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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,719 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,719
Reviews: 552
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 349
Gots: 516 | FT: 60
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: 1,719 | Reviews: 552 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
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.

Sammy, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

t0rin0, Sep 10, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.4%

djrn2, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

zestar, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.4%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.4%

acurtis, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.4%

nmann08, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short off white head that quickly died down, leaving wispy lacing on the surface and a collar of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The lacing dies down and eventually leaves only a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of charred oak and bourbon are present in the nose. The smell becomes srronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has tons of vanilla flavors from the barrel aging. There is more vanilla then there is bourbon.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a really well blanched beer as you can get both the oak and the bourbon.

metter98, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Texasfan549, Feb 20, 2012
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.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 10, 2005
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!

BEERchitect, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
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.

Phyl21ca, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan. 2010; dated 2010; Brewers Reserve Series;

Pours black with a tan head that appears firm and then quickly fades.

Nose is pure sweet dark chocolate with hints of whiskied raisins.

Mouthfeel is lovely and very creamy rich. This one almost tastes like a coffee/mocha/dark chocolate milkshake. Delicious mouthfeel and texture, one of the nicest I've tried.

Flavors are all full, rich and creamy wonderful malted chocolate and sweet coffee with undertones of bourbon and red plums. This a very pleasant and most drinkable bourbon stout. Excellent.

Finish is all creamy sweet dark chocolate, whiskey and sweet espresso. Good! Note: Still good but fades in the glass a bit with only a little bit of time. Still, a very drinkable stout that's full of complexities and character.

GRG1313, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
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

mikesgroove, Jun 16, 2011
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.

womencantsail, May 23, 2011
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.

Knapp85, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of largadeer
3.35/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

largadeer, Jan 01, 2009
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.

TMoney2591, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -5.4%

SocalKicks, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

JAHMUR, Nov 25, 2011
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...

emerge077, May 30, 2007
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.

NeroFiddled, Mar 12, 2007
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.

MasterSki, Feb 14, 2009
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,719 ratings.