Oct 20, 2017

Big Boss Bourbon Barrel-aged Tavern Ale

In my recently posted review for Big Boss’ Saints on Raspberries (and via Twitter) I mentioned that, based on the packaging date of these samples that the U.S. Postal service took four months to transport from North Carolina to Virginia. Well, I was mistaken as the brewery kindly pointed out. Big Boss buys their postage in bulk (and in advance). This bottle of their Bourbon Barrel-aged Tavern Ale only took one day to get here. So yeah. Lessons learned.

As for this 7% ABV barrel aged English style old ale? It’s pretty darn tasty, that is, if you really like Bourbon. Which I do.

The deceptively easy drinking Tavern Ale is packed to the dense cap of beige foam with a solid amount of bourbon barrel influence. The flavors are strong and at the forefront, but don’t come across as heavy handed in application. Old wood, caramel, a hint of vanilla and distant stone fruits all present themselves in varying degrees throughout the experience.

This particular batch of Bourbon Barrel-aged Tavern Ale was brewed in 2015, though I’m not entirely sure when it was packaged. Whether it sat in barrels for that period of time or cellared in the bottle, I can’t say — edit: the beer was packaged in 2016 so it sat in barrels for 120 days. What I can tell you is that there is an appropriate aged feel to the beer, not one of old beer, but a slight oxidation adds nicely to the layered flavors of the brew.

Fans — and even passing fans — of bourbon will enjoy this beer immensely. It’s full flavored and smooth on the palate, gliding to a lasting and lightly drying finish. I can see myself sipping on this one many an early evening this Autumn and Winter. It’s not a big beer in terms of alcohol, but the flavors suit the season wonderfully.

This is a review of a promotional sample.