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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,444 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1444
Reviews: 524
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%

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: 1,444 | Reviews: 524 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of don1481


4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. 12 oz bottle poured into my trusty pint glass.

Appearance: Pours nearly pitch-black with a khaki tan head. Based on other reviews, I expected the head to dissipate quickly, but it's lingering a bit longer than expected.

Smell: Smells of caramel, chocolate, vanilla and - obviously - bourbon flow out of this one. A little sweeter smelling than the BCBS i recently reviewed. If this tastes anywhere near as good as it smells... I'm in for a good time!

Taste: Hmm. Pretty freaking good. A little boozier than the BCBS, a little more in-your-face with the flavors. Definite vanilla and chocolate aspects poke through. Not as complex as the BCBS, but the flavors still play very well with one another.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a warming, almost hot, mouthfeel. That said, it's quite... soft and smooth at the same time. Doesn't linger too strongly in the mouth.

Overall: Very delicious. Very drinkable. I'm gonna stash at least 2 of the bottles in my cellar and see what happens as it ages. Very excited to see where this goes - got another bottle of BCBS stashed alongside this, so I can do a direct comparison.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 03:44:15 | More by don1481
Photo of guityler83


4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013, Vintage

A: A dense finger of tan colored head arose from the depths when poured into a tulip glass. The foam had nice retention and eventually falling back to leave behind a dusting on top of the opaque black liquid. Alcohol legs are swirled up in the glass.

S: Nice prominent oaky, vanilla barrel aroma comes off the top of the glass. Roasty malt character mixed with bourbon and a chocolate undertone at warmer temps. No noticeable hop aroma.

T: Strong vanilla character from the barrel along with caramel and oakey goodness. Dark chocolate, coffee, roasty notes and toffee malts come through distinctly. Hop bitterness keeps the sweetness in check but no real hop flavor detected. There is bit of sweetness but the bourbon quickly over takes it. Very nicely balanced flavors between the stout and the barrel

M: A little bit of a drying on the tongue from the tannins in the wood and tingling from the bourbon. Nice big body with low carbonation. Warming is there to remind you its a big 'un and to warm you up on a -12F WI winter night.

O: Not as big as BCBS and the base beer isn't as complex, but one hell of a substitute. Great clean barrel flavor comes through and the stout is balanced along with it. Can't wait to see how this ages.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 02:32:29 | More by guityler83
Photo of JerUrbans


4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pour form 12 oz bottle to regular pint glass

Served at cellar temp

Aggressive pour yields beautiful dark creamy color with big bubbles. Very dark chocolate color.

A sweet bourbon smell, like brandy

Wow, this tastes fantastic! Smooth, light vanilla flavor and has a big bourbon taste that hangs on. Today it's 30 degrees below zero and this is the perfect cure for the bitter cold.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, slight bitterness at the end.

Overall this is probably the best bourbon barrel stout I have had. If you like bourbon barrel imperial stouts I bet it would be hard to find a better one. I would seek this beer out. Will be aging the rest as I have heard this beer gets better with age. This was bottle on 3-25-13.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 23:30:18 | More by JerUrbans
Photo of Fcolle2


4.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2013

Pours dark brown pretty much black in color with a thin tan head that retains nicely.

Smell has some aromas of dark fruit, oak, and bourbon forward before a milder caramel and toffee like malt cuts through the sharp barrel and bourbon flavors. A fair amount of booze on the back end.

Taste follows the nose with bourbon and lots of oak forward. Oak persists into te rich caramel and toffee malt. Slight roasted flavors and lots of booze on the back end.

Mouthfeel is good. Thinner then I was expecting but not to thin. Mild carbonation and some dryness from the oak.

Overall this was good but I had a 2011 that was aged a year and it did amazing things. Hoping the same will come from this, the rest are going in the cellar

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 22:18:24 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of BeerKangaroo


4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

Big thanx to Preluderl for this gem, nice sipper on a cold Alaskan night:

Into a snifter:

A: dark brown close to black colored body with a quickly dieing slim white somewhat foamy head, barely any lacing was shown at all

S: the best part of the beer - starts out bourbon up front, however, once it warms a bit, there's a good amount of oakiness and even after more warming - wow, the vanilla comes out along with some light licorice and close to the end of the drink I even got some light chocolate; throughout the entire drink its fairly roasty as well

T: bourbon sweet throughout with the vanilla complimenting it pretty well in a somewhat roasty sort of way; bourbon slightly vanilla aftertaste, dry bourbon-like finish

M: for a 2012 double stout at/about 9.5%, its still fairly hot in the feel, still I say it sits about a medium to heavy in body. not really sessionable - more of a sipper and I expected that so I sipped the whole thing in about 2 and a half hours; carbonation is pretty smooth for the most part

O: not sure if I'd want to try this fresh or if I did, I'd make sure I'd have no where to go the following day as I had this over a year old and thought it was pretty boozy, but for the most part I did like it well, next time if I do ever get this again, I'll be aging it longer and would gladly again accept it. That smell - wow, just absolutely awesome for a Bourbon Double Stout!

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 07:05:07 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of Damian


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 12 fluid oz bottle
Vintage: 2012
Served in a snifter
Big thanks to surge1311 for including this as an extra in our trade.

The beer poured dark brown and slightly thin for the style. A tight, creamy, one-finger tall, khaki colored head topped the liquid and quickly faded to a thick ring. Spotty streaks of lacing clung to the glass.

The nose was quite amazing. Bourbon notes dominated. There was an intense oaky/barrel character. Rather sweet overall with a robust caramel and roasted malt presence. Vanilla bean came through strong. Loads of semi-sweet chocolate and brown sugar. Somewhat fudge-like. Slightly nutty. Hints of raisins were also detectible.

Compared to the nose, the flavor profile was a bit underwhelming. Roasted malts appeared on the front end. Loads of bourbon. In this case, the bourbon was more harsh than in the aroma. Strong oak/tannin notes. Vanilla came through in the center. Good dose of brown sugar-like sweetness as well. The finish was boozy and rather hot.

The beer was smooth and creamy on the palate but perhaps a bit thinner than anticipated. A fine, moderate effervescence lent the liquid a soft mouthfeel.

Central Water's Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout is an intense and super bourbon-forward brew that smelled simply amazing but lacked a bit of complexity in the flavor profile. Regardless, this is an impressive cold weather sipper and worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 22:03:27 | More by Damian
Photo of d5001986


4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 Brewers Reserve.

12oz Bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appears black and thin with minimal tan head.

Smells boozy with sweet caramel.

A sweet boozy taste. Roasted malt, some vanilla and caramel.

This is a thinner stout. I generally prefer a heavier body. Slight carbonation, goes down smooth.

Overall, another solid barrel aged beer from Central Waters. I can say I prefer this to Peruvian Morning. It also has great value at only $11/4 pack, definitely worth the annual purchase.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 02:43:24 | More by d5001986
Photo of deadonhisfeet


4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a small snifter. Very dark pour, opaque, with little carbonation and no head (typical for a barrel-aged beer and I don't consider it a defect). The nose is very nice. Rich, sweet, and toasty with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

The beer has a full body, a firm feel (slightly creamy, though thinner than I like for this style) and a nice sweet, malty, bourbon-tinged flavor. I get some chocolate and sarsaparilla up front and the bourbon comes in around mid-palate, bringing with it oak and vanilla and a little bit of warmth. The beer is surprisingly smooth, with very little ``bite''. It reminds me of Schlafly's offering, though with a bit more body. The finish is sticky, warm, and sweet with a nice lingering toffee flavor.

I just love these bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stouts and can't get enough of them. They all seem to have their own particular charms and characteristics. KBS is that nice, sweet, well-behaved, well-mannered honor student like your folks want you to marry someday. BCBS is that rough, foul-mouthed, hard-rocking chick that you'd hate to introduce to the folks, but lust after nonetheless. This one is like the cool girl you hang out with for years (because she likes comic books), and then one day you realize just how pretty she is.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 23:20:31 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of spark3148857


4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage poured into a snifter:

Pours pitch black with a khaki mocha head that quickly dissipates but leaves good lacing. Aroma is bourbon up front with nice oak barrel characteristics, some vanilla, and some cocoa. This is a wonderfully balanced barrel aged stout! The barrel characteristics accentuate big chocolate and roasted notes and leave a nice sweetness on the palate, but not cloyingly sweet. Mouthfeel is a nice medium, full bodied but not sticky and chewy. Worth seeking out as this is an excellent barrel aged imperial stout. I would happily drink this one any day.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2013 03:16:36 | More by spark3148857
Photo of martyl1000


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm not sure how much my Wisconson partiality is involved in this score. But I'm just as impressed with this as I am BCBS or Mikkeler Black Hole or Founders Imperial Stout. It puts into perspective Tier 1 vs. Tier 2 imperial stouts. Now relegated to Tier 2 are: Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Founders Breakfast Stout, Southern Tier Mokah/Jahva/Creme Brulee, Weyerbacher Tiny, and Goose Island Big John.

The aroma may be the star, here, though how could one choose any awesome feature over any other? It pours an opaque black, rivaling the darkest brown head I've ever seen. Perma-lacing sticks to the tulip glass like meringue.

My wife loves the bourbon booziness. I feel like I'm having another 16% fume-bomb, like Hebrew Jewbilation 16--but in the best way. The sweet malt mingles with the bourbon spice so well it creates the mirage of Neopolitan ice cream (chocolate and vanilla at once), w/o the strawberry of course.
This is the "2012" from my cellar, 11 months of aging.

Pours nearly perfectly black with a rim of tanned leather at the 2mm fast-dissipating khaki foam, plus bits of lacing and legs of running alcohol on the glass.

In the nose it's an umami cocoa, first and foremost. How choco-wonderous. Then aromas of toast, burnt sugar, and bourbon, with hints of coffee and vanilla. But one really has to work to get this complexity, as the aromas are whisper quiet. (In fact, I've demoted the aroma score.) The oak barrel is nice. People talk about toasted coconut in the aroma, but that's one note I've been unable to fathom.

In the mouth it's a spumoni ice-cream cross of vanilla and chocolate. It's so good, one tends toward big mouthfuls to swish from side to side, front to back. It's nearly the vanilla heights of Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout. Perhaps it's the aging, but the bourbon comes muted. (But my wife feels the bourbon is highly present.) Roasty malt and charred oak walk with maple syrup, burnt caramel, and chewy biscuit. Then the dried fruits come, some raisin or prune, and a candied cherry. A subtle pine-hop and anise twist the thumbscrews of complexity. It all washes down with coffee and cream on the backend.

Medium- to full-bodied, fabulously smooth, with a modest carbonation and a mild boozy heat.

Decadent, delicious. It goes down fast. Something this rich, you would expect it to be a one-and-done deal. But I feel I could have several. Perhaps that's the beauty of a sub-10% abv.

This is the "2013", I've picked up four 4-paks to put in the cellar. Just testing this one bottle.

Pours an opaque absence of color into a tulip glass, with a half-finger of brown head. Some lace-speckles stick to the glass.

Even ice cold, there's a wonderful cocoa aroma, we're talking total Cocoa Wheats hot cereal. Need to let it warm up a bit, as there's not much else going on. Ah, now that it's warmed a bit, some vague allusions to bourbon make themselves known. Vanilla wafer cookie and coconut shreds, meet burnt coffee. Working at it, one can pick out the oak barrel amidst the sweet grain. Way in the background is a surprising citrus.

The big surprise is how subdued and mellow this is in the mouth. The cocoa is just jaw-dropping. It's the chocolate pleasure of being a child and biting into your favorite chocolate candy. But the bourbon flavor comes across soft-spoken, shy, even, especially relative to that of the 2012. The complexity is also very quiet and reticent: vanilla, coconut, diacetyl toffee, plus dark fruit (mission fig) and molasses. The spice contingent steps forward, as well: licorice and black pepper attempt to dry out the sweetness.

The mouthfeel comes off as two steps lighter than the 2012. The alcohol is much more hidden this year, too. Still viscous and creamy, just not as liqueur-like and decadent as the 2012.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2013 02:59:22 | More by martyl1000
Photo of brewtechnik

New Hampshire

4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage poured into a tasting snifter...

A: looks a bit light in color for a stout...more like a porter or a really dark brown ale.

S: smell is of BOURBON, oak, lots of vanilla, caramel and hints of cocoa. Nice.

T: This is good. I get a little baked pie crust which is really nice against the chocolate and bourbon. I do love bourbon, so in my opinion this is where the level should be...HIGH!

M: Very thin, but easy to come back to. For a stout it's not to the typical "style". The carb level is low and where it should be.

O: This is DAMN good...I'm opening another right after I finish this one! I like the fact that it's different than what you may be use to as far as bourbon barrel aged stouts are concerned. If all the BBAS were the same, then this would be a very boring beer world!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 00:39:56 | More by brewtechnik
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle courtesy of clewis901 pours a hazed brown color with a light tan head. Nice lacing and average retention.

Nose is an awesome combo of bourbon, wood, vanilla and toffee. Very nice.

Taste has a TON of bourbon and wood notes. The malt is lighter than I thought and the alcohol very smooth. It is a really nice beer. Quite a bit better than the regular CW BBB. The sweetness gives it a nice balanced feel. Vanilla/coconut undertones come out as it warms. Tasty stuff!

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 00:20:56 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of SadMachine

New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage into Teku

A- Pours black with dark brown hues on the edges with a small tan head that recedes quickly, leaving no lacing.

S- The aroma is primarily of sweet dark fruits, vanilla, and bourbon. Prunes and figs are extremely prevalent, as well as molasses, some caramel, and a hint of booze.

T- The flavor is mostly of dark malt, charred oak, and some of the dark fruits and vanilla found in the nose. This is tasty, but a little disappointing considering I had heard great things.

M- The mouthfeel is a bit thin for a BA stout, pretty carbonated, and a bit of booze.

O- Overall this is a solid, but unspectacular BA stout. With how good their BA barleywine was I was expecting more. Hopefully the 2011 vintage I have has improved with age.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2013 05:37:46 | More by SadMachine
Photo of IPAdams


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours thick and dark with a one finger tan head that recedes quickly but leaves nice lacing.

Smell- The smell is sweet bourbon, very pleasant. I also pick up some vanilla and a little bit of oak.

Taste- Dangerously smooth, Alcohol is hidden very well with just a little booze upon swallowing. Like the nose, strong bourbon flavor without the burn, some vanilla and roasty char in the background.

Mouthfeel- Nice body and a slick feeling in the mouth. Just slightly low on the carbonation.

Overall- Very nice bourbon stout. Extremely smooth. Smell and taste aren't very complex but they are still are great for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 20:11:50 | More by IPAdams
Photo of PsilohsaiBiN

New York

4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Typical black stout look, but not much head to speak of. There's a slight off-white head that lines the perimeter.

Smell: Big vanilla, oak, chocolate, subtle coconut. There's also a spicy, tobacco like element to it as well.

Taste: Not too sweet. This kind of reminds me of Parabola. First is heavy barrel character with some bitter chocolate. Middle of the tongue is vanilla and some coconut. After that unfolds, you get the tobacco spiciness that lingers into the finish. The tobacco quality is there the whole time, underneath it all. Very balanced, nothing sticks out too much.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied for a stout this size. Nowhere near BCBS territory.

Overall: I'm more of a BCBS/Black Note guy, but this is by no means bad. It's not as sweet as my two favs, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm just a big and sweet guy(that's what she said). The lack of sweetness lends to the balance of this whole thing and it is good.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 03:00:41 | More by PsilohsaiBiN
Photo of ausch30

New York

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this in a trade, I've never heard of the brewery before. Overall I think it's a really good beer. Last week I did a taste test of KBS vs. BNS vs. BCBS vs. Great Lakes Barrel Aged Blackout Stout. This one falls around where the Great Lakes was in that test (BNS was the winner IMHO). It's a really good beer. Is it in the same league as the others, not quite. all the components are there but it seems a little disjointed. At the time I'm writing this I've let the beer warm up quite a bit. At this point the ETOH has come out much more in the flavor and aroma but so have the Stout flavors of Chocolate and Coffee. When it's cold the Vanilla dominates the aroma and flavor but has blended nicely at around 55 degrees. Bourbon flavors and aromas are still the most prevalent but the Stout underneath is starting to come through. It's a very good beer, worth trying if you've never had it.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2013 22:41:22 | More by ausch30
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage, poured into a snifter

A- Pours nearly pitch black with a tiny fizzy light-tan head that reduces almost immediately, leaving nothing behind even after agitation

S- Big barrel notes up front with vanilla & oak, there's some sweet caramel notes with a touch of black licorice, barrel juice with a whiff of toasted coconut, slightly smoky with some chocolate at the end. Nice and complex aromas

T- Wow, big punch of straight bourbon up front that eventually gives way to some roasted chocolaty malt, barrel notes kick in providing flavors of licorice, oak and vanilla, more bourbon on the finish with some raisin and dark fruit

M- medium body & medium-low carbonation, slightly foamy mouthfeel and finish with some lingering booze. The booze definitely lingers long after the swallow, even after nearly a year of aging

O- This is definitely a bourbon-forward beer, which plays well to my preferences. I can see how this would be overpowering to those who don't like straight bourbon. I'm looking forward to seeing how my other bottles continue to develop as it's still drinking hot after nearly a year. Overall, a great BA Stout that seems to fly under the radar.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 00:53:38 | More by Treyliff
Photo of StoutItOutLoud


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle to tulip. 2012 vintage. Consumed 8/6/2013.

A: This pours thick, yields a dark brown to black body, lighter brown at the edges. This was not a vigorous pour, but the tan cap was very thin. Weak alcohol legs. Very little patchy lacing.

S: Oak (vanilla) and whiskey dominate the aroma. Caramel, raisin too, with chocolate lingering in the background.

T: Even cold, the alcohol burn is strong on this one. Vanilla as well, giving way to dark fruit.

M: Dry finish, surprising for the style. Medium carbonation and body.

I agree with several past reviewers - this is a whiskey-forward brew. (If this beer offers "hints" of bourbon, then I've been using the word incorrectly for 30 years.) There is a pleasant "milk duds" aroma, but I found the alcohol burn harsh on the palate even with 8 months of age. The subdued nuance of a good kentucky bourbon is lacking. It is not as refined as KBS, despite being 9.5% instead of 11.7%.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 14:02:56 | More by StoutItOutLoud
Photo of falloutsnow


3.21/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: 2012 release
Glass: Snifter

Like most other bourbon barrel stouts, Central Waters' features more bourbon than stout-related flavor, though it is not as unbalanced with its ethanol presentation as BCS and others are. Generally, more of the tepid "bourbon stout" style, far unbalanced in terms of bourbon to stout flavor. Why this is considered an exceptional stout seems strange to me, as it features only mediocre stout-related flavors. If you enjoy stouts, why bother with over-the-top bourbon; if you enjoy bourbon, why not partake of the real thing? One I will pass on in the future.

Pour a 1cm tall head of khaki colored foam, which fades in under a minute to a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is moderate, with a fairly sparse scattering of medium-sized dots and blotches clinging to the sides of the glass. Body is a dark brown to black color, opaque, light not changing its color, with carbonation visible along the sides of the glass. Fairly mediocre all around.

Aroma of bourbon, with lesser scents of caramel, roasted malt, vanilla, and ethanol.

The label suggests "hints" of bourbon, but this is a lie: the taste is predominantely of heavy, smooth bourbon with cut with a modest amount of pale malt sweetness and roasted malt characters. Front of palate is slightly sweet, with obvious bourbon, ethanol, and hints of roasted malts. Mid-palate predominantly of bourbon, with subtle vanilla, caramel, and roasted malt notes. Back of palate features substantial bourbon, mildly noticeable and hot ethanol, roasted malt, and hints of vanilla. Aftertaste of bourbon, spicy ethanol, and faint roasted malt.

Beer is heavy to medium-heavy in body, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth, moderately foamy mouthfeel. The slight stagnation that the lower carbonation imparts is fitting for this bourbon-like sipper of a beer. Closes dry, with substantial and lingering stickiness on the lips and tongue.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 04:52:01 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a flute glass. vintage 2012

pours a very dark brown with a slight beige head. appropriate for the style. smell is of caramel, chocolate and bourbon. all quite subdued but apparent. pleasant. taste is extremely complex. i get vanilla, espresso, caramel, coffee, sweet candy... a ton of traditional big stout flavors but all blended together nicely. feel is creamy instead of syrupy, a definite plus. bourbon is very slight and not overwhelming like in a lot of other beers of this style. lower side of full bodied with low carbonation.

overall we have a definite winner right here folks. with an exceptional taste and feel, this is a beer that i'd love to return to again and again.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 22:12:08 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of mhksuccess


4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours from a bottle into a Freetail snifter
pour was dark no head and little lacing
smell is overwhelm chocolate and slight bourbon
taste is very chocolate like the smell and hint of bourbon no heat
not so fond of the barrel they used to age but it grows on you after a few sips just has
an odd sort of aftertaste
it is good but nothing i will seek out again think central waters just always seem to miss the top echelon when it come to barrel aging they are one step below

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 19:16:00 | More by mhksuccess
Photo of jlindros


4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finally a cool day after a week long heat wave, cool drizzy day is perfect for a stout. Thanks to erric for this one a while back, 2011 vintage.

Pours a decent looking darker colored fizzy light head that is a nice surprise for the abv and age, no real lacing though, super pitch black beer with no light getting through at all, and some lacing on the sides.

Nose is heavenly! A great dark chocolate and hot cocoa mix to start, caramel, dark malts without the roast or acrid burnt aromas, a nice wafty bourbon in the background as well rounding it, sweet bourbon. Then the barrel, so much barrel, some toasted oak, some vanilla, lots of toasted coconut, very faint booze in the background, and more baker's choc coming through.

Taste is very good as well, plenty of dark chocolate and creamy cocoa, hot cocoa with a bit of creamy baker's chocolate and creamy oatmeal with dark chocolate melted in the middle. A bit of booze tingles in the middle, but a clean warming booze. Some caramel as well in there, before more barrel takes over, with more vanilla, light toasty barrel, and again some coconut but not nearly as crazy as the nose was, with faint bourbon on the background. Finish brings more dark chocolate, cocoa, creamy oatmeal and baker's choc lingering quite well, a hint of booze warmth, and more coconut and vanilla barrel, touch more bourbon and creamy oatmeal like, fairly dry.

Mouth is creamy and lush, thick, heavy, some warming tingly booze, decent carb for age and style.

Overall awesome beer, great flavors, perfect amazing aromas, good dark chocolate and caramel blended with lots of awesome barrel flavors, with just the right amount of booze. I don't know if the age really kicked it up a notch, or it is usually like this, but I really need to try one fresh.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2013 02:26:12 | More by jlindros
Photo of stakem


3.44/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a tulip. A rough pour down the middle of the glass yields a dark brown to black brew with slightly less than a finger of khaki head. The cap fades quick leaving some patchy lace on the glass.

The aroma has a strong vanilla scent that is almost beyond natural smelling and somewhat perfume-like to artificial in nature. A bit of bourbon is present accenting the alcohol burn in the nostrils. Some raw tannic wood along with roast and earthen aspects breaks up the vanilla essence.

The taste is primarily boozy with a hint of bourbon and raisony to prune-like alcohol aspect. The dark fruit aspect gives way to some roast, earth and raw wood. Unfortunately, just like the aroma, it is somewhat overkill with vanilla that seemingly goes beyond what one might expect in a natural sense. The base stout here gets somewhat lost behind what feels like a cheap sort of flavored spirit addition.

This is medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is boozy and enjoyable but I think there are better barrel aged stouts out there with a little more complexity and body. Not to say this isnt enjoyable, because it is but I would not rush out to buy lots of this. Certainly worth a try though.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 15:00:40 | More by stakem
Photo of BobZ


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle of the 2011 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to yamar68.

Appearance: Black with a 1" head that quickly recedes to a creamy cap that leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Chocolate with some excellent vanilla notes from the barrel, mocha/coffee aromas lurk beneath.

Taste: A whole lot of flavor, all good, chocolate with oaky vanilla, coffee flavor at the finish. All of this is extremely well balanced, the barrel doesn't dominate the beer, it just pulls it all together.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy yet clean on the palate.

Overall: An incredible surprise one of the best tasting BA stouts I've tried. This "shelf-beer" rivals KBS for it's flavor. Can't wait to get some more!

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2013 16:57:44 | More by BobZ
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12ox bottle. Thanks Surge1311! Jet black with no light coming through and a small beige head. This is much more balanced than their BA Barleywine. The bourbon and beer play well together. The aroma tends toward bourbon but the flavor is much more balanced. The bourbon is there but the stout holds its own. Nice creaminess and satisfying flavor. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 03:43:41 | More by GJ40
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,444 ratings.