About Barrel Aged Ale

About Barrel Aged Ale
The category of barrel-aged beer represents a diverse range of ale and lager styles that have been aged in non-neutral wood. These beers commonly range between 7.5-10% in alcohol with further variations depending on the interpretation of the style. These beers are characterized by both wood-influenced flavors (vanillia, caramel, toast, coconut) and secondary flavors of the alcohol previously aged in the wood (bourbon, scotch whisky, sherry). The overall character of the final beer may also included acetic, lactic or Brettanomyces flavors and aromas resultant of the barrel. A wide variety of base beer styles may be barrel-aged for an additional level of complexity, although barrel-aged versions of darker or more alcoholic styles are among the more common examples. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and Grand Rapids The Mound Maker.

Top Picks for Barrel Aged Ale

Island Brewing Company 2015 Big Island Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
97 points
Cloudy color. Aromas and flavors of melted chocolate, caramelized nuts and yams, sweet and peppery spices and mint, and gingerbread pudding with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity fat body and a warming, very long finish with touches of vanilla custard, caramel frosted fruit cake, whisky soaked nuts, and pepper finish. A big, broad-shouldered bourbon-barrel behemoth of a beer.
Reuben’s Brews Bourbon Barrel Auld Heritage
95 points
Dark sunburst color. Complex aromas and flavors of creme brulee, honeyed cherries, and maple nut brittle with a slightly chewy, bright, off-dry medium-full body and a warming, elegant, very long finish with notes of toasted coconut, peach cobbler, and cherry cola and brandy finish. A very lively and stimulating barrel-aged ale that will make a great fireside winter warmer.
Island Brewing Company 15th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale
95 points
Brown color. Attractive, sweet aromas and flavors of chocolate toffee, caramel fudge, and latte with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity sweet medium-full body and a warming, elegant, long finish with suggestions of coconut custard, vanilla, and pepper finish. A lush, chewy, chocolatey bourbon-barrel aged stout in the classic BCS style.
Shmaltz Brewing Company R.I.P.A on Rye
95 points
Reddish mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate covered citrus peels, roasted nuts, bread pudding, and pepper with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, very complex, very long finish with notes of smoked nuts and meats, caramel fudge, grilled grapefruit, and pepper finish. A lush, full-throttle ménage à trois of hops, malt, and a barrel.
Revolution Brewing Straight Jacket Barrel-Aged Barleywine
94 points
Reddish mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of raisins in caramel, butterscotch, candied yams, molasses cookie, coffee liqueur, and chocolate bundt cake with a satiny, crisp, petillant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, engaging, medium-long finish with notes of candied orange peel, carob, and marzipan finish. A complex and balanced barrel-aged ale that offers port-like fruit and a whiskey-like brawn; luxurious.
Full Sail Brewing Co. Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale
94 points
Medium-Brown color. Attractive, fruity, floral aromas and flavors of toffee, peach custard, and apple pie with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity sweet medium-full body and a warming, complex, long finish with touches of vanilla cola, peppered citrus and greens, and spices finish. A bold, barrel-aged ale with lots of sassy, spicy hops.
Stevens Point Brewery Whole Hog Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale
94 points
Red oak color. Spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of crusty apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake with a satiny, lively, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, subtle, long finish that presents shades of mincemeat pie and citrus marmalade on scone finish. A rich, chewy spicy barrel-aged pumpkin beer with tongue-tingling fruitiness.
Ahnapee Brewery Cherry Wood Aged Baltic Porter
93 points
Ebony color. Smoky aromas of smoking autumn leaves, carob, spruce, dried fig, coconut, and spiced apples with a velvety, crisp, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a warming, elegant, long dark chocolate bread pudding, honey gelato, rosemary, peanuts in caramel, and toffee finish. A toasty, slightly smoky ale that with big character and appeal.
O’Connor Brewing Company Ironclad "Discovery" Scotch Barrel Aged Ale
93 points
Medium-Brown color. Smoky aromas of smoked nuts and bacon and grilled bread with a round, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, involved, medium-long spiced apples and peaches, orange marmalade on rye, cocoa, and radish sprouts finish. A lively and complex barrel-aged beer with subtle smokiness.
Indeed Brewing Co. Wooden Soul: In the Thicket Barrel-Aged Raspberry Golden Sour Ale
92 points
Pale minutely hazy ruby copper color. Sourish aromas and flavors of raspberry butter on sourdough and raspberry-lemon vinaigrette on mesclun with a satiny, tart, effervescent, sour medium-full body and a tingling, distinctive, long finish conveying touches of buttered toasted baguette, pickled red berries, mixed peppercorns, and smoked nuts finish. A great marriage of sour ale and fresh tart raspberries that whets the appetite.