Gravedigger Billy
Revolution Brewing

Gravedigger BillyGravedigger Billy
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Revolution Brewing
Illinois, United States
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #6
Ranked #1,797
4.27 | pDev: 7.73%
Sep 25, 2022
Feb 08, 2012
Gravedigger BillyGravedigger Billy
Notes: An old favorite from the early days of Revolution makes a return. This Bourbon Barrel-aged Scotch Ale, decked out in a fine tartan kilt, has a delicate smokiness alongside American oak and bourbon character. Pour a wee dram and let the brogue fly. Don’t be daft, enjoy now or store cold.
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Ratings by Sabtos:
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Reviewed by Sabtos from Ohio

4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Appearing a dark brown mahogany at a distance, it's actually a clear reddish-purple up close and under sunlight. Its short khaki head settles out to a thin chain around a blanket of uneven cola bubbles.

An excellent nose of sticky bourbon continues well on into the palate as it meets an almost rye-like spice with some mixed nuts. Digging further in, salted caramels are contrasted by a bitter root-like quality in the warming finish.

The medium body's mild bubbliness comes to a semi-dry, lightly sticky and quite warming finish.


6 or more months later, bitterness starts to take a back seat to some developing decadence, pushing this ever closer to English barleywine territory. Delicious!
Feb 11, 2022
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.37 by ppavlick from New Jersey

Sep 25, 2022
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Reviewed by Resistance88 from California

4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Out of the can on the 101fwy

Can't smell much but sweet malt and some barrel out of the mouthsipperhole

Tasts is sweet candy, sweet malt and caramel balanced by workd class barrel aging backend

Would seek this out and drink again and again
Sep 01, 2022
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Reviewed by DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours out a translucent dark brown. The light that gets through is on the darker side of ruby. A finger of creamy khaki colored head sits atop. It lingers for a while. Just a great looking pour.

Nose is sweet oak, bourbon and mildly smoky caramel right off the bat. Deeper in, I get a richer toffee combined with the malt that gives me a fresh bready pretzel. This is like salted caramel pretzel. The bourbon is not dominant. It sits equal with the malt base which is a good sign of a brew balanced on a razors edge.

Taste is that smooth caramel combined with a respectful mild oak and bourbon that glides in at the same time. Really nice. The smokiness builds a little on the mid palate then starts to subside. On the fade into the finish, the malt starts to show. Again providing a pretzel quality. This brew is balanced quite immaculately. It's not overhopped which I really like. Recently Backwoods Bastards have been hopped to hell. The bitterness here is near perfection.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild carbonation. A little heat on the back end, presumably from the ABV and barrel tannins. Slightly drying but not making you reach for a glass of water. The mouthfeel just fits. It's unobtrusive and just allows the rest of the brew to showcase.

Overall, this is not only a fantastic bourbon barrel scotch ale, but a stellar barrel aged brew in its own right. The only thing I'd say it lacks in, is overall complexity. But even then it hits the marks of everything else it does near perfectly. Another killer brew from Revolution.
Aug 28, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by paulish from New York

Aug 27, 2022
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Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Clear, dark mahogany brown body; head quickly dissipates to a thin, patchy wisp of foam. Huge, richly sweet aroma; roasted grain and caramel; some whiskey and oak notes. Fantastic flavors; cocoa, licorice, dates, vanilla, tobacco; bourbon pops up near the finish; moderate overall sweetness. Heavy body; silky; smooth residual sugars coat the palate; boozy warmth.

This wondrous beer packs a huge malty, boozy punch. Densely malt-forward with a bold bourbon undercurrent. Intriguingly complex and delicious.

Pouring temperature: 43 °F; canning info: FILLED JAN/19/2022
Aug 25, 2022
Rated: 4.32 by smithj4 from New York

Aug 10, 2022
Rated: 4.36 by Chilmer from Iowa

Apr 03, 2022
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Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Thanks FBarber for this treat! Canned 1/19/22. 14.2% ABV

This is a wonderful bourbon barrel showcase. Some smoke, earthy cherry, caramel, and peats do peek through the robust bourbon, oaky char, and vanilla. Warming and satisfying. Revolution's barrel program continues to impress.
Mar 12, 2022
Rated: 4.09 by mjpolzin from Wisconsin

Mar 06, 2022
Rated: 4.28 by EMH73 from New York

Mar 04, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by bpfrush from Wisconsin

Feb 12, 2022
Photo of barnzy78
Reviewed by barnzy78 from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
12oz can
filled JAN/19/2022
L: mahogany colored ale with a thinner tan head that disappears quickly
S: boozy bourbon, oak, malty caramel, smoke, peat
T: sweet & boozy; loads of caramel & toffee, bourbon & oak, smoke & peat, vanilla, earthy hops
F: so smooth; full body, ample carbonation, a boozy sipper, finishes on the sweet side
O: another amazing barrel aged beer from the Deep Wood Series. Glad they brought this one back
Feb 06, 2022
Rated: 4.27 by hopley from Massachusetts

Aug 13, 2021
Rated: 4.33 by ChicagoNick from Illinois

Nov 24, 2020
Rated: 5 by ChiTownDrinker57 from Illinois

Oct 31, 2020
Rated: 4.31 by Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

Jun 20, 2020
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Reviewed by thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Ruddy brown with two fingers of airy, tan head. The head dissipates fairly quickly leaving a wisp across the top, a soupy crown and sloppy lacing.

Nice vanilla, toffee and leather show first in the nose, with slight kisses of medicinal cherry, smoke and earthy hops.

Leather, and to a lesser degree, some of the vanilla and the toffee from the nose carry to the taste. There’s a stronger meatiness, which the aroma only hinted at, as well as more of the cherry notes, the hops and some modest alcohol burn. The more I drink, the more I get cherry wood smoke as the dominant impression.

Medium bodied and slick feeling with a little zip from the carbonation.

The smokey/meaty qualities here aren’t my personal favorite, but this is a high-quality beer with plenty of depth, nonetheless. 11-21-18 canning date.
Feb 15, 2020
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Reviewed by Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Appearance - Pours deep mahogany with a dense tan head that settles to a thick cap, great retention. Random spots of lacing.

Aroma - Barrel, peat, caramel, slightly sweet and smoky, nice char, malt.

Taste - Great caramel, smoke and char, barrel, bourbon, peat, slight dark fruit really complex and super smooth well balanced flavors. Light brown sugar.

Feel - Medium bodied smooth velvet feel, slight arming from the alcohol but super smooth and easy drinking for the ABV.

Overall - Really well done scotch ale, great flavors smooth complex.
May 30, 2019
Rated: 4.34 by Sauced4life from Michigan

Mar 16, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by jkrug5 from Maryland

Mar 11, 2019
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Reviewed by Stevedore from Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
12oz can, snifter glass. Darker brown body, amber-caramel hue, one finger white head, plenty of retention and even a bit of lacing. Smell is big caramel and toffee, smooth barrel heat, light vanillin, a dab of smoke, more caramel. Sweet on both the nose and the palate, but with a lot of intense flavours coming from the barrel. Complex blend of vanilla, caramel, a dab of toasted coconut, light smoke, fair bit of bourbon heat, a bit of bitter oak through the finish. Medium bodied, good carbonation.
Feb 27, 2019
Rated: 4.18 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

Feb 21, 2019
Rated: 4.24 by fthegiants from California

Feb 21, 2019
Rated: 4.43 by rcjennings from Ohio

Feb 07, 2019
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Reviewed by JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Reddish brown pour with a finger of tan head that dissipated pretty quickly.
Initially had a heavy barrel smell that subsided a bit as it warmed. Caramel, a bit of sweet malts.
Taste follows, caramel, brown sugar, a bit of plum, hints of bourbon.
Medium body, slight warming but not overly so for the ABV.
Overall a pretty tasty Scotch Ale.
Jan 29, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by cryptichead from Illinois

Jan 27, 2019
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Reviewed by russpowell from Arkansas

4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Pours an effervescent copper-hued brown with a thumb+ of tan head. A trace of head retention & lacing

S: Figs, a little bourbon, a little raisin once warm

T: Follows the now, a touch of peatyness & booze warmth & some brown sugar sweetness up front. Brown sugar, caramel, leafy hops, a little peatyness & barrel warmth/dryness once warm. Finishes with peaty & woody notes, plus some booze warmth, also a little fig & general jammyness

MF: Medium body, fairly firm carbonation, warming

At first the Bourbon step this a little bit, Then the Wee Heavy takes over to provide a very nice take on the style
Jan 18, 2019
Rated: 3.58 by ECOBOOSTINST from Iowa

Dec 17, 2018
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Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Canned 11/21/18; drank 12/16/18 @ the Yarchives.

See-through purple/orange appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice khaki head; nice lace.

Caramel, oak, bourbon heat, mild peat & faint orange citrus notes in the nose.

Creamy, thick mouthfeel.

Cream, caramel & oak flavors up front; mild smoke & faint bourbon heat notes on the finish.

Smokier in the nose than on the tongue, this is a balanced, fine scotch ale. I'd have another.
Dec 17, 2018
Rated: 4.19 by Dactrius from Netherlands Antilles

Dec 14, 2018
Rated: 3.5 by krome from Illinois

Dec 10, 2018
Rated: 4 by brn9000 from Illinois

Dec 10, 2018
Rated: 4.16 by loganburgh from Michigan

Dec 09, 2018
Rated: 3.44 by Gambyt20 from Illinois

Dec 08, 2018
Rated: 4.91 by bubseymour from Maryland

Sep 30, 2018
Rated: 4.3 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

May 12, 2018
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Reviewed by StanleysCup from Maryland

4.59/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Cellared bottle originally purchased in October 2015. Opened at a NYE party hosted by a friend who is a funeral director. Couldn’t be more apropos.

L: dark brown, some reddish hue. Neary opaque.
S: overwhelmed me at first with a boozy bourbon waft. I was worried it had sat too long and/or was going to seem heavier than the 10% ABV. Also noted scents of rum, cocoa, toffee, toasted malts and some prunes.

T/F: simply amazing. Picked up all of the scents above but the alcohol presence was not as pronounced as I originally feared. The malts and barrel aging really stood out as the beer aerated and warmed closer to room temperature. Carbonated was subdued as expected for a high octane beer. No bourbon burn on the way down, either.

O: one of my fave beers in recent memory. I’m glad I saved it for a special occasion and would definitely seek it out again.
Dec 31, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Dec 22, 2017
Rated: 4.96 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Dec 20, 2017
Gravedigger Billy from Revolution Brewing
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 313 ratings