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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

606 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 606
Hads: 2,170
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 4.81%
Wants: 409
Gots: 705 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 606 | Hads: 2,170
Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured black with slight ruby highlights and a tan head that fell slowly to lace the glass.

S: The aroma was oaky vanilla bourbon with chocolate, coffee.

T: Nice chocolate flavors with hints of the barrel. Vanilla oak, and choclate. Hints of fresh espresso and a touch of dark fruit.

M: Full bodied smooth and creamy.

D: Very drinkable for a barrel aged brew. I really liked it. (396 characters)

Photo of WeisGuy
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to nflmvp for this bottle.

a - pours black with a large light brown head, good retention for a big stout, moderate lacing

s - charred wood, dark chocolate, alcohol/bourbon notes, light vanilla

t - quite sweet up front, milk chocolate and plum, very light bitterness, coconut and vanilla along with oak, finish has a little bourbon heat with some lingering creamy vanilla and light bitterness

m - full-bodied, low carbonation, fairly dry finish, alcohol warming on the palate

d - somewhat drinkable for a big bourbon-aged stout, finish is pretty dry, but the taste is overall fairly sweet rather than bitter, alcohol is not overwhelming

Nice effort from Central Waters...my second favorite of their stouts (after the superb Coffee Stout) I've tried. Well worth seeking a bottle out. (798 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and jet black as it crawls out of the bottle. Head is an inch and a half of dark tan striped with some darker brown notes. Head has nice retention and leaves a solid crown as it fades. Nose is absolutely delicious with strong tones of vanilla bourbon, coconut, leather and carmalized malts. Sweet bourbon and vanilla notes greet the tongue first quickly followed by a sour and tart bite that twings on the back of the tongue. This turns to a lenghty bitter feel that lasts long on the taste buds. Warms the belly well and has a bit of a bourbon bite twords the end of the palate. The sour feel does tone down a bit as it warms. Nicely drinkable overall. Mouthfeel is a bitter, sour battle. (701 characters)

Photo of joepais
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks again to MuenchenerKindl
Bottle poured into a sniffer produced a fingers worth of coco colored head that turns to a nice thick lace that covers a jet black body

Complex aromas of roasted malts chocolate, oak, bourbon and vanilla fill your head

Fist sip is a killer. If I had a few of these I love to back this in a cake you got that sweet chocolate vanilla bourbon and a buttery flavor going on here

Full body almost no carbonation (smooth)

Great aged stout. Very drinkable, I will search this one out again. I think you must have at least one in the cellar for when the mood strikes (598 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from EliteDigger in a recent trade. Thanks Scott!
Very dark with deep brown edges and a thin cap of fine, tan bubbles. A few soapy bubbles formed a collar and there was a fair bit of streaky lacing. Smells delicious! Big chocolate, toffee, vanilla, oaky aroma, some hazelnut and bourbon, reminds me of a chocolate bar. A bit of roasted grain is in the background. Lots of caramel sweetness in the flavour, bitterness was present but not strong, plenty of oak and bourbon character. Vanilla and chocolate filled out the middle, along with nuts and a light fruitiness. Finished with lingering alcohol warmth and a flash of drying roasted barley. Faint tartness as it warmed. Nice texture, quite smooth with restrained carbonation a little on the creamy side. Quite drinkable and nicely balanced for a barrel aged stout. (830 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to nflmvp for sharing this fine brew with me!
A - rich dark black, some light gets through at the edges, soft tan head that quickly fades.
S - Wow, bourbon indeed. bourbon, vanilla, oak and light backing notes of chocolate and roasted malt.
T - the flavor follows the nose. this must be one heck of a solid stout, it controls the bourbon to create a strong yet still blended experience.
M - full bodied, mildy carbonated, rich soft boozy notes
D - this was a tatse treat indeed. probably 2 for a night and I'm done but a tasty two at that. (548 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: Cracked open a bottle from the same 2007 DLD trade with nflmvp. Incredible. The ale has matured nicely, bringing out more bourbon and stout elements. The stout is nutty, full of chocolate the nicely contrasts with the vanilla of the barrel. The barrel is neither strong nor cowering, settling in the perfect middle. The vanilla is strong, licking at the tastebuds. Another winner from Central Waters.

Taste was upped from 4.0 to 4.5; mouthfeel from 3.5 to 4.5. Overall moved from 4.05 to 4.30.

***

A 12 oz bottle from a Dark Lord Day 2007 trade with nflmvp.

A: The stout is a deep amber color, black from a distance with dark red up close (really up close, that is). A finger of head resulted from the pour but it did not last long.

S: The first sniff damn near blew me away. This beer is practically bourbon. The aromas are so full and strong, replete with vanilla and pepper, chocolate and roasted malt. The nose really sets the stage for the taste.

T: As soon as the beer hit my lips, I was in love (or at least lust). This one packs a wicked punch with enough bourbon flavor to make you forget it is a beer. The oak aging has added a vanilla and buttery chardonnay flavor. Surprisingly, for the big taste the alcohol doesn't grab you by the throat. The bourbon is met nicely by the stout body, one of the few times that both components work together. The stout body has roasted chocolate and burnt toast but is rather fleeting, it is somewhat less robust than I would have hoped. The flavors don't last long, which is too bad.

M: The bourbon is strong, deliciously intense but it doesn't last long. While the flavors last though, this is a great sipper.

D: The abv is so well hidden that I'd gladly enjoy several over the course of a day, assuming that someone will send me a few more bottles. (1,811 characters)

Photo of hero27
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Thanks to SPLITGRIN for hooking me up with this one.

Enjoyed mostly at approx. cellar temp..don't even attempt to drink this straight out of the fridge. The first couple sips I had were too cold for this to show it's true character.
Pours a very dark, muddy reddish-brown..beige head.
Oak, vanilla & burnt cocoa aromas surge from the glass.
Flavor has it's share of dark chocolate (a ton of it actually), vanilla, and coffee..with the noticeable oaky bourbon flair of course. The alcohol is not shy in this brew, and you can definitely pick it up with every sip.
Medium-bodied..could be a bit more thick and not hurt my feelings much.
If you're a sucker for dark chocolate and/or like bourbon-aged beers, then you need to find this somewhere. (758 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with new brown barrel label. Pours into my glass a deep, dark black with a quarter inch of somewhat fizzy tan head on top. It lingers for a bit and falls to a ring. Aromas begin with rich, dark roasted malts and a dark fruit undertone. Notes of chocolate and coffee are quickly met by a wonderful bourbon with vanilla tones as well. Caramel is in there as well.

First sip brings roasted malt upfront that follows with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, caramel and a touch of coffee as well. Big bourbon and oak tones stand out along with a vanilla undertone that is quite nice. It finishes off with just a touch of bitterness and a lingering bourbon flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess and plenty of carbonation. Not as heavy and viscous as many barrel aged stouts I've sampled, but quite nice nonetheless and it makes it easier to imbibe. Overall, a tasty bourbon stout from Central Waters. It's well worth checking out if you're into bourbon barrel aged stouts. I'm glad I still have another bottle. (1,036 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came over the summer. Since my recollection and record-keeping is sometimes suspect, I <believe> this came from one of two sources, either DaPeculierDane or jpm30...to whichever of you guys i owe the gratitude, thank you! It's a 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass; bottle label shows a half-assed drawing of a barrel, instead of the crane shown above.

A: Very dark, virtually black. Topped with a dense head of light tan, a surprising amount of chunky protein settles on the glass bottom, keeping this from scoring a half-point higher. Head holds a mocha-like cream on top, thin but steady.

S: Wonderful woody aroma, straight-up bourbon barrel. Roasted coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate. Wood-aging has a sweeter, jerky/smoked meat quality that's undeniably wonderful.

T: Lots of roasted coffee burntness, sweeter berry-like fruit and a hint of tart oxidized acidity. Though malts are toasty/charred, there's a softer vanilla and fruit imparted by the bourbon barrel aging that tends to mellow the sharper bitterness. A little smoky, nicely chocolate-y and laden with an acidic coffee, this seems to have a twist of lemon, too.

M: Mellow and modest carbonation, medium body. This isn't thin, but it's certainly not as heavy as I might have expected. Tangy and acidic bitterness hanging fairly gently on the back of the tongue.

D: A likable big stout, that's for certain - and certainly doesn't seem quite as big as the 9.5% listed here. Not one I'd drink all the time, but very good for sipping and savoring. Cut the acid just a little and this climbs even higher on my list...worth seeking out for sure. (1,631 characters)

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a good head that has unbelievable stickiness. Black color that you can see through a little when held up to the light. The slight smell of bourbon is soft and accompanied by roasty stout flavors. The taste is lighter compared to the Bourbon County '07 I had an hour ago. More light roasty flavors are what I taste with some bourbon aftertaste. Bubbles are kinda harsh. Really a lot of roastiness with much head and some soft bourbon flavors. Overall, ok, I will try next years once and see if I should've had this one right away. (535 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to beerwolf77 for this brew.
2010 Edition
Bottled: Jan
Revisted: 7 Nov 10

DAMN! This is one tasty brew.

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy/fizzy tan head, some islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is big on roasted malts, oak/bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate/toffee. The taste is simply delicious, it hits you right in the face with a big bourbon/malt/chocolate/toffee notes, with some really nice vanilla sweetness. The warmth from the alcohol comes in next, and leaves the tummy nice and warm. Full body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, MAN! I wish this was available in Utah. One of the best brews I've had to date, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thanks to autumnaldave for this brew.

DAMN! This is one tasty brew.

Poured into a tulip a black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, some islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is big on roasted malts, oak/bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate/toffee. The taste is simply delicious, it hits you right in the face with a big bourbon/malt/chocolate/toffee, with some really nice vanilla sweetness. The warmth from the alcohol comes in next, and leaves the tummy nice and warm. Full body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, MAN! I wish this was available in Utah. One of the best brews I've had to date, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (1,335 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was extremely impressed with this beer. I waited along time to have it (having had the Cherry Stout thanks to SurlySober before), and it did not disappoint. It was buttery, complex, unique, and fantastic.

My sample was fresh (delivered in the previous 24 hours) from Riley's in Madison, and it sat in my fridge for about a week after I bought it.

Its appearance was a dark color (opaque) with a sturdy head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was buttery and butterscotch-y mixed with roastiness. Flavor was roasty with a buttery, bourbon-y consistency and notes of butterscotch at the finish. It was rather complex and delicious. Mouthfeel was good. I found this beer to be highly drinkable.

This beer is both unique and delicious. Highly recommended. (750 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BuckeyeNation for this treat.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a complete black with a big two finger tan colored head which takes a while to die down. Stickiness is pretty damn good, holds on and won't let go. Smell is a sweet coffee blended with delicious brownie batter. Good oaky/vanilla smells arise as well. Very enjoyable to the nose, can't detect any alcohol. Taste is amazing. Can't say I've tasted anything like this. Such a sweet chocolate-butter flavor with a perfect blend of vanilla. Aftertaste is a nice smooth bourbon flavor, but not booze like. Mouthfeel is a bit lighter bodied that I had anticipated with a bit of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, god damn this is a good brew. I'll definitely be looking for this one again. (770 characters)

Photo of brdc
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small capped bottle. Aged one year.
Nice looking dark brew, but this one has very little head.
Complex nose, with a pronounced bourbon presence, and also oak, sweet malts, alcohol, just like the "non-aged" version.
Medium to full bodied, starts on the palate pleasantly sweetish, malty, with alcohol/bourbon overtones warming it up towards the end, but tamed compared to the non-aged version.
Compared to the non'aged version, this one feels less alcoholic, which enhanced its drinkability. It is not a remarkable difference but definitely made it better, so I will be aging my future bottles. (597 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to a generous trader - nflmvp - for this delicious Wisconsin treat of barrel aged brewers reserve Imperial goodness!

12oz bottle, pours out of the bottle with burning hot, fiery ruby red highlights and generated a swirl of tan gray bubbles that continued to circle the glass as they fared thinner and thinner, until eventually settling only as bold outline. The body is completely opaque with a chalky black appearance. The body displays a marble or stone like chalkiness, very handsome.

A delicious - and simply seductive - aroma which carries a huge bourbon character, boasting notes of oak, amaretto, vanilla, chocolate mousse, and akin to dark rich truffles. Especially near the end, and on a hard swirl, the presence of chocolate was intense. Very intense. It holds nearly all the "hotness" of a bourbon (with some of the 9,5% evident) and correspondingly - all the complexities too. Absolutely seductive!

Rich and silky mouthfeel with the alcohol presence mellowing out what is still a high level of roast. No doubt the barrels aging also helped, lending the flavours notes of French vanilla and oak. The mouthfeel has an almost shy level of roast - more like a toasty malt. A very light bitterness that rings out the finish although the flavours don't seem to last quite as long as I'd like them too. There is a great malt base, with deep roast but it is so mellowed out that it could almost go unnoticed.

This is almost overwhelmingly ALL bourbon in its character - more bourbon than beer almost. Also tasted are flavours of anise, roasted oats, and especially hazelnut - although I find much of the nuances in the aroma seem a little lost in the taste. All said and done this is delicious. Thanks Steve, this was greatly enjoyed on a rainy, Sunday afternoon. (1,789 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 edition: Much more overt bourbon flavors, vanilla and chocolate, also more well rounded though still somewhat boozy. Really enjoyed it and will definitely seek out again.

3.93/5 rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thefatkid13...

Pours an inky black, primordial soup of a stout. Two fingers of tan foam, spotty irregular lacing on the side of the snifter.

Smell has a sour lactic twinge, banana or coconut with vanilla, most likely from the barrel. A sort of malted milkshake chocolate as well. Finally, a minor whiff of alcohol sharpness keeps it from getting a good score for this particular attribute.

Luckily it doesn't taste like 9.5%...again the lactic quality is there, with big roast chocolate malt, slght hop bitterness and astringency. Bourbon cameos in the back behind the chocolate and roast character. It lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel has a mild astringency, but is otherwise smooth and velvety, almost like chocolate milk. Drinkability is good for this big beer, pretty balanced overall.

I had high hopes for this, and it's a solid offering. Mud Puppy Porter is still my CW favorite... (1,162 characters)

Photo of badbeer
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Bottle

Pours out black with a tan head that retains well; leaves a nice lacing, especially for a high gravity brew. Smell is splendid. A rich scent of bourbon, vanilla bean, chocolate, and roastiness make up the aroma. This is not overdone like almost all other bourbon barrel beers are; it is amazingly well done. Bourbon taste is strong, but smooth; noticeable, but in no way overpowering. Perfectly blend of flavors. Carbonation is a little higher than medium but does a good job holding this one together. Mouthfeel is medium, with a dry, roasty, bourbon-y, and vanilla finish. BA Dark Lord, Kentucky Breakfast, and Bourbon County Stout are just a few examples of very good bourbon aged stouts; the one that comes closest to this one is BA Speedway. Yes, I did just say that, this is the king of bourbon barrel stouts, in my opinion. (845 characters)

Photo of Flyer
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm predicting big things for this up-and-coming brewery. This particular entry would make great competition for Irish coffee. It pours so dark it's almost purple, with a nice head. Phenomenal aroma of bourbon and oak, and maybe even a little peat. Really nice bourbon flavor over a chocolatey base. More oak and bourbon in the aftertaste, with a really nice warming sensation. (377 characters)

Photo of jj21
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler hand delivered from thefatkid13 on his way to getting sunburned at DLD (Thanks again!)

Pours thickly into a snifter creating a fantastic brown head. To my surprise the growler was clear! I thought the way that not a ray of light was getting through that for sure it was brown. Damn this was dark! Carbonation settles ala Guinness, etc... but that's where the comparison ends. Head settles to a nice lacing over the top.

Aromas are wonderful- coffee, malts and Bourbon oh my. I first poured too cold and didn't get it at all it's glory (shame on me) but as it warmed up it became even more complex. The kind of beer you want to bury your nose in.

Big flavors of malty bourbon and oak. Some vanilla from the barrel hints at the finish. There's a nice bitter charred flavor that I wasn't expecting that really finished well. Full bodied and very smooth despite the higher alcohol (9.5%) presence.

I finished off a growler in two nights. I probably could have in one, but I found enough self control to hold back. It keeps you wanting more and I look forward to Central Waters opening distribution into my area (nudge nudge) sometime soon. (1,155 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a inky black body with a thin cloud of tan head that fades pretty quickly. The dense body gives up no signs of carbonation.

S- The smell of vanilla comes through with sweet and dark roasted malt with some black roasted malt notes. There is a note of wet wood that comes through when it is really warm.

T- The big taste of bourbon and dark malt has a flavor of earthiness and cola with a soft alcohol heat in the finish. There is a soft dry brown sugar flavor behind the malt and an oaky flavor that really increase as the beer warms. It becomes almost overpowering in the last few sips.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with the alcohol heat cleaning the palate after each sip.

D- This beer has a big bourbon flavor with a little stout hidden underneath. Perhaps it is age or just to light but more stout would be nice. (886 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this back to back with the bourbon barrel cherry stout. There isn't much stout coming through over the bourbon, though more than in the cherry stout. And although the bourbon element is pretty nice, the overall beer isn't as rich as you'd expect from a double stout. There's a mellower, chocolatey, maybe Russian imperial stout taste, while the aroma is of wood and whiskey. Also reminds me a bit of Magic Hat's Chaotic Chemistry in that the whiskey dominates. (466 characters)

Photo of orfeu
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an older bottle (as pictured above) from a trade with nflmvp last summer (many thanks, Steve). Poured into a 17-ounce snifter, it sits a glossy dark chocolate brown, bordering on black, with a sticky, fluffy desert-khaki head. Bourbon aromas are prevalent, along with milk chocolate, roasted filberts, vanilla extract, and dried cherries. But that bourbon scent is powerful and more prominent than any other aspect of the bouquet. Good chocolate sweetness up front that yields immediately to a strong bourbon flavor. This is followed by a pleasant woody pucker, a coffee-ish char note, and a final vanilla sweetness. Quite a ride, and the complexity is endearing for sure. It's a bit boozy at first, but this aspect melds well, becoming more integrated with each sip. Body is medium, with a smooth, but no-frills mouthfeel. No coating thickness or syrupy consistency. Not exactly silky, but smooth enough. Drying with the barrel-induced tannins so prominent. A fine bourbon stout, and a must-try for fans of the style. I just received another bottle today from flyingbison, and I'm glad to have another sample for the future. (1,133 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.14/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. First off, this is far from a stout. It is a very watery light brown. Clear around the edges. This is more like a barrel aged dubbel. If it was a dubbel it wouldn’t be half bad. Other than being water thin, it has an overbearing sour grape flavor going on. Didn’t get much bourbon out of it. Plenty of oakiness coming through. I hope this was a bad bottle, because this is nothing that I would seek again. I was expecting a lot more out of this. Instead this will go down as one of the worse beers I’ve ever had. (568 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm, never heard much about Central Waters before. This beer was very black with a decent tan head that quickly faded away. The smell was very heavy on vanilla with a little char. The taste was hevay on the bourbon but not overpowering. Mouthfeel was a little thin. This was a very solid beer but compared to GI Boubon County Stout it falls way short. Still recommended for you stout lovers out there. (401 characters)

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