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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,441 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1441
Reviews: 523
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%

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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Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark with abundant initial head, bourbon malt and alcohol aroma, and some stout. Very smooth and refreshing with a regular meal. Some coffee, well malted, vanilla, chocolate, prominent and not overbearing bourbon. A lovely beer, courtesy of Captain Couger in Atlanta.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 02:50:22 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'Blindfolded at night' black with red and gold autumn leaves edges when a light source is at hand. The huge, initially cascading, head is the color of brown sugar and is, visually at least, just as dense. When it finally deflates to a mounded lump of cream, a virtually unbroken sheet of thick lace is seen on the upper reaches of the glass. An outstanding look.

The nose is merely good. There's a bargeload of dark chocolate and a whiff of crushed coffee beans. Also apparent, naturally, is a booziness that isn't immediately recognizable as bourbon. It has a vanilla-like character, but none of the other aromas that I usually associate with my favorite liquor. A fine point perhaps, but a crucial one in a beer with 'Bourbon Barrel' in its name.

This is outstanding beer with a massive amount of flavor that sends my taste buds happily reeling. The malt backbone is massive in size and heavily roasted in character. As in the nose, bittersweet chocolate is the focal point, with both bitter and sweet applied with equal force. Thick, black joe refuses to be slighted and is nearly the equal of chocolate on the palate.

For whatever reason, the (considerable) liquor flavor is now obviously bourbon in origin. It's a little on the raw side, but I approve of its no-holds-barred nature. I'm having trouble thinking of another bourbon barrel stout that contains this much bourbon. Those barrels must have been especially absorbent and then leaky in turn.

It's hard to say whether any hops are present given the dominance of malt and alcohol, but I think I can appreciate a citric bite in there somewhere. Warming brings about even greater flavor intensity and even greater melding. The bourbon still seems less than perfectly integrated, but I'm willing to cut it some slack since I love both stout and bourbon.

The mouthfeel strikes a perfect balance and is as silky smooth as it is viscous. It's closer to full than to medium and is perfectly matched to the larger-than-life flavor while still allowing the beer to retain drinkability. Bigger would not necessarily equal better in this case.

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout is as big as its name. If you like both stouts and bourbon whiskey, then you'll love this beer. I really hope this isn't a one-off (since changed to 'winter release'), because I'd hate to think this is the only bottle I'll ever have the opportunity to drink. A huge thank you to Skidz for an incredible beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2005 15:44:48 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thick dark brown liquid, essentially black with no light penetration what so ever. Rich deep, and thick chocolate colored lace then formed on the top of it to a height of around two inches

rich and sweet, the first notes to hit me were a nice sweet milk chocolate, lactose, and a nice burnt caramel aroma. Very sweet, with hints of coffee throughout. A nice mixture of roasted malts, and not overly heavy. Rich milk chocolate, molasses and vanilla hints were the first right out of the gate. Very sweet with lots of lactose sugar like flavors coming in, probably from the oatmeal. A slight warming on the back of the throat, but other then that there was literally no hint of the alcohol what so ever. Really a fine quality stout here. Nice dry touches in the finish capped it off well and left a long lingering sweet coffee like taste in the mouth. Very well done indeed. nice light bourbon on the finish and it was gone

It was a nice full-bodied stout, though nowhere near as filling as some of the others can be

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 02:04:42 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2010 release courtesy of Mark. Thanks!

A: The beer pours a dark, dark brown with a thin layer of tan colored head.

S: Big time bourbon with lots of wood to it. Moderate roast character and some nice dark chocolate and hints of dark fruits. Only a mild vanilla character with perhaps even a bit of licorice.

T: Dark chocolate and bourbon dominate up front. A very strong wood flavor and some dark fruit and licorice. Molasses and toffee provide an additional sweetness. Mildly warm/alcoholic, but nothing unpleasant.

M: Medium in body with a medium but smooth carbonation.

O: Perhaps not quite as good as the bourbon barleywine, but still solid, like almost all Central Waters beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2011 04:07:04 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large medium brown faomy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of vanilla and bourbon is dominating with some black chocolate notes. Taste is also a nice mix between some vanilla and bourbon with some black chocolate but without any alcohol ester. Full body with some oily texture and good carbonation. Very well done and well balance overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 03:40:52 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A caramelly rich and roasty Imperial Stout that shares a lot in common with Oatmeal Stouts, Milk Stouts; and with the power of this beer, it keeps the delicate nature of it's lighter cousins.

Opaque and charred-ambers brown, the beer is dark, lucious, and masculine to the eye. A creamy-rich look has medium carbonation which releases a lightly tanned froathy head that retains well, laces well, and leaves light legging on the sides of the glass.

Caramel sweetness, surprisingly leads the way while the roasty, toasty, chocolatey counterparts follow closely behind. The espresso and cocoa are there and in assertive fashion, but as Milk and Oatmeal Stouts go, so does this Imperial version by allowing the sweeter base malts to govern the pace of the beer instead of the intese roast. Nutty, toffee, and butterscotch flavors only add to the rich complexity of the flavorful mix. Only a moderate licorice flavor gives a fruity impression, otherwise the beer focuses on malt flavor and alcohol punch.

Full and rich throughout, this Imperial Stout has a velvety, silky texture with modest slickness and with a long linger of dark roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, licorice, and heavy cream. Alcohol warmth is evident and increases as the beer warms.

All the talk about heavy roast and burnt flavors can yeild a strongly flavored stout, but this delicate balance of dark beer characteristics show that a careful design and deliberate restraint results in a beer worthy of world class stature.

Thanks again Shango42!

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2010 03:24:41 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is dark brown with a slight mocha head and a touch of lacing. Nose is bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, and molasses. The taste really brings the bourbon through and it is not especially hot, melding quite well with the oak and vanilla. Touch of sweetness. Good creamy feel. Another solid -bal beer from CW.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2010 15:54:15 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of TMoney2591


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to whartontallboy for this bottle!

The BBBW was quite the disappointment...hopefully this had better experiences with the barrel. It pours a ruby-tinted black-brown topped by a half-finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises roasted caramel corn (it blasted me in the face...like opening one of those tri-popcorn tins around the holidays...), oak, vanilla, whiskey, and roasted marshmallows. Strange that the barrels o'erwhelm all else. The taste delivers the expected roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate...then another strong tsunami of bourbon-soaked wood. Still pretty good, though. The body is a strong medium, with a moderate carbonation and a slightly chewy feel. Overall, another disappointment, but nowhere near as deep as the BBBW. It's a pretty good -bal stout (as the West-Coasters would say), but the wood's a bit much for me, smothering the stout-y qualities a bit.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 06:03:15 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle marked '05 on the cap.

A rousing pour brings up a short head of thin, frothy tan foam atop its black body. A rim of mahogany can be seen at the base of the glass when held to the light. What head is there holds pretty well, and it initially leaves some thin chips and crags of lace about the glass.

The nose offers some welcoming vanilla, oak, a touch of sweet bourbon, an edge of brown sugar, and some soft notes of milk chocolate.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied, and smooth with a very light tingle from the soft, very fine moderate carbonation.

The flavor is rich, and decidedly oaky rather than bourbonish, but not overbearing. A beautiful yeasty fruitiness adds a smart snap to it that keeps it from going too far towards, oaky/vanilla/bourbon, or dark malts. It's very nicely drinkable in that respect, and yet it's still a sipper - not because it's full, but because there is a bit of complexity to it, and it satisfies with just a nip. Some alcohol is present, but it's just enough to represent the bourbon. It finishes dry but not bitter, due mostly to oak and alcohol; and a short-lingering note of bourbon and some chocolate and roasty maltiness leave you wanting more.

Very nicely done. Delicately balanced. Well brewed. Perfectly aged in oak. If I still ate meat I'd pair this with a slightly charred, medium-rare filet mignon, lightly buttered baked potato, and gently caramelized onions. Certainly worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2007 04:10:40 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, black, black, nothing but deep darkness from out of this bottle, with a nice espresso-tinged brown layer of foam, settling into a nice, tight rings, which never quits, just hangs in there.
Aroma, in just one word? Wow! impressive! Thick, huge, pervasive alcoholic aroma, vast, expansive, heady, full of rich whiskey notes, dark flavors, coffee, brandy, licorice.
big presence in the mouth, too, big in alcohol, as well, a flush with flavors of chocolate, dark rum, molasses, spices. Ful bodied, but thins out some in the middle, becoming not quite so much of the powerhouse that we like from our IS's, though the bourbon character is prevalent throughout and really is the key to the enjoyment of this terrific stout. Has a true luxurious feel from that flavor, a real beastly, though well-mannered, presence in the mouth, with a rich, boozy kick on the lips with every sip!
I'd like to go back to another bottle of this one, for sure! Thanks go surely to that sweetheart cokes, and I nod, too, to drinkin' buddy tavernjef in whose company I reveled in this fine stout.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2004 04:11:04 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of MasterSki


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up in WI on a recent trip. Shared with the wife in FOBAB mini-pint glasses.

A - One finger of quick-dissipating mocha foam and negligible lace. Dark brown - one shade away from black.

S - Bourbon, wood, sweet caramel, roasty malts, vanilla. There's also hints of dark chocolate and coffee. Very intense smell - intensely delicious that is!

T - Sweet and roasty malt barley with a touch of vanilla. The bourbon/wood pushed is further in the background, but really shows up in the aftertaste. There's also a bready quality to the taste that wasn't apparent in the smell.

M - Lighter and more carbonated than I expected. The carbonation complements the whiskey tingle, but the mismatch in viscosity and flavor bothered me a little. Good residual stickiness.

D - Definitely too boozy for sessions, but it's easy to drink a 12oz bottle or two. The aftertaste and residual mouth-coating are also pretty intense.

Eerily reminiscent of Bourbon County Stout, but not quite as huge.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 14:46:04 | More by MasterSki
Photo of emerge077


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 edition: Much more overt bourbon flavors, vanilla and chocolate, also more well rounded though still somewhat boozy. Really enjoyed it and will definitely seek out again.

3.93/5 rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thefatkid13...

Pours an inky black, primordial soup of a stout. Two fingers of tan foam, spotty irregular lacing on the side of the snifter.

Smell has a sour lactic twinge, banana or coconut with vanilla, most likely from the barrel. A sort of malted milkshake chocolate as well. Finally, a minor whiff of alcohol sharpness keeps it from getting a good score for this particular attribute.

Luckily it doesn't taste like 9.5%...again the lactic quality is there, with big roast chocolate malt, slght hop bitterness and astringency. Bourbon cameos in the back behind the chocolate and roast character. It lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel has a mild astringency, but is otherwise smooth and velvety, almost like chocolate milk. Drinkability is good for this big beer, pretty balanced overall.

I had high hopes for this, and it's a solid offering. Mud Puppy Porter is still my CW favorite...

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2007 01:24:36 | More by emerge077
Photo of drabmuh


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, no one will notice but I'm leveling up on this review. YAY ME!

Beer poured from a bottle into a Delirium tulip. Beer is black / brown with a thin broken brown head of tiny bubbles that leaves a little lacing on the glass (doing the halo thing). Carbonation low.

Lots of wood and liquor in the aroma...nice! Sweet, balanced...nice strong.

Beer is nice, it's sweet up front with great bourbon character and has a medium to light body. The finish is a little dry but its a very nice beer. The liquor character is really well balanced into the overall beer. There is a mild tannic character and vanilla from the oak, I really like it.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 05:03:23 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

2010 vintage. The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is awesome with chocolate, oak, bourbon, vanilla and alcohol. The flavor is just as good. I get notes of bourbon and oak as well as coffee and a lot of milk chocolate. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 04:57:17 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jlindros


4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finally a cool day after a week long heat wave, cool drizzy day is perfect for a stout. Thanks to erric for this one a while back, 2011 vintage.

Pours a decent looking darker colored fizzy light head that is a nice surprise for the abv and age, no real lacing though, super pitch black beer with no light getting through at all, and some lacing on the sides.

Nose is heavenly! A great dark chocolate and hot cocoa mix to start, caramel, dark malts without the roast or acrid burnt aromas, a nice wafty bourbon in the background as well rounding it, sweet bourbon. Then the barrel, so much barrel, some toasted oak, some vanilla, lots of toasted coconut, very faint booze in the background, and more baker's choc coming through.

Taste is very good as well, plenty of dark chocolate and creamy cocoa, hot cocoa with a bit of creamy baker's chocolate and creamy oatmeal with dark chocolate melted in the middle. A bit of booze tingles in the middle, but a clean warming booze. Some caramel as well in there, before more barrel takes over, with more vanilla, light toasty barrel, and again some coconut but not nearly as crazy as the nose was, with faint bourbon on the background. Finish brings more dark chocolate, cocoa, creamy oatmeal and baker's choc lingering quite well, a hint of booze warmth, and more coconut and vanilla barrel, touch more bourbon and creamy oatmeal like, fairly dry.

Mouth is creamy and lush, thick, heavy, some warming tingly booze, decent carb for age and style.

Overall awesome beer, great flavors, perfect amazing aromas, good dark chocolate and caramel blended with lots of awesome barrel flavors, with just the right amount of booze. I don't know if the age really kicked it up a notch, or it is usually like this, but I really need to try one fresh.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2013 02:26:12 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark amber-brown color that is approaching black, but not as close as one would expect from a typical Imperial Stout. The head is frothy, light brown color that quickly disappears from an initial one and a half finger thick head. The aroma is nice with notes of buttery oak and vanillin. The buttery note almost makes the aroma seem creamy in some way. The aroma is also a bit hot, with notes of higher alcohols, a bit of astringent oak and something like that bourbon form the barrel. There is also something here that seems a bit like musty scrambled eggs.

The beer is light up front, with a bit of richness that starts to come into play in the middle of the beer. The oak is definitely here, though not so much that it is too distracting. Buttery oak leads to a light tannic oak note that has a nice light, lingeringly astringent note that is a mix of bourbon and the barrel. This beer has a nice roast character to it that is noticeable, though perhaps not as much as I would like. Notes of espresso, dark chocolate, and chalky roast grain are noticeable underneath the oak character.

This is actually much better tasting than I would expect from this mix of flavors. The oak is just light enough that it is pleasant and not too intruding. All of the notes in this beer are on an incredibly subtle level, if only for an Imperial Stout. I think that it is the subtlety of this beer that makes it work. The flavors meld quite well, with none being so dominating as to drown out the other flavors or be objectionable in and of themselves.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2006 04:22:08 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a very deep red color turning black once it's in the glass. The head is tan, settles quickly leaves just a ring around the glass. The retention is minimal, and there really isn't much lacing. The smell of the beer is sweet with bourbon aromas, wood and vanilla, there is some roasted chocolate on the nose also. The taste of the beer is boozy, some strong vanilla and sweet malt with a dry roasted finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, gentle carbonation with some heat in the finish. Overall it's a very good beer, the flavors blend really well making this really enjoyable. The beer gets better as it warms. Definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 19:36:04 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Halcyondays


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown with a mild off-white head, good lace.

S: Molasses, coffee, cocoa nibs.

T: Dark chocolate with a lot of upfront fresh bourbon barrel character with a considerable coffee play. A real nice mix of flavours.

M: Smooth, creamy, soft carbonation, moderately high viscosity, full-bodied for sure.

D: A very enjoyable big stout from this Wisconsin brewer. A definite buy if I'm ever in the area.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 05:38:26 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of tempest


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this back to back with the bourbon barrel cherry stout. There isn't much stout coming through over the bourbon, though more than in the cherry stout. And although the bourbon element is pretty nice, the overall beer isn't as rich as you'd expect from a double stout. There's a mellower, chocolatey, maybe Russian imperial stout taste, while the aroma is of wood and whiskey. Also reminds me a bit of Magic Hat's Chaotic Chemistry in that the whiskey dominates.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 06:01:44 | More by tempest
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my New Belgium globe. Received in the Birthday BIF thanks to zimmerbloke; thanks Matt!

a - Pours a pretty deeo mahogany brown color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. An inch od creamy tan head lasts throughout drinking the beer and leaves a little lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, roasted malts, toasted malts, vanilla, toffee, and caramel malts. Wow, I was surprised how complex and great this one smelled. I expected the bourbon up front, but I didn't expect so much going on. The bourbon doesn't dominate the nose at all; this one smells amazing.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee, roasted malts, and vanilla. While I liked the taste a lot, it seemed a tiny bit light in some flavors, almost slightly watered down. Good, but a definite step down from the great nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. The body is super smooth and creamy, and goes down very easy. Not hot at all, and a bit later than I was ecpecting for a barrel aged stout.

d - Overall I really liked this beer. I found the nose amazing and complex; everytime I took a sniff I got something different and equally good. The taste was good, but a little bit of a let down after the nose, but for 9.5%, it was very drinkable. Glad I have another bottle of this one and might have to try and get more.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2011 22:32:45 | More by mdfb79
Photo of kojevergas


3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this goodie from the very gracious Duff27 in a trade. Thanks again, buddy! This is my first real beer from Central Waters; I had Shine On before but that's it. 2012 vintage. I wish I had a snifter to serve this in, but the best I can do while away from my glass collection in Colorado is to serve it in a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass. Reviewed live. "Malt Beverage Aged in Used Oak Bourbon Barrels." Expectations are through the roof, current ratings are great, it sounds great, and it's got quite a reputation. I don't see an ABV listed on the label. Label art is simple and appealing. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard gold pressure cap.

Served cold and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a lovely two finger khaki-tan colour head of very good creamy character, great thickness, and great (8+) minute retention for the high ABV. Soft, frothy, creamy, and appealing. Body colour is a very dark solid black - not quite a jet black - but certainly black. Nontransparent and opaque; no yeast particles are visible. No bbuble show. Light attractive lacing as the head slowly recedes. Looks exactly as it should, with an impressive head. I'm excited to try it. I imagine it'd look even better in a snifter.

Sm: Pungent bourbon - complete with subtle vanilla and oak notes - exactly what I want from a bourbon barrel aged stout. There'd be no mistaking the bourbon if I handed this to you blind. The execution seems good, if strong. Wow. Dark malts, cream, maybe chocolate. It's all buried beneath the bourbon. I wouldn't call it a woody aroma, but the oak is certainly there with depth and subtlety. I get a hint of alcohol off the aroma, but I wouldn't call it a hot or boozy aroma. Just a touch of appealing warmth. Love the bourbon notes here, but constructively I could use a bit more toasty character. A pretty strong aroma. So far, so good. Can't wait to try it.

T: Wow. Extravagant bourbon notes are right up front here, with subtle vanilla and rich oak really ringing distinct. Little alcohol presence if any; it's got the great flavour of a good bourbon but none of the alcohol burden. Body is a touch roasty - though not quite as much as I'd like. Milk chocolate hits on the climax, blending well with the already luscious vanilla for a fantastic flavour. Creamy throughout, complementing the smooth chocolate. There's no bothersome caramel malt here, and no bitterness from the chocolate. A hint of coconut - it took me awhile to place that note; I'm not sure it's doing the beer a service, but it's interesting. Any hop character is unnoticeable. No yeast character comes through. I fancy the foundation is comprised of dark malts, but they don't intrude. Oak is the guiding body of this beer, and really lends it a cohesive, whole feel. I will say the flavour falls off in the third act; it just fades. This isn't a bad thing per se. Impressively well balanced and built. A very successful marriage of a good stout with bourbon notes. I quite like it. Now that it's warming up a bit more, I do get some buried roast in the third act.

The more and more I drank, the more a tiny nagging feeling came on that it was a touch too sweet. This is a nitpicking criticism, but - I think - a valid one.

Mf: Nicely creamy. Smooth and wet. Great body - not too thick or overbearing. Complements the flavour profile really well. Carbonation is just a biteen overdone. Silky. Good presence on the palate, enabling full delivery of the complex depth of flavour. Chewy.

Dr: Quite drinkable considering the high ABV, which is itself noticeable but not unpleasant. It's best enjoyed as a sipper; this one deserves to be savoured. A lovely bourbon barrel aged stout all around. A smashing success for the style. I'd definitely get this again if I was so lucky. I'd love to try this one aged. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle alone, but I'd recommend ideally that you share it with a friend. Thanks again for the chance to try this one, Duff27!

Low B+

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2013 04:58:27 | More by kojevergas
Photo of akorsak


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: Cracked open a bottle from the same 2007 DLD trade with nflmvp. Incredible. The ale has matured nicely, bringing out more bourbon and stout elements. The stout is nutty, full of chocolate the nicely contrasts with the vanilla of the barrel. The barrel is neither strong nor cowering, settling in the perfect middle. The vanilla is strong, licking at the tastebuds. Another winner from Central Waters.

Taste was upped from 4.0 to 4.5; mouthfeel from 3.5 to 4.5. Overall moved from 4.05 to 4.30.


A 12 oz bottle from a Dark Lord Day 2007 trade with nflmvp.

A: The stout is a deep amber color, black from a distance with dark red up close (really up close, that is). A finger of head resulted from the pour but it did not last long.

S: The first sniff damn near blew me away. This beer is practically bourbon. The aromas are so full and strong, replete with vanilla and pepper, chocolate and roasted malt. The nose really sets the stage for the taste.

T: As soon as the beer hit my lips, I was in love (or at least lust). This one packs a wicked punch with enough bourbon flavor to make you forget it is a beer. The oak aging has added a vanilla and buttery chardonnay flavor. Surprisingly, for the big taste the alcohol doesn't grab you by the throat. The bourbon is met nicely by the stout body, one of the few times that both components work together. The stout body has roasted chocolate and burnt toast but is rather fleeting, it is somewhat less robust than I would have hoped. The flavors don't last long, which is too bad.

M: The bourbon is strong, deliciously intense but it doesn't last long. While the flavors last though, this is a great sipper.

D: The abv is so well hidden that I'd gladly enjoy several over the course of a day, assuming that someone will send me a few more bottles.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 21:53:44 | More by akorsak
Photo of Rifugium


4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle share at Beermongers, Portland, OR
Thanks to writerLJberg for the share!

Appeared black, opaque, with a thin layer of tan head that laced a little bit. Oaky bourbon in the aroma, roasted chocolate malts. Taste is dark malts, dark chocolate, and yes, bourbon, with notes of oak, black cherries, Sugar Daddies; moderate alcohol warmth. Smooth and on the heavier side of medium-bodied. Not the best of its class, but still good overall.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 09:40:46 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32 ounce growler filled at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pour near black, minimal dark mocha head/thick film, leaves a lasting collar and low, slippery and ringed bits of lace.

Nose of bourbon, chocolate , and vanilla.

Full flavor, waves of dark chocolate, vanilla and heavy bourbon. Delicious, with the strong alcohol obviously present but somewhat muted for the strength.

Moderate body and enjoyably smooth mouth feel.

World class sipper, happy to be able to enjoy it on tap, via my growler.

Serving type: growler

03-17-2014 00:46:25 | More by Billolick
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a inky black body with a thin cloud of tan head that fades pretty quickly. The dense body gives up no signs of carbonation.

S- The smell of vanilla comes through with sweet and dark roasted malt with some black roasted malt notes. There is a note of wet wood that comes through when it is really warm.

T- The big taste of bourbon and dark malt has a flavor of earthiness and cola with a soft alcohol heat in the finish. There is a soft dry brown sugar flavor behind the malt and an oaky flavor that really increase as the beer warms. It becomes almost overpowering in the last few sips.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with the alcohol heat cleaning the palate after each sip.

D- This beer has a big bourbon flavor with a little stout hidden underneath. Perhaps it is age or just to light but more stout would be nice.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 19:32:17 | More by rhoadsrage
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.