Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
581 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good
Read the review
Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
widmer.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bitterness: 40 IBU
Alcohol by Volume: 9.4% ABV
Original Gravity: 20° PLATO

Released: September 2010

Added by BarrytheBear on 09-24-2010

BEER STATS
Ratings:
581
Reviews:
229
Avg:
3.57
pDev:
15.69%
 
 
Wants:
21
Gots:
134
For Trade:
4
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 581 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of vfgccp
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of russpowell
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up at Goebbels in Wichita, bottled in October

Pours a chill-hazed amber with a sliver of cream colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Slight Bourbon notes

T: Follows the nose, some toffee. a touch of vanilla & boozeyness up front. Apricot notes as this warms along with slightly boozey toffee, oaky dryness, with woody hops & vanilla. Finishes with oaky dryness, a touch of honey & boozey vanilla, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Medium bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, nice warming sensation to this

Drinks easy for the ABV, a nice take on the style. Not the best barrel aged beer I've had in a while, I would certainly buy this again if the price is right

 670 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle - $12.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. What appears to be a brewed/bottled on date of Nov 14, 2011 in teeny tiny white font on the label.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, reddish-amber body with a foamy, off-white head. Little bitlets of lacing on the descent.

Smell: Moderate bourbon wafts in between notes of resinous hops, toasted grains, juniper berry, light-colored brown sugar, and week-old lemon rind.

Taste: Toasted bread malts with some crystal sweetness with an edge of brown sugar and quickly dunked into (and out of) Kentucky bourbon. Two lone drops of pineapple juice. A little hint of spruce tips. Remains fairly resiny (though this is boosted by the tannins), with some muted citrus, and a scant grassiness. Moderately bitter. Very, very subtle vanilla and toasted coconut. Still closes out bittersweet like the standard Brrr, but now with some drying, tannic oak action enduring into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-light carbonation. Slightly smooth stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Overall: It's ultimately just OK, I certainly don't feel as though I got my thirteen bucks' worth with this one.

 1,160 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Candied orange peel with brighter Sunkist edges and an expansive crown of khaki colored foam after a spirited pour (pun intended). Tiny divots are appearing on the upper surface as tiny bubbles pop-pop-pop. Pretty nice lace too, considering the ABV and barrel-aging.

The nose is too subdued and features bourbon whiskey much more prominently than the base beer. Equal contributions would have been fine. Warming does nothing of note and the whole thing strikes me as merely average.

Q: is Barrel Aged Brrrbon be as good as Brrr? A: no, it isn't. I'm not sure what happened here, but this is an experiment that Widmer Brothers doesn't need to undertake again. The one-off nature of the Brothers' Reserve Series means that that isn't likely.

Barrel-aging appears to have taken something away from the caramel malty and fruity hoppy nature of Brrr, rather than adding something to it. Truth be told, bourbon isn't even that great a contributor, at least in terms of quality. The list: toffee pudding, grapefruit zest, burnt sugar, a small splash of vanilla, hints of oak.

There is not a palate punch of flavor, which is unusual in a 9.4% ale that has spent time in bourbon barrels. Even though warming brings out a little more depth and intensity, it's too little, too late. Good sweet-bitter balance is a quasi-positive.

The mouthfeel is thinner than expected (though not thin) and doesn't have the lush and creamy quality that it should have. The bubbles are neither too many, nor too few, but don't impress either.

Widmer Barrel Aged Brrrbon is a classic example of the adage that it's best not to mess with success. I'm sure the brewery's goal was to improve upon an already good beer. Sorry, but mission *not* accomplished.

 1,732 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark brown with only slight bits of light coming through to change it from a back note. a huge tan head then rose up from the depths and settled across the top of the glass. really just a thick look to it.

the aroma was boozy, with lots of peat and smoked malts that really filled the air. hints of molasses, chocolate, rich caramel and dark fruits all make their presence known. with the thickness of a milkshake the first sips slide over the palate doing their best to coat it so fully you do not even know where to start. just tremendous in every aspect. rich smoked malts and sweet flavors finish the job with a kick of smooth boozy oak and bourbon to round it out.

 670 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 11/22/11 notes. Had on tap at FireWorks in Arlington, VA. Poured in a snifter.

a - Pours a reddish brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, light spice, and lightly roasted malts. Bourbon is very strong but I'm definitely enjoying it in the nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, spices, vanilla, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Bourbon again is strong but a little too much for me here in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth here.

o - Overall a decent beer, but a bit too strong for me. I think with some time on it it could be a lot better, and would age it if I had it in a bottle.

 699 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Pours a deep orange, almost amber. Just a few wisps but not much by way of a head.

Smell - Caramel malt, some herbal and earthy hops. Bourbon is secondary. Some oak. Not what I was expecting.

Taste - Hops right up front, some vanilla and bourbon follow, but not the main attracting. Monotonous caramel malt followed by a nutty and oaky finish. Moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel - As unenthused by this as I am, I'm having no trouble drinking it. Not very heavy when I think of the nature of the beer and not really boozy.

Overall - Not bad, just dull. No real barrel character to it.

 648 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

An appropriate beer while watching Barry Melrose dish out some harsh words for NHLers. Ain't that right, VDubb? It pours a clear sunrise amber topped by nearly two fingers of slightly off-white foam. The nose comprises coconut-enhanced suntan lotion, oak, caramel, light cocoa powder, cheap whiskey, circus peanuts candy, and rye bread. The taste bludgeons me with rubbery whiskey and oak, while the caramel, rye, and light hot cinnamon cower in the corner, lest they get the full wrath of the drunken, abusive brrrbon tones. Man, they are really trying way too hard here. The body is a strangely stolid medium, with a light carbonation and a slimily dry finish. Overall, I'm not at all impressed with this brew. It tries way too hard to be a nice barrel-aged WW, but instead succeeds only at making me angry. I don't want to drink any more of this again. Period.

 905 characters

Photo of BMart
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a nice head Not a lot of head with lots of lacing.

Smell: Spices and bourbon.

Taste: The first two sips I got all spice and malt. After that the bourbon seemed to come to the forefront and dominate.

Mouthfeel: low key for a barrel aged and not over powering which is a good thing for me.

Overall: this is the first Bourbon Barrel Aged beer thst I have had that was not a stout and I like this better than most of them.

 465 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
2/5  rDev -44%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of rolltide8425
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of imbibehour
4.09/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2011

A very dark and clear orange amber body, consistent throughout but with hardly any head presence at all. Small collar seems to remain with some whispy top, head was a light caramel that disappeared very quickly. In sunlight though the body has a wonderful gorgeous ruby red color.

A real nice whiff first of cherry like fruit and spices, followed by bourbon style barrel aged notes of caramel, oak and thick vanilla. Really nice.

Taste is a mild mix of barrel aged thickness, but also some wet cherry body. Palate has a light caramel malt and warming spices, but also a very wet finish. Carbonation feels just interesting enough to not take anything away from the drink.

Overall rather enjoyable take on a winter warmer and a nice break from the giant barrel aged stout beers. I would have this again anytime, real nice nose on this too.

 900 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks nice on the pour. Feels extremely silly and smooth. Flavor profile is nice and smooth. Mild hop spice tones. Lots of malts. I'm getting a bit of a vanilla tone here too. Overall, this is a very smooth beer. I get no boozy tones, and I'm pretty sure it's close to 10% on the abv, from what I recall when I saw the bottle. A nice easy drinker. Pleasant.

 357 characters

Photo of Lare453
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Duff27
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of VeganUndead
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Widmer Barrel Aged Brrrbon '11. Widmer Brewing, Portland, Oregon, since 1984. Alchemy Project. Seasonal Ale aged in bourbon barrels. "This smooth, chilly winter warmer goes through a secondary fermentation as it ages in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. After months of maturation in the barrels the brew is allowed a tertiary fermentation for final conditioning before release." "Flavored Ale." "Combine inspiration and experience. Repeat often." "Prost! To improving with age!"

Okay, I'm going against all this and trying this out young. Maybe I'll buy more to save for later…if this one is good. We'll see. For now, let's open it up.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, slim, but lasting off-white froth.

Aroma: bourbon. Oak and vanilla. Whatever particular aromas Brrr gives us, it's drowned out by the bourbon barrel-aging. Very nice, but I wish it was deeper, and more complex. Rather simple, overwhelmed by the barrel aging.

Taste: boom, here comes richness, raisins, grapes, cherries, oak and vanilla, and, of course, bourbon. Really rich, really thick, much malt, covered in bourbon and oak. Yet not as full bodied, as I'd like for this treatment, perhaps because the base beer just is not thick and full enough to hold up for this type of treatment. Those flavors return sip after sip, but they're just not enough. Bourbon barrel-aging is best done with imperial stout or barleywine, but not necessarily winter ales or winter warmers that may have a certain heft, but not enough to carry this extra weight.

Will this one really improve with age? Maybe, a little?

I don't know for sure, but it's not good now. There's a flurry of flavor at first, mostly on the sweet side, but after that, the pleasures dwindle. A light bourbon-y flavor lays over this very average winter ale. Sweet, whiskey-ish, vanilla-y, and utterly boring. Completely forgettable. Far too sweet, too much bourbon barrel work, without enough dry, roasty malt below. Maybe bourbon barrel-aging a winter ale is not an awesome idea. Maybe you need a bigger beer, to make it worthwhile? Maybe after 28 years, they'd know that?

Eh, I keep giving them chances, and I keep trying them out, and, dammit, I keep spending my money on them, but I'm starting to wise up.

 2,235 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber, thin head dissipates quickly, minimal lacing. Aroma dominated by bourbon with sweet malt. Taste follows, with bourbon dominating, decent wood notes, vanilla and faint hops. Light to medium bodied. The bourbon is nice, but the elements aren't that well integrated. The vanilla leaves a slightly diacetyl taste. Overall a satisfactory, but not noteworthy effort.

 427 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.37/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from AJ's Fine Foods on North Central in Phoenix. 22oz into a chalice, 2011 vintage bottled August 21 of the year.

Poured a translucent brownish orange, with about a finger of white head. A bit of lace and a film of retention. Nose has some orangey hop notes that are a bit resinous, a touch of oak, vanilla and only a slight suggestion of bourbon. Taste has quite a bit of the same, orangey-like hop notes (which, as I move through the bottle, come across as more and more artificial), with lots of oak, butterscotch - almost along the lines of an Innis & Gunn. Some bourbon flavour, without any bourbon burn. A hint of spice, bitter in the finish with a dash of alcohol. Heavy medium body and carbonation is quite low, slightly more drinkable than some pure 'sippers' out there. Too sweet for my liking though, and lacks any real complexity to make this stand out. Despite the nice looking bottle and packaging, this was certainly not worth the $14 I dropped on this. 22oz ended up being too much, half of this was disposed of.

 1,037 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.57 out of 5 based on 581 ratings.
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