Berkshire Julios Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale

Serve in Thistle


on tap


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RATINGS: 91   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.51/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
Brewed for Julio's Liquors in Westborough, Massachusetts. Aged in four different barrels for eight months and blended.

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kp (10882) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 17, 2007
Date: 12/16/2007
Mode: Bottle
Source: Tasting, Cellar Party

clear dark brown, wispy beige head, streaks of drippy lace, sweet bourbon and dark caramel aroma with a nice vanilla character balanced by the oak, sweet sticky body, sweet bourbon flavor enhanced by the vanilla and balanced by the oak, dark caramel comes in from the back to add the scotch character, light earthyness,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 16/20
Rating: 3.8/5.0
Drinkability: 8/10
Score: **4

CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 16, 2007
Pours a transparent copper amber with a thin, frothy light tan head. Aroma of rich oaky fresh bourbon with a touch of sweet caramel malt. Starts a little thinner than expected with a good sweetness and oaky, earthy bourbon character with a mild bitterness toward to peaty, smoky finish. Warmer bourbon complexity thoughout. A decent BA Scotch ale.

MatchesForHire (25) - Westborough, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 11, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2007 I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Berkshire Scotch Ale that was used as a base for this beer. I love my scotch ales, and Berkshire’s variety lacked a little bit in body and smoke, favoring the alcoholic bite of a peaty scotch rather than the flavor. All that said, I am a very big fan of this most recent incarnation. Yes, the beer smells to high heaven of bourbon, and yes the barrel char is clearly present. But, you ask, is it overwhelming? Not in the least. The smoke that Berkshire’s Scotch Ale lacks is very nicely supplemented in the Buffalo Trace, W.L. Weller, Eagle Rare, and Pappy Van Winkle bourbon casks. Bourbon drinkers will recognize the wonderful characters that come from each of these whisk(e)ys, the most prominent of which is the Eagle Rare. Call it stating the obvious, but when you age a scotch ale in a cask that contained a highly scotch-influenced bourbon, you should come out with a very consistent beer. This one is no exception. Now I’ll admit that the last time I had Berkshire’s Scotch Ale was six months ago, and my memory has faded a little bit, but I seem to remember that incarnation being cloyingly sweet and a little on the thin side. While still a bit thin, the Julio’s Bourbon Scotch Ale has transformed the syrupy sweetness of the base brew into a more refined caramel malt sweetness. I’m amazed at the effect barrel aging has had on this once-mediocre beer, dredging life from the amber depths of a brew that I’d all but forgotten. Cheers to the crews at Julio’s Liquors and Berkshire for a much-needed beer revival!

brewandbbq (269) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - DEC 5, 2007
A beer produced exclusively for Julio’s liqours. Aged in four different types Buffalo Trace Bourbon casks, and blended. Pours hazy, dark amber with a reddish hue. A straight-down pour allowed a half-inch head of finely beaded beige to rise up. Some light lacework of mostly dots cling to the glass, and a partial, whispy skim-coat sticks to the surface of the brew. Aromatics are pungently bourbonized. Oak-laced whiskey and semi-sweet, sticky malt interplay very well. There’s no mistaking the barrel-aging. Plenty of Buffalo Trace aromas but not overbearingly. Nougat and vanilla step forward in the finish as the nostrils warm. Mouthfeel is medium at best, but sticky and creamy. Carbonation is extremely fine and spot on for the complexity of the brew. The pallet is loaded with scotch ale character, but not of the sickly sweet school of scotch. Well attenuated, but still has plenty of carmelized malt and a hint of smoke. The barrel aging is well balanced on the pallet, less overwhelming than expected from the nose. The bourbon, malt, oak, and vanilla all meld very well for such a big brew. Hints of peat and charcoal run late on the finish. Quite warming but very smooth. Quality barrels definately get kick this beer up another notch. A testament to the art of barrel-aging and blending. I’m sure cellaring for years will continue to meld and mellow this ringer.

berniecarbo (148) - Holliston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 4, 2007
Bomber. Strong bourbon aroma, so much so it overpowers all else. I’m a fan of Scotch Ales but this had too strong of a booze taste.

DocLock (10833) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 3, 2007
Bomber from the PAUTN (PA Underground Trading Network). Pours ruddy muddy brown with 1-finger khaii head and great lacing. Time in the bottle seems to have served this one extremely well, as I note that others haven’t seen much head. The aroma is nice; big bourbony scotch malt, cognac, brown sugar, figgy fruit. The taste is fruity, with figs, berries, single malt bourbon, cognac, brown sugar, hops, spices. Primarily bourbony, but this one has a lot of intermingling flavors coming and going. The palate is rich, suitably dense for a beert this alcoholic, and very complex. I enjoyed this one a great deal.

ShawnMalloy (130) - Auburn, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 29, 2007
Pours brown. Not much of a head. Smells strongly of whisky. Blindfold me and have me smell it, and tell me it was Jack Daniels. I’d have no problem believing it. The taste is consistent with the whole bourbon ale thing. Tastes like a light shot of whisky. It’s one of those brews I tried to try, but I wouldn’t spend 4 dollars on a 22 of it. Interesting, but hard to consume in mass quantities.

Cletus (6355) - Connecticut, USA - NOV 21, 2007
Bomber. Pours amber with a tan head. Smells of bourbon, caramel, clove and some woody hints. Taste is boozy with the bourbon overshadowing the scotch ale base. Some caramel creeps in only to be taken again by some alcohol. Mouthfeel is slick with a finish that is too bourbony. The bourbon actually interferes with the enjoyment of this brew.

Alldaydrinker (559) - Norwood, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 20, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 29, 2007 Bomber Pours a hazy amber colour with a creamy offwhite head. Aroma of bourbon, alcohol, and slight woody notes. Initial taste of whiskey that coats the mouth and is a very smooth and soft feel. The whiskey taste is not overwhelming but does take up the majority of the flavor. Sweet malts & woody taste linger. Finishing with a mild bitterness and caramel malts. Dry finish. Palate duration is good. Light to medium body. Some head retention and lacing the glass. Very smooth and drinkable.

ClarkVV (6825) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 13, 2006
Draught pint at Redbones, 7/9/06.
Dark, murky, unfiltered chocolate brown body with very faint mahogany-auburn tresses. Head is quite small for a BBC beer, no doubt it must be the wood tannins knocking down the head/retention. Not much, if any, lacing.
At first, the nose is very subdued and dull. Only minor traces of sweet bourbon break through. Some dry, nutty yeast and a hint of chocolate swirl about lightly on the end. With warming and breathing, the bourbon really comes out strongly. Bits of coconut, dry wood tannins and a touch of vanilla, but the scotch ale behind it is quite timid in the aroma even after warming.
The flavor is decidedly strong on the bourbon, with lightly dry alcohol, oily woody character and plenty of vanilla. Not terribly drying or astringent at all, but very full of coconut and pure bourbon. Some sweet chocolate slowly enters the mix and helps add balance and beer flavors to the mix, but it’s too little too late in my opinion. Certainly nothing subtle about this one, and though the bourbon is certainly flavorful, without all of the harsh tannins and alcohol sharpness, it still dominates the flavor and allows for little "Scotch Ale" notes to develop. Body is a touch loose at times, but nothing out of the ordinary for BBC. Low carbonation, lightly sticky, with some residual sugars adding body.

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