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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

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607 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 607
Hads: 2,182
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 411
Gots: 707 | FT: 76
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: 607 | Hads: 2,182
Photo of oregonskibum
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a small snifter glass. 2010 version.

A: Color is a dark black that pours with a very thin, tan head. Disippates quickly, leaving just a Coke looking liquid in the glass.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Smells hot. As it warms, some faint vanilla, caramel and dark fruits or raisin show up faintly. But this is really all about the bourbon. I think this needs a little more time in the bottle.

T: Far more balanced on the taste. Still a lot of bourbon, but not as overwhelming as on the smell. Picking up some chocolate and coffee flavors along with the vanilla and wood flavors from the bourbon. Some chewy, bready flavors mid-taste. Some fairly pronounced heat on the finish. But finish is long and mellow.

M: Very low carbonation and a little on the thin side for the style.

D: I think this would improve with six months to a year of aging. Bourbon is a little overwhelming and should mellow a little bit. But this is a solid beer and quite enjoyable to drink. WOuld like to see a little more body. (1,043 characters)

Photo of jampics2
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of a great Wisconsin trader. Into my La Fin Du Monde tulip. Looks nice, a dark as night beer with a small tan head. After a minute, though, the head disappears and just a film hangs on. That stops this from scoring higher.

Nose is crazy hotness, with bourbon and dark fruit, with a nice roasty quality as well. Bourbon is the star and some sweet molasses and vanilla also make an appearance. Could be a bit more balanced smell-wise.

Taste is freaking awesome, totally made up for a less than exceptional nose. Great chocolate presence and just enough bourbon. A wonderful cocoa powder and vanilla aftertaste. Really flavorful and bold, with the barrel well integrated. This is a world class tasting beer!! I like the taste more than the Peruvian AM I had last week.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit too carbed to be creamy like I like my american double/imperial stouts. But still acceptable for the style.

Drinkability is great. SO glad I have another bottle of this in the cellar. Can't wait to have it again, really a perfect beer on a Sunday evening as I'm finally relaxing! (1,098 characters)

Photo of Freethyhops
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage sent my way by jojomdma. thanks for the opportunity, Joe.

a- pours a dark brown, not quite black with very little head.

s- big bad bourbon dominates the nose. everything else seems like it's in the backround. you have to fight through the bourbon to pick up the roasted coffee, a hint of cocoa. there is a good bit of oak/vanilla barrel tones.

t- the bourbon domination from the nose is completely gone in the flavor. it's a great surprise after the aroma. big roasted coffee mixing with chocolate and toasty bread. heavy oak and bitterness lead into a roasty, bready finish with a fairly subtle bourbon kick. a really great stout.

m- definitely more on the thin side and I would usually say that's a bad thing, but it really fits with this beers personality for a some reason. low-moderate carbonation and a nice slickness.

d- the feel of this one and non-extreme flavors make this one a very easy drinker for a BA RIS. great stuff I'd drink again anytime. (976 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...thanks for the bottle klikger!

A- Pours a dark brown almost black color. Light amber highlights when held up to the light. Half finger tan head that dies down almost as soon as it shows. No real lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Roasted malts in this of course along with some vanilla, oak, bourbon, and a light almost maple smell. This smells like most BA beers but this seems to be a little more on the balanced side than others.

T- Light roasted malts on the front end of this get pushed aside by a distinct bourbon flavor. Nice hints of vanilla and oak continue this beer through the middle. The ending is more stout like with a good roasted flavor. Big burst in the front but mellows out by the end. I like this!

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. A little watery for a stout but I won't complain. Bourbon flavors left on the palate with some light roasted malts on the aftertaste. Clean flavors throughout the entire beer.

D- Normally a beer with this much ABV I wouldn't put into a mutiple bottle run but this is very very good and isn't heavy like most stouts making it not as filling. Do yourself a favor and get this beer if you can. You will not be dissapointed. (1,248 characters)

Photo of PrinceDarren
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. As far as bourbon barrel imperial stouts go, this one may win on drinkability, but lacks excitement.

It has a very pleasant aroma. Doesn't taste overly sweet, which is good, because many ISs are too dang sweet. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, but again, this is good because too many ISs are too dang syrupy.

In the end, there just isn't too much complexity in the taste to get me excited. Tastes decent enough and goes down easy for the style. (464 characters)

Photo of boatshoes
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was lucky to happen upon 8 bottles of this recently as a result of a trade with my buddy Roburg and also a friend of mine from Wisconsin bringing me down a 4-pack. Thanks to both!

Appearance- Pours an opaque black out the bottle with a thin brown half finger or so of head in the glass that dissipates to a ring around the edges in pretty short order. Carbonation appears adequate but not overly active.

Smell- Not overly complex for the style but containing a lot of the usual nice ingredients. Primarily smells of dark roast, vanilla, and a little bit of wood.

Taste- Very similar to the nose. I get mostly vanilla, some medium to dark roast, and a little bit of the bourbon/wood. There is a little bit astringency on the finish and a somewhat sharp bit of alcohol.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is decent but leans towards a touch on the thin side, particularly on the finish as a result of the evident alcohol. Drinkability is average for the style, but I found the alcohol bite to wear on me as I moved towards finishing the beer.

Overall, a decent bourbon barrel stout, but I find Central Waters bourbon barrel barleywine to be a far superior example of their barrel aged beers. (1,193 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the 12 ounce bottle an oily, midnight black color, topped off with a nice little off-white head. Aromas of oak, bourbon, coffee and dark chocolate. Flavors of bourbon, oak, vanilla, milk chocolate and coffee. A very nice effort. A great beer. (253 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.54/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Levifunk!!

A: Pours a tan brown, in the glass it is a very dark color of brown.. you can barely see through it. Little to no head, unless you give it a real vigorous pour.

S: Oak, bourbon, and a lot of vanilla are present right away. Very malty with a cloying syrup like scent in the back masking the alcohol.

T: lots of bourbon and oak, followed by the vanilla. In the finish is a nice dry roasted malt flavor. Though it does seem a bit watery after the initial burst of bourbon. The alcohol is fairly well hidden. It only gets better as it warms.. but still does not achieve the awesomeness of others.

M: It has a bit less body than I would like, and I feel this gives the illusion of being watery. Carbonation seems a little high for the style.. this probably also leads to the watery sensation.

D: Decent all around, but does not shine in a market filled with this style.. Good. But not great. (910 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a trundle of this on the way to the release party in February (it was February right, my memory is a little hazy on that night). Thanks to dbhog & deliriumfest for dragging me along in the party van. Had a glass or two on tap that night & just getting around to reviewing this beast.

Midnight-in-the-wild black pour. Smell is very wealthy vanilla & sweet malts, pouring out of the chalice like an army of ants at a honey picnic.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout is a gorgeous example of the style. A brewer or sweeper leaned on the bourbon when whipping up this batch, leading to a stout that leaves a first impression of heady bourbon & liquid vanilla Edy's. The wood barrel dries it out nicely & makes me want to grab for more fast & often; drinkability is very good for an almost 10% barrel-aged stout. Smidgens of red fruit, tight rotation of roasted & sweet malts round out the taste profile. Very nice.

This is an example of a barrel-aged brew that revels in simplicity - & it works, with the result being an excellent brew. Simple, barrel-aged, & drinkable isn't a combo one comes across often. Glad to have more! (1,138 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hook-up from Grynder33. Thanks Tom.

A - I am quite surprised at the look of this brew. It is obviously thin for a Stout, and pours a somewhat translucent coffee-brown. It looks like iced coffee sans cream. Intriguing. Strangely appropriate though considering the Bourbon focus.

S - The smell is straight-up Bourbon and chocolate.

T - Delicious. The taste is heavy on the chocolate. Not so much coffee, a little bit, but just as much of an impression of smoke, tea and sweet roasted malt. Tons of straight Bourbon on the finish.

M - This brew is unusually thin for the style, but the thin feel works well to deliver real bourbon flavor. I feel like if it were thicker, it would be hot and sticky.

D - This brew is awesome, and as easily drinkable as a Bourbon-barrel Stout can possibly be. (793 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is a deep brown, falling just short of what could be considered black or opaque. When held to the light glimmers of ruby highlights shine through with faint shadows visible through the snifter. Slim malted milk colored head is set atop, retention in minimal. Thick ring of frothy foam left around the top leaving some decent trailing lacing. Good looking beer, just does not measure up to the top tier beers in the style.

There is no denying the fact this is a bourbon barrel stout, though the bourbon is more subdued than offerings from other breweries. Healthy dose of bourbon, vanilla and slight oak are at the center of the aroma. Rich chocolate and caramel smells linger just behind. The aroma is more sweet than it is roasty, though the aroma will shift more towards the roasted side of the spectrum as it warms.

The flavor showcases the roasted characteristics much more than the nose. The flavor has really developed in the couple months since my last bottle. The bourbon flavor settles in up front. Flavor is strong but not overwhelming, providing a slight warmth from the booze. Roasted malt and chocolate flavors do an excellent job of supporting the boozy bourbon taste. Subtle oak flavor imparts some woodiness and vanilla characteristics. The overall flavor is sweet though much less than what the nose may have indicated.

Full bodied brew with a smooth texture which does not quite make it to creamy. The biting bourbon and a lack of viscosity thin out the feel a bit. Rich flavors embed themselves into the tongue making for a rather long finish.

Very pleasant and fairly easy to drink beer. One to sip and savor, I doubt I would reach for more than one in a sitting. Central Water has impressed my with their offerings which have been made available to me. Solid beer from a solid brewery, recommended if you have the chance to enjoy. (1,865 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark ruby brown with a light-tan head. Chocolate and bourbon aroma, somewhat boozy, with a honeydew note (???) and wood. Milk chocolatey flavor with the requisite bourbon notes of vanilla and mild coconut, some earthy wood and roasted malt, licorice. A little light for a bourbon imperial stout but it lends a decent drinkability (also helped by the well-hidden booze). (382 characters)

Photo of pmccallum86
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brownish color, almost like root beer. Thin bubbly head which leaves slight lacing as it dissipates.

Smell has some bourbon, you can definitely notice its presence here. Big malts come through as well.

Taste is of big roasted malts and bourbon right away, not in your face intense bourbon, but it's there. Very smooth drinking beer, as it warms the bourbon becomes more present, I enjoy this beer most around room temperature. Very good beer.

Mouthfeel is a little on the lighter side for a double stout, but done very well. Consider me a fan.

Very drinkable, a great overall representation of the style. (622 characters)

Photo of WJVII
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For my 500th BK point, a brew that I have had numerous times with no reason I have not reviewed... CW BRBBS.

Poured into a snifter glass this brew has a dark brown, almost coffee black oil like color with a 2 finger chocolate brown head that with an aggressive pour leaves thick sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is so wonderful with strong oak and bourbon flavors, mild coffee and chocolate, and a light alcohol finish. The taste starts with a smooth bourbon touch, then a nice chocolate and coffee middle, and a creamy oaky and smoky slightly bitter finish with warm alcohol in your throat. The complexity of this brew is enhanced with the moderate carbonation and only gets better with warming of the brew and a long slow drinking.

For my 500th BK point I could not have chosen a better local brew, one of the top 100 beers on BA, this is a wonderful example of true craftsmanship. Prost! (900 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle picked up in Milwaukee for about $2.50, a very good deal for beer of this magnitude. The label indicates it was bottled in January.

The beer is dark brown, not quite black, opaque, with a small 1 finger tan foam that dissipates but leaves lace tendrils. The aroma isn't too boozy, the bourbon shows up with a light touch. The sweet and roasted malts come through bigger, also a little dark fruit, an extremely tasty smell. And a tasty taste too, rich malty flavors, roasty and sweet, with bourbon flavors but no ethanol taste, superb.

The body is medium-plus, with enough viscosity to coat your mouth but not too much to cut the drinkabiblity. (658 characters)

Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Had previously tried this on tap at GABF 2009.

Darkest brown in color with a small but lasting beige head.

Aroma is bourbon, roast, vanilla, and oak. A little heavy on the bourbon maybe if you ask me.

Flavor is loads and loads of bourbon. It is no secret that this beer has been in touch with the -bals. Substantial oak presence as well. Also roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, and vanilla.

Palate is smooth and fairly full with soft carbonation. A little boozy, but not terribly much so.

Drinkability is pretty high. A very good bourbon stout overall, but come on, everyone's doing a beer of this style nowadays. I found it a little better on tap than out of the bottle (687 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Ughsmash- Thanks... very excited about this one! Poured into NB globe.

A: pours a dark opaque brown with a thin tan head, considerable amount of lacing

S: oak, bourbon, chocolate in that order... the chocolate on the end is rich and delicious smelling. As it warms, more cocoa character comes through along with a stronger bourbon presence.

T: the flavor seems reversed of the smell.. lots of chocolate in the front with hints of coffee and vanilla which melds into a very nice flavor of bourbon. This is expertly balanced and is incredibly enjoyable. The bourbon is a bit tamer than some other bourbon stouts, but I think it works really well.

MF: nice thick full body with a velvety texture that goes down smooth and works perfectly with the chocolate and bourbon flavors.

D: wow.. what more could I ask for? A delicious stout infused with the perfect amount of bourbon, and on top of all that, the mouth feel is perfect... this is a great beer! (979 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As black as a night in the woods on an new moon. What the head lacks in volumn it makes up in body. Creamy tan head. Long lasting.
Aroma is mostly vanilla and bourbon but those two go so well together nothing else is really needed.
Flavor is rich and intense. Bourbon being the most dominate and it becomes even more intense as the beer warms. Vanilla is also noticable. There's some chocolate and roasted flavors but you have to really look hard to find them.
The mouthfeel is awsome. Smooth and creamy. Not too overboard. This is a geat beer that would be perfect with a great meal that you only eat once in awhile. (617 characters)

Photo of rudylaw
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour with light peeking in through the edges. Thin head that says goodbye immediately.

I'm getting toffee, caramel, sugars and a decent amount of bourbon in the nose.

OK, this isn't as hot as I was expecting. Pretty sweet with a dark chocolate character that accompanies all of what I smelled. The bourbon is present but in now way overpowering. Pretty smooth.

As I keep going, the alcohol becomes more apparent. Still a creamy mouthfeel with ample carbonation. A great stout for the price, but would you really expect anything else from Central Waters? (567 characters)

Photo of KeefD
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour, black in the glass, small dark tan head, patchy lacing. Standard stuff here. Nice bourbon and and roast on the nose, much in the way of oak, but a subtle vanilla aroma in the depths of things. Taste is noticeably more bourbon-esque, with more wood flavors than the nose would let on. Light bitter chocolate, and smooth roastiness bring up the back end. Nice complexity here. Could use a little more body and carbonation, but other another stellar imperial stout from CW. (487 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks for the trade Brian! Had one of these last night, from notes.

An aggressive pour yields two fingers of tight tan foam over a deep black body. Fades slowly to leave a film in my tulip. Not too much lacing.

Vanilla, oak and booze dominate the aroma by a pretty solid margin. Pretty nice aroma, but not really enough of the base beer cutting through the barrel's impact. A little chocolate as it warmed more.

The taste is sweeter vanilla, milk choc and kind of a burnt sugar/caramel quality to it. Relatively low bitter roast character, more sweet flavors going on here, a little cola mid-palate. It all leads into a really unique hazelnut finish. I mean, really. This is distinctly hazelnut. I picked it out right away.

Low carbonation, nice medium-bodied brew. But as it warmed it got to be a bit syrupy. I really like the ABV point, being just under 10% is a nice level for a BA imperial Stout. Overall though, this is just a little too bourbony sweet. The first few sips of this were great, but I sipped on the bottle for almost an hour and kept lowering my score in my notes over that hour. Splitting a bottle would be ideal, but I think this one will age nicely. (1,180 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz 2010 bottle poured into a snifter

Dark brown, near black color, vigorous pour produces a quickly fading thin tan head that settles into a crown with little lacing. Aroma is sweet and boozy, strong influence from the bourbon. Vanilla and roasted malt. Body is thinner than expected with low-medium carbonation and a strong boozy lingering finish. Flavor is very heavy on the barrel aged notes, strong vanilla and bourbon making it difficult to pick up the original beer. Some dark fruits are noticeable, but overall lacking in balance and complexity, drinks much rougher than the 9.5 abv suggests. (603 characters)

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears black but is actually a very deep mahogany when held up to the light. Very thin, white head that quickly recedes, leaving some thin patches and a ring around the perimeter. Good amount of lacing as it goes down.
Mocha, caramel, toffee, cocoa, with a hint of bourbon and some alcohol. Not bad.
Slightly sweet, with roasty malts and bourbon on the front. Mocha, mild dark chocolate, and some lingering bourbon followed by a little bitterness. Cocoa too.
Very smooth, medium-bodied, with a slightly crisp finish.
Decent drinkability, but I think I'd only want one of these in a sitting. The alcohol asserts itself enough to make you want to go slow with this one. (668 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter a deep dark brown with a thin ring of tight and tan foam around the edge of the glass.

Outstanding smell of bourbon and oak dominates the nose.

Well, the first thing that is noticed is the hot and boozy bourbon. As the bourbon burns off, roasted coffee comes through along with a hint of toasted malt. Some notes of vanilla and oak are also present. Coffee and bourbon linger in the aftertaste. Decent complexity, but just too hot right now. Booze is mellowing as it warms though.

Smooth and creamy. Lighter side of full bodied, dry finish.

Very much a sipper. I think some aging will help tame this one down a bit and result in higher scores. Tons of character though for an IS from a little known brewery. Barrel aged fans will love this one. (769 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well now, this heah's some kinda beer. Mm hm. Served with a small fine tan head and a little lace. Color is an opaque brownish black. Aroma is roasty, bourbon, malt, coffee, vanilla, caramel, toffee, dark ripe fruits, and cocoa. Flavor's about the same but the whiskey stands out along with some bittersweet. Great body and carbonation; perfect for the style. Finish is excellent - medium long and tapered. Really well balanced beer. Rich and yet drinkable. Satisfying and yet intriguing. Go great with a nice mild cigar. Booze is subdued. A masterful beer. (557 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 607 ratings.