Scotch Style Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels - Sprecher Brewing Company

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Scotch Style Ale Aged In  Oak Bourbon BarrelsScotch Style Ale Aged In  Oak Bourbon Barrels

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69 Ratings
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Ratings: 69
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 17.87%
Wants: 18
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2006

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 52
Reviews by Halcyondays:
Photo of Halcyondays
4.92/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a medium-light brown, with a full off-white/tan head, with good retention and lacing.

S: Full vanilla bean, wood, and malt, smells a lot like a Knob Creek.

T: Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Any fan of vanilla will love this beer, cream soda is coming out as well. The wood character in this beer is great, caramel singles and toffee candy as well, very sweet, but refined.

M: Nice carbonation, it disappears at the end of the drink, but that allows you to taste the beer even more, very smooth and rich.

D: An excellent beer, Sprecher is fast becoming one of my favourite breweries, their special beers have been really good.

More User Reviews:
Photo of IntriqKen
2.86/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a typical amber in the glass with a smallish white head that melts to light foam on top with a ring of white bubbles.

Aroma is slightly smokey but very, very subdued. A little oak comes forth as it warms.

Taste was smokey with a hint of oak and some dark burnt brown sugar but everything blends together so much that individual favors seem lost and the tastes normally present that would identify a Scotch Ale are completely gone for me.

Mouthfeel is adequate...aftertaste is clean, but overall a disappointment to me because of how homogenized the flavors and aromas become. I thing the brewers idea and intent was good, but it doesn't work for a Scotch Ale. More is lost than is gained, IMHO.

Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml swingtop bottle, Woodman's West, split with blackie

appearance: poured into a snifter, murky muddy amber-mahogany, creamy tan head with decent lacing

smell: big sweet malty nose, oak quite noticeable, light sourness noted, thick caramel, booze noted, raisin, plum...a definite departure from the style but very interesting

taste: this is a nice scotch ale...nice caramel nature, brown sugar, strong booze presence but not offensive, vanilla, oak provides an interesting twist leaving a woody sour nature, bourbon makes a brief appearance on the tongue in the aftertaste...very complex beer that i very much enjoy, and definitely outside the box for sprecher

mouthfeel: pretty smooth, active on the tongue, decent booze bite

drinkability: fairly good

Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a share of large bottle from Abe's Cold Beer. While it's hard to screw up a scotch ale aged in bourbon barrels, I thought the diacetyl was a bit heavy for the style (should be low to none, per BJCP). Otherwise it had smooth vanilla bourbon character with big caramel candy and toffee flavors. For the money, I'd buy something else, but it's not bad.

Photo of deathcharms
1.95/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured at a tasting for me last night. The bottle was about 3 years old.

Oh wow, this beer was a doozy. The smell at first whiff was that of a portapotty. Yuck. I then conceded that it smelled like mushrooms and dirt. For the record, I hate mushrooms. First sip could not taste the beer without getting the mushroom smell mixed in. Second sip I held my nose so that I taste it without the mushroom smell, and it was just very bland imo. And there was also no hint of any bourbon taste

I feel partially the reason that it was "skunked" or "mushroomed" was the flip top on it not being that secure of a top.

Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This offering pours a cloudy brown tan leaving a thin lace that leaves this beer quickly. The aroma is boozey, caramel, sweet bourbon, vanilla, earthy, wow what a crazy nose fantastic.

The taste starts syrupy sweet, caramel, wow a nice toasty bourbon aspect, citrus, piney hops that taste phenomenal this is a great bourbon scotch ale. The mouthfeel is syrupy, toasted malt, toffee, hoppy earthy bitterness that is balanced with a nice bourbon essence great beer.

Photo of emerge077
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared this one, so maybe a 16 oz. sample...
Pours an opaque mahoghany brown, some thin swirling of carbonation on the surface. Looks robust, which it later delivers in it's taste.

Sweet malty caramel aroma, not really smoky or peaty like i'd hope for a Scotch Ale to smell like.

Taste is malty sweet and fruity at first, tapering into a long, dry oak finish. Smoke is very subdued, bourbon appears halfway through, but is paired with the caramelly sweetness and dry tart quality of the oak in the forefront. Some vanilla results, but the sum of the parts leaves something to be desired. A touch too sweet, but not cloying. The woody oak element is satifying.

Mouthfeel is thin and somewhat tart, a little too light to match the intended boldness of the flavor. I'm glad the bottle was shared, I wouldn't have drank it otherwise.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Liter bottle split and poured into a Sprecher snifter. 10.2% ABV, 10018 (Julian date: Jan. 18th, 2010).

A - A little bit of yeast sediment made it into my glass, otherwise it's a clear ruby amber. A dense cream head popped up right away and sank slow leaving little lace.

S - Strong oak bourbon barrel nose. Not overpowering but bold among the other aspects. Toasted, smokey malts behind with a really toffee and caramel sweetness. Rich and almost stout-like, it has a lot of bold scents going on here.

T - Lots of toasted caramel malts. Very caramelized with vanilla flavor. Tons of oaky bourbon barrel and minimal hop flavor to the finish. A fair level of smoke is noticeable too.

M - Really smooth and rich with a medium body and slightly warm finish that lingers nicely.

D - I'm not 100% that I could do the whole bottle myself but I'm also not sure it would be impossible. A good sipper but I'd leave it there. Better on tap too.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9.5 % ABV, cool large swing top bottle. Clear, ruby/brown color. Very thin white head disappears quickly. Aroma is very woodsy, full of vanilla and oak. Sweet and toasty, with a bourbon edge. Warming from the alcohol. I pick up a bit of smoke. Malt character seems to have lost out to the barrel. Thin, and a bit watery. Lower carbonation, which seems appropriate. This seems overdone, as there is not much character left of the original beer. Disappointing. Thanks to mcallister for sharing.

Photo of blackie
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour fills the upper reaches of my snifter with a fluffy looking, dark khaki colored head that recedes partially, leaving a ring and a layer continuously fed by a stream of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a very hazy rich brown color.

smell: Big oak notes are immediately noticeable, and almost overwhelm the other aromas. Along for the ride are malty toffee and toasty notes, with a very subtle chocolate hint. I find heavy notes of dried fig, and some subtle date sugariness. There's even a slight hint of spicy root. The hops are subtle, and just the right amount of bourbon booziness is evident.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is somewhat high, but very smooth...and the body a full medium.

taste: At first sip I find notes of lightly smoky malts, dark sugars, and a distinct molasses flavor. Flavors of peat and soggy hardwood compliment the modetate sweetness well. Though I get plenty of the barrel, I get only a hint of the bourbon. Some fruity notes of date and dried fig are found. This is an interesting take on the style and is quite flavorful, but there is something slightly off to my tastebuds that I cannot quite describe...I think the woodiness may be a little overdone. I have been struggling between a 4.0 and a 4.5 for the flavor, so I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt since I'm really enjoying it.

drinkability: The alcohol is very well hidden, and what does come through is more desirable than not. As a beer, this is an interesting and enjoyable, but overall decent, wee heavy.

Large swingtop bottle split with dirtylou during my Madison visit

Bottle picked up in Madison Jan '07, consumed Jan '08:

Much clearer than my last sample, mahogany brown in color. Almost zero head, but it's not dead as there is a low carbonation to the medium-full body. Some malt complexity has been lost, but it's still good...oxidation is obvious. Still peaty and a little smoky, still tastes and smells good. There's still a nice, large oak presence. Smells of old booze-logged oak and a range of sugary oxidized malts. Love the old, rustic woody oxidized quality of the aroma. Reminds me of an old river cabin for whatever reason...maybe I detect a hint of murky, ferric river water. Hops negligible, as is the ethanol presence. The smell carries its age better than the aroma, as the flavor has turned a touch watery, especially in the finish. I shouldn't say it has gone downhill, it's just different. Not changing any scores, but if I did they would be slightly lower. Not sure if I should blame the rubber-gasketed swing top or not, but it could certainly be the culprit.

Photo of mwilbur
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 1 L bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a fairly opaque reddish brown with 1/4 inch bubbly light tan head.
S: Strong bourbon and caramel malt notes. Hint of sugar sweetness too. Nice. Can smell this one a few feet away.
T: Unfortunately not as good as the aroma. Fairly weak and almost watered down caramel malt and sugar. Very faint bourbon taste.
M: Smooth, but bland.
D: The more I have of this beer, the less I want it. Started out promising, but took a nose-dive. I've had some very drinkable scotch ales and some very drinkable bourbon barrel aged brews...this is not one of them. Sprecher is a good brewery, just not a fan of this brew.

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, very deep ruby brown color with a small, airy tan head. Head falls to a very small one with thin, full lace.

Nose is big on booze. Smokey oak and fruits backed by a sweet smell but mostly alcohol.

Nice sweet malt taste with deep dark dried fruit flavor. Plenty of oak with hints of vanilla and plenty of bourbon. Very warming.

Full bodied mouthfeel with a big alcohol bite.

Not bad. Little too much on the bourbon but interesting nonetheless. Nice buzz.

Photo of claspada
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aromas of sweet caramel malts and a strong but not overpowering woodiness. Some lighter toffee and herbal notes are also present. Sweetness is definitely the main aroma.

The taste is musty initially with some solid sweetness presenting itself off the bat. Some odd burnt sugar and sweet toffee still persist against my taste buds. An underlying smokiness which lingers and lingers and lingers not matter the temperature.

This beer is definitely not the most balanced offering I have had in the Scottish Wee Heavy group but it's not horrible. Also not the best offering I have had from this Brewery (the oak Aged Doppelbock was exponentially better) but this this still a dent beer. It may have taken 2 years of aging to get to this point but hey it's all I can judge on... As this warms all the alcohol bite actually drops out which is interesting. Still really really woody and if you don't like oak beers you should move on, but I appreciate and enjoy this beverage even though it took me 3 hours to finish the 750ml.

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting 3/29/08

I was looking forward to trying this one and I was not disappointed. It is a slow night sipper. Lots of malt, caramel and vanilla on the nose and taste. This beer is rather rich and bold with a bit of smoke.

Good beer experience. DMeadows, thanks for sharing this one.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1 finger head. The beer is a caramel brown and a little cloudy.

S: Fresh caramel, as in cooking caramel at home on the stove. That is exactly what this smells like. Amazing.

T: It's a little grainy, but still very caramelly.

M: Dryish, but nicely light, which I didn't expect from this beer.

D: Very drinkable, but not what I would call sessionable

Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1L swing-top brown bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. Hangtag further IDs it as the "Brewmaster Limited Release".

Poured into a large chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brown brew. Head heads nicely, with slow-to-fade lacing. Aroma is sweet hearty grains, but booze and oak notes quickly dominate. Taste is again upfront the sweet maltiness you expect, with a twinge of peat, but gives way to a dark fruitiness, and then the bourbon and oaky vanilla notes take over. Swallow finds warmth abounding. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is high for such a high abv brew. The interesting variety of flavors keeps me wanting more.

Photo of cudmud
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Deep brown color with a thin tan head that quickly dissipated. This brew has little to no lacing.

Smell: Plenty of malty smells and a hint of bourbon and oak.

Taste: Very malty with a hint of vanilla and earthy flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy

Drinkability: I loved it as first, but grew tired of the sugary flavor. I'm glad I gave this on a try, but I don't think I'll try a second one.

Photo of Suthrncomfrt1884
2.56/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I was not impressed with this beer compared to other bourbon aged beers I've had. I don't think Scotch Ales can quite stand up to the bourbon flavor put off from used barrels.

Bourbon was about all I smelled and tasted from the second I popped the cap off. Will not try this again. I was only able to finish about 1/3 of the bottle.

Photo of charlzm
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened and shared at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA on 08/27/08. I picked up the bottle at Beverage Warehouse in January 2008 and have had it aging for 7 months at between 40 and 50 degrees fahrenheit.

Clear dark brown pour with deep garnet highlights. No carbonation at all. Nil. Zip. Zilch.

Aroma is sweet and malty with vanilla and something else... oh, yeah, BOURBON. Lots and lots of sweet, delicious bourbon. This is one of the best-smelling beers I've ever inhaled.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. And did I mention there's no carbonation whatsoever?

Flavor has the expected bourbon and wood components due to the barrel aging, but they are not overbearing at all. Vanilla also present, along with sweet caramel malts and an apricot note. Bitter at the end, but only a little. Seems due more to the wood cask than any hops.

Godo for sharing, but the lack of carbonation sort of kills some of the fun of drinking this.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a tulip glass, pours a dark russet brown with a very bubbly then creamy head, lasting power, a swirl bringing it back. The aroma is leans heavily toward the bourbon, with a hefty backbone of rich malts, molasses and burnt caramels, very nice. The taste is also pretty damn good, a lot of oak, bourbon and caramel, toffee, a nice scotch style with just the right bit of bourbon in there. The mouth is a little thin but otherwise fine. In all, probably my favorite of the Brewmaster's reserve series.

Photo of indy169
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served at a local restaurant, and was presented by none other than Randy Sprecher himself. I had tried the SPrecher Piper's Scotch Ale and expected the same. What I found was much, much more. The bourbon barrelling really adds the oompf to the body of this ale. There is so much depth here and wonderful smokey richness. If you get a chance to sample this, don't hesitate.
This would be a great winter seasonal.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Gordon's Highland thistle goblet.

Finally, an excuse to use my thistle goblet! This guy pours a slightly dark garnet brown with only a bit of off-white foam on top. It's possible there's a haze, but it could just be the color. Quite a bit of bourbon and oak flow from the surface, overpowering all else. A tiny hint of spruce pricks through, but only here or there. The taste tells a slightly different tale: Though the oak and bourbon are still abundant, notes of dry raisins, warm figs, juniper, and sweet syrupy spruce tips have carved out their own collective enclave, Republika Srpska-style. It all comes together in a brewer's Dayton-esque federation, though the barrel-inspired group has a slightly disproportionate share in the government. Things are peaceful somehow. The mood is somewhat heavy (though I suppose "a wee-bit heavy" is more appropriate here), with a moderate amount of popular gaseous uprisings. Not all that strange, everything seems to have an oaky feel about it in the end. As pleasant as things may appear, visiting remains something of a risk, a luxury only to be enjoyed in moderation.

EDIT: I revisited this stuff on 8/31/2014. Thorough oxidation now, making what was once a solid beer into a mess of sad bourbon, wet wood, and muddled malts. I'm leaving the above review, untouched score included, but I felt this update was appropriate.

Photo of Avryle
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

"Night in the Woods" tasting 3.29.08
Thanks to Dmeadows for sharing his 2006 bottle

A- pours a perfect deep brown with some carbonation and a minimal white head

A- There's a very organic "stable" smell (probably the peat) along with whiskey. The combination of smells were very similar to my cat's litter box & it was difficult to separate the smell from the tasting.

T- Even given my distaste with the smell, the flavors of this beer were pleasing and have tried in all fairness, to review each step of the tasting distinctly--- As stated by Aerozeppl in his review, "I know it was aged in bourbon barrels but it tasted like Irish Whiskey without the burn." It was very malty with a strong whiskey presence

M- Medium bodied. Very low carbonation

D- Good thing this one liter monster comes in a flip top. There's no way in holy hell one or even two people could finish this bottle in a short sitting. The whiskey flavors are so strong that this is a sipper.

Photo of Sticket
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- a 22oz brown bomber bottle that swapped the swing top for golden wax covered cap and a declared 10.2% aged in oak bourbon barrels bottled in 'Summber 2008'.

A- pours a clear deep copper color with next to no head and no lacing.

S- malts and bourbon, reminds me of a good old Wisconsin supper club minus the cigar smoke.

T- sweet caramel malts followed by bourbon and a touch of alcohol.

M- medium body with maybe a bit more carbonation than I'd like, but not bad.

D- alcohol is balanced well and overall was true to a scotch style ale, although I think I would have preferred more bitters and less carbonation.

Photo of williamherbert
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is dark cherrywood copper red. Smooth puffy head that slowly dwindles. Cloudy like dark cherry juice. Really impressive look.

The smell is a sweetish but grainy malt, as if sauteed over wood chips. There is a bit of a musty funnk. Could be a little stronger.

The flavor is a major smoky chipotle tanginess. A second-sip blast of sweet caramel and bitter coffee. Smoky and tangy and pungent. Mellows a ton as it warms, but real real good.

Feel is thick and chewy. It's milky but smooth and nicely bodied. Leaves a lasting mark. It's sweet and yet bitter. Smoky and caramel. An excellent brew.

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Scotch Style Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels from Sprecher Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.