Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer | Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
408 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter WarmerBourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Texas, United States
rahrbrewing.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 05-28-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
408
Reviews:
111
Avg:
4.08
pDev:
13.24%
 
 
Wants:
99
Gots:
141
For Trade:
10
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 408 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jaydoc
3.39/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, earth, wood, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, earth, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly mild bourbon presence all around.

 614 characters

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art. 2014 vintage.

Expectations are fairly high; this is currently #62 on the Top 100 Southwest list (and is the only Rahr & Sons brew to make the list). Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged winter warmer per the title/label.

9% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 4 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Creamy and frothy. Fairly even and smooth consistency. Nice complexion. Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Dark amber-brown. Opaque. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing brew - but not necessarily great for a winter warmer. Certainly not unique or special looking.

AROMA: Amber malts (evoking an altbier, if anything), faint caramel, cream, English hop character, faint bread, hints of vague indistinct dark fruit, a kiss of cherry, light vanilla (probably the only real hint of bourbon here), and English toffee. There's no real toasty oak presence, and the bourbon character is light at best - which is to be expected given its scant 10 weeks of bourbon barrel aging. Still, the faint bourbon does complement the winter warmer malt character nicely.It's not a spicy brew, but the malt profile is spot on for the style - though I'd prefer a bit more toastiness. Fruitcake.

Aromatic intensity is average. The fruity notes blend well with the English malt profile and mild hop aromatics. I'm looking forward to trying this.

TASTE: Fruitcake, vague indistinct dark fruits, amber malts, English dark malts, faint vanilla (I assume from the bourbon), cream, a kiss of chocolate malt, some crystal malt, and mild English hop character. The bourbon barrel is rather faint (some might say weak), lacking any oak, toastiness, or real vivid vanilla. While normally I'd be critical of a scant 10 weeks of aging, here I think it works, lending a subtle guiding bourbon tone without overwhelming the base. The English dark malt backbone is allowed to shine, and while this winter warmer doesn't have much spiciness, I do think it's effective and hits style fundamentals well. It does have some faint nutmeg and allspice, and I'd certainly say there's a holiday vibe about it, but I can't quite put my finger on why. It's not cinnamon, it's not ginger. Cocoa, maybe?

The guiding yeast character is definitely English.

As much as it could use improved depth of flavour and intricacy, it's a well balanced brew within its style and I find the build to be a gestalt whole. The dark fruits are subtly executed and complement the English malts and hops nicely. As much as I can see its limitations, I quite like this for what it is.

There's no yeast profile, booze, or off character.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, unrefreshing, aptly thick, aptly hefty, and adequately weighty on the palate, with an unrefreshing feel and sufficient softness. Could be creamier, sure, and more softness would aid its presentation of flavour. This texture doesn't elevate the beer, but it complements the taste nicely.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough or scratchy.

OVERALL: A drinkable winter warmer, especially considering its high ABV and (admittedly faint) bourbon barrel character. While most drinkers will find the barrel notes wanting, I think this is an effective winter warmer which succeeds in spite of obvious risks. Some style traditionalists will prefer more of a perceived spiciness, and they may be right. This is easily one of the best beers Rahr & Sons makes, and while I wouldn't buy it again, I really appreciate the fruitcake element and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. Maybe it's one of the 100 best beers brewed in the Southwest region; maybe it isn't. But it's definitely one of Texas' best 100 beers - not that that's saying a whole lot. I wouldn't mind having it again, and I'd readily send it to a trade partner or two. Well worth trying in spite of its limitations. If anything, it's nice to see a Texas brewery making an inspired stab at an English style winter warmer. This is one of the best English style brews I've had in ages.

Low B- (3.31)

 4,282 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear dark brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light notes of lacing. Aroma of medium bourbon notes with some light vanilla with some light caramelized malt notes. Taste is also a mix between some caramelized malt notes with light toffee undertones and some vanilla and bourbon notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed with nice balanced between complexity and drinkability.

 482 characters

Photo of mothman
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap in snifter.

Dark color is little head. Full glass of beer.

Normally I don't like winter warmers, but the bourbon flavors take down the spices a notch. There is still spices after the wave of oak and bourbon. Caramel and chocolate with some dark fruits.

A little thinner in body with a touch of roast.

A nice treat and worth a try!

 343 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beerness for sharing some of this at the Sexual Chocolate release. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a fairly-dark brown with a bit of a crimson hue around the edges. Good tan head with a bit of lacing. The nose brings forward a good dosing of bourbon along with some dark fruit, malty sweetness, and a bit of cherry. The taste is mostly bourbon along with a bit of oak and dark fruits. Cherry component in the finish. Body is medium with a bit of an alcohol bite, though not too much. Carbonation is fairly low and there's a bit of a twang in the finish. Drinkability was pretty good, though this wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Not terribly complex and something a bit off in the finish.

 704 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to duff247 for this great looking beer.

Pours a creamy 1 finger head that fizzes away fairly quickly over dark murky molasses maroon brown colored beer.

Nose is exploding from the pour with tons of chocolate, roasted malts, a creamy chocolate porter aroma, dark crystal malts, a touch of toffee, a bit of bakers chocolate, caramel, lots of coffee, a slight creamy oatmeal, a bit of fluffy nougat, some light oak and a bit of bourbon, and hints of warming booze below. Some vanilla and hints of earthy hops come through as it warms. Phenomenal nose!

Taste brings some cocoa nibs to start, more chocolate pouring out, some roast and a bit of coffee, dark crystal malts with some caramel, hints of molasses and toffee, some tingly warming booze gives it a bit of a bite as well. Then more nougat fluffy flavors and a bit of creamy oatmeal again, a bit of a cinnamon and light holiday spice flavors finally come through, but very slightly, throttled back well. Some bourbon and a bit of oak, bringing vanilla as well. The bourbon and oak don't come through as much as I was expecting. The cinnamon starts to come through more and more as the taste goes and as it warms too, adding to the slight tingly warming booze as well. A slight bit of a bitter earthy hop character, but very subdued. A nice winter beer. It has a bit of a sweetness, that follows through on the finish with a slight bit of sticky feel, lots of chocolate very late some cocoa powder, a slight bit of roast and some bourbon, a bit of vanilla, and a long booze feel too.

The mouth is medium to heavier bodied, fairly full bodied, a slight bit creamy, with decent carbonation.

Drink is fair, the booze takes a bit of a bite, with some warmth, lingering taste, and a touch of a tingle that is accentuated by the cinnamon. It does finish a slight bit sticky too, but not that bad. It def helps warm me up in the middle of winter, and its the type of beer you want to drink slowly.

 1,954 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.44/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Aroma of malt, vanilla, faint bourbon & oak, dark fruit. Taste sweet caramel, toffee, slight dark fruit & molasses.

115 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of atrocity
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ZEB89
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bobby for sharing.

A: This one pours a darkish brown color with a thin khaki colored head.

S: Smells roasty with a nice enough chocolate aroma. A bit of oak/wood and some mild vanilla. A bit of dark fruit going on in the background. Mild licorice aromas to it and some hints of coffee.

T: Slightly bitter with lots of roasted malts. Some licorice notes, wood, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon. Quite a bit of chocolate, perhaps some of which is from oxidation. Light notes of dark fruit on the palate as well.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This was quite good. Not too much bourbon flavor, but a nice -bal contribution to it and good flavors overall.

 696 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown. Small khaki head. Thin collar. Wispy.

Smell - Kinda fruity. Caramel. Vanilla. A bit of bourbon.

Taste - More of a straightforward caramel flavor. Toffee. Bourbon. Much more oak. Less fruity. Pretty sweet, but doesn't overwhelm for the small pour that I have.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Could be thicker. Oaky. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Tasted interesting at first, but got a little boring.

 459 characters

Photo of PA-Michigander
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Surly shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to jefferz5000 for this bottle!

Part two of the SwillFest 2011 after-party. It pours a cloudy garnet-sienna topped by over a finger of light tan foam. The nose comprises whiskey, balsa, cola, vanilla, toffee, light booze, buttery biscuits, and brown sugar. The taste holds notes of toffee, candi sugar, light brown sugar, light bourbon, and light oak. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a lightly watery syrupy feel. Overall, a very solid brew, perhaps not as overtly flavorful as I expected, but enjoyable nonetheless (especially when compared to the horrendousness that preceded it).

 671 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 408 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.