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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of John11486
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of ryanpj
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a draft beer poured into a mug by bartender at the oasis brew-pub in rockford.

Appearance: light brown bodied beer that has a reddish hue to it when held up to light. The bodied has a nice clarity to it, but it contradictory. You can see though the beer, but its also slightly murky. Interesting. Thin white head that disapates rather quickly to almost nothing. lacing is noted and is moderate at best.

Smell: You really get the barrels out of the nose. Tons of vanilla and some oak with a little bit of bourbon too. It also smells slightly smokey and fruity as a scottish ale should.

Taste: A Vanilla bomb! Love it! Great barrel notes almost immediately show up to the party with guns blazing! You can taste the barrel notes of vanilla, oak, and mild bourbon notes, but nothing is harsh! Midpalate the beer shifts into "scottish ale mode" and the light smoke and fruitiness are showcased. The beer finished with the fruitiness compounding itself and becoming more flavorful. Nice!

Mouthfeel: almost a medium bodied beer, but not quite. moderate carbonation that is seltzer like; fizzy and slightly dry. This beer is very sessionable! Not a trace of booze burn here in this beer. Super smooth and mellow.

Overall: A sessionable scottish ale that was seperately barrel aged in two different barrels (Heaven Hills barels for 5 months and Old Fitzgeralds barrels for 5 months); then blended and to finish it off its cold aged for 6 additional months after blending!

This is tastes as awesome as it sounds. I was all over this beer and it was a really cool beer to try! If you ever see it on draft drink it!!!! I love everything about it lots of flavor and its still sessionable. Bravo!

 1,689 characters

Photo of nanobrew
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of MasterMustace
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Stone Bistro 9/25
The beer pours a murky brown with a orange tint, it has a bubbly off white heade that fades quick. The nose is very bourbon forward with oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. This beer had the strangest effect of losing complexity as it warmed, normally its the other way around. I far more enjoyed the first couple swigs then the dulled down flavors as it warmed. There was bourbon, caramel, cherry and vanilla. The mouthfeel was thinner then most scotch ale's and left a little more to be desired. Loved the forward bourbon notes on this beer but could use a thicker feel.

 598 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured a deep red-orange with a one finger off-white that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, wood, and peat. The flavor was of sweet malt, fruit, wood, peat, and dark chocolate. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The flavors on this one were very muted and not very robust, but the flavors that were present were very well balanced and enjoyable. This made this one very smooth and easy drinking. Good brew for the style, but could have been better had the flavors been a little more robust. Definitely glad I got to try this one!

 726 characters

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 atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a snifter a dark brown with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is burnt caramel in front of mild oak. The taste is a nice blend of burnt caramel malts, oak, subtle vanilla and just a hint of Bourbon. The beer is on the light side of medium with smooth carbonation, a very easy drinker. This is a very enjoyable oak aged Scotch ale, one I would certainly have again.

 395 characters

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 ChrisPro
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Devil's Den.

A - translucent copper with the thinnest of heads and little to no lacing.

S - rich molasses, coconut, vanilla and caramel. This is straight bourbon in the nose and I love it.

T - nice vanilla and caramel sweetness, with a slightly balanced roasted bitter finish. Not sure how they did this, but it was great. Literally tastes like a watered down bourbon, but it just works so well.

M - a bit thin, but not inappropriate for the style. Carb was subtle, but again, appropriate

D - Amazingly drinkable. I love bourbon, and it takes a while to drink a small pour. This beer solves that problem as it goes down incredibly easily.

 653 characters

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

Pours a crystal clear brown/dark amber color with a small yet tight egg-shell colored head that settles into a light ring.

The aroma is of bourbon and vanilla as well as some oak. The barrel aroma is strong enough to cover up any other notes from the beer.

The taste is sweet from the bourbon flavor. The bourbon hits first, not boozy but flavorful. There seems to be some cola notes with hints of brown sugar and a toasted malt. Some caramel sweetness as well. The malt doesn't really come through but I'm not certain that a Scottish ale would be able to overcome the flavor from bourbon aging. Perhaps a Scotch ale would have been a better choice to bourbon age. Tastes like a watered down bourbon and coke.

The feel is light with fizzy carbonation. The beer sits sweet on the palate but it is no where near sticky or syrupy.

Drinks very easy. I don't know the ABV but it is nowhere to be found. Pretty much a bourbon spritzer, wish it would have a more malty presence.

 975 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 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 Kaiser81
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My 100th beer review! - Gold Medal Winner!
Don't ask how I got a growler...I just enjoyed the beer. Poured into a snifter brewery glass.

A - Murky tannish brown with a reddish hue on the edges. About a finger width of head on a 5-6 oz pour, which dies fairly quickly. It leaves decent lacing on the glass.

S - Touch of bourbon mixed with scotch style smells...toffee, lots of caramel, and malty/bready goodness. It's very sweet.

T - Bourbon up front with caramel notes and a touch of something I can't put my finger on. There is slight oakiness on the aftertaste. Very good.

M - Light mouthfeel, maybe up to medium. There is amble carbonation. Nice for a -bal aged beer, but I would like just a bit more body in a scotch style ale...especially -bal aged.

D - Yeah, I can drink a lot of this all day. It would work on a cool day, a warm day. Doesn't matter.

 861 characters

Photo of mroberts1204
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber in color. Served in a pint glass with a 1/2 inch head that subsided to a beige ring of foam around the glass.
Smell: Subdued. Light notes of caramel, toffee, bread, toasted coconut. More mellow than expected.
Taste: Smooth caramel and toffee flavors dominate this beer. A little bread and maybe a hint of smoke in the background.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation may be a bit too high but this beer has enough body to compensate.
Drinkability: Well I could probably drink a growler of this to myself before I passed out. Amazingly drinkable.

This is good stuff but last years batch was better. The barrel is present but not enough for my taste.

 659 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 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 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.

 1,748 characters

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

Just tapped at O'Brien's Pub tonight, Tom handed out some samples. Nice copper brown with a 1/4" off-white head.

Smell is definitely boozy with bourbon, oak, vanilla and a smooth butterscotch coming through strong. It smells quite a bit stronger than your average Scottish Ale.

The taste is much the same, with the butterscotch standing out and the booziness coming through in the finish. Not too sweet for this style and a complementary earthiness from the oak that really brings balance to this brew.

Not as heavy as your standard Scottish Wee Heavy, but lighter due to the bourbon barrel ageing characteristics and what tastes like a significantly higher ABV than 6%.

Medium body that drinks like a champ...I haven't tried the non-barrel aged version of this brew and don't see the need to, it's not going to top this. Good on ya Ballast Point!

 851 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2 samples at the Ballast Point 12th Anniversary Party on Saturday, reviewed from notes, this one did not come on tap until the end of the festival

A-Color is a mix of copper and medium brown, 1/4 inch bubbly off white head, sticks around for a minute or two, some retention, no lacing
S-Lots of bourbon, vanilla, oaky characteristics, caramel, red grapes, light citrus, earthiness, and burned brown sugar
T-Flavor starts off with northing but bourbon, but once it warms there is some caramel malt in the middle along with some dark fruits, more bourbon character in the finish adding a bit of spice and warmth, liked how this whiskey component was mild and molded into the flavors towards the end, went back for more later and glad I did
M-Thin bodied, I am guessing the barrel had a lot to do with that, strong carbonation still though, spicy, sweet, and malty mouthfeel, taste lingers
D-Could drink a good amount of this, ABV is supposedly around six percent which is pretty low for what it is, smooth and light on the stomach, taste does not get tiresome

I enjoy Piper Down by itself but think that bourbon barrel helped it significantly, one of the better barrel aged beers at the party, there was a big line for this one and there was a reason, would like to drink again when I see it available, recommended

 1,314 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Piper Down Scottish Ale (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 73 ratings