egajdzis (6830) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 20, 2008
Poured an opaque black color with a small, dark tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, strong roasted malts, caramel, wood, and light alcohol. Really reminded me of Alesmith’s BA Speedway. Taste of roast, molasses, vanilla, wood, bourbon, and chocolate, with a bit of alcohol in the finish. markgugs (86) - Wood Ridge, New Jersey, USA - JAN 20, 2008
on tap in a snifter at Hop Devil’s "Daze of the Devil" fest, 1/19/08
A: Pours a color midway between mahogany and burnt siena, with a moderate 1-finger dark cream-colored head.
S: Woah, did I singe my nostrils? I wasn’t expecting that, like putting my face in a vat of Maker’s Mark. Vanilla cuts a wide swath through the oaky bourbon character, is joined by a slight not of dark chocolate, but even combined are not enough to mask the obvious alcohol presence.
T/M: Huge whiskey nose, just like the aroma warned. And unlike other big BA stouts, doesn’t go away. Ever. In fact, it’s a bit much (and I love this style, see: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout for an example of brewing perfection). The oakiness imparts some dryness to the finish, and vanilla is surely present, but I found the constant, ever-present bourbon led to an almost sour cherry flavoring that wasn’t entirely enjoyable. Syrupy, as might be expected.
D: Due to the overbearing bourbon character, I wouldn’t consider this terribly drinkable. I would try again, as I do love the style, but its surely been done better before. puzzl (3264) - New York, New York, USA - JAN 19, 2008
Tap at Hop Devil. Probably the highlight of the fest for me (besides Paul’s homebrew). Looks like pure oil coming out of the tap. Big, boozy, heavy whiskey aroma seems like it may be a sign of things to come, but it ain’t. Flavor is calm, but refined, and as the beer warms breaks into an awesome complexity that is rarely found in bourbon stouts. Molasses, smoke, a nice chalkiness. Body is super-thick. Very good stuff. alexanderj (3605) - Branson, Missouri, USA - JAN 19, 2008
On tap at the Hop Devil Grill. Poured a black color with a smallish brown head. Aroma was strong on the alcohol and bourbon; some oak and vanilla. Flavor was similar. Lacked a desired balance and was over ran by the boozy bourbon flavor. However, it was still pretty tasty. golubj (1377) - San Mateo, California, USA - JAN 19, 2008
Draft at the Hop Devil Grill. Black pour with a little brown head. Lots of bourbon in the aroma, some vanilla and oak. The flavor is mostly bourbon, vanilla, sour from the oak, and roasted malt. Just too much bourbon for me.
PilsnerPeter (3049) - Flushing, New York, USA - JAN 19, 2008
Tap at Hop Devil: Pours opaque black with a deep brown ring for head. Huge boozy aroma. Almost all vanilla. Thick sticky body, which slightly cloying. Flavor is high octane. Vanilla extract and enormous rum character, not bourbon. Too hot, and no roast to it. Lacks balance. Eyedrinkale (3235) - Astoria, New York, USA - JAN 14, 2008
UPDATED: JAN 18, 2008 Draft at brewpub. Soaked in Elijah Craig barrels, this brewpub smells like crusty old dude with the cigar aroma wafting everywhere. Thick and resinous. I get some cherry also. Mighty tasty. awaisanen (1310) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 27, 2006
From a 12oz handbottle. Pours a dark black oily color. Lots of bourbon in the nose, which comes across a bit harsh, but is rich and complex nonetheless. Smells like a chocolate covered pretzel dipped in bourbon - there’s a unique toasty, salty, doughy character beneath the dark chocolate and caramelly bourbon notes. Full bodied, borderline syrupy mouthfeel. Caramel, lightly salty sweetness chracters that blend nicely with some raisiny prune fruits and a rich dark oily coffee. A touch hot in the final smack, with more of the chocolate pretzel flavors coming through. Unique, plasantly different flavor profile. auerbrau (3206) - Ithaca, New York, USA - NOV 27, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 1, 2008 2005 bourbon barrel aged for one year. 12oz handbottle. Nice cherry juice and fresh toast aroma, with sultry cherries aplenty and a blended multitude of chocolate, roast and coffee cream. As Andy points out, there’s some certain pretzel dough aromas. Deep black pour, with a mahogany fringe. Flavor is a deep sweet cream, concentrated black cherry juice and a dash of aged balsamic vinegar, tossed with distant orange peel spritz. Palate contains some more salty dough. Alcohols are a little bold and the barrel character a little forward. But I enjoy this as a well-done standard. Sips well, with a multitude of mellowed and refined character. Nice. Thanks Sean! 8/3/8/3/17
Pailhead (6543) - Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA - FEB 26, 2006
2005 bourbon barrel aged for two years. 12oz handbottle. Wow. Rich nose full of bourbon fudge, cream donuts, dark chocolate ganache, toasted oak, vanilla, sherry, cream and silky coffee. Complex, strong and rich. Barrel heavy. Nice. Pours a viscous, blackih, with thin rim of tan. Body is thick and strong! A real wallop of alcohol is followed by an indescribable wash of barrel and bourbon. Beer character diminished at the two year mark. Char, slightly stale Blue Mountain coffee, and tannins. Hot and some weird, bitter searing esters. Way too much time in the barrel. Shallow in its acidic tannin qualities, really the only thing to taste is dry oak wood. As I would imagine sucking on a piece of oak might taste. A bit harsh. Ash peaks in. Two years in a barrel is apparently too much. A finely nuanced specimen (at one year) is overwhelmed a year later. Aroma benefits. I could see maybe blending this back. But, straight up, it’s coarse. Vinous. Body that might be a touch syrupy finds balance in the oak. I really, really appreciate trying this, even if it is largely a failure, because it’s good to know and have experience with what something tastes like with too much exposure to wood. 9/4/7/2/12
On tap: Lots of vanilla, light chocolate, and moderate bourbon blend very well together in the aroma. Dark brown with faint orange hilights when held to the light. Small tan head. Lots of chocolate and hints of roastiness up front. Finishes rather pine hoppy compared to the regular version. Bourbon is subtle in the finish at not overdone. Suprised to see I rated this lower than the regular version.