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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,766 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,766
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 650
Gots: 523 | FT: 52
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: Atron67 on 03-02-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,766 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by guityler83:
Photo of guityler83
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A dense tan colored head was poured about a finger tall into a snifter glass. Head retention was good for such a high gravity beer, a thin coat of lacing was left on the side of the glass as it was being consumed. Alcohol legs can be shown when swirled. The beer is a dark mahogany brown color, very murky with not much light coming through.

S: Big nose composed of prunes, raisins, plums and other dark stone fruits. A woody character melds with the complex malt profile so well it seems very organic. Fairly moderate dank and dark piny hop aroma.

T: Very complicated malt profile similar to the aroma. Prunes, plums, raisins, tobacco and pomegranate. The balance is on the malt side with a moderate sweetness, almost a syrup like flavor, but there is a medium bitterness at the beginning with an earthy, pine flavor. Last but not least the oak, vanilla, slightly coconut flavored barrel flavor develops throughout and melds very well and naturally. Very tasty.

M: Big warming sensation from the alcohol on this one, definitely a sipper. Big body with moderate to medium carbonation. The woody/oaky tannins are left on the pallet giving a slight drying sensation.

O: A big malty barley wine with an organically natural tasting barrel flavor thats great for sipping on a cold winter night. Cheers CW, keep up the good work.

guityler83, Dec 16, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade. Thanks jgam115! 1,100th rating or review!

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve- Barleywine Ale. Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels. Let's go!

Pours a murky brown, with some garnet hues. A small half inch head fizzy head descends quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing, and some visible carbonation.

Smells really incredible- I basically exclaimed "oh fuck" when I first smelled it. Strong brown sugar and toffee, some sweet sultry bourbon, and maple syrup.

The taste is similarly awesome. Just so many flavors from the clearly superior base barleywine, whatever it is, plus so many added flavors from the barrel aging. Strong maple syrup, some candied raisins and plums, brown sugar, toffee, sweet bourbon, rich, strong vanilla, light coconut, and some pleasant wood bitterness. There's a small amount of hop bitterness. The maple and vanilla flavor in this one is so strong, it almost tastes like it was made with them as adjuncts, which shows the strong brewing talents of the folks over at Central Waters.

This brew is medium bodied, but feels light and silky on the tongue. Really quite drinkable, which is a miracle, given the 11.5% ABV. The booze doesn't show up much at first, but as it warms, it becomes a bit spicy, but warming and awesome. Low carbonation, despite it's visible presence after the pour.

This is really awesome. It's barreled perfectly, it's got to be one of the smoothest barleywines I've ever had. It's decadent, and a rare treat to drink.

GreesyFizeek, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of MaximalC
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky, burnt honey color akin to apple cider, with a thin cap of khaki foam. The aroma is absolutely delicious, consisting of dark fruit, toffee, molasses, currants, blackberries, bourbon, and alcohol. I'd strongly recommend taking a few minutes to sniff this straight from the bottle...

The taste is sweet and malty up front with bourbon in the middle, along with a hoppy twinge that attempts to make way for itself from middle to back. The sweetness is highly complex and difficult to pin down, but I'd venture to describe it as tasting of wine grapes, raisins, toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, and caramel. Dark fruit isn't as present as the nose would suggest, but it does manage to emerge as the beer warms (particularly the currants). The resinous hops, which felt somewhat conflicted initially, also begin to meld better as the beer warms. The woody character of the bourbon barrels adds yet another layer of complexity. The finish is downright profound, as rich, warming alcoholic vapors envelope the back of the mouth and throat like dragon's breath. The immense staying power makes the finish a preternatural entity unto itself (not unlike the aroma). A candied stickiness lingers on the lips with each sip. The mouthfeel is fairly loose and slick for such a big beer, but it doesn't detract at all from the experience.

Overall, this is a damn fine barleywine that affords an extravaganza for the senses. From the seductive aroma to the bombastic taste, there are no false steps here. I appreciate how Central Waters didn't try to go too hop forward like some American barleywines, instead opting to let the malt and bourbon take center stage. A sipper though it may be, that only serves to prolong the enjoyment. The only other barleywine I've tried on par with this is Sucaba, so that comparison should pretty much speak for itself.

MaximalC, May 27, 2014
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to nightfly for this awesome extra.

2014 Vintage

A- Reddish-brown body with some sediment mixed in. I tried to keep most of it in the bottle, but some mixed in with the body. Thin tan head that settles quickly into a layer of bubbles.

S- Caramel, sweet sugar, vanilla, oak, sweet bread. Really robust aroma.

T- Big caramel, vanilla, sweet sugary syrup, hints of toasted malts, toasted oak, molasses. Crazy good flavor with just the slightest alcohol presence. Really nice, especially for a barely aged barleywine.

M- Full bodied, somewhat syrupy, big sweetness that coats the tongue. Medium to low carbonation is spot on.

O- Just a fantastic BBBW. Huge flavors, not too sweet, not too boozy, just terrific.

stephenjmoore, Jun 27, 2014
Photo of don1481
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review of the 2014 vintage! WOOT! 12oz bottle poured into my pint glass.

Appearance: Dense, khaki colored head that subsides fairly quickly (albeit a little slower than most of the other high ABV beers I've been drinking of late) on top of a rich, deep reddish brown beverage. Hold it up to the light and see a fair amount of bubbles.

Smell: The moment I opened the bottle, I smelled the bourbon. Now that it's poured, this has a pretty complex nose to it. Notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, vanilla, raisins, malt, and a splash of the bourbon all dance together in this one. This smells beautiful.

Taste: YUM. The bourbon notes are the strongest here, but this has a good amount of complex sweetness to balance that out quite nicely. Definitely get the toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla here. I bet this is going to age spectacularly. Not hoppy at all, which I think allows the other flavors to truly shine here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the whole; not as smooth as say a Skull Splitter, but this goes down nicely. Body feels a little thinner than I expected. Carbonation doesn't really get in the way of this one, though, so no complaints there.

Overall: Woodman's only had 2 cases of this dropped off on Thursday; I bought two 4 packs and think I may need to go find more to age. I recently had a couple samplers of the BC Barleywine and this definitely is right there with it in terms of overall quality and complexity. VERY impressed.

don1481, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -7.2%

DanGeo, Mar 11, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4/5  rDev -7.2%

tectactoe, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Schlais, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of tbryan5
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pmarlowe for sending me this in a trade.

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark cloudy bronze color with minimal head that dissipates pretty quickly. It does leave a little lacing on the glass.

S- Wow! Is this whiskey or beer? The bourbon hits you as soon as the bottle is cracked open. Even more huge bourbon notes as I poured it. As this brew mellows and warms, I can start to notice more sweetness and the dark fruit aromas come out.

T- Again, more bourbon. But I like it. I almost want to say that CW did not empty the barrels out completely before they added the beer. The bourbon, oak, sand barleywine mesh well in my opinion and produce a very flavorful brew. I can see how it may be too overpowering for some but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

M- Medium carbonation and it goes down easily. Definitely has an alcohol bite to it.

O- Not for the faint of heart. If you do not like bourbon, you will not like this one. I, for one, found it to be delicious and would pick it up again if I had access to it here in Louisiana.

tbryan5, May 05, 2013
Photo of Clonies720
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. 2013 vintage. No freshness date. Gold cap. Poured into tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a dark-reddish-orange tint. 1/2th inch tan-colored head. When held up to the light, none passes through this fearsome brew. (It clears up as it gets warmer)

Smell: A spicy woody character hits my nose first. It's quickly followed by notes of dark, bourbon-soaked fruits. Medium hints of vanilla. Caramel and rich toffee titillate my senses as this beer warms up. It's very malt forward. Perhaps even a touch bready. Slight earthy hop aroma.

Taste: It's an explosion of flavor! A light sweet honey gently skates upon my tongue. Then the symphony of flavors melds into huge vanilla and a strong, spicy bourbon flavor. Finally, the concerto climaxes with a smooth, rich toffee & caramel presence.

The alcohol heat is there, but it's not overpowering or overdone. Perfect for a cold night.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-high carbonation. Somewhat chewy. Velvety and luscious

Overall: Bravisimo to the conductor of this symphony! I stood up and applauded furiously to express my gratitude and appreciation of the music that was presented to my tastebuds.

Clonies720, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of delaced21
4/5  rDev -7.2%

delaced21, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of Krafty34
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Krafty34, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

SkiBum22, Apr 02, 2014
Photo of wrycon
4/5  rDev -7.2%

wrycon, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of Ben7773
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Ben7773, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of newk340
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a rosy mauve color that is slightly opaque that leaves no head after a slow pour.

S: a twinge of bourbon burns the nostrils while a faint aroma of cherries lingers in the back of the mind. phenomenal smell accurately predicts the exceptional taste.

T: a fantastic bourbon taste with black cherries lost in an oaky combination of flavors. simply wonderful.

MF/D: gives off a slight heat that coats the mouth and throat with a smooth finish. a great special occasion beer. no wonder this is in such high demand. thought about trading the rest of my stock, but also contemplating saving it...

newk340, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of danthehopslamman
4/5  rDev -7.2%

danthehopslamman, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

NWer, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

DaftPatrick, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of sponberg
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish amber, slightly cloudy, with a thin offwhite head that is gonna do some lacing, you knows it.

Yeah, this one's hit the barrel - big, butter/smoke/vanilla/bourbon aroma with slight pepperiness; almost more of an anejo tequila note than bourbon in here. Diggin' it.

Starts out with this vast bourbon malt attack - huge flavor going on. Really get the bourbon barrel in this one - almost but not quite too much. Woody, spicy (pepperiness again) with big dark carameliness but dry as can be. Not cloying in the slightest. Finish is almost dominated by the combination of that smoky bourbon maltiness and the growing alcoholic presence. I like vanilla, but this one's got the bean well under control and all for the better of it. Big, warm, round, smooth, with a warming surge o' in the finish that almost numbs the tongue. A beer made for sipping, Two of these would be plenty - but I'd enjoy every sip.

Thanks to theFatKid13 for the bottle - :thumbup: F'n Furley!!!

sponberg, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of Callmecoon
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Callmecoon, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of megamass
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

megamass, May 26, 2013
Photo of mctizzz
4/5  rDev -7.2%

mctizzz, May 27, 2014
Photo of tripelz
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

tripelz, May 24, 2014
Photo of badbeer
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy amber brownish color with a beige head that has decent retention and lacing. Aroma just amazes me; I absolutely love their bourbon beers, haven't had anything else that compares. Sweet caramel, bourbon, and vanilla; just such an amazing aroma. Taste echoes the aroma. Whatever they do, the flavors just hit me perfectly. Thicker than medium body, somewhat light carbonation, but goes down very smooth. Another excellent barrel aged beer from Central Waters. Keep it up!

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,766 ratings.