Dec 10, 2013

Widmer Brothers Ginger Barrel-Aged Brrrbon 2013

As noted yesterday, I recently had the opportunity to sample Widmer Brothers three new variations on their Barrel-Aged Brrrbon. Upon receiving these bottles I had mentally placed them in order of how I though they should be tasted. The original went first as it seemed logical to get the baseline characteristics noted before progressing to the next two varieties. This Ginger Barrel-Aged Brrrbon was selected next simply because the version brewed with vanilla bean (review tomorrow) made me apprehensive — I’m not a huge fan of too much vanilla flavor in my beer.

Well, my decision to start off with the baseline turned out to be the smart move, as Ginger Barrel-Aged Brrrbon alters the flavor dramatically. This diversion from the original incorporates freshly chopped ginger that’s been added to a few barrels. I’m not sure how long the ginger had time to impart its traits, but it’s impact on the beer is distinct and fairly strong.


Just like the original this version of the beer pours deep copper in color with a cap of beige foam that fell slowly to a thin ring and patchy surface cover.

Widmer Brothers Ginger Barrel-Aged Brrrbon photo


The ginger hits immediately. In fact you can smell its presence immediately upon pouring the beer into a glass. Distant bourbon, light vanilla, a hint of wood and caramel linger softly.


With an already solid bourbony character, the ginger is fairly strong here and serves to temper the barrel aging impact and gives the beer a bit of a refreshing character. Now, if you’re not a fan of ginger then you’re probably not going to dig this beer. It’s presence within the flavor only grows as the beer warms. Hints of wood, caramel and vanilla linger lightly in the background. The brew is still warming, but doesn’t come across quite as smooth as the original.


Ginger Barrel-Aged Brrrbon isn’t going to be a beer for everybody. The impact of the ginger is assertive. If you like to sit at the bar and have yourself a bourbon and ginger ale, then you’ll probably love this beer. For me, it was a bit much. I’d personally like the bourbon character to come through as the more dominant trait. The beer is still good, but so far the original is far superior.

Rating: 3.75/5

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.

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