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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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607 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 607
Hads: 2,182
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 4.81%
Wants: 411
Gots: 707 | FT: 77
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
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Reviews: 607 | Hads: 2,182
Photo of mabermud
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (788 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (1,801 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (962 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
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 (372 characters)

Photo of Gebrau
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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. (185 characters)

Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (1,011 characters)

Photo of chakadrum
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (452 characters)

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
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! (532 characters)

Photo of Barnoloid
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (278 characters)

Photo of PicoPapa
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of BrandonGarrison
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (197 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (1,008 characters)

Photo of MichaelNeelsen
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of getatmeimevil
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (182 characters)

Photo of Devman171
3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
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 (150 characters)

Photo of Alex_Sutherland
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of lovethebelgians
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This was the biggest disappointment in bourbon barrel stouts, aromas wrre great but that's about where the show ends. Thin mouthfeel, very little chocolate flavor heavy on the burnt toast and bourbon, nowhere near Bourbon County and that is what I was expecting (262 characters)

Photo of Tridement
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

It pours almost completely black with a moderate mm or 2 of mocha head that fades into a soft ring around the circumference of the snifter . The nose is of toasted coconut, bakers chocolate and a little booze. The taste is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Reminds me of eating a toasty brownie dipped in vanilla icing. The body is a little thinner than I expected, but undoubtedly a contender in the world of relatively low ABV BB Stouts. This is my first CW beer ever and I can't wait for more....got this in a fantastic trade with with jdonahue81. Cheers to beers! (570 characters)

Photo of BobJude
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 in a tulip glass. Poured relatively thin for a double stout. Dark brown in color, not very opaque - more porter in appearance IMHO. Smell is awesome - bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, a little fruitiness. Taste is great as well - bourbon is not overwhelming and the vanilla really shines with some nice malty and chocolate undertones. Very little hop flavor or bitterness. A little on the thin side vs other similar stouts, carbonation is good. Overall,a very balanced bourbon barrel stout that seems to be ready now - will be great to see how it ages. (562 characters)

Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Vintage 2014
Drinking this with only a couple of weeks past it's bottling date.
Drinks and smells great. Bourbon, Vanilla, with a little dark chocolate on the back. Good carbonation
This is a really nice beer! I actually would argue that it's almost as good as BCBS. (269 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Dark brown black color with a decent tan head. Aroma of coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and molasses. Taste reveals some dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, bourbon, molasses, hint of toffee and char. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. A solid stout. (242 characters)

Photo of BeerZombies1
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Happy #internationalstoutday

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout 2013 - Central Waters Brewing

Imperial Stout
9.5% - ABV

APPEARANCE: Poured a slow gurgling, dark, dismal pitch black. Small specks of sediment floating around making my glass look light a star filled night sky. Hard poured produced a very small biscuit brown colored quarter inch head. Head dissipated rather quickly into a nice lazy halo.

AROMA: Wow! Bouquet starts of with a swift kick to the face of bourbon barrel. A sweet vanilla tickles my nostrils next, followed by a delicious smelling mixture of chocolate and leather. The aroma is rounded out with some deep dark fruits.

TASTE: If Michael Jackson dipped his black leather loafers in vanilla bean infused bourbon and moon walked across my tongue! Silky smooth and delicious. The middle release some of that deep chocolate and dark fruits I got of the nose. The flavors of the Stout and barrel are residing in perfect harmony in this beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a low lazy carbonation. Nice and silky smooth with a bit of heat lingering on the after taste from the bourbon barrel. Slight dry and bitterness comes in at the last second. I think the only downfall for me so far has been the slightly thin mouthfeel.

OVERALL: A wonderful bourbon forward stout. I am a huge fan of anything vanilla and this really indulges that for me. I wish it had a bit more chewiness on the mouthfeel to really round all aspects out. My first beer from Central Waters and I was definitely not disappointed.

RATING: 4.3/5 Zombie Heads! (1,567 characters)

Photo of pagriley
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage (so 1 year old almost exactly). 12oz poured into a pint

A - Thick and black with a thin creamy tan head that dissipates quickly. Thick legs that are almost oily. No light at all penetrates even when held up to the light - perfect black blackness. Some thick sediment with a healthy chunk of yeast left in the bottom of the bottle. Good sign.

S - The only smell on earth known to bring on my happy face - Bourbon is prominent but with lashings of rich roasted malts, toffee, vanilla and raisins. The depth and complexity keeps bringing me back for another sniff and this is still pretty cold - it still has more to give as it opens up and warms.

T - Happy face 2.0 - oodles of thick malty goodness with a warm waft of bourbon with not much heat left. I have had this fresh and it can be hotter, but 1 year lurking in the cellar has done wonders for this beer. All the same dark fruits and caramel notes from the nose are there but integrated with the malt and the bourbon. Some charred oak still comes through with a nice bitterness (from the roast I imagine) to finish. Rich with some sweetness, but the bitterness in the finish balances perfectly. A little astringent tannin on the finish with the oak coming through, but this helps with the balance as well.

M - surprisingly sprightly carbonation given the thin head. It adds a nice spritz to the soft and creamy mouth feel. For such a big beer there is real softness and roundness to all the edges after a year of aging.

O - Utterly perfect. Not as big as some (like BCBS), but just perfectly balanced such that no flavor overwhelms or dominates. The bourbon is done well, but the 1 year in the cellar really is helping to calm this bad boy down and soften the heat. If you spot this it is a must have - drink a couple if you can't resist but you have to put some down for at least a year. I have had a bottle with 4 or 5 years on it a couple of months back and for me at least, some of the oxidized notes were too much - my guess is somewhere in the 1-3 year mark is perfect. (2,065 characters)

Photo of JonathanTaylorThomas
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

I'll be honest... I'm not a big stout fan overall.

But WOW. The smell alone on this is worth the purchase. THE SMELL ALONE.

These guys aren't big enough to put crazy prices on their bottles yet, so if you encounter this beer, buy it or regret it. (248 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 607 ratings.