Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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
93
outstanding

628 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 628
Hads: 2,285
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 17.46%
Wants: 419
Gots: 760 | FT: 87
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 628 | Hads: 2,285
Photo of gibgink
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black. Smells like nice barrel aged stout. Initial dark fruit taste that turns into a choclate aftertaste ion the palate. Very well crafted beer.

 160 characters

Photo of smanson56
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a very black color into my snifter glass. Lots of nice soft bourbon overtones in the nose along with some nice roasted malts. The taste is even better than the nose with the wonderful bourbon and over flavors smoothly blended together. The mouthfeel was smooth just the right carbonation. A really nice BBA Stout.

 320 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Good black beer with a full half inch of tan head on it, looks pretty. Amazing rich chocolate and bourbon aroma, nothing hot or heavy for the sake of being the biggest beer, they went with soft touches here and it works magnificently.

Taste just keeps establishing this as the #1 when it comes to cost/benefit analysis in the barrel aged stout world. Good size, not in the double digit range, not trying to be the biggest, allows the base and the barrel to equally shine. Mouthfeel brings out little notes of oak, vanilla and smoke in the tiniest way imagineable.

This stuff is so gangster. I can never have enough of this beer. If it was $20 a bomber, it would be just another beer, but you can get more than twice that much of this for less than that, so dope.

 774 characters

Photo of Gables
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Quickly becoming my " go to" beer. For the money this is one of the best and readily available BA stouts you can buy. There's a good reason I have over a case in the cellar. Highly recommended

 192 characters

Photo of Slack
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ruby brown to deep brown in color with little head and some lacing.

Aromas of bourbon and booze with notes of vanilla, oak, coffee, and malt.

Taste is sweet malt, bourbon, booze, oak, black coffee, and vanilla.

Mouthful is medium and a bit creamy with moderate carbonation and a warming finish.

Overall a solid bourbon forward beer. The flavor profile is moderately complex but simple. The aroma is nice. The best feature (for me) was the mouthful. Try this.

 466 characters

Photo of laketang
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours ink black with smooth bubble ring good legs

roasty chocolate notes and some vanilla as brewer suggests, its all there

chocolaty flavors are there from the dark malts.not hot or bitter.i get refined flavors.the suggested roast bourbon and vanilla notes are present as advertised and play very well together

medium body perfect creamy richness.some warming in the finish, just a bit.not too viscous.

a nice clean stout, glad I have more!

 445 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle
$10.99 4-Pack
4 Seasons Liquors - Morris, IL

2015 Bottling

Central Water's Bourbon Barrel Stout pours as it should, menacingly black. No light escapes this body, it seems to darken the room as a matter of fact. The mocha foam is easy to rise, growing to a finger in height on the pour and settling comfortably at a thin crown while leaving silky sheet lacing down the glass. Each drink leaves behind pure silk lacing.

The nose is decadent, but not with sweet notes like other stouts. It's a moderately roasty base beer with rich cashew and macadamia nut. There's even some walnut pith. Slight boozy alcohol presence with caramel, vanilla and coconut from the barrel. It's complex with layer after layer of delicious barrel aged stout-i-ness. Each inhale unfolds the layers in different progression. Good.

As complex and deep as the nose, the flavor profile trumps it. The barley is moderately roasted and a ripe, dark berry maceration joins the fray. The nuttiness comes through in spades. I always think of macademia nuts as being almost creamy and richly decadent. This beer mimics that. A cashew richness as well. The barrel brings caramel, vanilla, coconut, and cotton candy in the order of intensity, most to least. A clean, boozy, somewhat brandy-like alcohol brings up the rear. This is a really great beer!

The body sits squarely between moderate and heavy on the scale. While the carbonation adds a touch of frothiness. It gets the beer moving so the alcohol present doesn't linger but it lingers long enough to give the idea that you're dealing with something not to be taken lightly. With that said, this beer drinks incredibly easy, dangerously easy.

This beer was once great. Central Waters had some infection issues a while back that hampered my purchases over the last handful of years. They're back to their old quality. The barrel aging is expertly executed, done to enhance an already good beer. The flavors pulled from the aging and blending are spectacular. The dense nuttiness, the coconut, the huge vanilla. The carbonation and mouthfeel are near perfect. This is good beer.

 2,115 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a completely opaque black with one finger of creamy beige head. Retains very well and leaves behind some beautiful lacing.

S: Aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and charred oak bombard the nostrils. Then you get notes of roasted nuts, raisins, caramel, molasses, coconut, leather, and tobacco. As it warms the flavors continue to come alive and hazelnut, and fudge aromas mix with slight earthy notes to provide a truly fantastic aroma. The bourbon is prevalent throughout providing a nice booziness that is very inviting.

T: Chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, roasted nuts, caramel, and a charred oak flavors initially, then you get some coconut, molasses, dark berries, raisins, coffee, brown sugar, and figs. Finishes earthy and pleasantly boozy.

M: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth and slightly creamy it has some thickness to it and some pleasantly noticeable alcohol warmth. A great sipper on this winter night.

O: An absolutely fantastic BBA Imperial stout. Honestly I don't understand how there brewer's reserve series isn't more recognized and appreciated. In the stout you find ever thing you could hope for and it can truly hang with the hyped up big boys of the style. I love this beer and always make sure to stock up with it and it's counterparts as they are truly world class brews. I would recommend seeking this out and enjoy it as I do, and come on people it's time to show Central Waters the love they deserve, they are one of the top under the radar breweries in my opinion.

 1,595 characters

Photo of Czarkazm
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/23/2013. Pours a light coca cola color, in the glass the body looks black with some reddish hues shining through when held up to a light. The head is thin, light tan, consisting of fine, tightly packed bubbles. The aroma is mild but consists of sweet caramel notes, milk chocolate, fudge, vanilla, rum raisin bread, concord grape juice, and charred oak. The mouth feels a bit on the thinner side initially but still coats the mouth nicely with a silky syrupy sweetness and thickens up as the beer warms. Flavor is bolder and more enjoyable than the nose. Big on the dark caramel, burnt brown sugar, chocolate, roasted espresso, nice whiskey flavors, vanilla bean, toasted coconut and marshmallow, hint of dark dried fruits, and complex roasted malts.

 768 characters

Photo of DannoP
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Central Waters never let's down with barrel aged beers! These guys have been doing if for over 15 years and it really pays off! This is my go to beer all winter! Great nose of bourbon - not too heavy - subtle sweetness and bourbon present! Love it!

 252 characters

Photo of OmahaKF
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smell is burnt caramel, strong bourbon notes, oak, vanilla, and a bit of coffee roast and chocolate.

Taste is heavy on the bourbon and barrel notes and is still fairly hot for a 2014 vintage.

After having this year's Bourbon County I definitely appreciate this beer more. While I like BCBS more, this beer is a close second for me as a favorite bourbon barrel-aged stout.

 375 characters

Photo of cdanz87
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 release, bought direct from the brewery.

Pours ink black with a small, quickly fading brown head. Boozy, bourbon and dark fruits in the nose. Caramel and bourbon hit the palate first, with dark fruits coming up second. Slight alcohol taste as it warms. Smooth and medium bodied with a slight alcohol warmth. Overall a great barrel aged beer, one of the best bourbon stouts I've had.

 393 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

these guys are always delivering greatness, and its nice to try a few of their beers together. they always impress me, and this is a really fairly priced four pack for what it is, this would do really well here in colorado. tons of bourbon on the nose of this black beauty. i wonder what barrels they use. it smells somewhat macro on the bourbon end, which is the only really valid critique of this otherwise amazing beer. like jim beam or something less boutique than other brewers often seek out. that said, its full of oak and vanilla, and plenty of booze too. the dark malts add very little sweetness, which i like, nice roasted bitterness to balance the sweet liquor, that seems wet and almost blended in its so potent. chocolate and raisin notes are there too, and the vanilla brings them both out. its not quite as intense and thick as some stouts can be, you could borderline drink the whole four pack, which i could not say for bourbon county or something like that. less alcohol sting on the palate too than i got on the nose. smooth drawn out finish, a little licorice hit with the temperate alcohol. impressive depth to this, awesome price point, great product overall. warms up really nice as well. a lot of these fall apart with temperature, but this just keeps developing. big fan.

 1,296 characters

Photo of BrewUSA
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look 8/10
Smell 16/20
Taste 33/40
Feel 7/10
Drinkability 18/20

Overall 82/100


Summery: Maybe mine started to turn. Tastes just a touch flat and sour. Not at all bad. However def not on par with other BA stouts I have had~

 318 characters

Photo of W_Des
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 version. Pours a black body. Has a nice oaky bourbon nose with light vanilla in the back end. Would love a smoother mouthfeel as I think it is slightly overcarbed. Nice warm bourbon finish.

 194 characters

Photo of BIll_Currie
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

no line at their booth. all dark beers and they were all very good. this one was probably my favorite. we tasted all their beers. wish i could find more around here

 164 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All things considered this is a well done BA stout. Though still far from great unfortunately. A careful pour produces no head (was expected) with a deep black appearance along with a mahogany shimmer. Aromas are nice with the bourbon leading the way but not overpowering the roastiness. Mouthfeel is rather thin considering the style and the finish has an unexpected sticky feel as well. The taste is nice, not harsh for the bourbon and other noticeable flavors of vanilla and maple syrup. The sticky feel and maple syrup flavor leads me to be the syrup may have been added at some point or is maybe just an additional taste due to the aging. Overall, I was really surprised to find that this was good but not great.

 717 characters

Photo of creepinjeeper
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 poured into a snifter.
Head is tan, pinky finger thick. Settles into no lacing quickly. Motor oil in color, when I swirl it I get a light brown ring.. Carbonation is light. I get hints of bourbon, wood, coconut, even leather in both the nose and taste. I am just blown away by the overall taste of this beer. Central Waters barrel program rivals them all.

 361 characters

Photo of Awolter
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 vintage poured into sniffer. Great bourbon aroma on the nose. Taste is underwhelming and a bit dull. It seems slightly over carbonated for the style. I dont believe I have an infected bottle, and there are no detectable off flavors.

 237 characters

Photo of jds16
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Half-finger tan head; nearly black with just the faintest bits of red light passing through the glass. Body looks a bit thinner than I expect for the style. Smells great; tons of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. Taste follows the aroma; bourbon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate. Sweet. Body feels thin for the style, but overall a very enjoyable sipper.
2014 vintage

 371 characters

Photo of danieelol
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle with great thanks to Gasc0igne.

2013 Vintage.

Pours inky black with only very subtly tanned white head. Spotty, minimalist lacing. Looks a lot less viscous than I expected.

Nose is fantastic. Bourbon chocolate milkshake, sweet cream, tiramisu.

Taste can't live up to the nose, it really lacks any roast or chocolate and instead has a faint hazelnut liqueur character, and an insubstantial bit of char. Occasionally you will get flashes of bourbon but it's just very faint.

Again the mouthfeel lacks follow-through, it is very watery as the appearance suggested and while the hazelnut flavour is not unpleasant, it's very insubstantial. There is sometimes a more interesting sweet dark fruit flavour, but also sometimes a slightly off flavour which is hard to get a grip on.

Perhaps this batch went off slightly with the taste/mouthfeel. Nose is great though.

 872 characters

Photo of loubrew
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 model. This is drinking exceptionally well. Any and all edges have been smoothed out. Not much nose but the flavors are all nearly perfect. Light carbonation but works well. Not sure if this could get better with more age.

 227 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to garymuchow for this
12 oz bottle, 2014, poured into a tulip

A- Black with a three finger khaki head, nice lacing.

S- Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, some dark fruits, pretty sweet.

T- Bittersweet chocolate, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruits, faint coffee in the finish.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A nice bourbon barrel aged stout, body is pretty light for the style. I wouldn't hunt this down, but if I could buy bottles near me I would pick this up every year.

 502 characters

Photo of neurobot01
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Cellar temp into a snifter.

Look: pours fairly thick and dark with a nice head that lasts awhile.

Smell: chocolate-covered cherries, mild bourbon, strong vanilla.

Taste: a bit harsh; bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, oak, char. Not especially well-meshed.

Feel: on the thin side, finishes clean with a dry bitterness lingering.

Overall: a decent beer, but not great.

 393 characters

Photo of arlo19
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Local Option in Chicago. Compared this side by side with BCBBS.

Aroma is great, chocolate and bourbon. Taste is good and oaky but some fusel off flavor in aftertaste. Mouthfeel is good. Overall very solid, would like to try more from this brewery.

 258 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 628 ratings.