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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 886
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Central Waters is one of the more underrated breweries in the beer nerd world, IMHO. This beer is another example why.

Full disclosure: I love Backwoods Bastard. But this is significantly better, IMHO. There's this malty caramel/toffee thing going on that should be illegal in 17 states. You pile the oak bourbon barrels on top? Well that's not even fair.

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

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale, 9.5% ABV. Pours medium viscosity, dark brown, with 2 finger tan head, leaves decent lacing. Nose is sweetness and malt. Taste is mild bourbon, malt, and has a sweetness to it, and slight smoke. Decent mouthfeel. Overall an outstanding beer, will have to do a side-by-side with Backwoods Bastard, but thinking I like this better and I see that based on BA score that I am not alone in this assessment. Truly an excellent beer, this makes my top 10 along with two CW Bourbon Barrel Stouts. Will have to stock up as it is seasonal...

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Photo of Mexi_locobarrel
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L:dark golden brown with zero head to it.
S: very boozy up front strong notes of burbon are undeniable! My type of beer!
T: very sweet and calm
F:smooth & mellow slight to zero O: this has to be the best bba Scottish ale I have ever had!
A very fine boozy scotch ale a true flavor bomb!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into willybecher glass

A: deep brown almost black brackish not much light escaping a few floaties not much of a head and just slightly off white

S: toffee, vanilla, walnuts, maybe a little maple

T: nice soft bourbon flavors of sweet toffee and vanilla a little oak and maple syrup

M: very soft and smooth with just a little bit of prickly carbonation

O: Excellent! This is a beer if you love BA scotch ales or Wee Heavys you will not want to miss. The mouthfeel is superb and the vanilla and toffee flavors pop.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown with no head. Nose is mostly bourbon with hints of sweetness. Caramel, toffee, molasse, smoke and of course the bourbon flavors. Smooth, creamy and incredibly easy drinking. IMHO the best BBA Scotch Ale I've tried and compares favorably with the best BBA Imperial Stouts. Terrific beer.

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Photo of MaximalC
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a luxuriant cap of fine, tan froth the blooms magnificently upon pouring. Aroma smells of dry, roasted malt accented by caramel, smores, and mild, grassy hops. Omnipresent sheets of lacing coat the glass as the beer recedes.

This is a flavor bomb. Exceptional malt profile consists of a dexterous blend of molasses, brown sugar, dates, toasted marshmallow, and milk chocolate that gently morphs during a prolonged, captivating decrescendo. The barrel is fairly subdued here, introducing just a touch of wood and vanilla to add an extra layer of depth without obscuring the marvelous sweetness. Light, peppery hop bitterness is barely discernible amongst the other elements, and a subtle, alcoholic warmth adds a touch of intensity on the back end. Hefty body and mild carbonation make for a full, rich mouthfeel that reinforces the bold taste, while a palpable stickiness lingers on the lips between sips.

Overall, this is the gold standard for scotch ales, and it’s not even close. I’ve enjoyed it on tap and from the bottle, and both times this brew has asserted itself as something special from the very first sip. The depth and complexity of the sweetness is simply fantastic, and the mouthfeel is an experience in and of itself. Central Waters’ scotch ale is the best of their stellar lineup of barrel-aged beers in my book.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark Amber color. Aroma is boozy, malty, caramel, vanilla with a mellow sweetness. Flavor is mellow notes of bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Overall this is very good and I rely enjoyed it.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
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 ccg
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: This is a beautiful scotch ale. It is a deep, dark, reddish-brown, with a head that is initially a bit fizzy but settles in a foamy ring around the edge of the glass with a bit of soapy film. It has fairly thick legs and leaves behind some nice lacing after tilting and swirling the beer. 4.25

Smell: Wow, this is a fantastic-smelling scotch ale. It is full of caramel, vanilla, oak, bourbon, sweet malt. The smell is strong and bold, in a very good way. 4.25

Taste: Not the sugar bomb I was expecting from the smell. It's actually surprisingly smooth and well balanced. There is still plenty of bourbon and oak to complement the sweet caramel and vanilla notes coming in from the malt. Very well executed. 4.25

Mouthfeel: It is thick for a scotch ale and almost a bit syrupy, and it leaves behind a bit of a sweet coating. The ABV is not entirely hidden, but it's all so smooth. 4.25

Overall: this is one of the better bourbon-barrel-aged beers I've had, and it's probably the best scotch ale I've ever had. As much as I love Founders, I'd still take this beer over Backwoods Bastard. I also love that CW distributes this beer in reasonably priced 4-packs of 12oz bottles and that, if you live in the Midwest, you can probably pick some up without a lot of drama. 4.25

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Photo of Treyliff
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, 2013 vintage

A- pours a nearly opaque deep brown color with a small fizzy off-white head that disappears quickly, leaving nothing behind

S- aroma is highlighted by dark fruits; raisin, fig & prune, also a sweet aroma of dark cherry. Sweet caramel malt mixes with bourbon, spicy oak & a hint of coconut. Burnt brown sugar and toffee close it out

T- Dark fruits and bourbon intertwine, with flavors of raisin & fig mixing with caramel, toffee, black cherry, caramelized brown sugar, vanilla cream & spicy oak. More dark fruit and bourbon on the linger

M- medium-heavy body with medium carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns creamy as it finishes, slight ABV warmth

O- a solid beer that is highlighted by plenty of dark fruit and barrel character

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Photo of BSiegs
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brown pour with two fingers of dark tan foam. The head lingers nicely for a barrel aged beer and leaves some lacing. The nose is complex and divine - I don't even need to drink this beer to enjoy it. Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, caramel, barrel. Taste follows suit, deliciously complex with more powerful bourbon barrel. The mouthfeel is medium-full with moderate carbonation. That is the one thing I'd change, just a touch less carb. A wonderful boozy aftertaste lingers. No doubt this is an elite BA scotch ale.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark brown with tan head that dissipated quickly but laced well. Scent is sweet, oak, toffee, and bourbon. The flavor followed scent very nicely, with a lingering boozy bourbon aftertaste. I prefer the stout, but this is an excellent beer!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a chalice glass right here on the tap at Tap-N-Barrell right here in Smighttown, NY.

Appearance: Thin orange brown with medium bubbles on the body and an off-white head maybe half a finger's length off the body.

Smell: Strong whiskey notes with burnt sugars, seriously smells sweet.

Taste: Complex, little bitter and molasses sweet. Maple notes Makes you think of pancakes and mixes of malt.

Mouth: There's a slight debate in my head with this area of the beer but it is off the tap and comes off lighter than normal carbonation. Stickiness is fair with light to medium bubbles.

Overall: Nice beer, better scotch ales though that are out there. Has room for tweaking or maybe some aging. Always from a glass...Salud!


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Photo of spacecake9
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a clear dark brown with a small head that settles quickly.
S - The aroma is sweet, dark fruit and boozy.
T - The flavor is oak, vanilla, dark fruit and the bourbon flavor is quite pronounced.
M - Medium mouth feel, low carbonation.
O - This is a good beer and I like it. But I do wish I had saved a couple to lay down for a year. The bourbon flavor makes you think the ABV is higher. I have a hunch the flavors would deepen a bit with a little more time on the shelf.

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Photo of seedyone
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Big,big big. Deep rich opaque in color, aroma that in at the rich flavor & feel of this mis-named Scoch Ale. This is a stout/porter if I'v ever met one. I forgive you. I'm happy as can be.

Tryit. You'll like it.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12/07/15 notes. 10 oz. pour in a wine glass at Rattle 'N Hum in NYC.

Pours a dark brown color with one inch of tan head and low to moderate carbonation. Awesome sweet bourbon all throughout. Lots of caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, dark fruits, oak, leather, and chocolate. Medium body and low carbonation.

Overall really good. If you like their other Reserve BBA beers, you'll love this one.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
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 keithmurray
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage

Appearance - dark cherry mahogany colored liquid with tan head

Smell - oak and bourbon is upfront, caramel/dark fruit in the background

Taste - The bourbon/oak presence states its case upfront, then come the raisin, plum, cherry, caramel, toffee

Mouthfeel - full bodied, medium carbonation, barrel flavors upfront, sweetness in the middle from the stone fruits, flavors linger, barrel characteristics are present yet work in harmony with the other flavors

Ovoerall - really nice barrel aged scotch ale here. I prefer this to Wulver or Backwoods Bastard as I feel like the barrel flavors work in concert with the other flavors rather than take on a dominant lead role. highly enjoyable - Recommended.

Price Point - $4.79/12 oz single

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've had several Scotch ales, and many bourbon barrel aged ales, but this is the first BBA Scotch ale I've had. (Although I have had a Scotch ale aged in Scotch whisky barrels.)

The combo of bourbon flavor and Scotch ale works pretty well. Bourbon is dominant in both aroma and taste. The underlying Scotch ale is malty, just a little sweet, and very smooth. Overall, this is an understated beer, if such a thing is possible for a BBA beer. It's really well balanced.

On balance, I prefer the stronger flavor profiles of imperial stouts to go with my bourbon fix. But I respect what the Central Waters brewers have done here ... it's a fine beer.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
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 Qbdoo
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark for a scotch ale, with a very slight head. Aroma is vanilla, toffee, roasted malt, and bourbon. Taste pretty much follows the nose, though the vanilla and toffee really jump out while the bourbon remains nicely understated. Feel is a bit on the thin side, which makes this more drinkable than it should be.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.29 out of 5 based on 886 ratings.
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