Big Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch Ale | Shoreline Brewery And Restaurant

Big Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch AleBig Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch Ale
Liked This Beer
3.94 w/ 39 ratings
Big Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch AleBig Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Shoreline Brewery And Restaurant
Indiana, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by memyselfandi on 09-04-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of GrindFatherBob
2/5  rDev -49.2%

Photo of cetherid
2.39/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

2008 series

poured into a tulip


Dark dark brown that looks almost black...hints of red in this when held up to the light Head is non existent, even with a vigorous pour. Looks basically like a flat cola.


Big time bourbon/boozy heat, oak, caramel and brown sugar, maybe a hint of vanilla. Pretty decent aroma on this, however this is the only thing it has going for it.


Taste is pretty underwhelming. Strong notes of oak and bourbon heat, but that is really about it. It's almost like the barrels were a little watered down. Very disappointing.


Mouthfeel is just god awful. The feel is like water and it is extremely flat. A hint of sugar/syrup that leaves a slightly sticky feel but that's about it. Again, like drinking a flat pop that was watered down from melted ice.


Very disappointing. I thought maybe a few months of age would help this as I had it at the brewpub when they were released but I was very wrong. From what I'm told, it seems like all of the 2008 Barrel Series beers were a strikeout compared to 2007.

 1,048 characters

Photo of StoutAtTheDevil
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of Stevedore
3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of kawilliams81
3.26/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage.

A- Pours a dark ruby color with a 1 finger tan head. Lacing resides quickly.

S- Big apple cider notes and bourbon.

T- Sweet amber malts, apples, sour mash, bourbon.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Still a little hot.

O- Average ba beer. Apple flavors just makes this beer off. My 2nd BA Shoreline beer and just not a fan. Both thin mf, and aroma and flavors just not up to par either.

 403 characters

Photo of shirtless_mike
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mad ups to Rempo for shipping me a couple bottles of Shoreline; been wondering about these beers for a while & now I get to cuddle up with two of them. Big Bella up first. Split with my scotch-ale loving wife. 2007 vintage.

Pours a brutally dark red with the body of a steroid-boy (see: Alex the Jackass Rodriguez). Smell is hot as the surface of Mercury; alcohol jets the nostrils like a shot of J Daniels. Not sure I've ever smelt that much K-Haul in a beer. My nose hair is going to need rehab.

Big Bella lives the nose, this gorilla breathes alcohol heat like few other beers. The bourbon lights up the palate like a pinball machine. Luckily, I like bourbon. A lot. There's subtext of a scotch ale in there somewhere, a rock that the bourbon breaks on. Barely.

This is a good beer, but even after three years, the heat overwhelms the base. The bourbon aging took with a vengeance, but ultimately, much like Bourbon County Stout for me, there's just too much bourbon & not enough of anything else.

 1,005 characters

Photo of jeffreed61
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle. Very sweet, but not cloying. Unmistakably a scotch ale. Lots of malt & caramel. Not boozy at all, and very little barrel at this point.

149 characters

Photo of enelson
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of zrab11
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Baldjosh
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of warpig372
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

No head on this dark beer. Smells of strong bourbon and chocolate. Tastes strongly of dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla, maybe some black licorice. Thin mouthfeel. Overall okay offering.

 182 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Andrewinski1 for sharing this Bal! Poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with no real head but thin beige lacing.

Huge rasin aroma on this with a ton of bourbon. A bit of a bready/dough aroma to this. Not to much to notice going on here, it's really overshadowed by being a bourbon bomb. If I were to sum up the flavor in just a few words it would be raisinets soaked in bourbon and coffee. The bourbon on the pallet is a lot more balances than in the aroma. Lots of raisin flavor with a touch of bourbon and coffee. Slight cocoa flavor to round it out.

Really smooth velvety feel on this one. Thick heavy body with soft carbonation. Really great here. Overall, this is one hell of a beer. The barrel really does this one up right.

 759 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Very dark plum. One might think it's dark brown, but I know it's dark plum. Not much for a head here at all. Just a few large bubbles from a vigorous pour.

Lots of vinous aroma here. I get a large whiff of grape. Brown sugar and prunes are also noticed.

The taste is almost prohibitively sweet. I get a good start of brown sugar followed by raisins and a hint of caramel. There is a bit of boozyness in the middle; the finish is a little warming.

This is a thick, heavy beer. The carbonation is very very mellow. Definitely a sipper.

I like this one alright, but I think I would have rather split it more than just 2 ways. The flavor is complex, but the sweetness is strong.

 699 characters

Photo of darktronica
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage that's gone flat despite the waxed cap bottle. Sweet, biscuity, all the right Scotch ale hallmarks, but nothing to help it stand out or be memorable. Given the low carbonation and age, I was surprised by how little oxidation is evident in the flavor profile, but I also get very little oak or bourbon. A bit of the latter is evident in some spice on the finish, but overall, this doesn't stand up well against other standards in the BA scotch ale category.

 469 characters

Photo of fredmugs
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage at Bloomington Beer Fest

37 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of LukeK
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Mark for sending this one to me awhile back. This is from the 2008 batch.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with almost no head or carbonation.

S: Big time bourbon aroma (lives up to the name of the beer). Candied dark fruits on the nose with a lot of caramel, toffee, and vanilla. There's a touch of charred oak on the back end.

T: Great flavor with bourbon leading the way. Vanilla, oak, toffee, and caramel are all there as well. Just a little bit of chocolate in there too.

M: The body is medium with the carbonation being quite low. But it is smooth.

O: One of the better of the Shoreline barrel aged beers. Great flavors to this one.

 663 characters

Photo of monty79_1997
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2011 vintage. Served in a thistle glass, the beer pours a dark brown/ruby red color with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is sweet and malty, the brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, dark berries, caramel and molasses. For the most part the taste is just like the aroma, but there's also some plum, nuts and woodiness noticeable. Tasted better as it warmed up (and I had already let it sit for about 20 minutes out of the fridge before opening it). Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and syrupy and is easy enough to drink. Moderate carbonation. I thought this was an enjoyable brew, definitely worth a try if you've never had it before. $21.99 a bottle.

 735 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The ale poured a dark brown with a very slight red tint. Leaving almost no head, the aroma was a burst of bourbon. Bourbon comes through in a big way on the initial taste. Notes of vanilla and a sweeter than usual scotch flavor can be detected. The bourbon flavor has staying-power which fosters an interesting ripple to the scotch ale. As the flavors merge, it gives the impression of a vanilla laced imperial scotch with the familiar flavors at maximum power. The sweet scotch flavor emerges in the aftertaste as the ale warms the back of the throat. The ale was thinner than I would have anticipated, but still enjoyable. This is not my favorite in the Big Bourbon Series, but I would drink it again.

 703 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

n8dietz is the man! He grabbed me the last 2007 barrel aged Scotch ale they had at the brewery at the time. That was maybe 4 months ago. Nows the time to crack her open.

No head or foam of any kind, even after a hard pour. The color makes me think of very dark brandy. Lots of dark garnet hues with a little treated bronze. No bubbling. This beer looks more like a liquer than a beer.

The aroma gives a bit of everything that went into this beer. You get lots of malty caramel, German rye bread crust, and some pumpernickel bread. The oak adds some peet earthiness, vanilla, and a little cherr cavendish from yee olde tobacco shop.

The taste starts with a silky cream texture and flavors of vanilla and sweet dark rye bread. The middle has some booze heat. But also a more subued and aged bourbon flavor. This is a pretty complex tasting Scotch ale. Well put together and well aged.

 886 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Scott for this one.

Pours a dark brown with a sliver of head. A bit flat maybe. The aroma is a wonderful mix of deep caramel maltiness, vanilla, toffee, and a tiny bit of alcohol heat.

The flavor is much like the aroma, but perhaps a bit more hot. This is very good though. The caramel maltiness is rich and decadent, and the barrel qualities shine through and bring depth and complexity while remaining integrated with the base beer.

The mouthfeel brings this beer down a bit, and has an effect on the taste as well. I expect my wee heavy's to be full bodied, this one just isn't. I wouldn't call it thin, but it is on the lower side of medium and the carbonation is low giving a watery nature to it. More body is needed with this type of flavor profile.

Overall this beer is very fine, but it is a better representation of a barrel aged beer than it is a wee heavy. If this were a bit fuller it would have easily been an A or an A+

 947 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Big Bourbon Series Big Bella Scotch Ale from Shoreline Brewery And Restaurant
Beer rating: 79.5% out of 100 with 39 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.