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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.

615 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 615
Hads: 2,225
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 17.46%
Wants: 417
Gots: 700 | FT: 71
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 615 | Hads: 2,225
Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.14/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. First off, this is far from a stout. It is a very watery light brown. Clear around the edges. This is more like a barrel aged dubbel. If it was a dubbel it wouldn’t be half bad. Other than being water thin, it has an overbearing sour grape flavor going on. Didn’t get much bourbon out of it. Plenty of oakiness coming through. I hope this was a bad bottle, because this is nothing that I would seek again. I was expecting a lot more out of this. Instead this will go down as one of the worse beers I’ve ever had.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
2.53/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

cw bbs and cherry bbs, back to back

a 3.5-4 both are quite black and look about the same. not much head or lacing, but that will be forgiven i guess due to the barrel aging and abv.

s 3-4 sweet bourbon, vanilla and butterscotch dominate the nose of the bbs, but it is not nearly as alcoholically aggressive as my memories of the bbb. the roasted barley is far in the background, just where i prefer it to be. this isn't the most complex nose. the bourbon is less noticeable in the aroma of the cherry bbs, in which the tart cherries are clearly present. the cherry has a somewhat more subdued nose overall, yet it's still quite pleasant (4-4.5)
now that i've placed the main scent of bbs as butterscotch, it's not quite as alluring. oh well.

t 3-3.5 whoa this is smooth! not nearly the challenge to drink that I half-anticipated. indeed, this is shockingly smooth and quaffable. with the malts playing a supporting role. no hops detected. the cherry bbs offer less bourbon for the palate and an impression that i am sucking down cherry pie while drinking the bbs.

m 2-2.5 the mouthfeel is thinner than expected (same for both). the carbonation level is relatively low and doesn't contribute significantly to the mouthfeel.

o 2-2.5 these beers are drinkable, sometimes hard to sip rather than gulp, too friendly and approachable. over time though, the butterscotch combines with a dishwater off-note and makes me want to hurl. i liked these at first so much because i expected to hate them and didn't, as the feared boatload of burnt barley was absent. but bbs, based on solstice which i cannot stand, is ultimately fairly gross. unfortunate as i have a few 4-packs still in the cellar.
overall, i just cannot drink this at all anymore.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
2.8/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to snifter. As I poured I could not help but notice the thinness to the depth in this beer. Imperial Stouts IMO should be dark, with no light shining through. This beer was dark, but not dark enough. The light passed through it too easily, something I would expect from a standard stout, not an imperial. The smell was just ok. Faint bourbon, no vanilla, no malt or indentifying nuances that stood out. I'm a fan of bourbon stouts, this beer lacked substancially in comparison. The base beer stands out in no way to me. It's awfully thin and watery. The bourbon barely helps. I like my beers to be big and heavy on the bourbon. This one just didn't do it for me. I appreciate the trader who got this to me. Cheers.

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Photo of sacrelicio
2.86/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A bit of a disappointment from one of my favorite Midwestern breweries. Pours a dark amber/ruby/translucent brown. Not particularly appealing, and not what I'd expect for a bourbon barrel aged stout, or any stout for that matter. The smell is quite good, with typical bourbon notes of vanilla, oak, and toffee, with a touch of alcohol.

The taste is another matter. The alcohol has a spicy burn, like I took a regular porter or stout and poured some bourbon in the glass. Kinda tastes like a whiskey-Coke. Not very good.

The mouthfeel is thin for the style. Watery and prickly from the alcohol.

Overall, a below average bourbon stout that is overrated. I will age a bottle to see how it fares.

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Photo of danh53
3.07/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.14/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2010 12 oz bottle poured into DFH signature glass. 

A: Deep brown with deep amber highlights. Not much of a head, which is unsurprising.  Excellent clarity. 

S: Smells of bourbon, damp wood, and maybe a touch of vanilla. The base imperial stout is indiscernible. The barrel has bowled over the base beer.

T: Bourbon booziness assaults the palate: bourbon, oaky woodiness, a hint of vanilla and sweet malts. Bitter, boozy and drying finish. No dark fruits. No coffee. No chocolate. No roasted malts. 

M: Low carbonation and thin. Slightly astringent and definitely warming. 

D: CW Bourbon Barrel Stout is a sipper, but i find it to be too simplistic for a barrel-aged imperial stout.  This beer is to that style what Backwoods Bastard is to barrel-aged scotch ales, except a bit more direct and one-dimensional. I wouldn't seek it out but I wouldn't reject it if someone offered me a pour. 

Thanks to joshuaseresse for the generous extra!

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Photo of drewba
3.14/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Super dark brown with a head that has loads of big frothy bubbles sitting on a base of tiny bubbles. Lacing is here, but breaks quickly.

S - Sublime; lovely vanilla, candied sugar sweetness, soft oak, mellow bourbon, a touch of maple. Reminds me a lot of Backwoods Bastard, perhaps Silva stout.

T - Shit. The nose barely translates to the taste. Right away, I'm hit with an unusual harsh woodiness. Slight char, but then some semisweet & dark chocolate, vanilla extract, a bit of artificial cherry and cheap bourbon. The bourbon somehow is able to impart a nice vanilla sweetness, but then goes back to tasting cheap, winey/tannin-y and watered down. The finish has a milk chocolate and coffee finish, that is a bit of a saving grace. After a nose that gave me a half chub, this feels like I've been had. This is a muddled and unrefined. Nothing seems to work or blend together, it's kind of everything on it's own.

M - Oily, medium body with a fantastic amount of carbonation.

D - I don't hate this, but the taste is just so disappointing. I'll just take 2 sniffs for every sip and I'll be all good here.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
3.17/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a dark dark black. With some tan head not much

Aroma of bourbon and some smoke, and slight blueberry hint. Some vanilla is apparent

Flavor of chocolate, with some smoke and roast, toffee, some soy flavor also apparent.

Mouthfeel is smooth with low carbonation, with a harsh hop character.

Overall one to try but more than that you need to judge for yourself.

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Photo of Retail1LO
3.17/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. This is the singularly most underwhelming bourbon barrel stout I've EVER had. I poured this into the glass from nearly six inches up, and scarcely got fizz, much less any semblance of a head or crown. The nose is pretty much straight bourbon without any level of complexity about it. The taste is, ok. The bourbon's a little more tempered, yet there's still not much else going on to complement it. The mouthfeel is pretty hot. All bourbon. Fortunately it doesn't linger. This will be the only bottle of this I ever drink.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.18/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very deep brown with red highlights. Unfortunately it is not opaque. A 1/2 finger of tan head forms and dissipates quickly. Leaves a nice filmy cling along with webbed lacing.

N: A lot of vanilla wafts up right away along with some lighter bourbon notes. There's also some semi-sweet chocolate in there. The nose brings to mind chocolate/vanilla ice cream.

T: Vanilla, whipped cream, bourbon and scorched sugar are upfront. Mid-palate brings in some semi-sweet chocolate and watery toffee along with hints of booze and chocolate covered raisins. Dark fruits (raisin & plum) really come out in the finish along with hints of oak and earth.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, warming, dry and only a little sticky.

O: Although complex the flavors just are not full enough for a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. The nose is pleasant but the appearance is extremely poor. Good vanilla and dark fruit notes. Not bad for the price but I always expect more from BA beers.

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Photo of kasper
3.18/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big props to DRINKNDRIVE for throwing in this extra from my wants list.

A: Pours dark brown -- almost the same shade as the bottle it came in -- with a light and frothy single finger head that doesn't stick around. Some leg lace patterns as I sip.

S: Initial whiff was all oak, somewhat sour bourbon. As it warms, hints of creamy vanilla make an appearance. I was actually expecting a stronger bourbon aroma.

T: Taste is sour bourbon that leads into a somewhat dry oak- and alcohol-filled finish. Creamy vanilla not showing through on taste.

M: Much lighter than I'd had hoped. I wouldn't even call it full bodied. Mild carbonation, but almost too much for the intended style.

D: Not sure how old this bottle was, but it really doesn't stand up to similar-styled stouts like BCS in any way shape or form. I'm not even sure I'd call this a stout. There's just this lingering acidity and thinness that kind of lets down.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle (2012 vintage) into tulip glass. Pours a bright amber color with a small white head that dissispated righ before you could say awww! Aromas are of ripe figs, sugars, cereal grains, and booze. Flavor was quite disappointing for me (which led me to think it might have been infected) - almost could detect some sweet cereal grains, bourbon yet a little "watered down". Grainy with almost a rye bread like flavor as well as some dark fruit flavors. The backfinish was warm and boozy. Mouthfeel is decent throughout. Overall, a disappointing beer despite its high ratings IMO.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.21/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: 2012 release
Glass: Snifter

Like most other bourbon barrel stouts, Central Waters' features more bourbon than stout-related flavor, though it is not as unbalanced with its ethanol presentation as BCS and others are. Generally, more of the tepid "bourbon stout" style, far unbalanced in terms of bourbon to stout flavor. Why this is considered an exceptional stout seems strange to me, as it features only mediocre stout-related flavors. If you enjoy stouts, why bother with over-the-top bourbon; if you enjoy bourbon, why not partake of the real thing? One I will pass on in the future.

Pour a 1cm tall head of khaki colored foam, which fades in under a minute to a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is moderate, with a fairly sparse scattering of medium-sized dots and blotches clinging to the sides of the glass. Body is a dark brown to black color, opaque, light not changing its color, with carbonation visible along the sides of the glass. Fairly mediocre all around.

Aroma of bourbon, with lesser scents of caramel, roasted malt, vanilla, and ethanol.

The label suggests "hints" of bourbon, but this is a lie: the taste is predominantely of heavy, smooth bourbon with cut with a modest amount of pale malt sweetness and roasted malt characters. Front of palate is slightly sweet, with obvious bourbon, ethanol, and hints of roasted malts. Mid-palate predominantly of bourbon, with subtle vanilla, caramel, and roasted malt notes. Back of palate features substantial bourbon, mildly noticeable and hot ethanol, roasted malt, and hints of vanilla. Aftertaste of bourbon, spicy ethanol, and faint roasted malt.

Beer is heavy to medium-heavy in body, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth, moderately foamy mouthfeel. The slight stagnation that the lower carbonation imparts is fitting for this bourbon-like sipper of a beer. Closes dry, with substantial and lingering stickiness on the lips and tongue.

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Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from cellar, temperature taken at 55.2 F and poured into DFH snifter.

A: From the first pour I was shocked how much lighter this was then what I expected. Its really more a dark brown than a black. I can even see light through the bottom of the glass. Smallest of heads formed but seems to be hanging out.

S: Definitely bourbon aged. Smelled like a brownie rum raisin ice cream sundae with caramel, only with bourbon and vanilla beans instead of rum. Seems very well balanced and inviting.

T: Boozier than expected from the aroma. Less vanilla in the flavor, more chocolate with bourbon. Tobacco and molasses. Finishes bitter, metallic and boozey.

M: Disappointingly thin but aided by the higher carbonation. Drying like drinking straight bourbon.

D: For being a year old its still packing some heat. I think if I would have had this fresh it would have been the most bourbon forward beer I've had. With that in mind, when I want to drink bourbon I do, but as a beer it seems lacking. Bourbon presence is the biggest thing going.

EDIT: Drainpoured the last 1/3. Again, too much bourbon not enough beer.

This beer came in a package along with some others that seemed mistreated and off. I'll definitely give this one another shot simply due to its great aroma but nothing else about it really pleased me.

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Photo of Auracom
3.24/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend from Cali was interested in this one and pointed it out to me, so I decided to grab a single 12 oz. bottle. 6 oz. of that poured into a snifter on January 22nd, 2012.

A - Looks thin for an American double IS. Dark brown hue with a thin white, soft tan head that quickly reduces down to edge-bubbles. Minimal lacing.

S - A subtle combination of chocolate cake batter, vanilla, sugar, wood chips, and faint alcohol. Not huge, but quite appealing.

T - The bourbon barrel shows up more in the drink. Underlying oak, hop/espresso-like bitterness, light maple syrup, and alcohol heat at the back.

M - Light-medium body, much as I expected from the looks of it. Typical carbonation, shorter finish with a lightly bitter, woody aftertaste.

D - Aroma beats out the taste here. I like the control of the bourbon and sweet flavors in this, but unfortunately I was disappointed that the chocolate cake prominent in the nose didn't show up at all in the drink. Not a particularly memorable barrel-aged brew but worth trying at least once.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*2009 vintage*Scores reflect this vintage until I get a chance to verify that the excellent bottle I had wasn't a fluke.

I received what is hopefully an uninfected bottle from someone in the midwest, probable eyncognito? Thanks, Ian!

Dark brown with reddish brown highlights, this beer has a thin beige head that recedes to a ring rather quick. The nose is interesting in that it's rather unconventional for an imperial stout and more like a brown ale with caramel, brown sugar and some vanilla from the bourbon barrel. Mildly woody, I get some tannin character. Some cocoa is evident as well. The palate opens with a grainy sourness, not really infection-like, but with a mild but medicinal character. Not particularly pleasant, this also has flavors of cherries, some cocoa and a little roast. This tastes off too, and I'm dropping my scores.

**Original review dated 02 Jan 2009
12oz bottle received from nflmvp in a recent trade. Thanks a bunch, Steve! Split with largadeer after lunch on day 3 of our decadent tasting.

A: Black with reddish brown highlights. Thin beige head that recedes to a ring rather quickly 3.5

S: Mild bourbon with a strange sourness and funk. Some chocolate and oak. There's a pleasing roastiness and coupled with the funk, it's kinda refreshing 4/5
T: Opens up with some bourbon and oak before some chocolate and roasted flavors come in. Mildly bitter and rather tannic on the finish, along with some acetic sourness 3.5/5

M: Rather light, decent carbonation, OK finish - average at best3/5

D: Meh.3.5/5

** Edit 16 Oct 2010**

I got a couple of bottles from asmokingoat and CaseyK. Thanks, guys! This is the 2010 vintage
This one looks pretty nice. Again, dark brown with a light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. With this vintage, the barrel really overwhelms everything else. Plenty of vanilla and coconut are present, obliterating the base beer. Moderately sweet, I wonder if they used Elijah Craig barrels this time around. Only some dry cocoa is apparent from the base beer.
It looks like they've ironed out some inconsistencies from previous batches by whelming the base base beer with a really nice barrel character. Coconut and vanilla are present in rather large quantities, and the base beer seems bigger with some chocolate and cocoa present. The base beer also seems sweeter and less ashy and dry than I remember it being. Booze is moderately restrained, and tannins appear on the finish, drying up the palate. Mildly fruity towards the finish, this is a pretty remarkable turnaround for a beer I expected to dump. Very well done:

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Photo of aasher
3.27/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I received this bottle in a recent in person trade with TallPaul07. Thanks again for this one Paul!

It pours a medium bodied dark, dark brown with a slight beige lacing around my glass. The nose consists of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and a lot of toffee. The flavors are of bourbon, slight aluminum, vanilla, and it finishes pretty quickly and a little watery. The metallic taste threw me off a bit. Maybe this bottle isn't up to par? The body is a little light for an imperial stout and it leaves an aftertaste as if it had too much CO2. Strange. It's drinkable all things considered but I prefer a more resonating flavor and fuller body in my stouts.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tis the season for bourbon-aged stouts. Great buzz in the area for this one, but I'll believe it when I drink it, thanks. Picked up a single solitary 12 oz.-er, split into 2 pints.

The pour does not impress. I've seen dubbels darker than this. This looks like slightly weakened coca-cola. What it does NOT look like is a stout.

The smell is gentle and sweet, picking up the boozy bourbon and a little bit of vanilla. If the taste matches the aroma, we have a winner (note the foreshadowing).

But....more than any other BB stout I've had, Central Waters' version tastes phony. Yes, I can pick up on the bourbon and the vanilla that goes along with it; there's just a sense they came out of a bottle of bourbon extract. The taste, however, does cause me to vacillate. With one sip I want to drink it forever, with the next, I want to send it down the toilet.

The drink does do a good job of masking the alcohol - very little burn. But I found it way too thin for a stout.

I would continue to drink this beer. But the vast majority of the brewers I've had who have stuck their neck out to try barrel aging a stout have offered something better.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle into snifter. 2013 vintage by notch on side.

Dark, few wisps of light rays, thin tan head, no lacing.

Strong lactose/milk aroma, some barrel, mild malt char.

Bitter, lactose, sour apple. Not expected.

Thin, well carbonated, fizzy.


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Photo of largadeer
3.35/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle kindly shared by dyan.

Appearance: Clear dark brown, light in color for the style and a bit thin looking. Pours with a fairly small tan head that settles to a disc fairly quick.

Smell: Musty barrel and a hint of funkiness, as if it's starting to sour. There's a good share of molasses and roasted grain as well. Bourbon makes itself known once the beer reaches room temperature.

Taste & mouthfeel: Mildly acidic initially, followed by a strong roasted bitterness. Sweetness is present more in the form of fruit and caramel than the typical chocolate and molasses notes of this style. The body is on the light side, a touch thin for the style. The finish is oddly tannic and vinous. This one tastes like it's in the early stages of infection.

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Photo of DeaconBluez
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage received in a trade. poured into surly darkness tulip.

appearance: head quickly dissipates once basically as soon as the beer is fully poured. i didn't expect there to be much head considering the style. pours a very dark brown. not as dark as other stouts, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

smell: lots of hints of vanilla, dark, dark choco, and bourbon. there is something different in the smell that i can't put my finger and i don't necessarily like it. oh well.

taste: vanilla is in the forefront for me. also, some hints of bready malts? dark chocolate also stands out. bourbon from the time in the barrel is on the tail-end.

mouthfeel: very carbonated and light for the style. i typical like my stouts with little more thickness to them, so this wasn't a standout for the beer.

overall: a nice, not great, beer for me. perhaps i should have sat on this for a while and developed as i seem to remember having this before. the mouthfeel was probably the biggest disappoint for me, but the taste makes up for that some.

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Photo of carlitos92
3.37/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as a well-touted extra in a trade. 2013 Vintage, served cold in a snifter.

Appearance is dark cola brown, opaque except at the edges where a beautiful brown highlight is at the glass. Coats the glass nicely. Smatterings of quickly-dissipating off-white froth.

Smell is of booze, plain and simple. Perhaps a little dark, dried fruit, but nothing too terribly earthy.

Taste was my biggest letdown. Cold, the bourbon overpowers everything. I think this might have been a nice base beer, but there is nothing but barrel here. Very much like a whiskey-and-cola that someone has let all the ice melt into. As it warms up, it gets better... a little vanilla, a little char/smoke, a little cocoa.

Mouthfeel is very nice when cold. Not syrupy or sticky at all. It's got some girth, but nothing like an RIS. The mouthfeel gets a little more messy when warmed up. What finished clean cold starts to linger a bit too long. At least when warmer, the bourbon isn't having the last word.

Overall, I expected a bit more, and just thought the bourbon was over the top here. I'm no stranger to barrel aging, but this guy is more of a caricature of the style, or at the very least, an extreme example. Would love to try the base beer to see if any of the subtleties in this BB stout are still there.

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Photo of Arborescence
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Almost pitch black, hints of a tiny but creamy head.

Aroma: Almost offensive bourbon. No smoke here, think maker's mark.

Taste: Not as strong as expected; the bourbon is there, but also roasted coffee and chocolate. I'd prefer peat though!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but not easy drinking.

Overall: I've had some excellent barrel aged stouts, but all the best ones have certainly been of the peaty or smoky sort. The bourbon sweetness here doesn't appeal to me. Although it's not a bad beer by any means.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.39/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in a trade with nflmvp. Thanks a ton Steve!

Poured into a Rémy Martin snifter.

Appearance: Really doesn't pour that thick or dark for a stout. Once settled, light can be seen through around the edges of the body. While the second pour was a little better (due to yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle, I suppose), this beer did not look imperial stout-like. The head is pretty tiny, but that's to be assumed for a barrel-aged beer. It hangs around for the entire session as a tight, foamy, tan halo thanks to some pretty active carbonation that can be seen crawling up the walls of the snifter. Surprisingly, I got some decent lacing, too. All in all, good but nothing special.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate filled the room immediately after the cap was popped off! Once in the snifter, the bourbon and ESPECIALLY vanilla intensified. Rich oak, whipped cream, and molasses are also there, but this nose is all about the vanilla! Vanilla with a nice bourbon kick. Awesome!

Taste: Charred oak, bourbon, blackberries, tart cherries, and even a bit of vinegar. Hmmm... I don't know about this. I like how the beer starts (note: "like"), but I find the finish to be too dry and a little astringent. The charred wood flavor picks up toward the end. I'm pretty disappointed with the flavor profile - especially after taking several big whiffs from above - but this definitely isn't a bad beer. It's just... average.

Mouthfeel: A little gritty, warm, dry, and thin. In my opinion, this beer showcases the negatives of barrel-aging. Too bad. Again, this still isn't a bad beer.

Drinkability: I came home from school today looking for a delicious imperial stout; unfortunately, this beer wasn't what I was looking for. I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it, but I can't say I was impressed.

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Photo of n2185
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with a finger of tan head that recedes into a ring with some decent lacing.

S: Sweet, creamy chocolate and vanilla up front followed by oak aromas. The finish smells strongly of alcohol and whiskey.

T: Some sweet chocolate notes up front followed by vanilla and oak. Then the whiskey flavors kick in, wiping out all others and leaving a fairly strong alcohol burn.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is not very thick and creamy feeling, but rather like a soda in its body and carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer, but it has the same problem as their bourbon barrel coffee stout in that it tastes much more of the barrel than the beer that went in. It manages to avoid being cloyingly sweet at least, but the beer is not balanced at all with the barrel flavors.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.