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Gravedigger Billy - Revolution Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Gravedigger BillyGravedigger Billy

Educational use only; do not reuse.

30 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 30
Hads: 203
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 21.33%
Wants: 42
Gots: 58 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 02-08-2012

A cousin of our Willie Wee Heavy, this strong ale was aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for 11 months.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Hads: 203
Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft serving at Revolution.

Wispy khaki tan foam on the surface, there was a thin finger of foam initially but it fades after a few minutes, not surprising considering the abv. Murky ruddy brownish red coloration, semi-opaque with some visible carbonation arounf the edges.

Deep aromas of bourbon and peated malt, mostly bourbon though. Sweet brown sugar, vanilla, toasted oak, some light spirit fumes. The peated malt comes through more in the taste, rich with some earthy peat complexity, still identifiable as the base beer, with layers of bourbon barrel characteristics over the top. Rich and burly with a low to medium carb level. Slight alcohol bite in the finish, but it's tempered by the big malt sweetness, though not fully disguised. In the end the bourbon character slightly overshadows, but at least there was some nuance from the base Scotch Ale. Unique and recommended, this is a fine BA Scotch/Wee Heavy... can't say i've had many of those.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from tap in a snifter at Firkin.

Yeah, they're not tapping last year's BCS for a few hours, but, whatever, there's a barrel-aged Scotch ale from Revolution. We win. Period. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear ruby topped by a short finger of light sandstone foam. The nose comprises deep bourbon, toffee, light dark greens, and a bit of mild buttery biscuit. The taste holds notes of whiskey, caramel malts, light chocolate, mild dark greens, and some brief flashes of oak. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, this is just as good as assumptions would lead you to believe it would be. Very good times, indeed.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5oz sample glass at Revolution.

A - Served filled to the brim, with a thin tan foam cap, thicker collar, and surprisingly decent retention. Lightly haze caramel-brown body with some lighter orange-red highlights.

S - Plenty of delicious bourbon, barrel, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, butterscotch, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. It's got that characteristic Woodfoord Reserve character, complete with a bit of alcohol bite and dry oak.

T - I actually like the taste a bit better, as there's more delicious caramel and other sweet flavors and less in the way of harsh barrel presence. No alcohol at all, and tons of potent flavor, but manages to avoid being cloying.

M - Smooth, creamy, full body, with light oak and barrel tannins in the finish. Alcohol is really well-hidden - I never would have surmised this was in double figures.

D - This is another barrel-aged winner from Revolution. I don't normally like BA Scotch Ales, but this was delicious and I actually regret not ordering a full serving. Hopefully this is still on-tap next time I swing by the brewpub.

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Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Large shared bottle pours reddish-brown with a decent head.
The aroma features some fine bourbon barrel treatment with a medium and dark malt base.
The excellent flavor largely follows the aroma and features a strong and dominant bourbon note.
Smooth, full body with medium carbonation.

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Photo of mothman
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A little lace. Color is copper.

Flavor profile: Cocoa, chocolate, and coconut up front. Caramel and toffee. Vanilla, brown sugar, oak, and bourbon flavors. So much awesome here. Some dark fruits in the background. Molasses and dark dried cherries.

Smooth and easy to drink. The abv is hidden pretty well.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear deep amber. Small white head. Light wispy surface.

Smell - Bourbon and caramel. Lightly buttery.

Taste - Bourbon is intense up front. Sweet caramel. Immediately overpowered by bourbon and oak. Boozy as hell.

Mouthfeel - Really boozy. Medium heavy.

Overall - Overwhelmed by bourbon. You only get a glimpse of the scotch ale at the beginning, then all bourbon.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received by a super generous trading partner, and shared tonight with some dudes.

Pours a dark golden brown, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells just like I'd expect the perfect BA Scotch Ale to smell- bit hit of bourbon-soaked barrel, booze, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and butterscotch.

This is really, really tasty, might be the 2nd best barrel-aged scotch ale I've had, behind Wulver. It's got a ton of bourbon flavor, the Woodford flavors are really strong and really forward here. I've never tried Woodford on its own, but it seems to be a very bold bourbon, spicy and sweet all at the same time. The barrels themselves lend a nice vanilla and coconut flavor, with some caramel, smoke, and toffee from the base beer. This is delicious.

This has got a sweet and sticky mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation. There's a really nice level of drinkability here.

Revolution crafted a really good BA Scotch Ale here.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%

Thanks to fiver29 for this bottle during our most recently exchange of excellent beers….I hope! 22 oz. bottle split with my wife after a lovely afternoon at Dave’s BrewFarm.

The pour is red. Lightish red. The nose consists of bourbon soaked bourbon, with a little bit of caramel bourbon cake around the edges. Not bad if you like, you know, bourbon & stuff.

Gravedigger Billy clearly died of alcohol poisoning. Booming bourbon booze careens out of the glass & ricochets around my innards, warming everything it touches. I call bullshit on the 10.4% alcohol; it drinks like twice that much. Secondary is the base beer; caramel, deep toffee, hot oak, hot mess, hottie, molasses. Bourbon. More bourbon. The end is bourbon, too. Good lord, if bourbon tasted like this, I’d be drunk until The Rapture; easier to drink than good beer at the in-laws Thanksgiving. In quantity.

John, what have you done? You told me this was really good…then sent me one. It’s like telling me about the great plate of scallops at the place down the street, then telling me they’re closing tomorrow. Revolution has been hit or miss for me & this is one excellent hit.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rev Brewery Grand Opening Party.

A - Pours a burnt caramel/orange color, off-white head, wisps.

S - Woodford Reserve, coconut, oak, burnt sugars, dark fruity sweetness. Nice mix of barrel notes & base beer without a huge amount of barrel character to overtake the beer.

T - Woodford Reserve, coconut, vanilla, oak, dark fruits, sweet malts. Again, the barrel notes are there, but not overpowering like some Woodford-aged beers are. Alcohol is there, but well-integrated. Finish is sweet dark fruit and booze.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, sweet syrupy finish.

O - A nice BA Scotch Ale that has been aged on Woodford the best I've seen from any brewery. The booze is hidden well, but still there, and the base beer is complimented by the alcohol. Glad I was able to try this one!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the brew pub. Appearance is a dark reddish brown with decent clarity, short white head. Nose is bourbon forward with heavy vanilla character and marshmallow. Not getting much from the base beer. The flavor is similar with huge vanilla notes, mild smokiness, and more vanilla. The flavor isn't ever boozy, but very bourbony. Mouthfeel is smooth and mellow. Overall, very tasty but would've liked a little more malt character.

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Photo of stortore
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber into a snifter.

Pours a clear, dark amber with no head and little lacing. Smells terrific, strong bourbon and oak- almost like you have a barrel stave in your glass. Some malt and a hint of vanilla. Not overly complex, but tantalizing. Taste continues the strong bourbon along with caramel, raisins, oak, malt, vanilla and some smokiness. Solid body, leaves a great aftertaste.

Very enjoyable, well worth a purchase. The barrel aging added so much to this, without compromising the style. Will be on my list to pick up very year.

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Photo of jegross2
4.94/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Gravedigger Billy from Revolution Brewing Company out of Chicago. I wonder if this brew is named after the Simpsons' character (no, I am not referring to Groundskeeper Willie). Revolution is quite possibly Chicago's best brewery, and they'll be canning some of their year-round beers for distribution very soon (likely within the next 2-3 months).
Score: 98

9 oz tap pour served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/23/12.

Appearance: This beer is a very deep/dark and opaque brownish red color with caramel colored highlights, not unlike the Founders Backwoods Bastard. Served with a finger of creamy tan/off-white head that ultimately settles into a thin creamy layer around the glass. Solid lacing. 4/5

Smell: Caramelized brown sugar, sweet raisin and sweet dark fruit. A little bourbon, lots of vanilla/oak, "roasty" malt, a hint of chocolate, and a light amount of spice. Some molasses too. A very sweet smelling, complex barrel-forward aroma. 5/5

Taste: Whoa! The flavor follows the nose, but it's even more satisfying. Tons of flavorful barrel flavors throughout. Sweet and chewy bourbon soaked raisins upfront. Then vanilla, malty caramel, plum, fig, and molasses soak the midpalate. A little wood and spice on the midpalate too, in addition to a hint of hops and a light cocoa flavor. No alcohol/boozy flavor present, but some warming effect does occur on the palate. A second wave of malty sweet caramel, vanilla and raisin hits towards the finish and reloads the barrel flavors for a long-lasting bourbon soaked raisin finish. The scotch ale characteristics do not really stand out by any means, but they blend in perfectly with the bourbon barrel flavors to create a truly magnificent beer. As it warms, a certain straight bourbon flavor comes out towards the finish for those who enjoy that sort of thing. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Sweet and moderately dry finish. The mouthfeel is damn near perfect. 5/5

Overall: Easily the best Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy that I have ever had. This brew blows Backwoods Bastard out of the water and should be sought after. Sadly, it's a brewery only tap, costs $8 for a 9 oz pour, is not sold in growlers and when it's gone, it'll be gone. In other words, head over the brew pub now -- before it's too late. Hopefully this beer will find its way into a special bottle release once Revolution gets its distribution underway. I would absolutely buy this one again.

Recommendation: Go to the brewery this weekend to have a snifter-full of this beer. You will absolutely regret missing this one. Even casual beer drinkers should love the balanced, sweet and flavorful taste.

Pairings: Beef jerky.

Cost: $8 for a 9 oz snifter pour.

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Photo of Rihup
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A barrel aged wee heavy that is as smooth as the Fonze. The vanilla notes really shine through. If baby Jesus had a floor this would be it. After my first sips I recall hearing the Beatles on my head. I could add a bunch of other beer Mumbo jumbo but I don't feel it appropriate because this was tasty. You can sort of taste the alcohol but at 9.7% it is not that noticeable.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'll be frank, this is probably the best scotch ale I've had. Stays true to the malty stile, yet influenced wonderfully by some outstanding barrel character. Bourbon forward but balanced. Vanilla, oak, hint of smoke, peat, and loads of charred caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Texture is creamy for the style, which I prefer, smooth, and lower carbonation than the pour lead me to believe.
Overall, just simply outstanding. Goes down so easy. Just another example of why I think Revolution has one of the best barrel aging programs in the country.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle for $16 poured into teku glass

Appearance - A deep ruby/copper color if you hold it to the light, otherwise a semi-murky to semi-clear brown with a foamy off-white head that settles into a 1/4" ring.

Smell - Outstanding. Strong toffee and butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, some faint cocoa powder (like Nesquick) and bourbon. Very rich.

Taste - It falls a little short of the aroma to me, but still excellent. A sweet sugar up front with some vanilla, and some caramel. Heavy on the dark fruit. The toffee in the middle followed by some cocoa. A slight bitterness. The bourbon is on the back end, and has a little burn to it.

Feel - Slightly too carbonated in my opinion. Comes across a little sparkly. Other than that, medium to thin bodied and pretty smooth with a crisp, dry finish.

Overall - An excellent bourbon barrel Wee Heavy. A do think it is slightly hot/boozy across the entire range of temperatures, and a tad thin on body, but has some really good qualities. For me, even though I enjoy it, I would personally have a hard time buying again based on the fact I can get the much better Wulver for less money. I don't think anyone would be disappointed in this purchase though. I suggest trying.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark caramel brown with a slight reddish hue and a thin layer of tan foam.

Dark fruits, toffee, burnt sugar, and rather boozy, but a very tempting and sweet quaff of bourbon.

Caramel, toffee, vanilla, slightly fruity, and bourbon.

Medium-heavy bodied, low carbonation, soft, bourbon warmth on the finish.

Overall, doesn't look that great on the pour, but wonderfully smooth and beautifully balanced.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

I think this beer is world-class, like most of Revolution's beers are. Very balanced, sweet and boozy (quasi barleywine-ish) yet very drinkable and a joy to savor.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Brown with a reddish tint. Surprisingly thin.

Smell: Bourbon oak with some soaked apples and plums. Very sneaky smell...alcohol is definitely evident in the finish.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Bourbon and oak/cedar traits. I love the molasses and raspberry flavors...they are extremely faint and subtle but definitely there. Feels like a good session ale, but finishes like bourbon...kind of like a good college party. There is definitely a burn in this. Perfect.

Overall: An incredible scotch ale.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery taproom.
Pours a dark but clear reddish-brown with a slight tan head that quickly dissipates.
The aroma is really nice. I get bourbon and vanilla, toasty malt and a hint of dark fruit.
This is a very tasty beer. Lots of roast malt flavors -- chocolate and toffee and then bourbon and a little bit of sweet dates. A little bit of booze kick and drying bitter at the end.
Mouthfeel is medium-smooth.
Overall, a wonderful beer that I did not want to stop drinking. Hides its booziness quite well.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with very little lift making it through this beer. Smell has aromas of English toffe, candi sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, oak and a bourbon alcohol finish. Taste follows the nose with toffee malt and candi sugar first to hit the palate. Moderate caramel sweetness and a heafty alchohol presence dominate the midsection with notes of charred oak barrel, vanilla, and brown sugar. More alcohol and bourbon in the finish. Mouthfeel is thick wit moderate carbonation and an alchohol bite in the finish.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle into my tulip, trade from my man Kevinpitts. Thanks my friend.
A - Caramel brown on the pour with a half finger of off white head that receded pretty quickly.
S – Vanilla, bourbon, caramel. Nice.
T – This could pass for bourbon all on its own. Oak, caramel, vanilla and dark fruit all mixed in. Nice balance of flavors. Definitely boozy. Sweet finish with a bit of toffee and molasses. Mellow all the way.
M – Medium body, medium carbonation, slight dry and sweet finish.
O – Bourbon bomb that is well balanced and extremely tasty. The folks at Revolution are quickly turning into my favorite brewery.

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Photo of Flight317
3/5  rDev -28.9%

I've not had a ton in this style that are barrel aged but the ones I've had were all much better than this. The smell is nothing but bourbon. The mouthfeel is just flat, zero carbonation and not a huge amount of flavor. There was no head on this one. Glad this was something a friend shared with me and I didn't seek it out.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.50 - Poured an incredibly dark ruby and mahogany brown, almost black in color but with tinges of red. Formed a finger of light tan, quickly dissipating head. No lacing.
S - 4.50 - Wow, so much scotch whiskey. Lots of whiskey, little bit of dark chocolate and malts.
T - 4.75 - Sweet malts, chocolate, bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, molasses and pecan pie. Only reason the taste isnt a perfect 5 is because there is a lack of peat smoke.
F - 4.50 - Nice medium bodied beer. Could have a slightly thicker mouthfeel, but quite good regardless.
O - 5 - I REALLY enjoyed this beer. I can't believe how much bourbon they were able to impart into this beer. It's one of the most delicious brews I've ever had, hands down.

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Photo of KDawg
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap at revolution. Poured into a snifter and pours a pitch black color with a nice head

very pungent and though the bourbon notes are there, they are well balanced. Great depth along with aromas of black cherries, raisins, plums, malts and bourbon.

Full bodied with a real polished and smooth feel. It handles the size of the beer well with great flavors of malts, bourbon, black cherries and some plums

It would be great if they had this more often. This was excellent and was really aided by the bourbon barrel.

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Photo of vic21234
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Can't make out the bottled date on this one.

A- Pours a clear ruby color with a small amount of khaki colored head which quickly fades to the sides of the glass. Some sticky lacing is noted along the sides of the glass.

S- Heavy notes of toffee and bourbon on the aroma. Also some dark fruits and oak.

T- Very nice tasting beer. Starts off with smooth notes of toffee and dark fruits before the bourbon shines through.

M- Heavy, low carbonation, smooth with a nice alcohol warming with each sip.

Another nice Deep Wood Series beer from Revolution.

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Gravedigger Billy from Revolution Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.