Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

There was a time when I would scoff at the idea of a beer aged in a bourbon barrel. I used to say that you should brew beer as beer and liquor as liquor, but I had a few good ones, and my opinion has been dramatically altered. Now, I know what they are trying for, and I can totally appreciate it.

The thick black beer sports a tan head, but not much of one. I was trying to ring out some bubbles, and I think the process of aging in bourbon barrels might be detrimental to the beer releasing carbonation or something. The aroma is delightfully oak and a thick, syrupy caramel and chocolate. It is very nice in the presentation, so let's see how the rest of this works out.

First sip is a little more watery than its contemporaries. It still has pleasant taste to it that is similar to the smell, but not quite. It has more nuts and even light coffee there with the water. I suspect that they really wanted to make this a mild beer, so they added more water to it. That explains the arbitrarily low 6.9% ABV (which is about half of what the other bourbon barrel beers have).

Tip-in is very light carbonation with sweet caramel malt and oak. The middle is very smooth oak, toffee, vanilla, light coffee, and a bit of chocolate. The finish is a wave of bitter and earth before trailing off into burning twigs. The smoke trails off.

Bottom Line: Not bad at all, but a bit too mild for either a stout or a beer aged in bourbon barrels.

3.25/5

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