Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch AleBerkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by connecticutpoet on 11-15-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 136
Photo of jrallen34
3.1/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Alex into a tulip...Pours a really light and watery brown, pretty clear. Light watery head is gone right away...The aroma is super strong way to much scotch from start to finish, comes across as black sharpie as well. Scotch, wood, and ash. Too strong to smell often...The taste comes across slightly less alcoholic showing off some of the bourbon qualities bringing in nice oak and a little vanilla. The scotch is still way to strong to make this at all drinkable.

Not sure how this is an A beer, roundly disparged at our tasting.

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Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crushinat0r's bottle from Julio's. Dark, ruby coloured. Off-white head, and lacey. Corny sweetness, its boozy, not so drinkable, there is a coffee bitterness,there is a caramelness, brown sugar,it is not balanced really and its mouthfeel is thinish. Didn't think the carbonation helped the experience.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.36/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think I got this from Reagan1984, but I can't totally remember. Served in a Lost Abbey rastal teku.

A - Pours with a half-finger of foam that quickly dissipates to a thin ring and some big bubbles. Transparent caramel brown.

S - Barrel, wood, fusel alcohol, harsh bourbon, burnt sugar, and some light smoke and char. This is nostril-singing and hasn't mellowed out at all.

T - Caramel, vanilla, light diacetyl, cotton candy, brown sugar, and tons of barrel. Less harsh than the nose, but still somewhat cloying.

M - Smooth medium-full body, with some obvious alcohol heat. Low carbonation, with a tannic dry finish.

D - It was a struggle to get through 4oz of this stuff. Way too sweet and boozy for my tastes, and I generally like most bourbon-barrel aged beers. Apparently I'm in the minority on this one...

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Photo of AgentZero
3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish people would stop making these beers so I could stop drinking them. Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, braced for yuck.

A - Caramel/amber colored beer with a bit of a beige head that faded to a fairly consistent cap and left some lace down the sides.

S - Thankfully not as peaty as a lot of these, I just can't get into the peatiness of the Scotch Ale for whatever reason, although I always liked peaty scotch, go figure. Some bourbon, little caramel and vanilla, molasses, and a hint of butter.

T - Tastes about like the nose, with the bourbon coming a little bit stronger than expected. Some decent caramel, vanilla, oak, barrel, molasses, butter. All mixed in there without getting too terribly sweet.

M - Fairly smooth with lower carbonation.

O - Not a bad beer, pretty easy to get down actually given that it's not a style I care for. Not bad.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to sleepnbballrlife for hooking this up. 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. 1 finger of tan head atop a hazy mahogany/cherry-wood body.

Nose: Sweet oak, saccharine, banana peel, nuts, and some red wine-like aromas.

Palate: Medium- to full-bodied and sharp with alcohol. There's a lot of banana-like fermentation esters floating on top of sweet toasted oak, vanilla extract, roasted nuts, caramelized lactose, and there's a slight sourness to the finish.

Notes: Not as good as I remembered it, but still one of the best beers BBC makes. Not quite as good as the Drayman's, but quite good and worth a shot if you're at Julio's already.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a very dark slighty cloudy brown with a thin head. Head left a ring around the glass with a small "island" in the middle. Aroma was clean, slightly sweet with a small touch of milk in it. Taste was grainy with a small bit of fruitiness, maybe melony?? with a touch of citrus. Felt outstanding in the mouth. Coated beautifully, just enough of a kick and bite to linger. I always wanted to take another sip to get more back in the mouth. Alcohol hit a little hard, but was pleasant to drink.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Jeff for the nice extra

Pours an effervescent brown with a finger of head. Aroma is sharp caramel maltiness and booze. Sweet and stinging. Some clove and a hefty amount of cardboard.

The flavor is quite rich, with a big sweet caramel and vanilla/oak kick followed by notes of oxidation and booze. The body is definitely too light for the style...not sure if the age or the barrel or a combination of the two thinned it out, but it isn't quite as full as I would like and the carbonation is a bit stingy.

Overall this is a very tasty beer. A bit messy, but in small doses it works well. I would be interested to try it a bit fresher and compare the two.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Snagged at Julio's during their Spring Fest. Poured into a Portsmouth snifter. Am guessing it's the 2009 vintage but no indications at first glance.

It's a bit more turbid than I expected. More like a cloudy Dunkel actually. Not quite, though - then again, it kicks off a perfect deep bourbon hue. Ginger-colored head is pretty damn nonexistent on first pour though. Carbonation is relatively...almost completely...still.

Oh yeah, there's a $#!+load of oak here. And vanilla. And a bit of butter. But there's some nice bourbony perfume with some pininess. It needs to warm quite a bit in my estimation. Slight leather/tanning soap notes. There's a little complexity here. Not entirely synergistic but interesting. Dark fruits come around with the bourbon - maybe some stewy fermenting plums, among other things.

And, they're off...vanilla is in there...buttery but not too sweet. Bourbon is huge. This is huskier in taste than on the nose. Dark fruits become incredibly austere and recede into maybe not deep background but into the backbone of it all. Hops? Sure - a bit of pine here juxtaposed with strong dark roasted malts. No hint of tannins. Alcohol is more astringent than desired for the weight class. Density is much more thin than expected. Borderline clammy when cold. Still, the taste profile is quite enjoyable.

For all the flavor profile it brings to the table, it's pretty dry. And light-bodied. I want this to have a lot more weight than it does. Husky malt and pine on the hops lingers in the back of the throat alongside a slightly astringent bourbon-vanilla finish. It's like the wicked cold, numbing sensation after knocking back a shot of Maker's. With a little butter in there. Looking for something heavier. But it's good.

I miss the deeper molasses-like maltiness of some of the Scotch ales I've tried on this one. Hate to be a yenta about it all but I shouldn't have to wait an hour for the maltiness to show. The flavor profile has a lot going on but it's quite thin for a Scotch Ale. There's nothing heavy about it. But it drinks pretty well and it is quite enjoyable, so that counts for something. But not nearly as much as it should. All in all, go get it and draw your own conclusion. The vanilla in the bourbon oak salvages this from lack of depth. I like it quite a bit but I should like it even more.

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Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a decent cap that leaves plenty of squiggles and dots around the snifter

Smell: Clearly the strong point of this beer, with a nice bourbon/vanilla aroma, a caramel base and a boozy warmth

Taste: Opens with the caramel and that pushes into the bourbon/vanilla range but by mid-palate, a tartness appears that verges on the sour; perhaps this is the aging process taking over in a bad way but it persists through the aftertaste and I probably would have scored this lower if the beer were younger

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Too bad about the tart/sour flavors as everything else about the beer was very nice; perhaps it was much better in its youth - my fault for cellaring it for so long

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.84/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Banditbrewingco was to blame for this recent trade - Kidding - thanks, Alan! Shared with DrewOSU and newtonty.

Pours a super sexy, rust brown with great white lacing and a 1/2 inch head.

Hate to say it, but like many barrel-aged beers, the first whiff I take reminds me of nail polish remover. After that, I start getting vanilla, molasses and raisins...

Onto the taste... I get the bourbon up front. Lots of vanilla, heat, sweet malts and the charateristic scotch flavors... High carbonation on the mouthfeel, with a smooth medium body.

This is a big sipper - quite nice, but I think this needs some time to mellow out and get a bit more complex.

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Photo of illidurit
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Woodshop 5.0. Pours a deep brown/amber color with a big foamy tan head. Fruity smokey aroma with dark caramel. Warming bourbon flavors with caramel and a nice, even smokiness. Carbonation on the high side, detracts from the richness.

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Photo of damienblack
3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin rubyish color. Small head that quickly dissipates. Leave a little swirl in the center of the glass. Some decent lacing, though. Smell is huge boubony blast with a bit of malty fruit, kind of like a quad. Taste... like a lite scotch-ale, combined with a bourbon blast. Kind of syrupy to the tongue. First, kind of weak (but not in a watery way) sweet malt, and then a sharp bourbon kick. A lot less in the taste than on the scent, though. The bourbonyness leaves an alcoholic spiciness on the palate, which is the lingering sensation here. Mouthfeel is adequate, carbonation is appropriate, and everything is sufficiently cloying. Drinkability takes a slight hit from the overwhelmingness of the bourbon, but it takes a smaller hit than it could have. Overall, a pleasant enough nightcap, but I was expecting a lot more from this beer. Definitely not something I could (or would) drink regularly.

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Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent head with impressive ring lace after each sip. Dark amber in color and slightly cloudy.

Sweet with a great deal of caramel aroma from darker malts. Seemingly strong alcohol.

Unexpectedly thin body for the color and head. Good carbonation. Strong alcohol warmth. Very sweet, maybe overly so--even for the style.

This is not my style, but I am warming up to it as I consume it.

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Photo of stakem
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber into a snifter. The brew appears a clear mahogany color with a tan head.

The smell includes a hint of old dusty grain, fruity bourbon slight alcohol feel and a mild tang to it.

The taste is sweet with caramel malt, mild dusty oxidation and tangy bourbon. The alcohol becomes a little noticeable as it warms up.

This is medium bodied, moderately carbonated and for being 8 years old this has held up fantasticly.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. from the new 2009 batch, although i can't find any actual indication on the bottle itself. tasted in early/mid may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark ruby brown. clear (decant properly). 1-finger off-white head fades to wisps and ring. moderate lacing, though splotchy at times.

aroma: unripe tropical fruit (guava?), oaky vanilla and trace of coconut (although a touch artificial and not naturally nutty/toasty), as bourbon notes start to come in. faint maltiness makes a presence, but i wanted more from a scotch ale.

taste: bourbon seems to be the focus - not too boozy, but it comes slightly at the expense of the malty scotch ale character. vanilla-laden oak, trace of wet tobacco, touch of toasted coconut. slightest hint of cherries. mild to moderate bitterness and a mild acidity round things out, but malt remains a touch watery.

medium body, almost syrupy. touch of acidic or astringent character in the finish. carbonation has a tingle and helps with body and with lifting up the flavors.

i think if they upped the maltiness on this, it would match even better with the bourbon. as such, it is a nice showcase for the bourbon barrel aging, but it's just not the richest of scotch ales.

NOTE: drinkability score should be a 4.0 while taste should be something like 3.8

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Photo of morebeergood
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brought this beer up from the beer cellar for last Friday night. Poured into a stemmed glass. Caramel in color with an average sized head. Nice lacing on the glass. The smell of bourbon is right up front, and it's potent. Very nice. Taste was excellent, tons of oak and bourbon on the palette. On the down side, it's was a bit overpowering. Would have enjoyed this beer a bit more if it was a little more mellow. But, this is one of the best special releases I've had in a while. I'd love to see BBC make this a yearly special. Thanks to joshman for the hook up.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.97/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No surprise that I got this bomber at Julio's.

A brown body with some ruby hues mixed in there. About two fingers of tan head that doesn't leave me a ton of lacing and lacks impressive lacing.

I smell lots of bourbon with some dark fruits mixed in there.

Bourbon is definitely what comes out in the beginning, with some oak and vanilla flavors. I lost the dark fruits that were in the aroma, but some caramel and very slightly chocolately flavors do come through.

Pretty full mouthfeel here.

Good drinkability, especially considering the high ABV. Sefinitely a pretty good beer.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this since a fall 09' trade with BTPete. Thanks Pete!

Bomber split with a friend.Cloudy murky pour into a snifter. Ruby highlights evident when held to the light.

Planting the beak into the glass yields vaporous alcohol and a heavy avalanche of sweet vanilla

Pralines and cream and vanilla, sweet vanilla. Chris says he could pour this over ice cream as a topping. Dessert sweetness, mellowed bourbon up front, loads of prickly sweetness on the finish. Have I mentioned the sweetness?

Medium bodied and carbonation, rather silky

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with an inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells light bourbon, oak vanilla, caramel malts, and some sugar or molasses. Smells a bit sweet.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, molasses, toasted malts. More bourbon than the nose but not as sweet, a slight step up in my opinion.

m - Medium body and light to moderate carbonation.

d - Overall a very nice scotch ale. WOuld like to have again sometime.

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Photo of bamadog
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this in one of my earliest trades a couple of years ago, and just now getting around to cracking it. I figured that much time shouldn't hurt anything this big with some time in barrels on it either. Review is from notes taken on 1/27/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks like murky home made apple cider; starts with a one finger creamy light tan head that fades relatively quickly to a thin and uneven skim with a creamy/foamy ring around the surface; as mentioned, body is murky and really can't be seen into, but on the sides you can quick streams of tiny bubbles; a swath and patchy lacing is left behind.

Smell: Quite nice, and there is still a bit of bourbon kick to the nose as well; plenty of caramel maltiness and a touch of smokey peat; alcohol rings through clearly and there is a sweet vanilla presence as well; nose is quite robust and doesn't disappoint.

Taste: Also very good, and there is a bit of an acidic apple-like flavor, not quite sure where it comes from; touch of oak; bourbon-like alcohol is there as well as the nose alluded to; caramel malts and the vanilla rolls in, likely from the barrel.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and a touch slick; carbonation is present and soft, keeps the body smooth enough; a thick, oily and sticky coating is left all over the palate; belly is left especially warm.

Overall: Definitely a sipper, but one I wouldn't mind getting through a couple times of years; a nice set of flavors, and while it's not the biggest beer I've sat through, the presence of alcohol keeps me sipping in moderation.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

v2009 - not as much head, seems even boozier, Doesn't seem to quite come together as well as the last version. Alcohol power knocks its rating down a notch pretty much across the board.

6/10/08 - this one's still holding nicely...

11/18/07 - 5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5
22oz bottle purchased as part of a case from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head is dense, thick, and not going anywhere fast, with heavy lasting lace. Aroma is dominated by vanilla and bourbon. Taste is rich dark malt sweetness upfront, a light fruitiness in the middle, and plenty of bourbon and vanilla character at the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is excellent for a brew whose flavor is as defined by alcohol as this one is. Good stuff, glad it's local.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark brown with a quickly dissipating light tan head.

S- Sweet and yeasty. Notes of brown sugar, cherry and honey. A sweet alcohol aroma is there too...I wouldn't be able to identify it as bourbon based on the smell though.

T- A bit of a letdown based on how good it smells, but still good. Sweet and malty with hints of honey. The bourbon is more distinct in the taste, but very mild and well-balanced. No alcohol heat.

M- Heavy and sticky, but not overly so.

D- Sip at it from a snifter.

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Photo of Overlord
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A truly interesting and engaging beer.

Pours a ruddy amber color with a minimal off white head. Some lacing in the glass.

The smell is ... bourbon with a tingle of malty sweetness. The bourbon character of this beer levels you with the first sniff and doesn't let go. It's a sipper, no doubt. Mouthfeel is appropriately thick and chewy.

Taste has some vanilla, oaky characteristics, and a nice malt backbone to go with ... gigantic bourbon characteristics. A nice combination, by all means, but I almost wish I was splitting the bottle with someone. I'm going to have mark this beer down for drinkability, but other than that it's a wonderfully flavorful concoction.

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Photo of younger35
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this brew from YonderWanderer in a fairly recent trade. This will most definitely be my first tasty treat from Berkshire. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute.

Appearance- Pours a dark reddish brown with a large two finger light tan head. A very nice cap and collar are maintained throughout along with a fair amount of lacing.
Smell- The bourbon is very upfront on this one! Loads of that bourbon barrel goodness that I think I've only smelled in the Bourbon Angels Share. Loads of vanilla and caramel that are really brought to the fore front by the barrel aging. Slightly sweet malt with a very light touch of peated smoke.
Taste- Like the nose, the brew starts slightly sweet with a burst of bourbon, vanilla and caramel. The big barrel-e-ness that I got from the nose doesn't quite translate to the taste but it's most definitely still there. The vanilla is definitely the most prevalent part of the taste with a bit of malty sweetness (almost cloying, but not quite), overly cooked brown sugar and Tootsie Rolls. Lightly plump raisons and plum are hiding in the background and show a bit more as it warms. Light alcohol in the finish with a nutty caramel aftertaste.
Mouthfeel- Slightly thin body with a lightly creamy feel and very crisp, barrel aged carbonation. A bit of light warming is present as well.
Drinkability- This is a really tasty brew that showcases the power of barrel aging! It can be semi cloying at times but for the most part it stays in check. It's basically a more drinkable Angels Share (in my own head anyways). Big thanks to Dave for sending this terrific brew!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 received in my most recent trade with Wasatch... Thanks John!! I shared this with tonight with my brother while talking to him about a job interview tomorrow... My share poured into my Delirium goblet.

Dark brown brew with good lite tan head and lace... pretty highlites when held to my kitchen overhead.

Nose is very malty with big hints of vanilla and bourbon.. very rich... alot of stuff going on here... deep malts with some minor cherry and caramel.

Flavor is everything good about a well made Wee Heavy combined with some big punches of good ole Kentucky pride... again very rich.. thick malts and cherry elements... quite a bit of fruity esters show as it warms... this surprises me... very plummy... Body is thick and velvety.. still quite a bit of alcohol given the time in the cellar.

Thanks John... this is one brew that I probably never would have tried trading for.. but am very grateful I got the chance.

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Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
4.3 out of 5 based on 136 ratings.
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