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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

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1,692 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1,692
Reviews: 551
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 348
Gots: 511 | FT: 58
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: 1,692 | Reviews: 551 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wschmit
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle of 2011 into a Duvel tulip.

A: A chocolatey pour yields a syrupy dark body with a fine, tan head that peters out quickly into a thin ring and island amid a black sea.

S: Bourbon overwhelms the nose, in a pretty good way. Once that first hit of booze fades, a deep chocolate takes over, followed by a hit of rubbing alcohol. I could do without that last bit, but otherwise it's an enchanting scent.

T: Not as absurdly bourbon-flavored as I expected. In fact, it's pretty balanced between actual stout flavor and barrel notes. Some bourbon right off the bat, but subtle, marrying nicely with hints of vanilla, caramel, and a very respectable malt profile. Everything you could want from a bourbon-barreled stout.

M: The carbonation is fine and tingly, which I actually appreciate. Some bal-aged beers are too flat for the syrupy nectars that they are. This moves along better than a Bourbon County or KBS. Smooth, and not overly boozy or sticky sweet. Top notch.

O: Really pleased. For a beer that I walked into a Binny's and bought off the shelf without any effort (i think it was 12 for the four pack, too), this is a hell of a value, esp. in an era where singles of KBS go for nine or ten bucks. I've got an extra 4-pack tucked away for aging already.

wschmit, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of Stoutfan23DJ
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Stoutfan23DJ, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of pierceska
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

pierceska, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of pirmannt1
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

pirmannt1, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of riverrunt421
5/5  rDev +18.2%

riverrunt421, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of Durb777
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Durb777, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. Liquid portion itself comes out of the bottle and the stream looks like a cola color, but as it pools in the glass it looks black. When you hold it up to the light, you can see the cola colored brown at the top. An off-white to gray colored head, mostly really small bubbles so it looks creamy. Has better than average lacing to it. It's a really good looking beer.

Smell is pretty good, but I really gotta recommend the Tulip or Golet on this one. Swirl effect helps this beer out quite a bit. A few swirls will give some nice wiffs of bourbon, but not overbearing. Slight woody aromas and hints of vanilla, it's all good. Slight hints of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, however it's not a dominant feature. Not too strong in the smell though, the Tulip helps a bit.

The taste isn't perfect, but pretty darn close. Good roasty flavors. Dark, indulgent chocolate, dark fresh brewed coffee as well. Vanilla bourbon and some nice woody flavors too. This is a VERY good tasting beer. They hit the nail on the head pretty hard here.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are great for the style. It has a good carbonation level and a slight hot bite from the alcohol, pleasant though if that makes sense. Starts sweet and ends nice and warm. You can't really taste the hops, but there is a slight bitterness in the mouthfeel from the hops. Full bodied and well balanced. Really digging it. Big and aggressive in flavor, bold and strong. A sipper with full flavor. I love this beer! Thanks bpfrush for an awesome trade!

AndyAvalanche, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of vitrael
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

vitrael, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of jabo134
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

jabo134, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of IdrinkGas
4/5  rDev -5.4%

IdrinkGas, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of Steggun
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Steggun, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of sacrelicio
2.8/5  rDev -33.8%
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.

sacrelicio, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of Pellinore1
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Pellinore1, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of stbo101
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

stbo101, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of JoRado
4/5  rDev -5.4%

JoRado, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of davesway10
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

davesway10, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of afausser
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

afausser, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of brydeen
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (11' vintage) poured into a snifter

A: Pours a dark brown, almost opaque. A 1/4 inch mocha colored head takes a bit to fade.

S: Huge bourbon nose right off the bat, with sweet hints of caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Very enticing

T: Big blast of vanilla and toffee right away, with a really smooth, warming finish from the bourbon. The alcohol isn't nearly as strong in flavor as it is in the aroma.

M: Luxurious, creamy balance, with minimal carbonation and medium body.

O: Great balance between the sweetness and warm bourbon finish. Thin enough to avoid being syrupy, but still smooth and creamy. Excellent beer.

brydeen, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of ChugginOil
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with ruby edging. There is a thin ring of khaki colored head. There is some quick dissipating lace that disappears after each sip.

The nose is bourbon forward, big time. This smells boozy and big with hints of charred oak, some cocoa and more booze.

The taste is much smoother than the nose suggests. The bourbon adds some flavors of vanilla and oak, with butterscotch and some cocoa coming through from the base brew. There is an underlying smokiness from the barrels that leaves a nice aftertaste. The abv is present but pretty well masked.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium with a nice moderate amount of carbonation. Sweetness.

Overall, this smella damn hot right out the bottle but the flavors and less heated and more packed with deliciousness. Time will help this brew out for sure. Throwin' a 4-pack in the cellar to see.

ChugginOil, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

atone315, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of davey
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark muddy brown. Small head with little lacing.
Smells of mellow sweet bourbon. Vanilla and sugar.
Taste is very soft and sits on your tongue. Bourbon flavor is light and the malts are smooth. No burnt taste. Kind of like pancake syrup. Sweetness isn't overbearing. Slight fig in the aftertaste. Hops are nowhere to be found.
Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, and its not heavy at all. A little too thin for my liking. Flavor only lingers for a short time.
This is a good barrel aged beer. Nothing spectacular, but definetly well rounded. More like a barrel aged wee heavy. This is a lot like Backwoods Bastard minus the kick of vanilla. For the price $3 a bottle its worth the try.

davey, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Gtreid
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Picked up while on a trip to Milwaukee.

A: Deep dark brown color. The pour dropped a small tan head that faded and left little lace.

A: Notes of chocolatete, vanilla, and caramel. Strong notes of bourbon and wood. An earthiness presents itself and is quite pleasant.

T: great balance between the barrel and the base brew. The chocolate and roastiness of the stout really plays nicely with the barrel. The vanilla, caramel, and wood notes are secondary to the malt backbone and really make for a great drinking experience. It finishes sweet and dry with a nice heat from the alcohol.

M: Creamy and smooth with good levels of carbonation. Heavy body.

O: really nice beer for the price tag. Great barrel aging and affordable. I highly suggest trying this if you can.

Gtreid, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of bsp77
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with nice tan head and some lacing tendrils.

Smell: The Bourbon barrel aging is apparent in the aroma, with vanilla and oak dominating, as well as some milk chocolate and molasses. Sweet and boozy aroma.

Taste: Strong Bourbon taste upfront with major notes of sweet vanilla and sharp oak. The Stout characteristics are secondary with light chocolate, molasses and licorice. Not much coffee or hop bitterness; the only drying notes appear to be from the oak.

Feel: Very smooth and creamy with a full body and low carbonation. Somewhat boozy.

Overall: Very nice Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout. While not one of the absolute best, I was very happy with the price ($10 for a 4-pack). I will age the other three and see what happens.

bsp77, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of dc55110
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at cellar temperature (54* according to the thermometer), bottled December of 2011, poured into oversized snifter.

As it pours the typical barrel aged stout "glug" is noticeably absent. Has the appearance of cola being poured. A fizzy head quickly dissipates, leaving a solid ring of tiny bubbles around the perimeter of the glass. Its dark, but not black, a deep brown with hints of red along the edges. Light is able to penetrate even through the deepest point of the glass.

Lots of vanilla! Dulce de Leche with a hint of booze. I'm getting mostly sweetness with the slight oak-y-ness of the bourbon in the very back.

Again, Dulce de Leche! Creamy, milky, vanilla, very sweet. I'm not finding much of the stout qualities. The bourbon is there, but is dominated by the caramely vanilla flavors. There is a slight alcohol burn on the end, but is pleasant, not harsh.

For being relatively thin, it is amazingly creamy and full on the tongue. It lacks that syrup quality I prefer in a BA stout.

I hope with some time in the cellar that the sweetness will mellow out, and everything it is masking, takes a seat at the table. I've loved this in years past, but was pretty underwhelmed by this years batch fresh!

dc55110, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of millelacsmark
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

millelacsmark, Dec 29, 2011
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,692 ratings.