Alesmith Bourbon Barrel Aged Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout


I’ve been looking forward to opening this bottle for a while now, Alesmith’s specially released Speedway Stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. This massive stout was highly anticipated and released during San Diego Beer Week at the brewery.

“We traditionally brew Vietnamese coffee, known as cà phê sa đá, with a phin-style filter that gently percolates water through ground coffee. The result is a chocolaty and bold tasting coffee that perfectly complements the notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon in this massive barrel-aged stout.”

Here’s my review:

Final Rating: 4.65/5  rDev
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Alesmith taster glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a deep black, inky body with a dark, mocha brown head that reduces fairly slowly to leave a little lacing and decent retention.

Aromas are rich with delicious vanilla bean, freshly baked cake, fudge brownies, bourbon whiskey, coffee. Very inviting, very pleasing.

On the tongue the nose is matched, vanilla and milk chocolate, roasty coffee on the finish, chocolate and caramel, finish is roasty and rich. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with low carbonation.

What an awesome beer, one of the best coffee stouts I’ve ever tasted, so rich and full bodied, complex and balanced. Seek it out!


The Bruery Blue BBLs


“In brewing, BBL is the notation for “barrel,” a unit of measurement equal to 31 gallons.  This is not to be confused with an oak barrel, which typically holds nearly two BBLs of beer.  Still with us? Great.  A special blend of our bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with our bourbon barrel aged sour stout, plus an addition of juicy blueberries, Blue BBLs finishes with incredibly vinous tones. The acidity from the sour stout matches perfectly with the sweet malt character of the imperial stout and the fruity tannins from the berries round everything together.  Notes of red wine, blueberry skins, toffee and roasted oak.  A fine addition to the line up of Hoarders Society exclusive ales.”

Final Rating: 4.03/5
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Bruery tulip glass. Acquired in a trade with Scott – thank you very much!

Pours a deep mocha body with a modest 1″ light brown fizzy head that reduces quickly to leave little retention and lacing.

Big bourbon aromas on the nose, a tart berry aroma, anise, dark fruits, and some light chocolate.

On tongue, upfront is sweet caramel, toffee, followed by a lightly tart berries, heavy bourbon and oak, with chocolate covered blueberries and a deep roasty chocolate/coffee taste on the finish. Pretty boozy. Leaves a toasty aftertaste on the tongue. Body is medium, could be heavier with low carbonation.

Overall a very unique combination of flavors, super complex and worth a try. I’m going to cellar one and see if it cools down down the road.

Tree House Double Shot with Sumatra Mandheling Coffee


“She’s back! What’s better than one shot of espresso? Two shots of espresso! This edition of our favorite coffee infused stout utilizes buckets of Red Barn Coffee Roaster’s Sumatra Mandheling. The Mandheling’s deep cocoa flavors open up to reveal a richly complex treat. We taste flavors of , chocolate covered espresso beans, molasses, milk chocolate, and touches of sweet brown sugar. A pungent & decadent bean for sure! A rich, sweet, and less roasty base beer contributes the ideal backdrop to this bold and vibrant treat for the coffee and beer lover alike! We find this to easily be the most intense and potent Double Shot yet. A true coffee lover’s delight!”

Final Rating: 4.44/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL growler into a Tree House tulip glass. Purchased at the brewery a few days ago.

Pours a deep black, inky body with a 2 finger mocha colored head that reduces within a few minutes, leaving a thin layer of foam. Little lacing.

Aromas in the first 30 minutes are subtle and muted, but once it warms up they start to come out with rich deep roasted coffee, anise, black liquorice, dark fruit, dark chocolate.

Taste is bold and rich – heavy roasted coffee upfront, espresso, followed by dark cocoa, roasty, toasty malt, char, coffee beans, finish is slightly bitter and you guessed it – roasty. Mouthfeel thickens as it warms, becoming rich and full. Low carbonation.

Overall a solid stout – a massive coffee bomb. Seek it out if you’re into coffee stouts.

Prairie Apple Brandy Noir


Apple Brandy Barrel Noir is an imperial stout aged in apple brandy barrels. The beer has major notes of chocolate, coffee, apple, and vanilla in the flavor and aroma. The stout is thick and slightly sweet, making for a smooth, slow sipping beer. Enjoy now, or lay a few down to try it with some age on it.

Final Rating: 4.02/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Prairie Dino Glass. Acquired as an extra in a trade.

Pours a dark brown, nearly black body with a modest 1 finger light mocha head that reduces slowly to leave a thin film of lacing and a ring of retention.

After letting it warm for a bit, aromas of chocolate, vanilla, boozy brandy, a unique fruity aromas which I’m guessing is the apple brandy.

On the tongue upfront is a sweet vanilla, brandy, caramel flavor, followed by a bit of booziness, dark fruits, a hint of soy, with a nice roastyness on the finish which I feel redeemed the flavor of this beer, which I found to be a little boozy and unbalanced in the beginning. Medium-heavy body, low carbonation.

Overall interesting and unique, I’ve never gotten the notes that the apple brandy barrels imparted on this beer in any other beer. Let it warm up to enjoy all the flavors.

Hill Farmstead Harlan


Harlan is another one of Shaun’s fantastic IPAs, described as “Edward’s slightly more aggressive alter-ego”. Edward is one of my favorite Hill Farmstead offerings, so I was excited to try Harlan.

look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL growler into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass. Purchased at the brewery this weekend.

Pours a deep orange, hazy body with a big frothy white head that reduces slowly to leave thick white lacing and good retention. Nice and raw appearance.

Aroma – Citrus hops off the top with a large Columbus presence that brings some major dank notes into this aroma. Just a slight bit of stone fruit and tangerine fruity hops. Fairly clean beyond that with some HF house yeast and cracked grains.

On the tongue upfront is piney, resinous hops, followed by grapefruit and citrus skins, orange, herbs, caramel, malt. Finish has a hoppy bite. Body is medium with medium carbonation. Easy drinker.

I really enjoyed Harlan and wish I had more available access to it – if you’re up at Hill Farmstead definitely grab a growler or two of this!

Jack’s Abby Vanilla Barrel Aged Framinghammer


Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

My Full Review:

Final Rating: 4.56/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a Jack’s Abby snifter. Purchased in Attleboro, MA.

Pours a deep brown body with a fluffy 2 finger light espresso colored head that reduces very slowly, leaving a layer of foam after 30+ minutes. Some lacing, high retention.

Aromas of vanilla beans, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and light chocolate. Very nice on the nose.

On the tongue comes sweet chocolate, vanilla beans, caramel, and a roasty finish that compliments the nice vanilla notes that this beer imparts. Really well done. Carbonation is medium-low with a medium body.

A great sipper, nicely balanced and the vanilla really added some positive character to regular barrel aged framinghammer. Recommended.