Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
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Ratings: 133 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Estarrio:
4.68/5 rDev +8.8%
I'm finally around to my last bottle and my sole regret is that I don't have any more enjoy.
Poured a translucent, ruddy brown with a small, coffee-colored head. The head quickly recedes to modest lacings.
This brew smells nothing short of amazing. Huge malt aroma with chocolate, caramel vanilla and toffee. An earthy presence of wood and peat are detectable before the sweet smell of bourbon consumes the senses. The aromas are huge, enjoyable and well balanced.
Big, chewy malt flavor. Cocoa powder, mildly astringent coffee, smoky peat and a drizzle of vanilla entice the taste buds. A suggestion of oak is discernible before the sweet taste of bourbon becomes predominant but not over-bearing. The booziness shows in the finish but is well-masked overall. Again, I am utterly amazed at how balanced and big this beer can be at the same time.
This is a full bodied brew with ample carbonation to lend to a fizzy creaminess. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I saved most of my bottles for special occasions (a big hit on Thanksgiving!) but I could have easily had a few friends over devoured the goodness in one session. This last bottle was hard to hold on to for so long!
Many kudos to the Julio's staff (who hand picked the bourbon barrels) for showing their passion with this beer. Big ups to Berkshire for continuing to "wow" me. I'm looking forward to visiting the brewery this weekend and will visit Julio's on the way back. I can't wait to try the next collaboration!
02-13-2008 02:48:05 | More by Estarrio
More User Reviews:
4.15/5 rDev -3.5%
22oz bomber pours into my Fantome tulip a dark brown color with a garnet hue when held to the light. An inch of creamy eggshell head forms and sticks around as well. Nice. Aromas begin with caramel malts alongside toffee and a faint smoky accent. Bourbon and wood meld in with some vanilla as well.
First sip brings a smooth, somewhat sweet caramel malt upfront reminiscent of caramelized sugar. Notes of toffee and somewhat of a bready flavor as well. Mellow smokiness flows into a blast of bourbon flavor. The wood is apparent, bringing with it vanilla tones. Finishes off with a touch of bitterness and a lingering bourbon flavor. Good brew.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a solid medium body. Steady carbonation throughout makes this one pretty damn easy to drink, while still being enjoyable as a sipper as well. Overall, a fine bourbon aged beer from Berkshire. It's big on the bourbon, but it never becomes too overpowering. Well worth seeking out for all lovers of barrel aged beers. Thanks to warriorsoul for the chance to sample this offering.
02-24-2008 23:47:15 | More by orbitalr0x
4.75/5 rDev +10.5%
Poured into a tulip.
Appearance is a hazy, dark brown...not overly appealing really. Aroma is very nice: toffee, caramel, vanilla and whiskey. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, a surprisingly easy sipper.
The taste is exceptional. A blend of vanilla and caramel hits up front with a warm, whiskey finish at the end. The 9.2% alcohol is very well-hidden in the taste, but you definitely feel its effect towards the end of the glass.
Wish they had this all winter long
11-29-2007 23:25:08 | More by mbrandon2w
4.4/5 rDev +2.3%
Got this on a trade from Sudsdog quite a while back,no date on the 220z bottle.
Served into a nonic glass poured with a nice thick,creamy light tan head,has a beautiful clear ruby red towards mahogany hue.Good retention leaving thick lace curtians down the glass.
Earthy woody aromas with a slight boozy bourbon note,roasty with smokey peat. A nice pleasing moderate aroma.
Light creamy mouthfeel with dark sweet fruitiness,sort of a fruitcake feel.A nice relaxing booziness with a scotch,bourbon feel. Well rounded with nice malty backbone with some burnt carmell and a touch of anise. Has a nice pleasingly slighly sharp lingering bitterness with a woody earthy feel. Execellent balance.Mouthwatering has to be included in this review somewhere. Another great beer from Berksire,love their beers,wish they were avalible in my area.
02-10-2009 03:37:28 | More by jcdiflorio
4.33/5 rDev +0.7%
Big thanks goes out to a way overgenerous dmeadows for a fantastic in person trade and a great day of beer drinking!
Pours a very ruby red color with a very light tan fluffy head that starts big, and holds at about a half finger of pillowy ice cream. Decent lacing as the beer goes down, but nothing crazy.
Nose is very intrigueing. Some deep dark fruits, bourbon soaked figs. The bourbon is apparent, but almost smells vodka like, with a bit of added spice in there.
Wow. Taste is quite nice. Very creamy dark fruit flavors. Rich and very viscous. Bourbon soaked fig and date, creamy plum like notes. The spice profile is hard to beat in here, perfectly subtle. The wood work is done very well here also. Not a bourbon bomb, but just enough to accent the dark fruits and creamy viscosity perfectly. There is a hint of dryness towards the finish that is semi unique for a beer of this kind. Aftertaste lingers on with some really rich fruits and cream. Not alot of peaty flavors in here as one might expect, but a touch of smokiness.
Mouthfeel is top notch here as well. The viscosity is exactly what I wanted it to be for a beer of this style and barreling. Nice and viscous, carbonation is dead on, although, I think it is just a tiny touch too dry, but I mean tiny, and that is small price to pay for hitting the mouthfeel right on the head.
Drinkability is also quite good. Not many bourbon aged beers at this abv drink quite so well. It is a tiny touch hot, but really drinkable for being so.
Overall a very impressive beer from Berkshire brewing. This is defenitley the beer of theirs that gets the most attention, and rightly so. I really wish I had saved the first bottle of this I had so i could put some age on it. The viscosity and creaminess of this brew were defenitely the highlights for me. Top notch. A fantastic brew, pretty unique, extremely well done with the barrels, and one any scotch ale/bourbon aged fan shouldn't miss out on. Great brew.
03-12-2009 05:57:16 | More by AKBelgianBeast
3.25/5 rDev -24.4%
Crushinat0r's bottle from Julio's. Dark, ruby coloured. Off-white head, and lacey. Corny sweetness, its boozy, not so drinkable, there is a coffee bitterness,there is a caramelness, brown sugar,it is not balanced really and its mouthfeel is thinish. Didn't think the carbonation helped the experience.
08-14-2008 23:23:40 | More by Sammy
4.38/5 rDev +1.9%
22oz bottle, split amongst a few during the nfl playoffs - i believe this was obtained in a trade with goodbyeohio...cell phone notes
appearance: poured into a pint glass, very murky caramel body - muddy mahogany, creamy chocolate head
smell: smooth bourbon and vanilla aromas, mint chocolate, brown sugar, walnut, smoke oak and peat round out the nose
taste: this was a really nice scotch ale...the aging results were positive and a nice mellow bourbon/vanilla/oak impact is made on the flavor profile. I got a lot of smooth mint chocolate as well as some brown sugar
mouthfeel: smooth and creamy
drinkability: good, nice after-dinner beverage
01-04-2009 21:51:15 | More by dirtylou
4.38/5 rDev +1.9%
Many thanks to csmiley for sharing the bomber.
Appearance: It pours a dark, nut brown color. It's very hazy, but there is some light getting through which gives it a bit of a ruby tint. Head is a little off white and roughly a finger deep. It dissipated quickly and left a very light lacing on the glass. Perhaps a victim to the high abv.
Smell: Initially, there's a strong bourbon scent. It's extremely nice and enticing. Not overwhelming at all. Caramel/toffee malts are notable and appear to be added with a heavy hand. Hints of dark fruit (raisin and plum mostly) are somewhat secondary, but play a nice complementary role. There's even a hint of toasted nut. There is an oaky aroma that's somewhat subtle, but noticeable throughout. It adds a nice dimension to the nose. It's pretty complex. Alcohol is easily noted and appears to be prominent.
Taste: The dark fruit flavors surprisingly come through first in taste. It's raisin and plum primarily. They mix with a little fig and kick it off nicely. The bourbon flavor doesn't waste any time getting into the mix and is very well done. It's a very fine flavor and complements this beer perfectly. It's not too strong of a flavor (which can be a slight negative if overdone), but rather is more restrained and refined. The word "elegant" comes to mind. It is rich and malty. The oak/wood chip flavor is again subtle, but effective. The toasted nut element is ancillary, but adds further depth. Alcohol is masked pretty well considering its size. It's noticeable, but not as strong as I expected. It finishes sweet and malty.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's full bodied and very smooth. Carbonation seems low which adds to its smooth feel. It's downright creamy and goes down really easy. Drinkability is good, but is a little limited due its high abv. This is a sipping beer. csmiley was generous enough to share this bomber, but it'd be a tough task to tackle more than a single bomber alone.
I'm really impressed with this release. Berkshire did a very nice job with it. It's my first experience with a bourbon barrel scotch ale and hopefully not the last. Berkshire should definitely release this one again in the future. Very nice job, guys.
08-15-2008 00:16:30 | More by prototypic
4.3/5 rDev 0%
Bomber thanks to Arbitrator. Thanks to Arbi for another great -bal aged tick.
Pours a brilliant yet dark clear amber color with a one-finger off-white head that leaves a ring.
Sweet caramel and -bal aroma with a little peat smoke, toffee, bourbon, and toast.
The flavor is great, really complex and tasty if a little sweet. Sweet caramel and toffee malt notes, toast, -bal, vanilla, maple syrup, bourbon, maybe some fruits. Great beer, lots to it.
Smooth on the mouthfeel with only mild booziness and medium-low carbonation.
Really great -bal aged scotch ale. I should be getting the Gude Greg's version soon and I'm looking forward to it.
10-09-2010 00:05:32 | More by nickd717
4.25/5 rDev -1.2%
Got this one from ppotrias, cheers pete!
Pours copper chestnut with 3+ fingers of sand colored head. Some viscous characteristics to this as well. Above average head retention & lacing
S: Intense bourbon scents. they fade some after this warms
T: Bourbon notes, some boozey warmth & sour mash notes up front. Some vanilla & oaky notes as this warms, & a touch of pralines. Finishes dry, with more praline & bourbon sweetness, a touch of leafy hops & vanilla. Almost gave this a 5.0
MF: Medium bodied, nice stickyness & subdued carbonation, smooth
Drinks pretty easy for the abv & style, the barrel aging is well done, would get to me after 3-4 pints. Very nice indeed
05-15-2008 05:09:03 | More by russpowell
4.6/5 rDev +7%
Berkshire BB Scotch Ale pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a low, very sustainable creamy beige colored head that just rings the deep chestnut brown-russet body. The clarity suffers from a bit of chill-haze, but becomes brighter as it warms. The aroma is rich & fruity with an abundant caramel-treacle character derived as much from the malts, as from a long, vigorous boiling process. There's a huge impression of bourbon with hints of charred wood, a leafy earthiness & some peat bog smokiness that emerges as the beer warms in hand along with an intermingly of oxidative notes that adds to the overall complexity. The malt dominated flavor starts off with some nuttiness followed closely by a pleasant fruitiness (plum preserves, mince meat pie, ripened fig) then becomes richer as the kettle carmelization becomes more apparent before being undercut by some hops that creates a lingering, bittersweet finish that shows great depth, complexity & warmth. This is one fine fireside tipple, so here's to the boys from South Deerfield!
*Trader's Note: Thanks to Damian for this bottle of goodness!
01-12-2009 05:33:01 | More by Beertracker
4.4/5 rDev +2.3%
This is by far one of the phenomenal beers made in United States in the past decade. I initially purchased 7 bombers of this "one off"-I've been saving the last two for some time now, and I do have to say that with age, it has improved.
The blends of the whiskeys have melded together to create an unreal cherry-bomb, malt, smoke fiasco. Sweet up front, smoky at the end, nice, lasting aftertaste. The ABV has aged nicely as well, feeling it, tasting it, enjoying it.
01-25-2009 03:22:11 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
4.45/5 rDev +3.5%
Poured from 22oz bottle. Review from notes.
A- Poured a murky brown color. Nice red highlights in the beer when held to the light. One finger off white head that shows nice retention. Streaky lacing down the glass as I drank away.
S- First and foremost I could pick up the oaky bourbon right off the bat...smelled wonderful. Light toasted caramel and toffee malts. A semi-sweetness to the overall aroma. Some light vanilla undertones to this beer as well. Light darker fruits mixed in with molasses.
T- Nice kick of toffee and caramel malts mixing with vanilla on the front. This leads to a smooth oak barrel taste and hints of bourbon as well. Some light molasses mixed with raisins and cherries in the backing. The bourbon in this kind of comes in a second force with the ending. Overall, an amazing tasting beer.
M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the style I thought. Nice drying on the palate from the alcohol. Sweet malty tones left on the palate with a bourbon-y heat in the aftertaste. Flavors were well blended and did stand out on their own too when needed. Clean tasting with no oxidation or infection.
D- This is a fantastic beer that I wish I had more of. I am very impressed with how this one aged and is a hidden gem. I could see beer becoming the next it beer and rightfully so. Will be looking to get more of when I can.
06-18-2010 01:37:48 | More by alleykatking
4.33/5 rDev +0.7%
A 650 mL bottle courtesy of jamie2dope.
A: The scotch ale is suitably dark, an orange-red-brown color that shines like the last hint of sunset. A 3 finger head on initial pour almost overflowed, almost. The result is a beautifully laced glass.
S: The nose is loaded with bourbon aromas, pepper and vanilla with wood. Sweet cherries, in moderation, are also a by-product of the barrel. Caramel maltiness is behind the barrel but no sign of smoked peat.
T: The barrel aging, while strong, doesn't completely dominate the taste. The pepper and vanilla are present, just reserved as they contribute to the sweetness of the ale. Malts are light but flavorful, benefiting from the barrel as they are soft. Again, not much smokiness, but I'm not sure that it would be noticeable behind the bourbon. The flavors work so well together, this is how barrel aging should be.
M: Lightly toasted malts pair nicely with the bourbon, allowing boozy sweetness to coat the tastebuds. The high alcohol content never registers.
D: Never before have I wanted to gulp a 9% behemoth. Well done with the barrel aging; the result is complex but easy on the palate.
01-01-2009 18:46:38 | More by akorsak
4.22/5 rDev -1.9%
2009 release. I had the 2007 release a while back and really enjoyed it so was pretty psyched for this one.
Poured into a standard tulip glass.
Great tight foamy head at first. The head dissapated over time. By the end of this slow sipper (20-30 minutes) there was no head at all and it was basically flat. Very boozy nose. The beer opened up considerably releasing wonderful scents of raisins, bourbon and dried fruits. Wonderful lacing as the beer warmed. The legs on this one were a perfect 10. Smooth an creamy finish.
Taste was great too. Strong Bourbon flavor but by no means overpowering. Sweet dates and dried fruits.
It didn't score so high for me with drinkability as I don't think I would want to drink multiple glasses. It was quite a quite strong slow sipper.
I would highly reccomend this to anyone who likes barrel aged beers or straight Bourbon. It may be intense for those not fans of Bourbon.
Great beer from a great local brewery.
05-15-2009 16:54:11 | More by tendermorsel
4.6/5 rDev +7%
An active three finger fuzzy tan head explodes atop a blackest brown body. Head quickly fades to just a half inch leaving a bit of dot scattered lace. Bourbon tones are huge on the nose with intertwined carmel sweet malts, and sweet toasty banana bread. Sweet smoothness enters the mouth on first sip. I must say Scotch ales take to barrel agging in bourbon so extremely well. Lovely balance with huge spicey malt zest, biscuit like sweet doughy notes that stay thick on the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel is thick making you want the next sip. Incredibly drinkable very well done scotch ale. This was one of the best scotch ales I have ever had. I wish there was more available to be had.
05-12-2008 00:36:35 | More by SPLITGRIN
4.33/5 rDev +0.7%
Thanks to Bill for this bottle! Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip glass.
A: Dark brown with a small ring of white foam and not much lacing/stickiness.
S: The best feature of this beer. I was inundated with boozy woozy bourbon, toffee, vanilla, and walnuts.
T: Aged bourbon, oak, and caramel/candi sugars. I also get some tobacco and a slight prune flavor.
M: The carbonation held up well with age, but I'd say this is lacking a little body.
D: I didn't have a problem finising the bomber in 2 hours, but it may just be a tad sweet.
Overall, I prefer this second to none over most other scotch ales (besides Wet Willy).
09-22-2010 03:14:17 | More by hoppymcgee
4.13/5 rDev -4%
22 received in my most recent trade with Wasatch... Thanks John!! I shared this with tonight with my brother while talking to him about a job interview tomorrow... My share poured into my Delirium goblet.
Dark brown brew with good lite tan head and lace... pretty highlites when held to my kitchen overhead.
Nose is very malty with big hints of vanilla and bourbon.. very rich... alot of stuff going on here... deep malts with some minor cherry and caramel.
Flavor is everything good about a well made Wee Heavy combined with some big punches of good ole Kentucky pride... again very rich.. thick malts and cherry elements... quite a bit of fruity esters show as it warms... this surprises me... very plummy... Body is thick and velvety.. still quite a bit of alcohol given the time in the cellar.
Thanks John... this is one brew that I probably never would have tried trading for.. but am very grateful I got the chance.
10-08-2009 08:43:38 | More by JohnGalt1
4.65/5 rDev +8.1%
The last of the stash. What patience. Sat on this for two years+. My favorite scotch ale to date. Thanks Hougabooms. Thanks Al. Thanks Chris. :)
Actually, I was a little worried about souring, considering that the imperial stout released the following year went ugly in just a few short months. Very thankful that this didn't turn.
Opened this one up around 7:30am while waiting for the doors to open at Southampton. Was warm enough to ditch the gloves even. Rounded pint glass. Shared 3 ways.
Recent bottle mixed with old notes:
Mahogany-colored brew, but darker maybe. Not quite clear, but no floaties either. Short lived inch of tan head, kept alive by a constant swirl.
Lightheartedly smoked peat, maple, bourbon, brown sugar, & some lactose(to me anyway). Alcohol is a bit shy, hidden underneath all that sugar, contradicting some other reviews.
Tea & sweet bourbon up top. Tobacco. Vanilla & a slight barrel twang that I needed help discovering. Some interesting amaretto-like nuances that maybe made me miss the twang at first. Not as sweet as it smells.
Carbonation fell apart half way through the glass, though it was decent at the start. Feel has some heft to it, but was overall a touch thin. Alcohol was as advertised, & not much of a deterrent honestly.
I love this beer & will miss it so.
01-31-2011 08:29:19 | More by PEBKAC
4.63/5 rDev +7.7%
Believe it or not, I had been sitting on some of this for a good long time and had never gotten around to opening my bottle. I had tried this one once before, at the Foothills release, some was passed around, and I thought it was wonderful, but I did not have enough to really give it a fair shot. Last night I decided to open it up and give it the attention it deserved.
Appearance - The pour was spot on for the style and utterly great looking. A deep dark chestnut brown liquid came guzzling out of the bottle and layered inside the glass with a decent amount of haze. Some very nice carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. A nice off white head formed almost immediately and reached a height of close to 2 fingers, before settling down to a nice crown shape and leaving copious silky lace all over the sides. This was about as big as I could picture the style looking and really just nice overall.
Smell - The aroma was Bourbon Barrel Heaven@! This had to be the strongest smell of bourbon I have ever had come off of a beer. I mean it literally swallowed you up and spit you back out. It was that intense. The barrel aged just came across beautiful, with loads of wood and spices. Really well put together and one of the fullest aromas I have found. Some light grain hiding in the back and the alcohol as well was prominent. Nevertheless, if I had to come up with an idea of how a Barrel Aged Scotch Ale should smell this would be it.
Taste - Picking up right where we left off, the flavor was knocking down awesome as well. The first notes to hit you are overwhelming, almost drowning in Bourbon. You really need to let this come up a few degrees to get the full complexity of it. Once you do, some very nice earthy flavors come out at you as well as just wonderful hints of raisins, and wood. Very nice finish, with caramel malts and roasted tones coming through fantastically. Really just tremendous depth in here as this was just flat out awesome.
Mouthfeel - The feel was damn perfect. Really just a phenomenal smooth and delicious beer. Great carbonation never let you really have a dull moment and the silky smooth feel of it really left you just wanting to come back for more.
Drinkability - This was a sipper for sure, and to be honest you really needed to warm this up to let the full depth of it come out. It was utterly fantastic when warmed and made the perfect late night companion.
Overall, I thought this had to be one of the best examples of barrel aging I have seen. Really just, well done, and very fresh. May need to cellar this to really get to appreciate the depth of it. I cannot wait to try one in a few years to see how it held up. If you are a fan of bourbon beers, you are going to need to pick this one up.
04-14-2008 22:43:39 | More by mikesgroove
Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.