Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Stout

February 16, 2013
Style: Stout

Full Sail Imperial Stout
(c)2013 popsonhops

The parade of bourbon-barrel aged (BBA) stouts rolls on tonight. Why bourbon barrels and beer? Like other forms of whiskey, bourbon is made in barrels that can only be used once in the production of this hard liquor. I guess the biggest secondary market for the barrels at one time might have been roadside flower planters until Goose Island started recycling the barrels in the mid-1990’s to age Bourbon County Brand Stout. The wood is rich with bourbon as a portion of the liquor evaporates through the barrel. This evaporated bourbon is known as “angel’s share”. The wood barrel lends an influence of vanilla and smoky wood — at least in the right hands. Last night’s offering – Uinta’s Sea Legs offered a very mild influence, while Cricket Hill’s BBA from a couple of weeks ago, tasted as if they left a nice helping of bourbon in the bottom of the barrel.

Some background from this Oregon brewer’s website — This beer was brewed in December of 2011 and was aged for a year in bourbon casks from Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Jim Beam. ABV 9.6% IBUs: 40. It’s a limited release – so it won’t last long.

The pour is an opaque black. Nice chocolate on the nose. First impressions are bourbon heavy with vanilla and oak. Everything else seems quite flat. It’s like an average stout amped up by outstanding barrel influence. Alcohol is nicely concealed and the chocolate, coffee and dark fruit have only a subtle contribution. It’s enjoyable and drinkable but definitely not memorable — 86 points.

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