Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout

Review Date 12/29/2013  Last Updated  7/22/2020 By John Staradumsky


My sons are fond of this game; itís called ďMagic: The GatheringĒ. In it, you play against friends with a deck of cards, each card representing some sort of creature with magical powers or a force, spell, or territory. One of the keys to the game is building your deck, and to do that you have to buy the cards in a sealed pack. Cards come in common, uncommon, and rare varieties, and as with Forrest Gumpís box of chocolates, well, you never know what youíre gonna get.

I was reminded of this when I logged onto Taco Macís website last week and saw a keg of Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout on the menu. Taco Mac assigned this beer a ďrareĒ status. Nice then to see and all that, and I was grateful at least not to have to buy an assortment of common and uncommon beers just in the hopes of getting an Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout. With beer, you just walk up to the bar and order one. Quite convenient.

Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout premiered as draft only in 2012, but was introduced in bottles in mid-2013. I have seen it in 22 ounce bomber bottles for $11.99 at Total Wine, but passed on it. Truth be told, I might have passed on it at Taco Mac too, except that it was one of the more interesting selections on the draft list that I had not yet sampled. I paid $8.50 for an 11-ounce glass.

Ingredients from the AVBC website:


Pale Two-Row, Crystal (40L & 80L), Roasted Barley, Munich, Chocolate, Oats


Columbus, Northern Brewer

Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout is aged for 3 months in Wild Turkey barrels, imparting its complex bourbon notes to an already smooth and creamy stout. The beer has an alcohol content of 6.7% by volume and an IBU count of 14.

My glass of Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout arrived a jet black color with a soft creamy tan head and decided notes of Licorice and bourbon in the nose. Taking a sip, I get some gentle roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, boozy whisky notes of vanilla and heat, and a hint of oak. The slightly grassy hop finish balances, and accompanies perhaps the strongest bourbon notes yet.

This isnít a huge beer, and is medium in body with some creaminess imparted from the oats, but I think this allows the bourbon flavors and aromas to come out a bit more fully. Itís very delicious, nicely done and definitely a beer that I would buy again, even at the hefty price (though that brings this down from 4.5 to 4 stars rating overall).

Interestingly, I enjoyed a draft glass of Mother Earth Silent Night, a bourbon aged imperial stout, a week earlier. To be fair, that is a bigger beer at 9% ABV, but in terms of bourbon complexity it impressed me more. On draft, I would choose it over the AVBC Wild Turkey beer, as it was only 50 cents more for the same size glass. In the bottle, however, I would definitely go with the Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout, as it is $10 a bottle cheaper than the Silent Night.

Update 7/22/2020: Sipped a bottle of this fine brew out on the patio tonight. Pours to a jet black color with a thick creamy tan head and a soft roasty nose of vanilla and chocolate, taking a sip, the beer is medium in body with soft woody notes, vanilla, and a soft roasty finish. The flavors are a little more subtle than I recall in the past, especially the bourbon, but the beer is true sipping pleasure. Alcohol content is slightly higher than I have noted from before at 6.9% by volume. Hops are noted as Chinook and Northern Brewer in lieu of Columbus and Northern Brewer. I picked up my current 22 ounce bottle for $9.49 at Target.

Anderson Valley says:

Aged for three months in bourbon barrels, this luxurious stout has a deep ebony hue and a beautiful mahogany head. The woody, vanilla-like notes imparted by the barrels mingle with aromas of fresh baked bread, toffee, and espresso and envelop the rich chocolate and roasted barley flavors with a fine bourbon character.

Using a world class, consistent source of barrelage, allowing our brewers to explore new frontiers in barrel-aged craft beer. Since its introduction, our bourbon barrel partner has maintained a distinctive distillation and aging process that gives it a smooth taste and a lingering flavor. They also use differentiated process whereby the bourbon is distilled at a low proof to seal in its flavors. Very little water is added to the bourbon, resulting in a full-flavored authentic taste similar to what one would get straight out of the barrel.

Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned