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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.

100 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 100
Hads: 601
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 18.93%
Wants: 73
Gots: 151 | FT: 21
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: 100 | Hads: 601
Photo of dmgallag
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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 +2.8%
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 -0.9%
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 +13.3%
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
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | 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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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance : Pours a chocolate mahogany colored body with a beige 3 finger head. Opacity is 90%. The head is tightly knit, leaving hills of lace on the glass as it recedes slowly. It sticks at about 1 finger after 5 minutes.

Aroma : Lots of richness. Horehound, molasses, anise, aged malt, black karo syrup, and a slight oaky aroma. Plum can also be nosed, actually like plum candy.

Taste : Wow. Flavorful is the word. A thick fruity sweetness from plum and date invades the palate with the burn and bite of Bourbon, richness of vanilla, the roasted sweetness of aged malt mix, ending with a finale of fresh picked cherry, coconut, and chocolate.

Feel : Sticky, syrupy, and sweet - but not too thick. It's very enjoyable. Moderate carbonation buzzes underneath the wave of thick syrupy sweetness. A lick of the lips lifts more of that sticky plum and cherry as it lingers there from the sip.

Overall : World-class offering. It's simply fantastic. Best Scotch ale ever? I still have a spot in my heart for Kilt Lifter...but this is on another plane completely. Price not a factor, nor sessionability, this is the superior Scotch Ale and the best Scotch I've had.

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Photo of Walligator
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing BB scotch ale!
Black, thick, aged bourbon up front. Thought I just stuck my head in the barrel, the aroma so intense but not over powering.

I enjoy a good bourbon, and the initial taste was just that, with the sweet chocolate and malt right behind it.Of course, as it warms, it just keeps getting better. This truly is one of the best, if not THE best SA brew I've ever had. Thanks Central Waters for sharing this experience!

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Photo of CraigP83
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark but if you get it up to the light a root beer color comes through around the edges, quickly dissipating head. LOVE the smell, boozy, bourbon barrel, earthy, slight peat. Boozy caramel, smooth. A bit of tartness similar to their cherry stout.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

That's wicked dark. No head to speak of once it settles, but some lacing on the sides.

Smells like malt and fennel or licorice. Taste is sweet malt and the ubiquitous dark fruit with that licorice taste popping up at the end. Bourbon/oak is muted at the front, but there's definitely something in the aftertaste - more Manhattan than with a splash of water.

Thick and slick in the mouth, this one lingers.

Not for everyday, but remarkably tasty.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown but clear, finger of tan head. The bourbon is fairly low-key, accenting the malts and sweet shellac of the Scotch ale. Sweet like chewy candied dates and vanilla caramel. Smooth and slick. Medium-feel. A real nice Scotch ale, drinks easy - abv unknown but it doesn't carry any burn or hint of it on the palate.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Very dark brown, essentially black (SRM 39-40). A modest chestnut cream settles to a thin blanket, depositing a fine veil of lace on a Gordon Thistle glass.

Rich malt aroma races up from the glass, in equal parts sweet milk chocolate and oaked bourbon. Coffee ice cream follows, with vanilla and licorice as it warms.

The flavors are an exquisite showcase of dark delight. Light sweetness balances with bitterness, while warming alcohol lifts coconut and cherries from the finish. Advanced warmth simplifies the aroma/flavors focusing attention on the bourbon.

The combination of full body and modest carbonation gives this a smooth texture like Jersey cotton. Alcohol is warming, but controlled.

This beer is layered with comforting character, and gently lulls one into a contemplative mood.

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good not great. A little bourbon and caramel, but I was a little surprised how much dark fruit, plum, raisin etc... I got on the finish. Was hoping for a little more caramel. I like the barley wine a lot better.

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Photo of Lesingnon
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with about two fingers of a frothy, khaki head. Foam eventually recedes to a thin layer, with slight lacing noticeable.

Smell: Possesses a big, bold nose full of everything that makes bourbon wonderful. That oaked vanilla stands out the most, followed by the oak itself. Earthy notes lurk in the background to tie it all together, with dark fruits and molasses the most prominent among them.

Taste: The oaked taste of a good bourbon is the first thing to hit the tongue, and leaves no doubt at all that this offering is barrel-aged. Hints of vanilla are present as well, along with a deep molasses flavor that lingers on the tongue. Very little hop character is detectable.

Mouthfeel: Feels nice and full, firm, with just the right amount of carbonation to keep things interesting.

Overall: Central Waters has made its name on the strength of its barrel aged offerings, and this one is no disappointment. The bourbon character is featured and dominant, without being overpowering. And despite what I suspect to be a fairly hefty ABV it goes down easily. I was also very happy to find that it didn't have the same leathery character that is found in Slainte, their seasonal scotch ale.

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Photo of jwc215
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage:

Pours dark brown with a bubbly/foamy head. Not much lacing sticks.

The smell is of dark fruits - plum, prune, raisin, black cherry - with bourbon. Delicate peat smoke intermingles. The smell is rich, strong, complex and certainly inviting.

The taste is sweet - caramel/toffee - with dark fruits. Earthy notes and a hint of peat balance the sweetness. Bourbon comes through nicely without overpowering. Long, rich finish.

It is full-bodied and smooth despite noticeable alcohol.

A great Scotch ale aged in bourbon barrels. The barrel aging is done especially well. Highly recommended!

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque dark brown pour with half a finger of foam that quickly dissolves to a thin ring. The aromas are of vanilla, bourbon and brown sugar syrup with no hop presence whatsoever. The taste follows the smell with lots of big vanilla, bourbon and malty sweetness, almost cloying, but not quite. Medium to medium-heavy body, as befits a barrel aged brew, low carbonation with a velvety feel and no alcohol burn, just a well hidden warmth. Overall, another top-notch, barrel aged brew from Central Waters, second best of their Brewer's Reserve series after the barleywine ale.

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Photo of durlta
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great looking beer: dark cola colored with a nice head. Smells as good as it looks with maple bourbon notes and carmel toffee malts. Tastes like it smells. If you see any of these cw brewers reserve 4-packs on the shelf, don't hesitate to pick some up; you won't be disappointed.

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

Dark cola colour with a thumb of head with some retention and lacing. Sweet bourbon, caramel, toffee, burnt toast and leather. Boozy bourbon and caramel notes dominate, hints of peat, chocolate, molasses and burnt cocoa. This stuff is awesome. So much flavour. Definitely a memorable brew.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Brewery. Seems more thick and rich this year. Poured medium dark with a small head. Aroma of sweet caramel and bourbon. Rich malty caramel taste. Good touch of oak and bourbon. Never really enjoyed this one until this glass.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first go at one of Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Beers. Poured 12 oz 2015 into a tulip glass; poured brown with bit of amber--nearly opaque body with slim white foam. Nose is bourbon, caramel, oak, vanilla--really inviting and sweet. Taste follows suit--bourbon is present but not overbearing. Very little alcohol, but not sure of the ABV. Mouth is smooth and sweet. An excellent beer that is scary good. Glad I have more of this!

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Photo of bound4er
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 300th review. Vintage 2015. Pours murky brown with some crimson highlights. Thin tan head. Smells of bourbon, caramel, vanilla and peat - very intoxicating. Taste is pure bourbon barrel goodness with caramel malt, vanilla and bourbon. Alcohol is well hidden. Finishes with a lingering spritz of vanilla on the mid-palate. Mouthfeel is on the medium side with low carbonation. Overall this is a damn tasty BB Scotch Ale. Another winner from Central Waters.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a ruby brown hue. Little head to speak of but what does form is a light cream color, generating solid lacing.

S: Nose is rich vanilla, caramel and a touch of dark pitted fruit.

T: Taste follows nose, big sweetness starting with vanilla, caramel and toffee. These shift slightly to brown sugar right before finishing with a bit of dark fig or date.

M: Medium to heavy body, lingers on the palate. Moderate to low carbonation as expected.

O: Really impressed with this one. Lands right up there with best in class BBA scotch ales.

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

Poured cold into a Libby stout glass. Bottled on 6/17/14; consumed on 10/8/14.
Look = 4.5 Pours a deep brown with vibrant red highlights, pretty cool looking. 1/4 finger of medium brown head composed of tiny dense bubbles fades to a ring; light to medium lace.
Aroma = 5.0 Light bourbon with notes of oak and vanilla hit me first. Underneath is a really sweet caramel malt smell - a perfect balance between the scotch ale and bourbon aging, really great aroma.
Taste = 4.25 Sweet caramel and toffee malt forms the backbone but it’s littered with notes of bourbon, alcohol and vanilla especially on the finish.
Feel = 4.75 Silky smooth, velvety and creamy all at once. Full bodied with medium carbonation.
Drinkability = 4.25 Really smooth and easy drinking BA scotch ale, booziness hurts it a touch.
Overall = 4.55 Easily the best scotch ale I’ve had. Once again central waters nails the bourbon barrel aging. Great balance in aroma and taste between the scotch ale style and the barrel age flavors. High drinkability and incredible feel round out a terrific beer.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Wicked Weed tulip. The pour is very dark brown with ruby red highlights and sports about a finger of tan head. The nose has lots of rich toasted malt, fresh brown bread, toffee, toasted oak, and a hint of bourbon.

Full body, creamy feel, and a big rich, sweet flavor. Toffee, coffee cake, and toasted nuts up front. Oak, bourbon, vanilla at mid-palate, then a hint of black cherries on the finish. A slight warming alcohol presence, but certainly nothing even remotely hot or boozy.

A terrific bourbon-barrel-aged wee heavy. Right up there with Backwoods Bastard and Wulver. Yet another reason to envy our fellow BAs who live in Wisconsin.

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Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A super dark opaque brown with a light brown head. spots and streaks on the glass. Nose has so much to offer and delight in. The bourbon is well represented without being too big. It sets a platform that allows the malt of the ale to offer toffee and caramel against the notes of smoked cherry and dark fruit sweetness. A hint of oak. Some toasted coconut and vanilla flows throughout. Taste is superb. Balanced and complex. Lots of Scotch ale in the front with its typical burnished maltiness. Cherries and vanilla follow with the oak dryness leading to a mild hop presence. Lots of subtle complexities, caramel and dark fruits, toffee and roasted grains. Feel is full and creamy with just a few points off for a bit of thinness that seems to affect the bottle I'm having. Last one seemed a bit better carbonated. Still a good feeling glass this time around with a mild smooth feel and satisfying swallow. A stupendous beer al the way around. The seemingly perfect melding of Scotch ale and bourbon barrels has me wondering about the prominence of stout instead of a good wee heavy. This is just outstanding.

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Photo of Jlabs
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Never had a scotch ale before..kinda reminds me of a barleywine. .but maybe because this is barrel aged?..I dunno but it's good and I'll seek out more of this type

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