Review: Avery Brewing Uncle Jacob’s Bourbon Barrel Stout (2018)
Uncle Jacob’s Stout is the name given to Avery Brewing’s bourbon barrel-aged stout, released yearly as part of their Annual Barrel Series. It gets its name from Kentucky distiller Jacob Spears, a distant relative of the brewery’s founders who, according to some, was the first to label his whiskey “Bourbon.” In his honor, Avery created this stout and aged it for 6 months in “the very finest Bourbon barrels.” I was impressed with Tweak, Avery’s barrel-aged coffee stout, earlier this year, so let’s see how the standard offering compares.
This beer pours a dark mahogany color with a thin, cocoa head. The nose is restrained for a bourbon-barrel stout this high in alcohol with only trace evidence of the barrel. The initial aroma is dominated by dark roasted malts, but a lot of complexity emerges as the beer warms a little, revealing Kit Kat bar, Ethiopian coffee beans, and fire-roasted marshmallow. It’s syrupy on the palate, but not overly sweet either, which is something I experience with many barrel-aged stouts. The flavors are rich and layered, beginning with toasty malts and dark baking chocolate. A gentle bitterness arrives on the mid-palate and quickly fades to licorice, cola, and a creamy vanilla sweetness. The bitterness returns on the long finish as overroasted coffee beans, but the chocolate covered variety. I expected to be overwhelmed with bourbon notes given the gravity on this one, but Avery impresses once again with a remarkably balanced, barrel-aged beer.
A / $15 (per 12 oz. bottle) / averybrewing.com