Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale is Anheuser-Busch/Michelob’s effort at the winter seasonal craft beer segment. It’s a 6% alcohol beer aged for several week on oak cask staves and with whole vanilla beans. (I posted the spec sheet here when I blogged about receiving the beer.)
I reviewed WBCA last year around this time also; I found it sweet, drinkable, and unintimidating. Compare to this year’s:
Appearance: Bright copper, very clear, with a taupe head (thinnish).
Smell: Caramel and a hint of vanilla; a bourbon-y essence (perhaps a higher alcohol note). Sweet wort (as in, unfermented beer) character—malty.
Taste: Malty character with a sweet corn tang. A touch of roasted malt but I think the majority of darker notes comes from Crystal malts. A bit cloying and reminds me a bit of a Bock.
Mouthfeel: Thin without being too light. Clean but the sweet wash kind of coats the mouth at the same time.
Overall: A little too sweet for what I was expecting; it might appeal to some, but for me the cloying sweetness kind of drowns things out. [Sweeter than last year’s formulation, if I’m remembering correctly.]