2015 GABF Theme Route | Big Beers
‘Go Big or Go Home’ is a motto used by brewers and attendees alike at GABF. Many breweries bring some of their heaviest beers to share during the GABF sessions. Tristan Chan, Chris Day, and I looked through each brewery’s pour list to create our list of the best beers above 9.5%. This route can be incredibly rewarding but please heed our warning.
Tread lightly with our Big Beers list, as the high ABV can easily sneak up on you with these delicious drinks. Big beers can easily lead to an early end to your night and a tough morning the next day. We didn’t just put any big beer on this list. There are a lot of other high-ABV ales for you to find on your own!
Check out our other themed routes:
We list the Brewery (Booth Number), Beer (ABV), and Description.
- Fremont Brewing (W23), Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star (11%), Aged in 15 year-old single use Kentucky bourbon barrels. The roasted and chocolate malts complement the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of bourbon barrel aged warmth.
- Gigantic Brewing (I27), MASSIVE! 2013 Barrel Aged (13.5%), MASSIVE! Barleywine aged 20 months in bourbon barrels.
- Dogfish Head Brewing (B17), Higher Math (20%), The base is a golden ale, fermented with cherries on cocoa nibs.
- Dogfish Head Brewing (B17), Bourbon Barrel Aged Palo Santo Marron (12), This version of Palo Santo was aged in Bourbon Barrels after aging in Palo wood. It has the a roasty vanilla backbone from the Palo wood that complexes nicely with the Bourbon notes from the Barrel giving it a smooth warming finish with complexities for caramel, spice and some fruit. One of two barrels produced.
- The Bruery (Q18), Black Tuesday (19%), Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout
- Left Coast Brewing (T30), Barrel Aged Get In My Belly (13.1%), Barrel Aged Wee Heavy
- AleSmith Brewing (S5), Speedway Stout (12%), Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the flavor, supported by notes of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. A healthy dose of locally-roasted coffee from Ryan Bros. Coffee, Inc. added to each batch brings out the beer’s dark chocolate flavors and enhances its drinkability.
- Ironfire Brewing (T23), The Devil Within (19%), Devilish amounts of hops assault you with citrus and stone fruit flavors and aroma
- Brooklyn Brewing (G9), Intensified Coffee Porter (11.8%), Bold barrel-aged double porter meets rich Salvadorian coffee beans by way of Blue Bottle Coffee
- Shmaltz Brewing (X9), Sweet 16 – Jewbelation 16 (16%), A big big (maybe 3 bigs!) complex dark ale with 16 malts and 16 hops used in the brew. Not an imperial porter or stout or barleywine – just a strong and balanced anniversary ale.
- Weyerbacher Brewing (Z24), Sunday Morning Stout (11.3%), Sunday Morning Stout pours a beautiful ebony with a large, creamy, off-white head that lasts and lasts. The aromas of roasted coffee and bourbon awaken your senses while their flavors blend with hints of chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla and caramel.
- Deep Ellum Brewing (W10), Wealth & Taste (10.5%),This Belgian-style golden strong ale is brewed with Muscat grape juice and grapefruit peel. If that’s not enough, it’s aged in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels and the result is a beverage overflowing with opulence.
- Mountain Sun Breweries (X19), Addiction Coffee Imperial Stout (9.7%), Utilizing a blend of several different roasts from Conscious Coffees, Addition is dark and full-bodied with assertive flavors of coffee and malt flavors that are reminiscent of chocolate, dark fruit and caramel.
- Yak & Yeti Brewpub (BP24), Barrel-aged Devil’s Wine Barleywine (11%), This American Barleywine was Yak & Yeti’s 2014 ProAm beer with Matt Kriewall, aged in a Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey barrel for 15 months.
- Epic Brewing (P30), Big Bad Baptist (11.7%), This luxuriously rich imperial stout is aged in used whiskey/bourbon barrels and then infused with real coffee and coca nibs – a coffee-lover’s dream! Keep an eye on the release number as every batch gets a different dose of coffee.
- Founders Brewing (W22), Backwoods Bastard (10.2%), Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.
- Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (D15), Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW Belgian-Style Barley Wine-Style Ale (11.3%), Aging in oak barrels added a memorable richness that we seek to achieve with this barrel aged Belgian-style barley wine-style ale. Being the ideal celebration beer to release on our 5-year anniversary, Barrel Aged Naked Evil is fermented with both British and Belgian yeasts and aged in whiskey barrels for a lightly spicy twist on this old-world beer style. Sweet malt flavors will become smoother and rich dark fruit characters will build with time, to add a wonderful complexity and depth of flavor.
- Revolution Brewing (X5), Café Deth (12.5%), Barrel-aged Russian imperial stout with coffee
- Avery Brewing (N17), Tweak (17.8%), Imperial Stout with Ozo’s organic espresso roast and aged in fresh Bourbon barrels for 4 months.
- Avery Brewing (N17), Pump[KY]n (17.2), Pumpkin porter spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves and aged in fresh KY Bourbon barrels for 4 months.
- Avery Brewing (N17), Rumpkin (16.7), A monstrous pumpkin ale, plump full of spicy gourdiness and aged in fine fresh rum barrels to add suggestions of delicate oak and candied molasses.
- Goose Island (I1), Bourbon County Brand Stout (14.2), A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke.
- Cambridge Brewing Company (N4), Arquebus (14), Aged in French oak sauvignon blanc barrels
- FiftyFifty Brewing (T6), Eclipse (12.5), Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels for over 100 days. Chocolate, espresso, oak, and a complex finish.
- Great Divide Brewing (Z14), Barrel Aged Yet (12.5), This unique version of our monstrous Yeti Imperial Stout is aged for a least 12 months in whiskey barrels. The spirited aging process produces a hugely complex but mellowed Yeti, with its signature roasted flavors, hints of vanilla and oak, and a whiskeyed finish.
- Copper Kettle Brewing (W9), Snowed In (12.2), Intensely strong coffee stout with notes of chocolate aged in High West barrels
- Funky Buddha (W27), Morning Wood (12), This Imperial version of Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is aged in Bourbon barrels for months, lending smoothness to the smokey, salty, rich combo of maple syrup, fresh roasted coffee, and bacon.
- Verboten Brewing (M4), Mountain Main (12), Our award winning barrel aged strong aged in bourbon barrels.
- West Sixth Brewing (B25), Snake Cake (12), Our Snake Eyes imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with extra added cacao nibs and vanilla.
- Coachella Valley Brewing (W7), Black Widow (17%), Massive Russian Imperial Stout aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels
- Ecliptic Brewing (I20), Bourbon-Aged Orange Giant Barleywine (14%), Named after Giant Orange stars. This Barleywine spent 11 months in bourbon barrels.
- Odell Brewing (P1), Russian Pirate (13.3%), Bold body with hints of dried fruit, dark cocoa, and woody rum spice.
- Clown Shoes Beers (N5), Rexx (12%), Bourbon-barrel aged imperial red ale. Vanilla and bourbon flavors.