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

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Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)
BA SCORE
3.61/5
Good
583 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#36,959
Reviews:
229
Ratings:
583
pDev:
15.51%
Bros Score:
3.5
 
 
Wants:
21
Gots:
134
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 583 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
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 TimH
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Lantern
3.25/5  rDev -10%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Sunhunters
2.93/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving type: Widmer Brothers Brrrbon '11 -- 22oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance (3.0): Two-finger, eager head when poured into pint. Very active - lots of cratering. Receded quickly, leaving heavy lacing around glass. Very thin head still coats beer a minute later, but is insubstantial in the center, and barely-there along the edge. Bright copper, it's surprisingly translucent when held up to the light. I was expecting a heavier looking beer.

Smell (2.5): Sour-mash bourbon. Not sweet like Basil Hayden's, but rather funky and pungent like Jack Daniel's. A little hint of oatmeal-raisin cookies and bran flakes. Right at the very end of the aroma there's something vaguely metallic and salty - almost like a very faint hint of raw oyster and wet sand.

Taste (3.0): Bourbon and oak dominate the flavor, with a dose of dark Myer's rum. Despite the fully boozy flavor, the beer goes down smooth with little residual heat. The alcohol itself is very well masked, hiding under a thick blanket of brown sugar oatmeal and black strap molasses. Delicate hints of spice - especially nutmeg - are present, but fleeting and underdone. Long after the swallow, there is a bit of soy/ponzu flavor that lingers, reminding me of the salty, metallic note I got at the tail end of the bouquet. Altogether, generally pleasant and satisfying, but nothing to write home about.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Full and round. Creamy with a well balanced carbonation. Dries the mouth out a bit well after the swallow. Thicker on the palate than it appears in the glass. Fairly pleasant, with a lingering buttery-ness on the center of the tongue.

Overall (3.0): A drinkable beer, that I would enjoy at someone else's expense again, but probably won't spend $11 on again myself. I had been considering putting a few of these in the cellar to see how they age, but after trying it, decided against it. I think my money will be better spent on other offerings in this category. Still, a palatable brew that gets the job done.

 1,997 characters

Photo of JimGlonke
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of AgentMunky
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Vintage 2011. Bottled 14 November 2011.

A: Clear light-molasses, heavy lace, light head.

S: Loads of bourbon. Sweet malt. Heavy fruits. After a sip, a touch of metal.

T: Not very interesting. Flat malts, vanilla, raw sugar, and a touch of whiskey. Jack Daniels. The aftertaste is uncompelling and easy forgettable.

M: Smooth, but cool. Nice enough. Pleasant for a winter warmer.

O: A touch of spice, but loads more fruit and oversweet molasses malt. I didn't think it was great; the bourbon was heavy-handed, but whatever. I wouldn't recommend it. I won't have again.

 625 characters

Photo of tbeq00
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mkbarron2131
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of LordVodka
4.75/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is from the 2010 release. It's been aging in my cellar boxed and in the darkness since.

A- Pours a rusty, ruddy golden mustard brown into my Bruery tulip. Has a nice 1 1/2 finger head that faded rather quickly and left just little drips and drabs of lacing sticking to the glass. Not much carbonation at all.

S- Caramel, licorice and some notes of dried cherry, raisin, leather, vanilla, and charred wood. Nice, but not as complex as I was hoping for. I was hoping for a little more depth after a year and a half in the cellar. Still has some faint alcohol in the nose. Has some whiskey scents that linger and open the nasal passages.

T- The bourbon really comes out here! WOW! I don't remember it having as much bourbon when it was fresh. Time has really brought out the vanilla, caramel, charred wood, raisin, fig and licorice flavors. Nice spice... some nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and dates still shine thru on the finish.

M- A touch thin, but that may be because of the alcohol presence that wakes your tastebuds up and makes them sing. Has a slightly oily feel, but that's probably just from the caramel sweetness.

O- Oh well, I guess everything that comes out of the cellar can't be an over the top winner. Not bad, but I almost remember liking this one better fresh. I shoulda drank this one by the fire place this winter instead of waiting until spring... oh well! A touch too much bourbon, but decently drinkable.

 1,434 characters

Photo of bluesplit63
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of ebrauser
4.5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a narrow-mouthed De Molen beer stemflute in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. I forget where I purchased it. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I love winter warmers but I've had pretty mundane experiences with this brewery afore.

Marked Nov 14 2011. This is the 2011 vintage, and I can confirm the ABV as 9.40%.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salad.

A: Pours a one finger head of decent cream, decent thickness, and average retention for the high ABV. Colour is a semitransparent copper-brass. It's not much to look at. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's somewhat vibrant.

Sm: Gives off a toasted malt character - which is right on the money for the style. I don't get any bourbon, but a hint of toffee is there. Spices are present but limited. Some cream. It bodes well. I hope the flavour profile satisfies the promise of the aroma. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Bourbon stands out as a very present overt tone, lending the climax some added sweetness. It also gives it a butterscotch-esque flavour that suits the beer nicely. Toasted malt forms the foundation but is rather restrained and largely obscured by the bourbon - an effect I don't particularly care for. Hints of red wine esque estery notes. No real spice - a letdown given the style. Caramelized malt is present. Maybe a cherry juice note. No yeast comes through, but some alcohol does - though I wouldn't refer to it as boozy.

All around the balance is off, with the toasted malt character competing with the bourbon. Built interestingly - I like the experimentation with bourbon barrel aging, but it just needs to be executed to balance. More toasted malt might add alcohol, but would really help the balance - and the ABV presence would decline over time. As a beer meant for aging, that would be appropriate.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with nice thickness. A tingly coarseness emerges from the toasted malt but is only present in the late second act. Too smooth for the remainder of the structure - a feature lent by the bourbon. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Age would do this well. I think bourbon barrel aging complements the style surprisingly well, but unfortunately the execution here is far from optimal. It's very drinkable for the high ABV - which is very nicely concealed. It met my expectations considering the brewery, but they weren't very high to begin with. This is pretty pricey -at least as an import - for its limited quality. I'm a pretty big fan of winter warmers but this fell short in the toasted malt area. I wouldn't recommend it to friends.

Low B-

 2,794 characters

Photo of pwsoldier
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of muchloveforhops3
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of elec
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Seriously barrel flavored. Lighter bodied than barley wines. Rather sharp and thin. Attractive dark orange amber color with a swirly head. Fairly sprightly in the mouth, but not over-carbonated.

Big aroma of whisky and oak. A touch of vanilla. Malty sweetness shades into tartness. Tastes hot with alcohol. Seems overbalanced on the hot and boozy side. Hops don't stand out, but clearly there is bitterness in the aftertaste. Vegetable taste, mineral, butter. Less interesting than most of the other Widmer beers.

The '11 edition, bottled Aug 12 (20)11. I'd have to say it's overpriced at $15.

 595 characters

Photo of StogiesandBrews
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle in an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Reddish-orange. Clear. Little carbonation, minimal head. Not a lot of lacing.

Aroma: Bourbon and malt. Smells like some one dumped an ale into a bourbon bottle. I like it though. I figure that was the intention.

Taste: Like the smell, Bourbon and Malt. Not a lot of malt though, but those are the main flavors. It's the best bourbon aged beer I've had to date. Pairing with a Nub Conneticut cigar (which is creamy) is perfect. This is the beer to pair with a cigar. Very nice. It's pretty boozy, but that compliments the bourbon flavor nicely. Tastes like a shot of bourbon with a shot of beer.

Mouthfeel: Nothing to write home about. It's kind of dry, but not like bourbon is.

Overall: It's what I expected. Pretty good. It's great to pair with a cigar. I would love to get it solely for that purpose. Not for the $15 price tag I see everywhere though. I would struggle to spend $9 on it but that seems more reasonable. Good, but overpriced. I would suggest trying it once if you have some extra money in the winter when it comes out.

 1,107 characters

Photo of DCgolfpro
2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

Photo of UltimateLivewire
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Nerudamann
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - amber in color, mostly clear but with a slight haze, and about a finger and a half's worth of khaki-colored foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - malty in general with a hint of whiskey-like quality.

Taste - tastes more like whiskey than it does a beer. Maybe a little bit of malt is noticeable, but beyond that, it's all whiskey business.

Mouthfeel - definitely leans more on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew in general, but very odd-tasting. My guess is people will probably love it or hate it.

 557 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a small white head. In the aroma, dark fruit and a small alcohol. In the taste, oaky bourbon and a dark fruitiness. A small fruit bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry oak and bourbon like aftertaste. A nice bourbon presence in a barleywine, but just about average.

 321 characters

Photo of 2378GCGTG
3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

10 Feb 2012
I will start by saying I think this beer was a bit past it's peak, which is confusing because it was a bit hot too.

Appearance: Orange/red body under a 1/4 inch eggshell head with lacing that sticks to the glass well.

Smell: Bourbon and Oak predominate giving way to butter, oil, and toffee, all this is followed up by something a bit weird, like smokey peanuts.

Taste: Oily/buttery bourbon supported by roasted malts and oak. The peanut comes back here with a bit of burnt malt and a smokey flavor. If it ended here the beer would be much better, but all of this gives way too a hint of cardboard then a hot alcohol finish.

Mouth: Slips and flows on the tongue but the great body is hindered by the slight bite from the hot alcohol finish.

Overall: Complex though a bit too smokey and burnt. In all honesty this has probably just aged a bit too long, which makes sense given that it's a shade under 10%... I so wanted this beer to be excellent, but sadly it disappoints

 987 characters

Photo of mercatonero
4.5/5  rDev +24.7%

Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 583 ratings
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