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Monday, September 19th 2011

Bourbon's Barrel Stout
(Great Crescent Brewery)

Bourbon's Barrel Stout has the distinction of being the first, and only, barrel-aged stout in a can. Most folks don't know too much about this small Indiana brewery but they're quietly producing some amazing beers. Like their fellow Indiana brewers Sun King, Great Crescent also utilizes a multi-style blank can that allows them to adhere a sticker denoting what's in the can without having to order a truck load of cans. They can put as much, or as little, of a batch into cans as they want. Pretty smart thinking on their part. Okay, let's crack this open!


By the way,  a recent article discussing the bottle vs cans debate in the brewing industry quoted Jeff Bagby, head brewer at Pizza Port in Carlsbad, CA saying:


“I think it will always be a small part of the craft beer market,” Bagby said. “I don’t see it taking over bottles, especially with the high-end beers. I’d be amazingly surprised if we ever see barrel-aged beer in a can. It just doesn’t even sound right...”


From the Great Crescent site:

"This beer is a slightly bigger version of our regular stout that is aged in Maker's Mark Bourbon barrels. This stout is about 8% ABV and 65 IBU's to blend perfectly with the delicious aroma and flavor imparted by the bourbon and oak from the barrels."

Here we go...


Pour - inky, jet black with no light coming through whatsoever. Very thin, wispy coffee-colored head on top. Tiny streams of carbonation flowing upwards in the glass. Wow, this looks impressive.


Aroma - dark roast coffee, Oreos, chocolate cake batter, dark chocolate, cocoa, vanilla beans and heft amounts of dark roasted malt. This smells heavenly. Lots of aromas going on...


Taste - first sip and I realize right away that this has the mouthfeel of velvet. So smooth it is scary. Bitter roasted flavors abound with some sweet cocoa and coffee as well. There is a dry, tannic flavor in the background along with some notes of vanilla from the barrel aging. Not too overpowering, just a nice subtle flavor enhancement. No real sense of the alcohol in this brew, which is nice as sometimes that alcohol flavor in bigger stouts can be a bit much. Everything meshes very well in this stout and each sip complements the last. As this warms the flavors are enhanced and the glass gets emptier and emptier.


Overall - this beer is proof that you can put a bigger, more complex beer in a can with no issues whatsoever. The flavors and aromas of this beer are preserved perfectly and this tastes amazing. Lots of bitter roasty maltiness along with the unique qualities provided by the barrel-aging make this stout well-rounded and extremely enoyable. Bourbon's Barrel Stout is not too strong and thus there is no burn from the alcohol. This is smooth like silk going down and pure pleasure to drink. 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I've got the cash in my hand. It may not sound right to you Jeff, but it sure tastes amazing to me!


Barrel Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Bourbon's Barrel Stout
Style: American Stout
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
Aurora, Indiana  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 65
Date: September 19th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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