Sun King just released 250 bottles of Bourbon Barrel Johan, which is about as limited of a release as it gets. It was the first beer they brewed when Sun King started up in '09. The beer released on Jan 28th, but there were 125 bottles that were available for preorder on the 21st. I was out of the state for the week but my wonderful, beautiful, gracious wife was able to get on the list. Preorders sold out in about sixty seconds, so she was good.
It was easy to pick up. They gave anyone who preordered a week after it was released to get it, but it did set me back $25 for a pint bottle and I was only able to grab one. I got it home and decided it would make the perfect start to my Super Bowl beer extravaganza. From what I was able to find on the net, BB Johan is 10% abv with 60 IBUs. It is an English Style Barleywine.
When I poured it out it was a dark mahogany with almost no head, just a bit of tan lacing around the edges that lasted for most of the beer. It smelled like vanilla and oak barrels, which is pretty standard for something that has been bourbon barrel aged for three years. There were also scents of dark dried fruits and a heavy lingering boozy aroma.
The first sip told me this was going to be a big beer. It was sweet and intoxicatingly boozy. It had a nice round caramel flavor with dried fruits and some winterish spices. These mixed great with the oak and vanilla flavors that came from the barrel aging process. I wish that the barrel flavors had been a little bit more laid back, because they were starting to overtake the sweetness of the beer itself. It finished off with an alcoholic sharpness that helped cut through the sweet malts and barrel flavors.
The beer itself was a sweet and syrupy mouthful with almost no carbonation. It was like drinking a true wine.
Whenever I get my hands on one of these super rare beers, I feel obligated to give it a five without tasting it. There are a ton of beer heads out there that all of a sudden go nuts trying to find these diamonds. I really have to sit back and think about the beer so I don't go crazy with my review. Rarity does not guarantee an outstanding beer. This was a very good beer, totally solid and I would gladly drink it again, but I liked the Velvet Fog better.
I give it a 4