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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

412 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 412
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.23%

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: dirtylou on 03-22-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 412 | Reviews: 196 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sendsilk


1.5/5  rDev -60.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Very excited to try this beer! I love. Stouts and love cherries. Upon opening this beer, the excitement comes to a screeching halt! This beer smells horrible, something is terribly wrong here. It smells very much like nail polish remover. I opened this at a tasting with 4 other friends and we concluded that the taste was almost as bad as the smell. Between the 5 of us we poured out over half of the bottle even after going back and giving it a 2nd and 3rd chance as it warmed to room temperature. I'm hoping this was just an infected bottle, nevertheless I won't be seeking this beer out again.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2013 21:06:51 | More by sendsilk
Photo of AleWatcher


1.53/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

So I'll preface this review by saying:
I gave Satin Solstice a B rating... And while I haven't reviewed Bourbon Barrel Stout, I would have given it a far lower grade than B. The Brewhouse Coffee Stout didn't impress me either. Needless to say, the CW stouts I've had just haven't done it for me... I'm going into this one with low expectations.

Served in a Founders snifter.

Dark brown with rusty red hues in the legs and on the edges. Small soda-like-in-color head fizzes away pretty quickly and leaves no lacing. The head becomes a collar of loose lazy bubbles.
The nose has some sweet malts and black cherries. Some booze, but where's the bourbon character? The flavor has a decent amount chocolate malt that compliments the black cherry notes well enough-- too bad neither of those notes are enough on their own (or in conjunction) to save this beer for me. Some charred oak comes through, but still no bourbon. No vanilla either. The beer has a slick oily feel with a bit too much carbonation. It is thin and watery.

This was a $6 single from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee... Wow is that $6 I wish I could have back.

As this warms, to nearly room temp, I finally get the bourbon notes I was searching for... For some reason I keep depleting that scene from Empire;
Han- You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake, well this might be it sweetheart!"
Leia- I take it back!

The bourbon is cheap and boozy... It doesn't add to flavor any aspect tgat improves it... To the contrary, it makes the finish unpleasant. It tastes like a chocolate covered cherry cordial-- you know, the ones with cheap bourbon liquor inside.

Overall-- I'll just flat out say it: my step-dad used to drink "diet cherry chocolate soda" from a brand I can't remember. That shit was terrible. This isn't much better, in terms of feel or taste-- but at least the soda didn't hit with an unstoppable boozy note. Way too fizzy.
I'd hope aging this helps to tone down the booze, but I doubt it would help.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2011 23:21:43 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of cope0021


1.9/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Minimal legs - medium carbonation. Light red tint to beer.

Mix of bourbon and cherry aroma. No noticeable body

Strong bourbon taste with some tart cherry notes. Bourbon is a little overpowering. A little too tart for me.

Thin. A little too much carbonation on the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 23:28:30 | More by cope0021
Photo of hopsbreath


1.9/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

My main man Zimmerbloke coming through in the clutch again with a local specialty. Thanks a lot Matt! Vintage 2011.

A: Dark purple-brown, a couple fingers of tightly formed espresso head, moderate patchy lacing, looks good. 4/5

S: What the?... Bourbon barrel stout nothing. Blind-folded, I'd be hard pressed to identify this as anything other than a young kriek. Not a typical stout at all. 2/5

T: Bitter, murky, and rancid cherries are on the front of the palate and not at all pleasant. Some sour bourbon assures me that this came from a barrel but its not a good reminder. Classic impy stout tastes don't really come to mind. 2/5

M: Thin, low carbonation, and dry. Not good for what I want from a big stout. 2/5

O: Flat out one of the least enjoyable stouts I've ever had. If I ever felt like a beer deserved the lowest score here, this is the beer for it. I've had Cherry Adam so I know that cherries added to a big boozy beer in a barrel can be a wonderful thing. Made it through two ounces for the review and drain poured the rest. 1/5

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 04:55:38 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of Arbitrator


2.23/5  rDev -41%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by the late chswimmer (RIP, Ted).

A: Pours a clear, mahogany body with short-lived head. No lace, no collar.

S: Very tart cherries, bordering on lactic. It's roasty and chocolatey; not a particularly great combination unless the chocolate is very rich and fudge-like (think Cherry Chocolate Rain), and this beer doesn't work well with it. Bourbon is mild at best; it's very subtly integrated.

T: Sweet, tart, and lightly sour cherries make the first impression. Their skins produce a small tannic effect that pairs nicely with the chocolate. Some metallicity. Not awful, but nothing that blows me away.

M: Slightly thin feel. Carbonation is low. Sticky cherry presence.

D: Pretty disappointing. Between two people we weren't interested in finishing it, and threw out over half the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 02:16:33 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Erdinger2003


2.38/5  rDev -37%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a beautiful head that leaves nothing but a huge lacing behind that sticks oh so well. The head is tan and the color is dark black motor oil, hell yeah! The smell is a big hit of vanilla with a cherry flavor acompanied by what seems to be bourbon (I haven't had a lot, but it smells like good hard liquor). The taste was light and the harsh liquor flavors along with a kick of cherries wasn't a pleasant experience the first try. It's better the second try, the tart cherries leaves you weak (when mixed with roasted grains) while the strong bourbon hits the back of your throat leaving you nausious. The mouthfeel was ok, very dry and not so smooth. Overall I don't think I would have another one of these, something must be wrong.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2007 09:08:01 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of kevanb


2.38/5  rDev -37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Local Option stemmed glass. 2012 vintage, reviewed live.

The beer pours a cola brown color, close to black, but still definitely brown, especially when held to the light. Lots of tiny bubbles race around the glass, a thin fizzy caramel head makes a brief appearance, but recedes quickly. There is no lacing to speak of, poor head retention, and just looking at the glass, I can tell there is going to be a lot of carbonation. My first real thought was that I had just opened a can of cola. The aroma is relatively off putting, tart artificial cherry aromas, almost like a maraschino cherry, unfortunate as the bottle claims to use real cherries in the barrel. Some chocolate comes out, richness from the barrel, lacking in oak, char, roast and really anything complex or interesting, overly sweet and artificial. The flavors are poor to say the best, strong, almost overbearing artificial cherry, tootsie-roll like chocolate sweetness, again, more sugary than anything. Some bourbon does come through with some caramel, but again, it plays up the sweetness. There is no real complexity, lacking barrel character, however, the alcohol, despite the overwhelming sweetness of the beer, never really makes an appearance, for which I am grateful. The body is way too carbonated for a beer this sweet and rich, really adds no redeeming qualities to the beer. However, it does coat the mouth well, and adds a nice subtle warming as it goes down.

Verdict: This beer is a mess, artificial sweetness, overly carbonated, zero interesting barrel characteristics, really just a total fail. I had high hopes for this after sampling Peruvian Morning and a few other barrel treated beers, but this one is definitely one to avoid.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 04:31:56 | More by kevanb
Photo of draheim


2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle (2011; bottled December 2010) poured into a snifter. Dark brown/mahogany with a reddish tint. Plenty of light gets through around the edges. Minimal head diminishes quickly. Looks like a Cherry Coke.

Aroma is faint cherry syrup and a little oak as it warms.

Taste is a bit medicinal with a slightly sour, almost vinegary quality. Cherry is at the forefront, but this is a pretty thin stout. I think I'd like this better if the cherry played more of a supporting role rather than lead. I continue to find myself wincing with every sip, which is never a good sign.

The ABV is the only thing indicating that this is an imperial stout. Where's the deep, dark roasty malt? Where's the richness? If I didn't know any better I would have thought this was a cherry brown ale. Disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2011 05:16:02 | More by draheim
Photo of craytonic

District of Columbia

2.63/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours pitch black. No head. Fizzy like a cola for a minute or two.

Smell: Roasted malts, some chocolate, maybe a little cherry? No bourbon.

Taste: The cherry is so subtle... I didn't notice it. Same goes for the bourbon barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: Something weird about the carbonation.

Drinkability: Interesting to try once, but will not return. Usually I can pick up on bourbon and cherry very easily, but not in this beer. It tasted a little off, maybe my bottle went bad.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 16:47:35 | More by craytonic
Photo of rudzud


2.73/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a trade, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a deep brown nearly black with a nice one finger mocha head that fades to leave a dense creamy blanket with some light side lacing. Nice for the ABV.

S - Hrm, fair chocolate notes with a very very light earthy bourbon. The cherry thats there smells almost fake.

T - Another hrm. The bourbon is there subtly along with the slight toasted coconut that can sometime come with barrel aging a stout. Chocolate isnt bad but this fake cherry cough syrup taste is really killing this for me. Just tastes very artificial.

M - Mouthfeel is nice for a stout of this ABV once you get past that sticky cough syrup cherry.

O - Overall yah, the cherry kills this for me big time. This is a huge let down but I kind of knew it realistically going in that the cherry would ruin this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 02:35:22 | More by rudzud
Photo of zeledonia


2.73/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2012 vintage. Tasted 5 December 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours nearly black, but comes through medium brown with a bit of red at the edges. Half-finger of medium-light tan head, disappears quickly, leaving a ring and almost no lacing.

Smell is smooth bourbon, backed by cherry sweetness. It's a delicate, soft-edged bourbon, without any sharpness. The cherry is faint, maybe 25%, but presents more as it warms up.

Taste is unbalanced and two-toned - a rough bourbon-cherry blend, followed by a lull, then an unpleasant bitter punch. The first wave is decent, but it's short-lived, and the second wave brings removes all of that. It's like all the badness, the harshness, and the ugly bitterness all got rolled into that one part of the taste. There's more of it than I'd want in the entire beer, and concentrated as it is, it's pretty unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is fine. Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation. No issues (and considering the way-too-light body of many CW stouts, that's good). Lasting.

I've generally been disappointed with Central Waters stouts. This one doesn't have the same problem (thinness), but the flavor is problematic. Not terrible, but not what I'd call good, and not something I'll plan on buying again.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 05:12:38 | More by zeledonia
Photo of Knapp85


2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured out as a cola like black color with a tan head that has no retention or lacing was basically nowhere. The smell of beer is a bit medicinal, cherry and some additional sweetness. The taste of the beer isn't really the greatest, artificial cherry flavors some vanilla and roasted malts. Just didn't really feel the flavors I was hoping for. The mouthfeel is soda-like, light bodied with a sharp carbonation. Overall I had much higher hopes for this beer. Wasn't impressed.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2013 01:39:39 | More by Knapp85
Photo of ChadQuest


2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Man this is one unique beer, and i was about to score it around a D+, but it is unique and still somehow interesting enough that i'll give it an average.

Honestly i was expecting a very faint cherry presence like most stouts have when it comes to added items since the malts cover alot up well, but man this thing packs a punch with dark and sour/tart cherries! It's like tart cherries covered in dark chocolate as the malts are about the only thing else that can be noticed in such an up front beer.

Interesting, and i may not mind having another bottle someday, just to explore it more, but its not thing i would buy alot of.


Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 04:36:20 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of TATURBO


3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2012 Version.
A: Brown with a minimal amount of head.

S: Slight sour cherry. Not picking up much else.

T: Light on the stout for sure. Dark Cherry flavor abound.

M: Pretty light overall for style. Definitely so for a BB Stout.

O: Mediocre. Glad I got a sample before buying. This is a style I'd jump on and get some quantity of if done right but this seriously left me disappointed. I love the regular BB Stout but the Cherry version just doesn't have it going on. I love most all of CW's Barrel aged stuff, Sadly not this one. If the recipe could be tweaked, I'd be all for it as with their other Barrel offerings, It could be great!

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 18:53:22 | More by TATURBO
Photo of Overlord


3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a brownish colored light red. Big thanks to Tpatuto. Small crust of light brown foam.

Strangely pungent smell. Kind of like pulped cherry pits mixed with cherry skins and a bit of ... prunes and plums? Interesting. Almost no stout characteristics to aroma.

Taste has a slightly chocolately malt and cherry backing, along with that weird woodsy pungent cherry pit/tart cherry flavor. Frankly: strange.

Mouthfeel a bit flat and watery. Half a glass was enough.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 05:29:25 | More by Overlord
Photo of HopHead84


3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Poured into a snifter.

A: A nondescript dark brown with a small head that fades in the blink of an eye.

S: Cherry skins, chocolate, oak, vanilla, light booze, and light bourbon. Cherry presence is moderately lactic, and is pretty strong. Smells nice with the chocolate and light bourbon. The bourbon is very faint, like it spent a day in the same room as a bourbon barrel.

T: Lightly sweet and sour, with notes of cherry skins, oak, faint bourbon, and chocolate. The finish is cherry and chocolate with some metallic notes. A bit muddled, on the whole. Drying oak finish.

M: Lower full bodied with upper low carbonation. Smooth, sticky, and slightly thin mouthfeel.

Overall: Underwhelming. The cherries started to wear on me after a bit. Not a drain pour in the traditional sense, but I had no desire to finish the bottle. Wouldn't revisit.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 06:17:35 | More by HopHead84
Photo of beagle75


3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium brown color with a fine peripheral ring of off-white bubbles. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Clean roasty grain, savory, with some over-ripe cherry fruit but no detectable spirit.

T: Begins sweet, with intermediate roasted malt and mild dark fruit that vanishes behind aggressive carbonic acidity. Fruit returns in the middle, but never reaches a defining intensity. Minimal bourbon presence defines the otherwise earthy, if bland, finish. Booziness lingers on the palate late, becoming more pronounced as the beer warms.

M: Medium viscosity, wet and evaporative on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This beer struggles as a stout, although it hides the 10% abv to a surprising extent. Practically every quality seems understated or absent, from the fruit to the spirit to the grain. The drying texture is the bravest expression of actual alcohol presence, and even that seems tangential.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 23:14:08 | More by beagle75
Photo of semibaked


3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet.

A - Pours almost black with some dark red hues shining through, very little head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon, A little smokey, roasted malts, coffee, and the slightest hint of cherry.

T - Bourbon hits you upfront, the cherry flavor has the taste of cough syrup, smokiness, and a hint of coffee.

M - Disappointing light body, this should have a fuller mouthfeel to it for being a stout and has a good amount of carbonation.

D - Ya not a big fan of this, it is heavy on the bourbon and the cherry flavor is not pleasant. The mouthfeel is just off to me too, definitely like the regular version of this much better.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2010 01:12:58 | More by semibaked
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle courtesy of FrankenBrew, this is the 2010 vintage. Lets see how 2.5 years in the cellar has done...pours a dark crimson color with a small, fast fading tan head. No lacing.

Oxidized malt is supported well by a rich, dark cherry aroma. Plenty of bourbon-soaked wood still in there. Smells big, boozy and rich.

The stout portion of the beer is not as sweet and chocolaty as it needs to be to support the fruit and alcohol. It is still hot, surprisingly and the bourbon still bold. The body feels thin, maybe partly because of the tart fruit...but I think mostly due to a lack of sweetness. Im not a big fan of this one, it was fun to try though!

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 01:55:27 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of homebrew311


3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is chocolate brown with red highlights and no head. Smell is light vanilla and cherry, pretty tame compare to its counterparts. Taste is light and sweet with cherry predominant. Not getting much in the way of chocolate or bourbon. Pretty thin tasting overall. The mouthfeel is light with high carbonation. Overall, I prefer the non fruited version. Would not seek this one out.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2012 22:48:58 | More by homebrew311
Photo of Stevedore


3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle from the 2013 vintage. Generously provided by Shaun at our celebratory tasting. Poured into a Three Floyds stout glass today, 3/22/2014. First time getting to review this after drinking a 4-pack fresh last year.

App- Dark black body, minimal tan head with solid retention, dropping into a medium collar and stopping there. No lacing.

Smell- Not as much of the bourbon barrel exists, a tart cherry fruitiness mixed in with chocolates. The bourbon barrel flavours act to muddy the waters here.

Flavour- Very similar to the nose. There's less of the bourbon barrel flavours, but it's still enough to mess with the tart cherry flavours and milk + dark chocolates here so that it's a bit of a jumbled mess. Lots of oak barrel though no bourbon or vanilla.

Mouthfeel- Thinner bodied, solid and low carbonation. Drinkable for sure.

Overall- It's just not Cherry Rye, but it's not a bad beer at all either. I say drink this one fresh when I compare this experience to when I had it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 17:11:49 | More by Stevedore
Photo of Duff27


3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Fizzy half inch light mocha head on a dark brown/black body. Head doesn't stick around long.

S- Whiffs of tart cherries and some chocolate.

T- Equal parts bourbon and cherry, maybe more bourbon. Cherry just seems muddled. 10%abv is well hidden so I'll give it that.

M- Fizzy carbonation/somewhat thin mouthfeel for a stout it seems.

D/O- It's weird to be let down by a Central Waters BA beer, with Fourteen Fourteen, BB Stout, BB Barleywine all being great in my opinion. This one is worth a try but not going out of your way for.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 03:45:11 | More by Duff27
Photo of jera1350


3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Muddy brown color with a tan fizzy head that reduces down to a ring around the glass.

The nose is not real strong, but notes of bourbon, cherry and vanilla are detected.

Well, yes there is plenty of sour cherry and hot boozy bourbon. Some chocolate malt as well. The problem is that the flavors do not mesh real well with each other. Not unlike cherry cough syrup.

Thin for the style. The carbonation is partially smooth. The finish is not very dry at all.

I can applaud the creativity, but I can also say that it did not work real well. I will stick with Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout. No cherries for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2010 02:18:09 | More by jera1350
Photo of oline73


3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with some light coming through it. There is a finger of light tan head that fades to a layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Peppery bourbon and oak hit your nose up front. There is some smooth roast and a mild sweetness as well. Only getting a very faint cherry note.

Taste: You can pick up the cherries here, but they still don't dominate. This is a good use of cherries in a beer. The peppery oak and bourbon show up here as well. I never would have guessed the abv is as high as it is listed.

Mouthfeel: The body is really thin given the style. Smooth, fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I can't say that I loved this beer. The bourbon and cherries were nice, but it just didn't come together for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2012 00:56:56 | More by oline73
Photo of jmarsh123


3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to joshsereese for the bottle!

Pours black with just a bit of light peeking through at the edges. Slightly red tinted tan head forms just a small layer and dissipates quickly. Little lacing.

Lots of sweetness in the nose. Some roasted malts and some big milk chocolate. Cherries provide a bit of tartness and pushes the aromas more toward the dark fruit category. Very slight bourbon with some oak.

Big fake cherry flavor up front. Gets a little chocolately with some bourbon through the middle and back end. Lots of sweet malt and not enough bitter balance. Slight oak and bourbon, but not enough to rescue it.

Thin mouthfeel which is the probably I have with most CW stouts. Carbonation level is appropriately somewhat low.

Really not impressed with this one at all. The cherry adds too much sweetness to an already sweet beer and the mouthfeel is too thin to pull off the flavor combos. Not undrinkable by any means, but plenty more barrel aged stouts I'd go for first.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 20:20:54 | More by jmarsh123
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 412 ratings.