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Double Barrel Scotch Ale | Phillips Brewing Company

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Double Barrel Scotch AleDouble Barrel Scotch Ale
Very Good
33 Ratings
Double Barrel Scotch AleDouble Barrel Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.70%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
We’ll admit it, we get bored fairly easily. We wanted to make a new beer and found a more expensive way to do it. We all got pretty jazzed about putting Scotch ale into some barrels, but the question remained, what kind? The overwhelming choice was bourbon, but red wine was also on the table. Why not both? The result is a beer that you notice when you drink it – your senses get smacked with great bourbon aroma which is complimented by a slightly smoky peat flavour and rich vanilla tones. Keep your eye on the prize and pull the trigger.

Added by ritzkiss on 05-10-2009

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of SadMachine
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Larz_73
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of phys1028
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of krankyjoe
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Kmat10
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of KalanM
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Cookeeman
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Phillips has brewed two different versions of this beer, so I'll break my review in two:

1) The 2010 & 2011 versions of this brew (pictured at the top) were heaven for me. I broke it down into 3 main flavors, the first being the scotch ale flavor. It was a deep malt, sweet and thick, lots of caramel, toffee and some great peat. The second hit was the bourbon; a little booze, some honey and brown sugar, followed by a significant vanilla kick. And the third (and best) was the finish: all wine! I've never before or since tasted a beer with that smooth, oakey Cab Sauv finish! While not a traditional scotch ale style, this remains one of my all-time favorite brews.

2) They're 2012 version differed greatly from their original two batches. So much so, that they even changed the label. Right after release, this beer was much closer to a traditional scotch ale than its predecessors. It lacked the complexity, the thickness and the crazy wine finish of the previous batches. Needless to say I was initially very disappointed, but once I adjusted my perspective to taste this brew for what it was, instead of what I was hoping it would be, I had to give it some credit. It had a nice malt body with a solid caramel sweetness and a soft bready finish. Some peat nuances throughout. A solid scotch ale, but nothing I would salivate over. Now here comes the BIG BUT... -> BUT: after 8 months in my cellar, it is slowly returning to its previous self. The wine finish is growing, and the bourbon flavor is asserting itself. The main flavor is still the scotch ale, but the beer is starting to get more complex (finally!! haha). I'll be saving a few more bottles of this to see how far it can progress. Fingers crossed.

 1,721 characters

Photo of liamt07
2.62/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to wordemupg for hooking up a longtime want, 650ml into a tulip. Cheers bro!

Filtered reddish orange, with a white head. Light retention. Nose is super vegetal, asparagus, cabbage and corn. a bit of peat, sweet malt and light oak. Veggies are really off-putting - yuck. Taste has more veggie, light peat, caramel, asparagus. Watery mouthfeel, sweet with a weird lingering flavour. Too many off flavours in this one for me, disappointing given the description of this beer and the expectations I had for it.

 514 characters

Photo of Rutager
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a deep clear amber-gold with a half finger of bubbly off-white head.

Smell. Sweet red grapes, white wine, caramel and sweet toasted grains, some vanilla and old damp wood.

Taste. Oranges and light spices, some sweet caramel and white wine, a bit of wood and smooth bourbon.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. Wow, this stuff goes down easy. Some nice gentle flavours going on, I enjoyed it and it went too fast.

 464 characters

Photo of shagal
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear dark bronze, tall off white head retained nicely leaving consistent lacing as it dissipated
S - toasty, caramael, and bready, not really getting any of the barrel aging or typical scotch ale character on the nose
T - sweet burbon & caramel up front, followed by a subtle fruity character of the wine barrel, roasty and lightly smoky finish
M - heavyish full body, creamy and sticky throughout
O - definitely unique with the burbon and red wine barrel aging coming through nicely without being overwhelming

 515 characters

Photo of Converge
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - Pours a hazy amber color, surprisingly light. A light tan head of big bubbles puffs up off the pour, but quickly settles to a thin cap. Sub-par head retention and lacing for sure.

S - The first thing I get is actually nuttiness from this. Hazelnut and peanut are strong upfront, with a mild woodiness coming in after. I'm getting a slightly metallic twang here as well. The oak/vanilla character from the bourbon is a little underwhelming, and doesn't translate really well. Caramel malt, slight booze, and subtle leafy hops in the finish Overall, really sweet, but the red wine is almost non-existent. This is sort of reminiscent of Phillips' Trainwreck Barleywine, in that it feels like a brown ale on steroids, an imperial brown ale I suppose.

T - The taste offers up a bit more punch than the aroma. Starts out smooth on the palate with caramel malt sweetness and a tasty oak presence. The nuttiness is still strongly pronounced in the profile, but has other flavors to add a degree of complexity. Finishes with a great balance of vanilla and crystal malt sweetness along side mild red wine, oak, and earthy hops to compliment the sweeter side. I wouldn't go as far as to call this a complex brew, but it certainly has depth to the profile. Still, this feels a little off the mark for the style. Overall it's a bit light for a scotch ale, lacking robust flavors of molasses, anise, or dark dried fruits.

M - Really full, with a thick, hearty body and low carbonation. Alcohol is hardly perceived and overall this feels smooth and easily drinkable.

D - Overall this is a good tasting beer, that offers a respectable variety of flavors. However, it still feels like it's lacking in complexity, and doesn't really feel like a scotch ale. I have to admit I'm a little disappointed in Phillips with this one, as I was really expecting home run. Oh well, still a decent beer, by an even better brewery.

 1,950 characters

Photo of korguy123
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip courtesy of Rutager for the CANBIF 2012. No date on bottle.

A- Crystal clear dark brown/red pour with a two plus finger soapy, sticky off white head. Lacing clings to the glass.

S- Caramel, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, definite sour mash aroma from the whiskey barrel. Not getting any wine characteristics but am picking up plenty of oak.

T- Sour mash whiskey, caramel, vanilla and a solid wood flavor. Half way through the bottle the wine really popped and shone through the rest, added a whole new dimension to the beer.. There is a slight char and a touch of alcohol and bitterness.

M- Medium bodied, slightly creamy, decent carbonation and sticky sweet on the lips.

O- I enjoyed the beer, the creativity was pinned on this one. I enjoy whiskey barrel beers but the cabernet barrels did not shine on this, it was almost non-existent and over powered by the sour mash.

 894 characters

Photo of MAB
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this beer far more than I thought that I would. I love it when that happens!
Nice color and lots of tight head. Looks good in a glass.
Malty notes, caramel, on the nose.
Not as oaky or scotch-like as I was anticipating. Actually rather sweet but there was some hop banlance to reign it in.

Phillips Brewing continues to impress me.

 342 characters

Photo of Mbraun
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. Nice old-timey imagery on the label of the proclaimed 'twin barrel' brewing process.

This beer pours a clear, golden ruddy hue, with two fingers of thick foamy white head, which leaves some decent island arch lace around the glass as slinks away.

It smells of wood, vanilla, bourbon booze, and a slight smokiness, over a subdued grainy, mildly caramelized malt. The taste is biscuity, grainy malt, more vanilla, that backwoods Appalachian corny whisky character, in moderate amounts, some late-arising meaty red wine essence, and mild earthy, leafy hops.

The carbonation is a bit punchy at first, but readily settles into more tenable territory, the body a bit south of medium weight, and a tad thin, but quite smooth overall. It finishes rather off-dry, the malt and guest whisky elements still in play.

Well, it seems that the whisky trumps the wine in this little experiment - JD's 'finest' besting an Okanagan cabernet sauvignon barrel (there really aren't even all that many kicking around in that particular winemaking region). At any rate, their combined, offsetting effect is a more than drinkable affair, one which still allows the biscuity underlying malt to strut its stuff.

 1,203 characters

Photo of leaddog
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a slightly hazy copper brown with a finger width of off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell - Plum, caramel, toffee, vanilla, slight bourbon aroma, red wine aroma.

Taste - Well balanced flavours of dark fruits, toffee/caramel and vanilla. Slight breadiness and booziness. Dark fruits and vanilla linger in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light carbonation.

Overall - A pleasant Scotch ale from Phillips. I quite enjoyed the complex balance of the fruit, vanilla, and alcohol. Phillips has the style bang on. Definitely worth a buy.

 577 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 26/3/12

A clear amber with slow tiny bubbles feeding an light beige head that retains pretty well leaving leaving some random lace on the way down

S toffee and butterscotch, plenty of vanilla, wood, hazelnut, faint smokey notes, a little booze, and a little plum perhaps, and even a little citric hops, everything is subtle on its own but together they work quite well, not sure what the wine barrel did to this one perhaps the vanilla and wood?

T the taste is quite nice but missing a little complexity that the nose had, more toffee's and a little more nutty then the nose, I'm surprised there's still a hop presence this strong in an aged beer, I taste some of their Amnesic in regards to the hop profile, a littler fruitier then the nose

M silky entry and quickly creams up from the bubbles, a little sticky on the lips and the little booze I could smell is not felt on the way down, pretty smooth stuff

O a lot of small things come together to create something big, I really don't see what the wine barrel did to this one but I really enjoyed it nonetheless

this one didn't last me very long that's for sure, well worth the 7$ keep the Phillips flood deep in Alberta please

 1,216 characters

Photo of JoeyRamone
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of schopenhauerale
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle poured into an Innis & Gunn tulip/demi-thistle.

A: Pours nicely, coming out a deep reddish amber with a moderate two finger off-white head. Retention and lacing were both average.

S: This is the most pungent beer I have drunk since 3 Monts. Tons of malt on the nose, coming through with bread and cheese aromas. Personally I didn't mind it but the smell might border on offensive to some drinkers.

T: Malty, Scotch ale goodness - caramel / toffee, and the barrel-aging is quite evident - oak and vanilla. Not getting much hops, and the finish is quite sweet, with hints of butter.

M: The aging has really tamed this beer, it's full but smooth. However, the feel fades to just a lingering tinge quickly - almost weak.

D: This is a really enjoyable beer. It's not as exciting as the double barrel-aging would suggest, but it's pleasant, drinkable, and well-balanced. Try it if you can find a bottle.

 919 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml brown bottle. Pours out a clear ruddy amber hue, tight foamy off-white head with good retention.

Bready malt on the nose, puncuated with toffee and vanilla, some nuttiness, even some faint chocolate.

Rich bready toffee up front in the flavour, along with a nutty character and some spicy herbal hops. Warming alcohol rises in the middle, while things mellow out with a woody, nutty character on the finish, drying out a bit with some spicy hops, while some vanilla notes tend to appear in the aftertaste and coats the lips after a while.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, heavy yet silky texture, moderate carbonation.

Phillips flexes their muscles and shows off their chops with this one, well worth picking up and stocking up on. My favourite so far of their non-hoppy fare, and a well executed experiment.

 820 characters

Photo of BashOnABike
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 650mL bottle into 16oz pint glass:

A: Very little head, which dissipated quickly, and almost resembled espresso crema. Thin film of foamy, creamy lacing, which drips down in ~5s. A very heavy pour!

S: More stout than scotch, with a light mocha/coffee complexion. Wee Heavy hits after a few seconds, with that typical, hard-to-discribe scent...almost like plum pudding. A but of burnt nut and caramel in the back.

T: Much like the scent, but with much more stout up front. Lingers on tongue with Scotch, and burnt nuts and espresso after. Complex and very tasty, thumbs up!

M: As expected, this had a low carbonation, but also a moderately weak body. Not bad, but a little less than expected. Foam lingers on tongue for a while, hiding the high ABV.

O: Definitely one of the better dark ales I've had. Complex, pretty, and all around a winner. The body was a bit weak, but this only served to make it more refreshing. I'm not sure whether the bourbon-barrel aging made a difference, but I've sure never tasted nutty flavours in a Wee Heavy like this before.

 1,073 characters

Photo of pudoo
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of ericj551
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale pours a deep orange red with a foamy head that doesn't linger. The aroma is sweet caramelized malt with some dark fruitiness. Malt dominates the flavor, without being overly sweet. Lots of toasted bread, with hints of peat and roasted malt. There is a bit of herbal hop flavor, with a mild bitterness. The oak is muted, I probably wouldn't have picked it out if it wasn't on the label.

 419 characters

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark reddish brown like cherry stained wood. 1/2" head that disappeared quickly.

S: Very unique and alluring. First thing that came to my mind was "wow" because of the smell of red wine, vanilla and caramel, and oak. The nutty smell of Phillips malt was present as well.

T: Like a nice full bodied red wine was spliced with the DNA of vanilla, caramel, and hints of bourbon and oak and then used to impregnate the egg of nice ale. Its unbelievable how the different casks were used to create something this flavorful while still being balanced at the same time.

M: Medium to low carbonation, smooth, not very overpowering on the alcohol. Very sneaky.

O: One of the most unique beers I have ever tried. It makes Innis & Gunn seem harsh in comparison. The taste is out of this world.

Note: I found the 2012 version to be oilier and woodier than the 2011 version. It also had less of a wine taste to it. I would rate the 2012 version at about a 4.3 as the taste and mouthfeel were not as good.

 1,003 characters

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Double Barrel Scotch Ale from Phillips Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 33 ratings
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