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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

522 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 522
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 7.84%
Wants: 63
Gots: 116 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 522 | Reviews: 75
Reviews by groovy24:
Photo of groovy24
3.15/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

2013 Fresh
Serving Type: 12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter

Appearance: Opaque with ruby color on the edge

Smell: Straight up bourbon...masks any other potential aromas

Taste: Again, a lot of bourbon with hint of burnt caramel/toffee

Mouthfeel: A little thin with good carbonation

Overall: The bourbon is overpowering the base beer here. I'll sit on a few of these and see if that will fade over time

More User Reviews:
Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +5%
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.

Photo of tourdot
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours dark brown with a thin tan head, leaving slight lacing

S- Bourbon jumps out followed by peaty malts, vanilla, caramel

T- Bourbon up front. Dark fruits, caramel and peaty malts are present in the middle of the taste. Long lasting bourbon/malt finish

M- A wee bit thin but low carbonation leads to a smooth mouthfeel

O- Another great brew from Central Waters barrel program. This is a very good BA scotch ale that with a little more body would be terrific. I will gladly pick up a case this year and seek it out again next year.

Photo of don1481
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12o bottle bought at Discount Liquor. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark caramel color with some carbonation that sticks to the side of the glass. Off-white head that retains decently.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, vanilla all come right on through. And the bourbon. Who can forget that? Some peatiness. Pretty complex.

Taste: Very much an in your face beer. The bourbon and peat smack you right away, followed with the sweetness of carmel and vanilla. This is a beer that means business.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, somewhat syrupy. Little boozy aftertaste.

Overall: $3.49 for a bottle well spent.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and dark blackish brown with a slight hint of ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and one finger of tan head that recedes into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A dark and toasty malt driven aroma with a big bourbon barrel presence. Upfront and strong bourbon whiskey with hints of oak, vanilla, and wood. Bready and toasted malts with big hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grain, and yeast. Also some subtle hints of roast chocolate, coffee, and peat. Dark fruit hints of fig and dates. Earthy hop hints in the background. Slight scent of alcohol as expected. A very good aroma.

Taste: Lives up to the good aroma, a bourbon whiskey soaked dark and toasty caramel malt taste.Big barrel presence upfront with notes of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Toasted malts with notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, grains, smoke, and yeast. Also some undertones of dark chocolate, coffee, and peat. Dried dark fruit undertones of fig and dates. Subtle background of earthy hops and some alcohol taste. Very big with the bourbon barrel presence. Pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the heavier side of medium. Carbonation is moderate. Creamy, silky, and somewhat syrupy. A little alcohol heat is felt but things are pretty smooth.

Overall: A very good barrel aged Scotch ale. Bold barrel presence and some good toasty caramel malt flavor.

Photo of Mantooth
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up in trade from @FlandersNed

Drank this at nearly room temp and was fairly well blown away. This viscous concoction pours a dark amber, with minimal head and oily lacing. The nose and taste are an explosion of vanilla and caramel and just the right amount of booze. This brew was good enough that I actually had regret after drinking it - I should have shared it with a buddy. One hell of a good scotch ale.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this on August 4, 2013 as an after steak and 4wheelin' (quad) excursion in Imlay, NV.

Looked like a sturdy brown ale, kind of dirty looking, but far from unappealing or unprofessional. Thin brown head on it, of a lighter variety color.

Aroma was impressive, minimal peat, a nice mellow bourbon and wood barrel existence, mild. Very mild, but very appropriate and inviting. Taste, wow, its damn good too. I don't know why, but I thought this would be all "scotchy" but its actually a very malty, mellow existence. Equal parts everything kind of beer. Except hops. Almost none of those, as per style. Stays away from too much dark fruit and subsequent bitterness those entail. The non sweet caramel and toffee is a nice touch too.

Subtlety is strong in this one (oxymoron).

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - very dark with a caramel colored head that recedes quickly leaving no lacing

Smell - lots of Oaky deliciousness. Hints of vanilla come to mind as well. Just a great smelling beer. Lots of bourbon as well!

Taste - musky, wooden, oak flavor with a bourbon finish. Wow this little bottle packs a punch! Nicely done

Mouthfeel - leaves a bit of bourbon on the tongue with some bitterness.

Overall - job well done. Nice balance to this complex beer

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a globe glass)
2013 vintage
A- This beer pours a dense opaque brown body with a fizzy tan film that sticks to the glass before quickly sliding back in.

S- The toffee and bourbon barrel aroma is soft and turns to more of a wooden pencil aroma as it opens.

T- The sweet caramel oak flavor has some nice hints of paper straws with a soft alcohol finish. There are some sweet malt flavors that linger and dry cola, green raisins and more pencil flavors come through as it opens.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a hint of alcohol heat but more would actually cut the sweetness nicely.

O- This beer had some very nice flavors of barrel and malt sugars but the odd flavors of pencils really got in the way of enjoying the rest of the beer.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

12 oz bottle at Top Hops from frigde into snifter at bar

Warmed with hands for a while

A- Deep, dark brown
S- Bourbon, Carmel, sweet notes typical of a scotch ale.. amost butter scotch. Smells so good as it warms.
M- Great balance of the bourbon barrel with the base beer. You still get the scotch malts and sweetness, but amplified in the perfect way by the bourbon
M- Creamy and just on the prefect side of heavy

O- This is a great beer. So glad I had it and would always try it again.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one. 12oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Pours just a light cream colored ring. Beer is dark mahogany. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good stick. Average.

Nose is very bourbon forward. Hints of molasses, caramel, booze, raisin, prunes, and other dried dark fruit. Deep and very aromatic.

Opens raisin, prunes, bourbon and molasses. Sweet and syrupy on the palate with a sparkle of booze. Some oak, tobacco, and the slightest bit of char towards the back end. More dark fruit at the finish with a brown sugar and molasses aftertaste. Delicious!

Medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Smooth and slick in the mouth and goes down warm and rich. Messy finish with a lingering but subtle aftertaste. Really spot on.

Central Waters continues to impress on every level. This is easily one of the best beers in the style.

Photo of dirtylou
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, split in Charlotte

Served in a NODA snifter - kind of a muddy brown body and not much carbonation. This will instantly draw comparisons to Backwoods Bastard, which I tend to favor. This will also draw comparisons to the other barrel aged beers in the CW arsenal, which I also tend to favor. The body is a little thin and the barrel flavors are spot on, but could be turned up a notch in my opinion. Nice toffee notes throughout.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown body. Medium off-white head. Settles to a thin collar.

Smell - Bourbon, but it's kinda light. Oak and vanilla are stronger. Toffee malt. Light butterscotch.

Taste - Bourbon permeates throughout and comes off stronger. Oak also persistent. Sweet toffee flavor. Butterscotch is pretty strong here. A little overwhelming. Finishes woody with a bourbon aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. A little sweet. Slick and creamy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - It's very slick and the butterscotch flavor almost takes over. The bourbon keeps it pretty interesting, though.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep mahogany color with a little clarity. LIttle head.

Sweet bourbon smells of oak, vanilla, toasted coconut. There's a light earthy tobacco smell.

The taste is moderately sweet with vanilla and lightly toasted coconut. Earthy, wet leaves. Toffee. Light milk chocolate.

On the lighter side of medium body. Low carbonation. Sweet and smooth, not boozy at all.

It's a very solid barrel aged beer. The scotch ale contributes a nice sweet side with earthy tones. Very enjoyable.

Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark color, almost stout like darkness, with two fingers of dense head that had excellent retention. The head settles to a creamy cap. Thick coating of lacing is left down the glass.

Very pleasing aroma. A lot of barrel comes through with heavy doses of bourbon and vanilla. Other things that come out is caramel, wood, and earth. Pick up some alcohol as well.

This beer is a little harsh in flavor. Booze upfront with a somewhat unpleasant wood flavor. Bourbon is represented but it does not meld into the beer very well. The finish is a particular disappointment as it ends with a bitter, harsh astringency.

Feels full with a carbonation that seems to change character. Feels smooth and creamy at the front of the mouth, but as it works its way back, it livens up.

Has some great qualities, but fails where it matters most. Still a worthwhile drinking experience but it is no Backwoods Bastard.

Photo of TWStandley
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Poured from the bottle into my large snifter.

Appeared a dark brown, nearly black color with a half finger light brown head. Left some nice syrupy looking lacing on my glass.

Smells of vanilla, brown sugar, and a bit of dark fruits.

Taste is heavy on the vanilla (which I love). Also a bit buttery. The barrel aging on this is superb.

Mouthfeel was velvety and smooth. Alcohol was hidden pretty well.

Overall an awesome BA Scotch ale. I love what CW does in their barrels.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.
Vintage 2013

A - Despite the higher alcohol this beer is sure to contain, the creamy light khaki head sticks around for a while, dotting the tulip with specks of lace as it falls to a halo above the incredibly dark mahogany-brown colored beer.

S - The classic aroma of Central Waters' smooth-but-ever-present bourbon barrel-aging is there but mellow as always. The aging gently contributes alcohol warmth and oak to the rich caramel malt and dark fruit nose for an inviting and captivating smell.

T - This beer's rich, caramel malt profile is simple at first, opening up with deep complex notes of mocha, tobacco, and leather as it warms, bringing dark fruits like raisin and plum into the mix. Oak is subtle while bourbon is warming and a little more forwards, marrying suggestions of vanilla perfectly with the malt profile!

M - Silky smoothness crosses the palate upon first sip but this viscous, full-bodied beer's sweetness is kept in check flawlessly by faint roasted malt bitterness and warming, dry alcohol creating the perfect balance and feel.

O - Central Waters' rich, malty scotch ale is the perfect candidate for barrel aging, and who else does barrel aging as well? Ready to drink fresh, the barrel-aging is balanced perfectly and brings relaxed, soothing additions to the beer, not flagrant booze, for another stellar addition to their "Brewer's Reserve" collection and an exceptional transition from fall to winter when the big barrel-aged stouts come out.

Photo of fischgaard
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic beer. The bourbon barrels worked overtime on this majestic offering. The nose is as expected with rich toffee and a classic bourbon scent. The smooth, almost creamy beverage is a comfortable on the tongue. The flavor is sweet, with a sense of higher abv than the beer offers. The nice tingle in the back of the mouth is reminiscent of a well aged bourbon. This one is a case purchase and store.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a medium dark brown, slightly hazy, with a small quarter inch or so head, and no real lacing.

Smells absolutely incredible, very sweet bourbon forward, lots of vanilla, some chocolate, root beer, coconut. Just awesome.

The taste is similar, but not quite as good. Still tasty, though. An over-riding bourbony rootbeer flavor. There is the aforementioned vanilla, chocolate, and coconut, a tiny bit of oak. Very sweet and silky flavor- doesn't taste much like a traditional scotch ale, but still tastes good..

Medium bodied, a bit thicker than some of CW's other main line of BA beers. There is a low level of carbonation. This is one is really drinkable.

CW brings it again, it seems like they can't miss on their barrel program.

Photo of metter98
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar, but upon closer inspection the edges are dark reddish brown when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a a thin tan head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon and vanilla are present in the nose.
T: The initial taste has some flavors of caramelized malts, but most of the taste and the entire finish us dominated by the bourbon.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Slight bits of warming are present in the finish.
O: This beer is really pleasant to drink, but there seems to be a bit too much bourbon and you can't taste much of the scotch ale. It isn't clear how much alcohol is in this beer from the label, but it doesn't get in the way of the taste.

Note: 2014 vintage

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of errantnight
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking dark, dark brown with moderate head and retention and no real lacing to speak of.

Aroma yields deep, roast and caramel notes, almost a char with a big honey and vanilla sweetness through the middle.

A bit thin on the body, which lessens the impact, although despite being a touch watery this does have an elegant, lingering finish. Warming and a touch bitter at the finish behind a wall of complex sugars, vanillin, and dried fruit.

Really nice, a touch more body would elevate this.

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served into an Ikea brandy snifter. Appearance is nearly black with tinges of amber. There is a small brown head that fades quickly.

Smell is really interesting. There's a dark fruity sweetness that reminds me of red wine, and lots of oaky booziness. There's some weird tartness that actually smells a lot like blue cheese. In fact, once I've made that connection, blue cheese is all I can smell here. Which is actually really awesome - I love blue cheese. :)

Taste has lots of dark fruitiness. The blue cheesy tartness is still there, but less prevalent than on the nose. Lots of booziness that works really well with the flavors.

Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect - nice and thick, but not syrupy.

Overall, this was just an incredible beer. Maybe it's just that I haven't had any other bourbon barrel aged scotch ales, but this really blew me away! Thanks a lot to coirm for the bottle!

Photo of robear
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into 4oz Stone inverted triangle taster

Appearance: Dark ruby brown.Thin layer of foam quickly dissipates completely. No particularly impressive in the glass. You can tell it's a Scotch Ale, but I was expecting a bit more foam.

Smell: Caramel, leather, cherries, but all muted really nicely by a punch of bourbon. Something vaguely metallic, possibly driven by the malts.

Taste: Same level of bourbon as BBA Stout. A ton of sweetness. Sweet cherries, figs, maybe even roasted plantains hiding in there. I gotta say, the bourbon is a little bit strong right now, but the toffee and caramel flavors remind us that this is a Scotch Ale.

Mouthfeel: I swear this is thicker than last year. It has more body than BBA Stout for sure. Remains thick without getting chewy.

Overall: So glad I picked this up again. I didn't fall in love with it last year, but this fresh bottle is fantastic. If it's in your market, it is well worth the $13-ish 4-pack price. I'd rank it ahead of this year's BBA Stout but just behind BBA BW. Would be awesome if this were aged in some Highland barrels.

Photo of Etan
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz into a snifter.

A: Pours pretty much black, a little darker than most scotch ales, with a nice tan head.

S: Nose brings smooth bourbon, light roast, egg cream, some moderate notes of chocolate and fig.

T: Taste brings thick, pleasant bourbon, drying charred oak tannins, caramel, a bit of raisin, toasted grain, slight smokiness.

M: Thick-bodied with moderate carbonation, very creamy. Spot-on.

O: A very nice barrel-aged scotch ale. More on the dark, roasty side than I'm used to for scotch ales, but a good beer nonetheless.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 522 ratings.