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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.

112 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 112
Hads: 135
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 8.62%
Wants: 155
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 (54) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 112 | Hads: 135
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a thick, raisin-colored, cola-like body. Lots of eggshell foam, subtle lacing.

S- Awesome vanilla and oak tones to the overwhelmingly scotch-y nose. Also very sweet with honey, dark fruit and candy.

T- Quite boozey, as it should be, but still quite balanced. Vanilla, honey, oak and smokiness are quite present. The scotch tastes like an extremely smooth a 30-year reserve.

M- Very smooth with a spritz of carbonation. Thickly coats the mouth.

D- Good for a scotch ale but still overwhelmingly boozey. I don't mind one bit since I also love scotch, but I could easily see it being too much for others.

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Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this since a fall 09' trade with BTPete. Thanks Pete!

Bomber split with a friend.Cloudy murky pour into a snifter. Ruby highlights evident when held to the light.

Planting the beak into the glass yields vaporous alcohol and a heavy avalanche of sweet vanilla

Pralines and cream and vanilla, sweet vanilla. Chris says he could pour this over ice cream as a topping. Dessert sweetness, mellowed bourbon up front, loads of prickly sweetness on the finish. Have I mentioned the sweetness?

Medium bodied and carbonation, rather silky

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Photo of illidurit
3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Woodshop 5.0. Pours a deep brown/amber color with a big foamy tan head. Fruity smokey aroma with dark caramel. Warming bourbon flavors with caramel and a nice, even smokiness. Carbonation on the high side, detracts from the richness.

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Photo of jampics2
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the cellar. Some nice BA in Mass hooked me up, not exactly sure who.

Nice brown with plum head.

Smells of sweet bread crust, malt, plum, bourbon.

Bitter bourbon, sweet caramel and toffee malt, vanilla, plum, fig, coconut. Great range of flavors. Decent beer but I've recently had better. This was a treat though for the nice wee heavy malt body. Alcohol becomes apparent as it warms.

Too carbed, but nice body.

Decent, a touch boozy, but a nice beer. I do think a beer like this needs more wood, and this was good but could be better w/ different barrels or more time on the wood.

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Photo of MrMonkey
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown with a one-finger tan head that recedes slowly to a sticky ring, leaving a few scattered wisps of lace.

The nose on this one is incredible: Oaky bourbon, toffee, burnt caramel, vanilla, and dried apricot.

Taste begins with some dried stone fruit (apricot and dark cherry) before some sweet caramel and toffee flavors. Oaky vanilla and sweet bourbon flavors last through the finish.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel with a low level of carbonation. Smooth and slightly viscous.

Extremely drinkable. Not even a hint of the ABV. Smooth and delicious. I wish I had a bunch more.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - murky brown in color with some suspended sediment. Head is rather thin and tan in color. Looks a lot like a Scotch ale to me, sort of viscous as well.

Aroma - oak-ey vanilla, caramel, dark brown raisin bread, molasses, bourbon and the rubber they make balloons out of (seriously). This has a lot of great barrel aged aromas to it, I really look forward to tasting all the flavors it no doubt is comprised of.

Taste - very sweet on the tongue right of the bat. Plenty of the vanilla as well as burnt sugar, bourbon heat, oak, apples and/or hard cider. Lots of ester-y flavors combine nicely with the tinge of sharpness and heat that the whiskey provides. It finishes sort of tangy and sweet. Its a sipper and well worth drinking slowly and enjoying its complexity.

Overall - excellent release from BBC. I wish I could find this on tap and at a store nearby. The barrel aging has done wonders for this solid Scotch Ale, the meshing of sweetness and the whiskey/wood flavors is delicious. I need to make the trek out to Westborough next week for a few more bottles!

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I will be picking up 3-4 bottles next week to savor and to share with some friends.

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Photo of Cakanator
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber. Pours an exceptional dark brown with some great roasted barley and vanilla notes. I was hoping this had improved from when I first bought it 6 monthes ago. Carbonation was lower and the bourbon florished much like I hoped it would. Another amazing offering from BBC

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.56/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Neat bottle with a buffalo wearing a Scottish fez-type thing and playing bagpipes.

Dark, muddy brown with a large tan head. Sub par retention for a big scotch ale.

Smells like awesome. Sharp and earthy bourbon, vinous molasses, fruity sweet malt entrenched in a woody "sticktogetherness."

Sweet caramel and fruit tied up in vanilla with a woody bourbon twang. Warm, lingering swallow that numbs my lips, warms my heart and induces general giddiness all over. This is a deceptive and deadly 9.2% abv.

Best scotch ale I've had.

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Photo of mothman
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mothman for this one, which was a reward for helping him with Darkness

Beautiful looking beer with a good head and nice dark robust amber brown coloring.

The bourbon was on the smell, as was a little oak, but mostly fantastic malty scothness. Hints of vanilla.

Helloooo Vanilla. This was like cream soda made by God. Honestly. Amazing. Malty, vanilla-y, bourbony goodness.

Smooth and easy going, just a hint of carbonation

Danger. Very dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

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Photo of RedHaze
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Thanks go out to smuttantor for the bottle. No bottled on or vintage dating.

Pours a cloudy, deep walnut brown with a one finger head that fades quickly to a thin swirling film. Not much lace to speak of either.

Smell; as expected bourbon is very much evident, but by no means overwhelming. Vanilla, brown sugar, and oak are all nearly as present as the bourbon.

Taste; sweet and earthy brown sugar, vanilla, dark cherries and oak all mix very nicely with the bourbon. Very oaky (is that a word?) through the middle, and a touch drying in the finish, which is a tad surprising given the initial sweetness. There's also a very mild sourness floating around in the background. At first I was a little put off by the sweetness, but as it warmed the bourbon, plus the semi-dry finish helped to offset that.

Mouthfeel/drinkability; a touch thin for the higher abv, but I've seen that happen with some other BA beers. Given the barrel aging and high alcohol content, this is actually goes down very easily.

My third beer from Bershire, and all have made we wish that I lived a little closer to the brewery.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Delirium Tremens tulip. Thanks to Jwale73 for the trade!

Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale. Lots of "B's" in the name, so why not the appearance and aroma? Beautiful & Brown, with hints of Burnt sepia at the Borders. Builds a Brief custard head that recedes to a nice-looking patch & ring of Bubbles. The aroma is excellent, especially with how the subtlety of the Bourbon notes plays off the darker, sweeter caramel & peat malt Backbone. A light dusting of hops and chocolate nibs Balances in the Background with some Booze. Okay...enough of that.

Gone is the bourbon subtlety in the aroma, in exchange for a big, woody, spicy, whiskey-rich booziness that works on many levels. As rich and flavorful as the Bourbon-ness is, it never overwhelms the Scotch Ale base, as sweet caramel, toasted peat, and spicy, earthy hops are all in attendance. The booze does get a little hot & heavy as the beer warms, but it's still very well done. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium, and expertly carbonated, giving the body a good drinkability considering the >9% ABV. Overall, a fantastic example of when Bourbon-Barrel aging goes right. This one's a keeper.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

v2009 - not as much head, seems even boozier, Doesn't seem to quite come together as well as the last version. Alcohol power knocks its rating down a notch pretty much across the board.

6/10/08 - this one's still holding nicely...

11/18/07 - 5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5
22oz bottle purchased as part of a case from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head is dense, thick, and not going anywhere fast, with heavy lasting lace. Aroma is dominated by vanilla and bourbon. Taste is rich dark malt sweetness upfront, a light fruitiness in the middle, and plenty of bourbon and vanilla character at the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is excellent for a brew whose flavor is as defined by alcohol as this one is. Good stuff, glad it's local.

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Photo of Vancer
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer sent courtesy of naproxen in the Naked Beer Geek BIF - thanks again!

Pours a murky brown into the ol' Corsendonk tulip, fairly good tan head pops up and lasts for awhile, before dying and leaving a thin lace ring.

The stinging wood barrel perks up in the aroma, with a backbone of malt. Quaff stings a bit too, but still is tasty with the bourbon, cherry and thick scotch malt blending well. The booze is non-existent, could sip on this one all night.

But, I luv bourbon too, so I'm pre-disposed to this one right off the bat. Tasty brew to start the 2009 pre-season NFL off on the right foot!

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Photo of tai4ji2x
3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. from the new 2009 batch, although i can't find any actual indication on the bottle itself. tasted in early/mid may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark ruby brown. clear (decant properly). 1-finger off-white head fades to wisps and ring. moderate lacing, though splotchy at times.

aroma: unripe tropical fruit (guava?), oaky vanilla and trace of coconut (although a touch artificial and not naturally nutty/toasty), as bourbon notes start to come in. faint maltiness makes a presence, but i wanted more from a scotch ale.

taste: bourbon seems to be the focus - not too boozy, but it comes slightly at the expense of the malty scotch ale character. vanilla-laden oak, trace of wet tobacco, touch of toasted coconut. slightest hint of cherries. mild to moderate bitterness and a mild acidity round things out, but malt remains a touch watery.

medium body, almost syrupy. touch of acidic or astringent character in the finish. carbonation has a tingle and helps with body and with lifting up the flavors.

i think if they upped the maltiness on this, it would match even better with the bourbon. as such, it is a nice showcase for the bourbon barrel aging, but it's just not the richest of scotch ales.

NOTE: drinkability score should be a 4.0 while taste should be something like 3.8

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.6/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to sleepnbballrlife for hooking this up. 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. 1 finger of tan head atop a hazy mahogany/cherry-wood body.

Nose: Sweet oak, saccharine, banana peel, nuts, and some red wine-like aromas.

Palate: Medium- to full-bodied and sharp with alcohol. There's a lot of banana-like fermentation esters floating on top of sweet toasted oak, vanilla extract, roasted nuts, caramelized lactose, and there's a slight sourness to the finish.

Notes: Not as good as I remembered it, but still one of the best beers BBC makes. Not quite as good as the Drayman's, but quite good and worth a shot if you're at Julio's already.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.84/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Banditbrewingco was to blame for this recent trade - Kidding - thanks, Alan! Shared with DrewOSU and newtonty.

Pours a super sexy, rust brown with great white lacing and a 1/2 inch head.

Hate to say it, but like many barrel-aged beers, the first whiff I take reminds me of nail polish remover. After that, I start getting vanilla, molasses and raisins...

Onto the taste... I get the bourbon up front. Lots of vanilla, heat, sweet malts and the charateristic scotch flavors... High carbonation on the mouthfeel, with a smooth medium body.

This is a big sipper - quite nice, but I think this needs some time to mellow out and get a bit more complex.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rust color with red hues and two fingers of thick, dense foam on top. Really nice lacing for this kind of beer. Excellent. I'm initially hit in the nose with vanilla bourbon notes, but also a good bit of banana and a rich, almost smoky, nutty malt profile. Wow, you can really taste the bourbon influence in this beer. I don't mean just straight booze burn, but a really nice mellowed out spicy vanilla banana bouquet. Supple malty notes underneath. Almost fruity with a cashew butteryness. Nice and straight forward, interesting with out being too muddled. Could be a little softer on the palate, but on the other hand it's still doubling as a really big ass beer, but somehow pretty drinkable and refreshing. Really quite amazing how much bourbon flavor they stuff into this beer. I'm not really much of a booze guy but this is peaking my interest and I feel like dabbling into the bourbon world... Inspiring tasty beverage!

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bomber bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a rich dark crimson amber color with about an inch of rust colored foam. No doubt about it, there is a nice hit of bourbon here, followed by notes of oak, vanilla, brown sugar, sweet malts, piny hops, dark fruit. Nearing full bodied and amply carbonated for both the style and my liking. Great stuff. Hope to try this one again some day.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage - 22oz. bottle served in my DT tulip. Poured an opaque mahogany with a half inch, creamy off-white head embedded with tiny ringlets. Head eventually dissipates into a soapy swirl; a thick lacy band forms around the back edge of the glass, with tiny spots and strands revealed on the tilt side. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla and dark fruit intermingle in the bowl of the glass. A buttery quality comes out up front, with subtle bourbon and dark fruit flavors coming out in the back, as well as a hint of wood. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium and lightly effervescent with a residual creamy slickness that lingers on the tongue. Really easy drinking and great complexity. By far my favorite offering from a great brewery.

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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.