingers. Leaves sierra of lacing when it dissipates.

Booze is dominant in the initial aroma, with roast malt and chocolate taking over eventually. Nutty notes accompany coffee and vanilla, along with underpinnings of dark cherries, plums, figs, and licorice.

Flavor is boozy and fairly sweet initially, then drying out at the roasty finish. Vanilla and rich, caramelly bourbon add complexity to the chocolate and roast malt backbone. Dark fruit flavors are present, but are overpowered by the boozy vanilla.

Body is smooth and a tad thin, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Pretty rich flavor profile. Age would serve this beer well to tame the alcohol and open uit up. A little too sweet and bourbony. Becomes better the next day.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. 750mL into snifter. kept in cellar conditions since 2010.

A: pours a fairly dark brown, but definitely not black by any means. head is pretty disappointing. a thin rim of brown fizz. however, good lacing left behind.

S: a charred oak, rich. an inviting bourbon aroma. not nearly as strong as other bourbon barrel aged stouts, but I welcome the smoothness. roasted malt. chocolate.

T: a pleasant bourbon heat and flavor. heat definitely on the lighter end, but the bourbon is well flavored while not being over the top. otherwise some chocolate, finish gets bitter. bitter from dark grains, no hops here.

M: carb is mellow, a bit too mellow for me. full bodied.

D: a very drinkable bourbon barrel aged stout. haven't had this fresh, but I don't think time has done any damage here. very smooth bourbon stout. really enjoy the drinkability.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I received this bottle in a trade a few years back and have had it cellared since. Vintage 2009. Split with some friends. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep motor-oil black with a small dark tan head on top. Good carbonation present feeding the frothy cap. Great sweet aroma of vanilla, bourbon, milk chocolate, and mild whiffs of booze. I'm excited about this one.

Creamy smooth mouth. Subtle carbonation, warm finish. This is exactly how I want my big stouts to drink. Not sure how sweet this one was as a fresh bottle, but it sure is sweet going on 4 years now. The flavors have melded into what I would expect a chocolate chip/toffee cookie to taste like if it were a drink. Big vanilla sweetness, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar toast, fading bourbon notes. This was a treat, to say the least.

I'm always hesitant when I pull some of the older bottles to open, especially with other people, but time and again I am surprised at how good these beers develop. A nice one that I'd love to have again.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, one finger head.

S-Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, coffee and some roasted malt.

T-Mild bourbon and vanilla, a step down in intensity from the nose. Mainly chocolate and roasted malt.

M-Lighter for an Imperial Stout, not much carbonation and a tad thin.

O-A nice barrel aged stout but it needed to be a tad heavier and the nose was much better than the taste.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 bottle.

Pours opaque black with mahogany edging and a thin, bone head. A few whisps remain on the surface for the duration of the glass along with a few dots of lacing.

Dark chocolate, nougat, bourbon, and charred malts start the nose. Vanilla and Kahlua follow through.

Full bodied with a viscous, oily mouthfeel.

Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and Kahlua starts the palate. Black coffee and booze follow through.

Finishes with bourbon and roasted chocolate.

A big, boozy, and very smooth RIS.

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

Poured from a bottle into a Victory tulip. 2008 vintage

A- pours jet black with a half finger tan head that disappears to absolute nothingess very quickly. Well, that was a disappointment

S- vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate...not bad at all, though not overly pungent

T- lots of vanilla and chocolate coming through, very little heat whatsoever...overwhelmingly sweet, though. Yikes

M- medium bodied. Expected a much more viscous body than what I'm getting

O- not in love with this. Just seems...kind of there

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Photo of LeeAT
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a stemless crystal wine glass.

A - The color was reminiscent of a top shelf bourbon colored with a chocolate stout, carrying an amber hue with a deep dark mahogany presence.

S - All I remember smelling was an amazing blend of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and mocha - Maybe a slight tinge of Bourbon.

T - Immediately there was balance, and the palate followed the characteristics on the nose.

M - This beauty was medium bodied which allowed the flavors to layer and combine over the freshness which it held - yum!

O - I believe this was a perfect Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout and if you can get your hands on any, definitely pick up two.

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Photo of nihiloexnihil
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle poured into Dogfish Head semi-snifter.

A: Appears thinner than expected, brown color. Slightly darker than a brown ale but not nearly as black as I thought it would be. In the glass, the rim around the edge is brown with plenty of light filtering through-- definitely not super dense. Small amount of tan head that lingers in a little ring for the whole glass.

S: Bourbon. Then chocolate. Not much fruitiness or other aromas to it.

T: Delicious. Bourbon-soaked dark semi-sweet chocolate, a very slight oak-y or general barrel-aged flavor to it. A little understated on the malt. Overall the taste is not overwhelming, not too sweet, but not too much bitterness from the hops either.

M: It's just a little too thin on the mouthfeel to stand up to the great ones. But based on the amount of light getting through and its appearance on the pour, it's not unexpected and it's not necessarily disappointing. In some ways, the lack of significant viscosity makes it more drinkable, if not more enjoyable.

Overall: An excellent barrel aged stout that I will seek out again.

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Photo of Dope
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

A: Pours a dark brown with a very small and fizzy light brown head (despite an aggressive pour). Small dots of lacing as the head fades away pretty quickly.

S: Good amount of bourbon. Burnt sugar and dark fruits mainly. Quite a bit of oakiness too. Roasted malt is all but covered up, get maybe a little char, chocolate and anise.

T: Lots of bourbon up front but not overpowering. Again, burnt sugar stands out with some dark fruits. Bunch of vanilla and oak in there. Roasted malt comes in stronger in the middle with chocolate and char and anise, all covered in burnt sugar. More bourbon in the finish, oakier here with a bit of a drying character.

M: Full bodied but not too thick, bourbon cuts it nicely.

O: Not a bad bourbon-barrel stout. Bourbon is tasty and strong, almost too strong. My main complaint is that the roasted malt isn't strong enough to hold up against it. The bourbon isn't even that strong, it's just that the malt is too weak to counter it. Overall, however, it is tasty, mellow and decent complex so I can't knock it too much. It's just on the razor's edge of going from being a good bbal stout to a great one.

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Photo of morimech
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage

Appeard dense black in the glass with two fingers of head that had great retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left down the glass.

First whiff and I had my doubts about this stout being barrel-aged. But the bourbon does come out but it is a secondary aroma after the huge malt smell. Notes of molassas, cocoa, smoke, and roasted malt. After that then I get bourbon and oak.

Alcohol is fairly hot in this one. Does not allow the promising malt flavors to develop on the palate before the heat comes on. The malt flavor starts out sweet with chocolate and molassas hints. Has a little roast as well. Not bourbon forward but contributes a nice complimentary flavor.

Solid body and nicely carbonated. Smooth texture but is hurt by the heat that dominates the finish.

Not the most awesome barrel-aged stout. Does have some interesting aspects. Maybe I should of waited a couple more years and hoped the alcohol mellows out some.

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Photo of rodkin
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had the '07 through '10 side by side. Review notes are for the '10.

Dark brown, minimal head, looks slightly thin, not much lacing.

Smell is big bourbon vanilla, roast coffee, bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, oak, barrel.

Taste is chocolate, roast, vanilla, barrel. Stronger bourbon presence in the '10 than in the earlier years.

Mouthfeel is on the thinner side, though thankfully not overcarbonated.

The '10 was my favorite, followed by the '08, the '07, and the '09. The '10 had the best nose and the best mouthfeel, though the flavor was slightly muted compared to the '07 and '08. A fine imperial stout, though it really should be thicker and bigger on flavor.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage

A-black with a nice thick tan head

S-thick dark chocolate and bitter dark roasted grains. hint of licorice and the bourbon barrel. good strength

T-comes in with a great mouth full of lush dark chocolate and dark grains. definitely has a slight aged aspect to it that might be due to the bourbon barrel. it's not a complex stout, but it definitely lacks any off flavors or undesirable tastes. has a great matching after-taste

M-medium carbonation with a very dry finish

O-this might be the most drinkable RIS I've ever had. It's so smooth and just flows down my throat. It's almost quaffable at 10.5% while some 8% RISs must be taken by the sip. I really respect that. I do think it lacks some complexity that some expect with -bal beers. it's also less bitter than many RISs, though to my pleasure.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

One of these cold winter days, I won’t crave a stout...a pilsner, a porter, or maybe even a hefeweizen. But as it stands, it’s chocolate malt or nothing in this frosty weather.

2012 vintage with an indecipherable bottle date.

A: Pours a dark, thick brown with a short, beige head of cream. Filmy lacing with just a dusting of retention.

S: Hearty oak and roasted biscuit malt swim through a rich aroma of milky chocolate. Cinnamon, creamy vanilla, and molasses with a spicy bourbon element.

T: A hot bourbon character and drying roasts make this an intense drink from the start. Dense, chalky baker’s chocolate, raisin, and bubblegum are mixed with a bright sugar and anise flavor, lifting the palate instead of thickening it as expected. It’s a light flavor profile for such a strong beer. Cherry cough syrup and toasted coconut arise as the aftertaste settles in, a lightly peppery dryness that lingers for just a moment. Not as complex as expected.

M: Surprisingly thin. It drinks like a porter rather than giving the full stout feel. Frothy carbonation, but not enough to distract from the watery body.

O: While this is the “Reserve” series, it certainly isn’t the best stout Schlafly has released. The body is a little too thin, but it had the flavor to instantly attract me. Not sure how this would age, but it’s a little too typical a stout to warrant the price right now.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


Pours very dark, showing very little light through the edging. Less than a fingers worth of tan head. Nets of lacing.

The nose has a ton of caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut, dark chocolate and dry oak. Bourbon.

The flavors follow suit. Tons of dry oak intertwined with vanilla, oak, cocoa, coconut and toffee. Almond Joy.

The mouthfeel is medium-thick with moderate carbonation.

Overall, the bourbon barrels really play the star of this beer, and they are fantastic characteristics.

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3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle to tulip.
2010 Vintage. Sampled 06JAN13

[A] Pours a shade lighter than black with a half finger high head, medium-light tan in color. Semi compact but fizzing bubbles deflate the head swiftly. Each tilt of the glass throws dots of lace around the edge which are quick to slide back down. A thin collar shows a little life but a pretty still appearance otherwise. Ruby hints when backlit at it's thinnest points.

[S] Clean bourbon and barrel with a strong caramel note right behind. Roast, light char, dark and bitter chocolate and oxidized malts fill out the nose. Style and barrel treatment considered, complexity is average or just below.

[T] Bourbon is the over-riding flavor - and it is well integrated. Caramel and Maillard reaction offset with sweetness and depth of flavor. The wet, oaky, wood component comes through well. Bitterness to sweetness ratio is perfect. Very little heat. Aside from the bourbon, alcoholic flavor is impressively masked. Nice base beer, but the malt complexity has waned over extended cellaring.

[M] My favorite characteristic of the beer. The medium to medium-full body slides gracefully over the tongue just before a gentle but sustained effervescence sets in. The finish is smooth, relatively clean, and leaves enough flavor to enjoy well beyond the swallow. The 10.5% ABV is more apparent now than it was on the palate, in a perfectly fine way.

[O] This is definitely a quality barrel aged RIS. And at a great value, I would gladly purchase again - but I don't see the need in aging it as long as I have.

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Photo of rfbenavi80
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage. Bottle poured into a tulip. Enjoyed with a friend.

A- Pours a very murky dark brown with virtually no head to speak of. When swirling in the glass this beer has a very thin appearance.

S- Rich sweet bourbon hits the nose which seems to get sweeter as it warms. Roasted malt underneath the bourbon.

T- Bourbon hits the palate first. Followed quickly by a roasty, chocolatey stout. Pretty tasty.

M- Seems VERY thin. If this were thicker and stickier it would get a better score here. It's disappointing that it doesn't coat the palate like I want and seems watered down.

O- A solid offering from Schlafly. Just wish it was thicker.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage poured into a snifter

Pours a deep amber red color but turns black in the glass. Red around the edges. A slight off tan colored head. The beer is obviously bourbon forward. It is a very 50/50 balance of a stout and a bourbon ale. A perfect blent of roasted malts and bourbon ntoes. The bourbon aspect of the beer is a very rye and sour mash flavored bourbon. It adds a lot of vanilla flavors and a slight dry wood character to the beer. The beer portion is more subtle then expected. A lot of roasted malt and and a bit of a dark chocolate. The flavors are not too bold but they are balanced with the bourbon profile. A great bourbon stout and an entry to barrel aged beers.

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Photo of jdp11284
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Release -- Assertive chocolate aroma. Lovely bourbon presence. You can really taste the vanillin and some caramel notes from the barrel aging. Chocolate for days. Nice oily mouthfeel, although I would prefer a bit more viscosity as found in others in this class (e.g., Abyss, FiftyFifty). Overall, a tasty RIS! Will seek out again.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml, 2011 vintage
Bruery tulip

A: Pours a deep reddish brown. Not as dark as other BA RIS on the market. Not tons of head. Light tan head. Some lacing. Some alcohol feet.

S: Roasted malts. Deep chocolate. Some vanilla. Smells pretty good.

T: Front of the tongue, dark chocolate bitterness. Then mid palate you get more of that roasted malt bill. That caramel and toffee from the aging are there. Very nice little sip. Don't taste booze after a full year + in the bottle.

M: A thinner full bodied. Coats the mouth.

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Photo of rsdaugherty
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 into tulip, bottled 7/24/12
A – Only the thinnest edge of this black brew lets any light through when held to light, appears mildly carbonated, perhaps 1 finger tan head settled shortly to an edge crown 4
S – Chocolate, coffee, prunes, and brandy4
T – Vanilla & bourbon is front & center, chocolate takes a bit of a back seat, coffee, oak, with milder raisin notes. A spiced wood zip from the barrel, I enjoyed this significantly more as it warmed, alcohol is on the heavy side 4
M – Sub-par, did not fit with my mental expectation of a RIS. Rich, full bodied, but not thick. 3.5
O – Thanks to RHORNER for the trade. Don’t chill this much before drinking! A good brew that was lacking on the mouth feel. RIS flavor was all there, but thinner than I’d have liked. I enjoyed the forward bourbon barrel characteristics. 4

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap into pint at bridge in stl. Pours a deep black with a finger of tan head. Smell is roasted burnt malt and some sweet booze.
Taste is very sweet chocolatey syrup, spices, a bit of vanilla, and just plain sugar. Its way over sweet for me but easy. The bourbon really shows in this. The flavor is good but I expexted a lot more diversity instead of being so one dimensional. Its just too sweet for me. Good but not great.

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Photo of tut2528
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

A: pour is black as night with about 1/2 fingers worth of a light tan colored head formation that quickly dissipating. there is a thin film that remains once the head dies down.

S: a big bourbon sweetness is very prominent during the pour. there is a huge molasses character, the vanilla is big as well. i also pick up on alcohol soaked raisins and figs which mesh beautifully with the bourbon and oak. this is honestly a terrific smelling brew. a very very slight alcohol burn but it fits for this brew.

T: mega bourbon sweetness and beautiful alcohol drenched raisins and figs similar to the nose. there is a huge molasses character, some delicious chocolate, and a very nice creamy vanilla finish. The alcohol is warming on the lips and is felt but not quite "hot"

M: this might be the only complaint of the brew. i feel like it falls right in between full and medium bodied. I feel that the brew is has a certain "lightness" to it, when I feel that it should be a solid full bodied brew and almost chewy. (sorry but i have high expectations for bourbon aged stouts)

O: this is a very solid brew all the way around. the complexity isn't all there for such a big brew, but it makes up for it in its fantastic balance. i feel like i'm more critical to barrel-aged stouts more so than any other style, and this one receives a thumbs up IMO. Schlafly did a great job displaying this style and I'll definitely try to pick a couple more up to sit for another year or two.

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