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

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

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.

Added by Skidz on 05-28-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 644 | Ratings: 2,340
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

these guys are always delivering greatness, and its nice to try a few of their beers together. they always impress me, and this is a really fairly priced four pack for what it is, this would do really well here in colorado. tons of bourbon on the nose of this black beauty. i wonder what barrels they use. it smells somewhat macro on the bourbon end, which is the only really valid critique of this otherwise amazing beer. like jim beam or something less boutique than other brewers often seek out. that said, its full of oak and vanilla, and plenty of booze too. the dark malts add very little sweetness, which i like, nice roasted bitterness to balance the sweet liquor, that seems wet and almost blended in its so potent. chocolate and raisin notes are there too, and the vanilla brings them both out. its not quite as intense and thick as some stouts can be, you could borderline drink the whole four pack, which i could not say for bourbon county or something like that. less alcohol sting on the palate too than i got on the nose. smooth drawn out finish, a little licorice hit with the temperate alcohol. impressive depth to this, awesome price point, great product overall. warms up really nice as well. a lot of these fall apart with temperature, but this just keeps developing. big fan.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look 8/10
Smell 16/20
Taste 33/40
Feel 7/10
Drinkability 18/20

Overall 82/100

Summery: Maybe mine started to turn. Tastes just a touch flat and sour. Not at all bad. However def not on par with other BA stouts I have had~

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Photo of W_Des
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 version. Pours a black body. Has a nice oaky bourbon nose with light vanilla in the back end. Would love a smoother mouthfeel as I think it is slightly overcarbed. Nice warm bourbon finish.

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Photo of BIll_Currie
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

no line at their booth. all dark beers and they were all very good. this one was probably my favorite. we tasted all their beers. wish i could find more around here

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Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All things considered this is a well done BA stout. Though still far from great unfortunately. A careful pour produces no head (was expected) with a deep black appearance along with a mahogany shimmer. Aromas are nice with the bourbon leading the way but not overpowering the roastiness. Mouthfeel is rather thin considering the style and the finish has an unexpected sticky feel as well. The taste is nice, not harsh for the bourbon and other noticeable flavors of vanilla and maple syrup. The sticky feel and maple syrup flavor leads me to be the syrup may have been added at some point or is maybe just an additional taste due to the aging. Overall, I was really surprised to find that this was good but not great.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 poured into a snifter.
Head is tan, pinky finger thick. Settles into no lacing quickly. Motor oil in color, when I swirl it I get a light brown ring.. Carbonation is light. I get hints of bourbon, wood, coconut, even leather in both the nose and taste. I am just blown away by the overall taste of this beer. Central Waters barrel program rivals them all.

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Photo of Awolter
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 vintage poured into sniffer. Great bourbon aroma on the nose. Taste is underwhelming and a bit dull. It seems slightly over carbonated for the style. I dont believe I have an infected bottle, and there are no detectable off flavors.

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Photo of jds16
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Half-finger tan head; nearly black with just the faintest bits of red light passing through the glass. Body looks a bit thinner than I expect for the style. Smells great; tons of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. Taste follows the aroma; bourbon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate. Sweet. Body feels thin for the style, but overall a very enjoyable sipper.
2014 vintage

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Photo of danieelol
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle with great thanks to Gasc0igne.

2013 Vintage.

Pours inky black with only very subtly tanned white head. Spotty, minimalist lacing. Looks a lot less viscous than I expected.

Nose is fantastic. Bourbon chocolate milkshake, sweet cream, tiramisu.

Taste can't live up to the nose, it really lacks any roast or chocolate and instead has a faint hazelnut liqueur character, and an insubstantial bit of char. Occasionally you will get flashes of bourbon but it's just very faint.

Again the mouthfeel lacks follow-through, it is very watery as the appearance suggested and while the hazelnut flavour is not unpleasant, it's very insubstantial. There is sometimes a more interesting sweet dark fruit flavour, but also sometimes a slightly off flavour which is hard to get a grip on.

Perhaps this batch went off slightly with the taste/mouthfeel. Nose is great though.

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Photo of loubrew
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 model. This is drinking exceptionally well. Any and all edges have been smoothed out. Not much nose but the flavors are all nearly perfect. Light carbonation but works well. Not sure if this could get better with more age.

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Photo of larryi86
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to garymuchow for this
12 oz bottle, 2014, poured into a tulip

A- Black with a three finger khaki head, nice lacing.

S- Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, some dark fruits, pretty sweet.

T- Bittersweet chocolate, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruits, faint coffee in the finish.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A nice bourbon barrel aged stout, body is pretty light for the style. I wouldn't hunt this down, but if I could buy bottles near me I would pick this up every year.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Cellar temp into a snifter.

Look: pours fairly thick and dark with a nice head that lasts awhile.

Smell: chocolate-covered cherries, mild bourbon, strong vanilla.

Taste: a bit harsh; bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, oak, char. Not especially well-meshed.

Feel: on the thin side, finishes clean with a dry bitterness lingering.

Overall: a decent beer, but not great.

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Photo of arlo19
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Local Option in Chicago. Compared this side by side with BCBBS.

Aroma is great, chocolate and bourbon. Taste is good and oaky but some fusel off flavor in aftertaste. Mouthfeel is good. Overall very solid, would like to try more from this brewery.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark oily brown with a brown head. Lacing is left behind but the bulk of the head does die down to a ring. Good clarity for such a dark beer, or shall I say there is no haze or sediment.

Aroma has malty cocoa, toffee and of course big time boozy bourbon. Vanilla comes to mind as does dark chocolate and smores.

Lots of malty bourbon in the flavor, oak is big and the blended barrel notes carry the right flavor across. Dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and slight dark roast coffee. Good flavor from just a stout and bourbon barrel, no need for additives here.

Full bodied, smooth syrupy feel. Flavor sticks with you. Overall, this was a very good example of the style, and one worth getting. Highlights the bourbon well without it overpowering the base beer at all.

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Photo of dolomite128
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage - Poured into a Night Shift Tulip / Snifter

Decent head about 1/4" and light tan with whispy dark swirls. Disappears to a small ring of light bubbles within a few minutes.

Aromas of brown sugar and oak barrel. Some light / matured vanilla / bourbon notes.

Tastes are considerably more subdued than one would expect from the nose. Flavors of rich chocolate dominate with hints of light bourbon. Carbonation / fizz keeps this from being cloying. Nice balance of flavors but the bourbon plays a back seat to the chocolate and long oaky finish.

Mouth feel is a bit thinner than most BA stout bodies, at 9.5% this definitely could use a bigger presence.

Overall a solid and very well balanced stout. If heavy chocolate and oak barrel are your thing, this is worth the effort to locate. Would have benefited from a bit more body and less carbonation.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful brown-ruby pour, nice khaki head.

S: Strong bourbon aroma along with the expected vanilla and caramel notes.

T: Taste is quite the same, bourbon is well integrated with the chocolate and marshmallow flavors of the base stout.

M: Mouthfeel is my only minor criticism of this one. A bit thin for what I was expecting.

O: Overall this is a great beer! Really true to the style and delivers!

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 vintage as noted by the notch on the label. I got this in a trade with someone, whose name I have forgotten. Thank ye to whomever ye may be {takes a bow, front leg outstretched, foot pointed upward}.

Pours a bit too cold from the fridge into a New Belgium snifter. The first sip was underwhelming to say the least, so I let this one rest a bit while unpacking the groceries. After warming, things improve. Aroma is a wonderful mix of bourbon, vanilla, black cherries, oakiness, smoke, and alcohol. As I do this, I am reminded of the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial that stated something to the effect of "Our beer isn't meant to be sniffed. Its meant to be drunk!" I got a chuckle from that. Anyhoo....

Flavor is pretty nice as well. Nice balance of bourbon and stout, with a slight leaning toward bourbon being the more dominant flavor. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, figs, alcohol.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown. As others have said, it is a bit thin. Could be much more chewy. There is a slight hop bitterness which I really like. Alcohol is present. This is one of the only beers, for me, that had alcohol as a strong flavor without feeling like I was sucking on a vodka soaked rag. The alcohol tastes different, which I think is great. Smooth and warming, with a strong alcohol finish and a "hop bitterness after finish".

A solid attempt at the style. Add some oats or or something to make the mouthfeel more chewy and this would stand out as a top notch example. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I left my original review below, just as a note to myself that i was incredibly stupid to rate this a 3 .84. Its boozy and strong, very bourbon and vanilla heavy but not too much of either.great mouthfeel to accompany it and in contrast to its slightly thin look. So glad i tried it again, a great ba stout, stupid review corrected.

decent,but wasnt blown away by it, and im a big bourbon barrell stout fan. there are better options around and even their barleywine bourbon barrel was better in my opinion.

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Photo of CoffeePorter
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Midnight black with a white lacing.
S: straight up bourbon, some caramel, mild chocolate/vanilla, maybe some caramel.
T: Bourbon galore, some roasted maltiness, caramel, medium bitterness.
M: Silk like, very thin.
O: Not bad, similar to BCBS, but perhaps not as complex.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up at the local Trig's grocery store. Taken from the fridge, allowed to stand for a while, and poured from the 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass. The bottled on date reads 3/17/14 (13 months ago).

L: Pours a coffee black with a substantial two inch khaki head that really stays put. After about five minutes, there's still about a half-inch of frothy head and lots of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and vanilla, more subtle black licorice, and an undertone of whiskey oak in the bouquet. It's got a nice aroma, though it isn't particularly strong.

T: Very sweet at the front: lots of vanilla and caramel coming through with some subtle roasted malt. The black licorice is right on their heels, and this flavor runs up against some great bourbon notes into the finish. There's clean alcohol that emerges with the licorice/bourbon, and this sticks around into the aftertaste, where you really get the sense of sipping a whiskey. The individual tastes are assertive, but they all work very nicely together.

F: Creamy, though lacking much discernible carbonation. This one is a bit more watery than I was expecting, though it's far from feeling water-down on the palate. I like that it leaves the mouth fairly cleanly: there's no syrupy residue left around, though the flavors linger for a good long while.

O: This is another fine offering from the folks at Central Waters, who really seem to understand how to barrel a beer. I'd definitely like to see how this one tastes after being cellared for a while. A word of caution, though: if you're not a fan of sweeter stouts, this one is probably not for you. I find that the sweetness works very well to hide some of the clean alcohol flavor and also accentuate the bourbon notes. If you make it to Wisconsin, I would highly recommend seeking this one out.

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Photo of tpgraham
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Friend brought me a bottle from the 2104 batch, poured in to a standard tulip.

L: I noticed that the pour came out quickly and could tell that the body would be much thinner than most standard stouts and BA stouts. Very little head on the pour. What was there receded quickly. Pours a cola brown.

S: Sweet bourbon and vanilla on the nose, not much nose from the stout.

T: A good, standard barrel-aged ale. The barrel flavor comes through loud and clear but I hoped to get more complexity from the base beer. Comes across more like a porter than a stout as far as the base beer goes.

F: This is where they lose me. The carbonation and thinness of the base beer give it a cola feeling in the mouth. Not a huge fan. Would love some more body on this beer.

O: As mentioned above, it is a good effort, just nothing stellar. It actually reminds of the regular Karbach Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter, which lists itself as a double porter. However, I would reach for the Karbach most times over this one.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark brown color, really more of a black. Good sized brown head which recedes to nearly nothing, leaving a thin ring of lacing around the edges.

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla bean, molasses, coffee, and dark fruits. Fig and black licorice.

Taste is smoky, followed by some bourbon, wood,roasted chocolate and coffee, and sweet, melty molasses. A bit of dark fruit presence, notably licorice and aged cherry, lending it a sweet, bitter bite. The wood and malts come through stronger as it warms. The bourbon is not overpowering in this beer, which is good because thats the downfall of many BBA beers I've had. The bourbon actually results in a supremely pleasant and surprising sweetness that lingers on the tongue throughout the tasting.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for a BBA/Imp. Stout. I think it actually works very well because it allows some other flavors to be showcased that typically don't shine in BB beers. Makes it one of the most drinkable BBA beers that I've ever had. Low carbonation. Medium-heavy body, goes down smooth, with surprisingly little bite from the alcohol.

Overall, a well done BBA beer. Not the most complex example you'll find, but the bourbon isn't overpowering, which is a trait I particularly enjoy. If you enjoy a BBA beer where bourbon doesn't dominate, give this beer a try!

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Photo of danh53
3.07/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, espresso, malt, and dark fruit. Taste is malt and fruit forward. Bourbon is there, but it feels out of balance to me. Needs more dark roast to balance the dark fruits. Its too sweet with a thin mouth feel.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, in April 2015 - pours a very dark brown to black color with a thin off white head. There is some lacing and a little carbonation. The odor is strong, fruity, coconut, dried fruits, fig, plum, raisin, sweet, malty, bourbon, woods. The taste is rich, bourbon, vanilla, woods, malty, fig, dried fruits, coconut, chalky, not bitter, some alcohol burn.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured cold into Libby stout glass. Bottled on 11/11/14, consumed on 12/3/14.
Look = 4.0 Pours brown into a pitch black in the glass. Only 1/4 finger of brown head fades quickly; light, spotty lace gets denser after sitting a while.
Aroma = 5.0 Great aroma, bourbon leads the way with vanilla and oak notes. Base stout is secondary but sweet chocolate and mild roasted malt aroma are there and comes out more as it warms. Some booze.
Taste = 4.25 Significant bourbon flavor throughout the taste but it lessons as it warms. Sweet dark chocolate with a mild coffee bitterness. Big bourbon burn in the finish and into the aftertaste.
Feel = 4.0 Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Higher carbonation and less creamy compared to some, might be the category it lags behind in the best.
Drinkability = 4.0 Very tasty and drinkable BBA stout.
Overall = 4.3375 Holds it’s own very nicely. Great barrel aged stout from Central Waters but I think a step below the top tier.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 644 ratings.