Barrel Aged Highland Charge
Heathen Brewing

Barrel Aged Highland ChargeBarrel Aged Highland Charge
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Style:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #89
ABV:
11%
Score:
88
Ranked #15,325
Avg:
4.19 | pDev: 6.21%
Reviews:
6
Ratings:
11
From:
Heathen Brewing
 
Washington, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  0
Gots
  1
SCORE
88
Very Good
Barrel Aged Highland ChargeBarrel Aged Highland Charge
Notes: Named after the Scottish shock battle tactic when the Scots would drop their plaid kilts and full charge into battle, weapons hot with nothing but a shirt on. In that same fashion, this Wee Heavy Scottish ale packs a big malty assault that exposes light caramel and toffee notes that volley to a subtle hint of black cherry that will blow your kilt off. This version expresses notes of vanilla, oak, and wood after spending up to a year in freshly emptied bourbon barrels.

26 IBU
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Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 11 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of superspak
superspak from Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2019 vintage. Pours nearly opaque dark brown color with no head or lacing. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, date, apricot, red apple, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, molasses, licorice, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, roast, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop notes; with big strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, date, apricot, red apple, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, molasses, licorice, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, roast, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/toast/oaky earthiness. Very mild herbal, grassy, roasted bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, date, apricot, red apple, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, brown bread, molasses, licorice, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, roast, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop flavors; with a solid malt/bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying sweetness after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitter/spiciness. No carbonation and fairly full body; very smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and lightly slick/sticky/tannic mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 11%, or lingering barrel booze. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged scotch ale. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV, with the mildly bitter/tannic/drying finish; awesomely soft/silky feel for the ABV. Perfectly balanced super rich malts, fruity English yeast, and bourbon barrel presence/integration; with mild earthy hops. Not overly sweet/heavy from lingering dryness. A really enjoyable offering, and impressively spot on style example. Unfortunate that it was flat, but it didn't really matter. Drank a bit like a wine.

Oct 19, 2019
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Greywulfken from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep, soft brown pour looks dark brown/black in the glass... Never had the non-barrel aged edition... Decent enough wee heavy - the barrel aging saves it from being mundane I think... Has the appropriate aromas and flavors of malted and fermented fruits like fig and date and plum, with elements of dank spice and chewy resin... A mild booziness, a hint of vanilla and oak, and some vapors of alcohol confirm the barrel affects... Improves and develops as it warms... A good if not top-notch wee heavy, easy to recommend but not likely to crack your top 5...

Mar 14, 2019
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One year old, properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, with little light transmission in the glass with a half finger khaki head with great retention and nice lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dates, dried plums, light peaty smoke and a hint of oxidation. Flavor is biscuity caramel malt, dates, raisins, bourbon, cherry and raspberry, finishes slightly berry tart with a little peat smoke. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. Flavor profile is pretty much what I'd expect from a barrel aged Scotch ale with a bit more fresh, slightly tart fruit than I expected, probably from the bourbon. Peat smoke is a little laid back, but adequate for the style. This turned out pretty darn good and the year of cellaring probably mellowed it out a little. Nice flavor combinations that fit together well.

Feb 04, 2019
Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a BA spieau glass.

Look is a dark brownish red with a fizzy offwhite head.

Aroma is dark red fruits and candi sugared fruits.

Taste exactly matches aroma. Thick boozy and fruity.

Delicious.

Jul 14, 2018
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rarigney from Washington

3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is opaque dark brown with a generous tan head. Retention is below average and lacing is minimal. Aroma is subdued, but has some bourbon and toffee notes. Taste is bourbon, cherry, and a hint of oak. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and slightly hot.

Jun 17, 2018
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$ 17.77 (Including shipping)/waxed capped 22 oz bottle ($ 0.808/oz) from Tavour, Seattle, WA.
Ink-stamped above the label on the shoulder and barely visible is “12/04/17”, stored at 42 degrees and served at 55 degrees in a hand-washed and hand-dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.75.
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque. When held to the light, penetration around the top shows brown.
Head – Large (Maximum 5.1cm, aggressive center pour), dark tan, medium density, shorter than average retention time, diminishing to a two to three mm ring and a thin broken layer.
Lacing – Transitory at best.
First pour – Medium brown, clear.
Aroma – 3.75 - Weak. Tobacco and dates.
Flavor – 4 - Begins with bourbon which obliterates the caramel, toffee, and diacetyl of the base beer while oddly accentuating the cherry notes. This incarnation is also less sweet. Allowing it to warm in my mouth brings out some alcohol and a bit of barrel tannin. No hops, no vanilla, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.75 - Medium, almost creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and summation – 4 - The label is marked “2018” so I assume (!) that the “12/04/17” is a bottling date, not a “Best by” date. The appearance is better than the base beer because we at least get a head with a measurable retention time and a bit of lacing appears before coarsening and disappearing. The aroma is also better than the base beer because of the unexpected tobacco and date aroma; however, it is just as weak. The flavor is mostly bourbon and thus different in a not-so-good way from the base beer since most of the Wee Heavy characteristics are missing except for the cherry. Aging has apparently thinned the beer so that it is no longer full-bodied and thus less characteristic of a Wee Heavy. Not every style of beer is made better with bourbon barrel aging. Overall, a much higher price point and a poorer brew than the base beer.

May 16, 2018
Barrel Aged Highland Charge from Heathen Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 11 ratings