The long winter of oak continues at Hawkers, as indeed does the lineage of their white stouts. Already in 2023, the Reservoir brewers have released three variants of this unlikely beer – barrel-aged plus tiramisu and strawberries and cream versions – and now here comes the grandaddy of them all. Double Bourbon Barrel-Aged White Stout is the liquid as it came out of the barrels – the other three were blended with a younger, un-barrelled version before the adjuncts were added – and thus weighs in at a rather more heavyweight 9.7 percent ABV.
It's a little less clear in appearance, but otherwise feels less like a case of adding more barrel and bourbon character, more a case of intensifying the beer's toffee nougat sweetness. Sure, there’s a flicker of bourbon spice but it arguably sits further from traditional ideas of "stout" than its mere colour suggests; this is a sticky, rich dessert: barrel-aged nougat in a can.
Very definitely in the "stout" camp, albeit at big end of town, is this year's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. And while it's something of a cliched term when it comes to such beers, this really is a luscious delight. The liquid cushions every drop of flavour onto your palate and, while it's impossible to mistake the time in oak, the bourbon isn’t overbearing. Here, it’s all about the textural, emboldening, enhancing transformation brought on by the barrels, with the end result one of the most enjoyable beers of of its ilk you’ll try this year.
Published July 17, 2023 2023-07-17 00:00:00