The presentation of Hardywood Park Foolery is undeniably impressive. As it cascades into the snifter, its ink-black hue envelops the glass, topped by a dark brown head that stubbornly lingers, leaving a substantial lacing in its wake. The beer’s staining effect along the edges, induced by a simple swirl, is a visual testament to its potency. Wow indeed!


The aromatic journey of Foolery begins with an assertive s’mores character, featuring distinct notes of graham cracker and milk chocolate. As it warms, the fragrance evolves, revealing hints of bourbon barrel, waxy chocolate, and a touch of vanilla, culminating in an olfactory experience dominated by pure sugar. The initial intrigue gives way to a realization: this is a bold and unapologetically sweet aromatic profile.


In the realm of flavor, Foolery does not shy away from its grandiosity. The body, luxuriously rich and creamy, bombards the palate with an unabashed assault of sweetness. The addition of lactose amplifies the sugar content to a level that may overwhelm, leaving the taste buds yearning for balance. While one might anticipate the intervention of wood tannins or intense bitterness, the 13% ABV takes the reins, delicately thinning out the beer and rescuing it from becoming cloyingly sweet. A slow-sipping endeavor, indeed.


The mouthfeel of Foolery aligns seamlessly with its imperial stature. Thick and weighty, it imparts a substantial presence on the palate, embracing the consumer with a velvety texture. The warming finish, attributed to the bourbon barrel aging, adds a layer of complexity to the overall experience. Yet, the lingering question remains – is the heft justified, or could a nuanced approach enhance the drinking experience?


In the pursuit of a comprehensive evaluation, the beer tasting journey extended beyond solo contemplation. The consensus among the reviewing cohort leaned towards a shared sentiment – Foolery lacks the assertive bourbon barrel qualities desired, and the flavor profile leans excessively towards sweetness. Despite this critique, the collective enjoyment was palpable; however, it’s undeniably an intense sipping experience, categorizing it as a dessert stout demanding communal indulgence.

In contemplation of potential enhancements, the call for intensified bourbon barrel character, a reduction in ABV, a lighter touch of lactose, and an injection of higher bitterness resonates. For now, the wisdom lies in sharing this robust creation within a sizable group and reserving it for the conclusion of a meal. Hardywood Park Foolery 2017 may not be flawless, but its distinctive qualities offer a unique escapade for those willing to embark on a journey through the depths of its complexity.