BelgianBeerGal (3716) - Panama City, Florida, USA - DEC 17, 2012
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On cask at the brewpub. Wow, this was nice. I was a little worried based on the aroma: it seemed like lots of raw booze in the nose. But the flavor was well balanced: lots of vanilla, bourbon and dark roasted malts. Well done.
fata2683 (2176) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 22, 2011
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
on cask at the brewery(18Jan11)pours thick black with a medium dark brown head. Aroma is hot bourbon and vanilla. Flavor is nice and creamy with big heavy roasted malt notes and sweet bourbon and vanilla. Man is this stuff hot. The alcohol and bourbon are hot as hell and donít really ruin the experience, but each sip leaves a lingering booze in the mouth like Iím taking shots. Canít wait to try the original.
Bockyhorsey (2628) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - AUG 7, 2009
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
8/5/09 @ TCB. Wife and I walked in to bar area and sassy said still on tap made it back in time. Without asking she heads to the cask pump to draw a draft for me. Aroma was weaker than the regular warhead stout as the chcolate and vanilla didnít light up the nose. Touch of bourbon on the nose may of mellowed out more which was ok for me. Black body with tan milky head lasting thoghout brew. Flavor had the good chcoolate, vanila, dry coffee are present. Not much bourbon till bottom of glass. Beer had a carbination to it which took away the creamy body texture original had. Good brw glad it lasted long enough for me to get a glass.
FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 8, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This pours from the sparkler tipped hand pump, directly from the Bourbon Barrels, nets me a finger and a half thick, persistent to the last drop, nicely brown colored head. The beer is a rich black color, but definitely has some brown tones to it. The aroma has a solid, smooth hit of vanillin up front, some light bourbon spice towards the finish and some chocolate notes that get more pronounced as I sit here and contemplate the nose. As the beer warms up I get more notes of spicy oak and warming Bourbon character in the aroma.
The combination of the cask / hand-pump pour and the underlying, base beer character really brings out a rich, creamy, chewy chocolate flavor here that is quite distinct. Paired with the chocolate, and actually influencing its presence as well, is a Bourbon-barrel induced vanilla character that is found at the front of each sip. The beer finishes with a touch of perceived warm alcohol, but is actually the spicy Bourbon character and oak-induced astringency / spiciness coming through more than any real alcohol flavors; this ends up being a nice bite to the finish that balances out the up front chocolate-vanilla notes. There is a rich, deep, dark malt sweetness to this beer that complexly mixes with the chocolate notes. The finish has some dusty, bitter cocoa and roast grain bitterness to it; the latter is a little sharper than the former. There is also some bitterness from the hops apparent in the finish as well. This has a very low carbonation (as is expected from being served via hand-pump directly from the Bourbon barrel). The beer is still rich and viscous though and it easily stands up to the lack of apparent prickly carbonation. As the beer flows across the palate it feels lush, creamy and even a bit viscous.
As the beer warms up the bitter roast and oak spiciness becomes more apparent; the beer is actually more in balance now, though I must admit I probably like this a touch more when it was still in the high 50s (Fahrenheit). The last sip of this glass sees me noticing a slight tartness from the dark / roast grain and the Bourbon influence. A toasted grain character (I am not referring to roast character here) becomes much more apparent as well.
Interestingly enough my second glass of this beer does not seem nearly as interesting as my first (palate fatigue is setting in). More Bourbon and oak astringency seems to be found here, though this is still easily quite decent by any measure. In the aroma I now notice more roast character, coffee like notes and even a light, burnt-acidity. A bite of a just brought out pretzel helps to reset my palate and the balance of this beer. Food also brings out some sweet Bourbon character and perhaps more of the vanillin notes. The chocolate takes a back seat (though it is still noticeable in the nose). In the end I really dig the rich chocolate and vanilla flavors found in this beer and I think that this is just a smidge better than the regular offering.
nbutler11 (1267) - Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, ENGLAND - JUL 7, 2009
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
On cask at the brewery. Completely agree with cbkschubert that this was served awfully cold, but what isnít? The small pilsner sort of glass threw me off, too, and seemed to make it hard to distinguish the true color or full aroma. In any case, the nose is full of bourbon, powdered cocoa, and roast. Tastes of each with an added note of vanilla and faint cream in the flavor. Not nearly as hot as I was anticipating. The base beer holds up like a champ and the barrel creates a marriage much closer to Dark Knight Returns rather than Smoke from the Oak (thankfully).
cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - JUL 6, 2009
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap @ brewpub from cask and served fairly cold - Pours a dark brown color with a nice size tan head for the 10 oz. glass itís served in. Light lacing, but the head lasted to the bottom of the glass. Aroma initially is roasted malt, chocolate, and oak/bourbon. As it warmed up, the vanilla really came out. Flavor is mostly chocolate, oak, and roasted malt. Again, as it warms, the vanilla and bourbon really shine. Smooth and full bodied. This beer is a real treat. Too bad they are not selling growlers. Well done Steve (brewer). Looking forward to the next batch from those two barrels.