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

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

246 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 720
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 20.48%
Wants: 144
Gots: 193 | FT: 28
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:
Beer added by: dirtylou on 03-22-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 246 | Hads: 720
Photo of Ri0
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured 12 oz bottle into chalice. Bottled 2013, probably in Feb.

A - Black licorice with a very thin .5 finger off white head. Thin ring and no lacing.

S - The smell is very good on this. Chocolate covered Bing cherries, subtle notes of vanilla and bourbon. I don't pick up on any wood or oak.

T - Up front it is chocolate, then tart Bing cherry. It is like taking a bite from a chocolate covered cherry. It transitions into layers of caramel, vanilla, and mild bourbon. Compared to the other CW BB beers, this is rather tame which works well for it. Hard to believe this is 10% ABV, as I don't pick up any alcohol.

M -Medium bodied and low carbonation, which is decent for style. Not a creamy as it should be.

O - This one has a good flavor, but might be a bit over the top fresh. Six months really let the cherry an bourbon fade and allows the flavors to compliment the stout, rather than over power it. Worth grabbing a 4 pack every year, but waiting until fall/winter to drink it.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.14/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

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Photo of sendsilk
1.53/5  rDev -59.3%
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.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Apperance: Pours one level lower than jet black. Medium lacing ring around my Crooked Stave snifter. Looks the part.

Smell: Going into this beer knowing that it is a cherry ba stout, I got confused on the nose. Aroma of a ripened bing cherry is in the background, with lots of malt character smell forward.

Taste: Sort of confusing again. Real deep chocolate cherry in background. It is not fair that I am comparing this to BCBS Cherry (this beer tastes like overload of cherry syrup), where this one tastes muted. I am enjoying this beer though. Could be a little more cherry and bourbon forward.

Mouthfeel: Non-viscous for a ba stout, very thin. Delightful though on a summer day. Would like more viscosity if had in winter.

Overall: I would like more natural cherry and bourbon out of this CW beer. I would like more bourbon from most CW BA beers.

Better than Cherry Rye IMO

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Photo of Dope
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours black with a medium sized light brown head. Head fades away pretty quickly. Almost no head retention and just a little bit of lacing remains behind.

S: Tart cherries and leather primarily. A little bit of chocolate from the roasted malt.

T: More tart cherries and a little leather, sweetened just a little with some caramel. Roasted malt kicks in here with some nice heavy chocolate and hints of char. Touch of vanilla. Another twinge of tart cherries in the finish and then they are gone.

M: Quite heavy and viscous.

O: Interesting beer. Bourbon treatment isn't as strong as in the other central waters bourbon barrel brews. No sweet or medicinal cherries here, they're quite tart at times in fact. Definitely not as well put together as some of their other beers like the bourbon barrel barleywine and peruvian morning. Not as complex, a little unbalanced. Still tasty and I enjoyed every drop - just not as magnificent as I was hoping.

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Photo of Beerandboards
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


A - black, about a 3/4 inch of loose khaki head.

S - dark cherry, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak.

T - I personally think its a bit better than some of the other reviewers. I don't find the cherry out of balance. Gods amount of chocolate, bourbon, barrel, vanilla, along with the cherry.

M - too thin and a bit high in the carb department, but not bad.

O - tasty, a bit different, not the greatest thig ever, but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of wyatt13
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Only scored one bottle of this. I've really enjoyed the other Central Waters barrel-aged offerings this year, so I'm excited to give this one a go. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Half Acre snifter.

A - Black as night, with maybe the tiniest hint of red, although that very well could be my mind playing tricks on me. Tiny off-white head that quickly fizzles into obscurity.

S - Good amounts of vanilla right away, with tart cherries & bitter chocolate providing depth.

T - A sustained tart cherry is present throughout, always on top of the vanilla, chocolate & bourbon components. This is pretty unbalanced for my tastes, I wish the cherry was incorporated more subtly.

M - As seems to be true of most of Central Waters BA offerings, a rather thin mouthfeel. Also, lots of carbonation, which is a little puzzling for me in this style of beer.

O - I'm sad to say that this is my least favorite of Central Waters barrel-aged lineup. Certainly not a bad beer, but I hope they tweak the recipe, because this one has some untapped potential.

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Photo of weonfire
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Black, no head, no lacing, thin?

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, toffee and just a hint of cherry

T - initially: tart cherry, bourbon, chocolate. finish: vanilla, tart (5/10) cherry that lingers

M - one of the thinner stouts i've tasted, low body

O - Really like the tart cherry. Bourbon, chocolate and vanilla mix well. Nose is moderate. do wish the tartness came out more. But the real downfall is the thin body. Stouts must be thick and creamy and this rather low.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

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Photo of emyers
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a thin beige head dissipating quicly into a thin lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, oak. Tart cherries are fairly subtle, which I would say is probably a good thing. Some chocolate and caramel in there as well.

Taste: Cherries aren't particularly subtle anymore. Sharp,tart cherry flavor hits the palate first, followed by bourbon, oak, and some chocolate. The cherry seems to be a bit at odds with the rest of the beer, and the finish is slightly medicinal. Some alcohol heat on the finish doesn't help with this. It's still a solid flavor profile, and I'd probably love it if it wasn;t for the cherry.

Mouthfeel: Mediu bodied with a distinct sharpness from the tart cherry. It's still quite smooth despite this aspect, but once again I think the tart cherry is holding this beer back.

Overall: It's a very good beer, but I can't help but wish there was no cherry. The cherry just doesn't meld well with the rest of the flavor profile.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle shared by nasty31 in a snifter

A - Dark chocolate brown with no head. There is a slight red tint to it from the cherries

S - Cherry nose with light chocolate and bourbon to it; It is slightly medicinal as it sometimes can have a slight cough syrup presence

T - Cherry tartness is upfront before there is light bourbon, chocolate and vanilla that comes through. The finish is slight roasted malt and bitterness that lingers on

M - Medium body with slight syrupiness to it; lightly astringent in the finish

O - The cherry adds a tartness to the base stout. However, the problem is that the cherry doesn't blend well with the other flavors in the stout. It sort of tries to stand out too much and ends up throwing this off a bit. Additionally, there is a good amount of bitterness in this one that seems out of place overall.

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Photo of popery
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks, 316nuts. Pours a cola brown color. More transparent than I remember, dark brown and opaque in the middle of the glass but pretty wide lighter edges. Small light khaki head. Fades to nothing. The aroma has a good dose of cherries and bourbon. Chocolate, roast and caramel are hiding in the background. The bourbon is nice enough with notes of vanilla, oak and spice, but the booze is fairly strong. I like the cherries a lot. I guess I just wish it was more of a mix of chocolate and cherries with the other flavors supporting. The taste is similar. Lots of cherry and bourbon on top of a fairly mild stout. Pretty sweet. Chocolate seems a bit simple and sweet. Again, I wish the chocolate played more of a starring role and the booze was quite so apparent. Mouthfeel is fairly thin. Carbonation is on the low side. I've had this beer a few times now, and it just doesn't really work for me. It's a nice idea, though, and I'd love to see it made with a beefier base stout.

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Photo of cfrances33
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pour: Dark brown, almost black body with two fingers of creamy tan head. Some lacing, but not a ton, and the head recedes to a nice rim.

Smell: Overripe cherries burst from the glass during the pour. Lots of bourbon vanilla and a light roasted malt profile. Some cherry twang, but not a ton.

Taste: Sticky malts up front, and some hot bourbon. Boozy, but not much barrel. Overripe cherries that take a slight medicinal astringency., unfortunately. Roasted malts and a lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty sticky. A splashy mouthfeel. A little bit of astringency from the cherries. This becomes greater as it warm.

Overall: Okay, but not great. I wouldn't buy this again.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.24/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

At first it pours a bitch black with a foamy head that dissipates soon clinging to the edge. Then as I see sit up against my brown leather chair, the snifter turns to a dark brown with ruby hues, pretty cool. 2013

My first impression of the smell is of chocolate covered cherries in nougat. As I relax collecting it all in, I'm getting sweet malt, oak and ever so bourbon now...wait...red cherry tartness.

Picking up on bourbon right away in welcoming fashion. The tartness (sour if you will, maybe) follows behind. Sweet malt not very strong lends marginally with the tart.

Relatively a thin stout, but I can appreciate this. Moderate carbonation with a brightness to it. The tongue almost feels numb from the tartness. Easy to drink and pleasant.

A lingering flavor of red cherry that brings me back to my youth when I used to sneak into my neighbors yard to climb their cherry tree and indulge. Well, nothing artificial for me here. I'm a bit surprised at marginal reviews for this but I love it and look forward to letting a few sit and see how they evolve. I'm trying this based on the recent BBBW and Peruvian from Central Waters. Man, everything has been solid. I say great job and glad you guys distribute here. Nice to have you as a neighbor.

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Photo of martyl1000
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Re-reviewing this now with a bottle open. Last time scored it when on tap during Mad Craft Beer Week 2012. That time scored it a 3.0. Didn't like it much at all. Later, thought I should give it another chance b'c it might've been too cold that time.

So now I'm having it in ideal conditions, at about 55-deg. And I'm upgrading it from 3.0 to 3.5. It's not as bad as I thought it was last year. But it's still not something I can enjoy, certainly not compared to others in the style, like CW Bourbon Barrel Stout and BCBS.

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Photo of BadgerRedAl
3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with weak foam. Strong black cherry nose is appealing. Medicinal cherry and strong bourbon taste at first, then finishes bitter. Good mouth feel, like other CW stouts, but hard to get past the overpowering cherry. Overall I wasn't impressed, the strong cherry really bastardizes an otherwise delicious BBS from CW. I do appreciate the effort to brew a cherry bourbon stout and hope CW refines its recipe in the future.

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Photo of Zachtheporter
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Big Eddy Snifter and poured from a 12oz bottle.

A- The color is your standard "black as night" imperial stout black only just slightly brown. The head was a tan slightly pinkish color and was rather small and incredibly fizzy for the style. Quite soon after pouring, the head dissipated leaving only a thin tan ring around the edges of the glass.

S- Cherries are very noticeable upon the first few whiffs. The combination of malty sweetness and tart frutiness from the cherries gives of the aroma of darker fruits such as dried black cherries and dates. The tart sweetness from the cherries also helps to amplify the the sweet scent of the malts used. There are also hints of wood/oak, soaked wood to be exact (obviously) that when combined with the slight aroma of bourbon produce a slight butteryness.

T- The cherry flavor is very apparent right from the get-go before moving into the maltier flavors of the stout and bourbon. The cherry flavor has a very nice tartness to it that seems to amplify itself a bit towards the end. Flavors of oak are also noticeable giving off slight notes of light vanilla and freshly cut wood. The chocolate, burnt, toasty notes from the malts really take a bit of a back seat but are still of course, very present.

M- Rather thin feeling for the style (although rather normal for CW) but still on the heavier side.

O- An awesome beer but not my favorite out of the Central Waters BBA selection. I really enjoy the cherry flavor of this stout although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a must have beer for those who are looking for a good cherry kick. Another fine, well crafted ale by central waters that's definitely worth giving a try if you get the chance. I think I'll stick to the bourbon barrel barleywine though from now on.

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Photo of IamMe90
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a gulden draak tulip, purchased @ riley's wines of the world in Madison, WI for 3.99/12oz.

Appearance: Darker side of brown but not quite black, minimal head retention but some lacing as the beer moves along the side of the glass. A little underwhelming.

Smell: Bourbon, chocolate, slight roastiness, tart cherry at the end. Yum!

Taste: Bourbon a bit more subdued than in the nose, but still present. Unsweetened chocolate, slight smokiness and tartness from the cherries at the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little on the thin side, a flaw shared by BBS. But it's not THING, just not thick enough.

Overall: I like this beer quite a bit! I disagree with some of the comments here, the cherry isn't medicinal or overpowering, just adds a nice tartness at the finish which fits well with the other flavors present. Good job CW!

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Photo of raczkowski
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Although I have been on BA for quite some time, I figured I would start to review the beers I try. This is the first one. Got a trade of NG and CW stuff today and popped the first of 8 i received. Poured into a New Belgium snifter
A: Beer poured a dark black color with a very small head that dissipates very quickly.
S: Smell of cherries is very prominant. No smell of the bourbon.
T: Dark Cherries, vanilla, and bourbon are what come to mind. My first sip was all cherries, but as the beer warms, the bourbon is beginning to come through. The cherry is masked by the bourbon as the beer warms.
M: This beer is very thin and not viscous and chewy like i like my stouts.
O: I have 7 of these beers left and i will drink every one of them...i doubt i will get anymore or try to trade for any. I love cherry stouts and for the limited style of cherry stouts, I liked it!

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Photo of woodychandler
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back. Now, I am eradicating the inventory. Just wait for the explosion of CANs!

From the bottle: "We throw eighty pounds of tart Door County cherries into each oak barrel with a rich Imperial Stout and then age it for 6 months to create this savory delight. Cheers!"

2012 vintage. The thin, moderate finger of light-tan head quickly devolved into wisps. Color was a deep-brown with ruby/garnet highlights. Nose had the same sour cherry aspect as my uncle's best batch of homemade Montmorenci Cherry wine. You had best like sour if you are going to delve these depths! Mouthfeel was kind of thin and watery but the taste was absolutely cherry. Holy Cough Drop, Batman! Phew! I suppose that it is possible for the cherries to overpower the bourbon since I did not catch it on the tongue. Finish was hot, initially, but then the vanilla/coconut flavor of the bourbon began to assert itself. My late grandfather used to soak fruit (especially cherries) in bourbon bottles (think a poorer man's Rock & Rye) and later use them as a cocktail garnish. I only got to try a couple, both at either Christmas or New Year's, but this is what I was reminded of. For the brewery - allow it to age longer.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip - 2011 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy light brown with a small tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some small bits of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is almost identical to the regular bourbon barrel stout but with a touch of cherry in the background.

T: The taste is much different from the bourbon barrel stout. It has all the basic flavors from that one like caramel, vanilla, and toffee as well as a tart dark cherry flavor. The cherry flavor is almost overpowering and makes it tough to pick out the other flavors.

M: The feel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: This was an interesting beer but not something I'd be drinking all the time. I thought the cherry in the taste was a bit excessive. I'd like to see it more like BBQ where it integrates a little better with the base beer. Still worth a try if you've not had it though.

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Photo of zeledonia
2.82/5  rDev -25%
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.

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Photo of dcloeren
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to nflmvp for this extra

Pours a dark brown with hints of mahogany on the edges. Produced a finger of khaki colored head that sunk down into the depths of this beer almost instantly.

The aroma is tart cherry forward with roasted malt and some astringency in the background.

Opens up with roasted malt and chocolate but is quickly overtaken by tart cherry notes and a lot of heat.

Medium body with an almost overabundance of carbonation. As soon as it hits my mouth it is carbonation city. Not the worst thing though, gives it a good frothy mouth feel.

Over all this was a pleasant beer. I wish that it would have been more full bodied but it wasn't a deal breaker by any means. Very glad I got to try this.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1583rd Review on BA
Bottle to CW Snifter

2011 Vintage
Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one.

App- When you pour it, it really did look a bit black in the glass but then changed to more of a mahogany/brown/caramel color. Only a small bit of head was there maybe 1/4"-1/2" and then faded quickly and didnt leave and cling or lace.

Smell- Well this opened up nice enough with a bit of a thin bourbon note and then moved itself into a malty cola like aroma and finished with a artificial candied cherry note and even a little bit of syrup.

Taste- I liked it well enough to be what it was. Its cherries in a bourbon stout. Problem was the stout didnt lift itself up enough with the treatment to take on the addition of the cherries. It was a bit thin. Artificial and lacking in a bit of balance and nuance. Was more of an afterthought it seemed vs being part of the original recipe. Seemed as it warmed more from cellar temp to take on a flat Cherry Dr. Pepper flavor.

Mouth- This was way to thin for me. It lacked a certain lush and pinace of a normal barrel aged beer and I think the cherries just made the body come down and with the treatment it didnt pick up enough of the layers to tame the prickly thinness.

Drink- Really wasnt feeling this one. A bit let down. I had enjoyed the BBBW and wanted this to be a homerun for me. Oh well. Have a couple more 12ozers from CW to enjoy.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 246 ratings.