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Stout Adjuncts: Bourbon

Michael Donato, July 10, 2013 -   

Adjuncts in beer seem to be a growing trend, and some styles take to it better than others. Stouts are a style that sees its fair share of additions, often with impressive results. The roastier nature of the darker beer creates a great base to augment with additional ingredients. Aging stout in barrels used for alcohol is common, and bourbon is the most common. We’ve already seen what happens with coffee and vanilla, so what effect will bourbon show?

There are 21,518 stouts with some mention of bourbon, barrel, whiskey or scotch in the name. Most of these are bourbon, and even the ones that only say they’re barrel-aged are often aged in bourbon barrels. The largest style of bourbon stouts is American Imperial / Double Stout with 11,550 check-ins.

Beer Style

Rating

Bourbon Rating

Bourbon Check-Ins

Difference

All Stouts

3.9151

4.2339

21518

0.3188

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.1143

4.3942

11550

0.2799

American Stout

4.042

3.7396

1340

0.0685

Cream Stout

4.0031

3.9762

21

0.2838

Foreign / Export Stout

3.9106

4.5000

11

0.8420

Imperial Oatmeal Stout

3.8803

3.9849

299

-0.0182

Irish Dry Stout

3.6924

3.7222

45

-0.1581

Milk / Sweet Stout

3.6764

4.2279

509

0.3173

Oatmeal Stout

3.6727

3.8278

1658

0.1514

Oyster Stout

3.6711

4.2544

57

0.6219

Russian Imperial Stout

3.658

4.2561

4424

0.2141

Stout

3.6325

3.9143

1604

0.2416

The effect here is stark, especially when compared to the rather tepid increases of vanilla and coffee. Overall the average rating goes up almost a third of a point to 4.2339. The most represented style, American Imperial, makes up most of the increase and has a whopping 4.3942 rating. This time we do have a couple of Oyster Stouts that have been gotten the adjunct treatment. Most of these are Yards Brewing Company’s Bourbon Aged Love Stout, of which I have a bottle in my fridge that I’m excited to try.

The top-rated bourbon stouts include the familiar Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout coming in second behind Perennial Artisan Ales Barrel Aged Abraxas, a St. Louis beer company..

Brewery

Beer

Style

Rating

Check-Ins

Perennial Artisan Ales

Barrel Aged Abraxas

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.8232

181

Goose Island Beer Co.

Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.8221

104

Missing Mountain Brew Company

Bourbon Betty Breakfast Stout

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.8000

10

Kern River Brewing Company

Class X Stout (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)

Stout

4.8000

10

Cigar City Brewing

Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Apple Brandy Barrel Aged

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.7955

22

Cigar City Brewing

Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Brandy Barrel Aged

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.7941

17

Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2010)

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.7708

48

Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Stout (2012)

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.7596

104

Flat 12 Bierwerks

Pink-O's KGBaylor Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Of The People

Russian Imperial Stout

4.7500

20

Three Floyds Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord (2012)

Russian Imperial Stout

4.7500

34

One thing that seems apparent with these stouts is that they all have really long names. I need another drink after just saying Flat 12 Bierwerks Pink-O’s KGBaylor Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Of The People. The worst rated beer of this sample is South Shore Brewery’s Bourbon Barrel Coffee Mint Stout with a 3.08. I suspect that’s just too many different flavors to be good.

Bourbon gives stouts a significant bump in ratings. Unlike vanilla and coffee, beers with bourbon are usually aged in barrels that suggests a little bit more care and forethought than simply adding an ingredient, and it shows. This concludes our three part stout adjunct series.

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