Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru | Black Diamond Brewing Co.

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Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand CruBlack Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Black Diamond Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by smakawhat on 07-22-2011

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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 89
Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"The designation of 'Grand Cru' originates from the Burgundy region of France. Brewers have taken the term and applied it to more elaborate, aged and reserved versions of their beers. Our Belgian-style dark ale has been taken to the next level by careful blending and aging techniques. After much tinkering - with a number of unique ingredients combined with wood barrel aging - we arrived at this wonderful juxtaposition of fruitiness and maltiness which harmonized magically to produce this delicious winter warmer. When poured, the beer has a deep mahogany hue. In the aroma, figs and dark fruit intermingle with notes from the wood barrel used, as well as subtle notes of banana and bubble gum from the fermentation process. Aging for twelve months on oak brings forth the flavor of the barrel, as well as vanillin from the wood that is complemented by vanilla beans which provide a velvety smoothness and richness, The taste starts with the rich sweetness of the fruitm carries through with a rich mellow center and finishes dry, allowing for another glass as you sit by a cozy fire." Brewed in the style of a Belgian Style Dark ale, aged in Bourbon Barrels and available in 22 oz. bottles.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, foamy head of a light brown color over a very deep brown body with mahogany highlights. Retention is above average and there is light, spotty lacing. 4

(Smell) Toasted bread malts, ripe stone fruits, molasses, and caramelized sugars generate a moderate smooth sweetness with undertones of earthy licorice spiciness, vanilla and delicate oak tannins. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Smooth bread malts and fruit syrups generates a smooth, but dense malt body with tangy fruit characters, spicy licorice notes, soft oak tannins and vanilla. Undertones of roasted barley and a smooth graininess complicate the style somewhat. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly oily, moderately dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a moderate frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is slightly tangy, tart and earthy bitter over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) An interesting and very busy Belgian style ale that has some elements that are rather unusual for the style, namely roasted grains and exposed graininess. The barrel aging impact was subtle but enjoyable overall. Generally enjoyable but not outstanding by any means, I probably won't need to revisit this beer again. 3.5

Black Diamond Brewing Co.'s
Bourbon Barrel Aged Grand Cru

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Photo of tigg924
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Above average dubbel with big bready and raisin taste. Barrel aging adds dryness and light barrel flavor. Interesting and boozy. Good enough to keep me curious about the brewery, but unsure if I want another.

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Photo of BottleConditioned
2.34/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

The grand cru moniker sets high expectations, the label picture is classic but the overall design is reminiscent of a self trained designer without natural talent. The confused packaging follows through on the palet. With a Belgium chocolate cherry coordigal where the sour fruit, burnt chocolate, and bellegium funk duke it out in a battle royale where everybody losses.

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Photo of sa93
4.48/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First sip has some bourbon on the front, but unfortunately, not as much to be detected later on. Still, the tastes of fig and raisins is really nice, and for a dark, 9% abv beer, this is very easy to drink. Not usually a fan of fruity beers, but this is really pleasant. One of the more enjoyable beers I have had in awhile, but probably works best as a dessert beer.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

A 2012 bottle per the label.

Pours a dark, chestnut brown with red highlights and no head or lace. Almost completely opaque.
Smell is malty, bourbon, woody, dark fruits. Very well balanced.
Taste is quite different, I suspect due to age. Fruit, sour, malt, a faint hint of bourbon.
A bit watery to start, lightly effervesced, medium-ish body. Quite drinkable but reconciling the nose and tongue takes a moment.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.28/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I liked the Brandy version of this beer and found this one on special so decided to give this one a run. Good looking beer with an outstanding aroma and flavor. Sweet beer but I like sweet. Easy to drink for 9% gives it big bonus points, will certainly buy again.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty raw and even coarse fruity offering. Not a very remarkable flow.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Label with an illustration of the arches of an abbey. Back label elaborates about intent, and characteristics of the brew. Notes vintage 2011 Shows 9.0% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber/light-brown pour, rich creamy head, good retention with a nice surface ring and good touches of lacing.

S - Maybe a bit too cold? Starts with vanilla, and more vanilla, and more vanilla… over a touch of milk chocolate, some lactose starts to insinuate a fruity touch...

T - Vanilla upfront, with a longer fruity sense holding it up… sweet with a touch of raw wood, lingering distant yeasty touches under the sweet vanilla with reminders of chocolate milk… that vanilla lactose sense is given it much of the final identity with hints of wood. As one progresses that edge becomes a bit overwhelming… Halfway through the first serving? It turns into kind of milky sweet taffy? Sour dulce de leche that does not quite gel?

M - Medium body with medium to medium crispy carbonation, hints at astringency but does not get there over the barrel and vanilla touches. Lingers well but not so well… Probably the mouthfeel deserves more but in context the carbonation can't hide the the sense that piles up as the brew progresses...

O - Strange brew… Not a bad one, but for me neither what the brewer offers on the back description nor what I have understood this to be. Worth the try, probably not so much of the repeat under this incarnation… Unfortunately maybe not really enticing for a second pour?

Notes: The effort and range is commendable. And I'm glad to have tried it. It does not call me in particular, but I can appreciate what they were going after here.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2011 vintage. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark ruby red color with a 2 finger moderately dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, prune, fig, toast, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, molasses, light vanilla, clove, oak, dark bread, herbal, light bourbon, light banana, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, fruit, and yeast ester notes with a fair amount of barrel presence; and good strength. Taste of raisin, fig, prune, toast, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, molasses, light vanilla, clove, oak, dark bread, light bourbon, light banana, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Light fruity and earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruits, toast, molasses, cocoa, light roast, clove, oak, light bourbon, dark bread, light banana, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt, fruit, and yeast ester flavors; with moderate barrel presence and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice blended Belgian dark ale. All around nice balance and compelxity of malt, fruit, yeast ester, and moderate barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle (I think, I wasn't arsed to check) into a tulip. 2011 vintage, from yesterday.

A: Pours a hazy dark brown color. The head is a one finger off-white shade. Retention is low, and so is lacing left on the glass. Pretty unremarkable looking.

S: Also unremarkable on the nose. All I really get are some light fig/currant notes, with the faintest kiss of the barrel. That's about it.

T: This is almost ridiculously estery. The opening flavors are heavy in fig, currants, and raisins. One really has to work hard to find barrel qualities, which is disappointing considering how long it spent in there (12 months!) The flavors are far more enjoyable than the nose - still, it lacks the complexity and nuance to be a world beater.

M: It has a medium body with medium carbonation and medium drinkability. Absolutely no booze is found anywhere on the feel, which is always good. My only nitpick is that the sweetness could be toned down in the finish some.

O: I think this one is decent, just simple to a fault and not impressive in the aroma. Even if it's not the greatest beer, it does a solid job of standing out from its peers, so it deserves at least some respect. I'd drink it again, gladly.

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Photo of brentk56
2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

2011 bottling

Appearance: Pours a burgundy tinged auburn with a large tan head that leaves quite a few splotches of lace

Smell: Bourbon and oak predominate, but only because what is underneath is a mess of fusel alcohol and dark fruit

Taste: A hint of Bourbon-tinged oak and then a blast of fusel alcohol that overwhelms the palate; dark fruit flavors appear, underneath, with the figs adding sweetness and the currants adding tartness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; rather boozy

Overall: Maybe this was a better beer in 2011 but it is now a sharp, boozy mess; the currants really detract, IMO

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark burgundy mahogany with thick tan lacing with great retention when the glass is swirled..

S - Yeasty, vanilla, light grape, tart cherry, funkiness, slightly musty.

T - Chocolate, yeasty, tart cherry and grape, mild bourbon, light cardboard and spice, some dark fruit.

M - Full medium body and thick.

O - Glad I was able to try it, would like to try a newer batch, this one didn't do it for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, earthy spice, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with bourbon and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild alcohol kick on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it smells slightly better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of beertunes
3.17/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served in tulip. Poured a medium-dark brown, with some reddish tint, but not as red as usual for a Dubbel, with about 1/2 inch of medium khaki head that had low retention and moderate lace.

A light bourbon scent was at the front of the nose, with the typical fruit, yeast and grain just underneath. The story was pretty similar on the tongue. The bourbon, while not overpowering, was clearly the lead flavor. The base beer seemed to be somewhat hidden, thus hard to judge.

The body was thinner than I look for in the style, but smooth and even across the palate. Drinkability was pretty good, the was smooth and easy to quaff. Overall, a nice little brew, nothing really notable (and probably not worth the $8/12oz pour), but worth a shot if you see it in around you.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Growler from the Brewery.

Pours a dark brown ale with burgandy flashes, Decent sized cream colored head. Moderate lacing.

The smell is characterstic of a Barleywine. Sweet malt, vanilla, plum and the bourbon barrel is in the background. Toasted oak. Leather. Aroma is pretty good for the style.

The taste gives a glimpse of fruity flavor at the front of the sip, but a big dose of malt and spice overwhelm the back end of the swallow and leaves slightly bitter finish. The fig taste is there too. Tangy. A tad watery. The aftertaste leaves a lot to be desired. It is bitter but was hoping for more.

Thin mouthfeel.

Overall this was just okay for me. The overall flavor just didn't do it for me. It got tiresome but a bomber or one glass would probably be just right. I will be trying the Brandy barrel version for comparison.

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Photo of drpimento
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Hm, somewhat different than I was expecting. Poured at a good temperature with an average size light tan, slightly fizzy, foamy head that eventually settked and some lace. Color is a clear orange mahoganey with lots of rapidly rising bubble trails. Aroma is at first dark ripe fruit, yeast, malt, and later vanilla. Flavor's like nose but much more intense. Has nice interplay between bitter - sweet- and carbonic tang (although tang starts to get in the way after a period). Flavor reminds me of some sort of candy I've never tried before and while I kind of like it, I wasn't all in. Body is decent but carbonation is a little too aggresive. Finish is like flavor, alcohol comes out strong, and length is long. Not a bad brew, but not a fav.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A dark brown, chestnut colored brew with a large cream colored head of great retention. Tons of sticky lacing clinging to the glass. Decent enough aroma with hints of bourbon, oak, cherry, some phenolic presence, but opens up in the flavor into something quite interesting. I thought this one was actually pretty unique and complex; lots of wood, cherries, dark fruit; some belgian yeast esters and spiciness, muted phenolic character; hints of the bourbon that once rested in the barrel, but the oakiness is prominent.

Medium to slightly full body, medium carbonation, pretty smooth on the palate. I quite enjoyed this. Not a bourbon bomb, not the typical massive stout that usually gets the barrel treatment. A hybrid brew that has a lot going on for it and is definitely worth a shot if you're not opposed to a Belgian-style in a bourbon barrel.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a dark, hazy, mahogany amber. Half finger light tan head with good retention and slippery lacing. Nice aroma of dark toasted and caramel malt and bourbon with a little wood. Flavor is light and dark dried fruit, some toasted malt, distinct vanilla, bourbon and a hint of oak. Flavor drops off a little in the middle, but the finish leaves a nice memory of the bourbon and wood although with a slight astringency. Medium bodied. A little sweet, flavors are not that well integrated, but it has decent complexity. I enjoyed this take on a bourbon barrel aged ale.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet. 2011 vintage.

3.5 A: Dark brown color. A little over one finger of frothy tan head. Retention isn't very good, but a short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Ass load of cocoa powder in this. I didn't read of this addition on the bottle, but I'm convinced that they had to have. Just super chocolaty. Vanilla is also pretty potent. The bourbon, however, is barely detectable, which is probably the right way to go with a dubbel. Light leather and earthiness from that and subtle oak. Fig and plum fruitiness. Banana under that. Surprisingly this isn't very spicy.

3.5 T: The barrel comes through a lot stronger in the taste. Some tannic astringency with oak and vanilla. Tangy caramel, earthy, and leather. Not as cocoa-y as the nose, but it's still there and is plentiful. Lots of banana, fig, and plum fruitiness. Brown sugar and molasses. Light clove, but not spicy overall. Not bad.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation with a light spritziness to it. Also reasonably creamy. Good here.

3.5 D: A little strange, but it's not bad. Give it a try if you can.

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Photo of Vierenner
2.62/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm always interested in bourbon barrel aged beer and even though it's only partially barrel aged, it seemed worth a try.
Pours somewhat cloudy with minimal head. Mildly sweet aroma. The taste is a bit bizarre. Depending on how/where it hits the mouth it either tastes a little sweet or a little sour. Also, I wasn't expecting Belgian yeast flavors, but they are certainly there. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this beer.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Having bought this on my first stop in the US on this trip (BevMo in Sunnyvale), I carted it around until I got to Portland, where I needed to thin out my beer collection somewhat.

Pours a deeply hazed brown-mahogany hue, with a pretty decent head of yellow-white froth that leaves impressive spidery lacing. Body is smooth but light, perfectly suitable for the style. Overall, I'm impressed with the look: hits the style bang on.

Nose is smoothed and masked by the bourbon barrel characters, which lend rich vanilla overtones to the maltiness, meaning that there's good caramel throughout. However, this smooth sweetness is about all that it has to offer, and while it's robust, it leaves the rest of the aroma a little empty.

Taste is smooth but lightly organic and a little empty. Flavour is truncated by a mild tea-leaf note that seems to blunt any hint of true rich sweetness, while the lighter body, while suitable for the style also cuts off any real complexity. Finish leaves a touch of oxidation, a slight bready or cardboard note. Hmm...

It's not bad, but the beer itself doesn't seem to warrant the barrel treatment. Give a complex beer to a bourbon barrel and you'll be rewarded with extra nuance and flavour: this one seems to rely on the oak too much, and once it's gone, it's flat and uninteresting.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.29/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a dark brown color with a bit of amber/red to it. There is some mild roast quality to the beer, but it’s mostly sweet. Heavy on the toffee and brown sugar, a little bit of dark fruit character. It’s also got a little bit of sweat/feet to it, strangely. The flavor lacks any foot-like qualities, fortunately. It’s mostly sweet toffee, brown sugar, and some vanilla. A nice dark fruit quality, mostly plums and raisins. I don’t get a lot of the figs, but certainly some currants.

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Photo of ao125
2.06/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I think I can pretty much sum this up with the phrase: "this is not a good beer".

$15 22oz bottle from my local craft beer shop - I was expecting good things... but that didn't happen

Color: Pours dark, almost stout like

Smell: Actually, smelled pretty good. Strong vanilla and toffee. Zero bourbon.

Taste: BLEH. Tasted like cheap vanilla extract. Again, zero bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Almost cola-esque

Overall: There is nothing "grand" about this grand cru. There is also nothing bourbon about it either - unless they were barrel-aging vanilla extract before hand.

I tried the beer at several different temps too, ranging from 50 degrees all the way up to room temperature. I will say, the warmer it got, the better it got - but there were definitely diminishing returns on that front as well.

This beer was a complete waste of money, time, and calories.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 9% abv. Hazy chestnut color. Fizzy tan head disappears almost immediately, which is a bit of a disappointment. No lace. A few tiny, fine bubbles rising to the top.

Figs and candied fruit come in the nose first. Hints of bourbon, vanilla and oak come through softly. Just a slight whiff of alcohol.
Figs and caramel up front. Some ripe fruit flavors, with some sweetness. A bit of vanilla comes through, and then some softer notes of bourbon. Some oak moves in and dries things out a bit near the end.

Lighter body, with perhaps too much carbonation. A fuller body might do some good here. Some warmth, but nothing overwhelming. I didn't think the bourbon notes really came through very much. A bit disappointing.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. 2011 edition. 9% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Pours a deep root-beer brown with ruby-red highlights. A small yellow head forms and then dissipates very quickly. No real lacing.

Strong aroma. A lot of molasses, a ton of vanilla, raisins, plums, some peppermint sharpness, Belgian yeast, and sweet malt.

Flavor hits you with an initial fruit-soda sweetness, kind of unexpected. Things get tart in the middle and the finish dries up and introduces some wood character (oak and vanilla). A let down after the aroma. On the positive side, the alcohol is really nicely hidden.

Body feels a little thin, shy of medium. The carbonation is relatively high and sharp.

Overall the beer has a more interesting aroma than flavor, and it doesn't have a charming mouthfeel, but it's not terrible.

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Photo of DustinSmall
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Roasthouse Pub

A- Beautiful dark mahogany, with copper tomes on the curve of the glass, 1 finger off white head, good carbonation

S- The smell is great, figs, rasins, oak, vanilla, sweet malts, and you deff get the bourbon on this it smells like a bourbon grand cru should in my opinion

T- It taste just like it smells which i thought was great, bourbon notes, fig, rasins, oak, a hint of vanilla, and sweet malt characteristics on the back really good stuff

M- I personally thought that the beer would of benefited from a slightly heavier mouthfeel and a tad more carbonation, but it was still wonderful

O- Great color, smell, and taste i would reccomend this beer to anyone, and ill be drinking it again

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Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
3.5 out of 5 based on 89 ratings.
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