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

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

2,101 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,101
Reviews: 612
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 403
Gots: 689 | FT: 81
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: 2,101 | Reviews: 612
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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 -11.3%
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 -29.4%
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 +4.7%
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 -27.8%
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%
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 +3.5%
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 -3.5%
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 -3.5%
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 +10.8%
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 +11.8%
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 +14.1%
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 +4.5%
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 +2.1%
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 -7.1%
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 +7.3%
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.

Photo of Andrew041180
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very strong bourbon in this one. A little thinner than I would like given all the bourbon flavor. Very tasty though.

Photo of portia99
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2010 vintage) poured into a snifter.

A - Bottle opens with a small wisp of carbonation and pours an extremely dark brown color with no head, a slight collar of white bubbles and no lacing.

S - Sweet smelling overall with notes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar, mild molasses, fair amount of bourbon booziness, slightly herbal/minty.

T - Bourbon tingle up front, mildly sweet with caramel and molasses, oaky vanilla, roastiness, faint burnt/char.

M - A bit thin in body, medium at best...light carbonation. Sweet and bourbon, mildy roasty overall. Chocolate notes creep in subtley.

O - Good bourbon barrel stout, but doesn't really stand out to me as especially impressive. I would certainly have another, but this is a crowded style with lots of really good entries. An older vintage, so perhaps I waited a bit too long on this one - will have to try a newer vintage and compare.

Photo of mabermud
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An innocuous , mocha looking head. Light black head.
Nice bourbon smell with medium roasted malts and 73.9% dark chocolate. Cookie dough and cold sweet bread.
Bourbon barrel is prominent in the taste. It tastes like some old school bourbon. Not the new age bourbon I drink. Classic bourbon taste. The barrel is first. The stout is pushed to the back. The sweetness comes out as the beer warms.
Good, dense carbonation up front and in the middle. The body isn't too thick, which is nice. The finish smoothly fades away.

Overall - Extremely well put together. Again, the bourbon barrel is up there. When they say Reserve Bourbon Barrel, they do not mean they are reserving the bourbon barrel taste for the birds. Definitely World-Class stuff. Nice and soft at toward the end.

Photo of CHickman
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2014: Pours pitch black opaque color with a thick foamy 2-3 finger dark tan head that faded slowly, had a ton of bubbles in it and left great spider web foamy lacing coating the sides.

Smells of bourbon up front, with deep woody oak notes, cocoa powder, burnt malt, charred wood, dark chocolate, roasted grains, molasses, some light vanilla and a boozy sweetness. The wood and barrel accents are very influential and earthy and mix well with the chocolate and booze sweetness. This is very complex but minimal in that the main characteristics are the entire aroma with variations of the nose slightly changing with each whiff.

Taste is delicious, with a lovely combo much like the nose with dark chocolate, roasted grains, molasses, deep woody oak notes, bourbon, cocoa powder, toffee, burnt malt, charred wood, vanilla, a boozy sweetness and chocolate milk or chocolate syrup which makes it smooth like a milk stout and not an imperial bourbon barrel aged bad boy. Super smooth and very similar to Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout in many ways, but not as strong with less heat and more oaky notes. The wood almost tastes like cedar chips, and the booze is evident but not hot or abrasive – damn good stuff.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, creamy or velvety depending on the sip, with a medium to heavy chewy viscous body and feel that leads to a sweet bourbon infused aftertaste that has a slight bitterness and traces of coffee grinds. As stated above it’s very similar to Goose Island BCBS, but like it’s younger brother that may not have the bad ass reputation but is better looking; this brew is not as strong as BCBS and has more oaky and earthy/peat moss notes, but it’s an outstanding imperial stout in its own right and one I will seek out as well as highly recommend.

Photo of Chico1985
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cam for gifting me this bottle, and thanks to Cam once more for sharing this beer with me some time ago. I love CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine so this is a treat. 2013 vintage 12 oz.

A - Pour into a snifter is just about black (some translucence) with a small tan head forming to a ring after a minute. Remains as such for most of the duration leaving bits of lace behind.

S - Lots of bourbon and bourbony spice, wet oak, surprisingly light roasty chocolate, bourbon & coke.

T - More stout here with generous chocolate and roasted malt. Still quite bourbon+oak forward but integrates well, bringing vanilla and caramel icing decadence during the finish. Some licorice+dark fruit.

M - Definitely on the lighter side but not a bad thing. Smooth with good medium carbonation and bourbon heat.

O - Big on the bourbon barrel and kind of lighter in size than your average BA stout, but pretty nice flavors, good to have this in a minus 10% beer as well.

Photo of Boccu
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great aged stout smooth with great flavors

Photo of SomethingClever
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: very little head very dark off white mocha head that did appear

S: smells like whiskey soft leather

T: velvet toffee caramel very light bourbon leather tastes

M: pretty standard for a BA stout a little thin

O: this beer is fantastic it has very little nose but it has a taste that goes for miles. it's rich with soft vanilla and toffee notes this beer is excellent

Photo of rafer21
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great beer, almost wine like without the sweetness of wine.

Photo of tt_andy
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very enjoyable...get it when you can

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 2,101 ratings.