West Sixth Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Aged Pay It Forward
- ABV: 9%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 48–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, or Small Nonic
West Sixth Brewing hit our radar shortly after they were founded in 2012, and we’ve been loving their latest releases. We featured their Snake Eyes Imperial Stout back in January, and this special offer of four West Sixth beers includes a bourbon-barrel version of that release. We’ve also included a bourbon-barrel-aged cocoa porter, a bourbon-barrel coffee stout, and (you may notice a pattern) a bourbon-barrel barleywine. We love what West Sixth has been doing with their barrel-aged releases—and this special offer highlights four of our favorites.
Most of West Sixth’s production get distributed solely within their home state of Kentucky, and all four of these selections will be available exclusively through the Rare Beer Club and the brewery’s taprooms. This sustainably minded brewery supports a number of nonprofit campaigns, including Sixth for a Cause, Wooden Nickel, Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter, and Pedaling for a Purpose. The brewery also releases an annual sustainability report targeting areas such as land management practices, charitable giving, and community involvement.
Our first selection in this special offer is West Sixth’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Pay It Forward: their Pay It Forward cocoa porter—but bigger. And aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Pay It Forward pours a deep, very dark chocolate-brown color capped by light-tan foam. The head’s well retained and leaves plenty of lacing behind. The generous aromatics are apparent from first pour, highlighting the base beer’s cacao nibs as well as the bourbon barrel’s impact throughout. That lush core porter brings milk chocolate, licorice, and dried dark fruit as key components. The overall package presents itself very smoothly, with a tempered show of fruity alcohol and bold aromatics even when first poured.
Medium-full body at least, with nicely integrated, small-bubbled carbonation adding a fair bit of lift to everything going on here. There’s a very sturdy cocoa porter providing foundation, supporting substantial vanilla and char and rounded caramel. Good level of warmth coming through from the barrel impact, but this stays super smooth. So much going on without this being top heavy: cola, milk and dark chocolates, bold bourbon. The cacao nibs help connect the roasted malts and oakiness, providing a velvety smooth base throughout. Subtle touches of barrel tannins, firm licorice… The lightest of these four West Sixth beers, and a big start.
This is drinking great at bottling but suitable for a bit of cellar time. Don’t go overboard. For pairings, the emphasis on cocoa and chewy bourbon has us looking to creamy desserts along the lines of crème brulee or affogato.
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