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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.

1,664 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,664
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: 1,664 | Reviews: 548 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of illidurit


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Pours a deep dark ruby brown with a light-tan head. Chocolate and bourbon aroma, somewhat boozy, with a honeydew note (???) and wood. Milk chocolatey flavor with the requisite bourbon notes of vanilla and mild coconut, some earthy wood and roasted malt, licorice. A little light for a bourbon imperial stout but it lends a decent drinkability (also helped by the well-hidden booze).

03-22-2010 10:27:19 | More by illidurit
Photo of pmccallum86


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a deep brownish color, almost like root beer. Thin bubbly head which leaves slight lacing as it dissipates.

Smell has some bourbon, you can definitely notice its presence here. Big malts come through as well.

Taste is of big roasted malts and bourbon right away, not in your face intense bourbon, but it's there. Very smooth drinking beer, as it warms the bourbon becomes more present, I enjoy this beer most around room temperature. Very good beer.

Mouthfeel is a little on the lighter side for a double stout, but done very well. Consider me a fan.

Very drinkable, a great overall representation of the style.

03-14-2010 03:48:13 | More by pmccallum86
Photo of WJVII


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

For my 500th BK point, a brew that I have had numerous times with no reason I have not reviewed... CW BRBBS.

Poured into a snifter glass this brew has a dark brown, almost coffee black oil like color with a 2 finger chocolate brown head that with an aggressive pour leaves thick sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is so wonderful with strong oak and bourbon flavors, mild coffee and chocolate, and a light alcohol finish. The taste starts with a smooth bourbon touch, then a nice chocolate and coffee middle, and a creamy oaky and smoky slightly bitter finish with warm alcohol in your throat. The complexity of this brew is enhanced with the moderate carbonation and only gets better with warming of the brew and a long slow drinking.

For my 500th BK point I could not have chosen a better local brew, one of the top 100 beers on BA, this is a wonderful example of true craftsmanship. Prost!

03-14-2010 01:25:28 | More by WJVII
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

12 oz bottle picked up in Milwaukee for about $2.50, a very good deal for beer of this magnitude. The label indicates it was bottled in January.

The beer is dark brown, not quite black, opaque, with a small 1 finger tan foam that dissipates but leaves lace tendrils. The aroma isn't too boozy, the bourbon shows up with a light touch. The sweet and roasted malts come through bigger, also a little dark fruit, an extremely tasty smell. And a tasty taste too, rich malty flavors, roasty and sweet, with bourbon flavors but no ethanol taste, superb.

The body is medium-plus, with enough viscosity to coat your mouth but not too much to cut the drinkabiblity.

03-13-2010 23:47:50 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of nickd717


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%

12oz bottle. Had previously tried this on tap at GABF 2009.

Darkest brown in color with a small but lasting beige head.

Aroma is bourbon, roast, vanilla, and oak. A little heavy on the bourbon maybe if you ask me.

Flavor is loads and loads of bourbon. It is no secret that this beer has been in touch with the -bals. Substantial oak presence as well. Also roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, and vanilla.

Palate is smooth and fairly full with soft carbonation. A little boozy, but not terribly much so.

Drinkability is pretty high. A very good bourbon stout overall, but come on, everyone's doing a beer of this style nowadays. I found it a little better on tap than out of the bottle

03-13-2010 21:04:50 | More by nickd717
Photo of homebrew311


4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

Received in a trade with Ughsmash- Thanks... very excited about this one! Poured into NB globe.

A: pours a dark opaque brown with a thin tan head, considerable amount of lacing

S: oak, bourbon, chocolate in that order... the chocolate on the end is rich and delicious smelling. As it warms, more cocoa character comes through along with a stronger bourbon presence.

T: the flavor seems reversed of the smell.. lots of chocolate in the front with hints of coffee and vanilla which melds into a very nice flavor of bourbon. This is expertly balanced and is incredibly enjoyable. The bourbon is a bit tamer than some other bourbon stouts, but I think it works really well.

MF: nice thick full body with a velvety texture that goes down smooth and works perfectly with the chocolate and bourbon flavors.

D: wow.. what more could I ask for? A delicious stout infused with the perfect amount of bourbon, and on top of all that, the mouth feel is perfect... this is a great beer!

03-12-2010 05:52:39 | More by homebrew311
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

As black as a night in the woods on an new moon. What the head lacks in volumn it makes up in body. Creamy tan head. Long lasting.
Aroma is mostly vanilla and bourbon but those two go so well together nothing else is really needed.
Flavor is rich and intense. Bourbon being the most dominate and it becomes even more intense as the beer warms. Vanilla is also noticable. There's some chocolate and roasted flavors but you have to really look hard to find them.
The mouthfeel is awsome. Smooth and creamy. Not too overboard. This is a geat beer that would be perfect with a great meal that you only eat once in awhile.

03-09-2010 03:11:30 | More by wcudwight
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,664 ratings.