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

Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)
Liked This Beer
3.61 w/ 582 ratings
Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

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

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Ratings: 582 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of NickMunford
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crisp reddish brown, with little head. Looks good to me.
The bourbon is present in the aroma, but not overpowering. There is also a hint of winter spices. Nothing that makes me say "wow, that smells great". But not bad either.
You can taste that it was bourbon barrel aged, but again, it's not overpowering. It doesn't have that rich, woody, deep bourbon flavor. More of a mass produced, bourbon from a plastic bottle type of taste. That's the first thing that came to my mind anyway. The winter spice flavors were also there, but not as up front as I would like. I would've liked there to be more vanilla, clove, etc. Still tasted good though.
Feels crisp and clean in the mouth. An easy drinker. Despite the 9+% ABV, it would be easy to have more than one. The alcohol sneaks up on you.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received from drgonzo in the Black Booty BIF, thanks Paul!

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a slightly hazy, deep copper with an offwhite head that does not last. Some lacing evident.

Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, oak, no hop aroma, some sweet malt, and a "woody sourness."

First sip is a light bourbon booziness, vanilla, oak tannins, no hop flavor. Some caramel maltiness if you strain to hunt for it. The bitterness that is there doesn't have a hop character, but is more of a tannic bitterness from the wood, like a dry wine. The finish is long, with a dry, tannic bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full, slick, with a dry tannic feel. It sucks the moisture out of you mouth, and not in a good way.

Overall drinkability is good, but I'm left feeling a little empty, because the base beer (winter warmer) doesn't really show up here.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle opened by Jared. Served in a wine glass.

Pours a moderate brown color with a thin tan head and not much in the way of retention of lacing. Thin collar as the head falls. The nose definitely packs in the brrrbon, but that's unfortunately about it. There's some slight malt character in the background, but nothing all that complex about this. The taste is comprised mostly of brrrbon along with some sweetened malt and perhaps a touch of dark fruits. Mouthfeel is a bit boozy and medium. Drinkability is decent, though there's really nothing at all special about this.

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Photo of begforme4484
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears light brown with a orange hue. Decent head.

Smell, you get a definite hint of sweetness.

Taste was very mellow. Reminded me of some better scotch ales. Mellow up front, with more to offer towards the end of the sip.

Medium bodied with mild carbonation.

If it weren't so damned expensive, I'd buy up the stock in the area. But it was on tap, which made it much more attractive to me.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

The brothers are continuing their quest with this reserve series. Tawny clarity, a beautiful head rests on top. Oak and alcohol are the first to the nostrils with clean solvent, trace vanilla and toasted wood. Full-bodied slickness. Barrel flavor has a slight chokehold on this beer, tasting a whole lot of wood; toasted, watered-down bourbon to faint vanilla and a dry pull on the palate. Modest hop profile, and the maltiness is quite dry. Expected more of an alcohol presence between the barrel and higher alcohol. Mellow up front but warming in the back. A bit more malt to back up the barrel flavors would have worked. Wood seems to take over.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good reserve offering, a bit short of rounded edges or a particular touch to make it memorable but rather solid.

Presentation: Brown post recycled box with a band noting name, main characteristics and intent of the brew, as well as a general overview of the brewery, and the scope of the Reserve series. Contains a 22 oz brown capped bottle. Red and burgundy label designed around the descriptive text of the brewery and this beer release. Notes that is a favorite of Rod Widmer, Oregon pride, and limited release. Displays release date (Fall 2010), stamped bottling date (Aug3010), and Alc. by Vol. (9.4%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear deep amber pour, with a short lived head that leaves a fair surface memory ring, with minimal splashes of lacing.

S - Initial hit of the nose has a bit of a raw, bitter and metallic whiff conflicting with bourbon and malt. Luckily it fades quickly leaving a fair boozy dash over sweet caramel.

T - Sweet, malty, caramel, bourbon touches coating it with a touch of pineapple, very faint vanilla and oak in the background.

M - Medium body, maybe medium/light at times feeling a touch too thin for an instant, with medium/low carbonation albeit with a constant prickly tingle, warm booze in the finish, in a good way.

D - All things considered it comes together as a pretty pleasing brew, and a good sipper.

Notes: It's a nice ale, but it sure is a couple of notches below what would make it outstanding, at least for me. The barrel aging feels nice, and the bourbon range is there, which I love but almost in a bit of a perfunctory sense, and it felt a bit overpriced...

Update: November 2011 Brrrrbon'11
Out of the box and now in an edition served as part of the alchemy project… Designis messy with what I assume will be a standard screenprinted bottle with several words relative to the brew in dark colors and a paper label on top with narrative and image of a glass alongside branding.
The brew is similar from the preceding offering but the barrel blending has improved, nothing extraordinary but the 11 vintage would deserve an overall 4 grade, and would be a fair candidate for aging.

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Photo of JK4Stout
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: I like this color. It has a nice orange tint to it. I mean it is a dark burnt orange, but still you can see it there. THe head is very little, but sometimes you get this with barrel aged brew.

S: Not bad. There is a definate sweetness here to let you know it is a winter beer. (Fall release, but you get me, right?) Also a snap in there for the oak. Think of going into woodshop, but with beer! (Don't ever do that)

T: Very good. The bourban is far from overpowering, so you can still taste a very warm ale in there. I still think it could go further, and from what I read it will be developing as years go by.

M: Medium to high, but with a good lingering effect, so that I'm honestly not sure if I have swallowed this or not. (That's what she said)

D: Had to go a little low here. For the price I just cant say, "Buy a case of this stuff!" It is great to try with a friend. It's snowing balls deep right now, so it is the perfect night for that!


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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.49/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden orange, a little cloudy, and small strands of carbonation climbing to the top. Zero head and not much for lacing either, so i'll go middle of the road on this one.

S - Smell is promising although it is almost completely bourbon, but not a strong scent by any means...just enough to drown out all the other aromas. I'll give it a 4 because I like bourbon.

T - It's definitely drinkable, but again, the taste mirrors the aroma...pretty much bourbon. If you took Jim Beam, cut it in a third with water, that's kinda the same flavor you get in this beer. There are some woody notes in the background from the barrel aging and juuust a hint of sweetness from the malts. Hops...?? Fuggeta 'bout it. Solid 3.5

M/D - Lighter body than expected but carbonation is on point for the style. ABV isn't really noticeable given it weighs in over 9% and no warmth from it either...even though it's a winter warmer?? Easy to drink, if you like watered down bourbon.

The beer has potential but not worth the $10 price tag for a bomber. Would like to see this one revisited but beef up the base beer first.

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Photo of spree92
4.32/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to LazyL for cracking this open on championship Sunday.

Pours a dark amber. Not much of head and little little lacing.

WOW, what an aroma. A nice velvety bourbon flavor that melts in my mouth.

I've ahad a couple brews already, so my review may not be complete, but I know this is a top quality beer.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.05/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

$11.99 for 22oz bottle.

A: nice copper color with good head that dissipated to a thin film
S: mild nose, some roasted malt with bourbon barrel very evident
T: this beer has more bourbon taste than anything else, it's not bad and I really like bourbon but the body of the beer could have a lot more depth, sweeter finish, not a ton of depth in malt
M: good enough but lacked character
D: drinkable, nothing offensive or off-flavored, just lacks character

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Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased somewhere localish.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear copper brew. Head quickly recedes to the rim, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is vanilla and alcohol, as expected.

Taste is syrupy sweet to start, a peek of fruit/tart in the middle, and then vanilla, alcohol, and a lingering coconut close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is easy, especially for the abv. Nice brew, even though I'm not the biggest coconut flavor fan.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got a free 3oz sample of this at my local beer store during a tasting.

A - For a bourbon barrel beer it poured a rather light copper color. A very little head and moderate lacing.

S - Nothing really stood out maybe slight bourbon, caramel, and sweet malts.

T - Wow that's the smoothest bourbon beer I ever had so I was impressed! Not outstanding but mild bourbon, caramel and a pretty sweet yet boozy finish made this a good taster beer!

M - The bourbon made the mouth feel heavy for sure but it went down pretty well.

D - Great to try not to buy it was great to have a bourbon aged beer not a whiskey bomb but clocking in at 16.99 I didn't even dare to consider buying a bottle, but you pay for the process so its high for a reason. Would be better if the price was a solid 10 then I would have got it for sure.

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Photo of illidurit
2.98/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle at the December Santa Cruz tasting. Pours dark brown with a khaki head. Strong bourbony aroma with a watery caramel bourbon flavor. Very thin and quite the letdown after the adequate aroma. Candied, sweet, boozy, thin, with a short finish. Not impressed.

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Photo of mjsheehan08
2.86/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark, burnt orange that is kind of tough to see through. Minimal head and some pretty decent lacing. 

Smells like straight bourbon. Some earthy wood notes appear in the nose, which overpower some mild floral citrusy smells. 

Taste follows alot of the nose. The primary flavors in this brew are heavy bourbon. Like, alot of bourbon. I only have one bottle of it and I wish I had left it sit for another year. There is some sweetness in finish which feels like caramel. Little to no hop bitterness presences, but there is some mild floral and citrusy presense. 

Little to no carbonation in the feel, and I honestly am having trouble finishing this bottle. 

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Photo of LazyL
4.74/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As the bartender slid the snifter glass across the bar I was to say the least a little excited. Held up against the light, a very nice briliant amber and small creamy head. So far so good. But then to the nose and I was taken aback. The smooth bourbon and oak notes are intoxicating. Then to the taste and my mind swirled. So balanced, so smooth, so easy to drink. Every sip was wonderful and it wasnt until I got outside into the fresh air did I feel the alcohal. Best beer I have tried in along time. I bought a bomber to cellar, but I dont know if that plan will work out as every time I see the bottle on the shelf I want to crack it and experiance that again.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.91/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an off-white, one-finger head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Bourbon nose, flavor is bourbon, vanilla and hints of sweet caramel, higher ABV is hidden. Expensive at $13.00 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.43/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The name on this one does not really give me high hopes, but let's give it a go.

A - Brownish yellow color with a finger of off-white head. Little bit of red on the edges, quick dissipation with nothing left on the sides. A little ugly, but probably fine by winter warmer standards.

B - Kind of a hodgepodge of spices, some hops, big malts, and vanilla all mixed together and then dumped into a bourbon barrel. Pretty harsh bourbon on the nose (or perhaps I should say brrbon).

T - Vanilla, bourbon, some bittering hops, and surprisingly muted winter spices, although this is mostly because the much too harsh bourbon is beating everything else in this beer senseless. Not a winter warmer fan, and this one is not changing my mind, doesn't taste very good.

M - Almost full bodied, healthy carbonation. The carbonation only adds to the harshness that is this beer.

D - This beer was pretty bad, hard to drink, and I would not drink it again.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Bud Light pint glass. Call it an act of charity.

A - pours clear amber with brilliant orange highlights and a faint white head.

S - pretty faint aroma here. Little bits of malty toffee sweetness, vanilla, and light citrus hops.

T - The bourbon flavor is flatter than I expected. That is, I hoped to be able to taste more of the toffee, vanilla, woody flavor of bourbon but instead it's just sort of vaguely bourbony with a warm alcohol finish preceded by a chewy malt frontend.

M - Slightly oily with just under a medium body and mild carbonation.

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Photo of atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a tulip glass pours a crisp copper with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is a nice amount of Bourbon in front of caramel malts and mild spice. The taste is a nice smooth blend of caramel malts, Bourbon, oak, vanilla and cinnamon. The beer is medium bodied with mild alcohol, but it's still quite smooth. This is a very enjoyable Bourbon aged beer, I plan on aging the bottle I have at home.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brownish amber with a faint red tinge into a tulip with a finger of quick-receding light khaki head. Aroma of mild caramel roast, faint vanilla, and just a hint of bourbon.

Moderate carbonation and a mouthfeel that starts a little thin but builds in creaminess. Mild bourbon and vanilla up front with a touch of oaky caramel malt and some gentle hop spice on the slightly bitter finish.

The bourbon flavor was a little subtler than expected with almost no alcohol burn. This drank quite easily and was pleasant enough, but it didn't really attain memorable "big bourbon beer" status.

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Photo of meisterkirke
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this one on tap at the Ojai Beverage Company. Says Bourbon, smells bourbon, but not so much taste of bourbon as in other bourbon barreled beers.

Looks good, nice amber color,

Smell promises a bourbon taste

Taste wasn't as bourbon-like as I had hoped.

Good mouthfeel and nice carbonated.

I liked but couldn't buy that one yet, maybe with time it will improve, but a tap is supposed to be the top taste right?

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

This beer pours a hazy brown color with two fingers of foamy off white head. The smell is strong with hops and a hint of bourbon from the barrels the beer is aged in. The taste starts with some malty sweetness and then hits you with hoppy bitterness. The taste finishes with that hint of bourbon, but is not very overpowering like some other bourbon barrel aged beers. The high alcohol content is obvious within the taste which is the only big detractor. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, although you are left with some bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split this one with the brother-in-law on New Years Eve. Poured into a modified imperial, the beer is dark brown with garnet highlights. I was presently surprised by the head & lacing.

The beer has a nose of vanilla, roasted malts and a whiff of bourbon.

The taste has molasses, brown sugar, some vanilla, some woody notes, dark fruit and in the background some bourbon notes. The bourbon was dialed down a little to much, but the base beer was pretty tasty.

The mouth is slightly thick and a bit oily. The mid-level carbonation works with this beer.

I thought it went down pretty easy and both of us like it. I wish I would have bought a few more and the price is right at $12.95.

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Photo of djmichaelk
2.74/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a pale amber, with a finger or so of off-white head. It recedes to a slim ring around the glass, with little lacing.

S - Bourbon and vanilla, a bit of spice, and more hops than I had expected. The bourbon gets very strong as it warms. It's fairly bitter, but not in a bad way.

T - Vanilla extract, bourbon, some oak, and a touch of hoppy bitterness. Some moments I enjoy it, and other moments the flavor seems thin and bitter. I like the individual components but they're not meshing in a pleasant way.

M - Decent carbonation, reasonably full mouthfeel. Nice and creamy but thinner than I'd like.

D - The abv is par for the course, and it definitely warms, but the flavors aren't doing it for me. One and done.

O - For the price, there are many, many beers that are better than this one.

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Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 46.2% out of 100 with 582 ratings
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