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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

615 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 615
Hads: 2,226
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 17.46%
Wants: 418
Gots: 700 | FT: 71
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:
Beer added by: Skidz on 05-28-2004

American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 615 | Hads: 2,226
Photo of BeersOverBaghdad
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage (drank in March 2015)

Look: black as night. not a full 5 bc the head wasn't as robust, but that might just be due to the age on the bottle.

Smell: bourbon, chocolate, hint of coffee. Love love love

taste: amazing. liken to BCBS with slightly more chocolate. no taste of booze, which was great. delivered on everything i anticipated from the smell.

feel: no heat or harshness that I've come to expect from a bourbon barrel stout, which was fantastic. Granted its a low ABV for the style (9.5 v ~15 for BCBS), but i prefer it that way. lighter than BCBS, which has its pros and cons

overall: would 100% get this again and will look out for it in the years to come. most drinkable BA stout that I've had thus far

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From taste notes. Appearance: Brilliant black with a 1” tan tinted persistent and lacy foam cap. Smell: slight bourbon, fruit, dark malt, dark fruit – prunes, raisins, Taste: Flavor: Creamy, bourbon and caramel quickly joined by chocolate and then espresso and some vanilla notes. Mouthfeel: Medium full body, carbonation medium but so soft as to suggest nitro beer. Overall: A very drinkable and enjoyable bourbon barrel stout.

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Photo of mlorfeld
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage

Ar - Lots of bourbon, chocolate, with a hint of vanilla. Some booziness, but not overpowering. Malt in the background behind these strong aromas is still evident, no hop aroma at all. No off aromas

Ap - Black with slight brown on the edges when held up to the light. Brown head that lingers through.

T - A wonderful balance of bourbon, dark chocolate, with vanilla, cherry, plum, and slight anise notes. Malty sweetness provides a great base. No hop taste or off flavors. Some slight oxidation, but that is to be expected with a cellar aged beer, it has held up quite well.

M - Medium body that seems to hit the mark on the head. Slightly more carbonated than other barrel aged stouts. There is a slight viscosity at the finish which leaves lingering chocolate and bourbon notes.

O - I tried this when it was first released and thought it was an average BA stout, now with age, I'd pick this over a BCBS without even thinking twice. Wish I had even more in my cellar.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Bottle on 12/9/14, making this 3 months old.

A: Pours a thin, almost completely opaque black. Subtle, light brown, bubbly head around the edges. No motor oil here, but still a nice body.

S: Lots of sweet, dusty milk chocolate. Some vanilla, coconut. The bourbon aroma is more like whiskey, and it's very clean and fresh.

T: Lots and lots of oak and bourbon here. Doesn't taste fully integrated, and it's almost like it's "poured in". Also in there is coconut, vanilla and a hint of freshly brewed coffee.

M: Kind of falters here for the style. It's quite thin and watery. Alcohol is quite noticeable and the finish is rather boozy.

O: So I've heard people refer to this as BCBS Jr., and I can kind of see that. It's thinner, smaller, less boozy, but still packs a great union of flavors and aroma. It's very balanced and well put together. Reminds me a lot of Dragon's Milk or Arcadia's BBA Imperial Stout. It's not that huge, thick, boozy beer BCBS is, but it's a nice, more mellow alternative. It's done well, and if you're in the mood for nice BBA Imperial Stout and you don't want to get super buzzed or work hard to finish a bomber, this is your guy.

Recommendation: A bit easier to find than you're average BA Imperial Stout. So at this quality, I'd definitely recommend grabbing a 4-pack if you can. It's pretty cheap, too.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L (4) - Nice dark thick pour into the glass. A little head, not a lot, though.
S (4.25) - Nice earthy, malty, bourbon-y smells.
T (4.5) - Plenty of bourbon taste, right off the bat. You also get some of that faint chocolate and coffee of a quality stout. I haven't had their stout, so I can't compare.
F (4.25) - Good creamy feel. A little alcohol (bourbon) burn, but not too much.
O (4.25) - I really like this beer. I've been really into these bourbon barrel aged beers, and this is towards the top of that list. Will defintely buy again, and may consider aging some of them.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a dark brownish black. Nice chocolate aroma, and the bourbon makes me think of warm fudge. The chocolate and bourbon predominate the taste, followed by creamy spice. I really enjoy how the bourbon doesn't overpower the beer. Instead, it compliments it. Medium mouth. This is easily one of my favorite barrel-aged stouts.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve bourbon barrel aged stout
Original rating Appearance -3.75 Smell -4 Taste -4 Feel 4 Overall -4
March 3 2015

Re-review 2013 bottle enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color is almost black with opaque clarity and thin biege head with tiny compact beads with lace wavy w/ very good retention. The smell is excellent with bourbon domiance and woody scent with vanilla from the barrel mixed with dark toffee and mild cocoa perhaps with a smidge of coconut and light alcohol. The feel is medium high in carbonation with medium sweetness and woody texture with moderate alcohol warmth for the listed strength with relatively dry and spicy finish.

The taste is excellent with toasted malt and bourbon with some stone fruit from yeast with slight woody tannin. There is an almost blackberry or plum-type taste as it warms with chocolate covered caramel flavor and slight nutty vanilla-like influence with bourbon taste that augments the grain base with dark toast and chocolate truffle element with some sweet wood in the flavor and light smoke accent in the semi-dry finish yet still manages to retain a light alcohol flavor at almost 2 years old. This is a WOW! I had this beer about 365 days ago and it has really developed into a great example of what can happen when you age a beer of this style. I consider this one of the best barrel aged stouts I have had recently -lots of bourbon and malt with the 'green' quality all but gone it has morphed into a rich bourbon and stout dessert-like prize.

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Photo of portia99
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2010 vintage) poured into a snifter.

A - Bottle opens with a small wisp of carbonation and pours an extremely dark brown color with no head, a slight collar of white bubbles and no lacing.

S - Sweet smelling overall with notes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar, mild molasses, fair amount of bourbon booziness, slightly herbal/minty.

T - Bourbon tingle up front, mildly sweet with caramel and molasses, oaky vanilla, roastiness, faint burnt/char.

M - A bit thin in body, medium at best...light carbonation. Sweet and bourbon, mildy roasty overall. Chocolate notes creep in subtley.

O - Good bourbon barrel stout, but doesn't really stand out to me as especially impressive. I would certainly have another, but this is a crowded style with lots of really good entries. An older vintage, so perhaps I waited a bit too long on this one - will have to try a newer vintage and compare.

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Photo of mabermud
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An innocuous , mocha looking head. Light black head.
Nice bourbon smell with medium roasted malts and 73.9% dark chocolate. Cookie dough and cold sweet bread.
Bourbon barrel is prominent in the taste. It tastes like some old school bourbon. Not the new age bourbon I drink. Classic bourbon taste. The barrel is first. The stout is pushed to the back. The sweetness comes out as the beer warms.
Good, dense carbonation up front and in the middle. The body isn't too thick, which is nice. The finish smoothly fades away.

Overall - Extremely well put together. Again, the bourbon barrel is up there. When they say Reserve Bourbon Barrel, they do not mean they are reserving the bourbon barrel taste for the birds. Definitely World-Class stuff. Nice and soft at toward the end.

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Photo of CHickman
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2014: Pours pitch black opaque color with a thick foamy 2-3 finger dark tan head that faded slowly, had a ton of bubbles in it and left great spider web foamy lacing coating the sides.

Smells of bourbon up front, with deep woody oak notes, cocoa powder, burnt malt, charred wood, dark chocolate, roasted grains, molasses, some light vanilla and a boozy sweetness. The wood and barrel accents are very influential and earthy and mix well with the chocolate and booze sweetness. This is very complex but minimal in that the main characteristics are the entire aroma with variations of the nose slightly changing with each whiff.

Taste is delicious, with a lovely combo much like the nose with dark chocolate, roasted grains, molasses, deep woody oak notes, bourbon, cocoa powder, toffee, burnt malt, charred wood, vanilla, a boozy sweetness and chocolate milk or chocolate syrup which makes it smooth like a milk stout and not an imperial bourbon barrel aged bad boy. Super smooth and very similar to Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout in many ways, but not as strong with less heat and more oaky notes. The wood almost tastes like cedar chips, and the booze is evident but not hot or abrasive – damn good stuff.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, creamy or velvety depending on the sip, with a medium to heavy chewy viscous body and feel that leads to a sweet bourbon infused aftertaste that has a slight bitterness and traces of coffee grinds. As stated above it’s very similar to Goose Island BCBS, but like it’s younger brother that may not have the bad ass reputation but is better looking; this brew is not as strong as BCBS and has more oaky and earthy/peat moss notes, but it’s an outstanding imperial stout in its own right and one I will seek out as well as highly recommend.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cam for gifting me this bottle, and thanks to Cam once more for sharing this beer with me some time ago. I love CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine so this is a treat. 2013 vintage 12 oz.

A - Pour into a snifter is just about black (some translucence) with a small tan head forming to a ring after a minute. Remains as such for most of the duration leaving bits of lace behind.

S - Lots of bourbon and bourbony spice, wet oak, surprisingly light roasty chocolate, bourbon & coke.

T - More stout here with generous chocolate and roasted malt. Still quite bourbon+oak forward but integrates well, bringing vanilla and caramel icing decadence during the finish. Some licorice+dark fruit.

M - Definitely on the lighter side but not a bad thing. Smooth with good medium carbonation and bourbon heat.

O - Big on the bourbon barrel and kind of lighter in size than your average BA stout, but pretty nice flavors, good to have this in a minus 10% beer as well.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: very little head very dark off white mocha head that did appear

S: smells like whiskey soft leather

T: velvet toffee caramel very light bourbon leather tastes

M: pretty standard for a BA stout a little thin

O: this beer is fantastic it has very little nose but it has a taste that goes for miles. it's rich with soft vanilla and toffee notes this beer is excellent

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Photo of Gebrau
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect brew. Have had very few to this standard. Vanilla at the front then very oaky. Chocolate and coffee to finish. Very nice brew to warm you right up after a cold South Dakota day.

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Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First off, I love this beer. Had it for the first time in 2013, and was only able to find a single bottle. Picked up 5 bottles from this years batch and glad to be able to age a few to see how it develops.

A: Dark, black and really opaque brown. Head is very caramel in color, about 2 fingers, and solid retention.

S: Bourbon, Oak, Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee and Earthy bitter hops.

T: So much vanilla on the start, its absolutely fucking delicious. Followed by a very solid, but not heavy and overbearing Bourbon and oak flavor. Slight chocolate and coffee at the end. Slight bitterness, but not as much as I expected from the nose.

M: Heavy but silky and smooth. Easy to drink.

O: This is one damn fine BBA Stout. I love vanilla in my stouts and this just hits the spot! The sweetness of the vanilla and bourbon are perfectly balanced with the bitter earthy hops at the end. Not as good as BCBS, but very, very close. A little more mouthfeel and this beer could easily be top 3 BBA Stouts in the country.

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Photo of chakadrum
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A nice alternative when you are all out of Bourbon County.

Very light oak aroma that reminds me of an old barn not in a farmy way but an historic structure way.

Very dark but not pitch black when held to the light. Thin yet strong lacing.

Clear bourbon barrel influence on the taste but not overwhelming in terms of whiskey hints. Maybe a touch of milk chocolate.

Somewhat creamy or at least smooth/coating mouthfeel. Good body but not too viscous.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip

A. Black with a two finger khaki head

S. Obviously bourbon with a nice roasted malt some

T. I get chocolate chip cookies at first followed by some vanilla and booze. Aftertaste is very dessert like. Very nice and smooth. Some coffee and hazelnut.

M. 1-10 scale a 8 on body with light carbonation. Lol more than I'd expect for the style but it works.

O. This beer is delicious. Sometimes you don't want something as potent as a bcbs and this is it. Lil sweeter. I'm loving this beer!

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A fantastically drinkable BBA stout. This is a review of the 2014 release - seems to have a thicker body than the 2013 version. Excellent, full mouthfeel. Pours with a velvety off white head. The nose is caramel and bakers chocolate. Bourbon notes are warm but not overpowering.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

64oz growler from Whole Foods in Manhattan. Pours a pitch black color with a small amount of head that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing. Smells great. The aroma is Bourbon with some coffee, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, and espresso. The taste is bourbon, cocoa, coffee and earth. Lots of woody bourbon flavor. Earthy notes. Finished with some more Bourbon and alcohol warmth. I'm surprised that the ABV isn't higher. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. Pretty drinkable. Overall, really good Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout I'd grab again.

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Photo of richj1970
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. 2014 vintage.

A: Pours ink black but has amazingly clarity for a stout. One finger light tan head that settled to a thing ring around the edge and leaving some stringy lacing. A slight oily sheen to the surface.

S: Big bourbon mixed with slight coffee, caramel, and roasted malts.

T: Mostly bourbon up front. Some faint coffee flavors, and a dark fruity quality. A fair amount of warming alcohol at the end.

M: Full bodied tending towards a bit thin but not expected from BA stout. Finish is smooth, and very easy drinking.

O: Very nice stout especially if you enjoy bourbon forward beers. I would be very interested to get another of these to age for a while.

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Photo of BrandonGarrison
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Crisp, smooth & un-mistakenly bourbon aged. Smoky notes of caramel & coffee really seem to stand out at first sniff & taste. Alcohol content sneaks up quickly so don't let the clean finish fool ya.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass

A: Not very dark for a barrel aged imperial stout, lots of ruby on the edges, pretty clear when being poured into the glass, nice creamy tan head that faded, got some lacing.

A: Big bourbon upfront, very big, after this a strange drop on the aroma. Didn't' get much else. Some coffee roasted notes, not much alcohol.

T: Big bourbon, some coffee roasted bitterness, some alcohol burn on the end, but the bourbon seems unbalanced with the other flavors.

M: Medium mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, not alcohol burn.

O: Starts out really big, lots of bourbon, some stout aromas and flavors but the beer kind of drops off at the end, doesn't blend well. I think they need to bump up the ABV, maybe that will help balance the beer with the bourbon, but not bad at all, would definitely purchase, seems a little raw compared to other BA imperial stouts, but really good, definitely worth a try and I would put this in top 10 of my own personal BA stouts.

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Photo of MichaelNeelsen
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank 2013 release after aging for one year.

L: Thick, egg-white head that maintains at 1/4-finger width around the glass. Dark red tinted black. Pours like silk with a delightfully bouncy swish.

S: Sweet, sweet bourbon. Rich warmth. Subtle chocolate. Brown sugar. Cream. Almost a hint of rum or other sugary liquor.

T: Bourbon is the predominant flavor with a creamy dark chocolate finish. Roasted flavor lingers after sip. Bourbon cake, or rum cake. A definite creamy, milky lactose presence.

F: Bouncy, pillowy in the best way. Creamy. Silky, but not thin at all. Substantial.

O: One of my favorite stouts. Rivals BCS, but resembles a world-class upgrade of Dragon's Milk.

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Photo of getatmeimevil
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely loved this BBA stout, everything I was expecting from BCBS came through in this. All the things I wanted to have a punch did and all the things I wanted to be subtle were.

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Photo of Devman171
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours black with low tan head. Aroma is sweet booze and roasted chocolate. Taste is similar with a sweet booze finish, could use more roast

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Photo of Alex_Sutherland
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Single best BBA I have had. A: black as night, w/ 1 finger head if poured properly. S: harsh, but calming for anyone who enjoys a good snifter of bourbon. T: didn't get enough time to really delve into the individual favors, but it is fantastic. F: The name of the game here is SMOOTH. Unlike BCBS, this starts smooth from sip one without cell wrong. Could be because it's only 9.5 instead of 14 for the BCBS.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.