In a blind tasting by BJCP trained experts, this beer rated


SweetWater Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel–Aged Imperial Stout

Aroma: “Mild bourbon, with vanilla, chocolate, light caramel, and malt roast. Dark fruit, raisins, light plum, and a touch of apple. Some light vinegar in there, too.”

Flavor: “The sip starts with a rich flavor that’s a mix of roast, chocolate, vanilla, oak, and cherries. Dark fruits (raisin and prune), followed by the bourbon and mild smokiness. Medium alcoholic warmth, which carries through the finish. The body is thick and chewy and very smooth. It’s a nice blend of supporting players without any one stealing the show.”

Overall: “This beer is very rich, with huge chocolate and bourbon, with strong roast and a moderate astringency that plays with the alcohol warming at the end of the sip. It has a big, thick body, and a single pint is probably as much as I could drink of this—it provided a nice platform to blend the flavors of the beer and the barrel. The flavors supported one another in a smooth and complex blend, and each sip gave more to consider, adding to the overall experience.”