Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe AleKosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale

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570 Ratings
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Ratings: 570
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 104
Gots: 141 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-22-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 570 | Reviews: 218
Reviews by mnphish:
Photo of mnphish
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle (2012 edition) served into a Snifter.

Very dark ruby with a fantastic head that leaves lots of sticky lacing.

Huge roasted malts, caramel, citrus fruit, brown sugar, booze. Nice & sweet. Sticky hops galore.

Heavier bodied. Rich, smooth, and drinkable.

Fantastic. Central Waters is extremely underrated, so much flavor in this one.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Ri0
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured 12 oz bottle into chalice. Vintage 2012 which was bottled in 2011.

A - Muddy dark rust color with a 1.5 finger dirty white head. Suspended floaties are noticed by the careful observer. Great retention that slowly fades into a collar. Thick webs of lacing coat the glass. Did I mention that this is 3 years old?

S - Thick caramel and toffee make up the sweetness. Dark fruits with a nice earthy, piney aroma from the hops.

T -Even after 3 years in the bottle this still has a bitterness to it along with some alcohol. It is pleasant because of the caramel and toffee mixed with some dark fruit. Hints of citrus and pine make up a bitter finish.

M - Medium body with soft carbonation. A bit warming.

O - I've had this fresh, but it is much better after sitting two years. This is easily the best barleywine brewed in WI. I prefer it over BBBW. It ages masterfully and I wish I had more bottles.

Photo of MalibuKenny
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Torst.

T: I would say the taste is a bit rough around the edge. Sweet toffee/caramel, roasty toasty malt, with dry hopped mixed right in. All the notes presented all at once, felt like they were all competing to be the star

F: Semi chewy, but finish so thin.

O: Since I've had a few vintage of CW's barleywine, I have been wanting to go to this one for a comparison. I feel like I get the lineage now.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank some of this down at a LL over at Old Fashioned in Madison and I gotta say it was pretty darn tasty. Being fresh, this had some distracting alcohol notes, and some unwanted overly fruity yeasty qualities, but I would gamble that over time, this beer would really become something.

As is stands, just days after its release, this Barley Wine is surprisingly drinkable and enjoyable. The aroma is deeply malty and loaded with caramel and toffee. It’s buttery, boozy, and mildly citric, a quality that comes through more in the taste then anything.

Flavorwise, this is one beer where temperature really matters. The entire profile changes as the beer warms from biting citric and pine with a solid caramel base to more creamy and tropical fruit notes. Pineapple comes through and mingles with the piney hops and caramel to make this one a real treat.

Medium bodied, creamy yet with a healthy bitterness, smooth, boozy and quite drinkable.

I’d like to try this one again after a few years in the cellar.

Photo of newk340
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a murky brown with a slight purple hue when held to the light, a light ring of foam which leaves a nice lacing.

S: faint hints of a variety of indistinguishable dark fruits. most notably figs.

T: ripeness of the dark fruits are everpresent: dates, plums, and figs with an added malty sweetness. can taste a little bourbon though without the oak/smokiness of the BBBW.

MF/D: smooth with a clean finish for the alc%. very subtle carbonation that leaves a slight warmth in the back of the throat.

Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber bottle

Big and bold with smooth caramel malts all over. Warming, well crafted and easy drinking. Well worth a try. Great on a winters night

Photo of badbeer
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber red color with a fizzy off-white colored head leaving trace amount of lacing. Smells of caramel, dark fruits, cherries, strawberries, and hint of vanilla. Taste is much of the same, complex and sweet, but not cloying. A hint of hops is detected as well as a small amount of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel would be perfect, it's full bodied and smooth, but there is just way too much carbonation. Drinkability suffers from the carbonation levels as well; otherwise this would be a damn near perfect beer to me.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours a dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is dark fruit, caramel malt, sugar and some alcohol. The flavor is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, alcohol and dark fruit. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to czoch for this bottle in a trade. Cheers to Clint!
Pours dark amber with a slight head. Smells very sweet and the taste is also dominated by sweetness and fruitiness. The mouthfeel is very smooth with an appropriate amount of carbonation. The alcohol content is pretty well hidden but this is a sipper for sure. Solid barleywine but not spectacular.


Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark, murky orange with long-lasting head ans some nice lacing, especially for a Barleywine.

Smell: Toffee and caramel, with layers of orange on top, and of course the requisite Barleywine booze.

Taste: Fabtastic malt complexity of toffee, caramel and a strong pungent fruitiness of plum and raisins. Citrusy hops provide a great counterbalance and leave light lasting impression of spiciest and bitterness.

Feel: full, chewy body with moderate carbonation, a drying finish, and a definite warming impression.

Overall: One of the best Barleywines I have had. Need to try the Bourbon barrel aged one.

Photo of ohmybock
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked up a 12oz bottle of this one at Riley's in Madison, WI last week. My bottle had an extra sticker which indicated it was an '07. Riley's also had some '06 which I didn't buy.

It pours a very clear deep amber color with very little head. My first impression was that this barleywine leans more toward the sweet side than the hoppy side, but there is some bitterness in there, and it's not extremely malty like a Thomas Hardy or JW Lees Harvest. Hmmm, maybe this BW is in the middle? I often prefer hoppy BW's, but I thoroughly enjoy an expertly-brewed malty version as well. Whatever the case, hats off to Central Waters with the Y2K! This is a superb brew. The aroma of caramelized tropical fruits is incredible! The taste further supports the aroma. I'm not getting a big hop aroma, flavor, or a strong bitterness. Instead, the wonderful, clean, sweet, fruity, aroma/flavor is king here with just enough bitterness to balance things out. This is certainly a "sipper" that just gets better and better as it warms.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has an auburn red clear body but it is a bit dense. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that are still visible. The thin little tan head last a good while and leaves a set of sticky rings on the glass after each sip.

S- This beer has a slight medicinal cough syrup smell with an alcohol smell with some toasted malt notes in the background.

T- The spicy alcohol taste blends with some toasted malt flavors and some slightly sweet caramel malt hints. This flavor is quickly cut off by the big alcohol finish.

M- There is a medium-full mouthfeel with an alcohol heat that really increases as this beer warms.

D- I'm surprised this beer is this old, the alcohol dominates the malt flavors. The alcohol is not really fusel but it is pretty bitey.

Photo of pwoods
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: ruby garnet hue, opaque. Maybe a finger of almond head, decent retention and some lacing.

S: Nutty, bready, loads of rich alcohol laced toffee. rummy fruits, cherries, raisins, burnt sugars.

T/M: Alcohol soaked fruits are more dominant but there's still plenty of nutty and toffee flavors. depth from the burnt caramel. Some hops and bitterness but nicely balanced. body is medium full and not heavy or syrupy.

D: A nice, inviting, warming sipper.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a pretty clear dark reddish amber this elixer is in the glass. Soft amber half finger head that melts quickly to only a faint ring of white-amber.
Aroma is light brown sugar and dark raisins with faint assorted dark candied fruits.
Flavors are rich with burnt malts, dark brown sugar, dark almost burnt fruits.
Nice alcohol warmth afterwards warms all the way down to the belly.
Aftertaste is actually clean but distinctly burnt malts and dark burnt fruits giving a slight bitterness.
4.5's are given not only because it is good, but because it is very interesting for a barleywine.

Photo of cokes
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah..a beer with a name only a Deadhead could love. (For those of you unfamilar, Cosmic Charlie is a Grateful Dead tune...some would consider it appropriate to associate the song with "catastrophe")
As for the beer:
A nice fruity barleywine, dense in character. It had been aged for a year (since 2000). which really allows the beer to gain a mellowness and integration not otherwise possible. Alcohol segues nicely into the hops and malt charateristics (if the Dead played it, it would look like: Alcohol-->Malt-->Hops--> Good Barleywine) Apologies for those not aquainted with the Dead.
Quite tasty, if a bit pricey. It is as hard to find as the namesake is on Dead tapes. (Probably even more difficult). Worth your while to seek it out if you're in the Wisconsin region.
Overall, a nice barleywine. Quite good, but nothing extraordinary in the catagory. Give it a shot if you are a fan of the brewery or the band (as I obviously am on both counts).

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A well-crafted barleywine, a little helpful cellaring by Derek. Good barleywine aroma. Ruby with lace. The taste is dry and woody, particularly so in the finish. A touch of bourbon, a touch of chocolate. Does not seem like 10%. Satisfying above-average barlywine.Nice balance.

Photo of dancinwillie
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours loudly into the glass, quite a nice light red. light tan head fizzing forms on top, about half of an inch, drops quietly though, and it a few minutes, only little islands are left, with a ring around the rim.

maple syrup sweetness in the aroma, and a good amount of malt. it smells roasty, the way a brewery smells when you take a tour. inviting.

spicy bitterness up front, and not too much else. I sense a little malt, but the first few sips seem overwhelmingly bitter. I sit back, swirl a bit, and take my time: after the initial shock, my tastebuds have recovered some, and the malt comes through a little better. Still, it seems like a lot of hops here, and I have an inkling that this would be an ideal candidate to cellar for a year or two.

mouthfeel is slightly thin, but not too much so. thin is good here, I think. effervescent, and not overly carbonated.

this is not a session beer for me. I will have it again, but probably not until I age it for a year or so. As is, I would have to say the drinkability is pretty low for me. Very raw in its present state. a bit thin for my tastes, but perhaps with time, the true flavor will shine through.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006. Slightly hazy. Deep auburn headed towards chestnut color. Huge rocky head of light tan. Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is malty. Very sweetly caramelish. Toffeeish... do I detect some mild buttery diacetyl under there? Nice. There's a touch of yeasty mineralish character as well. Citrusy hops come through once the head subsides a little bit. In the mouth it's full bodied with an initial zestiness on the tongue. Once warm, however, it becomes more dextrinous and creamy. The flavor is aggressive. Lots of hops and bitterness atop the sweet caramel malt base. Citrusy and piney. Sweet malt combines and softens the citrus. There's some orange, grapefruit, and pineapple. The bitterness is dense, and cuts through the sweet malt with a piney-hop chainsaw before it even gets mid-palate. Rough edges, but cooling, and refreshing. It finishes mainly dry, and piney, with a cooling, minty edge - although there is still a thin strand of sticky caramel left behind. A caramel-coated pinecone! In conclusion... some like it rough! And if that's the case this one's a rarin' ta go! - and I mean that in a good way. I can only assume that that's the way this was intended to be. Soft, sweet caramel and then BAM!!! piney-juicy PUNCH! Nice!!! But for those who like it a bit more rounded you'll need a year or two in the cellar on this one. I enjoyed it, sip by sip, with my feet propped in front of the fire... ah, err, space heater ;)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Jeff for this one. 2012 vintage poured into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303. This is the base beer for Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

Pours a 1 finger creamy milk-tea colored head with good retention. Beer is a semi-cloudy clay. Lacing is stringy with good cling. Thin legs. Solid.

Nose pine resin, caramel, brown sugar, maple and booze. Moderately sweet and rich with a big hop kick. I like it.

Opens tree sap resin hoppiness, caramel, some toffee and brown sugar. More hop bitterness in the middle with some molasses and sugary sweetness to balance things out. Resiny and a touch boozy at the end. Finishes sweet with a bitter, sappy aftertaste. Hop presence is a touch overwhelming but there is quite a bit going on here.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and oily in the mouth and goes down boozy. Finish is messy with a long, lingering aftertaste. Pretty good.

I can see how the bourbon barrel aging really helps this beer. Y2K is a bit on the hoppy side with the malt backbone fighting futily through the big, hop presence. A decent beer overall but not nearly as good as the barrel-aged version. Worth a try still to see what the base is all about.

Photo of dirtylou
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, Riley's...definitely NOT retired

appearance: pours into a snifter...bright and glowing medium garnet body. big foamy beige head with pretty strong retention. very nice looking body on this beast.

smell: well hopped...strong and soaking pine, bitter citrus. booze evident on the nose, rich malt, woody

taste: high potency...dripping pine cones, grapefruit citrus. brown sugar, butterscotch, fig, booze covered red fruit. high alcohol level. strong but rather smooth somehow. thick candied malt structure helps give some sort of balance. good barleywine, a true catastrophe...in a good way of course

mouthfeel: high bitterness level, very smooth and slightly pulpy, high alcohol level...very nice

drinkability: bitter and hoppy but enjoyable

Photo of beertooth
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I pulled this 12oz bottle out of the cellar tonight. I'm not sure when it was brewed, but I picked it up about a year ago. I poured it into a Bell's tulip and enjoyed it while watching the movie "Control".

The beer pours a dark ruby red. There's a finger of creamy light mocha head that fades to a thick collar while leaving some webby lacing.

The nose is decadent and lush. Tons of caramel, hop spice, perfect level of oxidization, dates, figs, vanilla, brown sugar.

The taste follows the nose. More brown sugar, maple, dates, figs, spicy hops, oxidized malts. It's dangerously balanced and absolutely delicious.

The mouthfeel is full and creamy with a perfect level of carbonation.

The best straight American barleywine I've ever had. I really wish this wasn't my last bottle. It's held up so well and it's going down way too fast.

Photo of prototypic
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to PaleAl for the bottle.

Kozmyk Charlie's pours a nice brown color with a distinct copper tint. It's hazy, but backlighting gives it really nice red highlights. A light tan head caps it off. It stands about a finger tall and recedes to a surface covering quickly. Not too surprising given the abv. Lacing was sticky and moderate.

The nose is good. It's very fruity throughout. Dark fruit scents of raisin and plum are most notable, but there are some light citrus grapefruit and orange notes. It smells sweet and sugary. I'm not getting a great deal in terms of hops. I don't know how old this bottle is, but I suspect they've diminished quite a bit. All that's left are some light citrus and earthy notes. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but doesn't smell too strong. It's blended pretty well for a 10% abv beer.

The flavor is damn impressive. I like it a lot. It's more impressive than I expected. It's very malty and sweet. It's loaded with sweet caramel malt flavor. Dark fruit flavors follow, but they aren't as strong as expected. Light raisin and plum complement the sweet, malty flavor nicely. Light citrus orange and grapefruit are noted, but they're subtle flavors. I suspect they're remnants of hops. A secondary earthy flavor resonates throughout. It has a slight bitter bite, but a fresh bottle may have more. I don't know. I have no idea how old this bottle is, but it's going down nicely tonight. Alcohol is noted (as expected), but it isn't overbearing or hot at all. It finishes sweet and fruity with an earthy aftertaste.

Kosmyk Charlie's has a medium body that feels more substantial with warming. It's nice and smooth, but never feels creamy. Needs more body for that. Carbonation is nevertheless light and works well. Drinkability is good. I'm tempted to award the next highest score, but it's just a tad too strong for that. I love the flavor, but am really feeling the 10% abv.

Central Waters continues to impress. I haven't had a bad beer from them yet. Honestly, I've been super-impressed with every one I've tried thus far. Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale is a damn good Barleywine. It's very solid in all respects. I'm curious as to what a fresh bottle tastes like. Perhaps the hops would be a little more prominent. This bottle, with a little time behind it, has come together nicely. I've really enjoyed it. Highly recommended if you have the opportunity. Thanks, Alex.

Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm pretty sure this beer isn't retired, but anyways. It's a very mellow barleywine, more English in inspiration, but there's a American kick to the hops. The grassy, spicy hops actually are almost an aftertaste, but still standout from the hops. The malt are slight with a vanilla-oak taste, not much fruit. Worth a try.

Photo of mobius387
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter, 2011

appearance: dark amber, thin white head, fairly opaque

aroma: not much, but not bad what it is. some mustiness, but also soft caramel notes, maybe a touch of oak

palate: medium bodied, medium carbonation, stronger alcohol presence

taste: HUGE caramel notes, some oak to it as well with some vanilla, slightly smokey too, great robust flavors

overall: another awesome brew by CW. a little bit stronger in the spectrum of barley wines, but the huge caramel flavors make it unique enough to stand out. looking forward to see how it ages

Photo of bashiba
3.17/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dirty light brown with just a soap ring of a head.

The smell was full of brown sugar and molasses.

The flavor is very malty and sweet with big brown sugar and caramel flavors, has a big sharp bitterness in the finish. Not much going on here other than a touch of sweet alcohol popping in.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily.

A pretty basic and a bit boring Barleywine.

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Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 570 ratings.