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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Ratings: 956 |  Reviews: 406
Photo of ThoreauLikeAGirl
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.

Poured a very deep dark brown, almost black. Creamy 1 finger off-white head.

Smell: big time bourbon. Some roastiness. Nothing much else there.

Taste: Creamy and full-bodied. Bourbon. Heat from the alcohol. Finishes with some dark chocolate / cocoa powder. Very boozy. The heavy body of this beer definitely helps. I'm not sure if i could drink it if it were thinner than this.

Would think it would mellow out with some age, but this bottle was already 3 years old.

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

Pours a very dark black. Light tan head. Looks thin overall for an imperial stout. The smell is big on this one. Big bourbon notes, chocolate, roasty, coffee. The bourbon sticks out as the main aroma though. This beer neeeds time in the bottle, maybe 1-2 years to mellow. The taste follows the aroama. Big bourbon flavor, dark chocolate on the mid-palate, and a boozy finish. I would let this beer sit another 1-2 years before sampling again. It has potential though, and really this beer isn't bad, just needs some time.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage tasted.

Pours a dark brownish-black with a small and quickly receding tan head. Very minimal lace.

Nose has a small malty core that's completely sopping with bourbon flavors- bigtime coconut, maple syrup and terriyaki soaked beef jerky smells. A touch of chocolate too.

The palate is full-bodied with an added syrupy texture from the bourbon- minimum carbonation and enough hops to balance but remain silent. The sweetness nullifies the alcohol and then some, providing length to the milk chocolaty finish which turns toward dark caramel towards the end.

In it's extreme youth, this is a bit awkward of a beer, but it shows immeasurable potential to benefit from age. It's a touch sweet and sopping with oaky bourbon- as evidenced by that huge coconut aroma- but the combination of the sweet and smoky meat flavors should be brilliant and mellow in 5-6 years. Overall, not a bad brew at all. Glad I got just a taste this time, and next time I'll cellar one for some years.

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

2008 vintage, reviewed 3/26/2011

Pours black with a slight oily coating to the glass, the little head that does develop dissipates immediately.

Has a very sweet smell with a lot bourbon. Not just alcohol, but stick sweet bourbon.

Tasted upfront bourbon followed by a hint of chocolate. The finish is almost totally different with the oak of the barrel coming through making it dry.

It has a little more carbonation than I expected, but still manages to coat the mouth pretty well.

Overall, I found that I may have started drinking the bottle too cold as it got more and more good as it warmed slightly. A toffee flavor really starts to prevail with the warming.

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Photo of wnh
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Reviewed 3/11/2009.

Pours thick black with a very small off-white head that diminishes to a thin film. No highlights that I can see. The bottle and box are absolutely beautiful; it really feels like I'm about to partake in a special brew.

Nose is oaky and sweet, with bourbon up front. Sort of a sweet chocolate (more milk chocolate than dark) in the background.

Tastes oaky and sweet, following the nose. Loads of vanilla and bourbon, with minimal roasty undertones. A little too sweet for my tastes, really; it seems to lack a good roastiness to balance it out, but perhaps that's a product of the aging process for this beer. Medium-heavy bodied, leaning toward medium, but with a great oily slickness and pleasant alcohol warmth. Certainly a sipping beer.

Re-review 3/25/2011. 2008 vintage. 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a thinnish chestnut brown, opaque in the glass, topped by a small and fleeting frothy tan head.

Nose is packed and intense. Aromas of burnt grain, caramel, dark chocolate and bourbon are all mixed nearly seamlessly. As I search I find dark roasted coffee beans, earthy hops, molasses, and something not unlike black licorice.

Thick and full of bourbon on the palate. Sweeter and considerably less roasty than the nose suggests (this has also been my experience in the past). Lots of caramel and molasses, with an undercurrent of bitter and earthy dark chocolate. Quick, unexpected flash of hops on the finish, what I would describe as "green."

Full bodied and firm. Sweet and rich, but not quite cloying. Enough balance to prevent it from being overwhelming.

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

Pours a rich, near black color with thin cap of khaki colored head, little retention and lacing. Great scent that combines burbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, roasted cocoa beans, roasted coffee beans, black cherry, hints of brown sugar sweetness. Taste brings the components of scent together nicely without being overly powerful, the bourbon has mellowed and lost its burn, but not its flavor, the burbon, vanilla and oak cover oup the underlying stout flavors, which can't be judged alone. Heaier side of medium bodied, but thinner than expected from such a big beer. A nice beer that showcases the bourbon barrel againg and is quite drinkable with the burn aged off.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black beer, small tan head, little spots left on the sides. Appropriate look for a big stout.

S - Bourbon, wood, coconut, roasted malts.

T - I like this quite a bit. Besides the normal roasted and coffee character I get, which is quite good, this has the interesting taste of coconut in it. It is not distracting and actually a great addition to this beer. Some vanilla and would and notes of bourbon.

M - Just a little lighter than I would like, but not bad. Little dry on the end.

D - Good beer, and a pleasant surprise. Big fan of BA stouts and would drink this one again.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage - sampled 04/04/2011.

Schlafly Reserve came out the barrel looking as dark as it went into it - its pitch black complexion leaves no room for highlights and even less for clarity. Some play-doh like head forms but eventually tires at the hands of a double-digit alcohol; the lacing it leaves is sprayed as if a fire hose went off with no one there to man it.

The aroma has a creme caramel, rich vanilla, spiced oak persona that it has entirely the bourbon-barrel to thank. To the brewer's credit, this doesn't smell exactly like bourbon nor imperial stout, but rather a complimentary blend of the two. The fumes may make me feel lightheaded, but this rich potency shows a full disclosure of what's to come.

I feel like the Easter Bunny visited, deposited milk chocolates and then, in some twisted joke, injected them all with warm bourbon. It's an alcoholic's Easter - semi-sweet cocoa macerated in high-proof bourbon. A drop of soy sauce, a hint of smoked, Maui-Kahlua pork and a sickening amount of vanilla comprise the flavour components. Good, but very rich.

Wood spice and vanillin cushion the intensities of this barrel-aged offering; alcohol is humid as a June evening and leaves a blisteringly dry finish, a feeling like splintered wood. The caramel sweetness is short-lived, parting quickly to a hedonistic alcohol. It obviously hinders drinkability, but this is probably the intensity Schlafly had in mind.

Saint Louis is the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, one of the world's most commercial, industrial breweries, but Schlafly Reserve harks back to a time when craftsmanship and individual ingenuity still had merit. The use of bourbon-barrel - even four years aged - has a commanding, overarching influence that adds intensity and complexity to the standard American strong stout. A beer for those in the mood to shun the conventional.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gift from biegaman at least a couple years ago, 2007 edition. Pours black as tar with a two finger tan head that reduces but never goes away, solid foamy ring with sticky sheet lace. Hmmm, looks good! Aroma of malted milk chocolate prevails, sweeter tones imparted from the bourbon, lots of nutty impressions. Taste full and flavourful in the mouth, chocolate and heat, nutty and sweet, some smoke; aftertaste is a touch too alcohol for my liking. But man oh man, does it linger! This is alternatively sweet and delicious, bitter and biting, smooth mouthfeel, creamy texture, a really pleasant Imperial Stout with a kick-ass finish,

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Photo of nrbw23
3.35/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a dark brown almost black color with a tan head. Head becomes a thin layer of bubbles after a few minutes and leaves a bit of layered lacing here and there.

S- Smell is bourbon, quite a bit of sweetness, soy sauce, bit of wood, roasted malts and vanilla.

T- Bourbon is pretty solid, alcohol is here, a bit of darker fruits, wood, roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. Nothing really followed well here its just kind of a mess.

M- Medium in body and thinner than I expected. Also carbonation seemed ok.

O- Seemed kinda of a mess. I struggled drinking this one.

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Photo of stephens101
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009.

Grabbed this in a Missouri haul a while back and figured it was time to give it a try.

A small tan head covers this dark brown brew and floats away fairly quickly. Streaks of lace roll back into the brew like fish out of water.

Aroma of big caramel malts, milk chocolate, oak, cherries and vinegar. Bitter chocolate on the palate mixed with plums, raisins, anise, some pine and an abundance of dried oaken notes.

Creamy in the middle and dry at the end. Medium to heavy mouth-feel. Its not syrupy and has a few rough edges but goes down fairly smooth overall. Alcohol presence is obvious and a bit boozy, but doesn't outright burn.

Dig it.

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Photo of n2185
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage

A: Pours black with a finger of light tan head that quickly recedes into a thin ring with almost no lacing.

S: Sweet vanilla, oak, and bourbon dominate the smell. There are some hints of the roasted malts and slight chocolate aromas, but they're pretty faint.

T: Similar to the aroma, this beer is all vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors. The roasted malt presence is very slight. The finish has some toffee flavors as well as a decent alcohol burn.

M: Thick body with little carbonation, this beer thankfully is not too sweet or too alcoholic.

O: Overall, not a bad beer, but this beer tastes more like the barrel it was aged in than the beer that went into the barrel. It at least avoids being cloyingly sweet or extremely alcoholic like some other bourbon barrel stouts.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Pours jet black w/ a 1 finger caramel head which quickly goes away. Smells like chocolate, malt, and bourbon- great smelling beer! Bourbon is definitely in the forefront on the taste, w/ chocolate and malt in the background. Not as thick and chewy as I thought it would be, but a great tasting beer! Mouthfeel is very smooth, but not silky. Goes down very easily, although at 10.5% it's a sipper. Nice beer, and it would be good to age one of these for a few years.

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Photo of websherpa
3/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2010

Appearance: The beer looks very thin around the edges. Almost like flat cola. I think an Imp Stout should be a good deal darker.

Smell: The main thing to note how heavy the bourbon barrel influence is. The barrels really shine through with almost a cork like presence.

Taste: The barrel aging gives this beer some great flavors. Unfortunately I found the beer itself to be on the weak side. I feel like the barrel aging should compliment the beers natural flavors. Instead they overshadowed a thin and weak flavored beer.

Mouthfeel: Just way too thin for an Imp Stout.

Drinkability: The beer is not bad but it's not really a winner for me. The flavors just are not big enough for style. The barrel aging delivered, but the rest of the beer did not. Perhaps some age would mellow the barrel aging components and this beer could balance out.

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Photo of claspada
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage, what a find. Thanks Mom; great surprise B-Day gift.
Aromas of dark bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. No hops or alcohol, just decadence. As it warms you are offered the earthy/woody notes from the barrel aging, but they are only a slight complement and not a major contributor.
The taste is heavenly. Strong but well balanced between dark chocolate and coffee bitterness; crazy smooth and delicious. Only as this warms you can taste some extremely slight but pleasant bourbon notes which have undoubtedly mellowed after 4 years.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly less thick than I remember it. (First had this at the 1st Savor beer/food event in DC around 2+ years ago. Probably wasn't the same vintage, anyway...) Enough carbonation, but could use more for my taste. Not cloying or syrupy at all. Towards the end of the bottle this become a bit slick and sticky but that is just because of how big a brew this is.
Overall this is the perfect description/example of Russian Imperial Stout on the planet. Not the most complex by any means but the best to style, well-balanced RIS I've ever had. Get it, cellar it, enjoy eventually; highly recommended!

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Photo of mafeeker
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me start off by saying I have tried quite a few bourbon aged stouts, and this one is high up there with Goose Islands Bourbon County Stout.

A: Pours a dark midnight color with very little head that dissipates almost immediately, which is common for this style. Held up to light, the edges are nice and dark amber.

S: The aroma I get is strongly bourbon, with a little bit of malt breadiness and chocolate. There's also a pungent alcohol sweetness

T: The taste is fantastic. Sweet to begin, and then the caramel fruitiness of the bourbon comes through, the aftertaste leaves a little alcohol in the back of your throat. Finish is very smooth for the style.

D: Extremely drinkable for the style, be careful at 10.5%

Highly recommend this beer, even if you don't really like stouts generally, this style is like nothing you can find out there and this beer is a great example.

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Photo of samgiroux42
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up from my local Hy-vee, which has one of the best bear and alcohol selections in Columbia, MO. It had a Beer Magazine rating of 98 and I thought I would give it a try. I have always heard good reviews of Schlafly, but never had a chance to try one.

I was very impressed with the dark, earthy tone of the beer. There was almost no head, which kept this from a perfect score. The smell had the strong tones of Chocolate, coffee, and I believe cloves and ginger. Yet, there was a very strong alcohol smell. I guess at 10% alcohol, this should not be a surprise. The taste was great. Very smooth with the rich chocolate and coffee, but very hot due to the alcohol. The mouth was nice and oily with a richness to the tongue. Finally, it was very drinkable and I found myself going back to the glass for more.

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

Purchased in Nashville. 2009 vintage.

A: jet black, very little head
S: mild to medium nose but has all the right characteristics, roasted chocolate malt, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, nice
T: very nice but just having Central Waters BB stout it just doesn't stack up, good malt up front, nice balance of bourbon but misses the mark with rounded chocolate tones and loads of vanilla and caramel like CW
M: good, some EtOH noticeable but creamy and smooth
D: drinkable but somewhat flat in middle and needs a bit more depth all-around

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

growler from party town. looks decent, not much head but somewhat off black.

nose is bourbon, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, slightly boozey. overally decent.

taste is big coffee chocolate combo upfront, touch of dark fruit ,transitions to a nice vanilla oakey flavor and finishes try and tannic.

slightly thin in body, could have a little bit more heft to it. overall pretty solid, especially for the price.

overall this is a solid beer for what i paid for it.

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Photo of nickthetick
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: into a duvel tulip opaque black, with an aggressive pour I got a finger of head that thinned into a skin of khaki bubbles that leaves moderate lacing.

S: a lot of bourbon that is smoothed out by a dark roasted malt. Noticeable vanilla and caramel hints and some woodiness.

T: the dark roasted malt is surprisingly right up front, from the nose I expected a bourbon boozy mess. The body of the beer other than that is a lot like the smell. The subtle hints from the bourbon are there like the vanilla and the wood is still present. A nice smoke and sooth malt hangs.

MF: the beer is heavy bodied and chewy, it warms and its flavors blend well.

D: I stumbled across this in the back of a bottle shop and grab it because it was a 2008, if I saw it again I will pick it up to through in the cellar. Its a nice warming beer for a cold day.

Bottled in 2008

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Photo of jrallen34
2.54/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage, 750ml bottle poured into my Darkness snifter...The beer pours a light black, brown on the edges and in light. A very light tan head rises about a finger and half but then it falls way to quick to only leave a thing ring. So-so lacing...The aroma is way to light, almost boring. A hint of bourbon, a little vanilla, sweet mostly. A hint of chocolate. This really has to be knocked down...The taste is equally disappointing, you can barely tell this was barrel aged. Light oak, really boring bourbon, a hint of roast, and chocolate. Not bad or offensive, just such a high bar for barrel aged stouts and this isn't there...The feel is a little hot with a rough coffee quality that just doesn't fit.

I can't recommend this.

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Photo of harrymel
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to czoch75 for this one!
Vintage 2010
Poured to NB Globe

A: Even with vigorous pour, beer has little to no head formation. beer has scattered, translucent light latte surface film. Otherwise, tawny and dark brown beer with shimmering surface, and opacity faintly pierced to reveal a dark hazel brown.

S: Oh yeah, this is nice. The bourbon does a great job accenting the malt without overpowering as bourbon barrels can have a tendency to do. Vanilla, caramel, cocoa, malty goodness here. A hint of licorice dances in and out of my olfactory. Okay, maybe a bit boozy, but elegant and helps open up my senses.

T: A bit hot, maybe even too hot. The alcohol is evident here. Sweetens the beer, and over powers (IMO) the beautiful caramel and vanilla that are hidden in the background. This is a nice beer, but I think it needs more time. Leaves the palate dry and needing for more.

M: Full bodied, velvety low carbonation. Stings a bit with the apparent alcohol. Initially slicking, the beer quickly transitions to a drying leftover.

D: I think this beer is well crafted, but not great. I am interested to see how it develops over a couple years. I know that the baseline is great, but unfortunately the barrels carry the beer right now, it's not consensual.

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Photo of davesway10
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark stout poured from a huge 750 into a snifter. This really is a nice Bourbon Barrel aged Stout. Lots of Carmel, vanilla,and bourbon. Not real boozy, but the booze is there in the background. I'm pleasantly impressed with this beer and hope it remains available for future consumption.

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Photo of tlong421
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 - Imperial Stout

Overall, it was a good beer. I bought it on the fly, because it looked interesting especially given the year.

Appearance: what you generally get from a stout -- a nice, creamy chocolate color.

Smell: It's been aged for a few years at this point, but it still had a nice aroma of a vanilla bourbon

Taste: it lost a half a point because it was a little more bitter at the beginning. However, as I let it breathe a bit, it went down smoother.

Mouthfeel: a nice, creamy taste the entire time.

Drinkability: again, after a few minutes of sitting out, it went down much smoother. Poor choice on my part having falafel right before tasting which probably diminished some of the initial drinkability.

Overall, I would go for it again in a second if I found it in a store and would be curious to try their other yearly batches.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Thanks to jonny86jonny for the great extras!

A - Clear dark brown with a short lived, quickly collapsed, fizzy tannish head, that dies down to a thin ring of bubbles around the glass and whispy tiny bubbles across the surface. More carbonation is apparent when given a slight swirl. Little lacing.

S - Chocolate, vanilla, sweet caramel malts. Oak is not really apparent other than the subtle vanilla. Slight boozy alcohol aroma, but otherwise smells tasty.

F/M - Dark, roasted chocolate malts, with a little bit of a burnt character. Dark fruits and pleasant alcohol flavors. Again, the only sign of any oak aging is the subtle vanilla flavor. Moderately high bitterness, accentuated by the dark roasty malts help it to finish quite dry. Lingering burnt chocolate flavor. Medium bodied, a little thin for the style, with moderate carbonation.

D - Okay, but I was expecting a little more from a decently graded BA imperial stout. A little thin with muddled flavors and a little boozy - especially for having a couple year's age on it.

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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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