ThisWangsChung (826) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 1, 2014
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
22 oz bottle into a tulip.
A: Pours a very dark brown color. The khaki-colored head, while short at less than a finger high, has pretty decent retention and good creaminess. Minimal lacing is left behind.
S: Wow, this smells great. The first whiffs bring a ton of chocolate, only to develop stronger notes of bourbon, cream, and vanilla when allowed to open up. When it opens up even further, it gains a touch of dark fruits, along with some banana. I donít even miss the low oak presence, because this has a fantastic and complex dessert-y aroma.
T: Okay, NOW the oak is coming through strongly on the opening flavors. This is ridiculously bourbon-forward, almost to the point of excess. The first few sips really lack balance, but it becomes more harmonious as it warms up. Some pleasant chocolate and vanilla characteristics develop near the finish, before the alcohol bite envelop said finish strongly. On the plus side, the booze helps to give this some palpable nuance between its roast, chocolate, cream, and vanilla flavors. I wish it was slightly sweeter (to cover the alcohol better), but thanks to its complexity, I am warming up to this the more I sip.
M: It has a pair of characteristics I like in an imperial stout: itís initially creamy, yet dries nicely on the finish. I also like how the barrels didnít overly thin the body out. There is a harsh tannic bite post-swallow that could be cut down some, though. Carbonation is slightly high for the style, which means itís still rather low.
O: If the rest of the beer had lived up to the aroma, it could have been a local, readily available Parabola killer. Still, there is more than a passing resemblance to the Firestone Walker stalwart - it brings both the bourbon and the stout nicely, itís complex, but itís also rather abrasive. Honestly, in a blind taste test, Iíd have trouble telling the two apart. Iíd definitely buy another bottle of this to age a year.
JDBaker11058 (1689) - Maryland, USA - DEC 6, 2015
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Appearance: near black, creamy tan head. Aroma: burnt chocolate, vanilla, caramel, coffee, earth. Taste: dark chocolate, crŤme brulee, caramel, espresso, light licorice, molasses, vanilla, and booze. Finish: a bit ashy and dry, with a lingering vanilla-booze sweetness from the barrel aging. Notes: A little harsh in the mouth, a little more watery than expected, but this was a decent enough imperial stout. Thereís just so many good ones out there that itís hard for one to stand out. Bottle from Sarah for Beerthday 2015.
corby112 (2804) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 18, 2015
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours pitch black, completely opaque, viscous and oil like with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Good retention for the style and ABV with streaks of spotty lacing left behind.
The aroma of this beer has a prominent bourbon barrel presence that is very nicely integrated into the elements of the base beer. Complex barrel character with some slightly charred oak, spicy, sweet bourbon, vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut without completely overwhelming everything else. Underneath, there is a nice mix of sweet, dessert-like malt and subtle roast. Slightly smokey/toasted with hints of burnt toast, dark chocolate, coffee bean and toast countered by caramel, toffee, flourless chocolate cake and fudge-y sweetness. Very inviting.
Lighter body than expected and slightly watered down which is surprising considering how it poured. Unfortunately, itís also not as complex or flavorful as the aroma suggests. The complex barrel presence found in the nose is lacking and what is there isnít integrated very well into the base beer. Very strong oak presence with dry, charred oak and toothpick flavor that lingers throughout, dominating the palate. Very faint vanilla character along with a weak spicy bourbon flavor that just isnít very appealing. Thereís also some lingering boozy heat but the 11.5% is decently masked. The barrel presence is much stronger than I prefer overpowering the complex malt bill that I was hoping for. Much more roast than sweetness which compliments the oak and spicy spirit but it hides all of the dessert-like that is needed for balance. Overall, this beer looks and smells pretty good but the body is too thin for my liking, the barrel flavors arenít very good and itís a bit one dimensional.
phaleslu (8215) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - OCT 19, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
22 oz. bottle via trade a few years ago. Barreled 3/21/12, bottled 9/21/12. I had no intention of keeping it this long, but have brought it to multiple tastings and it winds up being the last, extra bottle that Iíve never gotten to. Go figure. Anyway, it pours a deep opaque brown with a small tan head that settles into a ring and a few spots of lace. Hasnít lost anything in appearance. Notes of vanilla, cocoa, tobaacco, earth, fudge, dark fruits (raisin, plum, and figs), roasted malts, and flat cola. Light-medium bodied, with low carbonation and a thin, ribbony mouthfeel. Has thinned, to be sure, and is starting to show a creeping fruity note but itís held up remarkably well overall. Whew. Iím relieved. And I wound up enjoying it quite a bit, as did my wife and dad.
Steasy66 (1099) - Minnesota, USA - JUN 15, 2015
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Black, small tan head. Barrel Out = 10/01/14
Aroma is choclately and a bit tart. Flavor is tart throughout. Its mild but it is there. I donít think its just acidity from the roast. Almost belgian yeast type red fruit. Booze is strong in the finish. This isnít bad, but I wouldnít get it again.
closey22 (1379) - Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, USA - JUN 3, 2015
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Black with slight rim brown head; aroma is over the top bourbon like shot of JD; Flava is blend of bourbon and sweet malt some notes of wood and alcohol; feels medium silky with subtle zing; finishes; Black with slight rim brown head; aroma is over the top bourbon like shot of JD; Flava is blend of bourbon and sweet malt some notes of wood and alcohol; feels medium silky with subtle zing; finishes roasty with subtle tang and bourbon notes
Dorwart (2482) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - MAY 29, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Thin dark brown head of varying sized bubbles. Mild bourbon, mint, butterscotch, black cherries and some vanilla. Rich and complex aroma. Color is essentially black. Rich and creamy in the mouth and loaded with flavor. More bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch and berries. Dark roasted grains, molasses and sweet malts. Strong alcohol kick and a bit of burn on the tongue. Lingering sweet malts and alcohol at the finish. Very soft and creamy mouthfeel and ending. A pretty damn good impy.
katrinaez (936) - norristown, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 9, 2015
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark rich heavy and nice. Slight barrel flavor and oak taste. Cherries and cassis are actually present. Bottle
jake65 (3107) - Boise, Idaho, USA - APR 16, 2015
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, Boise imperial stout tasting. Very dark brown, near black, and capped with a thin tan head. Espresso and chocolate aroma with light bourbon barrel. Same into the tasteÖ light bitters and dark chocolate. Heavy bourbon barrel and vanilla presence. Sweet and hefty with enough woody and roasty notes to balance. Nice.
BuckeyeBoy (4432) - Boise, Idaho, USA - APR 11, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz bottle pours out thick rich black topped with a small tan head. Nose is roast malts brown sugar molasses sweetness. Taste is more of the molasses sweetness vanilla chocolate and a nice bitterness on the end.
ben4321 (5239) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - MAR 23, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Location: 22 oz bottle from State Line, 3/23/15, Barrel 1 of 15, Date in: 3/21/12, Date out: 9/21/12
Aroma: It has a strong bourbon and vanilla aroma, roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and caramel
Appearance: Pours a nearly pitch black color with thin brown head and very minimal lace
Flavor: The bourbon, wood, and vanilla dominate over the variety of dark malts and late burnt notes
Palate: It is fairly full bodied on the mouth with a soft, almost flat, carbonation, and a burnt/dry finish
To me, this is a solid example of a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout. The bourbon barrel flavor is in the forefront, the dark malts flavors come through underneath, and the burnt flavors take over in the end palate. Well done.