Larkin’s “Morrigan – Smoked Hickory” Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Name: Morrigan – Smoked Hickory
Brewer: Larkin’s Brewing Co. (Ireland)
Style: Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (Base Style: Imperial Stout)
ABV: 12.5%
Review Year: 2022

This special edition of Morrigan by the independent Irish brewery Larkin’s Brewing Co., is an Imperial Stout aged in smoked hickory bourbon barrels freshly emptied in the United States.

Backlog review from November 2022.


This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B) with the Imperial Stout (20C) as the base style, in the context of the 2021 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version can be found on the BJCP website.


Morrigan boasts a moderately high aroma of licorice, dark fruit, and dark chocolate/roasty cacao, with underlying notes of smoked wood and alcohol. The combination of these elements sets the tone for what is to come.

This beer pours a ruby brown color with a thin brown head that dissipates rather quickly.

The flavor profile is characterized by intensely dark roasty coffee, dark chocolate, and barley. Hints of smoked wood, whisky, and a touch of black peppers accentuate these robust flavors. The bitterness is high, while the sweetness remains very low, resulting in a dry impression on the palate. The finish is likewise on the dry side, with lingering bitterness and dark roasty qualities.

Medium-full-bodied; moderately low carbonation.


This variant of Morrigan is an excellent interpretation of a smoky and barrel-aged Imperial Stout. The beer shines with its prominently dark and bitter backbone, while the masterful integration of dark chocolate, smoked wood, and whisky elevates the roasty malt foundation. Despite the presence of alcohol, this beer remains a very palatable beverage. The body of this beer is a half-notch thinner relative to its peers, but this could be expected in Imperial Stouts conditioned or aged on wood. Overall, Morrigan – Smoked Hickory delivers an exceptional experience, showcasing what beer’s dark and smoky side has to offer.

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