Bourbon Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

The next spirit up for tasting comes from New Holland Artisan Distillers and has been dubbed Beer Barrel Bourbon.  Now that’s a great name and it has a real interesting story and an even more interesting packaging.  In the press release, New Holland says, Whiskey Barrels make great beer.  Its time beer returns the favor.  New Holland sources full strength bourbon (110-115 proof) from LDI (Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana) that was aged in new American Oak Barrels for a few years. So New Holland sourced some “bourbon” and “finished” it in another barrel to impart some new fresh layer of flavor, this is a trend I enjoy.  The second barrel finishing is fairly standard practice these days (think Makers Mark 46 / Angels Envy), but New Holland’s spirits master chose to take the aged bourbon and finish it in spent Dragon Milk barrels for 90 days.  For those that do not know about Dragons Milk, it is the crown jewel of New Hollands Brewery.  It has been around since 2001, as an 10% ABV American stout brewed with Michigan beet sugar that itself is aged in second use Heaven Hill bourbon oak barrels.  Dragons Milk was the first beer I had ever tasted that was aged in bourbon oak barrels, and its a very tasty beverage.  So now that you know about the beer, lets get back to the beer barrel bourbon.  This product is the first time I have ever heard of a spirit being finished in a barrel that previously contained beer.  So in summary the Heaven Hill aged Dragons Milk is removed and in comes the virgin oak aged bourbon from Indiana for a 90 day soak. Sounds like a creative way to save some money, up-cycle (buzzword), and to allow every last bit of flavor from the bourbon and the oak to be applied to your product. This easy drinking bourbon is very affordable, with a 750 mL bottle only costing me $35, I think that it should be every beer lovers intro to bourbon.

Kruskis Beer Barrel Bourbon Layout

Onto the full tasting notes, and a gallery of bourbon beauty shots from Stacey, 

New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon – $35 – Tasted on 10JAN2013

Jay:  Slightly hazed, yellow amber
SD:  Yellow gold, a touch hazy

Jay:  Maple syrup and vanilla, nutty oak
SD:  Caramel and butterscotch, ashy oak

Jay:  Smooth, herbal spearmint flavors, lack of boozy burn
SD:  Sweet toffee, toasted nuts, chardonnay grapes

Jay:  Subtle vanilla, tingle on the roof of my mouth, zero bite
SD:  Light, sweet, with a little lingering vanilla and spice

Jay:  5/10  Solid not spectacular, Love the story / bottle, I like to drink this as a sidecar w/ a porter or stout
SD:  7/10   Very one-dimensional, sweet but enjoyable, drinkable, great intro bourbon or everyday drinker

All bourbon and whiskey reviews posted on Kruski’s will follow a standard format.  A single ice cube will be placed inside a clean old-fashioned glass.  Approximately two ounces of bourbon or whiskey will be poured over top of the cube, and promptly removed.  We will record our experience into five main categories; Appearance + Nose + Taste + Finish + Overall.  Our overall scores will be on a scale from 1 to 10 with ten being the best.  Until our review has been completed we do not discuss anything with each other.  You know what they say about opinions and assholes, so by no means do you have to agree with us.



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