TheRealMGD (551) - Lakewood, Washington, USA - DEC 20, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JAN 27, 2014 Tap @ PD. Cloudy red-brown pour with a short, persistent white head leaving moderate lace. Nose is nutty and malty, with dark fruits and light bourbon. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Singed caramel, chocolate, dates, pine, walnuts, graham crackers, licorice and bourbon. A bit of generic wood, just enough to smooth things out. Nor is there much bourbon - which is perfect for me. Finish is lightly sweet and nutty, with a touch of pine hops. Let this one warm a bit and the aromas will explode! Balance is about perfect and ABV is nicely hidden while still showing some of the spirit character.
Update Jan ’14 - with the proliferation of barrel-aged, big, dark ales I thought it might be time to update this. Pulled a bomber out of the cellar where it had sat for just over a year. In the ensuing time, this beer has lost a lot of coherency. I’m not sure how else I can put it? Just as barrel-aging helps integrate beer aromas, in this case cellaring in the bottle seems to have deconstructed the beer. The dark fruit sweetness and nuttiness are still present, but they no longer seem to complement or feed off of each other. There is no happiness remaining, as one would expect. Can’t recommend cellaring this one - drink ’fresh’.
peteinSD (1429) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 22, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle generously sent by John - thanks! Pours a murky, caramel brown with a thinnish slick of tan foam. Aroma is sweet, slightly biting bourbon with complimentary vanilla and soft oak. I also get a bit of peat and perhaps toffee underneath the bourbon. Taste is very well done, balanced bourbon up front with vanilla, sweet malt in the middle with caramel and toffee, and a touch of almost thin, cola sweetness from the bourbon through the finish. Steady carbonation adds a nice presence in the mouthfeel to the bourbon. While the scotch ale character of the base beer is tough to pull out under the bourbon, I am really happy with how balanced and flavorful the bourbon is on a relatively low ABV beer. No hotness and there’s enough malt sweetness present to accentuate the bourbon. Man, this is just a hugely drinkable bourbon barrel aged beer. Really impressive.
harrymel (1549) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 17, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled Nov. 2011
Wee Heavy Aged in Kentucky Oak Barrels
"This special edition of our winter ale was actually brewed in the summer! Aged in Kentucky Oak barrels for six months, the beer has flavors reminiscent of currants, caramel, and bourbon. Enjoy."
A: pours a hazy, toasted date color with a transient finger of light peanut foam. The foam is fine in nature and sticks around as a centrally dissipating dome and a confluent ring. Spotty lace.
S: The barrel is strong in this one. Bourbon up front, but not alcoholic, sweet and appreciable. Some nice creamy malts, caramel, brown sugar and hints of dates.
T: Mmm. This is good. Wow. Bourbon is well balanced in this brew. What a find! Some nice sweet malts are bready and young. Theres a note of yeast in this as well. Vanilla and the slightest hint of bitterness. Underlying pekoe tea as well.
M: Medium bodied with some light, smooth carbonation. Theres a wet and solid feel to the finish and the alcohol then warms the throat ever so slightly (like the third or fourth exhale after a shot of strait whiskey).
O: I’m really impressed with this beer. I saw it sitting on the shelf at the grocer, and nabbed one. Really dug the flavor on this one. Really nice. Might be grabbing a few more of these.
Serving type: bottle
poisoneddwarf (1911) - Rathdrum, Idaho, USA - JAN 23, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber. Brewed 6/12/11; bottled Nov. 2011. Pours murky brown with a medium-small beige head that falls after a minute or two; lace sheets the glass. Aroma is very woody, along with caramel, vanilla, booze; I’m not getting any smokiness, which is my favorite thing about this style. Taste starts out sweet and meaty but quickly turns bitter. Tastes more like an American Strong Ale than a Scotch Ale. Carbonation is medium, body is medium to full, mouthfeel is syrupy. Although not very characteristic of the style, this is pretty yummy.
Matts_Property (830) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - APR 14, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at Brouwer’s Big Wood. Pours dark brown/red/orange. Aroma of bourbon, dark red fruits, molasses, caramel malts, and some tangerine. Flavour is largely bourbon, some dark fruits, molasses and wood. Full bodied, sweet and well balanced.
bhensonb (12138) - Woodland, California, USA - JAN 22, 2012
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber from Belmont Station. Pours hazy dark amber/brown with a 3 finger creamy beige head. Aroma is bourbon/vanilla. Full bodied. Very. Flavor is bourbon/vanilla extreme with a hint of smoke. As the intense flavors wash away there’s some herb and something unidentifiable but interesting. Makes me think of shortbread. This drinks really well. Great ale.
MarinaMarket (219) - POULSBO, Washington, USA - DEC 21, 2011
3.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2013 2012: Heavy wood aroma from the neck. Pours dark amber with a very nice thick off-white head. Bourbon, Malt, and wood aroma from the glass. Big bourbon & wood flavor. Strong bourbon, wood, flavor with some bittering mixed in. Medium mouth-feel, and still a bit hot. Nice offering from Hale’s Ales! Tasted from the bottle at 57.9F.
2011: Aroma of malts, wood, and booze from the neck. Pours cloudy, red/amber, with a very THICK tan head. Aroma is amazing. It just smells like Heaven. So much malt, dark sugars, and wood on the nose. Nice full mouthfeel, sweet wood character and a surprising note of bitter hops. Tastes stronger (hotter) than the stated ABV, and I am really interested to see how this ages. Lots of vanilla but overwhelmed by the booze. And I do get some slight vegetal note that I can’t quite place. It’s fleeting though, and may just be a bit of a grassy note in with the hops. I’ll save one for a few months and report back! Tasted from the bottle @ 60F.
riversideAK (5738) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - DEC 23, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Nice pleasant sweet bourbon aroma, brown sugar, vanilla, wood. Decent caramel and toffee malt notes, sweet with residual sugar but noting over the top. Pours murky brown with a decent off white tannish head. The flavor is sweet with bourbon initially, smooth with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, wood. Mostly sweet, light wood dryness shows up. A good showcase for bourbon without retarded heat. The flavor is sweet and lingering, the body is smooth. Maybe a little more body would be my only complaint, but all in a ll very solid and drinkable BA beer. Hales keeps putting out solid stuff. Keep it up!
after4ever (6563) - Brier, Washington, USA - DEC 1, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
22. Pours a murky dark ebony with a dense and creamy tan head that sticks around and around. Loose pillowy sedimentary rings of tan lace. Sweet molasses nose, vanilla and spices under. Creamy silky thick body. Toast, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, gingerbread, and caramel on the mid palate. Smooth, sweet, harmonious, and decadent. Mild sweet finish. Very nice beer.
Pailhead (5443) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - JUL 7, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Courtesy of 5000 via trade
Bottle: The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and faint oak. It pours a muddy orangish-brown with a small beige head that quickly fades to a thin film outlined by a slightly thicker ring. There’s some dotted lacing left behind on the sides of the glass. The flavor starts with caramel, toffee, and candy corn. The finish has bourbon and light vanilla. It’s medium-full bodied with a somewhat sticky mouthfeel.