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
93
outstanding

78 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 532
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 7.31%
Wants: 68
Gots: 112 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Hads: 532
Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
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! (890 characters)

Photo of pagriley
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage
A - Pours so dark it almost looks like a stout - just a hint of deep mahogany when held up to the light. No head or lacing but thick syrupy legs
S - Bourbon and sweet malt dominate. Hints of toasted nuts and maple syrup from the roasted malts
T - bourbon and malt again. getting more complex flavors as it warms, but this is a malt bourbon bomb
M - thick and creamy, almost syrupy in mouth feel.

Absolutely perfect - my favorite beer... ever. (461 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-Deep brown color....nice tan head and lace

S--Huge bourbon aroma...sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla, nougat, oak...

T-Tough to match the aroma but this comes close....I debated hard between a 5.0 and 4.75 and settled on the later as I feel the aroma also helps the flavor as you drink it....on its own the flavor is big on the bourbon, vanilla, toffee and caramel....much the same as the aroma but not as intense....just a hint of dark fruits as well...light peaty malts emerge late...

M-Nice velvety lush feel to this....I'd call it high side of medium bodied or light side of full bodied...splitting hairs....

OThis is an elite offerings. One of the my favorite beers of all-time. These fuckers do the bourbon barrel aging right.... (738 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.79/5  rDev +13%
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. (1,526 characters)

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had at Minocqua Beer fest on tap in sample glass.

A) Dark brown leather, bourbon, and a good amount of red around the edge and light coming through the glass. It's a very pretty beer with coco colored head.

S) Bourbon very intense, alcohol, soda bread, malt,

T) bourbon perfect balance too. Malty finish and little fusal alcohol after taste

M) Not as thick as I expected Medium carbonation not

O) Great on tap, wish I remembered this one more, but I'll wait to buy in bottles. (483 characters)

Photo of guityler83
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep woody brown, almost leather looking appearance - very dark beer. Small cream colored head that subsided quickly but left spotty lacing on the edge of the glass.

S: Vanilla, wood, toasted coconut, and big barrel character. Dates, prunes and sweet toffee malt character with deep melenoidin and caramelized brown sugar . Very well blended and delicious nose. wow.

T: Very similar to the aroma and thats a good thing. Vanilla, toffee, caramelized sugar and prunes - all in moderate levels and well developed. Prunes and raisins with deep caramel flavors that don’t come of overly sweet - just perfect. Bitterness is mild with no hop flavor. Bourbon is mellow and natural tasting with the other flavors.

M: Mild carbonation with a big body. Alcohol warmth is moderate with a sticky mouthfeel. A slight bit of tingly bourbon in the cheeks.

O: Fantastic, fantastic beer. Deep malt complexity with a natural bourbon barrel flavor blended in and vanilla character taking center stage. CW again and again blows me away. (1,028 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a deep chestnut brown color. Minimal tan froth.

(S)- A big nutty toffee and boozy barrel aroma. A great underlying sweetness. Ever so slightly leathery on the finish.

(T)- A superb nutty toffee and leather that meets a deep sweet yet spiced oaky barrel character. Sexy.

(M)- Just a super sexy mouthfeel. Extremely smooth for the style and extremely well balanced despite its ABV and barrel aging. Just the right amount of carbonation. Very dynamic.

(O)- An absolutely killer BA scotch ale. Easily might be the best in the style I have had thus far. . . maybe even better than Founders Backwoods Bastard, but to confirm I might have to do a side by side (704 characters)

Photo of fischgaard
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
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. (414 characters)

Photo of NCalement
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Tulip.

A- Pours a murky brown color with a fast head that dissipates quickly. The lacing is nice and it looks rich and thick.

S- Bourbon, toffee, vanilla, burnt sugar, and caramel. The booze is apparent on the back end. As it warms leather, tobacco, and molasses begin to show up. Very nice.

T- Caramel, toffee, marshmallow, and bourbon. Booze, leather and vanilla are found on the after taste. Slight oak throughout. This is one of the best barrel aged scotch ales I've had, what a treat.

M- Perfect. It has good carbonation with heavy body. Very drinkable and booze is hidden well. Leaves you wanting more.

O- Another gem from Central Waters. One of the best scotch ales I've ever had and its shows that they really know their barrel aging. Want more. (773 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a very faint red hue. Head is tan and dissipates somewhat quickly.

Smell is great, dark fig and date like fruity notes over a great toffee, caramel malt. Nice hints of bourbon and oak are also present near the end.

Date like fruit is the first flavor to hit the tounge followed by a nice bourbon alcohol bite with hints of oak in the exhale. Malt is rich and caramel like.

Mouthfeel is great. Has a medium body, caramel like thickness and medium carbonation.

Overall this was a great scotch ale. I would love to put some of these away. I have had some great experiences aging some central waters bourbon barrel brews and I'm sure this will be no exception. (684 characters)

Photo of TBonez477
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (541 characters)

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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. (494 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

The beer comes in a copper reddish rust color.

The aroma has caramel sweetness, sweet dark fruit, slight bourbon, and woodiness.

The flavor follows with the sweetness of bourbon, caramel, and dark fruit in the front. The woodiness of the beer attacks on the middle. A good amount of woody bitterness and drying.

An incredible brew that has lots of similarities to Backwoods Bastards with a hint more mouthfeel and sweetness. (429 characters)

Photo of robear
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (1,103 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

super solid extra from an IP swap recently. enjoyed from a central waters snifter.

a - brew pours a watery crimson brown. real nice reddish highlights when held to the light. the khaki colored head was gone as fast as it formed and lacing was spotty.

s - nose is really nice with lush caramel and toffee. barrel adds some hints of chocolate, but leads with the nougat.

t/m - taste is rich and full. my mouth coats with a boozy tingle as the toffee and caramel dominates my taste buds. the beer is chewy and wonderful.

o - overall, excellent beer. a great take on a great style. would love to have more of this. (615 characters)

Photo of Bartos
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Dark brown, opaque body

S - Delicious bourbon aroma, some sweet notes of wood, caramel, chocolate and toffee; Aroma is complex and balanced

T - The taste is quite nice, but doesn't match the aroma. The scotch ale overpowers the barrel aging. Tastes thin and not well developed. Like it need more time to age to allow for that boozy barrel flavor to come through. Alot of heat on this one.

M - Definitely medium-bodied, and perhaps a bit thin

D - Smells great, lets you down on the taste. Doesn't live up to its description or hype. Felt that it needed more barrel aging. Probably would have liked it better in a blind taste test (not knowing it was barrel aged) or if I hadn't smelled it first. (739 characters)

Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,110 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the bottle and Dunderbaks in Tampa, FL. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours from the 12oz bottle into a goblet with a brown body and some red at the edges. Tiny off white head forms but falls quickly to a small ring, no lace to speak of.

S- Smooth whiskey and malty scotch ale balance. Whiskey isn't overpowering but balanced into the malty, somewhat buttery base brew.

T- Really close to Backwoods Bastard to me. Base brew of dark red fruits, brown toasted malts, caramel and some toasted nutty hints. The whiskey matches that in a smooth manner with nice vanilla, fresh medium toasted oak, spicy Bourbon pepper and some sweet feel from the vanilla hints.

MF- Creamy and super silky smooth on the palate. Medium level of carbonation but like a soft pillow when agitated, compliments the rich flavor quite well. Nice warmth remains on the palate in the finish.

I'd love to side by side this and Backwoods some day but during the day I had this in Tampa it reminded me a ton of one of my favorites. Mouthfeel is something special and the Wee Heavy and Bourbon balance is great. (1,088 characters)

Photo of d5001986
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip.
2013 vintage.

A: Pours a dark shade of brown with minimal tan head.

S: Bourbon, toffee, caramel, and a little buttery.

T: A nice bourbon presence up front that complements, rather than overpowers. Notes of toffee, coffee, dark fruit, and once again that buttery characteristic.

M: Medium-light body, the CW norm. Normally I would prefer a heavier body, but this is smooth as silk.

O: So drinkable it's crazy. I think I even prefer this to Backwoods Bastard. (505 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I got this awesome brew from BeerFM Andy many months ago. Rock on!

Served in a Boulevard tulip.

A: Poured a dark, bark brown color, with some ruby poking through around the edges. Head? We don't need no stinking head! However, we got one…….. about 1/8 head worth.

S: Chewy, caramely, nougat center in this bourbon, coconut-infused bad boy. Nice! This was a caramel tiramisu.

T: So smooth and delectable, with a strong bourbon character that played section leader to the rest of the trumpet section. Bourbon, grape juice, and tons of malty goodness.

M: More carbonation than I was expecting, but that made it all the more drinkable. Think Winter Warmer. Nothing sweet or cloying.

O: I loves me some BBA Scotch Ales! This was truly an awesome one! (755 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (1,487 characters)

Photo of foobula
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle. Bottlecap and seal in good shape. Dark brown pour with a one-finger tan head. Cloudy appearance with lots of visible sediment throughout the beer, not just in the bottom of the bottle. Aroma features lots of sweet bourbon. A bit of sourness in the background. Nose is decent and reminds me of CW's BB Barleywine. Taste is sweet & bourbon up front that really pops. Some tanginess on the sides. A little roasty in the finish. Mostly the taste is about the sweet & bourbon. Mouthfeel is nice, pretty thick, a little syrupy. Below average carbonation. Overall it's a nice beer. 1.5 years of age haven't altered it much, from my recollection. Lots of sweetness, a little roast. Nice barrel presence. (708 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark rich near black chocolate color, with the slightest hints of red around the outside of my BCBS snifter when held up to the light. A full and perfect, dense finger of mocha colored head still has about a half a finger of depth 5 minutes in. Thick outer ring on top of the slightly dissipated head crawls up the perimeter of the glass.

S - Extremely scotchy and peat aromas, rich molasses, malty boozy aromas, oak, vanilla. Smell is a bit faint overall but wonderful.

T - Caramel, mollases, scotch, peat really really wonderful - i almost get a raisin like taste as well. As the initial sweetness begins to subside oak vanilla and a bit of boozyness take shape. The initial sweetness taste is probably damn near a 5. The boozy/oaky/vanilla give it a relatively (key word) clean finish. Doesnt linger too long, alcohol is minimally warming but does not burn in any way. This is just fantastic.

M - Thick, creamy, minimally carbonated. Soooo friggin good. The lingering taste on my lips begs for another sip.

O - I think I covered this, its frigging fantastic (1,081 characters)

Photo of Ri0
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured 12 oz bottle into Duvel tulip. This was bottled one week ago.

A - Dark caramel brown with a thin khaki head. Thin collar that leaves minimal lacing.

S - Bourbon and oak with a sweet, rich caramel aroma. Hints of vanilla and dark malt. This is less bourbon forward than their other BB beers, but it is awesome.

T - Good amount of bourbon and oak up front, but a bit subdued. Sweet malty flavors of caramel, and vanilla. The wood blends in nicely with the malt flavors are pretty to make it sweet and rich.

M - Medium bodied with decent carbonation, rich and creamy finish with a lingering woody taste.

O - Almost as good as BWB and great to have in the summer time when very few BA beers or Scotch Ales are available. I'm not aging this because I think it is perfect to drink right now. (799 characters)

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.