Saint Arnold Bishops Barrel 14 by Tam



Bishops Barrel 14

Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

Houston, TX (Lyons Ave.)

Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with Coffee

ABV: 12.1%

IBUs: 33


Packaging: 12oz. Bottles




I don’t use these words too often but, as Tony would say, MAN HOLD UP!

Let me first lay the ground work and explain why I am so excited about this Bishops Barrel 14. Barrel aging beers is not a new concept, but Saint Arnold has figured out a method that has not only made their aged brews delicious, but highly-sought-after delicacy.

They began this method in 2012 and only chose their favorite beers, (both brewer faves and fan faves,) to age with additional ingredients and unique specialized aging techniques.

The proof of how popular this beer is proven in the number of batches Saint Arnold has created; as I write this they are on batch #17.

I first laid my Asian American eyes on Bishops Barrel 14 at “The Flying Saucer” downtown while waiting for a friend. I call this a rare gem because this brew was created on May 28, 2015 and wasn’t released to the public’s greedy little hands until June 7, 2016. Then, once those geniuses at Saint Arnold distributed just enough, they discontinued that batch!

It’s like giving out samples of crack cocaine at a drug rehabilitation center then snatching it away; kind of a drastic visual but you get my point.

Bishops Barrel 14, or BB14 as the other authors call it, is a fan favorite beer (Divine Reserve) aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels for 11 months and re-brewed with Java Pura Espresso.

The end result is a delicious dark chocolate stout that beautifully flows into a pint glass or snifter. The head is a solid half inch thick ant it will stay resolute throughout the entirety of the brew. The taste is an explosion of vanilla, bourbon touches, coffee, and of course chocolate notes. The density of the beer is thick and almost creamy with a dry finish. One of these BB14s will get you buzzed if not on that threshold of inebriated, so carb up beforehand! That way you don’t have to destroy the flavors of Bishops Barrel 14 with your food choices.




The beers identifying label is the classic parchment label with the Patron Saint gracing its covers. No frills or animated “Easter Egg” style clues are printed on this label, just the proud batch number that stands out boldly.

I give this beer a solid 4.5, the highest I have ever given a beer on my time writing about craft brews. My fellow authors agree that Saint Arnold has created an unprecedented and unmatched series that we truly hope never ends. If you don’t want to take my word for it, read a few other Bishops Barrel write ups – 15, 16 and 17.

I won’t even ask your opinion on this unmatchable greatness, I will just say good day to you and “Beers to you, Houston.”


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