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

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

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1,434 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1434
Reviews: 522
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%

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:
American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: Skidz on 05-28-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,434 | Reviews: 522 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Zatch90


4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Great bourbon barrel stout! It doesn't beat bourbon county but to be honest, I don't think anything will. My number two behind the bourbon county it has a great bourbon taste that doesn't overshadow the delicious stout flavor. Great mesh of the two. Definitely recommend it! One of my top 5 favorites!

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2014 00:18:44 | More by Zatch90
Photo of joeseppy


4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on-tap @ Beer Bistro, Chi-town. Thanks Bob and Chris for scoring a barrel.

Kinda dark in the bar but a black pour with a one inch creamy head. At any time, putting this down, you could rouse up a thin vanilla cream topping by agitating the pint.

Aroma of sweet cream, vanilla and trace bourbon.

First sip is CHOCOLATE decadence. Not too sweet to hurt your teeth. Picking up on dried coconut flakes, vanilla and just the right amount of bourbon. The malt bill is spectacular. Simple saying-this is a Coke float with vanilla ice cream and a shot of choice bourbon. Medium density but this doesn't need to be thick, IMO.

This is my fourth BA from Central Waters and they have their barrel program nailed this past year. This brew right here is the pie'ce de resistance : )

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2013 15:10:15 | More by joeseppy
Photo of Jimmeekrek


4.91/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Truly an epic Bourbon Barrel aged imperial stout, at a price point that defies the industry standard. Basically the same componentry as 1414, which won gold at the GABF, this spends a year in heaven hill bourbon barrels, and the result is nearly perfect. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and a hint of coconut make for an outstanding beer. Do yourself a favor, get a bottle or two if you can.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2013 03:00:15 | More by Jimmeekrek
Photo of oline73


4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Capone's during the Black Friday event. Served in a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a very dark brown color with a layer of light tan head. The head fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Smooth roasted malt up front with a slight sweetness. I'm getting some dark chocolate and a mild caramel note.

Taste: This is an incredibly smooth beer. I'm getting some mild bourbon and carmel along with a stronger dark chocolate note. The sweet flavors come together and star in the finish. There is also a nice roast component in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium to thick with smooth carbonation and a finish that is a bit dry.

Overall: This is an incredibly easy to drink beer. I love the sweet desert like flavors. I would definitely have more in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2012 03:03:29 | More by oline73
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap and served in a Weyerbacher tulip at Capone's.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout pours jet black, with minimal mocha foam found at the top of the glass. The aroma features lots of dark chocolate, with a bit of a vanilla undertone and just a hint of a spicy oak character. The flavor profile reveals a more nuanced barrel contribution. The same strong dark chocolate base beer note is here, and vanilla is again what comes through most from the barrel aging. Layers of toasted brown sugar and wood follow, before transitioning into a beautiful marshmallow finish. The body is sturdy, but not overbearing, and the carbonation is just a touch too lively. The end result is a mouthfeel that's just off from greatness. Between the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine and this beer, I've got to say that Central Waters is putting out some of the best barrel aged beers in the country.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2012 16:33:52 | More by axeman9182
Photo of jokemon


4.98/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I feel bad writing such a simple review but there is not much else to say but "this is a very good beer and you should try it.

Had it on tap at the Malt House in Madison, WI.

Dark as night, and taste like bourbon milk chocolate with a bit of coffee.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2012 00:48:21 | More by jokemon
Photo of gkatsoris

4.93/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Darkest of brown; border-lining black. No head and no lacing. No bubbles either.

S: Chocolate Jack Daniels. Vanilla whiskey. Chocolate coffee whiskey. Butterscotch.

T: Butterscotch!!! Coffee whiskey!!! Chocolate whiskey!!! Bourbon-licious!!! Vanilla whiskey. Expresso on the very very end. Ground coffee beans.

M: Thick and rich. Coats the tongue beautifully. Yum!!!

O: As big and bold as this is, I could drink these/this all night; usually a beer this big is a one-and-done...NOT THIS ONE!!!

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2012 03:01:02 | More by gkatsoris
Photo of jdense


4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brasserie Beck Washington DC, $10 for 12 oz. glass, enjoyed after a fine dinner.

Dark brown head, uneven size bubbles, slow dissipation with significant lacing. Oak, vanilla and chocolate in the nose, some dark brown sugar, minimal roast. Taste is chocolate forward balanced by the vanilla, certainly took on the character of the barrel, citrus hops. Mouthfeel on the full side of medium, good effervescence, sticky. A really interesting beer, hope I can run across the bottle version for comparison.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 18:23:48 | More by jdense
Photo of challenja


4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served On Tap at Church Key DC

A: A bit light with a redish glow. Crimson blood spilt and kept in commemorative jar.
S: Candied Cherries, brown sugar, warm maple sap. Grape Concord? French vanilla is swetting through the cherried oak barrels. Sweet syrupy molassesed malts. Definitely a different profile from most imperial stouts which tend to be coffee and dark chocolate.
T: This is one complex brew that teeters on fruity saison territory. I am at a loss at why this is considered an imperial stout. The bourbon flourish comes after the candied fruit intro which is loaded with candied cherries, strawberry jam, and concord grape juice! The coffee profile is minimal at best it comes racing in after the fruit bourbon and sweet lacing in Fourth place. Not even Medaling! Boo!
But definitely a tasty brew.
M: Very cask in feel. Light to medium carbonation, smooth and creamy with a nice white pepper backbite that travels down the throat cavity.
O: A very tasty brew. Impressive in character and taste profile. Definitely a sneak attack beer to offer your beer geek friends. Highly recommended for the adventurous beer snob

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2012 17:34:09 | More by challenja
Photo of Arborescence


3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2012 23:37:01 | More by Arborescence
Photo of BeerLover99


4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A: deep brown/black body, finger khaki head,
solid lacing

S: bourbon, roasted barrel, caramel/toffee,
coffee, hint of chocolate.

T: same as the nose, mild roasted finish

M: med/heavy body, smooth mouth

O: Delicious, wish it was little bit thicker and
seemed a tad hot, probably would be divine if I laid
a few bottles down until 2014 Fall/Winter.
I would get again and highly recommend.


Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2012 20:09:27 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of BARFLYB


3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In a Tulip at a bar.

Bourbon Barrel Stout pours a jet black color that is underneatrh a nice half inch of dark brown coffee colored foam that leaves no stick. Smell is vanilla under some bourbon, oak, chocolate, cocco. The bourbon is not a killer but a nice strong contender. Not the most pungent smell, alcohol is there but a afterthought. Taste is bourbon mixed with vanilla and some roasted malt giving off a slight bitter vibe. Some cocco or it could be chocolate. The base beer picked up some nice bourbon tones, not to heavy but enough to taste the spirit. I don't really pick up any alcohol. Feel is smooth and above medium with a light but useful carb keeping things in check. I could and probably will drink a shit ton of this in the upcoming weeks.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2012 07:30:58 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of motorhed


4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a tulip of this on tap at Muddy Waters in Minneapolis.

A - Dark brown with small layer of head and minimal lacing as it goes down the glass.

S - Smells amazing, especially if your a fan of Bourbon County Stout from GI. Primarily hints of chocolate and bourbon all over this brew, a tad of subtle coffee notes in the background.

T - Primarily bourbon up front with vanilla and coffee at the finish. The more i drank, the more i thought this was a fabulous beer however i could help but think this is a perfectly executed Bourbon County Stout knock-off/substitute.

M - Medium to light body and light on carbonation

O - I absolutely love this beer and i'm not a huge bourbon guy. I was told if i liked Bourbon County stout that i would love this beer. They were not wrong. I know someone locally who purchased over 20 bottles of this stuff. I am still trying to find it in a store to get some at home. I will get this immediately if i see it on-tap somewhere. It was that good.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2012 22:01:52 | More by motorhed
Photo of antoines15


3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Option. Guess where I went last night?

A: Dark, with a nice minimal head and nice lacing

S: Big time dark chocolate in the nose, bourbon, coffee. Very nice.

T: More of the same, dark chocolate at the front and bourbon on the back. Alcohol is well hidden, bourbon flavor without much alcohol burn. Good, but just missing something, maybe a bit watery?

M: Kind of light on the mouthfeel, again just a bit short of the more exceptional bourbon-barrel stouts.

O: A quality beer, just a tier below your BCBS, KBS, stuff like that. If that helps. Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2012 12:36:31 | More by antoines15
Photo of vitrael


4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee. Reviewed from notes.

A: Deep dark brown, nearing on black, with heavy brown head and loads of lacing. Gorgeous in the glass.

S: Decadent vanilla, toasty malt and sweet booze aroma. Incredibly powerful aroma; easy to smell while it's just sitting on the bar. I am sure everyone around me smelled it too.

T: Just as advertised. A tremendous bittersweet stout featuring bready, sweet malt body balanced with plenty of earthy hops. But the beer sort of takes a back seat to the barrel on this one. Front and center is the full palate of bourbon barrel flavors: vanilla, oak, chestnut, and toffee. If anything, this stout is slightly too bourbon-y and not stout-y enough. It's the only reason I won't say it's perfect (I don't feel this way about Peruvian Morning--the coffee bourbon barrel stout. Now that is a perfect beer).

M: Thick and creamy, an excellent compliment to the flavor.

One of my favorite beers in 2011 and I encourage anyone to grab it on-tap if they're in town.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 03:16:14 | More by vitrael
Photo of afausser


4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque dark chocolate color with an initial swell of carbonation supplying a very small head. There is a circle of mocha colored fine bubbles around the edge of the glass. The bubbles are extremely small to small in size and look like an uneven glass etching. The top of the beer has pretty swirled patterns reminiscent of clouds or constellations. Really pretty.

S: The smell of this one is extremely strong. From the time the bottle is opened, and even from a distance, boozy molasses wafts from the brew. It smells like a mix of booze, tart cherries, vanilla, molasses, caramel, and light chocolate notes. Really excellent, simple flavors, blending together to form a nicely balanced complex nose.

T: Tastes a lot more sour than I would have expected. I seem to remember this from the other bottle I had of this. Maybe both were from the same bad batch, or both got infected (entirely possible given the age, but neither poured like an infected beer). This leads me to believe that this is in fact the intended taste I’m reviewing off of. It’s not bad—just unexpected both times. Instead of the boozy darker notes standing out, the tart cherry notes are most prominent. Which is awesome since I love sours, and this sort of puts that sort of twist on the brew. There’s no heat on this one which is pretty amazing for a bourbon barrel stout. Other notes include vanilla, some heavy roasted notes, particularly in the aftertaste, and then, a slight but almost unidentifiable bourbon taste. Can’t give this top marks if reviewing to style, since quite frankly it doesn’t taste like a bourbon barrel stout. But it’s amazing and incorporates fruit really well, especially as it warms. When it warms, the fruit notes come out more, but in a less harsh way, and blend with an emerging boozy taste and the slightest amount of heat.

M: Mouthfeel is excellent. It’s got an overall low level of carbonation, making it smooth to drink, but not at the detriment of flavor, which is delivered by extremely fine bubbles. I’m kind of a mouthfeel snob and I give this one top marks. Delivers flavor perfectly with a hint of crispness and no extra foam in the mouth.

Drinkability: More of one to sip than a session beer, given the style, but this is extremely drinkable and goes down easily and with far less heat than similar beers, and indeed than most beers that I drink in the winter season. Very nicely done, from one of my very favorite breweries.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2012 04:12:55 | More by afausser
Photo of Mmmaibock


4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Red-black. Moderate head.

Smell: Intense, almost to a fault. Like taking a hit from a snifter of bourbon.

Taste: Heavy bourbon. Cola. Caramel.

Feel: Very warming. Comforting.

Overall: Excellent. Light the fireplace and settle in.

Serving type: On tap at Quivey's Beerfest. Best beer of the fest.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2011 02:48:10 | More by Mmmaibock
Photo of WastingFreetime


3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from Notes and served on-tap.
A. Very black and opaque. The head behaves as though this were a nitro-tap but the bartender assures me that he does not have a nitro-tap. Tan teeny-tiny bubbled foam sits on top like a puffy merangue layer.

S. Heavy booze smacks me in the face first. Just an enormous blast of bourbon smell. Once I got used to the booze, I was able to detect a complex bouquet rather like a tiramisu cake. The booze component is rather out of control, I would like to see what this is like when mellowed out with some cellar age on it.

T. Tastes like a sweeter, yet lower gravity version of Goose Island Bourbon County. Toffee, caramel, chocolate, the tiramisu cake in the nose is also in the taste! Oh yes, and lots of annoying alcohol hotness... Some good and some bad. Once again I can tell that this is meant to be cellared.

M. Lighter in mouthfeel than Bourbon County. Still somewhat syrupy, however.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2011 16:55:20 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of AleBlager


4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy with a bit of lacing around the glass, it brings a sharp bourbon smell, shooting up your nose and warming up your face. A second whiff adds a slight chocolate sweetness that causes salivation. From the get-go, you can tell that you are in for a heavy beer. This is where the BBS throws you for a loop. A solid bourbon taste along with a chocolate backbone show you that this beer is not heavy, but kicks out some big beer flavors. A sweet and warm chest feel. The BBS coats the tongue and touches the bitter buds. This beer is big, and would compliment a big meal.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2011 22:16:26 | More by AleBlager
Photo of burnheartsMKE


4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is like a warm wool blanket on a freezing northern WI night that lingers with a perfume of a distant lover. A happiness emerging from the still of the night. Overcoming loneliness. The taste is big with a bourbon hotness seeping through a vanilla kissed, thick malt, dark chocolate slobber. This will be even better next year, but I couldn't wait until then. Two ships passing in the night. Highly recommended, get it while you can.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 00:55:18 | More by burnheartsMKE
Photo of fear025


3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the GLBF 2010.

Aroma:Huge bourbon aroma with dark malt.

Appearance:Black, nearly opaque very little head.

Taste:Huge bourbon flavor. It's tough to get past the bourbon, but once you do there's also dark malt in there with the typical dark malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel:Medium to thick body. Slight harsh astringency.

Drinkability:This is a huge bourbon bomb.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2010 15:28:02 | More by fear025
Photo of drpimento


4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well now, this heah's some kinda beer. Mm hm. Served with a small fine tan head and a little lace. Color is an opaque brownish black. Aroma is roasty, bourbon, malt, coffee, vanilla, caramel, toffee, dark ripe fruits, and cocoa. Flavor's about the same but the whiskey stands out along with some bittersweet. Great body and carbonation; perfect for the style. Finish is excellent - medium long and tapered. Really well balanced beer. Rich and yet drinkable. Satisfying and yet intriguing. Go great with a nice mild cigar. Booze is subdued. A masterful beer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2010 20:45:02 | More by drpimento
Photo of kickapoodude


4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is prized here in Wisconsin, so if you get ahold of a bottle, snatch it up. Strong and rich brown head above a pitch black brew. I drink at room temp with a snifter. Rich burbon, cherry, coffee, chocolate flavors witha velverty finish. This beer should be in every true wisconsinites winter emergency kit.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2008 15:25:49 | More by kickapoodude
Photo of SportsandJorts


3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark dark brown to black. Completely opaque. No head whatsoever

Smell: immediately greeted by booze. Chocolate, dark fruits, lots of bourbon and vanilla. Some oak.

Taste: opens with a little bit of chocolate transitions to some dark fruits iced with bourbon. Ends with a mixture of booze, oak and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: very sticky. Pretty warm.

Overall: a very boozy and bourbony stout. Quite potent for the relative low alcohol percent. Pretty tasty.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 01:23:31 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of Greywulfken

New York

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: looked translucent dark brown during the pour, but provided an obsidian glass color in the glass. Finger of mocha foam slipped away quickly. Oily/glassy sheen down the glass.

S: dark roasted malts and woodsy bourbon barrels - you know what I mean

T: the chocolaty malts were there, sure, as were the rich bourbon fumes, but there was something mineral-esque, clean and tight, about the flavor, that I at first pulled back from, but then embraced. The perceived heat faded fast and provided a very refined drinking experience.

M: I was worried about mouthfeel, as it is sometimes too light/thin for my tastes (in a double stout I want body) - and this beer felt at first too thin, but it also had a character and flavor that was immediately welcoming.

O: this was an upset pick of a beer - what at first felt like a "thinner-than-I'd normally-like" feel quickly evolved into an elegant drinking experience. The bourbon barrels used readily impart their woodsy, vanilla, and caramel-esque flavors to the nose and tongue, but the dark roasted malt base beneath maintains an integrity of form that is quite impressive. Neither shooting to be "big" in the mouth nor trying to appear too sophisticated/elite, this beer nonetheless manages to do both at the same time. Pick some up, you won't regret it.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 01:27:55 | More by Greywulfken
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,434 ratings.