Black Raven Brewing Co.

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #12
Ranked #2,959
4.24 | pDev: 8.73%
Black Raven Brewing Co.
Washington, United States
Notes: Our Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale that has been aged in various Kentucky bourbon barrels. After many months of aging, the barrels are then blended together to form Splinters.
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 84 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is rather hazy dark reddish amber in color. It poured with a short light beige head that died down and left a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of sweet caramel malts are present in the nose along with strong notes of bourbon.
T: The taste follows the smell and has flavors of dark malts and caramel along with notes of bourbon from the barrel aging along with a touch of smoke.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with a touch of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer is first and foremost a Scotch Ale with nice accompanying notes of bourbon from the barrel aging that lend complexity to both the smell and taste. It does a good job at hiding a good portion of the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

Apr 14, 2020
Photo of KRFoster

4.98/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Delicious beer, one that belies its high ABV. Barrel-aged beers occupy a lot of my top beers, and this has a full and hearty smell, like a more potent Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. It is clear in appearance, a deep red-brown. Strong, rich flavor - and drinkable enough to trick you into drinking more than you should. Be careful out there! A strong yes recommendation.

Jan 06, 2020
Photo of WA_Brian
WA_Brian from Washington

4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 22oz bottle dated with no bottle date but it was released on Nov 5, so that should give some indication. Poured into a snifter at 50°F.

L: Dark brown color with some ruby. Nice tan head but didn't last too long.
S: Strong caramel. Some bourbon and vanilla. You can almost tell it's a bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale simply by the aroma.
T: Strong malt flavors, particularly the caramel. Not a dominant bourbon flavor at all, but there is some sweetness and vanilla there. Still a bit nutty. The scotch ale base is nicely complimented by the bourbon barrels with neither being too overpowering to enjoy the other.
F: Medium bodied but lighter than expected for this style. Medium carbonation and has a nice warmth to it.
O: It's a wonderful scotch ale that is improved but not dominated by the bourbon barrels.

Jan 16, 2019
Photo of VashonGuy
VashonGuy from Washington

4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle dated 11/2016, so just about two years old.

Splinters is a reddish copper color, fairly clear, with a light tan head that disappears quickly. The smell is caramel. The taste is ... well, there's a lot going on in this stuff. Cherries, toffee, vanilla, some wood, and then the bourbon. For a bourbon barrel aged beer, the bourbon isn't too strong, although it kicks in more at the end. I'd say the bourbon is a nicely integrated part of the whole package, rather than being the headline story.

The body is fairly light, but I think that's a feature not a bug. The ABV is pretty apparent.

As others have remarked, this isn't exactly a classic Scotch Ale. It's closer to an English Barleywine, and an excellent one at that. I'll be looking for more bottles to put away for a year or two.

Oct 08, 2018
Photo of Superheatnsubcool
Superheatnsubcool from Washington

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle dated 11/16/16, enjoyed 02/20/18.
A: Pours a deep mahogany with a cream head that dissipates and leaves some lacing.
S: Dark cherry, oak, vanilla, leather.
T: Largely follows nose, some sweetness, bourbon barrel is present but nicely balanced.
M: Average, maybe a little thin but it doesn’t detract from the experience.
O: Nicely done, really opens up as it warms.

Feb 21, 2018
Photo of Benish
Benish from Wisconsin

3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a burgundy color with a pancake batter colored head. Looked a little thin when pouring. The aromas were of cocktail cherries, dark fruits, and notes of bourbon. The taste followed through exactly. Tasted maraschino cherries as well as some prunes and ton of oak that stayed around through the aftertaste. As it warmed the bourbon became very rich at the finish and lingered around with the heat after each sip. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with noticeable heat. Overall it's not exactly what I expected. Seemed to take more after a barleywine or maybe a wheat wine. Just a bit too sweet with an over abundance of cherries.

Jul 23, 2017
Photo of Just-the-sip
Just-the-sip from California

4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L-Dark red nearly brown no head.

S-Banana, fruity, boozey. Could smell it all night.

T-Banana, fruity right up front. Back end has a bitter hit I can't explain. Almost a savory really. Hard to explain. Is this the peat that people talk about from Scotch?

F-Bit more carbonation than I'd like but it's nothing to grimace over. It's beer. Duh.

O-First time ever trying this Brewery through Tavour. I've another bottle to save for later. Not a bad beer at all.

Feb 26, 2017
Photo of cavedave
cavedave from New York

4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to kemoarps for another delicious PNW treat.

Beautiful, thick looking clear cordovan, with a finger of off white head that kicks back to bare cap and persistent ring. Pretty beer.

Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, floral, deep jammy sweet, and hints of roasty malt. Add some righteous alcohol spice and you have a cranking medium strength aroma that causes salivary glands to fire in appreciation.

Caramel and treacle front all the flavors of the aroma, and some righteous light herbal bitter comes along as well, to make a sip that is just delicious. Very clean and balanced presentation of deliciosity.

Medium viscosity, medium/light body, and clean linger make a mouthfeel and finish that frame this baby's goodness so that it shines.

Excellent Scotch Ale, and the barrel treatment isn't over the top, just the right accompaniment to do wonders for the drinkability and complexity. Highly recommended.

Apr 24, 2016
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful aroma of whiskey with some peat but not too smoky. Why not just age a strong ale in some peaty Scotch barrels? Dark golden brown with adequate foam and plenty of swirls in the Ciney snifter.

Banana is the persistent flavor. Malty and rich. Crazy sweet caramel but the hot alcohol livens it up. Very tasty and sippable strong brew. I had no idea there were 140 Scotch Ales on BA that are 10% ABV or over.

Apr 17, 2016
Photo of rarigney
rarigney from Washington

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very pleasant experience and a very smooth nearly 11% ABV beer. Initial aroma of bourbon and dark fruit. Pours a clear mahogany with minimal head. Bought 2 bottles from Tavour in Seattle with the intent of cellaring one and drinking one. Hope I can wait.

Jan 21, 2016
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium to dark rich bronze amber with a thin, patchy light khaki head that maintains a wide ring around the glass with light lacing. Awesome aroma of bourbon, caramel malt, dark fresh fruit with a hint of woodiness and peat. Flavor is sweet caramel, toffee, bourbon changing to finish with fresh plum and dark berry juice with oak and a hint of peat and vanilla. Medium bodied with a light creaminess. Does not fit exactly to a classic Scotch ale profile, sweeter and fruitier, with less caramale malt flavor and very subdued peat smokiness. On the other hand, it has a really nice and interesting flavor progression with both the start and finish satisfying and full flavored. Although the bourbon is distinct, I agree with another reviewer that there seems like a fortified wine barrle influence here too, which adds to the interest and complexity of the flavors. Long, lingering, delicious aftertaste. Although warming, the alcohol is well covered. I missed this on tap a few years ago, and am glad I had a chance to try it since it was bottled this year. Well worth the wait, and another excellent beer in the Black Raven line up.

Jan 22, 2015
Photo of Impfan
Impfan from Washington

5/5  rDev +17.9%

Unbelievably smooth for 11.1%, this bourbon barrel aged Second Sight tastes like it was aged in a very high quality brandy (or even cognac) barrel. There is lots of yellow and red fruity complexity, with plums outstanding, and just enough peat flavor to belie its origins. I could sniff this stuff all day, and I would definitely recommend a brandy snifter to capture all the subtle nuances. It's definitely sweet, on balance, and it reminds me of The Bruery's Bois, but, unlike that brew, it never crosses over into undrinkably cloying. Highly recommended.

Sep 16, 2014
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Arrives with a clear mahogany and a minimal head; due to the high ABV I won't quibble much about the head as it does leave a few streaks

Smell: Caramel, Bourbon, oak and a touch of vanilla

Taste: Caramel and Bourbon commingle in the front end with oak, vanilla and nuts building, in the middle; sweet and boozy, after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Full bodies with low to moderate carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet

Overall: I don't get much in the way of the characteristic Wee Heavy peat elements here as this tastes more like a BA English barleywine; not a bad beer but a bit too sweet and boozy for me

Jul 29, 2014
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou from New York

3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap @ the brewery

Chestnut-brown body, not much in the way of head presentation. The bourbon really isnt that pronounced in my opinion - adds some sweetness and booze but not a strong flavor. Toffee, caramel, wood. Not particularly in-line with the style - interested in having a few bottles, but a little underwhelmed

Jun 18, 2013
Photo of TheEarl
TheEarl from Washington

4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had Splinters from a tulip, at the taproom, June 1, 2012.
Appearance: Splinters is a very dark red/brown, with a slight, wispy head, and medium/light carbonation.

Smell: The aroma is dominated by dark fruit (plum, prune, cherry, berry) and bourbon.

Taste: The taste is extremely sweet with very aggressive caramel, vanilla, honey, fruit, and malty notes.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is sticky, smooth, and viscous.

Overall: Splinters is exceptional but, by no means, subtle. The bourbon character comes through, in its full complexity, without making the beer too woody. That said, this beer is very sweet and rich and, even though I loved it and look forward to having this beer many more times, 12 ounces was almost more than I could handle in a sitting.

Jun 08, 2012
Photo of NWer
NWer from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served cold in a tulip glass. Too cold. Pour is dark, minimal foam rings the glass. Aroma is light and fruity with no hint of what is to follow. First impression on the palate is the strong overpowering bourbon taste. Follows is a sweet malty smoothness. Great sipping beer. A little overpowering by the end. Too much of a good thing. In the lounge at Black Raven in a state of complete bliss.

May 29, 2012
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend from Washington

4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Splinters was explained to me as a barrel aged version of Second Sight

A: Poured a deep maroon color with a dirty white head, good carbonation. Looked delicious

S: Bam. Vanilla, wood bourbon, caramel, toffee

T: Great. Sweet caramel, malts, toffee, big vanilla presence about midway and it is good. The only other thing I wanted in this beer is peat, which is a personal preference on my Wee Heavy/Scottish Ales

M: Sweet, sticky, easy to drink, dangerously smooth, carbonated well

D: Drink some. Very good and recommended.

May 11, 2010
Splinters from Black Raven Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 84 ratings