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Bourbon Archives - BEER AWESOME

BeerAwesome branches out, Cherry Wood BCBS

Goose Island
Bourbon County Cherry Wood Stout
2021

14.2%
Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels

Every year, the Bourbon County Stouts roll out, and with them come at least a few new variations. 2020 saw the Midnight Orange (which will be mentioned on a future podcast), and this year sees a few new tastes with Cherry Wood being one of the more reasonable ones. It pours Stuart Semple black and immediately smells like someone dunked a loaf of bread in alcohol. Great start! Let’s find out if you wood or wood not like it, though.

Hops – 2.0 Like a bear lost in the forest (loose wood pun, I’ll try again later).

Malt – 9.1 It’s huge. It’s Malt of America. It’s King of Prussia Malt big. Roasted, toasted, chocolatey, sweet and deep.

Carbonation – 6.1 It’s not going to foam over like a belgian, but the noticeable bubbles break up what might have been a cloying sweetness with the heavy syrupy malt.

Character – 7.5 I don’t think I’ve eaten cherry wood on purpose before, so I’m not sure if there’s a largely noticeable difference from an oak barrel but the intense malt, booze, and fruit are here in droves. Groves?

Palate – 8.5 It all comes together to, I’m sure, make something slightly different than the normal BCBS, which is usually a fantastic product anyway.

Overall – 8.7 If you want a big bourbon barrel stout with something a little neat done to it for a conversation point, this is great.

Straight from the source, since I am not a Cherry Wood flavor expert: “The versatility of the cherry wood and honeycomb shape allowed for maximum flavor extraction, revealing complex characteristics like red fruit, ripe cherry, and light toffee, which are not found in the original oak barrel itself. The result is an amazing elevation and a notable difference from our Original Bourbon County Stout.” Without a regular BCBS to try back to back, it’s almost impossible to verify those claims, but it is really quite good.

CAPS WIN! BeerAwesome joins the Bourbon Cru

 Hardywood
Bourbon Barrel Cru
Abbey-Style Quad
12% 22oz Bomber

Let me get this out of the way: HOT DAMN. This one is on the Wild Side. I didn’t mean to do yet another fantastic VA beer, but this one was lurking in the fridge and the Caps just won, so
let’s do it. You get a hefty malt, yeast, roast smell and then bourbon comes in like Hell on High Heels. But enough about the puns, let’s kickstart this review.

Hops – 2.2 It’s a quad. The label says 18 IBU and I believe them.

Malts – 7.4 Yeah, its sweet and roasty.

Carbonation – 4.3 It’s not that bubbly. Pretty pleasant, really.

Character – 8.9 There’s so much going on that someone that wasn’t me probably couldn’t describe it. But I will. There’s the sweet maltyness and yeast profiles you get from a Quad-style
beer and then there’s an entire box truck full of savory, driven by a big punch of bourbon character. If you had an Uncle Daryl that won the lottery, it’s like he is this beer and he used
his winnings to go on a sophisticated tour of Europe, and then came home and spent the rest on Old Crow and cigarettes. Just wild.

Palate – 9.4 It’s a rollercoaster of awesome that’ll guarantee you won’t Go Away Mad.

Overall – 9.2 That’s not to say you could drink 12 of these in a row (go ahead, prove it) but just the one is great. It’s a really big beer.

I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Hardywood usually puts out great stuff, but I have had some terrible luck with bourbon barrel beers. They either forget to imbue it with the
bourbon flavors, or they get the bourbon and booze in there and forget to make a good beer around it. It’s a veritable Rodeo of flavor, and If I Die Tomorrow, I’ll be glad I had it.

Because Cru. You’ll get it.

BeerAwesome goes ALLCAPS with CAPSIZED

Ocelot Brewing

BeerCapsized

Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout
11%

 

It pours dark, but not as…viscous(?) as some imperial stouts. You can immediately smell the bourbon barrel aging and the tasty notes it left, as if it were christmas. And this beer has
been a very, very good boy. It looks like I’m keeping the Virginia beer review streak alive, so let’s just get into it.

Hops – 2.7 Not much to say here, moving along.

Malts – 7.4 Not overwhelming. There’s a sweetness, like the smell of grandma’s house after she had been baking cookies. Looks like I’m going to keep with the holiday theme even though
it’s a beautiful day in April.

Carbonation – 3.4 It pours milky, rather than bubbly. Which is nice because there’s no carbonation to cut through all the delicious flavor. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass and drink
it real quick, like a thirsy Santa and this is your milk and cookies.

Character – 7.2 There aren’t any crazy flavors here to ambush you or knock you off course like a patch of black ice. You have the sweetness from the lactose (hence milk stout) which
compliments the malts, bourbon characteristics, and other dark aromatic flavors.

Palate – 9.1 It’s a caroling chorus of delicious. Everyone is doing their part, except for Joan. She’s a little flat.

Overall – 8.6 It’s pourable, drinkable, it smells great, and it hides its alcohol wallop better than your parents with christmas gifts.

To be fair I’m only drinking this early to ease the battered and bruised ego from a small motorcycle wreck. I’ve been meaning to get to this beer in particular as it was gifted to me, and
I finally have a great excuse. Not that you’d need one, this thing is richer and sweeter than a Capitals playoff win. Which are starting today, btw. THE LOFFS! It’s that time of year
where I drink a lot because I’m happy, and then I drink a lot because I’m sad again. But not this year. This year is different. This year is special. Like CAPSized from Ocelot Brewing.  And now I’m ready to get all settled in for a Caps sized victory. LGC!

BeerAwesome drinks Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

Anderson Valley
Bourbon Barrel Stout22 oz Bomber
6.9%
This one pours incredibly dark. There’s a nice head to it, and when you smell it, you’re immediately welcomed with dark, roasted notes, something fruity, and for lack of better words, bourbon barrel. It’s like someone has trapped the essence of a dark barrel of bourbon and put it in a bottle for you. This particular stout was aged in Wild Turkey barrels, so I expect some crazy flavor.

Hops – 2 Sometimes a stout can be bitter (see last review), but this one is not at all.

Malts – 6.5 It’s better than the last Dominion stout, but surprisingly, not by much. So far it seems tame, unlike the wild turkey on the label (and the barrel they used).

Carbonation – 5.5 It’s bubbly, but not overly so. It’s smooth and not much carbonation when you hold it in your mouth.

Character – 5.5 I don’t ever give out a double score (I also don’t ever use absolutes, or parentheses this often) but it’s somewhat lacking. For a brand that usually has great flavor and awesome seasonals, this one so far has yet to take flight, much like the bird.

Palate – 7 I’m giving it a higher score here because there’s not much to be offended by. Much like a mediocre thanksgiving turkey, you won’t find anything to rave about or dislike.

Overall – 6.1 I’m slightly embarrassed for both Wild Turkey and Anderson Valley. The great sights and scents you get when you initially pour it just lead you on a wild goose chase tracking down whatever flavor is supposed to stand out. There’s no boozy leftovers, very little “bourbon barrel” experience. I’m left hunting for flavors, and coming back empty handed. Is it bad? No, but there should be more to it than this. There are better examples of a BB stout out there. In the end, I’m going to cry fowl on this one. If they had made a higher ABV brew this drinkable, that would at least be a feat, but there’s not enough of…well, anything. This hunt is over, and not in a good way.

You’re still here?  Feel free to email, tweet, comment, or send smoke signals on what you would like to see reviewed next!  Or if you’re really great, send in something special and I’ll do my best.