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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.

1,671 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,671
Reviews: 548
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 342
Gots: 508 | 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: 1,671 | Reviews: 548 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jeffo


3.6/5  rDev -14.9%

Got this in a trade with oakbluff. Thanks a lot bro!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Pours a ½ finger medium-thin light brown head that quickly fades to a wisp. Jet black body with a little carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves a few dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts, and some bourbon and vanilla notes as well. Hints of milk chocolate in the background. Mild but nice.

TASTE: Roasted malts, bourbon and vanilla notes up front. Touches of milk chocolate, like in the nose, and some caramel sweetness. Hints of oak from the barrel as well. A sweeter barrel aged stout, but not overpoweringly sweet. Well balanced and tasty. A burst of roasted malt and milk chocolate right after the swallow, and then moves on to a bold and lingering bourbon, vanilla and chocolate aftertaste.

PALATE: Here's where it falls a bit short. Medium body but not overly creamy or smooth. Goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Could certainly be a bit thicker and creamier for the style.

OVERALL: A solid brew overall, but it needs to be a little thicker and creamier in the mouthfeel. The balance between the bourbon and the chocolaty, caramel sweetness makes this one worth checking out, however. Thanks for sending one my way oakbluff.

08-25-2010 13:32:44 | More by Jeffo
Photo of GRG1313


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

08-24-2010 07:43:30 | More by GRG1313
Photo of BEERchitect


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

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!

08-11-2010 03:24:41 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Reaper16


3.85/5  rDev -9%

received as an extra from GbVDave; thanks!
12oz. bottle - 2010 vintage - poured into a tulip glass

Pours a totally unexpected color - though an imperial stout this is nowhere approaching black. It looks more like a dubbel or a scotch ale. Totally in the darker half of the brown spectrum but closer to the middle of the spectrum than not. Less than one finger of tan, tiny-bubbled head dissipates very quickly. Lacing was nonexistent at first but seemed to improve as the beer got around to room temperature. Decent stuff apart from the bewildering color.

This beer is fruitier than I expected. Lots of dark fruits right up front on the nose and even some bing cherries. They play well with the fairly significant brown spirits aromas. Nutty brown malts interlaced with some smells of stale coffee grounds. Not really any chocolate to smell. This is pretty darn good, though it sort of smells more like a bourbon barrel brown ale at times than a bourbon barrel imperial stout.

This is a proper dessert beer. The chocolate really comes out on the palate but in a unique way. I am reminded of a chocolate candy w/ a caramel center, like those few valued pieces from a Valentine's Day chocolate sampler. Light milk chocolate malty flavors w/ some caramel and vanilla coming off of the barrels. Those barrel flavors build up to quite the sweet bourbon profile. Most impressive is that the brown spirits flavor is there but the strong alcohol presence isn't. Sure, there's some alcohol flavor but only an amount that is complimentary. I imagine that this was pretty hot when it was bottled back in January but a half year's aging has comfortably settled this beer down. The finish has a small touch of oak to offset the sweetness. Give this beer some room to warm up. I was initially going to score it a 3.5 but warmth allows this beer's flavors to cohere. It works.

The mouthfeel is not up to the imperial stout par. Very thin. You expect the low amount of perceptible carbonation but you don't expect a thin body. It doesn't detract from the flavors of the beer but it does bear scoring lower compared to other, similar beers. Drinkability is good, I'd say. Relative to similar bourbon barrel aged stouts (BCS, KBS) Central Waters' offering is lower in ABV at 9.5% and has less boozy taste.

This is a very solid bourbon barrel-aged stout. If it looked and felt the part then this would be very well regarded. As is you won't be disappointed if you see a bottle on the shelves or even trade for it. This is like Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout-light. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

08-08-2010 01:10:49 | More by Reaper16
Photo of theghost3


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

Cellared for 1 year.

Pours a deep, opaque brown, almost black. There's a 1-finger cafe au lait head and moderate lacing.

The smell is bourbon and roasted malts. The taste is strongly oak-aged bourbon with vanilla, peppery and slightly vinous. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-bodied with some alcohol warmth.

This is a drinkable stout, particularly if you love bourbon. The ABV is not covered too well, though, so keep it in mind.

07-25-2010 04:11:47 | More by theghost3
Photo of Spica66


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Generous bottle from BarrytheBear- Thank you!!

A: Completely black color. Not much head to speak of at all. Minimal carbonation.

S: Bourbon first, then roasted malt and slight coffee.

T: First taste (when still chilly) was more coffee and malt with a bourbon overtone. As soon as it had warmed, the bourbon came up front and so did the alcohol heat.

M: Smooth, somewhat creamy, but the alcohol gets to you after the first few sips.

D: Maybe if this were cellared for a while, the heat back off a little.

Overall, though, a very good beer.

07-15-2010 20:18:45 | More by Spica66
Photo of semibaked


3.7/5  rDev -12.5%

Poured into a Duchesse De Bourgogne Glass.

A - Pours jet black with an extremely thin amount of head, not much lacing and poured decently think.

S - Nicely roasted malts, bourbon, coffee, and a bit of molasses and hops.

T - Really strong ourbon flavor right off the bat, the roasted malts, cocoa bitterness, and coffee.

M - Medium bodied, decent carbonation and pretty smooth.

D - The bourbon is definitely too strong, I think overtime it will smooth out a bit but this isn't bad you just have to like bourbon alot.

07-13-2010 23:51:15 | More by semibaked
Photo of pdoran10


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

pours out jet black with little to no head seems very thick from the pour.

smell is roast, bourbon heat, a bit of chocolate, but somehow crisp and a bit subdued.

taste is smooth and delicious, barrel aging up front with just a hint of heat, smooth chocolate and a hint of roast. at the end just enough of all flavors. great blend.

mouthfeel is thick but not sticky. again, smooth for a big barrel aged stout.

haven't had many barrel aged beers that i crave many more than one of. this is one of them.

07-12-2010 02:02:55 | More by pdoran10
Photo of sisuspeed

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Thanks to levifunk for the hookup.

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. Big, light-tan head at first, but it seems to be quickly dying. Quite dark, essentially black. Light only passes through the edges. Light lacing.

Big, creamy vanilla and bourbon on the nose. Very sweet, chocolate and roasted malts. A little bit of wood and a touch of alcohol. I quite like this one. Lots of vanilla and the bourbon is there, but not overpowering.

Like the nose, the flavor centers on vanilla and bourbon. Chocolate and well roasted malts roll in next, followed by the return of more bourbon on the finish and a bit of warming alcohol. Pretty tasty. Nice use of the barrels and a great job of pulling out the vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with warming alcohol. Light carbonation. Velvety and quite smooth. My only wish is that the body was a tad thicker, but otherwise excellent.

This is a tasty bourbon barrel stout that makes for a good sipper on a cold night. The ABV is not too strong, and the vanilla makes this a treat. I highly recommend this and hope to get another bottle or two in the future.

06-27-2010 01:02:44 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of darklordlager


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

2010 Vintage

A: Pours a dark brown colour, with minimal head. I was told at the brewery that they use Satin Solstice as a base for this, but it looks substantially lighter.

S: Intense dark fruit, caramel, bourbon. Vanilla, light herbal hop backing. Really nice layered malt, interesting corn-like smell as it warms.

T: Lots of woody bourbon up-front. Raw 2-row and corn, sweet malt, with nice caramel in the finish. A bit of warmth appears throughout.

M: Light carbonation (appropriate for the style) & slightly "spirit-y" element.

D: Very nice complexity to this one. Intriguing corn taste adds to this element.

06-25-2010 07:57:24 | More by darklordlager
Photo of Exiled


4.23/5  rDev 0%

(12oz Bottle) - 2010 Vintage

Dark brown almost black with a light brown head. Smell is milk chocolate, roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon. Taste is milk chocolate, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malt. Full mouthfeel, and low carbonation. Overall this is an excellent beer.

06-10-2010 00:30:21 | More by Exiled
Photo of hardy008


3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

2010 vintage

Black brown color, almost black, with a one finger tan head which fades quickly. The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, raisins, and roasted malt.

The flavor is much like the aroma, featuring bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, raisins, and some roasted malt. The flavor is sweet, maybe too sweet, but still very good. I also wish there was less of a raisin flavor.

Medium bodied, low carbonation, there is some alcohol burn, but it is not a big deal. Good drinkability. I would not hesitate to buy this again sometime.

06-07-2010 01:46:03 | More by hardy008
Photo of Mora2000


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

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


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 Vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a dark black color that produced a light layer of tan bubbles.

(S)- A nice roastedness. Bits of vanilla, brown sugar, raisin, and molasses. A touch of coffee grounds. A slight dry woodiness of oak. A great barrel aged smell.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. A great maltiness & sweetness from the bourbon; rich.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. A tad warm from the abv, but it is not really all that bothersome. A light bitterness & bite from the abv goes well with the sweetness & malt. Surprisingly smooth despite its potency.

(D)- A solid to excellent stout. I would be excited to see how this ages, but it is rather good even at this stage. Rich, malty, and sweet. If it wasnt such a potent brew, I could have a couple of these, but one at a time is good enough for me. I enjoyed this one very much.

05-30-2010 02:17:58 | More by sweemzander
Photo of oregonskibum


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a small snifter glass. 2010 version.

A: Color is a dark black that pours with a very thin, tan head. Disippates quickly, leaving just a Coke looking liquid in the glass.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Smells hot. As it warms, some faint vanilla, caramel and dark fruits or raisin show up faintly. But this is really all about the bourbon. I think this needs a little more time in the bottle.

T: Far more balanced on the taste. Still a lot of bourbon, but not as overwhelming as on the smell. Picking up some chocolate and coffee flavors along with the vanilla and wood flavors from the bourbon. Some chewy, bready flavors mid-taste. Some fairly pronounced heat on the finish. But finish is long and mellow.

M: Very low carbonation and a little on the thin side for the style.

D: I think this would improve with six months to a year of aging. Bourbon is a little overwhelming and should mellow a little bit. But this is a solid beer and quite enjoyable to drink. WOuld like to see a little more body.

05-24-2010 04:47:01 | More by oregonskibum
Photo of jampics2


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

12oz bottle courtesy of a great Wisconsin trader. Into my La Fin Du Monde tulip. Looks nice, a dark as night beer with a small tan head. After a minute, though, the head disappears and just a film hangs on. That stops this from scoring higher.

Nose is crazy hotness, with bourbon and dark fruit, with a nice roasty quality as well. Bourbon is the star and some sweet molasses and vanilla also make an appearance. Could be a bit more balanced smell-wise.

Taste is freaking awesome, totally made up for a less than exceptional nose. Great chocolate presence and just enough bourbon. A wonderful cocoa powder and vanilla aftertaste. Really flavorful and bold, with the barrel well integrated. This is a world class tasting beer!! I like the taste more than the Peruvian AM I had last week.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit too carbed to be creamy like I like my american double/imperial stouts. But still acceptable for the style.

Drinkability is great. SO glad I have another bottle of this in the cellar. Can't wait to have it again, really a perfect beer on a Sunday evening as I'm finally relaxing!

05-23-2010 23:10:28 | More by jampics2
Photo of Freethyhops


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

2010 vintage sent my way by jojomdma. thanks for the opportunity, Joe.

a- pours a dark brown, not quite black with very little head.

s- big bad bourbon dominates the nose. everything else seems like it's in the backround. you have to fight through the bourbon to pick up the roasted coffee, a hint of cocoa. there is a good bit of oak/vanilla barrel tones.

t- the bourbon domination from the nose is completely gone in the flavor. it's a great surprise after the aroma. big roasted coffee mixing with chocolate and toasty bread. heavy oak and bitterness lead into a roasty, bready finish with a fairly subtle bourbon kick. a really great stout.

m- definitely more on the thin side and I would usually say that's a bad thing, but it really fits with this beers personality for a some reason. low-moderate carbonation and a nice slickness.

d- the feel of this one and non-extreme flavors make this one a very easy drinker for a BA RIS. great stuff I'd drink again anytime.

05-23-2010 02:11:53 | More by Freethyhops
Photo of alleykatking


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...thanks for the bottle klikger!

A- Pours a dark brown almost black color. Light amber highlights when held up to the light. Half finger tan head that dies down almost as soon as it shows. No real lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Roasted malts in this of course along with some vanilla, oak, bourbon, and a light almost maple smell. This smells like most BA beers but this seems to be a little more on the balanced side than others.

T- Light roasted malts on the front end of this get pushed aside by a distinct bourbon flavor. Nice hints of vanilla and oak continue this beer through the middle. The ending is more stout like with a good roasted flavor. Big burst in the front but mellows out by the end. I like this!

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. A little watery for a stout but I won't complain. Bourbon flavors left on the palate with some light roasted malts on the aftertaste. Clean flavors throughout the entire beer.

D- Normally a beer with this much ABV I wouldn't put into a mutiple bottle run but this is very very good and isn't heavy like most stouts making it not as filling. Do yourself a favor and get this beer if you can. You will not be dissapointed.

05-21-2010 01:46:36 | More by alleykatking
Photo of PrinceDarren


3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

2010 vintage. As far as bourbon barrel imperial stouts go, this one may win on drinkability, but lacks excitement.

It has a very pleasant aroma. Doesn't taste overly sweet, which is good, because many ISs are too dang sweet. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, but again, this is good because too many ISs are too dang syrupy.

In the end, there just isn't too much complexity in the taste to get me excited. Tastes decent enough and goes down easy for the style.

05-08-2010 00:32:22 | More by PrinceDarren
Photo of boatshoes


3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Was lucky to happen upon 8 bottles of this recently as a result of a trade with my buddy Roburg and also a friend of mine from Wisconsin bringing me down a 4-pack. Thanks to both!

Appearance- Pours an opaque black out the bottle with a thin brown half finger or so of head in the glass that dissipates to a ring around the edges in pretty short order. Carbonation appears adequate but not overly active.

Smell- Not overly complex for the style but containing a lot of the usual nice ingredients. Primarily smells of dark roast, vanilla, and a little bit of wood.

Taste- Very similar to the nose. I get mostly vanilla, some medium to dark roast, and a little bit of the bourbon/wood. There is a little bit astringency on the finish and a somewhat sharp bit of alcohol.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is decent but leans towards a touch on the thin side, particularly on the finish as a result of the evident alcohol. Drinkability is average for the style, but I found the alcohol bite to wear on me as I moved towards finishing the beer.

Overall, a decent bourbon barrel stout, but I find Central Waters bourbon barrel barleywine to be a far superior example of their barrel aged beers.

05-02-2010 02:40:16 | More by boatshoes
Photo of emmasdad


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%

Pours from the 12 ounce bottle an oily, midnight black color, topped off with a nice little off-white head. Aromas of oak, bourbon, coffee and dark chocolate. Flavors of bourbon, oak, vanilla, milk chocolate and coffee. A very nice effort. A great beer.

04-28-2010 03:45:36 | More by emmasdad
Photo of Beejay


3.53/5  rDev -16.5%

Thanks Levifunk!!

A: Pours a tan brown, in the glass it is a very dark color of brown.. you can barely see through it. Little to no head, unless you give it a real vigorous pour.

S: Oak, bourbon, and a lot of vanilla are present right away. Very malty with a cloying syrup like scent in the back masking the alcohol.

T: lots of bourbon and oak, followed by the vanilla. In the finish is a nice dry roasted malt flavor. Though it does seem a bit watery after the initial burst of bourbon. The alcohol is fairly well hidden. It only gets better as it warms.. but still does not achieve the awesomeness of others.

M: It has a bit less body than I would like, and I feel this gives the illusion of being watery. Carbonation seems a little high for the style.. this probably also leads to the watery sensation.

D: Decent all around, but does not shine in a market filled with this style.. Good. But not great.

04-21-2010 03:07:39 | More by Beejay
Photo of maximum12


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

Picked up a trundle of this on the way to the release party in February (it was February right, my memory is a little hazy on that night). Thanks to dbhog & deliriumfest for dragging me along in the party van. Had a glass or two on tap that night & just getting around to reviewing this beast.

Midnight-in-the-wild black pour. Smell is very wealthy vanilla & sweet malts, pouring out of the chalice like an army of ants at a honey picnic.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout is a gorgeous example of the style. A brewer or sweeper leaned on the bourbon when whipping up this batch, leading to a stout that leaves a first impression of heady bourbon & liquid vanilla Edy's. The wood barrel dries it out nicely & makes me want to grab for more fast & often; drinkability is very good for an almost 10% barrel-aged stout. Smidgens of red fruit, tight rotation of roasted & sweet malts round out the taste profile. Very nice.

This is an example of a barrel-aged brew that revels in simplicity - & it works, with the result being an excellent brew. Simple, barrel-aged, & drinkable isn't a combo one comes across often. Glad to have more!

04-07-2010 03:03:05 | More by maximum12
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Hook-up from Grynder33. Thanks Tom.

A - I am quite surprised at the look of this brew. It is obviously thin for a Stout, and pours a somewhat translucent coffee-brown. It looks like iced coffee sans cream. Intriguing. Strangely appropriate though considering the Bourbon focus.

S - The smell is straight-up Bourbon and chocolate.

T - Delicious. The taste is heavy on the chocolate. Not so much coffee, a little bit, but just as much of an impression of smoke, tea and sweet roasted malt. Tons of straight Bourbon on the finish.

M - This brew is unusually thin for the style, but the thin feel works well to deliver real bourbon flavor. I feel like if it were thicker, it would be hot and sticky.

D - This brew is awesome, and as easily drinkable as a Bourbon-barrel Stout can possibly be.

04-04-2010 22:01:04 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of kzoobrew


3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

The pour is a deep brown, falling just short of what could be considered black or opaque. When held to the light glimmers of ruby highlights shine through with faint shadows visible through the snifter. Slim malted milk colored head is set atop, retention in minimal. Thick ring of frothy foam left around the top leaving some decent trailing lacing. Good looking beer, just does not measure up to the top tier beers in the style.

There is no denying the fact this is a bourbon barrel stout, though the bourbon is more subdued than offerings from other breweries. Healthy dose of bourbon, vanilla and slight oak are at the center of the aroma. Rich chocolate and caramel smells linger just behind. The aroma is more sweet than it is roasty, though the aroma will shift more towards the roasted side of the spectrum as it warms.

The flavor showcases the roasted characteristics much more than the nose. The flavor has really developed in the couple months since my last bottle. The bourbon flavor settles in up front. Flavor is strong but not overwhelming, providing a slight warmth from the booze. Roasted malt and chocolate flavors do an excellent job of supporting the boozy bourbon taste. Subtle oak flavor imparts some woodiness and vanilla characteristics. The overall flavor is sweet though much less than what the nose may have indicated.

Full bodied brew with a smooth texture which does not quite make it to creamy. The biting bourbon and a lack of viscosity thin out the feel a bit. Rich flavors embed themselves into the tongue making for a rather long finish.

Very pleasant and fairly easy to drink beer. One to sip and savor, I doubt I would reach for more than one in a sitting. Central Water has impressed my with their offerings which have been made available to me. Solid beer from a solid brewery, recommended if you have the chance to enjoy.

03-28-2010 18:28:14 | More by kzoobrew
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,671 ratings.