BC Craft Beer Review – Phillips Hammer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Phillips Hammer

Phillips Hammer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout: Likely the cheapest barrel aged Imperial Stout I have ever seen (like $7 for a 22 oz bottle), this beer is brewed to a strength of 8.3% abv and is aged in bourbon barrels for an undisclosed period of time.

Aroma and Appearance: Pours with two fingers of foam, a dark brown colour with no visible bubbles in the glass. The aroma is chocolate, coffee, black licorice, with a touch of tar, soot and vanilla.

Flavour: Initially kicks off with decent amounts of caramel, vanilla and a bit of black licorice with coffee and a noticeably smooth bodied middle which is immediately followed by a dry sooty finish.

Overall Impression: It is a 8.3% stout that tastes more like a 4.2% stout in terms of alcohol bite because it is so smooth and balance, yet it lacks any oak characteristics and has just hints of bourbon vanilla on the nose.

Rating: Very good at 7/10, I’d be pissed off if I paid the typical $12-$20 price for a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, but this is priced like a regular stout and tastes like one too with double the abv punch.

Food Pairing: Char-grilled burgers or smokey cheeses would go nicely with this beer.

They also have a non barrel aged version of this stout that I’ll have to try it and see if I can notice a difference between the two. Here’s a shot from their Instagram account.

Craft beer comrades raise your glasses! The Hammer Imperial Stout is once again smashing back to your local liquor store in 2 varieties. Crafted in the tradition of the Russian Czarist courts these twin soldiers were born with the same recipe but raised very differently. Classic is aged in stainless steel tanks and full of rich roasted flavors, while the barrel aged version matures in freshly emptied bourbon barrels which impart rich vanilla oak flavours. Enjoyed side-by-side, they are a great opportunity to taste first-hand the impact barrel-aging can have on a beer. Both varieties pair beautifully with dark winter nights, or if you have the patience, are great candidates to make disappear for awhile in your beer cellar gulag. Grab yours from your preferred craft-focused private liquor store for a limited time only. If you would like to try the twins on draft, please join us at the Phillips Kremlin Thursday Jan 8th from 4-6.

A post shared by Phillips Brewing Co. (@phillipsbeer) on

3 thoughts on “BC Craft Beer Review – Phillips Hammer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

  1. Is this a new thing that they’re releasing it in two varieties? I seem to recall having this before but only having one option. Could be wrong though…

    • That’s a good question, I couldn’t find anything on their website that indicated previous releases but it seems that ratebeer check-ins seem to go back to 2012. This was the first bottle I had seen personally.

  2. They have been doing two versions for a few years now. Usually pretty darn good. Phillips has some great price points. Their Train Wreck Barleywine is also quite cheap although it is often quite hot fresh.

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