The 10 Best Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stouts To Drink Right Now

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It all started thirty years ago when Goose Island’s former brew master Greg Hall met the legendary bourbon maker Booker Noe, the grandson of Jim Beam, at a dinner in Indiana. During their conversation, an idea came to the forefront. He asked Noe if he could get him some bourbon barrels to mature a beer. You can probably guess the industry-changing beer that Hall created. Yes, it’s the now beloved, sought-after Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

If you’re unaware of the history and you look around at the shelves at your local grocery or beer store, you might just assume bourbon barrel-aged stouts have been around forever. Well, the simple truth is that they’ve only been made since that chance encounter between whiskey and beer giants back in 1992.

And while that might very well encompass your whole life as a beer drinker, it’s barely a blip in the world history of beer. Still, with three decades of innovation, there are countless bourbon barrel-aged beers on the market. And while they aren’t all stouts, this is clearly the most popular style to age or rest in former bourbon casks.

You might be wondering what the impact of aging stouts in ex-bourbon barrels actually is. Well, if you take an imperial stout with its roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, and coffee flavors and mature it in charred oak barrels that once held bourbon you’re only going to heighten these flavors while also adding oaky wood, sweet bourbon, dried fruits, and other rich, indulgent flavors.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about the history of bourbon barrel-aged stouts and got a little background into the aging process and the flavors it imparts, it’s time to actually drink some. The weather is growing ever colder and the days are getting shorter. What could be better than a warming, high-ABV bourbon barrel-aged stout? We can’t think of anything.

Since we’re in the business of helping, we don’t want you to go thirsty any longer. We did the research for you. We found ten of the best, easy-to-find bourbon barrel-aged stouts to drink from today until the spring thaw. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

Brewed with house yeast, Chinook, and Northern Brewer hops as well as Pale Two-Row, Crystal (40L & 80L), roasted barley, Munich, Chocolate, and oats, it’s known for its bold, rich flavor profile. Surprisingly low in alcohol (6.9% ABV) for a barrel-aged stout, it’s loaded with flavors like bready malts, buttery caramel, dark chocolate, rich oak, roasted barley, and sweet, rich bourbon.

  • Origin: California
  • ABV: 6.9%
  • Price Range: $15-17 for a four-pack
Boulevard More S’More

Boulevard More S’More

Boulevard, while known for its core, year-round beers, is also well-known for its limited-edition holiday and seasonal beers. Recently launched Boulevard More S’More is a bourbon barrel-aged homage to everyone’s favorite campfire dessert. This barrel-aged imperial stout is known for its indulgent, rich flavor profile of dark chocolate, graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, dried fruits, and warming bourbon sweetness.

  • Origin: Missouri
  • ABV: 11.8%
  • Price Range: $15.99-18.99 for a four-pack
Firestone Walker Parabola

Firestone Walker Parabola

One of the most eagerly awaited bourbon barrel-aged stouts on the market today, Firestone Walker Parabola is the kind of beer people collected, cellar, and then drink later. Each release is slightly different, but all are aged for at least a year in ex-bourbon barrels before being blended. The result is a truly indulgent, bold imperial stout with notes of toasted vanilla beans, dried cherries, charred oak, sweet bourbon, coffee, and dark chocolate.

  • Origin: California
  • ABV: 13.6%
  • Price Range: $11.99-13.99 for a 12-ounce bottle
Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Ten Fidy

This is a slightly confusing beer and let us explain. Oskar Blues’ original imperial stout is called Ten Fidy. This is because it’s a potent 10.5 percent ABV. Well, the barrel-aged version isn’t 10.5 percent, it’s 12.5 percent. Matured for a minimum of eight months in barrels that formerly held bourbon, this imperial stout is known for its decadent flavor profile featuring hints of sweet bourbon, raisins, dark chocolate, oak, and vanilla beans.

  • Origin: Colorado
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Price Range: $13.99-15.99 for a four-pack
Brooklyn Black Ops

Brooklyn Black Ops

Brooklyn Brewery is a big name in the American craft beer world and it has been for decades. While you can’t go wrong with one of its flagship beers like its iconic Lager, we suggest warming up this fall by cracking open a bottle or can or two of Brooklyn Black Ops. While some barrel-aged imperial stouts merely state that they’re aged in bourbon casks, the folks at Brooklyn want you to know this freshly brewed coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, dried fruits, and sweet vanilla-filled stout is matured exclusively in barrels the formerly held Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon.

  • Origin: New York
  • ABV: 12.4%
  • Price Range: $15.99-17.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
New Holland Dragon’s Milk

New Holland Dragon’s Milk

While this bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout is technically available year-round, it just tasted better during the cool fall and frigid winter months. Matured for at least three months in ex-bourbon barrels, this wildly popular stout is known for its mix of espresso, dark chocolate, sticky toffee, vanilla beans, and rich oaky wood. It’s less aged than some of the other bourbon barrel-aged stouts on this list but no less flavorful.

  • Origin: Michigan
  • ABV: 11%
  • Price Range: $15.99-17.99 for a four-pack
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is the beer that started a revolution. There might be no better time to crack one of them than its thirtieth anniversary. While every year, the brewery launched a handful of other versions of this iconic stout. The best is always the titular Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. The 2022 version was matured in ex-bourbon barrels from the likes of Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace between eight and fourteen months. It’s known for its combination of nutty sweetness, molasses candy, toasted vanilla beans, bitter chocolate, and dried fruits.

  • Origin: Illinois
  • ABV: 14.3%
  • Price Range: $12.99-13.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Besides the aforementioned Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, there are no other barrel-aged stouts more well-known than Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Formerly a very difficult beer to find, this imperial stout brewed with chocolate and coffee before being barrel aged in bourbon casks is now fairly easy to find. It hasn’t diminished its quality. Flavors like roasted coffee, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, and oak are still abundant.

  • Origin: Michigan
  • ABV: 12%
  • Price Range: $20-23 for a four-pack
Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Narwhal

Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Narwhal

We all know about Sierra Nevada and its industry-changing pale ale. Its barrel-aged stout didn’t change the industry, but it’s pretty great too. Aged for almost a full year in barrels that previously held bourbon whiskey, this bold, robust imperial stout is loaded with flavors like toasted coconut, marshmallows, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla beans, and bold, rich oaky wood.

  • Origin: California
  • ABV: 11.9%
  • Price Range: $15.99-17.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti

Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti

Great Divide Yeti is a great, warming, robust imperial stout. It’s turned up to eleven when it’s barrel-aged. The 2022 version was matured for at least twelve months in barrels that formerly held Denver neighbor Laws Whiskey House bourbon. It resulted in a bold, high-ABV, rich imperial stout with notes of toasted vanilla beans, rich, woody oak, dried fruits, sweet bourbon, chocolate, and toasted marshmallows.

  • Origin: Colorado
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Price Range: $8.99-9.99 for a 16-ounce can

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