Boulevard’s Whiskey Barrel Stout (WBS) pours from a 12oz bottle with a clear brown hue, though it transforms into an opaque black once settled in the glass. Notable for this substyle is its higher-than-normal carbonation, presenting a persistent tan foam. A touch of sediment at the bottle’s base adds a cocoa dusting effect to the foam if agitated.


In the olfactory department, WBS unfolds with an initial burst of melted chocolate ganache, coupled with a rich, buttery oak that intensifies the chocolate dessert theme. As it warms, nuanced scents of vanilla, black cherry, raisinets, and a hint of copper take center stage as the volatile barrel compounds dissipate.


Delving into the taste profile, WBS strikes a commendable balance, with bitterness at a 7/10 and sweetness at a modest 5/10. Its core offers a silky smooth mouthfeel, attributed to the addition of rye and oats in the mash, complemented by a robust cocoa nib-like bitterness and a substantial roasted malt presence. Warming up, dark fruit flavors of raisinet and a trace of spicy, warming alcohol dominate, leading to an oddly dry finish enhanced by woody barrel tannins. An unexpected touch of copper penny occasionally surfaces, possibly hinting at a water issue.


The mouthfeel of WBS is a standout feature, with a silky smooth texture owing to the inclusion of rye and oats. The carbonation remains surprisingly high, contributing to the beer’s peculiarity. The finish is dry, showcasing spicy, warming alcohol and woody barrel tannins.


Boulevard’s Whiskey Barrel Stout distinguishes itself in its own unique way. Despite occasional notes of copper, the beer stands out for its flawless yet unconventional characteristics within the style—elevated carbonation, dark fruit nuances, and a dry finish. The bold barrel-forward profile doesn’t overpower, and the high ABV, while evident, doesn’t veer into chaos. Accessible in 12oz bottles, this brew carves its niche by sidestepping the need for special occasions and stands as a readily available choice in stores.

In reflection, WBS’s noteworthy blending technique—combining one-third fresh stout with two-thirds barrel-aged stout—sets a commendable standard. Unlike some unrefined “single cask” offerings saturating the market, Boulevard’s approach showcases a thoughtful balance that other craft brewers could learn from.

Final Thoughts on Beer Reviews

In the world of beer reviews, balance is key. A critical review, when thoughtfully crafted, serves as invaluable feedback, offering free quality control to producers. Producers, in turn, should view critical feedback as an opportunity for improvement rather than a threat to sales. Online reviews, both positive and negative, contribute significantly to a business’s reputation and success. Honesty and respect, both in writing and reading reviews, foster a healthy exchange of information and opinions within the beer community. Cheers to informed beer choices and the continuous pursuit of quality in the craft beer landscape!