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Tracy Hensley's picture

Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout

March, 2017
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout is a Bourbon Barrel Stout, and was evaluated as a specialty wood-aged beer (2015 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Category 33B) offering according to BJCP guidelines. For this style, one looks for an affinity between the base beer and wood contact characteristics. Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel blends these two characteristics with a subtle complexity.

The beer was poured into a snifter from a 22-oz bottle. Strong aromas of warm-toasted vanilla whipped cream were followed by smooth dry roasted dark cocoa that lack a bitter character.  At first, it is reminiscent of a dark velvety chocolate mousse.  Secondary notes of lightly roasted warm almond evolve into smooth molasses and espresso foam with hints of dark dried red cherries.

Visually, the Stout is an opaque charcoal brown color with dark amber edges, maintaining a light brown frothy head with fine legs. The flavors support the aroma with a smooth, velvety creamy chocolate. Bringing to mind a chocolate truffle melting in your mouth. The Stout showcases integrated chocolate and tropical vanilla flavors, with a pleasing structure from the soft wood tannin and hop bitterness, finished with a sweet coconut barrel flavor. The body supports the aroma and flavors and feels like sweet cream, with a silkiness balanced by carbonation, smooth alcohol (6.9%), and subtle dryness.

This beer is all seduction. Often that word is used to mean gratuitous. Here it is the perfect white t-shirt with the perfect pair of jeans. There are many Bourbon Barrel Stouts that are often aggressively barreled or charred and therefore poorly done, but this one shines with its subtle complexity and blending of flavors, highlighting the pros of producing barrel-aged beers at lower alcohols.