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

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

578 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 578
Hads: 2,144
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 17.52%
Wants: 719
Gots: 659 | FT: 79
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Atron67 on 03-02-2008

Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 578 | Hads: 2,144
Photo of fondyball20
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 and 2011 vintage served at Palm Tavern on 2/4/16

2010 was unlike any other barleywine I have had. The flavors were muted, a touch of heat, very smooth, and tasted almost like sipping on a bourbon. 2011 had a bigger flavor punch but again was very smooth. The aging really mellowed out both beers.

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Photo of mke_Brewer
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Aromas of burnt sugar, molasses, with slight hints of bourbon. Has a hot alcohol smell. Initial taste is sweet and raisiny with an oak aftertaste. Very complex. Medium bodied beer that gets better as you drink it. Definitely a beer for a cold day as it will warm you up in a hurry! Hard to drink a full pint.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage, ~ 1 year since bottling, 12 oz bottle

Appearance- Pours a deep ruby red color, dark amber. Half finger thick, off white colored head, dissipates very quickly to fine layer. Tons of sticky alcohol legs and spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Dark fruits, berries and slight cherry, sweet bourbon and dry oak. Toasted malts, thick caramel sweetness, toffees, sweeter brown sugar notes. Vanilla, toasted oak barrel, and hints of coconut.

Taste- Sweet caramel, rich toffee and toasted malts. Smooth, sweet bourbon, oaky dryness, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut. Sweet brown sugar and dark fruits, plums, raisins, cherries.

Feel- Full bodied feel, creamy and silky. Lower carbonation.

Overall- Age has brought wonderful depth and complexity. Dark fruits coming forward a bit more, while any fusel alcohol notes are gone. Much more cohesion in flavors, the rich malt flavors are blended beautifully with the barrel characteristics. Such richness and flavor, wonderful sipper.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy, orange-brown, with 1/3 inch head. Taste is pine, toffee, alcohol, tangerine, wood, and light vanilla. The wood adds a dryness to the beer that plays well off of the sweetness of the base beer. Really tasty beer that I will look to get again.

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Photo of 98green
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I tend to avoid barleywines. Just not a style I favor. Ordered by a friend on tap, he hated the barrel additives. For me, that is what turned this into a winner. Lots of bourbon flavor throughout, and of course the warming abv burn. All kinds of sweet of course, but the barrel has mellowed that harsh barleywine twang for me. Loved this one

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Photo of ryanhooks81
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from bottle into tulip. pours a cloudy reddish brown. small light khaki colored head. dissipates into a thin ring. smells boozy, with vanilla and toffee. big vanilla flavor, along with dates and toffee and vanilla. perfect carbonation. very good. i wish i had more.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big Thanks to UncleJazz for the bottle!

Pours a deep, rich amber color with a short khaki head with minimal retention but with a few spots of lacing. The nose and taste are similar and feature massive sweet toasted grain, caramel, toffee and warm boozy bourbon and finishes with pleasant hoppy notes. It is big, round and creamy on the palate. Overall, thuis was a very well balanced BBA barlywine!

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, 2014 version. Pours deep caramel brown, off white head fades to thin layer that coats the glass. Roma is full of bourbon, vanilla, wood, raisins. Big sweet malty flavor up front. Followed by vanilla and bourbon, lots if it, ends with lingering oak. Nice soft mouthfeel. Overall really tasty Barleywine, maybe a little heavy on the bourbon, but quite good.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great tasting barleywine, bitter hops, bourbon heat, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, toasted coconut come through balanced to provide unending enjoyment, gets even better at room temp.

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Photo of TastyIsBeer
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the Great Taste of the Midwest (2015) - pretty hot, pretty thin... not my favorite BA Barleywine by a long shot, but maybe a year or two of aging would at least mellow it enough to be pretty good.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is one of my all time favorite Barleywines! I have had it on draft quite a few times and have a bottle from 2014 aging in my cellar for a special occasion. This BW is so damn smooth you wouldnt know the ABV is so high....HUGE Caramel notes that round out the finish and make it oh so memorable!

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012
Poured into sniffer
Look - hazy auburn color with slight head and of course floaters since it's 3.5 years old
Smell - complex! Booze, sweet bourbonized wood, vanilla, spices
Taste - bourbon oak barrel taste with some sweet vanilla and a lot of booze.
Feel - medium body with a warming feel and very lite carbonation that actually works for the beer
Overall - super complex, boozy and very tasteful with a great aroma!

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage. I got this in a trade from atone315. Thanks man!

Pours from the 12oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Emerges a ruddy brown color with minimal head, sporadic lacing, and little carbonation present. Slight amber hues through the light.

Aroma is nice. Perhaps a little heavy on the bourbon for some, but I like the in your face aromas of borbon. Vanilla, oak, pineapple, raisins also join the olfactory party.

I am a little lost in the last half. The flavor is decent. In this case, the bourbon IS too powerful. I like bourbonn beer as much as the next guy but the bourbon here needs to take a chill pill. Bourbon, alcohol, and tobacco are about all I get.

This one finishes super hot. The alcohol is certainly tangible and is in no way perfunctory. I like the chewiness but the hot finish and bourbon sucker punch kind of make this a one hit wonder.

Not bad overall but I think another year on this would do wonders.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one as a bonus on trade and I was letting it age a little before I tried it. Bottled: 2015.

A - Dark amber color that is somewhat cloudy from the journey this beer has taken. Has a bone colored head that subsides quickly and leaves only a few spots of lacing.

S - Big sweet malt character and then sweet bourbon mixed with caramel and some vanilla. The booze is still very strong but it doesn't burn the nose. It's a sweet and pleasant bourbon barrel barleywine.

T - As you would expect the robust, sweet malt character is first and then a wash of big flavors takes the tongue. Toward the middle is the full bourbon flavor rich with oak, caramel, and vanilla. The finish has the dark fruits associated with a barleywine and some warmth from the alcohol.

M - High mouth-feel with low carbonation. This is how a bourbon barrel barleywine should be; soft on the palate, full flavored, and not too cloying.

Overall, this is a supreme example of the bourbon barrel barleywine. It isn't as complex, as boozy, or as easy to drink as some out there but being in the middle of it all give this beer perfect stature for the style. This is a sweet barleywine with plenty of bourbon and goes down nicely. If you haven't tried this style this is a great one to start with since it will be the baseline on what to taste for when sampling more offerings of the style.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of KellyScottMad
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent!!! I am not a Barleywine fan to say the least, but when I tasted this beauty it changed my mind. This by far was the easiest and smoothest Barleywine I have had yet.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

for me this is better than their bourbon barrel stout.very boozy but also very well balanced tastes of bourbon and caramel. one of the best barleywine style beers ive ever tried.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Did a 2013 and 2014 side by side. 13 is more caramel, toffee, and vanilla forward. 14 has more booze and oak flavor. Like it better with a year plus on it. I'd imagine it would probably be even better with another year on it. Definitely less sweet and thinner than say BCBBW or Sucaba.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a four-pack of 12 ounce bottles from my local Trig's supermarket. 2015 vintage. Poured from the bottle at about 60 degrees into a goblet.

L: Beautiful pour on this one. Deep ruddy brown color with visible carbonation that yields an inch-and-a-half off-white head that sticks around for a very long time and leaves substantial lacing on the glass.

S: Huge bouquet on this one. Lots of vanilla and caramel malt with some subtle black licorice and roasty malt undertone. Oatmeal notes, as well. Very sweet and inviting nose.

T: Vanilla and clear alcohol are instantly present with the caramel and roasted malt front. Rye bread notes are discernible as the flavor progresses, along with a touch of black licorice. The clear alcohol persists through the back, as do the vanilla and caramel malt undertones. The pervading sense is one of sweetness, though this beer is sublimely well-balanced.

F: Substantial body on this one. It's very creamy and slightly sticky, though certainly not what I would consider overtly syrupy. There is a hold to the finish, but it's pleasant and in no way oppressive.

O: This is an excellent example of the BBA barleywine style. It is expertly balanced, as the bourbon flavor never overpowers the underlying base. Central Waters continues to impress me with their limited releases. This is definitely one to seek out.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmed up some before pouring into tulip glass. Bottled on Jan 21st, 2014, consumed on 1/7/15.
Look = 4.75 Pours a deep mahogany color with red highlights and 2 fingers of thick off white head. Great lace and retention. Big time sediment, including big chucks. Usually a bigger negative but it seems to fit fine here.
Aroma = 4.5 Big sweet aroma at first, malty toffee and caramel, complimented by the bourbon and vanilla notes. Boozy.
Taste = 4.5 Big sweetness upfront and through the middle of the taste. Sweet malt toffee and caramel, a really good barelywine. Then come the bourbon! On the backend with deep notes of vanilla. The bourbon in the finish is the strongest I’ve ever come across. At first the tastes are really separated but after a few sips it all blends together very well.
Feel = 5.0 So velvety and smooth, thick and creamy. Very substantial mouthfeel.
Drinkability = 3.0 Wow, the bourbon is really overpowering at first. Combined with the big ABV, drinkability of this is low.
Overall = 4.4625 Crazy good barelywine combined nicely with significant bourbon profile. After it all starts to blend it really is something else.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad BA barleywine, though it lacks the depth of flavor and barrel richness the best examples provide, though I kinda liked the hoppy kick it provided too. Nose is the strength of this one, with rich vanilla tones coming out. Pretty cool to have a brew like this in small format bottles, but it doesn't quite keep up with similar small formats like BCBBW.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: rich dark brown ale, opaque; thick finger of head slimmed to a filmy collar

S: sweet malts and sugared fruits glazed in bourbon; dry wood vapors

T: dark dried fruits and whiskey - hints of dates, raisin, and fig; toffee and brown sugar sweetness; impressions of herb and earthy hops; there are suggestions of something like coffee and peat; almost a smoky quality, too

M: smooth, dense, slightly chewy, muted carbonation

O: a super American BBA barleywine, spot-on and full of flavor. Highly recommended.

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Photo of SonnyJay
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: very thin layer of head that quickly dissipated, leaving some lacing. Dark translucent amber

S: sweet caramel & toffee

T: sweet toffee up front giving way to a bitter finish that lingers for quite a while on the back palate

M: medium-to-full bodied; average carbonation for the style

O: quite nice, the interplay between the sweet aroma/initial flavors and the bitter finish makes this an interesting one. I'd recommend trying it

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Photo of Catracho5
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian tulip glass

A: Dark amber red, creamy vanilla head, lots of carbonation streaming up the side, head vanished, light comes through when held up, lots of lacing.

A: Very sweet, toffee, caramel, not getting much barrel on the nose, no alcohol, just a big load of candy sweetness, very aromatic.

T: Toffee, caramel sweetness up front, nice hint of bourbon barrel, then some bitterness, alcohol on the backend, very drinkable, bitterness lingers overcoming the sweet flavors and the bourbon, very nice.

M: Medium mouthfeel, not much carbonation, not dry, very nice mouthfeel.

O: I am not very experienced with barrel aged barley wines, having only had Sucaba but this is really good, very drinkable, has a nice sweet bourbon bitter balance that makes it quite enjoyable. I would definitely pick up some more but I don't get distribution and this was an extra in a trade, very good.

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Photo of richj1970
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a deep ruby tinted brown with one finger off white head with decent retention and leaving some nice sticky lacing.

S: Bourbon, caramel, toffee, raisin, and coconut.

T: Bourbon, caramel, and maple. Dates and raisins. A really nice balance of bourbon, sweet, spices, and hops.

M: Full bodied with average carbonation. Coats the tongue nicely and finishes with a slightly sweet note.

O: Exellent BA barleywine. In my top five for sure.

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Photo of nyyfanatic213
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark out of the bottle, billowing tan head that slowly faded while clinging to the sides of the glass. A very smooth yet intense beer, and not exactly something that I would have frequently, for ABV, flavor, and cost reasons. This may as well have been carbonated whiskey. Seek it out if you like the style

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.