Rastacouere (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 26, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
From a 1L growler brought back by François. Thanks! Another bourbon barrel aged imperial stout who uses the powerful weapon that rarity is against Ratebeer’s Bayesian scale!
No annoying vegetal (spent grain, corn syrup) character from the barrel, more like pure wood and vanilla components. Rather rich body for a beer that went through a barrel, no apparent thinning. Roastiness manages to pass through the bourbon. No cloying factor.
It’s hard to figure out what sets it apart from its concurrents enough to justify a current 4.4 average. No bottles available to age up the edges (Some flavours head in totally opposite directions, namely the bitterness). Not very balanced as this stage (still intensely bourbony) and to me, not superior to their regular impy.
MartinT (7321) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 26, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
My Bottom Line:
A plethora of intense flavors and aromas runs across the senses: bourbon, molasses, chocolate, roastiness, alcohol, dry wood, etc. This plump and bold Imperial Stout might stilll be a tad before its prime, but it has a lot going for it now for those who love the style.
Further Personal Perceptions:
-A veil of foam surfaces atop the pitch darkness.
-The vanilla character of the bourbon barrel fits with the grain bill.
-The alcohol hit in the finish is not really fun, to my tastes. It takes quite a bit of getting used to.
-The body is seductively rotund.
-There is as much barrel contribution as there is an imperial stout apport here, so this is for bourbon barrel fans, no doubt.
-All the flavors will probably meld with a few more months (or years).
From a 1-liter swing-top growler.
drewbeerme (3809) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 26, 2008
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
growler. 06 vintage. big thanks to doubleo for this! sampled next to 06 regular version. pours black with swirling tan head that didn’t last very long. aroma is oaky, cofee, bourbon, coconut, charred wood, licorice. flavors of coconut, charred wood, hints of bourbon, chocolate, licorice. medium body and carbonation. alcohol well hidden. extremely tasty and well balanced bourbon-beer character.
Stine (1441) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAY 25, 2008
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Poured from a 1 liter swingtop bottle. Inky black pour glowing mahogany around the rim, settling beneath a thin tan film. Hot tangy bourbon aroma; butter, shaved coconut and toasted marshmallow. Malts seem a little hollow; chocolate syrup, cheesecake, graham crackers. Heat of a perfume stripe. Dirty, earthy malt and nutty sweetness in the flavor. Coconut milk. Cocoa nibs. Dry and powdery in general with a wisp of cinnamon; lots of gritty residual sugars. Some minerals, basic alcohol and metallic bitterness; mid palate is weak and lightly astringent. Mouthfeel is medium to full; while seeming made slightly more oily through barrel aging, it lacks severely in malt thickness considering the level of impact the bourbon seems to have had on the flavor. Generally, everything seems pressed by this tangy, hot, acrid quality that cuts through those rich imperial stout nuances and strips them down. Peppery alcohol, chewy roasts and perfume in warm, visceral finish that smacks with some kind of metallic, gritty coffee twang; harsh and simplistic. There’s a fine line to be balanced when bourbon is in play, and this one just isn’t careful enough. Ultimately, it’s tiresomely ordinary. Thanks for the opportunity Ty. Next!
Ofortuna (322) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 23, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Huge thanks to Jason for this rare treat! 1 Liter flip-top. Of the three of us tasting this, I managed to get the best looking foam. Good two-finger pour with light aromas of oak and vanilla. Bourbon flavour was subdued and took a back-seat to the wonderful expression of the oak. This is exactly how I prefer my barrel-aged beers. Oak is emphasize and the bourbon is de-emphasized. The barrel-aging also reminded me heavily of the Oak-aged Dark Lord. Superb! The base beer was a little lacking in viscosity. However, there were still some nice sticky slickness on the palate with hints of the usual raisons, dates, brown sugar, and coffee found in the normal version. Slight acidity on the back-end of the palate, but very well-done overall. Outstanding!
Ughsmash (6926) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 22, 2008
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Many thanks to Dunk for the 1L growler! Poured deep brown with a short cap of rich tan head. The aroma was to die for.. sweet vanilla and bourbon perfectly integrated with the stout.. semi-sweet and darker chocolates at the core with coffee and molasses as well.. toasty oak emerged with warmth and joined more bourbon at the back. The flavor held serve with a base of sweeter chocolates and molasses.. the edges held vanilla and lightly sour bourbon and oaky notes that built in prominence toward the back.. chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and light coffee bitterness.. left a long, lightly-smoked bourbon and chocolatey impression on the finish. Heavier-bodied with just enough carbonation to keep it moving properly across the palate.. some sourness from the bourbon and oak that was very well presented.. just phenominal all around!
glkaiser (1214) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAY 21, 2008
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Holy christ thanks for this unexpected treat from a growler, SuzyGreenberg!
Oily black with thin head. Nutty bourbon, lots of vanilla and subtle alcohol mix well with the dark malts, chocolate and molasses. Amazingly smooth and drinkable. Bourbon and oak flavors aren’t overdone, they just fit perfectly with this big stout and create a whole new BA monster that exceeds the original. I would have had no problem throwing down a couple full pints of this it was so drinkable. Another thanks to you, Ben, and whoever sent you this gem.
after4ever (5740) - Brier, Washington, USA - MAY 21, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler. Thanks, SuzyGreenberg! What a spectacularly awesome treat this was.
Pours black with a dense and creamy burnt tan head. Not a whole lot of lace. Nose is boozey but not in altogether unpleasant way; there’s vanilla, bourbon, and wood there as well to keep it company, along with plenty of roast. The body’s thick and creamy, and vanilla probably makes it through to your taste buds first. There’s a lot of it. The bourbon, wood, and roast all dance around as well, but this beer is so harmonious that it actually takes a fair effort to dissect the component parts of the flavor profile. Creamy and dense and decadent in a huge way.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - MAY 20, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUN 16, 2008 Poured from a 2006 growler courtesy of throwitallaway. Big, big thanks Dustin! Pours like used motor oil with a dense one-inch brown head. Huge nose on this one with a big bourbon aroma to complement vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar and roasted malts. Bourbon hits even harder in the taste then eases into the roasted malts and smeet molasses and vanilla before finishing with a slight coffee bitterness and, of course, the bourbon. Mouthfeel is super smooth with the bourbon really making its presence felt on the tongue. This is one big mother of a beer and I am glad I was given the opportunity to try it. Definitely a sipper, but a damn fine one.
doubleo (1433) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 18, 2008
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: AUG 14, 2008 Vintage 2006. On-tap at Stone 5/12 and 5/13/08. Pours dark brown with a thin, creamy light brown head. Smells awesome. Lots of vanilla, wood, bourbon, and a little bit of toasty malt. Tastes sweet, vanilla, chocolate and wood up front with a biting bourbon, alcohol and roasty malt finish. Medium to full body, not overly thick, nice carbonation. Definitely a top 3 barrel aged beer. 10-4-9-4-19=4.6
Vintage 2007. On-tap at Stone 8/4 and 8/5/08. Pours very dark brown/black with a thin, offwhite head. Smells dark and roasty malty with a hint of vanilla and bourbon/alcohol. Tastes roasty malty with a huge, sweet, vanilla, wood and bourbon through the middle to the finish. A little warming alcohol on the finish as well. Full body, good carbonation. 7-3-7-3-16=3.6