Michael Heniff's picture

94 Rating: pFriem Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout by pFriem Family Brewers

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

pFriem Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (category 33B of the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). For this category, the best examples have a "harmonious blend" between the base beer and the wood/spirits resulting in a flavorful, complex blend.  For 2017, this pFriem Imperial Stout is aged in Oola Distiller's Bourbon barrels for one year.  

This pitch black, opaque beer pours a huge, dark brown head.  The aroma is an intense roasted, chocolate, and rich caramel malt with an prominent bourbon and vanilla.  In the flavor, the roasted and chocolate malts dominate while caramel malt provides support and a light sweetness.  Moderate-strong bourbon, along with toasted oak, and vanilla provide a rich, complex compliment.  The finish is long-lingering, semi-sweet roasted, chocolate, and caramel malts with a warming, strong bourbon and vanilla.

This is definitely a beer to be sought out.  Adjectives that can describe this beer are: rich, complex, wonderful, bourbon.  This beer should age well.  Perhaps the only downside (at the time of tasting) is that the bourbon is bit strong and upfront but a little aging should add more harmony.  Enjoy!