Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch AleBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Cherrywood smoked Scotch ale aged in used 12 year old bourbon barrels.

Added by tourdot on 07-15-2013

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 819
Reviews by Jparker37:
Photo of Jparker37
4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

S - The darkest malt qualities come off as a overripe red cherries. Little bit of nuttiness along with vanilla. Woody. Alcohol hides well even at serving temperature. Some sweetness as well.

A - Small tan ring around the glass. Very dark for a Scotch ale, nearly opaque except on the outer most sides when held to light. No lacing.

T - Malt shows intensity. Theres pronounced caramel, burnt sugar, and flashes of raisin qualities. Huge vanilla flavor midway from the barrel. There's sweetness all along in the background. Once those vanilla/raisin/alcohol flavors hit, they continue throughout and well after the finish.

M - Full body, medium-light to light carbonation, sweet

O - Tremendous smelling beer, excellent complexity. Ran a little to dark for me to think this is a traditional Scotch ale pre-barrel aging. Flavor showed fantastic barrel character but ran a little heavy on sweetness. Feel was smooth and full.

Judgement - Another recommended Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Aged behemoth.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tourdot
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 review
A- Pours dark brown with a thin tan head, leaving slight lacing

S- Bourbon jumps out followed by peaty malts, vanilla, caramel

T- Bourbon up front. Dark fruits, caramel and peaty malts are present in the middle of the taste. Long lasting bourbon/malt finish

M- A wee bit thin but low carbonation leads to a smooth mouthfeel

O- Another great brew from Central Waters barrel program. This is a very good BA scotch ale that with a little more body would be terrific. I will gladly pick up a case this year and seek it out again next year.

2015 vintage review:
The viscosity of this beer has increased over the past couple of vintages and has made this beer become a real contender for a top 5 BA Wee Heavy. The nose on this beer is amazing, great barrel notes. CW just keeps getting better and remains humble doing so. Small amount of 2015 hit the shelves as of 8/4; look for widespread distro starting 8/1/15. $12.99/4 pk!

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

if there was only one or two breweries in the country that i wish would distribute to colorado, these guys would probably make the list. they never miss, and all these crazy barrel aged beers they do are so spectacular. this is one of the best (and sweetest, and most intense, and most unique) scotch ales i have ever had the bourbon barrel is a huge contributor to the flavor. nutty smokey sweet malts and honey vanilla whiskey flavors combine brilliantly. i get almonds, molasses, campfire smoke, english toffee, waffles, and quality bourbon in the taste, there is a lot going on, but its all so complimentary and synergistic, i have never had a beer like this before. strong, and it feels strong, but it doesnt taste boozy to me, just the whiskey flavor, no heat at all. tons of sugar, maple and molasses and brown sugar all come and go on the tongue and teeth, and the smoke cuts it about as well as it could. i like that the beer is big enough to hold all the smoke flavor without being overpowered. so often thats all you can taste in these, but not here, its built perfectly for that. one of my favorite takes on the style ive had, and another feather in the cap for central waters. this is killer beer, perfect for the chilly nights this time of year. i need to get me some more!

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Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A super dark opaque brown with a light brown head. spots and streaks on the glass. Nose has so much to offer and delight in. The bourbon is well represented without being too big. It sets a platform that allows the malt of the ale to offer toffee and caramel against the notes of smoked cherry and dark fruit sweetness. A hint of oak. Some toasted coconut and vanilla flows throughout. Taste is superb. Balanced and complex. Lots of Scotch ale in the front with its typical burnished maltiness. Cherries and vanilla follow with the oak dryness leading to a mild hop presence. Lots of subtle complexities, caramel and dark fruits, toffee and roasted grains. Feel is full and creamy with just a few points off for a bit of thinness that seems to affect the bottle I'm having. Last one seemed a bit better carbonated. Still a good feeling glass this time around with a mild smooth feel and satisfying swallow. A stupendous beer al the way around. The seemingly perfect melding of Scotch ale and bourbon barrels has me wondering about the prominence of stout instead of a good wee heavy. This is just outstanding.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Wicked Weed tulip. The pour is very dark brown with ruby red highlights and sports about a finger of tan head. The nose has lots of rich toasted malt, fresh brown bread, toffee, toasted oak, and a hint of bourbon.

Full body, creamy feel, and a big rich, sweet flavor. Toffee, coffee cake, and toasted nuts up front. Oak, bourbon, vanilla at mid-palate, then a hint of black cherries on the finish. A slight warming alcohol presence, but certainly nothing even remotely hot or boozy.

A terrific bourbon-barrel-aged wee heavy. Right up there with Backwoods Bastard and Wulver. Yet another reason to envy our fellow BAs who live in Wisconsin.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I received this well-needed treat in the mail today as part of a trade with Duff27. Thanks, buddy! 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with classy navy blue label and unbranded pry-off pressure cap served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery, whose work I've been impressed with in the past. Reviewed as a bourbon barrel aged scotch ale because the label identifies it as such. 2013 vintage.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of plump khaki colour. Nice thickness and creaminess without going overboard for a scotch ale. It's got an even consistency. Complexion could be shinier and sleeker. Head retention is average - about two minutes on the dot. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, and what does is inconsistent.

Body colour is a predictable opaque dark black - not quite a jet black. No floating yeast particles or sediment is visible. Appears adequately carbonated.

I notice no overt flaws. While not unique or special for a scotch ale, it's certainly an appealing one and I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Bourbon seizes me from the get-go. It's overt. Warm booziness, lightly toasty oak, and vanilla are all here in spades. Of the bourbon notes, the vanilla dominates, which compliments the beer's malty sweetness well. Dark malts are abundant, with some toasted malt in there too. I also pick up a bit of sugarcane, maybe even some fleeting wisps of rum-soaked dark fruits. Cream. Raisin. A kiss of vinous character. There're plenty of residual sugars here suggesting a low attenuation yeast.

No yeast character itself comes through, through, and I don't find any evident hop profile either.

Overall, the bourbon notes seem to overwhelm the base beer. But the bourbon character is so en pointe I'm reticent to criticize. Let's hope the taste delivers.

I'd call it a pleasant if somewhat intimidating aroma of above average strength.

T: There's much more fruit in the flavour profile than the aroma suggested - light plum and prunes are most prominent. I also get some marshmallow hidden amongst the toasted malt notes. Dark malts. A kiss of sticky raisin. Unbecoming hints of vinous character are thankfully quite buried. Cream. Coconut. Ample residual sugars. Of course, bourbon is dominant here, but it's also well-integrated - moreso than the aroma suggested, anyway. There's plenty of bourbony vanilla as well as a bit of oak wood and some alcohol-induced warmth. I'm not finding as much of the typical scotch ale toffee as I expected to.

There's no obvious hop character here, which is apt given the style. The booziness found on the aroma is quite checked in the flavour profile. No yeast character is noticeable.

Overall, it's a balanced if somewhat timid bourbon barrel scotch ale, and while I do like it I don't think it's among the the best in its style. It's got a very cohesive almost gestalt build with lots of interesting elements, but they don't quite come together to form an exemplary brew. It's complex and subtle enough, with some nuance from the fruit and bourbon. Not the most intricate scotch ale I've had. Hard to dislike.

Mf: Lightly creamy. A bit supple. Smooth and wet. Has a nice body and presence on the palate. Good thickness. The texture doesn't seem to be a perfect match for the taste, but it does complement it nicely. Well carbonated. A bit sticky.

Not too rough. Not astringent, oily, gushed, or hot - though it does have some pleasing warmth.

Dr: It isn't the sipper I expected it to be, and I won't have any trouble putting the bottle down inside 20-30 minutes at a natural pace. This is another brew from Central Waters that strains against the upper limits of "good" without ever quite moving on to "great." Any fan of the style should give this a try, but I don't think it's quite on par with something like Founders' Backwoods Bastard. Really glad I got to try it.

The highlight for me was the unexpected marshmallow, which is seamlessly integrated and fits perfectly into the build. Constructively, more toasted oak would really make it better.

Thanks again, Duff27!


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Photo of JebBeerFish
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Joe for the trade.

Appearance - dark Amber, minimal head on gentle pour.

Nose - Bourbon, Vanilla, slight malt.

Taste - more of the same, but intensified.

Mouthfeel - average for the style.

Overall - ranks 2nd in my book after Wulver, but ahead of Backwoods Bastard.

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Photo of Karnivool1
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Was really looking forward to this and came away a little disappointed. It's good, but it's a little too sweet and and a malt bomb. Not in the same league as Founders Backwoods Bastard.

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Photo of Karl_12welveEyes
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark brown, slightly translucent.
Smell: heavy bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, raisin
Taste: heavy bourbon from the barrel on the front side, fades to a caramel finish.
Feel: smooth, thick enough that the bourbon flavor doesn't burn on the way down.

One of the most intense bourbon profiles I have ever experienced in a beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Local Option. Served in a chalice.

A - A big tan foam settles to a thick cap and glass-coating lacework. Very dark brown, opaque body.

S - Massive bourbon aroma, large doses of vanilla and coconut, light wood, some sweet toffee and treacle; definite Scotch Ale character that punches through the barrel flavors. Nice balance, not overly cloying, and not overly boozy either.

T - The taste is quite nice, but doesn't match the aroma. A bit more milk chocolate, caramel, and nougat and less of the vanilla and coconut flavors. There's a touch of astringent wood in the finish, but the alcohol is well-hidden on the whole.

M - Definitely medium-bodied, and perhaps a bit thin although without an ABV it's hard to tell. A tad watery, but with lots of residual stickiness after a moderately tannic, oaky finish. Perhaps a touch of light alcohol warming here.

D - Smells great, although I think a 12oz bottle would be a pretty hefty serving; it took me awhile to work through my chalice. Still, it's pretty nice stuff and a definite return to form for Central Waters after some middling and 'off' beers.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very deep brown, with a thin, creamy, tan head.
The smell is of awesome Carmel malt with the bourbon hint. Some baking chocolate and very light hop.
Oh my gosh, the taste and feel of this is amazing! The Carmel malt bomb just keeps on giving. The bourbon taste makes this nearly perfect! A slight vanilla sneaks in with the finish of what I want to call candied bourbon! A slight alcohol burn in the end makes this resonate. This one really blew me away. I actually paired this earlier with a Ghurka Shaggy Foot, but this deserves to be the star of the show.

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Photo of don1481
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12o bottle bought at Discount Liquor. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark caramel color with some carbonation that sticks to the side of the glass. Off-white head that retains decently.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, vanilla all come right on through. And the bourbon. Who can forget that? Some peatiness. Pretty complex.

Taste: Very much an in your face beer. The bourbon and peat smack you right away, followed with the sweetness of carmel and vanilla. This is a beer that means business.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, somewhat syrupy. Little boozy aftertaste.

Overall: $3.49 for a bottle well spent.

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Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -7%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of dandaugherty1221
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle, this Scotch Ale is a hazy slightly reddish-brown with a tan head that leaves spotty lacing.
The aroma is toffee, slightly musty oak, vanilla, brown sugar and booze.
A complex taste unfolds on the tongue. It begins sweet with toffee and vanilla notes, then some raisin and maybe even plum notes. As it warms, I taste some brown sugar and a bit of smoky char. it finishes with a touch of a boozy burn.
Mouthfeel is medium-thick and stick.
An outstanding beer.

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Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of alarmclock314
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2015. Pours hazy brown with a medium sized khaki head; nice lacing. Smells of bourbon, dark fruit, and sweet malt. The taste follows closely with bourbon, dark fruit, dry port, spices, malt, and caramel. Great complexity and bittersweet. Above average body and carbonation. Overall, it's a great craft beer, but it's closer to an English Barleywine than a Scotch Ale.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque, reddish-brown with 1/3 inch head. Taste is a big dose of bourbon, toasted malt, and a bit of flowers--has an aftertaste of alcohol. Complex layers of malt. A sipper, but one I will likely get again.

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Photo of fenlop54
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ryancl
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of JC333
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rsquared59
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.3 out of 5 based on 819 ratings.
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