Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

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

228 Reviews
Read the review
Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 228 | Ratings: 578
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 silver0rlead
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly cloudy amber color with a thin tan head, and leaves nice lacing. The aroma consists of overwhelming bourbon notes, along with some caramel and brown sugar, dark fruit notes, piney and citrusy hops and a big whiff of alcohol. The flavor is also dominated by bourbon notes, with some caramel and toffee and brown sugar, along with piney hops, dark fruits and alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick and drinkability is pretty limited. Really this just tastes like a slightly toned down bourbon, and the alcohol overwhelms anything else going on in the beer.

 564 characters

Photo of Vdubb86
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a SA perfect pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for sharing some bourbon up in hurrr!

This beer looks a nice orangish amber color with a fluffy white foam that laces well. The smell is citrus and oak. There is a slight malt aroma mixed with the pleasant hop aroma. The woodsy aroma is mirrored in spades with this beer's flavor. There is a strong boozy flavor with this beer that bites on the tongue. I really don't like the fact that I have wood in my mouth. The mouthfeel while spicy isn't that bad. The overall drinkability comes into question here solely due to the taste here, the rest of it is the saving grace. Holy crap this is intense. If you like barrels you can taste this one. Enjoy!

 704 characters

Photo of MidasAg
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I really can't add much that hasn't already been said.

A-Nice reddish/orange color, not much of a head to it.
S- Sweet smell,Cant really get much else
T- Irish red taste to it, with a slight bourbon taste, but not much.
M- Sticky thick mouth feel, not in a good way
D- Not great, and not sure what you would want to drink this with. To me drinkability is wanting to drink this beer with something to eat, or even drink on its one. Not so here.

I've had bourbon barrele beer before, and it was phenomenal. I've had other Widmer Brother's brews that were great. This one is simply average, and for the price, would not recommend, or buy again. Only reason I'm still drinking is I don't want to waste $10 worth of beer.

 722 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Really nice clear looking golden reddish copper color. Really nice looking beer. Minimal white head with no lacing.

S: Lots of sweetness in the nose. The more it warmed up the more the bourbon came out. Tons of bourbon. It kind of overwhelmed everything else going on in the beer.

T: Lots of sweetness up front even with quite a bit of bourbon. For the ABV there really is not the complexity of flavor that I need to justify the amount of alcohol.

M: Little bit sticky. Nice full mouthfeel.

D: The base beer was just not complex or big enough to handle the barrel. Just because you can throw a beer in a barrel does not mean you should.

 643 characters

Photo of djbreezy
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draught at the Widmer Gasthaus in Portland, OR.

appearance - sticky lacing, good retention, big head, dark cherry in color, no transparency

smell - bourbon, sweetness, alcohol, wood

taste - caramel/toffee base, notes of wood, big bourbon alcohol all around, hops

mouthfeel - medium body, light for a 9.4 abv, some foaminess/medium carbonation

drinkability - moderate complexity, a decent sipping brew, would likely age well

 431 characters

Photo of champ103
2.8/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy amber/reddish color. A one finger white head forms at first, and recedes in a second. No lace to speak of.
S: Plenty of burning right of the bat. Some harsh nondescript whiskey, alcohol. Sweet malt, maybe some hops, and light vanilla.
T: Sweet malt, fusel alcohol, vanilla. Not much going on.
M/D: A much lighter body than I was expecting. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Though it is just to thin. To much fusel alcohol, and nothing else to keep me interested.

A disappointment. No nuance, nothing is incorporated well, and just not very interesting. Widmer just jumped on the barrel aged band wagon here without any thought of the end product. I would not recommended this.

 698 characters

Photo of beertunes
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into 16oz goblet. Poured a clean, clear amber, with just a thin cap of off-white head that had low retention and minimal lacing.

There was some bourbon notes upfront in the aroma, with mere traces of malt and hops behind it. The flavor was equally meh. The barrel gives it the dominant bourbon taste, but otherwise this is just kinda OK.

The body was a bit too thin. Drinkability was OK, but I don't think I'll want more than this one 22. Overall, not a "bad" beer, just a boring one. Try it if you want, but I think your time will be better spent elsewhere.

 567 characters

Photo of DaveHS
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours the color of dark stained wood. Almost no lacing.

S-Light on the oak, some fresh, bright fruit notes.

T/M-The barrel is light on this one, allowing the traditional winter warmer flavor profile to come through. Not much bourbon character, but some new American oak character. Nothing special. The finish tapers off into light bittering hops, which cuts off any sweetness that might serve to bring out the bourbon character.

D-Okay, but not worth going out of your way for.

 483 characters

Photo of Bung
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Clear amber pour, just a whisp of white head. Quite a few bubbles throughout though.

Rum cake and booze, some malt and caramel. Vanilla, barrel in there as well.

Caramel, toffee, oak and smidge of vanilla. Just a bit too boozy throughout. Finishes with some vanilla.

More carbonated than the appearance would lead, plus the rather high warmth of it, make it fairly average in drinkability. If this were knocked down a bit in abv, I think it would shine a bit more.

Worth a try though.

 495 characters

Photo of billab914
3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with a thin, white, sticky, transparent head barely covering the top. The head concentrated around the edges of the glass where it did leave some nice lacing.

The aroma shows mostly the bourbon and barrel characteristics with the bourbon alcohol, oak wood and some vanilla flavors all coming through. A bit of the beers maltiness and spices come through, but they are pretty well hidden behind the barrel flavors.

The taste is similar to the nose with the barrel flavors dominating. It had some great vanilla and oak notes to it. They were very pronounced but also pretty smooth. The bourbon plays a big role but is pretty smooth and not that hot for how much it comes through. Like the nose just a bit of the beers malty and spicy flavors come through the barrel flavors. The taste is really all about the barrel in this one.

The mouthfeel is heavy and pretty silky smooth. Carbonation is moderate, and perhaps a little high overall. Drinkability isn't bad, it really had some good bourbon and barrel flavors that were surprisingly smooth. What it didn't have though is depth. The base beer just didn't bring enough to table to add much to the barrel flavors. It was a decent drink on this cold evening, but not a great one.

 1,313 characters

Photo of JLeege
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a snifter

Appearance- Pours a clear deep amber with a 2 finger slightly off white head. Decent lacing.

Smell- Actually smells fairly hoppy. Some caramel and sweet malt undertones. Oak and vanilla.

Taste- Subtle bourbon notes, vanilla, caramel. Some subtle hops. There is also something I am having trouble putting my finger on, it may be coconut!?!?

Mouthfeel- Light and crisp, sort of cola like

Overall- Alcohol is hid well. This is not bad, it is very thin in the body, thats the only real knock on this beer. Could be thicker, have another bottle to age, in about a year we will see whats up.

 618 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ken's bottle. Nice drinkability. Corny bourbon aroma. Yellow body lagerishg look with carbonation bubbles and big soapy head. Orangey oil. Herbal, orange flavours surprisingly. Bourbon in secondary. maybe some vanilla and sugar.Booze felt, but not predominant.

 260 characters

Photo of DanOLeary
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Fresh white oak, if there is such a thing. I say fresh and white because the wood character comes off the top edgy and young. Second to the oak you'll find Bourbon notes and alcohol, with the Bourbon slightly winning over. No hop aroma, little to no malt in the nose either. There is an underlying 'rust' aroma, and I don't mean to imply Metallic. Simply an earthy blend of wood and alcohol.

Appearance: The lightest brown to mahogany red with crystal clarity. Head is but a trace of an off-white ring at the edge of the glass. Touches of lacing here and there.

Flavor: Sweet toasted bread malt with the expected wooded bourbon quickly following up the malt. These two flavors dominate the palate, while black pepper, some clove and all-spice blend into the mix. Finish is biting from the bourbon, but the malt sweetness hangs on.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. The carbonation is similar to cask conditioned ales, with only the slightest presence. 9.4% Alcohol hits the back of the throat in the finish

Overall: There is a welcoming Winter Brew character to this beer that fits the season nicely. The Bourbon oak aroma is like sticking your nose in a freshly toasted oak barrel. Typically I find oak aged beers have a deeper wood presence, but the barrel aging here tells of youthful oak. Personally I enjoy the change, but some will find the wood to be too 'green' I imagine.

 1,406 characters

Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.71/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Cold and rainy, so what's better than this, right (ok a bunch of things, but you get the point)...

Pours a ruddy amber with a quickly-disappearing finger of soapy head. This settles into a rim of persistent bubbles and leaves very little lacing. Very little carbonation. Nose sure does carry bourbon whiskey, that's for certain. It's very nice...A certain sweetness in the nose too, so I suspect this'll be very alcoholic (9.4% ABV actually) and probably bitter. Flavor is characterized by bourbon, malt and brown sugar. Extremely robust. Most will not be able to handle it. It's like Jack Daniels fell on top of a keg of beer and it exploded into your face...The two flavors seem to compete more than they mesh. One moment, it's like a nice barleywine, the next like a glass of JD.These two flavors wrestle with each other until the finish, which is heavily whiskey-soaked, and bitter from some hops and alcohol. This is a big beer for big beer lovers. If I had to attach this beer to a popular Internetz girl, I'd equate it to Jordan (fka Katie Price) - enormous upfront, but it's more nuture than nature, if you get the drift, and it's kind of a mess. Insanely expensive at $10.99/bomber.

What I like most: The bourbon soaked aroma.

What I like least: the price and competeing flavor profile.

Verdict: crazy, alcoholic and fun (like Jordan) but not worth it.

 1,365 characters

Photo of GregSVT
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a murky amber with a nice light tan head that fades to a small layer leaving a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is sweet caramel, oak, and malt with a tiny bit of hops in the background.

T: Starts off with a huge wave of caramel which develops into a sweet vanilla and bready malt backbone with the smallest tinge of hops to balance things out on the finish. This reminds me of beers like Nemesis 2009 and Insanity...sweet but not cloying.

M: The feel is creamy and medium-full bodied. Not overly carbonated and not flat...just right.

D: The alcohol is hidden well for a 9% beer and I wouldn't hesitate to have this again.

Don't let the bad reviews fool you...this actually a well done barrel aged beer if you like things like Nemesis 2009 and Weyerbacher Insanity.

 814 characters

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is sweet and oaky. Smells heavenly.

Pours clear dark honey color with massive head. Looks quite good.

Flavor follows nose and is indeed highly oaky. I love a good stiff oak in a beer. Dark malt base with dried fruits. Fairly thin body with soft carbonation. Tastes good. Feels pretty good. Great drinkability.

Nicely oaky. Well played Widmer.

 350 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.32/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle split in a Sprecher snifter. 9.4% ABV, check box for brewed by Rob, Aug3010 on the neck.

Thanks to TheDTrain for sharing this boxed bottle with me!

A - Pours a bronzed amber color with a light haze through the beer, it's topped by a small cream-colored head. No real retention or lace left over.

S - Not over-the-top in any way, I get smooth notes of oak, vanilla, and mellow bourbon. The toasted malts are there but lack a strong backing presence to really get noticed. The bourbon addition takes over. No hops are in the aroma.

T - Again, good subtle notes of vanilla and oak with a bourbon kick that's not too strong but it's just lacking anything to back it up. Subtle amber malt flavor with a minuscule hint of spice on the back end.

M - A bit thin actually, this lands around medium-light in body. The alcohol has a very light warmth to it. Crisp and thin, it's got a mild spritzy carbonation finish.

D - For $13, this is not worth it in the least. Maybe at a $5 or $6 price-point it would be worth getting again for a cold winter day, but this is far too overpriced. Even with the bourbon as mellow as it is, it still overpowers everything. Too thin. Also, why was this winter warmer released in September?

 1,232 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
3.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From recently taken notes:
A $5 10 oz. snifter at Widmer's Gasthaus. The third in the limited 'Brothers Reserve' series.

A: Absolutely lovely pour: as chestnut/auburn as the base beer (the abominably named 'Brrr'), with a larger and denser pile of light tan cream. Drippy sheets of coating froth, great stickiness.

S: Sigh, just sigh...despite a lightly sweet 'bourbon' nose, this disappoints in both strength and complexity. A little resin/cut lumber, then fusel alcohol...

T: I really enjoy(ed) the B-word beer last year, so it'd be a surprise to NOT like this. Good base, full of spice and piney hops, then a layered dose of 'the wood', barrel-aging that's sweet, sappy and rather raw. A toffee and vanilla sweetness comes and goes.

M: Medium body that coats steadily but never gets anywhere close to 'thick'. Not so heavily carbonated/fizzy but a certain buoyant frothiness that writhes about on the tongue.

D: A twist on a likable addition to last year's winter line-up. Still awfully warm right now, a fact that affects drinkability (somewhat). Worth a try (another good/interesting effort from the Bros. Reserve line) and something I'll pick up a bottle or two of for aging.

 1,186 characters

Photo of TheDTrain
3.12/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cherry amber color gave this beer promise. The hints of wood, fruit, sweet tones along with the subtle bourbon tones provides a decent aroma. While the bourbon definitely adds something positive, this beer was thin and pretty weak.

Not a bad beer. But for $13 the d-train was pretty disappointed. I certainly won't be buying this again. Skip it.

 350 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a small light tan head that mostly subsides in short order with a bit of lace. Color is a clear, rich, medium amber, with slow bubble trails. Aroma is malt, brandy, dark ripe fruit. Flavor is like nose with the malt and brandy more pronounced plus the tang of carbonation. Body is a little thinner than I'd expect in this style but good and carbonation is assertive. Finish is like flavor with lots of warming alcohol. Decent beer for a sipper. Not bad, but not great.

 480 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am a sucker for these reddish tinged beers; they're really pleasing to the eye.
This was a clear cherry amber color with a medium-sized tan head that reduced quickly.
Nice aroma. Vanilla Coke, sweet caramel. Alcohol noticeable, not unpleasant.
Alas, the taste did not live up to the aroma. While what I noted in the aroma was present in the taste, it was on a much smaller scale. Muted.
Fairly sweet mouthfeel.
Nice enough, but close but no cigar.

 449 characters

Photo of Phelps
3.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled August 30, 2010.

Appearance: pours a perfectly clear golden-amber with a minuscule head of off-white foam. The cap dissipates rather quickly, becoming the thinnest of rings and leaving some jagged, spotted lacing as it goes.

Smell: like winter potpourri. Theres a lot going on in there: cinnamon, pine, vanilla, orange juice, pineapple, butterscotch, lemon zest. The bourbon is a subtle backbone and isn't overpowering, which I thoroughly appreciate. A nice, complex nose.

Taste: before the swallow, the flavor shows some promise. There's cola in there, along with cinnamon, pine, vanilla, oak. But these flavors never seem to fully materialize. Upon the swallow, what hints there were of these tastes are blasted away, as if they never existed. A dryness lingers, along with an oaky butterscotch note. A bit of a letdown, after the nose.

Feel: light yet prickly and fizzy carbonation amidst a medium-light body that's just a bit runny.

Drink: a bit of a letdown. Brrrbon isn't a bad beer at all, but it suffers from the same symptoms as the other sub-par Widmer Reserve Series beer, Braggot. For the price tag, I just expect more flavor.

 1,156 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a ruddy dark red color with good carbonation and dirty white head

S: Light bourbon, wood, vanilla

T: Follows nose very well, wood, vanilla, caramel

M: Thin. Carbonated well, sticky, bourbon dominates booze not feeling like 9+ ABV

D: Not a bad beer at all, pretty tame on bourbon and all. Still drinkable for price

 327 characters

Photo of mstyne
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Beverage Mart NY 66. Came in a nice cardboard box which was what initially caught my attention. We all know that good things come in boxes.

AUG3010 on the bottle.

A really pleasant clear, dark amber/red. Thin white head with light lacing. Aroma is light, crisp, with just a hint of the bourbon/wood flavor to come. No alcohol to be found anywhere; quite a feat when it clocks in a 9.4%!

Taste is very different; very complex. There is no doubt that this brew once shared a home with a bourbon barrel. Absolutely delicious. I only wish there was more of it.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Widmer Brothers.

 626 characters

Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.