Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

beer barrel bourbonMichigan’s New Holland Brewing Company puts my thoughts about its Beer Barrel Bourbon right on the label: Beer finished in Bourbon casks: Sure. Bourbon finished in beer casks: Sounds a little weird.

Beer Barrel Bourbon (no mashbill provided) is first aged in new oak for “several” years at a relatively low 110-115 proof. It’s then finished for 90 days in barrels that were used for the company’s Dragon’s Milk stout — which, in turn, was itself aged in a former Bourbon barrel. The cycle is endless!

The provenance of barrel from whiskey to beer to whiskey may be a little tricky to full grasp, but the results speak more clearly, and for themselves.

It’s young, corny Bourbon to be sure. The nose is heavy with grain, somewhat hot with smoky campfire notes and — curiously — a toasted marshmallow character at times. There’s continued grain on the palate, but the body has a unique texture to it. New Holland calls it “biscuity” but it’s more like a foaminess or frothiness to me — imagine the head on that pint of stout and you have a sense of it.

As it opens up in the glass, this whiskey begins to burn off some of its grain character and exhibit more of the sweetness we expect from Bourbon. Here it takes on a butterscotch character, with some burnt toast and allspice along for the ride. Really interesting stuff, but I’m still trying to get my mind around the unique mouthfeel.

80 proof.


New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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