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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch AleBerkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

133 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 133
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 153
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: connecticutpoet on 11-15-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (41) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 133 | Reviews: 111
Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Pete for opening up a bottle of this at a tasting a while back. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark shade of amber with a bit of an off white head that sits with a tiny ring of lace throughout. Nose brings good chunks of bourbon and caramel malt along with notes of oak, vanilla, and molasses. Taste mixes the bourbon and a level of molasses-like dry sweetness quite well with some of the barrel aging present in addition to the bourbon. Feel is nice and smooth with lower levels of carbonation. Drinks well and I glad I got to try this--I love being surprised by beers I've never heard much about.

Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a decent cap that leaves plenty of squiggles and dots around the snifter

Smell: Clearly the strong point of this beer, with a nice bourbon/vanilla aroma, a caramel base and a boozy warmth

Taste: Opens with the caramel and that pushes into the bourbon/vanilla range but by mid-palate, a tartness appears that verges on the sour; perhaps this is the aging process taking over in a bad way but it persists through the aftertaste and I probably would have scored this lower if the beer were younger

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Too bad about the tart/sour flavors as everything else about the beer was very nice; perhaps it was much better in its youth - my fault for cellaring it for so long

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful Scotch Ale that takes a lot from bourbon barrels. The two are a mariage made in heaven.

The beer pours as you'd expect a great standard Scotch Ale to do. Dark brown to mohogany in color with a lot of ruby highlights. Mild haze but with very good head formation with creamy white foam. Retention and lacing are definately up to par.

A lot of earthy maltiness comes in the forefront with a complex brown malt bill that delivers as much breadiness and true malt character is it does confecitonate sweetness. Sweetness is accompanied by fruits of grapes, plumbs, figs, dates, and apples. Rum-like booziness blends in with the sweet malts and fruitiness effortlessly. The woodsy notes of the barrels bring out the toffee caramel note of the malts along with the nutty, buttery character of the grain husks with no astringency or tannin quality.

Very smooth and rich despite the alcohol involved. Heavy to the palate with a long lasting sweet toffee, fruity, alcoholic warmth. A great beer that stands the time. The beer is flawless.

Thanks Conneticutpoet!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark persimmon with a candy apple red influence and bright tangerine edges. The upper third of the glass is filled with an attractive chunk of toasted wheat colored foam that has plenty of persistence and does a pretty good job with respect to lace.

The scent of bourbon was easily appreciated as beer splashed into pint glass. It's less pungent now, but is inching back to its former glory as the suds continue to melt. The nose smells of dark toffee, rich earth and caramelized sugar.

BBC Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale is still wonderful beer approximately two years after its release. Having said that, it tastes and feels like it's a little past its peak. Then again, never having enjoyed a bomber before today, how would I know?

There's an underlying fruit-like tartness that would have been better as sweetness. It does, however, give the beer a tanginess that's present in some Islay Scotch whiskies. It's hard to fathom how aging BBSA in barrels that had previously held Buffalo Trace whiskey could have led to that.

Flavors include caramel-toffee, brown sugar, sticky dates, tart figs, a modest amount of toasted oak and a wee splash of vanilla. There's plenty of bourbon (without any actually booziness), so if you aren't a fan of that spirit you probably won't be a fan of the flavor profile. More malt and a bigger body would have garnered the next highest taste score with ease.

The mouthfeel is reminiscent of some aged English barleywines. That is, it's thinner than expected (and desired), but it's supremely smooth and lingers juuust long enough to be considered lightly syrupy... in a good way. Well-buried bubbles help the cause.

The craft beer world needs more bourbon barrel-aged Scotch ales. This isn't Berkshire's best offering (Coffeehouse Porter), but it's a lovely sipper that is aging more gracefully than most. Thanks to damienblack for the bottle.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruddy amber, clear with a slight haze. Two fingers of tan foam from a vigorous pour, solid retention.

Smell: Pleasant whiskey heat, cinnamon-like spice, toffee, toast. Semi-sweet biscuit-like malts, a touch of smoke.

Taste & mouthfeel: Toffee brittle sweetness, toasted nuts, vanilla, light tannins. Medium-light body, pleasantly crisp and drinkable. Spicy-sweet finish, very clean. This is a truly drinkable barrel-aged beer; complex, but not overwhelmingly so, nor is it overly boozy or rich. Very well done.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Gordon Highland thistle goblet.

Big thanks to connecticutpoet for this bottle!

Something tells me that buffalo would not be able to play those bagpipes too well. But I could be wrong... Anyway, this brew pours a borderline clear deep garnet topped by over a finger of off-white foam. The nose instantly starts in on the bourbon, then moves into notes of toffee, oak, some light greens, and a pinch of brown sugar. The taste melds the wee heavy and bourbon factions nicely, providing some very tasty balance between the bourbon, oak, and hint of vanilla on the one hand, and the toffee, spruce, maple syrup, brown sugar, and greens on the other. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth, somewhat chewy feel. Overall, a very nice, extremely well-balanced brew. i wish I had more than one. Get some!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from ppoitras, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a short but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste sweet, rich, creamy and malty with flavors of vanilla, bourbon, caramel and brown sugar up front. The bourbon barrel aging is a well-done touch with this beer. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence that balances things out quite nicely. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, the bourbon barrel aging can sometimes be over-rated and over-done but I think it was done perfectly with this beer, it's a very nice beer to drink for a long time.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky orange hued brown with a tan head. Nose is all bourbon with vanilla and some minor peat and wood. Flavor brings the same with a nice robust profile and a warming sensation that hits my chest. Definitely get the bourbon tones. Smooth, but thick. Feel has a biting carbonation and a thicker slick liquid feel. Very nice. An excellent barrel aged brew.

Thanks to brewandbbq for another ridonkulous hookup.

Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a super elusive one and was very available at the time, then before I knew it, it was gone. Wish I had gotten a lot more.

A:Dark rusty brown murky color that has almost no light coming through, nice head about a finger and a half

N: Nose has lots of oak and vanilla and a little malty brown-sugar sweetness, touch of booze, touch of smoke, more dark malts

T: Taste is creamy with lots of oak and sweetness, dark malts and some brown sugar add character, some alcohol comes through on the end with a touch of hops to finish. Lots of oak and vanilla smooth out all the rough sweet malts and heavy beer

M: Pretty thick but not too heavy, lower carbonation

F: Still pretty sweet with lots of warming alcohol, and lots of lingering oak, almost too much of both but not quite, just borders on it. Again lots more lingering caramelized brown sugar and sweet dark malts. The first time I had it it was over the top in many parts, but now that it has had time to age it's really settled down a bunch and tastes delicious and drinks very well now. I can only imagine what a couple more years on my last two bottles will do.

Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of MasterSki
3.36/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think I got this from Reagan1984, but I can't totally remember. Served in a Lost Abbey rastal teku.

A - Pours with a half-finger of foam that quickly dissipates to a thin ring and some big bubbles. Transparent caramel brown.

S - Barrel, wood, fusel alcohol, harsh bourbon, burnt sugar, and some light smoke and char. This is nostril-singing and hasn't mellowed out at all.

T - Caramel, vanilla, light diacetyl, cotton candy, brown sugar, and tons of barrel. Less harsh than the nose, but still somewhat cloying.

M - Smooth medium-full body, with some obvious alcohol heat. Low carbonation, with a tannic dry finish.

D - It was a struggle to get through 4oz of this stuff. Way too sweet and boozy for my tastes, and I generally like most bourbon-barrel aged beers. Apparently I'm in the minority on this one...

Photo of drabmuh
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a recent trade, part of my sisyphitic task of drinking the #1 beer for each style so here it goes! The current #1 Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy!

Beer is brown and hazy with a thin broken head that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong with bourbon, not much else. Smells like a bourbon beer.

Beer is thin and strong with bourbon. A dry finish. Its not as peaty as I expected. I"m drinking this a little too cold. As it warms the beer gets better and more complex. I like the beer, its really drinkable for a high alcohol beer. I would repeat it.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with an inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells light bourbon, oak vanilla, caramel malts, and some sugar or molasses. Smells a bit sweet.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, molasses, toasted malts. More bourbon than the nose but not as sweet, a slight step up in my opinion.

m - Medium body and light to moderate carbonation.

d - Overall a very nice scotch ale. WOuld like to have again sometime.

Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent head with impressive ring lace after each sip. Dark amber in color and slightly cloudy.

Sweet with a great deal of caramel aroma from darker malts. Seemingly strong alcohol.

Unexpectedly thin body for the color and head. Good carbonation. Strong alcohol warmth. Very sweet, maybe overly so--even for the style.

This is not my style, but I am warming up to it as I consume it.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of mothman
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served into a pint glass at Darkness Day.

Pours a light tan head. Leaves some lace. Color is a dark murky caramel brown.

Aroma: Vanilla, wood, bourbon, chocolate, light coffee. For a scotch ale, this is amazing.

Taste: Bourbon, big vanilla flavors, oak, chocolate, coffee. Big malty flavor. An amazing scotch ale.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, nice touch of bourbon. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Maybe just a little too hot.

Overall, awesome scotch ale, probably my favorite. I really want more of this. Drinkabliltiy is crazy and I know just realized it is 9.2%... damn this is dangerous.

Photo of akorsak
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks jleblanc!

The beer appears dark, dark ruby with a frothy beige head. Retention is good.

The aroma is interesting. There's a strong note of ripe granny smith apples that is quite pervasive. I do get some bourbon, but I get more of a Scotch whisky character. It smells damn good, but doesn't seem to be primarily bourbon. Some maple syrup is evident, along with brown sugar. The bourbon becomes more noticeable with warming, as well as some toffee.

Those granny smith apples are back again, and they're ripe again too. The malt is sweet, with notes of toffee, brown sugar, maple syrup. Again, Scotch whisky is evident, but the bourbon is a bit more apparent in the flavor. The finish is mellow with a low level of alcohol accompanied by ripe apples and toffee.

The beer is medium bodied with low-medium carbonation with a sticky, creamy mouthfeel.

This is an enjoyable and unique scotch ale.

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to ampzilla for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice clean/clear golden brown color, nice carbonation, nice small tannish creamy head, nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, very nice tones of bourbon, some toffee/caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, big on bourbon, toffee/caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is one of the best from Berkshire, highly recommended. Thanks Andrew.

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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.