Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Scottish Ale
Ranked #10
Ranked #19,343
3.88 | pDev: 11.08%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Notes: We have taken a traditional Scottish-style ale, with its rich malt characteristic reminiscent of dark fruits, and deepened its flavor with the addition of cherry wood smoked malt. This beer features a full body alongside drinkability - a rare commodity. We enjoy this seasonal throughout the long, snowy winters of Central Wisconsin. You should, too!
Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 297 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well color me shocked I haven't reviewed a Central Waters beer I've had for a decade or so! So right out the gate, not a huge Scotch/Scottish ale fan. Grew up in the 90s pounding McEwan's, but eventually got the hop bug and just cut that shit out of my consumption habit.

Anyways, brown pour, red towards the edge. Beige head 1/2" with great retention. Aroma was nice, hit the cherrywood note, dark breadiness, lesser than average peat and dirt effects.

Taste brings on a light tea note, light tobacco note to compliment the cherrywood smoked malt/wood. Mouth feel stays true, smooth, non bitter aspect going on. Carbonation above average, barely, nice. Any dark fruited note is minimal, like the bitterness. I guess part of the reason I dig on this more than the average scottish beer is it lacks some of those things that are bigger in the ones I'm not as keen on.

Still prefer the bourbon barrel version, but this is one of the best either way.

Apr 14, 2020
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wl2bill from Wisconsin

4.69/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My favorite scotch ale to date. It is unfortunate that it is a seasonal offering. Oh well, it gives me a reason to look forward to winter,about the only reason...

Mar 03, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Stamped on bottle neck is '29917'.
Ruby brown colored body, which really shows red when presented to light. Long lasting beige creamy cap and ring. No lacing.
Has a bready malt aroma, with a hint of smoke and dark fruits.
Taste is dark, smoky malts and dark fruits, with a middle flavor similar to a bran muffin, and then the end is more like tea and cocoa. No bitterness. Has a dark roasted malt, chocolaty after taste.
Medium to fuller mouth feel. Good carbonation level.
A malt driven beer, but quite involved with the tastes of bread, smoke, tea, and chocolate. A little sweet too. The spices involved are subtle but present, and allow the beer to be a very good winter warmer.

Mar 21, 2018
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.83/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Sláinte has a medium, beige head, a semi-clear, red (brown, with light shining on it) appearance, and no glass lacing. Aroma is of rich, spiced, brown, holiday breads, and the flavor is of the same, with cherry, brown sugar, a touch of chocolate, a touch of syrup, and essentially nonexistent bitterness. Mouthfeel is high medium, and Sláinte finishes midway wet/dry.


Nov 18, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

quality brew, a great and rather classic take on the style, but a beer that seems to me somewhat simple for how evolved and dramatic a lot of the central waters beers are, especially the barrel aged stuff, this is a much more everyday sort of beer than i have ever really known them to make. looks the part and smells great, not as smoke and earthy forward as i thought it would be, sort of sweeter, richer, more caramelized, and a little bigger, but not lacking for grain depth, with a serious dried fruit and even a mild spice element. the yeast is also kind of cool, bready and european, almost english, but real frothy and hearty, which i think is great with the malts all over this one. fig jam, toffee, bran muffin, and maple to this in the finish, and lots of thick body but a little carbonation keeping it moving. i have a barrel aged scotch ale in the basement, pretty sure thats not same base beer, but this has me mighty excited for that, if you can do this, you can do that too. always impressed by central waters, they somehow still seem to fly under the radar more often than not...

Apr 24, 2017
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Benish from Wisconsin

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: poured a dark ruby color with a tinted red foamy head. In the glass it appears like a stout with no light shining through.

Aroma: vanilla, white chocolate and subtle tea. Also a little bit of toasted cereal. Smells very sweet and desert-like.

Taste: has a subtle earthy and tea-like taste with vanilla undertones. Nicely sweet with no bitterness. Taste kind of like a creme brûlée.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a little too much carbonation.

Overall: this really impressed. Exceeded my expectations because of the ratings. I have had scotch ales that I did not care for, but this is not one of them!

Dec 13, 2016
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, dark brown in color, with 1/4 inch head. Taste is milk chocolate, peat, husk, and Tootsie Roll. Sweet and medium bodied. True to style and a good drinker although I prefer other Scotch ales. Not a beer to pass over but not one to rush out for either.

Jun 29, 2016
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Cannibalgasm from Minnesota

3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a hazy deep ruby reddish brown with one finger of creamy khaki colored head. The head retains for a few minutes and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: Aromas of dark roasted malts, and sweet caramel malts, as well as dark fruits, toffee, and rye. You also get some slight alcohol and some earthy hops. Very pleasant aromas.

T: Roasted malts, and sweet caramel malts initially, then you get some toffee, dark fruits, berries, and rye bread. Their is a prevalence of earthy hops from beginning to end as well as some slight alcohol warmth. Finishes with toffee, and cocoa like sweetness, balanced by a slight hop bitterness. A great tasting ale.

M: Medium bodied, with a low-to-mid level of carbonation. Very smooth and slightly creamy feel with just a touch of alcohol warmth.

O: This is a very good Scottish ale, a style that is often overlooked but that I thoroughly enjoy. A very pleasantly poured brew with great aromas and flavor that has some warmth to it, but is incredibly approachable and has great drinkability. Overall this makes a great easy going companion for these cold Minnesota winters, and I would recommend giving it a try.

Feb 14, 2016
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Tone from Missouri

4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of a tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, hint of peat, hint of roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight yeast, and a hint of smoke. Fits the style of a Scottish Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, peat, hint of caramel malt, hint of roasted malt, slight alcohol, hint of wood, and slight smoke. Overall, decent appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

Jan 28, 2016
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scaliasux from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Very dark redddish-brown. Clarity hard to discern, but appears mostly clear. Short light brown head.

S - Sweet and rich. Medium roasted malts. Dark fruit, molasses, caramel.

T - Sweet and malty. Dark fruit and brown sugar, substantial smoke.

Jan 19, 2016
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manfromanotherplace from New York

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great Scottish ale, no surprise as everything central waters make seems to be top class. This is really subtle on both smell and taste, really smooth and clean, a very good beer.

Jan 08, 2016
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notAlexWalker from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Overall it's a great tasting scotch ale. It's a little darker than other scotch ales I've had which may be a little misleading to how it drinks. Sláinte feels a little lighter compared to other scotch ales, but in my opinion it enhances it's drinkability.

Jan 04, 2016
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KellyScottMad from Wisconsin

4.73/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is in my top three scotch ales. I love this beer and the refreshment that it brings. I wish it would finish off a little smoother at times. All depends on the batch that was brewed. Excellent beer!

Jun 02, 2015
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - dark brown with a good tan head and lacing
Smell - sweet carmel with a goody roast maltiness
Taste - first thing I taste is the roasted malts followed by the sweet carmel and a little cocoa
Feel - medium full body with medium carbonation. Fairly smooth with slight bite.
Overall - great roasted sweet scotch ale

Jun 02, 2015
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DabblinWiscCraft from Wisconsin

3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Found a six-pack of 12 oz bottles at the local market. No bottled on date, but the fact that this is a winter release leads me to believe that this was likely bottled over four months ago. Poured at slightly below room temperature (about 60 degrees) into a pint glass.

L: Pours a deep cola brown with reddish edges. An inch of khaki head dissipates fairly quickly to a film that leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S: Deep roasty malts and sweeter caramel malts in the nose. A bit of earthiness is present, along with what seems to be a touch of herbal hops. Perhaps a touch of rye bread in the mix, as well.

T: Sweet caramel malts and more earthy undertones in the front, surpassed by some more roasted malts and a bit of herbal hop punch. There's a hint of black licorice in the middle, mingling with some sweetbread. This one stays relatively sweet until the back, where there's an introduction of more clear alcohol notes and an underlying and lingering hop bitterness. No single taste stands out a great deal--it's fairly well-balanced in that regard.

F: This one has a nice feel to it. It's medium-to-heavy-bodied and somewhat creamy, with just a slight bit of carbonation to keep it lively. The bitterness at the back end is not especially assertive, and there's no syrupy quality to the finish.

O: I'm not a huge fan of this style, but I do appreciate when it's done well. I wish I could have gotten my hands on a fresher pack because I think some of the flavors would have been more pronounced. Overall, though, this is a solid beer that offers up some nice flavor and body, without making me feel like I couldn't reach for another.

May 06, 2015
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ARoman from Illinois

3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap, poured into a shaker. The dark brown beer is topped by a light, yet dense, tan colored head that only retains a light amount and leaves no lace. The aroma is dark and smokey with notes of caramel, grains, fig, bread crust, and some more subtle notes of chocolate and coffee - the coffee strengthens by the end of the glass. The medium bodied beer is a nice balance between a moderate sweetness upfront with a slightly stronger, moderate bitter finish. It's thin and smooth with a buzzy carbonation. Flavors of fig and roasted coffee dominate up front and it finishes with a pepper touch, caramel, and a light bitter wax. The aftertaste is mild with a light cloying wax and fig quality.

Apr 06, 2015
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HawbakerBrewery from Wisconsin

3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown, almost black. Tan head, leaves generous lacing. I never like the aroma of Scottish styled ales, but like all others, there is a strong malty...butterscotch-like scent. The flavor is malty, caramel and butterscotch-like as well. The carbonation is light and the body is heavy. I like these attributes in stronger beers. Enjoyable. I'm not a huge fan of Scottish ales (except Founders' Dirty Bastard) but this is not bad. I only wish it had a little more strength than 7.5% ABV.

Mar 26, 2015
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bright dark brown with a touch of ruby under a tan tinted foam cap that mounds up over the rim of the glass. Smell: Fruit, touch cocoa, slight alcohol.Taste: The flavor is malty and dry with traces of grains and cardamom and chocolate. Mouthfeel: Thick and malty, not quite a scotch ale but good. Overall: One dimensional, slight smoke, not complex.

Mar 21, 2015
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champ103 from Texas

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark brown, near black color. A two finger beige head forms, and recedes to a ring in a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: Toffee, dark fruits, a hint of roast. Just a touch of earthy hops, and a prevalent smoke malt aroma throughout.
T: Follows the nose with a toffee sweetness, just a hint of roast, dark fruits and earthy, tea like hops. Then a nice and balanced smokiness take over. Everything is really well balanced.
M/D: A medium body and moderate carbonation. Crisp and smooth at the same time. Not overly viscous or thick. Really enjoyable to drink. I can put a few away with ease.

Well made in my opinion. It is fairly simple, and has great balance. Nothing is dominate, and an all around joy to drink. I need to get some more.

Dec 30, 2014
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martyl1000 from Wisconsin

3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hmm. An oddly coffee-forward Scotch Ale. A good deal of leather, too, which I detest in beer.

I'm a big fan of Central Waters, especially for their barrel-aged program. And I have friends who rave about Slainte. But I do not like this brew.

Dec 23, 2014
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seedyone from New York

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. At first glance the head has mostly fine foam with rather lively looking large bubbles that leave a solid trace for lacing as the level recedes. The aroma is mildly toffee-ish with a wisp of molasses. The texture is airly robust even for a Scottish ale. A sip can be a mouthful. The overall taste has both the sweet & bitter of burnt sugar with a solid malty background. In a word substantial. I had to look twice when I saw a mere 5.2% as the ABV. It has all the character of the bigger bolder choices out there. Pretty unique, in a good way.

Nov 26, 2014
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Stevedore from Oregon

3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Bluephies' in Madison, Wisconsin. Served in a shaker pint 11/11/2014.

A- Dark cola-brown body, opaque but not quite black. Half finger white head, minimal retention time. Rings of lacing. [3.5]

S- Smooth toffee, earthy hops. Brown malt. Not too complicated, but balanced quite nicely. [3.75]

F- Toffee, caramel, earthy hops, sweet brown malt. Similar to the nose. There is a slight roast to it as well. Again, not particularly complex but everything comes together quite well. [4]

M- Medium bodied, on the thinner end of the spectrum. Fine carbonation, has a nice pop to it. Nice and reasonably sweet toffee finish that isn't cloying or off-putting. [3.75]

O- Very nice scottish ale. Straightforward flavours that are delicious, not as much complexity but certainly a nice shelf sixer if you enjoy Scottish ales. [4]

Final score: 3.90

Nov 12, 2014
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Phigg1102 from New York

3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with hints of amber and burnt caramel. Moderate tan head. Aroma of plum, cherry, molasses, and bread. More stone fruits and molasses in the taste as well as hints of chocolate and coffee. Medium bodied with a light to fair amount of carbonation. Very drinkable, one of my favorites of the style.

Jul 11, 2014
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metter98 from New York

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar; closer inspection reveals traces of dark red near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a half finger high tan head.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts and smoked malts are present in the nose—peat seems to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is rather malty and has both flavors of caramel and smoke. Only faint hints of bitterness are perceptible, although there's just enough hops in this from keeping it from becoming a malt bomb.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be very easy to drink for a Scottish Ale but is rather easy to drink. I found it to be enjoyable.

Apr 21, 2014
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MaximalC from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark chestnut in color with ruby highlights and a moderate cap of khaki froth with good retention. Broad sheets of lacing linger along the periphery as the beer descends. Complex aroma smells of dark fruit, molasses, dark chocolate, caramel, and a hint of peat and cherry cough syrup. The presentation is pretty much exemplary for the style.

The taste features toasted bread, plums, currants, dates, and a hint of molasses. A dash of herbal hops lend contrast and a slightly medicinal twinge, manifesting mostly in toward middle. Hints of milk chocolate begin to appear as the beer warms. Residual sweetness lingers on the lips. The complex malt profile reminds me of O'So Night Train, though they're technically different styles. The body is on the thin side, giving it a loose mouthfeel that doesn't quite lend the taste the support it deserves.

Overall, this is a fine Scottish ale, one of the best I've tried. The presentation and complexity are both excellent. A more robust body would really elevate this brew to the next level.

Mar 18, 2014
Sláinte from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 297 ratings