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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch AleBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

120 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 120
Hads: 669
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 17.95%
Wants: 71
Gots: 176 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tourdot on 07-15-2013

Cherrywood smoked Scotch ale aged in used 12 year old bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 120 | Hads: 669
Photo of keithmurray
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage

Appearance - dark cherry mahogany colored liquid with tan head

Smell - oak and bourbon is upfront, caramel/dark fruit in the background

Taste - The bourbon/oak presence states its case upfront, then come the raisin, plum, cherry, caramel, toffee

Mouthfeel - full bodied, medium carbonation, barrel flavors upfront, sweetness in the middle from the stone fruits, flavors linger, barrel characteristics are present yet work in harmony with the other flavors

Ovoerall - really nice barrel aged scotch ale here. I prefer this to Wulver or Backwoods Bastard as I feel like the barrel flavors work in concert with the other flavors rather than take on a dominant lead role. highly enjoyable - Recommended.

Price Point - $4.79/12 oz single

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've had several Scotch ales, and many bourbon barrel aged ales, but this is the first BBA Scotch ale I've had. (Although I have had a Scotch ale aged in Scotch whisky barrels.)

The combo of bourbon flavor and Scotch ale works pretty well. Bourbon is dominant in both aroma and taste. The underlying Scotch ale is malty, just a little sweet, and very smooth. Overall, this is an understated beer, if such a thing is possible for a BBA beer. It's really well balanced.

On balance, I prefer the stronger flavor profiles of imperial stouts to go with my bourbon fix. But I respect what the Central Waters brewers have done here ... it's a fine beer.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque, reddish-brown with 1/3 inch head. Taste is a big dose of bourbon, toasted malt, and a bit of flowers--has an aftertaste of alcohol. Complex layers of malt. A sipper, but one I will likely get again.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark for a scotch ale, with a very slight head. Aroma is vanilla, toffee, roasted malt, and bourbon. Taste pretty much follows the nose, though the vanilla and toffee really jump out while the bourbon remains nicely understated. Feel is a bit on the thin side, which makes this more drinkable than it should be.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Oh man, this stuff is great, but not sure I could have more than one. It's malty and boozy with a hint of smoke on it. Very thick and rich. The smell is fairly similar to the taste, so you know what you're getting. If you are into barrel aged beers or scotch ales, definitely worth looking for.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on 8/12/15, making this 3 months old at this point.

A: Pours a dark, cola brown color with an off-brown head at the edges. Slightly thing body.

S: A lot of fresh Bourbon, some oak. Definitely some vanilla and creamy notes as well.

T: Vanilla, oak, plum, bourbon, toffee, caramel. Quite balanced. Rich, but not overly sweet.

M: On the thin side, but not exactly watery. Very drinkable at under 10% though.

O: My third in the Brewer's Reserve series. Liked BBS a lot, but didn't care much for the Barleywine. This falls somewhere in the middle, I feel. Scotch Ale's aren't too exciting of a base beer, but the barrel really makes it pop and accentuates some great characteristics. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but this one is super flavorful and drinkable. I give Backwood's Bastard the edge here, as it's got a fuller body, is more complex, and just bigger overall. But this is a nice attempt at the style.

Recommendation: If you like Backwood's, then definitely grab this one.

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Photo of 2ellas
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown, nearly black with a slight cream coloured head
smells of oak
tastes of oak up front, slight bourbon after
feels almost buttery with light carbonation
overall a very complex oaky beer. I think it's excellent and would drink again for sure!

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours a black color w/ deep red hues. Finger thick, lighter tan colored head, frothy and soapy. Substantial head lacing and sticky alcohol legs on glass.

Aroma- Rich caramelized malt, sweet molasses. Subtle smokiness, sweeter dark fruits. Bourbon, lots of vanilla, some astringent oakiness.

Taste- Caramel, toasted brown sugar and molasses, rich sweetness. Dark fruits, sweet smokiness. Vanilla, toasty creaminess, sweet bourbon, dry oak on the finish.

Feel- Full bodied, thick and syrupy. Sticky sweet, creamy as well. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall- Nice richness, lots of syrupy sweet malt flavor, but balanced somewhat by an underlying toastiness and smokiness. Dark fruits come through nice, definetly pick up on the cherrywood smoke. Barrel characteristics are nice and balanced, get a good amount of vanilla and some coconut, nice punch of bourbon and oaky, woody dryness.

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Photo of Sconnie25
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark hue similar to chocolate with a nice lacing. Smells of malt and bourbon. Tastes malty with hints of fruit. You can definitely taste the bourbon as well. Has a syrupy aftertaste but at the same time very smooth. This is a very well made beer.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.99/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a deep, rich brown will a solid and small head. The aroma is immediately intensely inviting - brown sugar, plums, apricots, raisins, and allspice. It smells like a christmas cake. The flavor is equally compellimg - a rich sweet bread flavor along with rich fruits, maybe even baked fruits - bananas, apples, plums smothered in brown sugar. There is an almost port-like character to this beer, it is so rich and decadent. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and luscious. Overall a phenomenal beer. Does Central Waters have the best mass released barrel aged beer? I can find no competitor for them.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle, this Scotch Ale is a hazy slightly reddish-brown with a tan head that leaves spotty lacing.
The aroma is toffee, slightly musty oak, vanilla, brown sugar and booze.
A complex taste unfolds on the tongue. It begins sweet with toffee and vanilla notes, then some raisin and maybe even plum notes. As it warms, I taste some brown sugar and a bit of smoky char. it finishes with a touch of a boozy burn.
Mouthfeel is medium-thick and stick.
An outstanding beer.

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Photo of TooGood
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark amber with minimal head and little lacing. Smell is bourbon and vanilla. Taste is very smooth bourbon with hints of dark fruit. An excellent beer!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an earthy and hazy dark brown with a slight rusty red hue and a thin layer of beige foam.

Maple, vanilla, oak, cherry, dark fruit, and bourbon.

Immediate wave of oaky vanilla, dark fruit caramelized malt, molasses, and bourbon.

Heavy-bodied, light carbonation, sweet, sticky, thick.

Overall, this came off and sits on the palate a bit too sweet for my taste, but a tasty brew nonetheless.

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Photo of myrixis
3.86/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: it looks a murky brown as the depths of loch ness
Smell: it smells like a spent barrel of scotch
feel: it feels thick and coats the tongue
Taste: strong scotch taste with hints of vanilla and a bit of honey sweetness
overall: best wee heavy ive ever had its so smooth i could have another.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.99/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice Scotch ale. 2015 version. Substantial barrel character, not a whole lot of complexity but it was a nice change to the traditional malt bomb that is the Scotch ale. I'm looking forward to trying some more BA options from Central Waters.

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Photo of Chris7482
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - pours dark brown almost black. little head, dissappates quickly
S - nice barrel aroma and nice malty sweetness
T - sweet somewhat syrupy, mild barrel
F - some stickiness, nice body for style
O - great beer, personally could use a little more barrel and body. definitely a good attainable BA beer

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

if there was only one or two breweries in the country that i wish would distribute to colorado, these guys would probably make the list. they never miss, and all these crazy barrel aged beers they do are so spectacular. this is one of the best (and sweetest, and most intense, and most unique) scotch ales i have ever had the bourbon barrel is a huge contributor to the flavor. nutty smokey sweet malts and honey vanilla whiskey flavors combine brilliantly. i get almonds, molasses, campfire smoke, english toffee, waffles, and quality bourbon in the taste, there is a lot going on, but its all so complimentary and synergistic, i have never had a beer like this before. strong, and it feels strong, but it doesnt taste boozy to me, just the whiskey flavor, no heat at all. tons of sugar, maple and molasses and brown sugar all come and go on the tongue and teeth, and the smoke cuts it about as well as it could. i like that the beer is big enough to hold all the smoke flavor without being overpowered. so often thats all you can taste in these, but not here, its built perfectly for that. one of my favorite takes on the style ive had, and another feather in the cap for central waters. this is killer beer, perfect for the chilly nights this time of year. i need to get me some more!

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Photo of darktronica
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, murky brown, more reminiscent of a dark quad, with a thin layer of head that leaves a rim of tan foam around the glass. Smells rather sweet: rich caramel kettlecorn and malt alongside hints of nuttiness and vanilla. Tastes similar, but with well-integrated oak and boozy heat from the barrel.

This is nicely balanced and perfect for a 12-oz format. A BBA scotch ale that hits all the right notes for its style but doesn't try to overwhelm or be the most extreme BBA beer ev4r. It's simply an exceptional beer that is very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.64/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a treat this is,found this quite hard to find but eventually got my hands on it today.$19 a 4 pack and worth every cent. Looks much darker than most scotch ales and the smell is incredible,figs,bourbon,caramel and brown sugar. Taste is even better,not much carbonation but the taste is great,again dark fruits mingled in with a slight molasses sweetness then turning straight into caramel sweet with a boozy finish of the bourbon barrel.mouthfeel is incredibly velvety and smooth. Just a superb beer,easily in my top 10, about to go back and stock up.I'm a big scotch ale and bourbon barrel fan, maybe my scores are higher for my favourite styles but comparing this to backwoods,okie and wulver this is much more well rounded and the best scotch ale I've ever tried.

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Photo of richj1970
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. 2015 vintage.

A: Pours very dark brown almost black with one finger light tan head. Lasting retention and some light lacing.

S: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and bourbon.

T: Very nice blend of brown sugar and molasses mixed with bourbon and oak.

M: Medium to full body with average carbonation.

O: Excellent barrel aged Scotch ale. One of my favorites for the style for sure.

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Photo of dmgallag
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I walk a fine line with the "barrel aged" rage. Most of what I've had is usually too much or not enough on the bourbon flavor. This clocks in right at that happy medium of just enough. Really nice balance. Leave no doubt, this is a sipper...but an enjoyable one at that.

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Photo of jds16
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep red with a small tan head that stays around for a long time. Smells of cherries, vanilla, smoke, brown sugar, and bourbon. (When colder, I didn't notice much bourbon in the aroma, but as it warmed the bourbon really came out.) Tastes of dried cherries, toffee, vanilla, and more dark fruit. Bourbon sneaks up behind the fruit, makes its presence well known, but doesn't taste boozy. Definitely a sipper, but the alcohol hides really well here.

Perfect nightcap for a chilly day.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- The beer hits the glass is a very dark, very red, brown color. One of the densest heads I have seen (other than nitro) forms and retains wonderfully at about 1 centimeter in thickness. Great lacing from the indrecibly thick head. This beer is seriously one of the darkest, yet red-est pours I have seen.

S- Huge malts are the prominent scent right off the bat for this beer. Basically, it smells how you would expect it to, with big peat and smoky malts that are slightly sweet. Behind the malts lie the undertones of the barrel, which are still strong, just not as much so as the malts. The barrel lends tons of oak and char, closely followed by some dark fruit flavors from the malt to end the smell.

T- Mellow is the best word to describe this beer as it rolls across the tongue. The malts are very smooth and subtle, while still being the prominent taste up front. They start as lightly smokey and a touch bitter from char and booze from the barrels, then move toward the dark fruit flavor form the scent. Cherry is definitely well represented in the flavor, bordering just on the edge of tart before the bourbon flavor moves back in to end the drink.

M- Just as I expected from the appearance of the head, this beer is thick and smooth as Miles Davis. There is no evidence of the alcohol content in the taste or in burn, and the heavy flavors really make this an even smoother drink.

Overall, this is a gem hidden in plain sight. I walking into a local store and it was just sitting there. I grabbed the last 4 pack after debating only buying a single, and I'm glad I grabbed the 4. Really curious to have this next to Backwoods Bastard. I think it drinks smoother, more balanced, and with better integrated flavors. Just a really good beer overall.

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Photo of OldRickSputin
4.85/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage 12 oz bottle.


Pretty dark with some light getting through at both ends. A thin 1/8" head remains throughout. A nice spread of thin lacing of sticks around and follows the glass from top bottom. Decent carbonation which dissipates but does not disappear.

The aroma- it just doesn't get any better than this. Reminds me of BCBS barley wine. Nice raisin, apple, toffee, and smooth smooth bourbon! (Very complex, I'm sure I missing some)

Mouthfeel is great...and compliments the taste wonderfully.

See all of the aroma notes and that's what you get with taste. Nothing metallic or overly-boozy, just a nice smooth wee heavy that definitely tastes better before getting too warm.

I'll try to revise this review as I drink the remaining 7 bottles I have. So...probably within the next week. I don't believe aging/cellaring this would be wise. :)

I'm tempted to give this a 100/100...it's really that good.

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Photo of arniepnminne
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brand this beer with a dinosaur, a family members name, a philosopher, or some wonderfully gifted county next to Tennessee and she be gone! Silky caramel and molasses waves intertwining with chocolates and whiskey, some wet wood, vanilla and a touch of smoke. Killer.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.