Aug 17, 2009

Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter

Yeah, I know it’s still August and was 92° over the weekend, but I just couldn’t pass up trying this one. I’ve had a couple of Williamsburg Alewerks brews in the past and, while I haven’t been a fan of them all, I enjoyed their Washington’s Porter a great deal — enough to make the easy decision to pick up a couple bottles of this oak aged Imperial Porter.

Using their Rapadou Porter (which I have not yet had) as the base, this brew was aged in oak barrels for about two months. That really doesn’t seem that long of a period to truly get the affects that barrel aging adds to a beer, but you never know.

Beer Label: Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter


I poured the beer into a simple snifter which filled smoothly with the near black liquid. The toffee colored head was fairly sizable initially, but faded rather quickly to a thin lace.


As this one was poured at cellar temperature, the aromas were quite apparent. The nose is packed with black coffee, subtle chocolates, vanilla, a surprising amount of oakiness and a massive alcohol heat.


Perhaps I should have let this one chill a bit before opening. The alcohol is a bit harsh initially, almost overwhelming the rest of the beer’s character. It has that pseudo bourbon flavor that oak aging tends to give to beer, but it’s not like cracking open an Allagash Curieux which truly is aged in bourbon barrels. This porter is a bit thin for my liking, but it’s got a good flavor that I found quite enjoyable. The finish is a mixture of bittersweet chocolate and slightly bitter coffee character.


I was honestly surprised at the amount of alcohol heat that this one packed. At about 9% ABV it’s certainly not the strongest beer in the house, but it still hits pretty hard. I think I’ll let the other bottle sit for a while to help tone down the punch of alcohol. It should prove to turn out a tastier brew I think.

Rating: 3.5/5

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