ThirstyBird (2589) - Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, ENGLAND - MAR 11, 2013
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Putting in an old rating from 2010. 2008 bottle - thanks jdiddy! Appears light mahogany with a small light tan head that goes to a loose ring. Smell is rich, deep malt, honey, caramel and deep dark fruit. The taste follows the nose pretty much with the addition of a light hop presence on the back end which ends a little dry. Medium/full bodied with light carbonation.
alexsdad06 (8917) - Ohio, USA - SEP 4, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Sampled from waxed 750 ml bottle. Pours a brownish copper color with ruby highlights and a small beige head. The nose has the same heavy bourbon up front just like the others in the Big Beer series. There are additional notes of oak, vanilla, figs, caramel and weak catty hops. The one year in the barrel is represented with a lack of hop character. The flavor is much more like a bourbon barrel barley wine with sweet dark fruits, vanilla, oak, caramel and of course bourbon. The body of this beer is too light for the intense bourbon that it has. Not terrible, but I don’t like the unbalanced character of this beer.
BBB63 (6557) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JAN 22, 2011
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Waxed 750ml bottle and served in my GI IPA tulip: Pours a sunset coppery hue with a small frothy and fading head, spotty lace. The aroma has notes of resiny and dank hops, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, crystal and pale biscuity malts, vanilla and oak bourbon vapours along with some peppery and catty esters. A bit of alcohol burn on the nostrils as well. The taste starts sweet, syrupy and fruity before some dank and catty hop bitterness comes about for balance. Just when I think I would rather dig this brew the damn bourbon character flubs up everything that leads to a vanilla, tannic and charred finish that also is quite medicinal and boozy. Some hop spicy tones linger about the aftertaste but even then it is fighting for time against the bourbon barrel. The mouth feel is quite sticky and lush, warming and sharp.
Final verdict: While the barrel aging seems to have mellowed out the hops imbalance of the base beer I found so objectionable, it replaced that flaw with another. Now it is too boozy and barrel influenced for it’s own good. Barrel aging DIPA and IPA’s are such a tough act for if removed one moment too soon and you do not know it is barrel aged... one moment too late and the hops fade badly and the barrel overwhelms which the later happened here.
FlandersNed (393) - , Indiana, USA - NOV 21, 2010
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
750ml yellow-waxed bottle. Cloudy reddish-copper hue with minimal bubbles. A wonderful bourbon barrel sweet boozy/oakiness atop a hoppy double IPA nose -- I really liked this one (already better than the BA Sum Nug!). One year of bourbon barrel aging imparted a robust, balanced bourbon and lightly charred oaken flavor without losing the hops intensity. Lightly bitter with deep citrus taste, hints of pine sap and floral notes. One of the better examples of the style in my book, though total hop heads may miss the intense bitterness that a year of aging will preclude. $20 but I’m already bummed I only bought two! Full body and moderate carbonation. No need to age, but I’ll be interested to try this in a couple years as the label promotes.