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Gravedigger Billy | Revolution Brewing Company

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Gravedigger BillyGravedigger Billy

Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A cousin of our Willie Wee Heavy, this strong ale was aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for 11 months.

Added by MasterSki on 02-08-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 251
Photo of darktronica
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle opened in October 2016. One of the few wee heavy ales I've enjoyed that really has some noticeable smoke and strong whisky character to it. In addition to the characteristic malt and sweet caramelized sugars, there is sweet potato soju, graham cracker, and a significant contribution from the oak barrel. A unique scotch ale well worth seeking out.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2016-06-18 in Columbia, PA from a 2015 22oz bottle.

A - Opaque dark brown with a short light brown head and moderate lace.

S - Bourbon plus roasted grain, mild chocolate and a touch of peat. The bourbon is predominant.

T - Mmmm. Very complex. Much more so than the aroma. Rich, sweet malt, caramel. molasses, fig and light smoke/peat. Enough bourbon/oak/vanilla to add complexity but not overpower. Finish is sweet, flavorful and long lasting with enough roast/hop bitterness for a semblance of balance. Delicious.

M - Thick body and light carbonation. Smooth, sticky and substantial. Excellent

O - I never would have guessed from the aroma how great this beer would taste. Seek this one out.

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Photo of enrique_m
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: amber, cinnamon head, little bit of lacing.
Smell: bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar.
Taste: bourbon, vanilla, and delicious
Feel, smooth and fullbodied
Overall: bdelicious

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Photo of cjgator3
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Gravedigger Billy is a really nice bourbon barrel aged scotch ale that I thoroughly enjoyed. A really nice malty base with a lot of character from the barrels. Great beer!

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Photo of FBarber
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted as part of a blind tasting.

Pours a dark reddish color with no appreciable head. Very crisp color for a barrel aged beer.

Smell is really complex - you get notes of vanilla and butterscotch all surrounded by the whiskey smell from the barrel aging. C

Taste follows the nose with vanilla, bourbon, caramel all overlaid by a strong smoked flavor that is really unique but very nice. Strong imposing flavors. You get this strong whiskey flavor with notes of the butterscotch and vanilla.

This beer is 10.4 and it feels that way, but it is so smooth and tasty. Medium carbonation.

Overall this beer fared very well in a blind tasting of 5 barrel aged wee-heavies. This was a close to a scotch as the were heavies got. Just very remarkable. If you like whiskey you'll like this beer - if you like barrel aged beer, you'll like this beer.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Toffee, vanilla, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, underlying earthy malt, bourbon and oak. Super smooth. Nice boozy kick. Dry finish, light mouthfeel. A very faint smokiness on the backend. This is really good. Really good.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brownish-red with ruby around the edges. Some dark tan head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves minimal lacing. The aroma is huge. Bourbon hits first, along with dark fruits, molasses, brown sugar, and woody smokiness. The taste follows suit. Again, the bourbon barrel character is strong, but you get so much complexity from the base beer. Peet, molasses, dark fruit. The body is medium-full and carbonation is on the lower end of medium. Sticks slightly to the tongue and leaves a slight sweetness. Phenomenal beer.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep copper red color. Has a sweet aroma of vanilla and bourbon. Flavor is a Carmel vanilla, with a bourbon backbone. Flavor is super smooth with a nice aftertaste. Definitely a rich beer but very delicious

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'll be frank, this is probably the best scotch ale I've had. Stays true to the malty stile, yet influenced wonderfully by some outstanding barrel character. Bourbon forward but balanced. Vanilla, oak, hint of smoke, peat, and loads of charred caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Texture is creamy for the style, which I prefer, smooth, and lower carbonation than the pour lead me to believe.
Overall, just simply outstanding. Goes down so easy. Just another example of why I think Revolution has one of the best barrel aging programs in the country.

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Photo of stortore
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber into a snifter.

Pours a clear, dark amber with no head and little lacing. Smells terrific, strong bourbon and oak- almost like you have a barrel stave in your glass. Some malt and a hint of vanilla. Not overly complex, but tantalizing. Taste continues the strong bourbon along with caramel, raisins, oak, malt, vanilla and some smokiness. Solid body, leaves a great aftertaste.

Very enjoyable, well worth a purchase. The barrel aging added so much to this, without compromising the style. Will be on my list to pick up very year.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.50 - Poured an incredibly dark ruby and mahogany brown, almost black in color but with tinges of red. Formed a finger of light tan, quickly dissipating head. No lacing.
S - 4.50 - Wow, so much scotch whiskey. Lots of whiskey, little bit of dark chocolate and malts.
T - 4.75 - Sweet malts, chocolate, bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, molasses and pecan pie. Only reason the taste isnt a perfect 5 is because there is a lack of peat smoke.
F - 4.50 - Nice medium bodied beer. Could have a slightly thicker mouthfeel, but quite good regardless.
O - 5 - I REALLY enjoyed this beer. I can't believe how much bourbon they were able to impart into this beer. It's one of the most delicious brews I've ever had, hands down.

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Photo of timc100
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another great product from the rev barrel program. As with the 2014 batch of Deth's tar and straight jacket, it has great barrel intensity without overpowering the beer.

Huge oaky sweetness vanilla, coconut, caramel and graham cracker. Has the clean, dry fruits of a scotch ale as well as pronounced toffee and caramel. Very smooth, clean mouthfeel and soft carbonation.

One of my favorite barrel aged revolution beers, hope to see this bottled regularly.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with very little lift making it through this beer. Smell has aromas of English toffe, candi sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, oak and a bourbon alcohol finish. Taste follows the nose with toffee malt and candi sugar first to hit the palate. Moderate caramel sweetness and a heafty alchohol presence dominate the midsection with notes of charred oak barrel, vanilla, and brown sugar. More alcohol and bourbon in the finish. Mouthfeel is thick wit moderate carbonation and an alchohol bite in the finish.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark caramel brown with a slight reddish hue and a thin layer of tan foam.

Dark fruits, toffee, burnt sugar, and rather boozy, but a very tempting and sweet quaff of bourbon.

Caramel, toffee, vanilla, slightly fruity, and bourbon.

Medium-heavy bodied, low carbonation, soft, bourbon warmth on the finish.

Overall, doesn't look that great on the pour, but wonderfully smooth and beautifully balanced.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear deep amber. Small white head. Light wispy surface.

Smell - Bourbon and caramel. Lightly buttery.

Taste - Bourbon is intense up front. Sweet caramel. Immediately overpowered by bourbon and oak. Boozy as hell.

Mouthfeel - Really boozy. Medium heavy.

Overall - Overwhelmed by bourbon. You only get a glimpse of the scotch ale at the beginning, then all bourbon.

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Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Large shared bottle pours reddish-brown with a decent head.
The aroma features some fine bourbon barrel treatment with a medium and dark malt base.
The excellent flavor largely follows the aroma and features a strong and dominant bourbon note.
Smooth, full body with medium carbonation.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle into my tulip, trade from my man Kevinpitts. Thanks my friend.
A - Caramel brown on the pour with a half finger of off white head that receded pretty quickly.
S – Vanilla, bourbon, caramel. Nice.
T – This could pass for bourbon all on its own. Oak, caramel, vanilla and dark fruit all mixed in. Nice balance of flavors. Definitely boozy. Sweet finish with a bit of toffee and molasses. Mellow all the way.
M – Medium body, medium carbonation, slight dry and sweet finish.
O – Bourbon bomb that is well balanced and extremely tasty. The folks at Revolution are quickly turning into my favorite brewery.

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Photo of M_J_Z
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Thank you for sharing this last night, Josh!

I was impressed by this one. It tasted great, was very smooth and appropriately boozy. SA/WH aren't my favorite style but I really liked this one.

In my opinion, a solid 4.25+. Definitely would enjoy trying this again in the future.

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Photo of Flight317
3/5  rDev -29.6%

I've not had a ton in this style that are barrel aged but the ones I've had were all much better than this. The smell is nothing but bourbon. The mouthfeel is just flat, zero carbonation and not a huge amount of flavor. There was no head on this one. Glad this was something a friend shared with me and I didn't seek it out.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

I think this beer is world-class, like most of Revolution's beers are. Very balanced, sweet and boozy (quasi barleywine-ish) yet very drinkable and a joy to savor.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.06/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer House in Lombard, IL. Arrived in a snifter.

A: Arrived a cloudy dark brown, with minimal head that turned into a ring in short order. Left some spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Pure bourbon in the nose, not a speck of beer evident. Notes of charred oak, vanilla, and warm booze waft out of the glass. Insert usual caveat that I was at a bar here, with additional caveat that it was a bar with no kitchen to really mess with my nose.

T: At first, this is almost exactly like drinking Woodford Reserve, but with the edges filed round and sanded smooth. The entire flavor profile is the bourbon - pure oak, blackened wood, vanilla extract, and subtle bits of caramel swimming throughout. As the beer warms, however, the edges rebuild from being ground down, and they sprout spikes and thorns. Alcohol heat erupts into flame as this beer approaches room temperature - there is no hiding the ABV at all.

M: Sticky and smooth, but with a quite watery finish. The alcohol heat cranks up here as well as the beer warms.

O: While I am a fan of bourbon as well as beer, this comes in second place to Backwoods Bastard for me, which is itself in second place to Wulver. Given my inability to find much beer under the bourbon, combined with the serious alcohol heat that poured out of this as it warmed, it's not a favorite for me. Age might do wonders for this beer, however, taking off the boozy edge and allowing the malt to come forward.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%

Thanks to fiver29 for this bottle during our most recently exchange of excellent beers….I hope! 22 oz. bottle split with my wife after a lovely afternoon at Dave’s BrewFarm.

The pour is red. Lightish red. The nose consists of bourbon soaked bourbon, with a little bit of caramel bourbon cake around the edges. Not bad if you like, you know, bourbon & stuff.

Gravedigger Billy clearly died of alcohol poisoning. Booming bourbon booze careens out of the glass & ricochets around my innards, warming everything it touches. I call bullshit on the 10.4% alcohol; it drinks like twice that much. Secondary is the base beer; caramel, deep toffee, hot oak, hot mess, hottie, molasses. Bourbon. More bourbon. The end is bourbon, too. Good lord, if bourbon tasted like this, I’d be drunk until The Rapture; easier to drink than good beer at the in-laws Thanksgiving. In quantity.

John, what have you done? You told me this was really good…then sent me one. It’s like telling me about the great plate of scallops at the place down the street, then telling me they’re closing tomorrow. Revolution has been hit or miss for me & this is one excellent hit.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received by a super generous trading partner, and shared tonight with some dudes.

Pours a dark golden brown, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells just like I'd expect the perfect BA Scotch Ale to smell- bit hit of bourbon-soaked barrel, booze, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and butterscotch.

This is really, really tasty, might be the 2nd best barrel-aged scotch ale I've had, behind Wulver. It's got a ton of bourbon flavor, the Woodford flavors are really strong and really forward here. I've never tried Woodford on its own, but it seems to be a very bold bourbon, spicy and sweet all at the same time. The barrels themselves lend a nice vanilla and coconut flavor, with some caramel, smoke, and toffee from the base beer. This is delicious.

This has got a sweet and sticky mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation. There's a really nice level of drinkability here.

Revolution crafted a really good BA Scotch Ale here.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle for $16 poured into teku glass

Appearance - A deep ruby/copper color if you hold it to the light, otherwise a semi-murky to semi-clear brown with a foamy off-white head that settles into a 1/4" ring.

Smell - Outstanding. Strong toffee and butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, some faint cocoa powder (like Nesquick) and bourbon. Very rich.

Taste - It falls a little short of the aroma to me, but still excellent. A sweet sugar up front with some vanilla, and some caramel. Heavy on the dark fruit. The toffee in the middle followed by some cocoa. A slight bitterness. The bourbon is on the back end, and has a little burn to it.

Feel - Slightly too carbonated in my opinion. Comes across a little sparkly. Other than that, medium to thin bodied and pretty smooth with a crisp, dry finish.

Overall - An excellent bourbon barrel Wee Heavy. A do think it is slightly hot/boozy across the entire range of temperatures, and a tad thin on body, but has some really good qualities. For me, even though I enjoy it, I would personally have a hard time buying again based on the fact I can get the much better Wulver for less money. I don't think anyone would be disappointed in this purchase though. I suggest trying.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from tap in a snifter at Firkin.

Yeah, they're not tapping last year's BCS for a few hours, but, whatever, there's a barrel-aged Scotch ale from Revolution. We win. Period. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear ruby topped by a short finger of light sandstone foam. The nose comprises deep bourbon, toffee, light dark greens, and a bit of mild buttery biscuit. The taste holds notes of whiskey, caramel malts, light chocolate, mild dark greens, and some brief flashes of oak. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, this is just as good as assumptions would lead you to believe it would be. Very good times, indeed.

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Gravedigger Billy from Revolution Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 251 ratings.
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