Monday, August 8, 2016

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale Review

Name: Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 9.5%

Three years ago this month, I reviewed what I consider to be one of the best barrel-aged beers that I've ever had. It was Central Waters' Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine; Part of Central Waters' Brewer's Reserve Series. Even to this day, I still hold it in high regards as one of the best barleywines that I've had to date. Since that review, Central Waters has released several barrel-aged beers but they have always seemed to elude me whenever I tried seeking them out, with the exception of them being on tap at a few select locations.

Today I have their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale, a beer that was among those that always seemed to slip away from my grasp. There's not really much else to say, except that what is already stated in the name. Oh and that this is supposedly one of the best barrel-aged beers available in the Midwest, if not, the country. I haven't been disappointed by their Brewer's Reserve series yet, so let's see how this goes.

Appearance - Black with a dark brown tinge along the sides of the glass. The head is khaki colored and pretty thin for the most part and it fades away after a few moments. There's also very little in terms of lacing along the sides.

Aroma - Caramel and peated malts with some vanilla sweetness and strong oak characteristics. I'm also getting some subtle smokiness and some raisins, along with some mild bitter hoppiness.

Taste - Raisin, vanilla and caramel malts start things off on the palate with some strong peated malts, oak, and smokiness towards the middle. In the back is where you get more of that oak and smoke characteristics with some more of that vanilla sweetness and a reappearance of those raisin notes. The aftertaste is more of that raisin and vanilla sweetness with some more subtle oak notes and a touch of bitter hops.

Oh my, this is excellent. It's peaty, smokey, malty, and woodsy; All put into one beer. Before this, I regarded AleSmith's Wee Heavy as being my favorite Scotch Ale, but I feel this one is superior in pretty much every way and that's saying a lot about a beer that I didn't think could be improved upon anymore than it already was, but this beer reminded me that it can always get better.

It goes without saying that you absolutely must try this beer out. I don't know what it is about Central Waters and their barrel-aged beers but they do them very well. As long as the keep cranking them out, I know beer lovers will keep drinking them; Just like they should.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale - 10/10

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