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Judge's Review: 85 Rating - Silver & Steel Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout by Highland Brewing Co.

November, 2019
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
32 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Silver & Steel Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout by Highland Brewing Co. is being judged as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (category 33B) with an Imperial Stout (category 20C) as its base beer per the 2015 BJCP Guildelines.

This beer pours a very dark brown color with a slightly murky clarity when held to the light. A creamed coffee-colored head quickly fades and leaves a ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass. The aroma consists of a moderately high malt sweetness with a mixture of low notes of chocolate, roast, coffee and moderate whiskey barrel lactones. Low wisps of alcohol are apparent as the beer warms and no hops or esters are detectable in this beer. In the flavor, malt sweetness is moderately high and quickly followed by a fleeting dark fruit flavor and moderately low flavor of ethyl alcohol. As the alcohol subsides, very low vanilla and coconut lactones, chocolate and very low roast linger into the aftertaste though they are fleeting and quickly replaced by ethyl alcohol. There is no hop flavor but an apparent low hop bitterness helps to bring balance to this beer aided by the noted alcohol. This beer has a medium-full body with medium-low carbonation, which lends to a nice creaminess in this beer. There is no astringency with a moderately low alcohol warmth in this beer. Overall, this is a well executed beer that lacks the malt depth and complexity of better examples of other barrel-aged stouts.