Posted May 9, 2013 by Crafted Pours in Blog Posts

Top Rated Barrel-Aged American Craft Beers


The craft of barrel-aging beer has grown tremendously in the past decade.  American craft brewers are aging their beer in wine barrels, whiskey barrels, bourbon casks, and barrels used for other spirits.  A long time tradition in Belgium for lambics and sour ales, has expanded in the U.S. to include stouts, porters, barley wines, and smoked beers.  Barrel-aging adds to the complexity of aromas and flavors in beers.  Notes of wood, vanilla, earthiness, and other subtle touches of the spirits previously aged in the barrels come through in barrel-aged beers.

Many barrel-aged beers are released on a limited basis, and some only for local distribution.  For traveling craft beer fans, these become highly sought after.

The list below highlight some of the best barrel-aged beers produced in America by craft brewers.


Top Rated Barrel-Aged Beers
The Bruery Loakal Red – Oak Aged American Red Ale (6.9%, 35 IBUs)

A strong, hoppy Red Ale, aged in oak barrels. Very limited release available in Orange County, CA near the brewery, on draft.  Complex notes of caramel, vanilla, and wood. Dry-hopped for extra hop aromas. View Ratings

512 Brewing Whiskey Barrel-Aged Double Pecan Porter (8.2%)

A robust pecan flavored porter, aged in recently used oak whiskey barrels. Very limited release available in the Austin, Texas area on draft.  Notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, pecans, and whiskey. View Ratings

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin – Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout (8.5%, 33 IBUs)

A strong Oatmeal Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels. Notes of roasted coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, and coconut. View Ratings

AleSmith Old Numbskull Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine (11%)

A Barleywine style ale aged for one year in oak bourbon barrels. Notes of caramel, vanilla, and toasted malts. View Ratings

Fifty Fifty Brewing Eclipse Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (9.5%)

An Imperial Stout aged for six months in oak bourbon barrels. Very limited availability at the brewery in Truckee, CA.  Notes of dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and coconut. View Ratings

Founders Brewing Kentucky Breakfast Stout (11.2%, 70 IBUs)

A strong Imperial Stout aged for one year in oak bourbon barrels. Brewed with Kona coffee and chocolate.  Notes of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, and coconut. View Ratings

Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza Barrel-Aged Belgian Style Golden Ale (8.0%)

A strong golden Belgian Ale barrel-aged in oak with wild yeast. Notes of spice, black pepper, citrus, and wood. View Ratings

Russian River Temptation Barrel-Aged Sour Blonde Ale (7.5%)

A sour Belgian Style Blonde Ale, aged in oak Chardonnay barrels.  Notes of vanilla, wine grapes, and wood. View Rating

Upright Brewing Fantasia Barrel-Aged Peach Beer (5.8%)

A peach Fruit Beer aged for one year in oak barrels.  Limited availability in the Portland, Oregon area.  Notes of ripe peaches, tart fruit, and oak. View Ratings

Full Sail Brewing Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (9.6%, 40 IBUs)

An Imperial Stout aged for one year in Kentucky Bourbon casks from Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Four Roses.  Limited availability in bottles.  Notes of oak, bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malts. View Ratings

Jester King Viking Metal Gin Barrel-Aged Gotlandsdricka (7.4%, 16 IBUs)

A smoked Swedish Style Farmhouse Ale aged in Old Tom Gin barrels.  Brewed with smoked malt, juniper berries, and sweet gale.  Limited availability in bottles.  Tart and smoky with notes of wood and spice. View Ratings

Odell Brewing Amuste – Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter (9.3%)

A strong Robust Porter aged in Tempranillo wine barrels.  Limited availability in bottles.  Notes of toasted wood, red wine grapes, cinnamon, and spice. View Ratings

The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme (11%)

A brown ale aged in bourbon barrels with sour cherries. Notes of tart cherries, vanilla, oak, and cocoa. View Ratings

Block 15 Louis le Whopper

A barleywine aged in cognac barrels with blood orange. Notes of dark caramel, earthy wood, citrus. View Ratings

Block 15 Enchantment

An Oud Bruin Style of blended bourbon barrel-aged sour brown ales, aged 6-33 months. Notes of oak, vanilla, tart dark fruit. View Ratings

Hill Farmstead Fear & Trembling Bourbon Barrel-Aged Smoked Baltic Porter (9.3%)

Dark and smoky with complex flavors of smoke, bourbon, and roasted malts. Brewed with maple wood smoked malt. View Ratings