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

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606 Reviews
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Reviews: 606
Hads: 2,171
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 4.81%
Wants: 409
Gots: 703 | FT: 80
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: 606 | Hads: 2,171
Photo of kkleu357
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

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. (541 characters)

Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +6%
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. (271 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (754 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
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! (762 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of Phigg1102
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (677 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (539 characters)

Photo of hops202
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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 (278 characters)

Photo of MaximalC
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
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. (839 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (310 characters)

Photo of roger617
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (1,103 characters)

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (175 characters)

Photo of kdahnke123
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of IMFletcher
4.91/5  rDev +18%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of robear
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (1,182 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Homer321 in trade as an extra! Big thanks. 2013 bottle poured to a FW Barrelworks Teku. Pours dark brown to black with a half finger of creamy khaki head. Aroma of graham cracker, vanilla, oak, bourbon, coconut maybe, caramel cream. Flavor is sweet caramel, chocolate, sweet anise, bourbon booze, vanilla finish. Mmm. Body is medium, maybe on the thin for the style but doesn't take away much from the nice flavors, with medium carbonation. (452 characters)

Photo of EdwardK77
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Jet black stout under a significant head which dissipates to a pleasant foam ring leaving nice lacing behind.

S- Beyond awesome, caramel and vanilla explosion. Not to mention bourbon and some killer buttery toffee.

T- Extremely well balanced, no booze burn. This is all richness, "I'll just have this for dessert thanks" kind of stout.

M- Medium bodied and really well balanced.

O- This is a fantastic bourbon barrel stout, I'm enjoying it as much as Goose Island BCBS and I'll mark it up some additional points for not being owned by InBev. (549 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by me at Bob's tasting.

Pours out a dark, deep black, with a small half inch head, and a little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smells like chocolate, bourbon, coconut, vanilla, and oak.

The taste is similar. Lots of great flavors. More coconut than typical, from the barrels clearly, with a good amount of chocolate, some cookie dough, vanilla, wood/oak. Less sweet than I thought it would be. Not much in the way of dark fruit flavors.

Medium bodied, but slightly thin for the style. Low carbonation. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable.

Central Waters really knows how to barrel-age. If this was slightly thicker, it would be perfect. (659 characters)

Photo of blankenhoney
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, dated 33313, poured into a snifter

A: very dark with no head; a ring of khaki bubbles on the outside rim of the surface area

S: thick bourbon notes as soon as I uncapped it; vanilla and burnt brown sugar; lots of chocolate and whiskey; sweet creamy malt

T: chocolate upfront, then lots of booze; very faint taste of black-cherry flavored New York seltzer water; aftertaste is baker's chocolate; kind of a booze bomb

M: on the thinner side; somewhat watery; not in a bad way, it's what they were going for

O: good BA stout; wish it were as readily available as Dragon's Milk (591 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.91/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

BeerFMAndy sent this to me way back in the day. Thanks, Andy!

A: Poured black as night with no real head to speak of.

S: SOOO much chocolate on this that it's not even funny. Kinda reminds me of Caldera "Mogli."

T: This is the 2011 Vintage and it's tight, tight, tight!. Seriously, the molasses content makes me drool to even think about it. I love high-grade soy sauce!

M: This is dark snot, chocoholic paradise, and infinitely thick.

O: One of the best I've have so far in 2014. Can't imagine a better example of the style, (531 characters)

Photo of rjp217
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

357-13 Julien date so just a few months on this...

A - Black as night in color. Very good lace retention

S - Immediate oak and bourbon on the aroma. Milk chocolate hits in the middle and fresh chocolate chip cookies

T - I get the exact same notes in the same order in the taste. I also get a minor bitter bite in the finish. Great barrel character

M - Medium body. Not thin to me in the least. Smooth and supple with a little heat in the finish

O - This is excellent. Great use of the barrel here. Everything works pretty harmoniously. Usually always impressed with CW (573 characters)

Photo of pjkelley82
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into mini snifter

Glad to see Central Waters Brewers Reserve stuff here on the island. Had the Wee Heavy recently and was blown away.

Semi transparent brown in color with a 1/2 in. Burnt brown sugar Head that fell apart sort of fast. Left a ring for a minute or so but that fell apart as well. Leaves sparse lacing and this girls wearing a skirt cause I can see them legs.

Smell for me was immediate bourbon barrel. Same barrel used as the wee heavy(type of, not actual). Sweet Sweet bourbon. Toffee, caramel, nice coconut presence in the nose as well. Slight fudgy scent but honestly bourbon barrels always distract me from other scents/smells.. Booze scent to it as well...

Taste was immediate hot, boozy bourbon on top mixed in with tons of toffee, caremel, dark bitter chocolate and a nice vanilla and coconut taste lingering in. Swish it in your mouth and that boozy sweet bourbon makes its presence...

Thin and medium bodied but felt full and creamy. Went down nice with some burn and lightly carbed...

Overall the beer Is excellent. Glad to have it around if I need a good Stout fix. Bourbon barrel was very overpowering and most of the love it gets is what I believe to be whatever actual bourbon barrels they use or the time/process they use. Thier barrels seemed to complement the wee heavy base better than thier stout. This is by no means a bash on the stout. It was an excellent brew but not much stout is in the mix for my taste.. (1,474 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a medium plus brow color with a fair amount of brown coming through in on the edges.

The aroma is extremely bourbon barrel forward with huge notes of coconut and sweet vanilla. It’s surprising how vanilla forward the aroma is. Lots of rich oak, bourbon, a light fudgey chocolate.

The beer again follows with that sweet vanilla, toasted coconut in the front, melded with bourbon and oak. A milk chocolate, black coffee, espresso. Finishes off of drying from oak and bourbon.

The beer has a medium mouthfeel.

This beer has a slightly thin mouthfeel, but very appropriate for the ABV. The beer is relatively drinkable, but still has beautiful complexity of a bourbon barrel aged stout. Very aggressive coconut notes, even more so than Proprietor’s. (774 characters)

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. No head. No lacing.

The initial smell is all bourbon, baby! Hardly anything else, not that I mind.

Tastes like a vanilla, bourbon soda. Very sweet upfront. Back end brings on a touch of bitterness, but not much.

Maybe there's too much bourbon flavor? I'm sure when this sucker warms up, I'll be dealing with a whole new flavor profile. Can't wait! (375 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.