Drago | Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.

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Brewed by:
Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Russian Imperial Stout aged on bourbon barrels.

Added by TMoney2591 on 04-16-2012

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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 255
Photo of jzeilinger
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to 5EKF for this bottle!

A - Pitch black and oil-like color, dense toffee colored lacing, no carbonation, lots of legs on the sides of the glass.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, cocoa beans, some delicate chocolate spiciness.

T - Nice bourbon blend with the rest of the beer, charred chocolate, oak, vanilla, roasted toffee, the alcohol does make itself know. Mild lingering smoked/roasted chocolate bitterness on the back end.

M - Thick, full bodied, semi-dry, very syrupy on the lips.

O - This beer is grossly underrated so far. Highly recommend.

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Photo of jzbikowski
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very good barrel aged stout. I was really surprised how good it was. Compared favorably to KBS and Bourbon county, but at much less $$.
Can't wait for this year's release

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Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Sparse lacing.

S: A good aroma of malt, dark fruit, chocolate, and booze.

T: Tasted of a bit of dark chocolate, some roasted malt, grassy hops, lots of dark fruit (plums, in particular), a tinge of vanilla, the boozy quality, and a hint of caramel. A pretty complex and big flavor, but not as much as other Russian Imperial Stouts. The grassy hops are a debit, but in general, the flavor is solid.

F: An average amount of carbonation with an extremely smooth, silky finish. Full-bodied.

O: There are better examples of an RIS than this, but Drago is generally well made.

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Photo of darktronica
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A really nice barrel-aged stout for a good price from a brewery I was unfamiliar with... why yes, don't mind if I do! Not a ton of barrel character, but the ageing provides some nice thickness to the mouthfeel and a bit of vanilla on the tongue. Plenty of milk chocolate and malt makes this a sweeter RIS, but I wonder if they're calling it Russian for its namesake as much as for its style. Not an intense power puncher, but an excellent smooth sipper. I will definitely be looking for another four-pack of this in the future.

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Photo of SeanBond
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent stout that 1) I've never heard of, from 2) a local brewery I'm not very familiar with, so awesome surprise! The stout has the sort of profile that I really enjoy in my RIS--Sweet but not too sweet, with a backbone of hops and some roast. The barrel-aging gives the beer a little vanilla creaminess that compliments the rest of the beer.

Not quite as thick as I'd like (most aren't; I've been spoiled by BCBS), but a very tasted and underrated BA stout. Very impressed by Wild Onion!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a pleasant surprise from a brewpub whose beers are mostly generic craft.
Pours an inky black with a small beige ring around the glass, no lacing.
Aroma was mostly bourbon, hints of oak, raisin, vanilla and plum.
Flavors were quite similar and improved as it warmed.
This was thinner than the best BA and Imperial stouts.
Overall, this is a really nice beer, compares nicely with Budweisers BCS and comes in at a better price point than this year's BCS.
I think they have a winner here!

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Photo of tobelerone
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'd only had one other WIld Onion beer in the past when I saw this on the shelf at the reasonable price of 13 dollars for a 4-pack of 10% BA imperial stout. I'm fairly impressed, and glad I have four to work through to form a complete impression.

Appearance is pretty strong, particularly at first, with an inky black body and a nice cap of brown foam. Head retention isn't great but that's kind of expected for this style and ABV. Decent lacing. You can tell just by looking at it that it might be a little thin-bodied, and it is (but not egregiously so). Aroma is excellent but fleeting; dark chocolate and bourbon, oak and vanilla - smells like the real deal, just without a lot of staying power.

On the palate it's much the same - a delicious blend of sweet chocolate and vanilla notes and an ample barrel character, which will please fans of bourbon (including myself). I think it's well balanced for the style; there's enough to the base beer - just enough - that it doesn't feel overshadowed by the whiskey barrel. It's not the most massive example of this style and that keeps it pretty drinkable. I enjoy the way the ample barrel notes keep the sweetness in check and prevent it from having a cloying character.

The body is medium, possibly a little lighter than is de rigueur for an imperial stout. There's a certain fleeting quality that takes it out of the upper echelon but this is still a solid A- or so in my book, and I'd glad buy more at the price I paid.

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Photo of Suds
3.54/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely dark beer - thick and black. The head is tall and light-brown (like light brown sugar). The aroma is malty and boozy. Sugary, sweet, and roasted. The taste is sweet and fruity....absolutely port-like. Sweet and bitter are the overwhelming qualities. Aftertaste of plum pits, brandy, and tar. Interesting and intense beer...extremely warming, but not particularly well put-together.

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Photo of hopflyer
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unknown bottle date.
Pours nearly opaque, black for sure. Darker tan color head and retains ample collar.

Nose is roast, chocolate, and vanilla. Faint bourbon.

First sip carries the vanilla and a decent dose or bourbon although more so than what would be expected given how faint it was in the aroma. Some chocolate. Continuing thru, the flavors become somewhat muted compared to the bourbon. Not in a bad way but it just doesn't carry a deep roastiness to compliment the barrel. As it warms, it carries some light bitterness from roasted malt.

Feel is just medium. Carbonation is a bit higher than expected. A bit sticky.

Pretty good BBA RIS. Its ABV on the bottle says 9.5% so it's a bit "small" compared to many other BBA stouts and the flavor and feel reflect that.

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Photo of circuitmonkey
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In my opinion this is one of the most under rated barrel aged beers... and this is coming from someone who really hasn't been a fan of anything that's come out of the onion pub/brewery.

Not as good as bourbon county (though not many beers are), but I find it way more enjoyable than drinking dragon's milk for about the same price ($17 / 4 pack).

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Photo of MNJR
3.74/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This tastes very similar to New Holland Dragon's Milk. Or, mostly Dragon's Milk with a touch of BCS. This is my first experience with a beer where I really do feel like the brewers have done a good job, but might not be doing anything very original, or adding to a style with any new twist. There are coffee, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, and coconut flavors here. Very good, but done before and I would say a tad better. I feel like this is a very complex style of beer that could yield something new. ??

I have to rate it on flavor, but there should be some deduction for coattail riding.

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Photo of CaptFrothy
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding quaff, not a whole more I can add to the below reviews, really resembles BCBCS at a more affordable price point, with a touch more bourbon on the front end and just a smudge thinner.
I paid $16.99 for a 4 pack. Can't wait to crack another one and experiment with cellaring a few.

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Photo of zac16125
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a tulip
no bottling dates

Thanks to Billyvig02 for sending this one over as an extra.

A: Pitch black, appears thick on the pour, 1 fingers width of very dark mocha colored head that dissipates at a moderate rate but leaves essentially no lacing. 4.25

S: Big aroma of chocolate, dark fruits, and roasty notes. Barrel characters with charred oak, bourbony vanilla and peat. Great nose. 4.25

T: Big barrel notes of charred oak and vanilla. Nice base beer characters with sweet dark malts, cocoa, roastiness. Barrel characters compliment the base beer very nicely. Excellent roasty and barrel notes on the finish that linger for a long time in the after taste. 4.5

M/D: Full bodied, almost but not quite thick, carbonation on the high end which detracts a bit from the smoothness. ABV is well masked and drinkability is pretty good. 4

O: This was a very nice surprise from a beer I had never heard of. Excellent beer. 4.25

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Photo of W_Des
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tannish head from the bottle. Has a very pleasant boirbon and oak aroma. The body is full of delicious roasted coffee and chocolate with a very smooth mouthfeel. The finish is a very nice warmth. This is a surprisingly fantastic beer!

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must break you.....you being this bourbon barrel aged stout. Quite a treat. Darker than a siberian night. This is a lighter side imperial but one that has a full enough feel to keep you on a good track whilst training in a snow covered barn. Big chocolate tones with hints of almond, brownie and dried currants. Warming booze on the back end. Very well put together - this will go the distance.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and thick with dark chocolate highlights. 1 finger dark khaki colored head is effervescent and bubbles off quickish. Small ring of dark khaki foam lingers while linger. Moderate amount of lacing left behind but it doesn't last long.

Big roasted malt aroma with whiskey as a strong complement. Caramel, burnt brown sugar, and dark molasses. Bitter chocolate and some licorice.

Caramel and bitter chocolate on first taste with the whiskey strong like the aroma. Roasted malt. Sweet molasses, licorice, espresso, and toffee. A bit of alcohol. Vanilla barrel notes.

Smooth, thick mouth feel. Medium carbonation. Sweet and sticky on the tongue. Lingering bourbon and chocolate. A bit of dryness in the aftertaste.

A very pleasant surprise. Expected to like this beer but it really impressed me. Sweet without being cloying and good blend of flavors.

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Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. On the palate, this beer smells great, as I pick up vanilla, light milk duds, chocolate, coffee and considerable bourbon. The flavor profile replicated the nose pretty closely in this beer, and as others have advised, the beer opened up considerably as it warmed and sat in the glass. The beer was a tad sweeter than I would have liked, but that's really my only complaint. Also, I found the mouthfeel to be soft and fairly full, so I'm puzzled by some of the reviews that noted a thin mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, and drinkability was terrific.

Couple of thoughts. I really wish more breweries would go with the 12 ounce format for beers like this, as it's pretty hard for me to work my way through a 22 ounce bomber of 10% abv (or more) BA RIS. For me, a 12 ounce pour of a beer like this at the end of the evening was just perfect. Also, maybe it's just my imagination (or perhaps this just the style that brewers go for in the Chicago area), but this beer reminded me very much of a somewhat lighter, less boozy version of BCBS. Whatever, this was an excellent beer that I wish I had access to a regular basis.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I had heard good things about this offering from Wild Onion so decided to grab a bottle to try. Very solid offering overall and of course you need to let any BA RIS warm to room temp before you can fully appreciate..all things considered I was surprised at how well this one turned out. Sure, a tad thin on the palate but that could be reasonably expected.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a snifter glass.

Pours a dark cola-mahogany colour, half finger offwhite head that dissipates fairly quickly, not much retention or lacing. Smells of chocolate fudge, a fair amount of vanilla, oak, mild toasted malt. Smells fairly chocolatey, which is quite nice. Flavour doesn't quite follow the nose though- some chocolate fudge, a bit of milk chocolate, oak, mild vanilla and toast, a bit of dark fruit and an astringent earthy espresso bitterness on the backend. Good, but not as chocolate fudge-forward as the nose would have you think. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not thin, but not substantial either. Lower on carbonation. A fairly solid bourbon barrel RIS, in some ways it's like BBPt5, but the mouthfeel lets it down a bit.

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Photo of Elumbeer
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12oz into an oversized snifter (definitely prefer to the Belgian tulip). Initial sips at about 51 degrees.

Deep dark caramel-brown in color. Light can get through, but not much. Aggressive pour yields a respectable tan head with very little lacing or retention.

Smells like bourbon. I genuinely got very excited while pouring this, purely because the smell that filled the room was straight bourbon. I mean I've had a lot of bourbon barrel-aged stouts, and none of them smelled more like bourbon than this. The scent is definitely more sweet and vanilla-y than actual bourbon, but it even pierces the nostrils in a similar manner when you get close. I'm a fan.

Taste is on the sweeter side. Maybe even a little too sweet, but I can appreciate that. Fairly strong vanilla & caramel flavors, with some milk chocolate. Creamy. I'd almost believe it if you told be this beer was made with Milky Way bars.

Definitely not the thickest beer I've had, but it's got a nice weight to it. Carbonation isn't biting me at all. Plenty sticky. 'Refreshing' is not in this beer's vocabulary.

I'll be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for sweet bourbon-barrel stouts, but I absolutely believe this beer is massively underrated right now (4.12? Who's drinking this- hop-heads?). Not on the same tier as a Bourbon County, but not a far cry either. Oh, and I don't think there's anything RIS about this- whatever roastiness the base beer might have started with has mellowed-out to American levels, but I'm not knocking any points for that. I will not hesitate to buy more of this the next time I see it.

Very similar taste to Central Waters' [reserve] Bourbon Barrel Stout, but a tiny bit thicker than the 2015, for anyone that's had one of Wisconsin's finest on-the-shelf offerings.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A 4.25 - brown/black beer with mocha head that clears quick
S 4.75 - bourbon, oak, burnt marshmallow, caramel, toffee, chocolate, umami
T 4.75 - bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee burnt marshmallow, umami, chocolate.
M 4.75 - heavy mouthfeel, alc covered, aftertaste bourbon, caramel, toffew, vanilla, oak
O 4.75- great bourbon barrel aged stout

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Photo of jaredsmith83
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured this into a standard pint glass. When I poured this out, it was solid black and that was it. No real carbonation coming from this aside from a few stray bubbles. On scent, this hit me with strong bourbon. It was a tad offensive at first. First taste was heavy bourbon, but as I was sipping, I was picking up more of the chocolate and vanilla from it. It seems like mid-glass, and at warmer temperatures, is where this beer shined most for me. You could really get the oak and a bit of fruit as well, but it seemed to take a bit for me to pick that up. It was very smooth for an Imperial. Not something I am crazy about with it having that heavy bourbon scent, but not a bad beer either.

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Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to mrn1ceguy (Reddit) for this one.

Pours thick, dark pitch black heavy looking beer, with a darker thick 1 finger head that fades at a med pace, thick lacing and long legs.

Nose is nice, dark chocolate, dark caramel, biscuity cocoa cookie, little black roasty malt that borders being acrid, fair roast and little booze note, faint vanilla oak, but late gets a touch of a plasticy phenolic booze note perhaps, hard to tell, although it actually could just be the esters from the wood.

Taste brings thick lush beer, creamy but heavy, not too sweet either, nice dark chocolate, cocoa, into a little roasted malt and hint mocha java, even a bit fudgey. Then a bit of an earthy hop note, with touches of dark fruits covered in dark chocolate, and dark caramel as well, a touch of fluffy nougat. Then a mild barrel note, not much but a little vanilla oak, and touch of a whisky like character, and a fruity bourbon. Faint booze washes over at the end, and it finishes a little sticky, dries a bit and more booze cuts in, more dark chocolate and creamy lush cocoa and roasted notes lingering.

Mouth is heavy creamy thick, decent carb, a little warming booze.

Overall pretty nice, barrel is light but enough, nice malts dark chocolate and roast without really getting acrid, hint of hops too, and that weird note at the end of the aroma was perhaps a brain confusion as it was barely there and not at all on the taste.

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Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Adam for hooking me up with this. The brew pours black in color with barely any bubbles to form a head and well...it looks flat. A violent swirl releases a couple tiny bubbles that collect around the edge of the glass.

It smells roasty with anise and chocolate leading the way, then softer nuance of vanilla, caramel and pleasant bourbony booze all integrate well.

It tastes bourbony with roasty chocolate, earth and char. Some raw oak, vanilla and caramel also present with slight bitterness like strong coffee.

This is medium in body with light carbonation. A boozy and enjoyable sipper. Kinda surprised that ive never heard of this one before.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Drago Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout."

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Branded black pry-off crown cap. Brown glass. Appealing label design. Courtesy of Duff27 via a trade - thanks man!

9.5% ABV. Brewed with roasted barley. Aged in oak bourbon barrels for 8 months.

Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout per the label (and name). Expectations are somewhat high.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1.75cm wide. Gorgeous khaki colour. Creamy, frothy, and full. Wonderfully soft, with a delightful even consistency. Supple looking. Good complexion. Almost mocha-like, though not quite that foamy. Retention is above average - ~3 minutes. Leaves a nice even ring of consistent lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque dark black - though not an ink or jet black. No yeast or sediment is visible within.

Looks nice for an imperial stout. Not unique or special, but well above average to be sure.

AROMA: The bourbon eclipses the base beer, bringing tame notes of faint vanilla, light coconut, some whisky-esque spice, and reticent oak. It's not that the bourbon is all that strong or overbearing; it's that the base beer just doesn't bring much to the table besides dark malts/schwarz malts, cream, and Whoppers/malted milk balls. The purported "vast amounts of roasted barley" are nowhere to be found.

I find no hops, booze, off-notes, or yeast character.

Aromatic intensity is average. Suggests a full-bodied beer with a pretty basic pairing of bourbon notes and an imperial stout build.

TASTE: Malted milk balls/Whoppers seem dominant, trailed by a vanilla-forward bourbon character. The bourbon barrel is dominant over the base beer, with subsidiary notes of backgrounded oak (which helps tie the beer together somewhat, lending it ample cohesion), faint coconut, and a biteen of whiskey-esque spice on the backend (though not as much as the aroma suggested). The base beer is quite basic, offering only the requisite notes of cream, dark & schwarz malts, and maybe some chocolate malt. A dab of dessert-like Hershey's.

Not really balanced in the sense that the barrel is a bigger flavour than the base. It's also not as intricate as the best beers in the style. But the bourbon barrel is lovely, though I wish there was more coconut. It's a rich beer, but it's not too sweet or dessert-like. Well-built for what it is, in any case. I quite like it in spite of its shortcomings. Not gestalt, but certainly cohesive. Flavour duration is average; flavour intensity is above average. Depth of flavour is pretty nice.

I find no barrel sugars, and the absence of roasted barley is sore. The oak isn't as refined or toasty as would be ideal; further time in the barrel might bring the oak more into the fore. Maybe some faint char or ashy character would help tame the sweetness a bit - or even some coffee roast. Or, you know, just the roasted barley the label advertised...

Has no off-notes, yeast presence, or overt hop presence.

TEXTURE: Sticky and creamy, with a necessary full body in addition to plenty of heft and weight on the palate. Still, it's smooth and wet - though its near silkiness makes it come off like more of an imperial milk stout (especially when combined with the Whoppers-y taste). Heavy as it is, it never feels syrupy. Coating.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, rough, or scratchy. Not chewy either.

Well-carbonated. Overall presence on the palate is pretty good. This doesn't elevate the beer as a whole, nor does it accentuate specific notes per se - though there is a bit of interplay between the creaminess and coconut that I like.

OVERALL: It's a nice sipper and disguises its high ABV well for the most part. True, its above average sweetness makes it a bit of a dessert beer, and the bourbon barrel is a bit overzealous (and/or the base is a bit underwhelming), but all things considered it's rather tasty. I'm eager to try more Wild Onion brews based on the strength of this one. Huge thanks to Duff27 for the opportunity to try it. I'd definitely recommend this to others, and think it would age gracefully for up to 4 years.

High B- (3.5)

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Drago from Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 255 ratings.
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