Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
160 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch AleBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
160
Ratings:
867
Avg:
4.29
pDev:
7.23%
 
 
Wants:
84
Gots:
270
For Trade:
43
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 867
Photo of Sabtos
3.62/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Body is dark brown with various other oil-slick hues muddily mixed in, like red and even green, with a soft tan blanket receding to a thin film.

This has a very distinct molasses nose, with raisin, prune, fruit cake, chewy Christmas rum balls, and dark gingerbread cookies.

Taste is sweet, dark malt, gingersnaps, molasses, deep, rich and smokey bourbon, with black licorice.

Full bodied, soft and frothy.

 408 characters

Photo of Bartleby91
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a beautiful reddish brown with lingering alcohol legs.

The aroma is huge bourbon, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, dark fruit and sweet malts. Some slight smokiness coming though as well.

The taste is big bourbon, caramel malt sweetness, toffee, oak, dark fruit, alcohol spice as well.

The mouthfeel is medium plus with a nice creamy lingering sweetness. Also has a nice bourbon spice that mixes with the malt sweetness well.

Overall this is an amazing barrel aged scotch ale that I would love to give a few more years.

 572 characters

Photo of SerialTicker
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredibly good. About on-par with Backwoods Bastard, as far as I'm concerned. Phenomenally balanced and a sipper -- yet drinkable. Rich in flavors of bourbon soaked dark fruits with a pleasant amount of woody flavors that really help out with the depth. As usual, Central Waters impresses for a fair price. Sure, their labels are dreadful, but the product speaks for itself.

 375 characters

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter; 2016 vintage, bottled on 9/22/2016. Pours crystal clear very dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, brown bread, raisin, prune, plum, fig, cherry, and date; with lighter notes of chocolate, nuttiness, peat smoke, leather, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, brown bread, raisin, prune, plum, fig, cherry, and date; with lighter notes of chocolate, nuttiness, peat smoke, leather, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light herbal bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, brown bread, dark fruits, light chocolate/nuttiness, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; with a nice malt and bourbon/oak spiciness balance, with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Minimal bourbon/oak dryness. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, fairly silky, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden, a light warmth lingering after the finish; with zero barrel booziness. Overall this is an incredible scotch ale! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. Very rich and well rounded in complexity all around. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,983 characters

Photo of GrumpyGas
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

10oz draft pour into a snifter sports an opaque brown body on which floats a gorgeous 1/4 in tan head.
Bourbon dominates the aroma with a distant stone fruit addition.
Flavor matches.
Creamy but still some carbonation.
Pour a second and put another log on the fire.

 265 characters

Photo of K-Dog
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this may be the best smelling beer ever. Such a great aroma of bourbon and vanilla. Amazing bourbon flavor and very smooth. Bring from Michigan I always had backwoods bastard as my favorite for the style but I like this slightly more. This backwoods and wulver are 3 of the best and this open is at the top. A fantastic beer.

 330 characters

Photo of waterski
3.94/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016 vintage. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wide mouthed glass. Poured dark brown with little to no head. Aromas of fig, brown sugar, and strong bourbon. Tastes of dried fruit, again the fig and maybe raisin. Not boozie to the taste which was a surprise given the nose. Strong Carmel flavors. Initial thought is to age it a while. It's definitely a sippper or beer to share. Nice beer to enjoy on a snowy afternoon with a book or newspaper. Plan to visit this beer later in the winter. Off to the cellar with the remaining three bottles.

 541 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.67/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from @Josholson in NBS BIF #4
Undated bottle at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter
Aroma – malty with bourbon
Head small (Maximum < one cm, aggressive pour), light tan, frothy, diminishing quickly to a two mm ring and small rocky island
Lacing - none
Body – dark brown, opaque
Flavor – sweet malt and bourbon, initially no alcohol but vapors appear after swallowing; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate – medium, creamy, soft carbonation

I’ll assume that this cost at least twice the price of the base beer. It’s still pretty rough – more time in the barrel would help. It’s still not bad, it’s just that it could be better.

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.5

 722 characters

Photo of Hanson15
4.79/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured at Stoneyard brewing company in a snifter at 8 oz. Dark raisin chocolate pour with small head. Bourbon mouthfeel with warmth and taste of raisins, vanilla and spices and a hint of chocolate. Goes down easy for a 9.5% abv.

 231 characters

Photo of SawDog505
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet not sure when it was bottled. Pours a very attractive light brown, with a 2 inch slightly tan head.

Smell is bourbon, toffee, caramel, vaniila, and dark fruit.

Taste follows vanilla, dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee, and some rather large booze.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, enough carbonation, very dry, and drinkability is solid.

Overall this is a very nice beer, that deserves to be sipped with love and respect. Nice beer! Thx @jzeilinger for this treat!

 504 characters

Photo of Peepskp
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent beer. One of the best scotch ales I've had. Not as special as the cassian sunset beer by cw, but a real treat. A bit heavy on the licorice flavor.

 156 characters

Photo of smcolw
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smallish head which settles to strictly rim bubbles. Some spots at the top of the glass. Brown color liquor where light shines through along the edge.

Relatively mild aroma of caramelized sugar and molasses. No hop, which is typical of the style.

Sweet with a brown sugar/molasses taste. Strongest in the swallow. I do get a little hop bitterness, but not enough to knock it off the style. Very rich given the sugar content but the carbonation is so low that this beer feels richer than nearly every beer I've ever had.

 523 characters

Photo of PaulyB83
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage poured into a tulip glass.

L- Deep garnet with some clarity on the edges, two finger toffee colored head.

S- Dark dried fruits of dates and raisins, toffee, caramel, some light to medium notes of vanilla and oak.

T- Sweet dates and raisin, and light bourbon notes, not much alcohol.

F- A light syrup mouthfeel, good carbonation.

O- Drank this one next to a 2016 Backwoods Bastard and I found the BB to be better with more barrel character but this beer is very solid and maybe a bit more drinkable with the less alcohol character it has.

 560 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a one finger tan head. Good amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, bourbon and vanilla.

T - The taste is bourbon, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and raisin.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a nice dry finish.

O - This is an awesome BBA scotch ale. The flavors are rich and leave you wanting another sip. Highly recommended.

 407 characters

Photo of 57md
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brownish color with ruby edges and almost a finger of head. The nose has soft but potent bourbon notes. The flavor combines bourbon with a hearty maltiness and the essence of sweet dark raisins. The mouthfeel is sticky. There is just a trace of residual harshness from the alcohol.

I am cellaring another bottle for a year with the hope that the trace of hashness erodes but the bouquet of flavors remains.

 424 characters

Photo of Slack
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber in color and clear. Some initial head that settles to almost nothing. Some lacing on a swirl but none remains long.

Nose is Bourbon, oak, sweet raisins, and minor smoke as it warms.

Taste is similar to the nose with a mixture of bourbon and oak, malt, a bit of dark fruit, a bit of smoke, booze, and a peaty finish.

Mouthful is medium to light and a bit creamy. Carbonation is average to low. Finish is semi dry.

This is an excellent Scotch ale. The bottle adds a really nice character to this beer. The nose, taste, and mouthful are all on point. It is nicely balanced and really drinkable. Seek it out if you enjoy Scotch Ales.

 652 characters

Photo of novamat
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful deep, dark reddish-brown, almost no light gets through except at the edges. Starts with an ample, light chocolate colored head that fades to a thin tan layer that hangs on near the glass. Smell is oak, raisins, malts and bourbon. Taste is more of the nose, but stronger in the fruit category with just the right tough of bourbon. Overall this is an excellent beer from Central Waters, and is one of the better barrel-aged wee heavys I've had.

 464 characters

Photo of Karl_12welveEyes
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

 335 characters

Photo of Karnivool1
3.6/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

 187 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

 577 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle
2015 Vintage

Poured into a snifter. The aroma is smoke malt, and a lot of oak and bourbon from the barrel. The taste is sweet malty goodness up front, with a lingering warmth in the finish from the barrel and high ABV. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

 301 characters

Photo of MNAle
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma bourbon, caramel, sweet malts, perhaps a bit of chocolate. There is more than that in the aroma; a rich, complex aroma. Very dark with a 1 inch tan, creamy head that recedes moderately fast to a thick cover. Very smooth, creamy mouth feel. Wonderful taste of bourbon, caramel, a bit roasty, chocolate, all interacting and teasing the taste buds. Some alcohol in the finish. No bitterness at all. Very complex cacophony of flavors in this beer. Wonderful, just wonderful.

 476 characters

Photo of FBarber
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown almost black, but reddish when held up to the light. Thin tan head dissipated leaving a small tan slick on the top of the beer. Beer appears to be shiny and clear.

Smell has aromas of bourbon, oak, molasses, syrup, dark fruits and toffee. There is just a ton of different aromas discernible on the nose lending to an incredible complexity. Rich sweet malts come through more prominently as the beer warms.

Taste is immediately notable for an outstanding malt profile. Just rich and lovely. Notes of dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses, and toffee all come through. Lots of bourbon and wood character is noted through out the beer. There is a touch of smokiness to this beer - its not super noticeable, but its there. Similar in the way that some scotches are more smokey or peaty - this beer is more smokey.

Feel has medium carbonation providing a slight tingle on the tongue initially. Very smooth and velvety. A bit thinner than a non-BA scotch ale, but taking the barrel aging into account its not overly thin.

Overall just a lovely scotch ale - and as barrel aged scotch ales go, this one is up there with the best.

 1,147 characters

Photo of Strix
4.64/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good initial head, fades to a slight ring, quite dark with clear red-brown edges.

Bourbon, sweet malt and caramel in the nose.

Starts out with sweet malt, then vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, caramel. Basically like something you could pour over a sundae, yet remains not cloying.

Silky smooth mouthfeel, slight carbonation.

This stuff is pretty fantastic. Central Waters' big and dark beers rarely disappoint.

 414 characters

Photo of Damian
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 12 fluid oz bottle acquired in a trade with Oldskool47
Vintage: 2015
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a very dark crimson-mahogany and was topped by an inch tall, creamy, frothy, tan colored crown that quickly fell to a thick bubbly collar. Some streaky, spotty lacing trickled along the glass.

The aroma was really smooth and complex. Intense bourbon notes hit hard right off the bat. Very malty and sweet. Loads of caramel and toffee. Hefty dose of dark fruits too. Raisins and plums were most apparent. Bit of dark chocolate sweetness. There was a hint of smokiness as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but a bit rougher around the edges. Malty on the front end. Slightly roasty. Touch of caramel-like sweetness. Bourbon notes appeared next. Big and boozy. Somewhat sweet. Brown sugar came to mind. Raisins and plums appeared in the center. The beer turned much drier and boozier on the back end and finished rather sharp with loads of alcohol heat and a hefty dose of roasted malts.

Nice creamy, frothy mouthfeel. Medium bodied for the style. Perhaps a touch thinner than anticipated. The liquid settled nicely on the palate and turned creamy and smooth.

This is a really nicely done barrel-aged Scotch ale with a big bourbon presence and good amount of complexity. My only knock against it was that the booze was a bit intense and seemed to thin out the body.

 1,400 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.29 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe