Nov 21, 2014

Center of the Universe Brewing Barrel Aged Scotchtown

I haven’t had Center of the Universe Brewing’s base Scotchtown, but this barrel-aged version sat in A. Smith Bowman whiskey barrels for a bit. The base brew is made with eight different malts so you know it’s going to be as malt-forward as they come. The impact the wood has on the brew is evident immediately upon opening the bottle.

It’s tough to fully judge the effect the barrel has had on this Scottish-style ale, having not had the original. That said, I can tell you that the brew overall is a little rough — it does not transition well from beginning to end and is probably a bit too sweet for its own good.


The brew pours a dark, rusty brown in color with a creamy cap of beige foam.

Center of the Universe Brewing Barrel Aged Scotchtown photo


Bourbon, vanilla, distant wood, caramel, toffee, light sweetness and a touch of alcohol waft from the surface.


There’s definitely a strong malt flavor here as caramel and toffee are joined by a sticky sweetness. The bourbon is there as is soft woody and vanilla notes. For just 7% ABV this beer is exceedingly warming. I’m not sure if it’s a result of the bourbon-influenced flavor, but its feels overly boozy. The transition from the sweetness to the warming finish is a bit on the rough side — it’s not as smooth as other examples of barrel aged beers.


All in all Barrel Aged Scotchtown has a decent flavor, but it’s just too sweet for the style and a little rough. That alcohol heat is just a bit much for a beer of this weight, but if it were smoothed out some this one would be excellent. It’s got potential. Perhaps a little cellaring would do it some good, give it all time to mellow and come together.

Rating: 3.25/5

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