The Hammer Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout – Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B (downgraded from B+, 6/10/2016 re-tasting)

The Hammer Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout – Phillips Brewing, 8.3% ABV – 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“Take some original Hammer Imperial Stout and delicately roshambo it into bourbon soaked American oak barrels. Drop the hammer and smash your way into rich, roasted caramel warmth. Break down that wall! … or conform & be dull.”

  • Style: (bourbon) Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Syrupy spicy bittersweet roasted mocha licorice malts
  • Where I got it : Firefly Liquor Store
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: The barrel-aged version of their Hammer Imperial Stout; I still have a bottle of it in my cellar but I expect this one to be better. Pours inkjet black with a smallish, very long lasting creamy head, a good layer of retention, lots of micro bubbly streams near the base of the glass.

Nose: mocha caramel malts with a good hint of bourbon, very aromatic (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: creamy silky texture

Mid-palate: (lvl-7)-dense malty sweetness, (MAIN) bitter roasted coffee malts, chocolate, licorice, soy sauce, bourbon booziness

Finish: quick black pepper spiciness, syrupy texture, sweet roasted malt finish.

Summary: An interesting complexity with a good body and balance. It has just a touch of watery mouthfeel near the finish but overall very nice for the price.

June 10, 2016 re-tasting: Downgraded to B. Decent body and flavour, a bit lacking in body and carry in the mids to finish. It could also use more creaminess. A bit underwhelming the second time around, 2 years later.