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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: 2,224
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 417
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: 2,224
Photo of lovethebelgians
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
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

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Photo of Tridement
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

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!

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Photo of BobJude
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

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Photo of BeerZombies1
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

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!

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Photo of pagriley
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of JonathanTaylorThomas
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

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.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%

Review taken in March 2014. This bottling was their 2013 release which was release December 2013.

12 oz brown bottle with a dark greyish like black label with orange and white lettering. You know this is craft beer and good local tradition at its finest. The label is themed around their Brewer's Reserve barrel aged series. Just a great simple look. Poured into a stemmed tulip snifter.

A - black in color with a dark brown gleam in the light. Head poured better than expected quickly settling into a ring of lacing leaving decent stick.

S - a great aroma with big bourbon character. Vanilla and coconut sweetness, milk chocolate, toasted caramel and a mild black coffee note. Licorice and some dark fruit notes shine through while it warms as the milk chocolate take more of a dark cocoa note.

T - up front showcases a blend of milk chocolate and sweet caramel. Nice big bourbon notes gradually get more depth as this warms. A light coconut and a big blast of vanilla sweetness lay over the flavor. Finishes with a mild black coffee bitterness with some notes of dark chocolate and more sweet vanilla balances very well. Some raisin like dark fruit notes creep up from the back end. The more it warms the more the more depth they show riding along that bourbon flavored wall of vanilla, chocolate, coconut and caramel.

M - medium full body with a brilliant thickness and mouth coating texture. Alcohol is barely present as the sweetness really knocks it out. Smooth and fairly easy going bourbon barrel style. Very drinkable.

O - great example the quality of bourbon barrel aging has on a well made big stout. Central Waters offers a great stout with this. A more blue collar bourbon barrel stout that is simply well made and oozing quality and drinkability. I took great pleasure in this experience and hope one day I can get my hands on another one of these.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

From notes on 12/11/13

Poured hard. Resulted in very dark black body and a one inch brown head with fairly large bubbles that dissipated fast. The body is so dark it doesn't allow any light through. On the nose is a strong smell of fresh oak, bourbon, and caramel. Very sweet taste. Almost like eating a caramel from a nice candy shop. I like the taste, but like the smell more. Also tastes of vanilla, some bourbon, but not really that much alcohol. I love CW’s barrel aged beers. No one does it better, and this one does not disappoint.

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened up a 2013 vintage and poured it into a tulip glass.

Deep ruby-brown, almost opaque with very little head or carbonation. The smell is bourbon, roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is sweet bourbon with rich, roasted malt highlights, a little chocolate, a little coffee, a little vanilla and a bit of hop bitterness. Medium bodied and silky on the tongue, it goes down much too easily for a true sipper. The alcohol warms and caresses all the way down.

A top notch example of the brewers art. I'm so glad I've three more in the cellar.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark brown with a flimsy beige head. The aroma brings bourbon, malt, brown bread, butterscotch, chocolate, oak, booze. Similar flavor with a delicate, silky feel on the palate. Light touch of butter. Rich and robust. A hint of oak in the finish. Really tasty.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Transluscent mahogany brown with garnet highlights. Poured wispy with no head and no lacing into a snifter. Got some mocha head once poured into a pint glass. Nice, but I want by BBS to be sexy.

S: Treacle molasses, plums, pit fruits, oak, bourbon.

M/T/O: More of an oak bomb than anything else. Grainy wood notes, spicy peppery finish. The finish was thin, which wasn't the best combo with the flavor at the time. Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon flavor mid-palate-once again thinner mouthfeel; it was kinda like chocolate soda with a shot of bourbon thrown in. Ok, let' wait 15 minutes and let it warm. Thickens up a bit, and it's an oily oak bomb. Fruity base stands out more, dates and chocolate, but not decadent in presentation. Fruity and sticky.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Straight to the nitty gritty: no doubt, this is good. But the thing that doesn't make it great is that it is too sweet for me.

Now that Raul has that off of his thinly sculpted sized 38 chest...

Right when Raul cracked this bad boi, the aroma was a hell of a surprise like getting a Nintendo 64 on Christmas. Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate... Like Raul was touched by an angel, or a Victoria's Secret Model, really.

Let's move on, shall we?

Even if she is devilishly beautiful, if she's too clingy, that's definitely a flaw. And with this beautiful beast, is a touch of sweetness that is a bit over the top for the Raul man.

Everything else is pretty much Thanksgiving gravy - actually, it's a bit thin in the mouth, but Raul has said his peace.

Umm, peace!

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Near black, but not quite with some light coming through. A decent head for the size and style.

S- Oak, vanilla, sweet bourbon, and earthy raw cocoa. It is pronounced and inviting.

T- Big vanilla again, delicious marshmallow, coconut, and a hint of smoke. Some fudgy notes. Barrel aging at its finest here. Terrific balance between the barrel and the base. So damn good.

M- A little thin for my liking with this style, but I am the type that would prefer to eat my stouts rather than drink them. Has a silky presence. Some heat that is deep in the chest. Perfect for a cold night.

O- Very impressed. Flavor profile matched by few, with a body that is matched by many. This went above and beyond my expectations.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Pour leaves a thick tan head with an immediate aroma of chocolate coming through. After settling down the aroma of chocolate remains, and the bourbon comes through underneath. Taste is on par with some of the heavy hitters in this category including BCBS and Brunch weasel. Not as sweet as BCBS, and not as much coffee as brunch weasel, in all honesty more well balanced than both. Chocolate and bourbon are prominent with tobacco, molasses, vanilla, plum, cherry, and a touch of coffee. Feels slick and syrupy, and allows the taste to linger on the tongue for a delightful amount of time. One of the best of this style I've had.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is black with a half finger light brown head that faded quickly.
Aroma is so luxurious. Oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel, chocolate.
The bourbon in the aroma is the perfect amount.
Flavor is oak barrel and vanilla. Milk chocolate and slight burnt sugar. Slight coconut.
Mouthfeel is medium and perfect. Carbonation is perfect and the lingering roast flavors just tops off this wonderful example of a bourbon barrel aged stout.
I wasnt expecting too much but I'm really blown away....or it's been forever since I've had a BB stout.

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Photo of hops202
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage poured into a snifter.

A- black with more brown than expected. Has some lightness to it.

S- bourbon chocolate and caramel

T- follows the nose with some caramel and toffee goodness.

M- definitely good mouthfeel. The way a BBA stout should taste.

O- well done

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Photo of MaximalC
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes (6/08/14 @ Farmhouse):

Pours an oily, nearly black color with wisps of khaki foam in lieu of any head to speak of. Palpable dark chocolate in the nose follows in the taste. Very smooth. The taste also features coffee, with burnt roast on the back end. Oaky notes are very mild and mostly present up front. Hints of toffee emerge with warming. Alcohol is extremely well concealed--this tastes more like 6% than 9.5%. The flavor is reminiscent of Founders Breakfast Stout with a kiss of barrel aging. The mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, although this enhances the drinkability.

Overall, this barrel-aged stout doesn't steamroll you with flavor or body, but its quite delicious and classy nevertheless. The admirable dark chocolate presence is sure to please those who prefer their stouts with more of a chocolate bent.

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Photo of papat444
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

***2013 Vintage***

Thanks to Tricerahops for this one.

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

Pours a dark brown with very thin head though it does coat the glass a little as the glass empties. Aroma is boozy and sweet. Flavor reminds me of an Irish coffee with some smoke and maple syrup thrown in. Nice treat overall.

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Photo of roger617
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours deep black with less than a finger of khaki color head that reduces fairly quickly and leaves a collar around the glass. No lacing left behind through the glass.
S: There is a strong, and welcome aroma of bourbon wafting from the glass. Hints of chocolate and roast linger in the background.
T: Very similar to the aroma, I get a good amount of bourbon up front. The background flavors compliment nicely, and are more so prominent than in the aroma. What I think is going to be a bourbon bomb up front turns into a well balanced stout on the end. Granted, I love bourbon, so being a bit bourbon heavy throughout is very nice to me.
M: Feel is thin in comparison to what I've come to expect from comparables. However, at 9.5% and having seen the pour, this was expected.
O: This beer for me was tempering expectations. I had only heard good things, so I knew I was in for a treat. I went in thinking it would be good, and it exceeded my expectations for sure. It's definitely a small dark horse in a world of big whales. I enjoyed it from first to last sip.

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

Nice and balanced, aroma is more malty than boozy, but the barrel shows in the taste. Wonderful viscous mouthfeel. Wish all barrel aged Stouts came in drinkable 12 oz bottles.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2103 Vintage poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - Pours a very dark black color. A half a finger of tan head dissipates quickly leaving a small ring of lacing.
S - Smells mostly of heavy coffee with a mild amount of bourbon in the background.
T - The coffee taste if upfront but to a lesser extent than the smell. The bourbon taste is mild as per the smell. The aftertaste is lingering bitter with very little of it from hops.
M - A relatively thin stout given it is an imperial stout.
O - A little unidimensional being mostly roast flavors in the taste and smell. The bourbon is very light and only there because one is looking for it. Not in the same ballpark as a Bourbon County but worth a try if you like coffee stouts.

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Photo of IMFletcher
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

We were on vacation in Wisconsin, determined to find a Central Waters barrel-aged beer before we left. After much searching, we ended up at Stubby's in Milwaukee, where they had this on tap, and served it in a goblet.

That's a good thing, because this is among the best BBA Imperial Stouts out there, and should be treated as royalty.

Cannot wait for the next time I encounter something barrel aged from these brewers.

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Photo of robear
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 release

Appearance: This beer is a touch lighter than most "Imperial" stouts (I usually refer to it as a heavy single stout so folks know what to expect). Pours dark brown with some light getting through around the edges. Really luscious 2 fingers of latte-colored foam.

Aroma: Bourbon hits first followed by a ton of chocolate malt this year. Vanilla and just a hint of baked plums. A little bit of leather.

Taste: Leather, tobacco, chocolate, and bourbon. Tastes like your father's office. A tiny hint of coca cola.

Feel: The slightly lower abv and body help this beer rinse off the palate. None of the stickiness that can happen with bigger BA stouts. Seems like a higher carbonation than most, too (possibly even quite a bit higher than last year). Helps the flavors dance around.

Overall: This is a unique beer. The base stout must be around 9-9.25%, which makes this one of the lightest all-BA stouts on the market. It's better than many special release BA beers that cost twice as much. It's more drinkable than BCBS or Dark Lord, and this year's batch has some extra chocolate flavors to it. CW keeps getting better and better at brewing and barrel aging stouts.

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