West Sixth Brewing - Snakes in a Barrel
- ABV: 13%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, or Small Nonic
As with all four of these West Sixth releases, Snakes in a Barrel will be available exclusively through Rare Beer Club and the brewery’s taprooms. This is the bourbon-barrel-aged sibling of Snake Eyes, which was one of our featured selections back in January. We loved that base beer—and the bourbon version kicks it up another notch. Might be our favorite of the four.
Snakes in a Barrel pours jet black, with just a bit of light making it through around the edges. Dark tan foam with tiny bubbles caps things, showing nice retention and lacing. Decent level of viscosity, and just substantial in the glass overall. Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, anise and subtle bourbon lead the initial aromatics. That chewy, lightly charred, vanilla-laden bourbon barrel character builds as this warms up a bit. There’s a dense imperial stout base, with dark chocolates and licorice in abundance, surrounded by softer elements of vanilla and oak.
Hugely impactful at first sip. The bourbon-barrel presence shows more prominently than the nose seems to suggest: endlessly layered and warming, with touches of char, burnt caramel, and almond-like oakiness. There’s an absurdly decadent core imperial stout here, highlighting dark chocolate, cocoa powder, licorice, and dried dark fruits. Even more impactful than that bourbon-barrel Pay It Forward, this notches everything up in terms of darker specialty malts and barrel roundness. A beautifully balanced combo of the dark base and generous elements from the barrel time. Layers of caramel, chocolate, oak, and bourbon that seem endless.
Probably the most cellar-ready of the group, this is high-ABV and densely constructed. Still, quite smooth and engaging fresh. The dark chocolate, licorice, and bourbon angles have us looking to heartier food pairings: chili- or pepper-rubbed steak, or a rich chocolate dessert.
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