Piper Down Scottish Ale (Bourbon Barrel Aged) | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Very Good
73 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Floydster on 10-29-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at 38 Degrees Ale House in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, brown sugar, caramel, wood, and some slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and woody finish after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and drinkable.

 533 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Homebrew Mart.

Bright amber in the glass with a slight haze to it, a small white head crowns the body. It smells strongly of butterscotch, moreso than any other beer I've tried, and it's rather glorious. Bourbon is noticeable with some digging, along with an apricot-like fruitiness. I could accuse this of being somewhat one-dimensional, but it really does smell awesome. The taste is less sweet than the nose led me to believe. Butterscotch is still there, along with toffee, vanilla and bourbon. There's a bit of oak in there, but it has a subdued presence. Medium-bodied, this dries up a touch toward the finish, and despite the massive butterscotch aroma, there's very little diacetyl or slickness. This is surely one of the better Scottish ales I've tried.

 773 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft @ Ballast Point Linda Vista on 11/9/09 during their "Beer Meets Wood" event. Part of San Diego Beer Week.

Pours a deep, clear amber, with a modest covering of lightish foamy off-white head. Stays frothy around the edges, leaving some nice moderate looking lace behind. The aroma smells completely of butterscotch. I'm assuming that this is from a combo of the bourbon, wood, and the sweet malts of the Piper Down, but I'm utterly shocked at how much this came out smelling like it. Toffee, vanilla, touch of barrel, and the lightest floral feel. Very, very, nice.

The butterscotch character carries over into the taste, being sweet and malty, with a smack of vanilla on the tongue. It's really tough to tell at times where beer & barrel seperate but I'm definitely picking up some green notes and barrel character in the finish, where the bourbon flavor really comes out the most. Only a moderate amount of dryness to the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with more of a bubbly and creamy feel to the carbonation. I'm not getting a whole lot of warmth here, which really lets that all of that sweetness shine.

Pretty outrageous stuff here, that completely blew away my expectations of what a barrel-aged Scotch Ale could be. The rich butterscotch flavor in the aroma and taste were almost decadent. Sign me up for more of this anytime!

 1,354 characters

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of 22Blue
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dvmin98
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at The Beer Market in Rochester, NY.

It pours a rusted looking brown, with a surprisingly persistent head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like...not a whole lot, for a BA Scotch Ale. Some caramel, faint and wispy bourbon, toffee. It's all faint, like there's a curtain in front of the beer.

More and more I feel like Ballast Point is going down the tubes, slowly but surely. I hate being that guy...but c'mon. The carbonation overpowers this one, it's got s prickly feeling that leaves a tingling throughout the glass. There's like 1% barrel here, it feels like it was aged in the shadow of a bourbon barrel. There a little bit of nice caramelly malt and toffee, but it's not bold. This is disappointing.

This has a prickly mouthfeel, with a way too high level of carbonation.

A disappointment in basically every way.

 834 characters

Photo of drewone
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of t2grogan
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of womencantsail
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Oakquinox

A: The pour is a dark amber color with about a finger of off-white/tan head.

S: A nice bourbon and vanilla aroma with a fair amount of oak. There is definitely some booziness and as it warms up, there is an increasingly noticeable acetone smell. Blah.

T: Strangely fruity, and a bit overcarbonated. Vanilla, oak, and a touch of bourbon. The same harshness and paint thinner thing is going on here.

M: Medium in body with a rather high level of carbonation.

O: I haven't had very good luck with Ballast Point's barrel aged beers. Add this one to that list.

 580 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Happy to get to enjoy a few pints of this one at the Lazy Boy in White Plains, NY.

Pours typical Scottish Ale, medium amber, lither tan head, moderate in size, tiny bubble, then leaves a thin wisp or two of fine lacing.

Malted up nose, with some maple, vanilla and light smoke

Tasty Scotty, smooth malts, , mellow caramel/maple, vanilla again, and mild dark toast/roast.

Well done malty brew, by folks know for the otherside of the malty/hoppy spectrum

Serving type: on-tap

 478 characters

Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BeerOps
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Gobzilla
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at barrel blast

A: poured a deep amber brown in color with yellow highlights that had thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: nice bourbon barrel aroma with caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and faint butterscotch notes.

T: the bourbon barrel booze was nicely balanced on the palate with caramel brown sugar flavors but had vanilla cinnamon accents and a touch of butterscotch character.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bourbon, vanilla, mild boozy, silky finish.

D: I thought it was drinking more than just a sipper and like the bourbon barrel qualities it brought out in a scottish style beer.

 688 characters

Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of BARFLYB
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap in Philly, goblet style.

A- Very dark brown shoe polish tint with nothing on the surface. Some swirls did not bring anything up, no stick.

S- A nice mix of caramel, some barrel scent, not very woody, hardly any bourbon, nuts and some roast.

T- A nice sessionable scottish ale, the only thing holding this back is the feel. Tastes of caramel/toffee without being cloying, some sugar, some wood, I don't really taste the bourbon, naw.

M- Could use some life here, this one was dead on arrival and throughout, very detracting. Medium build with no pulse.

D- A very enjoyable beer that is true to style with a american BA addition, maybe next time some spark comes out boost this one up.

 695 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap today at the Old Grove location. I don't know that previous renditions of Bourbon Barrel Piper Down have been the same.

Description: A Scottish Ale aged for 5 months in two separate bourbon barrels of Heaven Hill and Old Fitzgerald. Blended and cold aged for an additional 6 months.

I drank this nearly alone in the tasting room. It was given to me in a pint glass, appearing a nebulous dark reddish brown with an orange tint. You know exactly what I mean. The one finger head is beige and the retention is good.

The aroma is of rich caramel malt. Some toffee is evident, as well as a low level of diacetyl. There's some earthiness to the hops. Some dark fruits are present, perhaps some plum. The malt is sweet and rich, with some noticeable alcohol. To be frank, the bourbon is fantastic. It is outstanding in the aroma and adds so much to this beer. I love it. The combination of the rich malty scotch ale and the bourbon is worthy of praise.

The flavor is also outstanding. The rich caramel/toffee malt has a low level of butterscotch. Some plum is noticeable. The beer is sugary and rich. The bourbon is at a nice medium level and it's rad. That's right, rad. It complements the beer splendidly. The finish is rich and malty, with some caramel. The alcohol has a warming effect.

The beer is medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky, and somewhere between sweet and dry.

Drinking this alone in the tasting room, I felt as though I were getting away with murder. With each sip, I glanced from side to side, expecting the proper authorities to barge in and arrest me for "excessive enjoyment of a malt beverage." I know, I know...hilarious. But, if that were a crime, I'd be guilty of it.

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Piper Down Scottish Ale (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 73 ratings