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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.

83 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 548
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 73
Gots: 119 | FT: 15
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 83 | Hads: 548
Photo of facundoCNB
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep reddish brown/black with a finger of off white head, slight bit of lacing left behind. huge vanilla/oak aroma, molasses, bourbon, wet pecans, butterscotch, toffee. my good lord this tastes like a syrupy worther's candy drink.. delicious toffee/butterscotch flavor, tons of vanilla and oak, a nice bourbon overall flavor - this is a fantastic tasting beer. medium body (finally a scotch ale that doesn't feel watered down) with a low amount of carbonation.

one of my favorites of the style i've ever had a chance to try. a delicious sweet candy-like liquid bliss of a beer. do not let this one out of your sight, if you see it buy it. (648 characters)

Photo of Jparker37
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

S - The darkest malt qualities come off as a overripe red cherries. Little bit of nuttiness along with vanilla. Woody. Alcohol hides well even at serving temperature. Some sweetness as well.

A - Small tan ring around the glass. Very dark for a Scotch ale, nearly opaque except on the outer most sides when held to light. No lacing.

T - Malt shows intensity. Theres pronounced caramel, burnt sugar, and flashes of raisin qualities. Huge vanilla flavor midway from the barrel. There's sweetness all along in the background. Once those vanilla/raisin/alcohol flavors hit, they continue throughout and well after the finish.

M - Full body, medium-light to light carbonation, sweet

O - Tremendous smelling beer, excellent complexity. Ran a little to dark for me to think this is a traditional Scotch ale pre-barrel aging. Flavor showed fantastic barrel character but ran a little heavy on sweetness. Feel was smooth and full.

Judgement - Another recommended Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Aged behemoth. (1,046 characters)

Photo of garuda
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky mahogany, tan head has good retention and lacing.

S/T - Big caramel sweetness. Vanilla, oak noticeable but not overbearing. Nicely incorporated.

M - Full body, warming, touch of booze, medium carbonation.

O - Not always the biggest fan of bourbon barrel beers, but this one I enjoyed, with the flovors melding nicely together, balanced. (350 characters)

Photo of TheSSG
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, dense, tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves splotches of lacing. Massive vanilla/oak aroma atop a slightly tart, acidity reminiscent of berries; almost a bubblegum-sweetness behind it all. After the pouring aroma subsides, agitation brings up a more sweet-dominated vanilla aroma. I know I'm describing this in an unappealing way, but it smells great (and I hate bubblegum, haha) Deep, deep burnt umber is practically black. Starts with a MASSIVE, assertive bourbon profile; vanilla and oak on top of sweet booziness. There's a nice sweet maltiness behind this all, though. There is a touch of floral hops and toasted malt that creeps in before the finish. The finish is a great vanilla with other remnants of oak.

This is pretty fantastic. While I'm NOT a big fan of their Scotch Ale, after the bourbon barrels, this is great. That sweet, toasted malt pairs WONDERFULLY against the vanilla from the barrels. I'd almost say the Scotch ale works better than a stout to highlight the bourbon barrels. If you like bourbon aged things or scotch ales, this is highly recommended. (1,097 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the only beer I had more than once at the recent Autumn Brew Review & I ran home with intent to try it out of a bottle. 12 ounces of more CW bliss. I hope.

Dark reddishness flows out of the narrow neck & into a nice glass. Carbonation is very low. Nose has a distinct coconut flair, along with plenty of barrel & an underlying sweetness. Sweet.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale continues a great tradition; I hope CW never runs out of barrels to stick stuff in. The bourbon is front & center, kicking the snot out of my palate & setting my tongue on fire. Liquid caramel, slight smokiness, sweet malts, oak staves slapping around the inside of my mouth, vanilla. Layers, onion boy. The scotch malts, or whatever they are, set up a serious camp in the back of my throat & just lounge. I've given them squatting rights. Thick enough that I'm loving to sip on this, except that sips shouldn't be two ounces each.

This kicks ass. I can feel the bourbon leaching out of my pores, like after a good garlic pizza, I probably smell like it. The base beer is overshadowed, but it's so good, who cares? Excellent beer; for the equivalent of $6/bomber, how can you beat it? (1,185 characters)

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Poured as dark a brown as brown can get with the thinnest tan head that leaves no lacing. There was a small but noticeable amount of sediment. Oak and toffee dominate the nose, with the caramel from the bourbon coming on strong as well. Vanilla and butterscotch in the background, with light mocha detected. Big sweetness all the way down, light heat in the middle. Drinks like molasses, which leaves behind a long aftertaste of toffee. Feels like drinking a melted butterscotch candy. This drinks exactly like what I hope for in a BA wee heavy.

Overall: The beer is perfectly aged, not overbearing with bourbon smell and taste, yet always lingering around. Perfect palate is a great finish to a very well done beer. I loved it. (752 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.79/5  rDev +12.4%
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 hardy008
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black with brown highlights. Has a 1/4 finger tan head with nice retention and lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, peat, and toffee.

Has a nice sweet malty flavor with bourbon, vanilla, toffee, peat, and caramel. The bourbon is there, but it does not make the beer taste overly boozy, which I appreciate. This is very well made, as the bourbon blends in nicely with the rest of the beer.

Medium bodied, smooth, easy to drink, with perfect carbonation. A very well made beer, which I would buy again gladly. (524 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
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 Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (482 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
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 RoamingGnome
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a CBS snifter. Served lightly chilled.

A) Dark brown with a bit of a shimmer. A finger of tan head, which slowly settled to a collar. Spotty lacing, and some traction on the swirl.

S) A pleasant amount of vanilla on the nose. A whiff of caramel as well. The oak barrel is also noted, along with just a little alcohol.

T) Starts out with malt and vanilla sweetness, followed by a nice touch of bourbon, blending well with a woody flavor. Finishes slightly sweet with just a little alcohol heat.

M) Lighter medium body, with lighter carbonation. Some light alcohol warmth, but really a nice smooth sipper.

O) Highly enjoyable offering from Central Waters. Admittedly, I wasn't the biggest fan of their regular Scotch Ale, but doggone it, they aged it in some bourbon barrels, and it tastes fantastic. (880 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of maximum12, thanks again!

Pours a deep dark brown color with a really thin white head. Really still looking as well.

Aromas are of coconut, bourbon, and toasted oak. Smells good, not much in the way of beer notes here though.

Taste is of bourbon, brown sugar, and coconuts up front. Notes of oak, roasted nuts, light booze, cola and a general warm feeling from the alcohol. Tasty and complex beer.

Mouthfeel is a on the thin side, but it's smooth and soft.

Overall, a very tasty beer with a few minor flaws. (531 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
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. (900 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
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 justintcoons
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Deep, dark copper with no head. Very murky with no clarity.

Caramel, bourbon, toffee, vanilla, nuts and cocoa.

Copious amounts of caramel and candy sugars. Notes of nuts, peat smoke, toffee and cocoa nib. Has a good bourbon presence that adds to the sweetness. Hints of charred oak and vanilla.

Medium bodied, silky and smooth.

Spot on Scotch Ale + nice barrel aging = a quality beer. (464 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a very dark coffee brown, opaque, with a thin film of tannish head. The quickly receding head forms a persistent ring. Some dots of lacing.

S: Rich, delicious liquid caramel candies. Wow, unique. A bit of barrel character (bourbon, coconut), sweetness, cola, plum/dark fruit.

T: Caramel, mild bitterness, a little dried fruit (cranberry), just a tinge of bourbon and oak, finishing mostly dry.

M: Medium body and medium, sharpish, cola-like carbonation.

O: Very nice aroma. The taste is almost very good but not quite there--the bitterness is not really complementary, and I think it could use some richness. (650 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.81/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A new barrel-aged beer from CW! Picked up a single. Tasted 27 August 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours dark brown, the color of "black" coffee. Clear brown at the edges. One finger of medium tan head, okay retention, not much lacing. Decent.

Smell is sweet bourbon, rich and grainy, and backed by a hefty sweet malt base. It's really nice, kinda popping out at me. It comes on strong, then lets the complexity shine through. Like a little brother to Backwoods Bastard (which it certainly can't match, but it's in the same league at least).

This stuff is potent, with a hefty kick that makes me think the ABV is up there. Makes me wince a little, too. Flavors are hard to dig out of it. Really earthy, black mud, and the bourbon seems to bring alcohol more than anything else. Mostly lacking the brightness that I want from the barrel. Moderate to high bitterness in the back, which I think is alcohol.

Medium-heavy body, carbonation that starts out too low and slowly raises up to peak at only a little too low. Needs more vibrancy.

Tasty stuff. There are other, better, bourbon-barrel scotch ales around, but not many. I'd definitely drink it again, though only when I'm in the mood for such a thing. (1,205 characters)

Photo of WankelEngine
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours an opaque, dark mahogany color with a light tan head that fades to almost nothing over the course of a minute.

S: The sweet scent of coconut and vanilla leap out of the glass. Almost reminiscent of a macaroon. Followed by toffee and candied walnut. A mild, sweet bourbon and a hint of oak join the aroma as the beer warms.

T: Caramel and toffee lead, followed by fig, cherry and vanilla. Bourbon is apparent in the mid-palate which combines with mild alcohol to counter the overall sweet flavor. Some roasted notes. Oak tannin builds in potency during the sip, further countering the beer's sweetness and leading to a relatively dry finish compared to the rest of the beer.

M: Medium bodied with low, fizzy bubble. A little sticky.

O: I am surprised by how sweet the beer manages to be while still remaining balanced. The first things I notice are all sugary: vanilla, coconut, caramel, toffee, candied nuts, etc. Even the bourbon is sweet. But then a light roasted flavor, oak tannin and relatively small, sharp carbonation come together to keep it from being cloying. Still sweet, but not quite a dessert beer. Great take on a scotch ale. (1,195 characters)

Photo of Etan
4.09/5  rDev -4%
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. (536 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Darkness glass. Appearance is a deep dark amber with minimal light passage. Some tan head upon pour with moderate retention. The nose starts with mellow bourbon notes, mainly vanilla. Some malt base is present at the back, a touch of smoke and peat paired with caramel. Taste starts out with smooth vanilla and a bit of oak. The oak seems to add some acidity to the flavor, not sure if this is intent all or what. Light bitterness present next with strong caramel and a metallic twinge on the finish. I can't help but perceive the beginnings of the infected flavors I experienced in Peruvian Morning. Perhaps this is just from some astringency from the oak, As it stands, this is a tasty brew, but I'm not sure how long this one will hold up. (754 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
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 (459 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark brown color with black cherry striations a fast receding tan head leaves a small fresh cap
S-bourbon and wood with hint of vanilla and toffee
T- smooth bourbon with creamy vanilla malts caramel butterbread in the back
M- bourbon is up front but it also has a smooth creamy malt taste that mellows the alcodolheat
O- another great BB offering from CW this one is outstanding (389 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Local Option. Served in a chalice.

A - A big tan foam settles to a thick cap and glass-coating lacework. Very dark brown, opaque body.

S - Massive bourbon aroma, large doses of vanilla and coconut, light wood, some sweet toffee and treacle; definite Scotch Ale character that punches through the barrel flavors. Nice balance, not overly cloying, and not overly boozy either.

T - The taste is quite nice, but doesn't match the aroma. A bit more milk chocolate, caramel, and nougat and less of the vanilla and coconut flavors. There's a touch of astringent wood in the finish, but the alcohol is well-hidden on the whole.

M - Definitely medium-bodied, and perhaps a bit thin although without an ABV it's hard to tell. A tad watery, but with lots of residual stickiness after a moderately tannic, oaky finish. Perhaps a touch of light alcohol warming here.

D - Smells great, although I think a 12oz bottle would be a pretty hefty serving; it took me awhile to work through my chalice. Still, it's pretty nice stuff and a definite return to form for Central Waters after some middling and 'off' beers. (1,112 characters)

Photo of vic21234
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, cooled in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

A- Pours a dark brown, borderline black with a small amount of light being let in along the top. A small amount of cream colored head quickly fades to the sides of the glass. Lacing is also apparent.

S- The smell is heavy on bourbon and oak. I also get some caramel and toffee notes as well.

T- Starts very smooth with caramel malts. Notes of toffee and dark fruits come about as well. The bourbon and oakiness are prevalent and work well with the other flavors.

M- Medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, very nice sipper with slight alcohol warming with each sip.

Central Waters has yet another fine BA offering here. I plan to age 2 of my bottles to see how it develops. (778 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.