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The Beer Circle » Beer, Elk Creek Aleworks, Heaven Hill, Imperial Stout, Otto's Brewery, Porter » Bourbon Barrel Central PA

Bourbon Barrel Central PA

While visiting Central Pennsylvania back in December to watch my high school football team (Tyrone) romp through the Pennsylvania State Playoffs, a few lucky turn of events led to me having the opportunity to enjoy two Heaven Hill bourbon barrel aged offerings from small, local breweries. The first of which was at Otto’s Pub and Brewery, in between the i99 and Penn State University on Atherton Street. This is one of the breweries that aided my jump into craft beer, so I figured it warranted being the first review I post on this website. The second of the two was from Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks, an even smaller brewery based in Millheim, PA. The brewer posted his own thoughts about the bourbon barrel aged porter on the menu, so below you can read how the beer was created.

Otto’s Bourbon Aged Jolly Roger Imperial Stout
Pours motor oil black underneath a thick and creamy chocolate brown head. The head is literally like whipped cream, lasts forever and laces wonderfully. I later found the beer was poured with a sparkler to influence a better head.
Regular Jolly Roger was pretty sweet, this follows that on the smell. Whiskey bourbon, chocolate, sweet molasses. Not a lot of roastiness, but the balance seems to be sublime. However, the smell is a bit muted.
Creamy melted chocolate followed by slight bourbon and only a touch of alcohol. Slight roasty finish, but the bourbon really compliments to end of the taste nicely. Not intrusive, the bourbon only added to an already phenomenal beer.
The creaminess of this beer is out of this world. Heavy body, low carbonation, insanely drinkable. I couldn't put it down.
At around $4 a glass, this was a steal. I would have paid basically anything to try this the first time, and I would certainly say I'd give it another shot whatever the price.
I had been very excited about the possibility of this from the moment Jolly Roger Imperial Stout hit bottles (Paige can attest to my drunken musings as to how awesome it would taste after aging in bourbon barrels). Served from the hand pump at the brewery. Phenomenal. I waited and drove a long time for this and was not disappointed. This is the best beer Otto's has to offer.

Beer Stats
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Serving: Cask
Size: 10oz
ABV: 9.20%
BA Score: N/A
RB Score: 100

Moving on to the next beer, I’ll let Tim, the head brewer of Elk Creek, take it over:

“Prince’s Porter: this is a version of our Poe Paddy that we aged in a bourbon barrel for 8 months. The barrel is from Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky. It named in recognition of Prince David Farrington. He was a major bootlegger who ran stills in this area throughout prohibition. Also a generous and colorful character by all accounts. I think the balance between the bourbon and porter is perfect. The bourbon doesn’t overwhelm but compliments. Nice vanilla and oak notes in the nose and on the tongue. This is built for hand pull dispense.”

Served at the Z Bar at The Deli, also in State College. Menu said nitrogen poured, not hand pump.

Elk Creek Prince’s Porter
Black pour with a nice light brown head. The creamy head forms wonderfully after the beer has been poured as I would expect from a nitrogen offering.
Vanilla, bourbon, and slight oak take the front of the aroma. Roastiness tries to provide some balance at the end, but falls a bit short. Some chocolate coming through.
The taste is of bourbon and vanilla mixed with slight chocolate and roastiness. The bourbon is too intrusive here. I needed something else to come out a bit stronger to balance it out.
Too thin in body, creamy, low carbonation. No hint of booze.
Around $5 for a glass, which was too high. Wouldn't buy another one.
I was pretty disappointed, I needed way more balance and body. Had trouble finishing the whole glass.

Beer Stats
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
Serving: Nitro
Size: 12oz
ABV: ?.00%
BA Score: N/A
RB Score: N/A

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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