Oct 27, 2016

Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout

Hardywood Park’s Raspberry Stout is a pretty good beer. It’s got plenty of jammy fruit and cocoa to make for a tasty dessert beer, but lacked some refinement to make it one to hunt down on a regular basis. Well, the brewery has seemed to solve that problem with a little bourbon barrel aging and Madagascar vanilla beans. This bigger, barrel-aged version has found that little extra something to push this beer fully into my dessert beer happy place.

Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout displays everything from the original — jammy raspberries, cocoa and a solid roast — plus the welcome presence of a smooth bourbon character. The fruits still dominate while chocolate lingers in the dark mix comfortably. The bourbon influence is solid, not overly strong and allows the fruit to showcase nicely. There’s a hint of vanilla on the nose, but I don’t pick up much of the bean in the flavor, though I’m sure there’s a little in the mix from the barrel aging.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout. This was just the kick that the base beer needed to push it over the edge. The barrel influences are incredibly smooth, adding just the right amount of wood and bourbon to create the decadent character the beer lacked originally. This is a beer that I would gladly purchase again, especially as the colder weather settles.