Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

2,132 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,132
Reviews: 621
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 407
Gots: 697 | FT: 80
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Skidz on 05-28-2004

American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,132 | Reviews: 621
Photo of dolomite128
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage - Poured into a Night Shift Tulip / Snifter

Decent head about 1/4" and light tan with whispy dark swirls. Disappears to a small ring of light bubbles within a few minutes.

Aromas of brown sugar and oak barrel. Some light / matured vanilla / bourbon notes.

Tastes are considerably more subdued than one would expect from the nose. Flavors of rich chocolate dominate with hints of light bourbon. Carbonation / fizz keeps this from being cloying. Nice balance of flavors but the bourbon plays a back seat to the chocolate and long oaky finish.

Mouth feel is a bit thinner than most BA stout bodies, at 9.5% this definitely could use a bigger presence.

Overall a solid and very well balanced stout. If heavy chocolate and oak barrel are your thing, this is worth the effort to locate. Would have benefited from a bit more body and less carbonation.

Photo of KellyScottMad
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best Imperial Stouts on the market. Outstanding brew. The aromas are very pleasing to the palate.

Photo of TBonez477
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful brown-ruby pour, nice khaki head.

S: Strong bourbon aroma along with the expected vanilla and caramel notes.

T: Taste is quite the same, bourbon is well integrated with the chocolate and marshmallow flavors of the base stout.

M: Mouthfeel is my only minor criticism of this one. A bit thin for what I was expecting.

O: Overall this is a great beer! Really true to the style and delivers!

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mmmmmm. This one is awesome, It drank a little hot, but with more time I think this will be amazing.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 vintage as noted by the notch on the label. I got this in a trade with someone, whose name I have forgotten. Thank ye to whomever ye may be {takes a bow, front leg outstretched, foot pointed upward}.

Pours a bit too cold from the fridge into a New Belgium snifter. The first sip was underwhelming to say the least, so I let this one rest a bit while unpacking the groceries. After warming, things improve. Aroma is a wonderful mix of bourbon, vanilla, black cherries, oakiness, smoke, and alcohol. As I do this, I am reminded of the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial that stated something to the effect of "Our beer isn't meant to be sniffed. Its meant to be drunk!" I got a chuckle from that. Anyhoo....

Flavor is pretty nice as well. Nice balance of bourbon and stout, with a slight leaning toward bourbon being the more dominant flavor. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, figs, alcohol.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown. As others have said, it is a bit thin. Could be much more chewy. There is a slight hop bitterness which I really like. Alcohol is present. This is one of the only beers, for me, that had alcohol as a strong flavor without feeling like I was sucking on a vodka soaked rag. The alcohol tastes different, which I think is great. Smooth and warming, with a strong alcohol finish and a "hop bitterness after finish".

A solid attempt at the style. Add some oats or or something to make the mouthfeel more chewy and this would stand out as a top notch example. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of BigBadBeerSnob
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another thin CW stout but still tastes amazing.

Photo of manfromanotherplace
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

decent,but wasnt blown away by it, and im a big bourbon barrell stout fan. there are better options around and even their barleywine bourbon barrel was better in my opinion.

Photo of Lomunchi
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is way too hard to get.i will hoard this beer at every opportunity. It's an excellent barley wine style beer.

Photo of CoffeePorter
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Midnight black with a white lacing.
S: straight up bourbon, some caramel, mild chocolate/vanilla, maybe some caramel.
T: Bourbon galore, some roasted maltiness, caramel, medium bitterness.
M: Silk like, very thin.
O: Not bad, similar to BCBS, but perhaps not as complex.

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up at the local Trig's grocery store. Taken from the fridge, allowed to stand for a while, and poured from the 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass. The bottled on date reads 3/17/14 (13 months ago).

L: Pours a coffee black with a substantial two inch khaki head that really stays put. After about five minutes, there's still about a half-inch of frothy head and lots of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and vanilla, more subtle black licorice, and an undertone of whiskey oak in the bouquet. It's got a nice aroma, though it isn't particularly strong.

T: Very sweet at the front: lots of vanilla and caramel coming through with some subtle roasted malt. The black licorice is right on their heels, and this flavor runs up against some great bourbon notes into the finish. There's clean alcohol that emerges with the licorice/bourbon, and this sticks around into the aftertaste, where you really get the sense of sipping a whiskey. The individual tastes are assertive, but they all work very nicely together.

F: Creamy, though lacking much discernible carbonation. This one is a bit more watery than I was expecting, though it's far from feeling water-down on the palate. I like that it leaves the mouth fairly cleanly: there's no syrupy residue left around, though the flavors linger for a good long while.

O: This is another fine offering from the folks at Central Waters, who really seem to understand how to barrel a beer. I'd definitely like to see how this one tastes after being cellared for a while. A word of caution, though: if you're not a fan of sweeter stouts, this one is probably not for you. I find that the sweetness works very well to hide some of the clean alcohol flavor and also accentuate the bourbon notes. If you make it to Wisconsin, I would highly recommend seeking this one out.

Photo of tpgraham
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Friend brought me a bottle from the 2104 batch, poured in to a standard tulip.

L: I noticed that the pour came out quickly and could tell that the body would be much thinner than most standard stouts and BA stouts. Very little head on the pour. What was there receded quickly. Pours a cola brown.

S: Sweet bourbon and vanilla on the nose, not much nose from the stout.

T: A good, standard barrel-aged ale. The barrel flavor comes through loud and clear but I hoped to get more complexity from the base beer. Comes across more like a porter than a stout as far as the base beer goes.

F: This is where they lose me. The carbonation and thinness of the base beer give it a cola feeling in the mouth. Not a huge fan. Would love some more body on this beer.

O: As mentioned above, it is a good effort, just nothing stellar. It actually reminds of the regular Karbach Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter, which lists itself as a double porter. However, I would reach for the Karbach most times over this one.

Photo of Armando_Perez
3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Not very impressive.. I was expecting more...

Photo of majorbase2
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark brown color, really more of a black. Good sized brown head which recedes to nearly nothing, leaving a thin ring of lacing around the edges.

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla bean, molasses, coffee, and dark fruits. Fig and black licorice.

Taste is smoky, followed by some bourbon, wood,roasted chocolate and coffee, and sweet, melty molasses. A bit of dark fruit presence, notably licorice and aged cherry, lending it a sweet, bitter bite. The wood and malts come through stronger as it warms. The bourbon is not overpowering in this beer, which is good because thats the downfall of many BBA beers I've had. The bourbon actually results in a supremely pleasant and surprising sweetness that lingers on the tongue throughout the tasting.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for a BBA/Imp. Stout. I think it actually works very well because it allows some other flavors to be showcased that typically don't shine in BB beers. Makes it one of the most drinkable BBA beers that I've ever had. Low carbonation. Medium-heavy body, goes down smooth, with surprisingly little bite from the alcohol.

Overall, a well done BBA beer. Not the most complex example you'll find, but the bourbon isn't overpowering, which is a trait I particularly enjoy. If you enjoy a BBA beer where bourbon doesn't dominate, give this beer a try!

Photo of danh53
3.07/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, espresso, malt, and dark fruit. Taste is malt and fruit forward. Bourbon is there, but it feels out of balance to me. Needs more dark roast to balance the dark fruits. Its too sweet with a thin mouth feel.

Photo of Sandalwood
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, in April 2015 - pours a very dark brown to black color with a thin off white head. There is some lacing and a little carbonation. The odor is strong, fruity, coconut, dried fruits, fig, plum, raisin, sweet, malty, bourbon, woods. The taste is rich, bourbon, vanilla, woods, malty, fig, dried fruits, coconut, chalky, not bitter, some alcohol burn.

Photo of bgold86
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good intro bba stout, that's about it. Would not cellar or actively look for it. Solid but nothing special.

Photo of Hayes86
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottling, good flavor little thin on mouthful

Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice creamy stout-- medium body, semisweet chocolate, smooth but lacking depth and complexity... very enjoyable!

Photo of BeersOverBaghdad
4.71/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage (drank in March 2015)

Look: black as night. not a full 5 bc the head wasn't as robust, but that might just be due to the age on the bottle.

Smell: bourbon, chocolate, hint of coffee. Love love love

taste: amazing. liken to BCBS with slightly more chocolate. no taste of booze, which was great. delivered on everything i anticipated from the smell.

feel: no heat or harshness that I've come to expect from a bourbon barrel stout, which was fantastic. Granted its a low ABV for the style (9.5 v ~15 for BCBS), but i prefer it that way. lighter than BCBS, which has its pros and cons

overall: would 100% get this again and will look out for it in the years to come. most drinkable BA stout that I've had thus far

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From taste notes. Appearance: Brilliant black with a 1” tan tinted persistent and lacy foam cap. Smell: slight bourbon, fruit, dark malt, dark fruit – prunes, raisins, Taste: Flavor: Creamy, bourbon and caramel quickly joined by chocolate and then espresso and some vanilla notes. Mouthfeel: Medium full body, carbonation medium but so soft as to suggest nitro beer. Overall: A very drinkable and enjoyable bourbon barrel stout.

Photo of mlorfeld
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage

Ar - Lots of bourbon, chocolate, with a hint of vanilla. Some booziness, but not overpowering. Malt in the background behind these strong aromas is still evident, no hop aroma at all. No off aromas

Ap - Black with slight brown on the edges when held up to the light. Brown head that lingers through.

T - A wonderful balance of bourbon, dark chocolate, with vanilla, cherry, plum, and slight anise notes. Malty sweetness provides a great base. No hop taste or off flavors. Some slight oxidation, but that is to be expected with a cellar aged beer, it has held up quite well.

M - Medium body that seems to hit the mark on the head. Slightly more carbonated than other barrel aged stouts. There is a slight viscosity at the finish which leaves lingering chocolate and bourbon notes.

O - I tried this when it was first released and thought it was an average BA stout, now with age, I'd pick this over a BCBS without even thinking twice. Wish I had even more in my cellar.

Photo of Sparty1224
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Bottle on 12/9/14, making this 3 months old.

A: Pours a thin, almost completely opaque black. Subtle, light brown, bubbly head around the edges. No motor oil here, but still a nice body.

S: Lots of sweet, dusty milk chocolate. Some vanilla, coconut. The bourbon aroma is more like whiskey, and it's very clean and fresh.

T: Lots and lots of oak and bourbon here. Doesn't taste fully integrated, and it's almost like it's "poured in". Also in there is coconut, vanilla and a hint of freshly brewed coffee.

M: Kind of falters here for the style. It's quite thin and watery. Alcohol is quite noticeable and the finish is rather boozy.

O: So I've heard people refer to this as BCBS Jr., and I can kind of see that. It's thinner, smaller, less boozy, but still packs a great union of flavors and aroma. It's very balanced and well put together. Reminds me a lot of Dragon's Milk or Arcadia's BBA Imperial Stout. It's not that huge, thick, boozy beer BCBS is, but it's a nice, more mellow alternative. It's done well, and if you're in the mood for nice BBA Imperial Stout and you don't want to get super buzzed or work hard to finish a bomber, this is your guy.

Recommendation: A bit easier to find than you're average BA Imperial Stout. So at this quality, I'd definitely recommend grabbing a 4-pack if you can. It's pretty cheap, too.

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L (4) - Nice dark thick pour into the glass. A little head, not a lot, though.
S (4.25) - Nice earthy, malty, bourbon-y smells.
T (4.5) - Plenty of bourbon taste, right off the bat. You also get some of that faint chocolate and coffee of a quality stout. I haven't had their stout, so I can't compare.
F (4.25) - Good creamy feel. A little alcohol (bourbon) burn, but not too much.
O (4.25) - I really like this beer. I've been really into these bourbon barrel aged beers, and this is towards the top of that list. Will defintely buy again, and may consider aging some of them.

Photo of SF_Posse
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Smooth taste with a boozy finish. Another fine bourbon barrel that everyone should try.

Photo of MartzMimic
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a dark brownish black. Nice chocolate aroma, and the bourbon makes me think of warm fudge. The chocolate and bourbon predominate the taste, followed by creamy spice. I really enjoy how the bourbon doesn't overpower the beer. Instead, it compliments it. Medium mouth. This is easily one of my favorite barrel-aged stouts.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 2,132 ratings.