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 objectivemonkey
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First off, killer packaging. Cool box, cool graphics on the bottle. 2007 vintage at The Flying Circus Draught Emporium in KC.

Into a snifter, pours a solid black brown, viscous, a one inch tan head is brought easily back with a swirl. Nice veining lacing too. The aroma is intoxicating, it erupts from the bottle immediately upon opening, the seductive bourbon seeking my pleasure zones. Ya, for real. Lots of bourbon here, roasted malt and coffee, some nice oaky vanilla tones, beautiful.

The taste is similarly fantastic. Lots of bourbon again, very nicely done, not overpowering, but still impressive. Roasted malts are rich, some dark fruit hints, a little caramel sweetness and again some oak vanilla round it off nicely. Very, very tasty.

The body could definitely be fuller, but really can't complain too much. The carbonation is just right, slightly warming. In all, I was a bit set back when told the price, but stuck with it, quite pleased with the result. This is a fine, fine beer, one I'll certainly have to have again.

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

I sat and thought for a while about what I would drink for my 300th review here on BA. Having recently moved to Kansas, I am without Schlafly once again. Lucky for me I have several Reserves (Impy Stout and BW) laying down. So in honr of Schlafly the little brewery I miss most, here is review #300:

Pours a very dark brown, not quite black but it appears so from a distance. Definitely opaque still. A one inch light brown head forms and lingers with decent retention. A spotty soap like lace accumulates in a few places around the glass, but nothing terribly impressive.

The aroma is intoxicating. Big roasted malts, sweet caramel, a bit of oak, faint traces of chocolate, a little vanilla, and the bourbon just shines through. Really quite enticing.

The taste is quite nice. Even better than I remember. A roasty maltiness dominates, giving way to the sweeter side of caramel and chocolate. There is also a little vanilla present. The bourbon plays a special role on the finish with a bit of oakiness as well. As this beer warms small doses of coffee are available. A very slight alcohol warmth, but at 10.5% ABV it's virtually invisible.

The mouthfeel is pushing full bodied, and is slightly syrupy and creamy. There is a nice fine bubble carbonation tingle to be had as well.

Drinkability is moderate to high. The flavors are really lovely, and the alcohol is very well hidden. However, it is a rather large beer both in ABV and volume. Tackling this beast alone is doable, but not recommended. A great beer to share with friends on that cold winter night. Cheers to Schlafly, and to their continued success! May we see you in Kansas soon!

Cracked a 2007 tonight that I had sitting in the cellar for the last 4 years. Let's see what happened.

The bottle opened with an oh so familiar psssst, good sign.

The beer pours near black, with dark brown edges in the light. There is a thin pale brown head that forms on the pour and it lingers with decent retention.

The aroma is good. Roasty malts hit me and then chocolate chocolate chocolate. I really don't get much more than that.

The taste is not too bad. Again roasty malt, and chocolate chocolate chocolate. A lot has mellowed out of this beer. I don't get the booziness, the bourbon, the oak, or the vanilla. So on one hand it has lost a lot but what it's lost in flavor it makes up for in drinkability.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a light carbonation profile. It's a bit on the creamy side as well.

The drinkability is quite high. The flavor is good, and the flavors have mellowed into a nice manageable little beer. I've heard these are going south so if you're holding anymore of them drink them up!

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to xmarcnolanx for this one. 2007.

Pours a deep brown with some ruby highlights and a big off white/light tan head that leaves good lace. Nose is all bourbon and some dark fruit. Taste starts out with roasted malt and dark fruit but quickly becomes all bourbon. Some notes of bitter chocolate, and slight coffee. Very boozy but not as hot as it should be for the boozy taste. Wierd. But don't get me wrong, this one is still hot. Improves greatly as it warms, so let this one get up to the right temp. Mouthfeel is suprisingly viscous for the appearance. Drinkability is good, but is really hampered by the booziness. I'll get through this bottle, but another would be pushing it drinkability wise. Overall a good beer, but suuupppeeerrr boozy. I defenitely will be letting the other bottle of this sit down for a couple years at least. This is a bourbon stout lovers stout. A nice beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a tootsie roll chocolate color with a modest head that drops to a ringlet; bubbles of lace stick to the sides of the chalice

Smell: The charred aroma wafts upwards and is joined by dark chocolate, some rum-soaked dark fruit and a hint of vanilla

Taste: Opens with a mocha flavor that veers in a bitter chocolate and fruit direction by mid-palate, with some vanilla and char creeping in there as well; in the middle, the bourbon barrel makes its presence known and, with a sweet caramel aspect that is very pronounced, adds complexity to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; could be a bit fuller without a problem

Drinkability: All in all, a nice bourbon barrel RIS; very easy to drink, albeit it could be better with a bit more body as others have noted

Thanks, Vancer, for the opportunity

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Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark caramel brown, not as black as most examples of this style, but still nearly opaque. Head retention is reasonably good for the style.

Smell: Incredibly rich and malty with a pleasant burnt caramel sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet, chocolatey and mellow. A subtle barrel presence - I was expecting something more aggressive from Jim Beam barrels, but this is actually very reserved. There's just a touch of that signature vanilla and caramel flavor and no boozy heat whatsoever. Body is medium-full, not as viscous as some but certainly heavier than the average beer.

Got this one from johnnnniee in a recent trade. Thanks!

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

2007, poured into a chalice.

A - Pours a deep brown, almost black with a thin film of tan head.

S - Bourbon, hint of chocolate.

T - Taste follows smell, with slightly sweet/fruity notes thrown in. Alcohol warmth at the end.

M - Lightly carbonated, medium to thin body.

D - Very good.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my brothers gave me this as a present, and I split it with some friends. Plenty to go around.

I poured it into a smaller snifter in order to open it up. I initially had chilled it too much, so it needed a little warming.

Appears pretty dark and brown-ish, with a small, off-white head. Pretty good retention.

Smells of bourbon and general alcohol, wood, caramel, lots of vanilla, dark roasted grain, molasses. Overall sweet quality.

Tastes a little boozy. A touch too sweet, but not bad. Again, nice quality of wood, molasses, toasted grains. I think if you tasted this blind, it would be very easy to pinpoint this as a barrel-aged imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is a tad thin for my tastes, but not at all watery.

Overall, very drinkable. I haven't had too many barrel-aged imperial stouts, but this is right up there in terms of quality. I would definitely pick up one of these again.

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

I split this big bottle with my brother and my dad - there was enough.

It pours out basically black, with a ruby tinge to it when held up to a bright light. The head forms nicely and then fades a bit. The aroma is dominated by bourbon and alcohol. Notes of dark chocolate, too. The flavor packs a punch, with the bourbon and alcohol again, ripened dark fruit, and rich chocolate. Quite syrupy. The bourbon flavors linger a bit longer than I wanted. The mouthfeel is great - smooth and creamy. All the alcohol and the aftertaste prevent me from wanting to imbibe lots of it, but overall it's a good brew.

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Photo of Crosling
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Dark brown color, with a small extremely light brown/white head. Aroma disappoints, not revealing anything worth mentioning. Flavorwise, this is pretty nice. A good dose of tobacco and burnt toffee, with hints of caramel and butterscotch, bourbon and oak. This is a fine tasting beer, but doesn't come close to the best Bourbon Imperial Stouts. Mouthfeel is a little disappointing as well. Overall, this is just an ok beer, not something worth collecting.

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Photo of gford217
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of STLStoutAddict poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark, dark brown, not quite pitch black, with mahogany hues around the edges. The head is a bubbly one-finger tan that lingers for quite a while leaving some very good lacing.

S: Smell is of sweet chocolate malts and a touch of dark fruits and caramel. The bourbon is present but not overpowering in the aroma.

T: The taste follows the aroma but the whiskey is much more dominant in the taste, almost too much so. The sweet chocolate malts are still up front but give way quickly to the boozy bourbon taste which lingers throughout the finish as well.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and creamy.

D: The overpowering bourbon in the taste takes away from the drinkability a bit. That said, this is a very good barrel-aged stout and I would recommend it.

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

750ml bottle obtained via NoBS BIF v3 from Vancer. Thanks for the opportunity... 2007 vintage.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear, barely translucent brown brew. Head recedes sedately, with leggy, slow-falling lace. Aroma is rich dark malts, with vanilla notes. Taste begins with the dark sweetness, goes a bit fruity and boozy in the middle, and then almost evaporates in the back of the mouth leaving the barrel character to linger. Mouthfeel is velvety and soft over the tongue, and drinkability is good for the style. Enjoying this one.

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

Got this brew in a great trade with Vancer, thanks Vance!

Dark brown with ruby notes. Just barely translucent. About two fingers of nice, foamy, brown head. Leaves behind a little bit of sticky lacing.

I detect hints of berries and alcohol. Big chocolately aroma. Alcohol.

Tasty. Very sweet right up front with chocolately malts. Very boozy in the middle, with a hint of something that reminds me of bourbon or scotch. In the finish I notice the slight berry taste and a hint of vanilla (from the oak i guess?)

Mouthfeel is on par to what it should be.

Good drinkability for a stout this big, a good beer all around.

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Photo of joe1510
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


2007 Reserve

Received this in one of a few trades with Vancer, thanks Vance! Schlafly's Reserve Imperial Stout empties black into the snifter, looks dark and deep but shows faint cherry highlights when directly backlit. An aggressive pour brought about a half finger beige head that falls to a cap and leaves spotty lacing on its way.

A healthy dose of bourbon tickles the nose hairs right off the bat followed closely by underipe berries and vanilla from the oak. There is a booziness imparted by the heft of this brew and the bourbon aging. Roasted maltiness lays the foundation and makes for a tasty brew. There even seems to be a molten fudge like quality deep down in there.

To keep from repeating myself I can comfortably say the flavor is spot on with the aroma. Bourbon, vanilla, berries, chocolate and roastiness all come together to create a really good stout. The alcohol is a little bigger than I would like right now but I could see a little time on this taking the edge off.

The mouthfeel is where it should be. There's a good amount of body involved and its slick throughout but the barrel aging brought a nice dryness to make things unique.

Good drinkability for a big barrel aged stout such as this. Smooth, pleasurable and will warm up your cheeks without a doubt.

This is a good offering from Schlafly. One I would not hesitate to pick up again. I have another in the cellar to mellow for a year. I can't wait to give it another go. Good job on the barrel aging.

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Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A few months on this 2007 bomber now. Impressive packaging and box. Pours a deep brown body, almost opaque. Small beige head falls into some attractive patchy lace. Nice aroma features vanilla, bourbon, and some roasty notes of char and chocolate. A bit thin in the mouth for an impy stout. Medium carbonation levels. Taste is much like the aroma. Vanilla dominates. Subtle milk chocolate notes lend a prevailing sweetness, mingling well with the bourbon essence. Mild notes of bitter dark roast throughout. In the now vast pantheon of bourbon barrel imperial stouts there is nothing about this that stands out. A minor disappointment here from a brewery that has wowed me for the most part over the past two years.

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Photo of assmasterson
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark as the night. Head is thick, brown and full, taking forever to recede.

S: Some dark chocolate, some hops, some bourbon.

T: At first, comes off as extremely sweet, a little too sweet, perhaps. Almost like a glass of whiskey with some beer added. The aftertaste however turns slightly bitter with a touch of unsweetened chocolate.

EDIT: This thing is way too sweet for me. I was expecting something that tasted like biting into a hop plant, but I was wrong. I couldn't even come close to finishing this as the sweetness was too strong.

M: A little too thin for a brew this extreme. I would have preferred it to have a little more coarseness.

D: Easy to drink, but way too easy to go overboard with its' 10.5% ABV. It would be best to split it with someone.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good sipper, courtesy of Tomthompson98. This is a story about bourbon, imperial stout is a term thrown about loosly. Creamy bourbon stout. Greatlace. Muted sourness. Grows on you. A bit of smoke and moderate roast. A winter fire warmer. Boozy. Ageing would mellow the bourbon but there's not that much underneath it to be patient for.

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Photo of champ103
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage:

A: This pours a viscous black with some brown and red hints as I hold it up to the light. A small light tan head forms at first pour, but rises to at least 4 inches as I let it sit. Tons of sticky lace is left behind.
S: At first, I can smell the alcohol right away. Breathing in a little deeper, I can smell some wonderful bourbon and oak aromas. That is followed by a hint of vanilla and chocolate. It would be nice if the non-alcohol aromas came through a bit more, but it still has a pretty darn good aroma.
T: Man, this tastes great. There is a lot going on, and all of the flavors are balanced perfectly. Oak, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and some warming alcohol all work great together. The alcohol is way in the back as the taste lingers. Unlike in the nose where it was front and center.
M/D: Thick and chewy in the mouth. Very rich and creamy as well. The alcohol is definitely present, but it does not take away too much from the drinkability. The 10.5 ABV is noticeable, but very welcome as it warms the belly. A great sipping beer.

A wonderful imperial stout. This is rich and delicious. I would love to try this after it has been cellared for a couple of years, but as is this is a great beer from the start. Something to seek out if ever in the Midwest.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage - thanks Vancer for sending this my way!

A - nice black brew, off white / barest hint of tan head starts off slow then proceeds to rise to 4 inches before eventually settling down.

S - Bourbon, vanilla and a whisp of oak and chocolate.

T - Bourbon and alcohol come across first and heavy, past the first quarter of the glass it mellows and the vanilla, oak and chocolate come out in a nicely blended manner.

M - medium / medium full in body, well carbonated, creamy soft, solid warming effect with a lingering bourbon aftertaste.

D - served at cellar temp and allowed to warm up over a hour and a half session. Drinks well as it warms up and by the time you're halfway through you're rewarded nicely for the journey.

A solid brew which I would have liked a bigger body for the style. That aside I'm glad I had the chance to try this beer!

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

2006 vintage. Barely opaque mahogany brown with generous garnet and gold accents at the edges. I'm a little worried at the relative lightness of what should be an inky black RIS. The outstanding looking crown is the appearance's best feature by far. It looks like coffee ice cream and is absolutely plastering the glass with thick sheets and rings of lace.

Imperial Stout smells like a bourbon whiskey lover's Imperial stout. Since that describes me to a 'T', I like it just fine. Those who don't like bourbon in their stouts (then why the hell did you buy the bottle?), or like only a hint, won't be so generous with their scores. The only thing keeping my enthusiasm in check is a shortage of roasted and chocolate maltiness.

The relative thinness of the mouthfeel could have been predicted after hearing the beer splash into the glass and seeing it held up to the light afterward. SRIS feels like a 6.0% American stout. And I've had some 6.0% American stouts that were more full and more silky.

In spite of the fact that the lack of body robs the taste buds of some amount of depth and intensity, the flavor is right on the money as far as bourbon barrel-aged stouts go. It must have been in the barrels long enough to get extremely comfortable because there's a huge bourbon presence that is almost more prominent than the roasted malt.

Specifics include (in roughly descending order): bourbon, caramelized sugar, vanilla beans, chocolate, molasses, oak and smoke. The only recommended tweak is more malt, assuming it filled the beer out and didn't change the flavor profile one iota. To be fair, the mouthfeel is firming up just enough with warming to earn the above score.

Saint Louis Brewery (why don't they just change their name to Schlafly Brewing Company and be done with it?) says that Reserve Imperial Stout will age well for at least 5 years. That sounds about right, as long as the mouthfeel is able to hang in there.

This impressively packaged special release is the best beer that I've ever had from Schlafly by a country mile. If I had known how good it is, I would have cracked the crown long ago. Any brewer who has designs on aging a stout in whiskey barrels should drink a bottle of Reserve Imperial Stout and take copious notes. Thanks jpm30.

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Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasting with Lexx and grub, grub brought this one. 2006 vintage, very nice presentation with the bottle.

Pours an opaque brown/black, red edges, thick light tan head forms, settles to thin layer, leaves behind some solid lacing. Smell is nice, sweet, sherry, bourbon, caramel, chocolate roast, vanilla and oak, some sweet fruits, and coffee, bit of alcohol as well. Taste is dates, cherries, chocolate, some roast, sweet brown sugar middle, raisins, oak and vanilla, alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, super smooth, very drinkable for such a big beer. Thanks a lot Russ!

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Photo of tiger88
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great example of a bourbon barrel aged Impy stout. The pour is a deep reddish black. It smells of sweet bourbon but is not overwhelming. The taste is consistent with the smell, sweet when it hits the tongue and the alcohol warms as it descends. The flavor becomes more prominant as the temperature warms. It feels a little thin to be an imperial stout but drinks incredibly easy. I'll definitely get another one of these and age it a bit. A must try if you like impy stouts!

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

2007 vintage.

a: Brown to black body, light tan head, typical retention.

s: Bourbon, oak, dark fruit and chocolate.

t: Caramel and chocolate malt, dark fruit, cherry, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. A little more bourbon than most of the bourbon aged stouts I've had, but in a good way, not out of control.

m: Low carbonation, full body, a bit syrupy.

d: Not an elite imperial stout, but still very good. Get the feeling it will really improve with a little more aging.

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Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A capped 750 mL bottle courtesy of markgugs. It is the 2006 vintage.

A: The stout is big and black, not as thick as I was expecting. Its blackness can't be denied but it lacks the oily consistency. A white head barely registered on pour and sits as a small thin pool atop the beer.

S: The aroma is stout, lots of dark grains burnt to a crisp, cut by a bourbon sweetness that has a hint of vanilla. The subtlety makes it work.

T: The stout manages to retain a surprising amount of its body, big and black with an array of dark flavors. Chocolate, coffee and burnt toast dominate before giving in to the bourbon. The flavors imparted from the barrel are sweet, vanilla, oak, butter and pepper. Each nicely interacts with the stout flavors to create a big taste that goes down easily.

M: The mouthfeel is somewhat thin, quickly allowing the bourbon and stout flavors to fade away.

D: The abv is high but hidden behind the stout and bourbon flavors, if that is possible. The beer's drinkability would be greatly assisted by a fuller, lasting flavor.

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Photo of nelson4
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Schlafly Imperial stout

A- Thick Cream head with lacing over time looked a little foamy
S- Woody thick aroma, hints of vanilla
T- Chocolate is initial taste followed by a vanilla warmness with a little coffee aftertaste
M- Slightly carbonated with a creamy full body
D- Very good drinkability, smooth all the way

Excellent stout, very complex flavors and nice overall example of imperial stout

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Photo of grub
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

got this one in a recent trade with tangfoot. thanks fred!

750ml bottle. 2006 vintage. sampled jan 11/08.

pours deep brown, not quite black or opaque. you can see a bit of red in it when held to the light. a big reamy tan head rises up then drops slowly leaving spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. bit of yeast. lots of vanilla and bourbon. you could actually smell the bourbon as soon as the bottle was opened, so i expected it to dominate more, but it's quite nice. alcohol. big bread and biscuit malt. hint of dark fruit.

taste is excellent. big hit of bourbon. big bread and biscuit malt. bit of mineral character. slight oxidation, but not unpleasant. light vanilla. bit of raisin and date. low bitterness level. light caramel sweetness. bit of warming alcohol. slightly earthy. light roast.

mouthfeel is great. low carbonation works well. nice big body.

drinkability is excellent. great balance. nice level of bourbon that doesn't overpower. good depth to the solid base stout.

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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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