Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale | The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel AleSchlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The result is a smooth bourbon character balanced by caramel malt sweetness and classic English hops. Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale is a seamless blend of Schlafly Barleywine-style ale and our pale ale aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.

Added by BEERchitect on 06-12-2009

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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 126
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bobhits for sending me this one!

Bottled on 1/11/11.

Pours a murky dark copper orange with a 2 inch white-orange head that fades to an oily cap. Broken rings of lace form randomly on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted coconut, vanilla, light fruits, and alcohol. Taste is of coconut, vanilla, and cake. There is a slight hop presence in the aftertaste. There is a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat as well. This beer has a lower carbonation level with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice barleywine characteristics and very nice coconut and vanilla smells and tastes. My first beer from Schlafly.

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Photo of b3shine
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter. Looks good; definitely colored (at least in part) by bourbon barreling. Smells excellent; hops are laced in nicely with the bourbon scent. Tastes good; the ale is alright, but the bourbon barreling is what this beer is all about. Mouthfeel is good as well. It's definitely a "sipper." Overall, a good beer (especially for its price, considering it's bourbon barreled) that I'll be having again.

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Photo of Kelly88
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint. Had on tap at the cock and bull.

A- dark Ruby red bordering on brown. Crater filled thin off white head. Pretty good looking beer.

S- vanilla and a Tad bit of alcohol. I like it but this is not very strong. Sort of a Bourbon cake type smell That is very appealing.

T- first thing that comes to mind is chocolate chip cookies. Then a sort of nice Bourbon chocolate flavor really takes over. A really unique flavor. Bourbon is not overpowering but really blends nicely with the flavors that are there.

M- medium bodied brew that is a little lacking in carbonation. Nice feel but I would like more coating since the flavor is so rich and decadent

Overall I am pleasantly surprised. Great taste that is a great fusion of Bourbon and beer. The best parts Bourbon, vanilla creamy chocolate, are fused with nice sweet malts. I would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulip. Received in the Birthday BIF from normyk; thanks Rob!

a - Pours a deep murky mahogany brown color with one finger of very light tan head and high carbonation evident. Head lasts for several minutes and one to two inches of fluffy head last throughout the drink. Leaves lots of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, sweet fruit, bready malts, and toffee. Not a ton of bourbon but a little bit and a little vanilla from the barrels. Lots of caramel, sweet fruit, and toffee; overall I liked it quite a bit.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, bourbonm oak, vanilla, toffee, toasted malts, bready malts, and light sweet molasses or fruit. Taste is good, but a slight step down from the nose. I liked it, but liked the nose a bit better.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and not very hot. Goes down pretty easy for a barrel aged ale.

d - Overall I liked this beer quite a bit. The taste seemed slightly watered down, but the smell and taste were good. I would certainly have this one again.

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Photo of Dave128
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 OZ bottle poured into a glass mug.. Bottled 1-11-11

A - Nothing spectacular looking... almost no head and lace is only present where the initial head was.

S - I was expecting some bourbony goodness. There isnt really that much of it. It smells a bit woody, but not the way I was expecting it to. Can smell it more when it warms and its nice.

T - pretty good.. a decent barrel ale. Dark roasty malts with somewhat of a tangy sweetness that pulls into the woodiness. Its almost room temperature now and tastes much better than it did when I first poured it. (I'm not a connoisseur of bourbon barrel ales but I guess they are meant to be enjoyed a little warmer?)

M - medium body with decent carbonation.

D - There's nothing too fantastic about this beer. There's also nothing I can fault it on. Regardless its moderately tasty and worth drinking. Glad I tried it.

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

Generously provided by Robert. Thank you!

12 oz into a glass after a long day at the capitol protesting and wondering if the rights of unionized workers will be forever changed in our state. But, when the Dems hightailed it to the evil empire to the south, Illinois, we were provided a temporary stay of execution. Run boys, run!

Ruddy cider colored pour with a creamy white cape and some sticky lacing. Beer is a combination of a barrel aged pale and barleywine.

Smells of apple juice, toffee, and vanilla, and melted caramel. Confounding really as some whiffs are too near apple juice to be enticing, while others are near jawdroppingly delicious. More the latter than the former.

Lemon zest hops that I presume come from the pale ale part of the blend up front moves into melted caramel and vanilla. Apple juice creeps in here as well. Not sure if the meeting of these two beers just imparts an odd, slightly off flavor, but it just doesn't come fully together. What it is, however, is a good beer that is unique and just misses of the mark of being very good.

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Photo of birchstick
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a copper color with a nice white head

S - sweet oak and vanilla from the bourbon, caramel malts and toffee

T - the taste off with sweet caramel malts that segues into oakey vanilla bourbon deliciousness. No real hop character is present. It tastes a lot like their barleywine aged in bourbon barrels instead of straight up oak.

M - full creamy mouthfeel - great body

D - as mentioned, this is like their barleywine aged in bourbon barrels - awesome beer for bourbon barrel lovers. I have been really wanting to try this for a long time. I wish they sold this in St Louis (considering that's where it's brewed) because I would buy this everytime I went to the store. Solid stuff.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very hazy, medium brownish orange color. No head, very thin ring around edge. Very oaked aroma, with nice toastedness from barrel. Highly carbonated. Very toasty oak flavor. Sweet oaky finish, some sweet from the bourbon on the finish. Some smokiness picked up in the middle of drink. Not much else in flavor to pick out, pretty oaky all the way through. A little dryness on end, but pretty smooth, hides alcohol well.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A blend of their barleywine-style ale and their pale ale aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Pours into my glass a nice deep red orange with a half inch of eggshell head on top that leaves some sticky lacing. Aromas of rich caramel and a mix of fresh fruits. Toffee and loads of malty goodness. Vanilla, oak and bourbon are all well integrated. Bit of hops lingering the background. Nice!

First sip brings smooth caramel malts with fruit, toffee and brown sugar. A nice underlying sweetness carries warm vanilla, oak and a nice ribbon of bourbon as well. A touch of hoppiness on the way down with some bitterness in tow. Well balanced overall and the bourbon accent is just perfect in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation. A bit on the lighter side but that is kind of nice as it makes it more drinkable. Overall, a well blended barrel aged brew. Everything works well and achieves a good balance. Tasty stuff I'm glad I was able to find this one!

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Photo of rembrant
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks- Pretty. a hazy translucent reddish ale with a nice 2 finger head fading to less than 1 finger,but substantial. off white.

Aroma Caramel, vanilla,something like fresh bread,a touch of nuttiness,but not much of bourbon or barrell.

Taste- The first 2 sips I got a nice caramel-walnut start shifting to a classic hop bitter finish with a bit of lag. I sensed the bourbon more in the throat than on the palate.

I tried to hold the next sip in my mouth a few seconds..and that's when the real show began. First the Caramel-walnut lead,then the hops kick in and then, here's the bourbon to finish. Impressive (and quirky) how it takes 2-3 seconds to display the whole spectrum. Maybe limits this as a "pound down a few" type but once unleashed the bourbon does pick up a bit sooner.
This brew needs you to slow down a bit.
Rather nifty. Bourbon Barrell is not typically done with a red or brown ale. This works because there's body enough,and a contrast from the sweet malts into the bitter hops. the Bourbon lurks as a surprise that's more evident as you drink. It's almost a beer with a built in Bourbon chaser.

I think the oak probably helps the malt side do some nuttiness in the flavors.

Mouth- While this is not really dark malts,whatever was used was enough to give real body,and that 1-2-3 tastebud adventure would probably have floundered if the brew was too thin.
There's proper carbonation to keep good beerness without being a distraction.

Drinkable- Somewhat I have not checked on ABV,seems it could be on the high side. That however,may be more the Bourbon flavor than the actual %. Tasty. Like most Bourbon Barrel Ale or Stout, a bit much to do many in a sitting. Two? Sure.

All in all an interesting and creative take on the barrel.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky brownish orange, big but short lived and quickly dissipating whitish head that quickly fades into a thin ring around the glass.

S - Sweet malts, caramel and toffee. Very toasty. Fruity esters of apricots and other light stone fruits. Oaky.

F/M - Caramel, sweet toffee malts, fruity esters reminiscent of plums and raisins and apricots. Oaky and a little alocholic. Slick and oily full bodied with medium-low carbonation. A little astringent and quite warming in the finish.

D - Ok, but after a few sips I can tell I won't want another after this one. 1 bottle is great, but 2 bottle is too much.

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Photo of wspscott
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass
bottled on 12/16/09

A: Dark copper/orangish color with a very fluffy, off-white 1-finger head. THe head never completely disappears, and there is a huge amount of lace left behind as it drops.
S: Bourbon, wood, vanilla, no obvious hops or malts, seems somewhat one dimensional.
T: The bourbon is definitely there, but it is not as overwhelming as other bourbon beers. The wood character really comes through. There is a hint of bitter hops, but they are buried far in the background.
M: On the crisp side, lots of carbonation, a nice change from some of the under-attenuated bourbon beers that turn into a sweet mess.
D: A beer that is hard to characterize, the label says a blend of their pale ale and barleywine, not sure what I would call it, but I like it, don't love it. A nice change of pace if you want something with bourbon characteristics, but not a RIS. Not exactly a summer beer, I could easily see reaching for a 2nd if it was fall and I was in front of a campfire. Glad I have a couple more left, at the same time, I am not sure I would buy again. Worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottled on 3/23/10. Pours a slightly cloudy reddish copper color. Off white head fades away pretty quickly, leaving just a thin ring and no lace.

Wonderful nose here. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. A bit of ripe fruit comes in as a subtle note.

Very light caramel malt character up front. A bit fruity, mainly ripe, darker fruits. Nice subtle bourbon flavor with minimal heat. Some oak and vanilla. Some citrusy hop notes shine through in the end.

The only knock I have on this beer is that it is thin. There is a good amount of carbonation. Still, this is a very nice beer, and I love the blended idea. Curious on how this will age. Well done.

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Photo of Beerbythepool
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to snifter.
I initially tasted this beer in August 2009, but did not review. Put rest of six pack in cellar and got a better result this time.

Nice head of 2.5 fingers and light lacing.

The color is orange to amber with a thunder cloud in the middle of the glass and sediment settling through to the bottom.

Smell- leather and fruit

Taste- leather, vanilla and bourbon is on the front, but oak and wood on the back end.

Mouthfeel- full, coats the mouth, but has some fizz.

The finish is short and I wish it would hang on a little longer.

This was much better than my first taste of the beer and I would say that it is aging well. I will check in on it in another 6 months. Pick some up if you can find it.

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Photo of JoePat
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque redish brown with an off white head that leaves some lacing behind as it disipates.
There's not a lot of smell to this some bourbon but not a lot.
This beer has a great balance of flavor with nice smooth malt, bourbon, vanilla, and even a little coconut I think.
It has a pretty thin mouth feel but it really is a drinkable beer especially for a bourbon barrel ale.

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Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Looks like liquid caramel with a light tan head.

S: Amazing sweet caramel malt, floral hops, whiskey and an earthy, woody quality.

T: A hoppy, caramel body is surrounded by less than subtle hints of bourbon whiskey and oak. A light alcohol burn in the finish gives way to a linger, butterscotch tingle all through the mouth. No bitterness at all.

D: Hard to say if I could venture to consume more than three of these. It's just a powerful brew. Went down easy, but not quickly!

Thanks to gemutlichkeit for this awesome extra.

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Photo of kels
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours into my tulip a nice honey-hued amber, like the color of cognac. It is only slightly opaque, and light, delicate carbonation runs throughout. There's only a tiny bit of white skim swirling along the surface of the beer, and little spots of lace barely cling to the walls of the glass.

The aroma has a notable caramel malt. Following that is a distinct copper penny metallic aroma and a bit of honey sweetness. That's about it.

Gotta let this beer warm to really enjoy it. There's a depth of syrupy and caramelly, yet still toasty and crunchy malts and grains that doesn't really present when it's too cold. There's a bit of dark, pruney sweetness and a dry bitterness that comes from the alcohol and the oaky aging from the bourbon barrels. A bit of sweet vanilla and the char of the barrels sneaks out in the aftertaste.

For the style this beer is actually immensely drinkable. The carbonation is very high - almost too high - so that the beer is incredibly light on the palate. The finish is slightly sticky, and holds the flavors well.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - nice caramel amber color. A thin off-white head but with lots of lacing, covering probably two-thirds or more of the glass.

Aroma - has a malty mashy aroma, kind of expected but still nice. On the lighter side.

Taste - good maltiness at the base, with a fine layer of bourbon on top. The oak and vanilla are very tasty without being hot in the least. Bourbon carries the day, all the way to the finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth, lower carbonation, nicely put together.

Drinkability - I wanted to save a couple for aging...that didn't go too well.

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Photo of jdklks
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

the bottle claims that its a mix between a pale ale and a barleywine... a strong ale? an almost transparent dark orange body is accompanied by an off-white head that has NO retention, and leaves little trace of its ever having existed in the first place. i think i pour it too cold. the aromas are trapped. the barrel aging is as apparent in the woody smell as it is in the bourbon smell, that is, they are of equal strength, which is quite interesting. There is a hint of fruits, especially green apple, beneath the imprint of the barrel-aged characteristics.

the taste is very interesting, to say the least. good, and interesting. VERY woody. in fact, the bourbon only serves to make the wood flavor much sweeter than it would otherwise be, and it is very sweet. there is, as predicted by the smell, a nice green apple flavor that reminds me of well-made apple cider. This is certainly a good beer. i am just having difficulties figuring it out. interesting.

mouthfeel is as expected. very decent, though nothing particularly outstanding. medium bodied, and well carbonated. i dont think ill be breaking into my other bottle of this tonight because it is much to sweet to stomach more than 12 ounces, but im definitely glad that i get to experience it again. a solid B+, and one the more interesting beers you'll ever try.

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Photo of mcbSTL
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last of a 6xer bought on July 4th on visit to Cincinnati OH, approx $10 for 6pack.

One finger head which dissipated quickly, no lacing. Clear deep brown hue.

Caramel. Amaretto. Burnt sugar. This is the beer's best quality.

Just the right amount of Kentucky bourbon presense. Sweet, but not sticky. That oak really stands out here.

Alcohol could be integrated a little better. But this is crisp and carbonated well.

Got a bump from being so inexpensive for the style. This would be a regular if it were available in STL.

This was blind tested with the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in Cincy. The KBBA came out the winner, but it was close. Nice effort from Schlafly.

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Photo of sjccmd
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being new to the Kentucky area, this six-pack seemed intriguing

Pours a sparkling burnt orange with a red hue. An aggressive pour yields an inch and a half very light tan head that recedes slowly

Smells of citrus, dark fruits vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup, and alcohol.

The taste begins the same as the smell but finishes with more bourbon character...some dull woody character in the background...

Initially the mouthfeel is nice and slick with some sparkles but as the carbonation dies down, it starts to feel watery.

The alcohol heat and sweetness creep up a bit and the watery mouthfeel interfere with the drinkability but still decent

Overall an interesting beer...but I'm wondering why they blended their barley wine with the pale ale...the pale doesn't seem to add much besides that watery mouthfeel towards the end...the hops don't come out much either

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Photo of nanertak
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Amber with hints of gold/orange. 1 finger head, decent retention for barrel aged.

Smell: Malty sweet with hints of bourbon. Bit of alcohol in the nose, but not an unpleasant amount. Sweet vanilla, mildly floral (orange blossom), hints of honey.

Taste: Tastes like it smells. The bourbon's more subtle than the smell indicates, a strong background flavor. Not overly sweet, but I get almost no hops. Light malty backbone. Bourbon finish, very nice. Low and lingering vanilla and honey aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation adds a nice fizz that spreads the bourbon over the tongue. Mouthfeel is great in my opinion. Not overly heavy, but round enough that it feels like you're drinking something with some weight to it.

Drinkability: I'd like this on occasion. It's a balanced beer, good sipper. Goes down easy, excellent aftertaste.

Overall: Not mind blowing, but very balanced. Personally I'd like the bourbon to pop a bit more than it does, it seems to fall a little short of the stronger bourbon flavor I'd like. Good beer though.

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Photo of ltjska04
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into my snifter, this beer is a dark copper color with good clarity but with a head that doesn't last long. At first the smell is mostly of the English hops but reveals more bourbon scent as it warms. The smell is a bit disappointing; I expected more. The taste is also a bit lackluster. I don't get much bourbon, mostly just some malty sweetness. I'm mostly comparing this to Lexington Brewery's Bourbon Barrel Ale which happens to be one of my favorite beers. The flavors with this one just seem to be muted, even after it warms. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly sticky and I don't know what the abv is, but the alcohol is not very noticeable. Overall this isn't bad but there's other bourbon barrel ales I'd rather be drinking.

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Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this on a recommendation from beerman207, so here goes. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a near perfect copper color with about a one finger, thick and oily looking head that fades quickly to a pretty thick and uneven skim floating on the surface; body is moderately clear and shows very slow carbonation creeping up from the bottom; spotty and oily lacing holds to the glass briefly before sliding back into the drink.

Smell: Smell is nice - a ton of caramel or butterscotch malts, hints of vanilla/oak; very rich and sweet smelling, not especially complex but the scents are delicious.

Taste: Much like the smell, there is a blast of those sweet caramel/butterscotch malts, hints of oaky vanilla, , very mild hoppy bitterness and a definite presence of alcohol that manages to come across a little bourbonesque -- not overpowering or overly alcoholic in flavor, a really nice blending.

Mouthfeel: Warm and tingly in the mouth from the alcohol that has a slightly drying effect and there is a mild stickiness left throughout; belly is left especially warm

Drinkability: Very nice flavors and a nice mouthfeel with a taste that isn't burning my throat out, so it's got that going for it... Sadly, the ABV is apparently unknown but I'm definitely feeling it, so I don't think I could sit through too many.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention is decent, lacing is good. It smells like caramel malt, vanilla, oak and a little bit of hops. The bourbon aroma isn't as strong as I thought it would be. Luckily, the bourbon comes out more in the flavor. I can taste oak, vanilla, caramel malt, toffee and a bit of dark fruit. There's also a lingering bittersweet fruity and bourbony aftertaste. Even though the label says the beer is a blend of barleywine and pale ale aged in bourbon barrels, I didn't pick up a lot of hops in the aroma or taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's easy and enjoyable to drink. All in all, I think this is a pretty decent brew. I'd buy this again in the future.

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Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
3.83 out of 5 based on 126 ratings.
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