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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 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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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 MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

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Photo of Walligator
4.9/5  rDev +14.2%
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 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 ZAP
4.81/5  rDev +12.1%
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....

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.79/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.78/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of guityler83
4.76/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
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 sweemzander
4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
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

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Photo of pagriley
4.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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.

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

2013 review
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.

2015 vintage review:
The viscosity of this beer has increased over the past couple of vintages and has made this beer become a real contender for a top 5 BA Wee Heavy. The nose on this beer is amazing, great barrel notes. CW just keeps getting better and remains humble doing so. Small amount of 2015 hit the shelves as of 8/4; look for widespread distro starting 8/1/15. $12.99/4 pk!

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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 SLeffler27
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
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 fischgaard
4.59/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of NCalement
4.59/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.56/5  rDev +6.3%
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 durlta
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
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 PBRmeasap1980
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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 dar482
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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 jwc215
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
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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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.