Richard Wong's picture

Ol' Dirty Barrel

May, 2016
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

We were off to a great start when I sniffed aromas of slight roastiness and a very strong bourbon presence. The beer poured pitch black with a nice tan head with moderate carbonation. Rich, complex flavors of bourbon barrel jumped out on the first sip from the oak rye whiskey barrels this beer was aged in. It had a wonderful vinous quality of dried fruit (raisins and plums) along with hints of vanilla and roasted malts. Malt and hops were beautifully balanced, giving a nice, sweet, roasty maltiness and hop bitterness. Sometimes hop bittering can be overdone with this style, but that was not the case for this example. The hops blended well with the malt, lending real balance to it. No doubt this is a hearty Imperial Stout as the alcohol was well recognized upon first sip at 10.5 percent ABV. Even with this amount of alcohol, the aftertaste was a little dry along with a subtle burn -- much akin to an aged whiskey.