West Sixth Brewing - Snakes in a Barrel

West Sixth Brewing - Snakes in a Barrel

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club




Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels


United States

Bottle size:


Alcohol by Volume:


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West Sixth Brewing - Snakes in a Barrel

  • ABV:

  • Bottle Size:

  • Serving Temperature:

    50–57° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Snifter, Tulip, or Small Nonic

Snakes in a Barrel is available exclusively through The Rare Beer Club and the brewery’s taprooms. This is the bourbon-barrel-aged brother of Snake Eyes Imperial Stout.

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. Snakes in a Barrel 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.

West Sixth Snakes in a Barrel is cellar-ready and should mature quite well over the next few years. Its high-ABV and dense construction gives off high longevity vibes, but still quite smooth and engaging fresh for drinking now. The dark chocolate, licorice, and bourbon angles have us looking to heartier food pairings: chili- or pepper-rubbed steak, or a rich chocolate dessert.

West Sixth Brewing hit our radar pretty early on after they were founded in 2012, and this sustainability-minded brewery in Kentucky has been making some exceptional beers that see very modest distribution. From their core year-round IPA (packed with Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Columbus hops) to more occasional offerings, like their exceptional Christmas Ale and imperial stout releases, West Sixth has been continually knocking it out of the park. The brewery distributes in its home state of Kentucky and nearby Cincinnati, Ohio, but the local emphasis has also helped them grow in leaps and bounds over the past ten years.

In addition to world-class beers, we appreciate the mindfulness West Sixth shows toward the surrounding communities, as well as their efforts toward environmental sustainability. Along with supporting nonprofits through campaigns like Sixth for a Cause, Wooden Nickel, Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter, and Pedaling for a Purpose, the brewery also release a sustainability report each year—highlighting efforts in areas like farming and land management practices, resource utilization/recycling, charitable giving, and community involvement.

West Sixth currently operates four taprooms in Kentucky: the Main Taproom and Brewery in Lexington, West Sixth Nulu in downtown Louisville, West Sixth Box Park in Newport, and the West Sixth Farm in Frankfort – which is a 120-acre property on which West Sixth grows all kinds of different regional ingredients for their beers: hops, blackberries, and raspberries, along with barley, sorghum, squash, pawpaws, sugar beets, and chili peppers. Open seasonaly, the West Sixth Farm offers free property tours on the first Saturday of each month (including its trellised hop yard, cider/berry orchard, chickens, and catch-and-release fishing pond), an on-site taproom, weekend food trucks, and four-plus miles of mix-use trail system, the outer trails of which are open year-round. Learn more on the brewery’s website at westsixth.com.

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