Wooden Hell
Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery

Wooden HellWooden Hell
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English Barleywine
Ranked #7
Ranked #368
4.47 | pDev: 9.4%
Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery
Illinois, United States
Wooden HellWooden Hell
Notes: GABF 2006 Strong Barrel Aged Bronze, Woodford Reserve Barrel Aged Barleywine
Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 229 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a murky dark brown color, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells pretty boozy and woody, with some bittersweet caramel, smoe, toffee, and dark fruits.

This tastes better than it smells for sure. There's definitely a lot of barrel here. There's spicy oak and caramel/leathery/boozy bourbon. There's toasted dark breadiness, caramel, and toffee for sure, with a touch of dark fruitiness.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly lingering bitterness. It's definitely a slow sipper.

This is certainly an old school barleywine, and it's definitely burly and not for the faint of heart. I like it.

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Photo of egrandfield
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells like scotch on an open pine fire. Smells stronger than it tastes. Super sweet and lush with only a little after burn. Very very very good. Would have again.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm going to be low dev here but here goes:
22oz 2018 bottle poured into a skull glass shows a dirty orangish-brown body and supports nary a cap. I won't knock it for no lacing due to the oddly shaped vessel as well as the barrel and style.

Aromas wafting from the glass include dried fruits, stone fruits, vanilla, molasses, oak, and spices and the flavors match, but sweeter that I prefer.

Mouthfeel is full and almost creamy.

Overall a pleasant barrel aged barleywine, if too sweet.

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Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7100th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2018 vintage bottling. Pours hazy dark ruby red/brown color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big raisin, peach, plum, apricot, fig, orange, grapefruit, pear, pineapple, red apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, nuts, and brown bread; with lighter notes of molasses, leather, tobacco, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Slight booze in the aromas as it warmed, but not overwhelming. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity yeast, citrus/earthy hops, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, peach, plum, apricot, fig, orange, grapefruit, pear, pineapple, red apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, nuts, and brown bread; with lighter notes of molasses, leather, tobacco, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light pine, herbal, grassy, peppery bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark fruits, peach, apricot, orange, grapefruit, pear, pineapple, red apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, nuts, brown bread, light leather/tobacco, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, citrus/earthy hops, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a malt/bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety, and lightly slick/sticky/tannic mouthfeel that is fantastic. Lightly increasing warmth of 10%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged barleywine! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, citrus/earthy hops, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV; with the mellowly bitter/tannic/drying finish. Incredible balance of fruity yeast, Classic C hops, and rich dark/bready malts; with perfect barrel integration. Not overly boozy, tannic, or drying. The Woodford Reserve complexity was off the charts. Huge presence of coconut, vanilla, toffee, and cream notes. Definitely lives up to the hype. Feels like more of an American/English hybrid than true English. A really amazing offering, and spot on style example.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed 2017 vintage

Appearance - The beer poured a fuzzy copper color with an off white head.

Smell - The nose was all barleywine with with a hint of booze.

Taste - All os chatacteristics of a barleywine were here. Initally, this was said to be hot. But after a year in my cellar, this is well balanced. Initially, there were notes of caramel. There was a nice nutty presence. The finish faded too quickly.

Mouthfeel - The caramel sticks nicely with modest carbonation.

Overall - Flossmoor did well with this one.

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Photo of Docrock
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Flossmor Station. Served in a snifter, 2018 vintage:

A: medium dark color with very feint head. Nice sticky lacing

S: as it was served cold (tap temp) there was very little aromatics present other than a bit of date and an unusual presence of hop notes for an English Barleywine. As it warmed a nice bouquet of the bourbon and ripe figs began to emerge. Much more enjoyable whenit warmed up.

T: the hop profile was a bit distarcting for a professed English Barleywine, but as it warmed the Warmth and bourbon merged nicely with dates, figs a bit of caramel.

M: smooth and not overpowering, a bit creamy. Abv not as high as most other BA Eng. Barleywines and it was easily drinkable, doesnt need to be a sipper like others.

O: an enjoyable beer. Seems to me to between styles ( American and English Barleywines ). In that arena its very good. In comparison with other BA Eng Barleywines, its in the second or third tie.

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Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to TwistofKane for this black waxed 22 oz. bottle, which set a personal best for resting on my wants list for 9 years. Since it’s about 100 degrees out, seems like the perfect time to down a big bomber.

The pour is dark amber; I half expect to see a Triassic mosquito suspended in it. The nose is lighter than expected, with a touch of caramel, brown sugar, leather, with a whiff of spices. Not bad.

Wooden Hell is like a caramel enema jammed into your taste buds. Caramel & toffee come at my mouth organ in waves, & I take a while to enjoy the sensation before getting in past my knees. Burnt sugar, bourbon that leans heavy on the wood, sherry that reeks of impending oxidation, spiciness that makes me wonder if rye barrels were involved. More booze than seems reasonable for the ABV. Hits the sweet spot of barleywine mouthfeel; I’m going to enjoy drinking this entire monster bottle in one sitting.

Doesn’t live up to its legendary status but really, what does? Glad I drank this now, as I suspect oxidation is going to be a serious problem in the near future, but for the moment, it just added some interest & depth. Still an excellent brew.

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Photo of darktronica
4.29/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 release enjoyed fresh. Pours a rich burgundy with half finger of head and a smidgen of lingering lace. Smells less like Woodford Reserve and more like a Stagg, with a lot of oak, green tobacco, and leather mingling with brown sugar and caramel. Very well balanced flavors, with a mix of sweetness, floral hops, and barrel. Prominent oak and hop bitterness at the end lead to a dry, restrained finish. A lot of wood, spice, and intensity of flavor for a 10% ABV barleywine aged under a year.

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Photo of stevoj
3.78/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle at barley wine share. Amber pour, small ring of beige head. Super sweet aroma, malty, vanilla, caramel. Taste too assaults with some sweetness, caramel malts, dark pit fruit, boozy heat.

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Photo of kevanb
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle, 2017 release, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a nice dark brown color, burgundy hues, thick but with a bit of clarity and frothy bone colored head that has about a finger of height with moderate retention and yields tons of soapy lace. The aroma is nice, strong barrel character, tons of bourbon, super smooth and with lots of oak, caramel, spice, brown sugar, toffee, rich nougat, strong amber and dark grains, stone fruits and a bit of cinnamon as well. The flavors are very good, strong bourbon character, nice oak barrel, charred wood with strong caramel and spice, nougat, brown sugar, rich grains with candied hops, light pine and a lingering fusel alcohol heat. The mouthfeel is solid, thick medium body, coating and creamy, rich and smooth with a lightly carbonated finish that is very warm and dry.

Verdict: A very good barrel aged barleywine, easy to see why this had a lot of hype and hysteria around it for years. Nice balance, great rich flavors, perhaps a bit on the hoppy side for an English Barleywine, but still very enjoyable and quite drinkable at 9.1% ABV.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.3/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

L: pours medium thickness, light brown with a finger of off white head
S: lots of hops...grrr
T: slight caramel sweetness but quickly get over powered by bitter hops. Slight to medium barrel presence, but then hops over power everything.
F: thinner than it looks.
O: too many hops

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Photo of Treyliff
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 release
22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep brown color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- smells of caramel, tobacco, leather, dark cherry, raisin, fig, woody oak and bourbon

T- plenty of caramel up front, followed by tobacco, cherry, fig & raisin. Mid-palate brings out some barrel notes that adds woody earthy oak spice, as well as subtle bourbon notes. The finish gives more caramel & dark fruit with a slightly boozy linger

M- medium-thick body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- classic English barleywine, caramel, tobacco dark fruit, very good

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Photo of Prager62
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A bomber of the 2017 reboot version that I purchased at the brewery release in May. Poured in a 13oz. tulip for the review.

Look- Pours a cloudy liquid caramel color producing a few centimeters of creamy light tan foam. Tiny carbonation bubbles can be seen surfacing and make it appear semi-nitro looking. Some thin lacing is left in it's wake.

Smell- Spicy and smokey like a Slim Jim meat stick up front, along with toffee, bourbon and a hint of vanilla.

Taste- It begins with toffee, caramel and vanilla like a Werther's candy. The bourbon follows along with oak and a hint of dark cherry.

Feel- Slick and very creamy with some noticeable alcohol heat.

Overall- My memory of the original is faded other than I remember it being really good. A reason to write reviews people! This version is nothing short of spectacular as well. It reminds me of a Werther's Original soaked in bourbon. So creamy smooth, yet there's a sneaky alcohol heat that makes it taste bigger than the 9.1% printed on the label. It's without a doubt the best beer to come out of Flossmoor Station in years.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was the beer that best used the barrel aged wood flavors for me this past year. The gnarly character of the barleywine style was a perfect compliment of the woodiness. Felt like it should have put some hair on my chest!

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2

A caramel bourbon bomb in aroma and flavor. This has no booze to it. Full bodied beer. Low yet adequate carbonation. Everything you could ever want from a barrel aged English Barleywine. This beer is just flat out done right. One of the top barrel aged English Barleywines that I have ever drank. Its in the ranks with King Henry and Voodoo K-13.

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours a bit clear, but the liquid fills the glass with a dark mahogany, maroon hue and ample khaki head; tons of gorgeous lacing drapes the glass
S: Rich oak, plums, raisins, and caramelized brown sugar
T: Wow - bold bourbon, toffee, vanilla, prunes, figs, cherries, and a very faint chipotle pepper spice on the finish
F: Medium thickness and very creamy feel
O: This really exceeded my expectations. The initial pour was clear and underwhelming, but the beer then drew me into its tasty web. As it warms, a decadent melange of flavors takes over and is punctuated by a robust barrel aging that comes across with more oak than bourbon. Really enjoyed the distinctive flavor profile of this one.

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Photo of Brian1980
4.79/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Haven't yet tried anabasis but have had loads of big barleywines and this stands up with the best of them

I would take this over king Henry all day long
Smoother with great notes of vanilla, caramel, toffee, and barrel presence.

Plus the price of admission is much better on the wallet

This did not disappoint

Had at release on tap and out of a bottle. Can't wait to revisit this and see what a year of age does with it.

Enjoy in confidence

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep murky reddish brown body. Small welling of khaki bubbles. A very thin collar.

Smell - A little oxidized. Kinda cardboardy. Bourbon. Brown sugar. Boozy.

Taste - Better bourbon flavor. Better all around. Still a little cardboardy and oxidized. Some dark fruits to it, too. Lots of brown sugar. Woody finish. Almost spicy finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation. Oxidized in the back end. Boozy.

Overall - So this is getting old. The oxidation is becoming overwhelming.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.36/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the old timers I've always wanted to try. Took me a few years to finally find one of these, so a huge thank you goes out to cpferris for providing this through a reasonable trade. Very happy to finally be drinking this long-time want. Shared at my house with the crew last weekend. Good times boys!

From a bomber into a mini-snifter
Woodford Reserve barrel aged
Drank this along side Fireside Chat and BA Hi-Fi Rye batch 2

APPEARANCE: Pours a ½ finger, off-white head that quickly vanishes. Lousy retention. A clear, deep mahogany red in color, basically the same as the other two, with no carbonation evident. Head quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring, both of which remain the whole way but leave no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon on this one, with oak, coconut, sweet vanilla cream, toffee and caramel on the nose. Very bold and impressive, with lots of oak and bourbon with a solid caramel, toffee base. No sign of oxidization at all.

TASTE: A slight touch of cardboard in the flavor initially, but that quickly recedes, leaving a really good blend of oak, bourbon, caramel and toffee sweetness up front. Barrel sweetness into a finish of coconut, sweet vanilla cream, toffee and caramel, bourbon and some light notes of red fruit from the age. A bit of alcohol lingers as well. This is still extremely tasty and enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: I really didn't know what to expect here. I'd heard reports that there was a lot of bottle variation at this point, which would make sense given its age, so perhaps I kept my expectations artificially low. While this bottle has started to show the very beginnings of going grey, the age hasn't stopped it from performing like a champ. This was excellent, and even in a blind tasting it would hold up. As the bottle sat, the slight signs of age took a back seat to the still wonderfully flavorful and balanced barrel aged barleywine with all the elements that make for a world class brew in the style. This was way better than I'd honestly expected, and it may have been my favorite of the three Flossmoor b-wines we drank that evening. Thanks again for the bottle cpferris, and cheers again gents for helping me drink it.

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Photo of orangesol
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review #700!!!
Massive thanks to Al aka petesuphi for sharing this one with a few of us. I never thought I would even see a bottle of this, let alone drink it. Thanks again buddy!

A - Pours cloudy orangish brown with a nice one finger tall white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving spotty trails of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of caramel and toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, smooth bourbon and some very light woody oak. The aroma is intoxicating, with all of the flavors meshing very well together. Only a tiny bit of oxidation is detectable here.

T - Starts off with the strong sweetness made up of the caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar and molasses. Once the sweetness dies down the bourbon and oak help smooth it all out. There is so much going on yet it doesn't overpower the palate in any way. Once it warms up the light oxidation becomes present here as well but it never really detracts from the other flavors, it mostly lurks at the end of each sip. Finish is sweet with some light heat, lingering on the palate long after the finish.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, slick feel goes down easy. Goes a touch watery at the end of the glass, combined with the light oxidation this is probably the weakest part of this beer.

O - I really enjoyed this one. It has all of the flavors I like in my barley wines and the addition of the bourbon barrel aging has made this one even better. In this bottle at least, it has definitely begun to show its age but it is still an awesome bourbon BA barley wine. I would say you should drink it sooner rather than later.

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Photo of joe1510
4.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz Snifter
Flossmoor Station

This batch of Wooden Hell was leftover from FoBAB. The snifter was brought to my table with a small swirling of head and a slight collar around the glass. The body is chocolaty brown with ruby highlights throughout. When lifted off the table this beer has a dull ruby glow to it as the chocolate seems to fade. A thin line or two of lace is left behind here and there.

The nose on this big barleywine draws me in instantly. The bourbon barrel brings in heavenly aromas of oak, sweet vanilla, spicy bourbon and coconut. The bourbon plays a big role in the aroma but blends seamlessly with the barleywine without ever taking charge. Sweet notes of chocolate, fig, raisin, and caramel maltiness all show the complexity of this brew. I can't begin to describe all the different aspects of the nose but the ones I mentioned are the most noticeable.

Now this is a big, delicious, perfectly barrel aged barleywine. The rich caramel and toffee qualities abound to form the base with all the notes of chocolate, fig, raisin, and hops laying down layer after layer of complexity. The hops bring mild citric notes and a cinnamon-like spiciness to the mix. The barrel aging is about perfect in this brew. Lightly toasted coconut, oak, sweet vanilla, and bourbon all integrate perfectly. The barrel aging never takes over which creates a beer that meshes perfectly instead of being a bourbon bomb like so many others out there. Nice job guys!

The body of this brew is perfectly creamy and smooth. You know the alcohol is there from the warmth and bourbon character but I never actually feel any heat or get any fumes. Each sip coats the tongue and every taste bud allowing this beer to linger after each drink.

I only drank one snifter while at the brewpub but I could have put down another afterwards without question. Actually if this beer was bottled I could spend an entire winter night with this beer. A sipper without a doubt but one I never want to put down.

This is one of the best barrel aged brews I've had to date. The aging was perfect in this one allowing the bourbon to compliment the beer. I'd love to see Wooden Hell up again this winter.

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Photo of jbuddle
4.07/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike for providing this one I've been hoping to try for a long time. 4/17/13.

Pours a bit muddy and opaque with a small amount of head that quickly falls apart. Aroma of caramel, burnt sugar, touch of oxidation and some sweet malt. Just a hint of vanilla. Taking a sip brings to mind a very well crafted barleywine with just a touch of sweetness and well integrated barrel notes. Fairly subtle and nuanced with a touch of oxidation on the back end. Very light notes of barrel aging with some vanilla and booze, but it drinks very light for the ABV, and nothing really stands out. Slick and medium bodied.

I've heard there is significant bottle variation at this point, but this one was one of my top barleywines to date and an absolute treat.

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Photo of BucketBoy
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the better bottles of Wooden Hell I've had, and my last. I'm finally reviewing this beer. Pours a golden flax flecked walnut, almost clear in my glass with some sticky foam on top. Very nice-looking. Smooth nose is sweet molasses, burnt brown sugar. Perhaps even a bit of cream of soda, vanilla, bourbon, oak - just beautiful sweetness to the English barley wine. The flavor at this point is still very fragrant, just perfect sweetness and toast balance with nuanced layers, still nice barrel presence that provides a lovely vanilla and a touch of oak. Smallest hint of aged English hops that are just enough. Layers and layrrs of flavor wash over my palate. Great flavor; a superior barleywine. Mouthfeel is smooth, just enough carbonation, slick, viscous, and a hint oily to coat my mouth. Lovely! The last bottle I opened was very underwhelming, boring even. This bottle, however, was fantastic, especially as rated by style.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks metalgdog for sharing this!
The beer pours a dark brown with thin halo of a white head. Its nose is woody, caramely, with a faint touch of warming alcohol. As expected the taste is smooth, sweet with wood sugars and a hint of alcohol. The beer's mouthfeel is perfectly smooth and sweet with a touch of oak and alcohol. This beer is highly drinkable and is just plain well made.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to metalgdog! Brandon is the man! Never in a lifetime thought I would taste this.

Pours out a cloudy reddish, orange, brown color. Murky looking in a way. A light beige colored head, decent retention.

Aroma is a bit off from what I expected. Seaweed and very earthy. A sweet caramels bourbon BW base is lost somewhere in the back.

An exceptional taste, different complexities come with each sip. The seaweed and earth from the aroma is there, perhaps from oxidation, but compliments the beer much more nicely. Lots of sweet caramel/ burnt sugars, tons of oak and fig like dark fruits. Just a bit of bourbon, but whatever booze was there seems to have mellowed very nicely with age. Sweetness all over.

Very smooth and easy drinking for what it is. Fairly thick bodied, and just a bit light on the carbonation.

I'm super excited for trying a beer I never thought would even be a possibility. But I had it, and despite the whale status, I'm a bit underwhelmed. The seaweed earth aspect, especially in the aroma, wasn't very welcomed, still the taste was pretty amazing. So happy in got the opportunity, thanks again Brandon!

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Wooden Hell from Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 229 ratings