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This beer was actually the last bottle standing from the haul my wife got me for Christmas.  I kept meaning to drink it, but a steady flow of stouts and new IPAs kept jumping ahead of it in line.  With those finished off, it was finally time for this beer to get its chance.

Beer Name: Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Brewery: Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, WI)

Style: Scotch Ale

ABV: 11.0%

Description: Another entry in Central Waters’ Brewer’s Reserve Series, they have this listed as a rich, malty brew made to showcase their barreling process.  Not sure how frequently this is released, but my bottle was a holdover from the 2016 batch.

Appearance: Dark caramel brown body.  There was a thin tan head that formed with the pour and quickly faded away.

Smell: Slightly sweet with a rush of bourbon on the end.

Taste: Sweet and malty upfront with dark fruits and maybe a bit of caramel.  Big bourbon finish with smooth oak notes and slightly sweet kick of bourbon that lingers after the sip.  Smooth, malty, sweet bourbon goodness.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness with a minimal touch of carbonation around the edges.  Creamy and smooth.

Hype: There were a lot of personal expectations going into this one.  I really enjoyed my last beer from this brewery and scotch ales are a style that always intrigues me.  This beer had the added pressure of being a recommended purchase as well.

Overall: Wow!  This may very well be the scotch ale I’ve been searching for.  It was pretty much spot on for what I wanted from the style: smooth malts, nice sweetness, and no smoke or roast.  The bourbon barrel influence was a pretty big plus as well.  Excellent beer, I’ll be back for more of this whenever I find it next.

On a side note, the beer store that gave my wife the recommendations did an outstanding job last holiday season.   I found four out of the five beers she picked up to be in the range of very good to excellent, so I wanted to give a hearty cheers to the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA.  We used to live a few blocks away from this store and I recall being particularly excited when it opened up a few years ago.  Although we’ve since moved out of the area, service like this is why we go back when we’re in the neighborhood.