Review: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Full Sail Brewing Co. — Hood River, OR

  • Style:  Imperial Stout
  • Bitterness:  40 IBU
  • ABV:  9.6%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified 
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description: "Our Imperial Stout is a highly anticipated release from our brewmaster's cellar. This beer was brewed in December of 2011 and was carefully aged for a year in Kentucky Bourbon casks from Maker's Mark, Four Roses, Jim Beam. This extended aging presents hints of vanilla and allows the Stout to pick up the flavors of the wood, bourbon and oak. The aging combined with the robust character of the Imperial Stout make for an extraordinary and wonderful taste experience. It has a strong roasted malt character and a full body. Chocolate and caramel nuances blend with the hops for a smooth Imperial Stout. It cellars well, Limited availability in 22oz. bottles and draft. Available February 2013 until it’s gone!" — Full Sail Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  This beer was previously released as Black Gold. I'm tasting Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout as part of my series on limited release beers.  

The tasting:  Black in color, with a dark tan head that dissipates slowly. Bourbon is front and center in aroma with prominent notes of coffee and molasses. In taste, bourbon is again at the forefront, but is not overwhelming. In the middle, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, as well as light vanilla and oak are present. It has a touch of alcohol heat in the middle, but considering this is a 9% ABV beer, it's well masked. Hop bitterness is fairly light. It's medium bodied and finishes with chocolate, bourbon, and a hint of smoke.

Rating: 4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  If you like bourbon, you'll enjoy Full Sail's Barrel Imperial Aged Imperial Stout. The bourbon is showcased, but not overdone. As a result, the beer's many layers of flavor are able to reveal themselves throughout the drink. Extra TLC is required to make good barrel aged beer. This beer was well cared for in Hood River!

Have you tasted Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout?

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