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

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,976 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,976
Reviews: 560
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 693
Gots: 587 | FT: 67
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,976 | Reviews: 560
Photo of nmann08
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

From a bottle, pours a very murky brown with ruby hues. A very thin and wispy head sits on top and there is a fair amount of clumpy sediment.

The smell is dark fruit, sweet malt and a fair amount of bourbon. Even after 3 or 4 years, this still has great barrel character. A little bit of hop content and vanilla still hang around.

The flavor is fruity, berry, not much bourbon at all. This is very mellow, balanced, in line with an aged barleywine. The barrel has faded considerably. Nice citrus hops with a faint taste of vanilla sweetness. This is in a great spot right now. Mouthfeel is clean, refreshing. Not much booze on the flavor.

Drink any 2011's you have now.

Photo of muttyd
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wisconsinality for this amazing extra.

Poured into a stemmed chalice with an apple-cider / hazy amber body and thin, offwhite head that settles into about a 1/8 inch thick haze. Very cloudy, decent lacing.

Aroma is all over the place. I get a caramel-dipped apple up front, some cinnamon & sugar toast, and vanilla/oak. The aroma really changes as the beer warms up and as you take a deeper whiff. Finishes with a burnt sugar, alcoholic presence. The flavor brings out the barrel a bit more than the nose with a pleasant vanilla frosting combined with wet oak flavor. Some citrusy/pineapple hops in there as well. Rich dark caramel sweetness makes this one sweet, without being too cloyingly sweet. Medium carbonation with a heavier body that finishes very sticky, coating the mouth.

Very generous extra, huge props again to Winsconsinality. Would love to get a hold of this one again.

Photo of Thirsty_In_Chicago
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage received from abents a long while back.. Thanks Adam. Trying to only drink from the cellar for a bit ... and I realized I hadn't reviewed this one.

Poured into MNFG.. 2 finger light khaki head.. great lace atop a crystal clear perfectly amber brew.

Nose is very rich ABW... tons of maltiness with still quite a bit of citric hoppiness. the barrel really comes across more as a fairly thick vanilla essence as opposed to bourbon..

Flavor begins the same as the nose.. thick .. rich .. and blankets the palate .. less vanilla and more oak than the aroma.. bunches of caramel.. and still a definite citric hoppiness.. medium body and a lighter than expected carbonation tilt toward a silky mouthfeel... the alcohol is there, but not bad at all..

This is pretty damn nice right now.... I don't know if any more age is gonna help it though.. I think with another year, the malts may become a bit cloying and leave the hops behind and not be as balanced.

Photo of Beerandboards
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a large wine glass. 2012 vintage I think.

A - kind of a brown ruby red color. Very dark in the glass, when held to the light the red shows through. Minimal head, but a crown retains for quite a while, good amount of lacing.

S - lots of caramel and vanilla. Fairly boozy.

T - follows the nose with vanilla and caramel, bourbon booziness, there is a hint of dark cherries. There is a large hop bite, almost acidity in the bitterness. That being said, not offensive, but it doesn't really blend with the mellow flavors up front.

M - quite good. Medium body, low carbonation. Good.

O - I think this will really round out in about a year. The hop bitterness is not bad, but the front it so mellow that the moderate hop bit at the end seems more pronounced. I think with some time, this will move from an A- to an A/A+

Photo of JAXSON
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Pours a clear, medium ruby with a scant head. Nose is nice, round malt, fruit sugars, bourbon, oak barrel. Mouth is fairly straight forward, but is good in its simplicity. Mostly bourbon, oak, burnt sugar. I feel like this is somewhat in the "American" vein after having some maltier, heavy ones like the Old Stock Reserves. It's the same idea as Wooden Hell but without the amazing complexity and depth. Impressive.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark orange red with a slight 1/16 inch head and low lacing. Very lightly carbonated. Strong bourbon malt smell. Bold bourbon-malt flavor that is smooth and balanced. This is very good and the 11.2% ABV is certainly in your face. The malt tastes goes very well with the bourbon. This is worth buying. Very enjoyable! World Class!

Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A pours a rich red color with an off white head. Head has ok retention and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness, and a good amount of wood.

T- Quite a bit of caramel, nice piney taste that came out of no where, bourbon and vanilla. A touch of booze here too.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- A sipper for sure. Very solid brew for sure. I'll try to hunt this one done again.

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I aged a 2012 for about a year and half to see what happens. I though the beer has initially rather harsh.

Appearance - The beer was golden brown color. It is a little lighter in color than I am used to for a bourbon barrel barleywine. No head or lacing was noted.

Smell - The bourbon is noted in a big way, with a certain level of sweetness to the aroma.

Taste - On the initial taste, the warmth of the bourbon bursts. This is still hot. Notes of grassy caramel, burnt malt, and dark fruits follow the burn. The aspect of this one I enjoy most are the caramel notes. The bourbon notes lack vanilla and really do not add much more than a burn. The aftertaste is pretty heavy burn. This bourbon barleywine is not as smooth as some of its counterparts. Aging did little for this one.

Mouthfeel - The barleywine lacked smoothness because of the burn. This also prevents me from suggesting this to be an easy drinker.

Overall - I much prefer Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout to the barelywine. It is far too harsh for my liking.

Photo of Blazer22
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of Scotchboy
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz 2012 vintage bottle born in January of this year, poured into a New Belgium Globe. Huge thanks to laymansbeerfan for this one.

A: Pours a prototypical murky dark copper, with minimal tan head but excellent spotty lacing and alcohol feet.

S: Intense to start off - bourbon is prominent, dark sugary caramel sweetness, raisins and dried figs...very malty, and it smooths out as it warms...bits of oak and vanilla as well.

T: Alcohol is definitely there but it isn't overwhelming...bourbon, sugary caramel, dried figs dipped in brown sugar, oak, toffee, hints of vanilla, earthy notes.

MF: Alcohol heat definitely sits in your throat...medium to full mouthfeel, with good bitterness and a creamy body.

O: Intense beer, definitely like how the alcohol plays with all of the flavors, but it makes it hard to kill this bottle. One-and-done for me tonight.

Thanks Aaron!

Photo of emerge077
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark crimson with two fingers of tan foam. Creamy consistency and long lasting retention. The deep crimson color is nice. Stewed prunes in the nose, not as nice. 2009 bottle, but it smells aged. Cotton candy, brown sugar, sweet and syrupy.

Some heat at first that's soon eclipsed by a gargantuan battle cruiser of bourbon and malt flavors. If you like those two things, you can't go wrong. Sweet vanilla aftertaste, plenty of rich malt and some residual hop bitterness. Drying finish, somewhat concealed in the booze department. Rich and syrupy feel, thankfully dry on the end like Y2K and not a sickly sweet aftertaste like so many barleywines. The barrel is integrated here, and it's not too hot, but you know deep down this is a booze bomb. Plenty of warmth, but not in the taste. Very well done overall, one to look forward to every year.

Photo of russwbeck
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage, reviewed in 2012

A: It pours out of the bottle a muddy brown to deep red and rests inside my Deschutes snifter with about a finger of light brown head. The head isn't a fan of the party and checks out pretty quickly, leaving to lacing behind.

S: The smell is pretty nicely balanced. It seems to have a mellow about it normally reserved for aged beers. Deep caramel malts, some booze that hints towards being too offensive, bourbon, and vanilla.

T: The boozy aroma that only hinted towards offensive on the smell is more so on the taste. Underneath it lays a creamy, smooth maltiness that's blended nicely with bourbon and vanilla. I think I'm getting some roast at the very end as well. The taste is too much from the barrel and just not as integrated as the aroma seemed.

MF: A bit thin with lower than average carbonation. The booze hurts the drinkability, but nothing strange hangs around on the palate.

O: This was a nice little beer, but nothing special. I got it as an extra in a trade, so I'm not really in any place to complain! I'd say it falls on the side of an easy-drinking Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, but it isn't really special

2013 Vintage, reviewed in 2013

A: The body is more clear, but also more dark than Y2K. The pour is a dark brown with a thinner head, about one finger in height. The retention has gone down as well as the lacing. 3

S: The sweetness has been taken up another notch! Big notes of vanilla, toffee, and dark fruits really take over with a bit of booze thrown in. The roast, which carried the aroma of the base beer, is all but gone. I think the barrel took the nose up another notch, but I'm worried the taste will be too sweet. 4.5

T: The taste is of chewy caramel, vanilla, and hints of bourbon. It is very sweet, but the bourbon and booze actually provide some balance. The finish is delicious vanilla mixed with toffee. The roast has gone, apparently, as I don't get any with this beer any longer. 4

MF: The mouthfeel is crazy smooth with a boozy finish. It's damn drinkable, which when considering this is a very high ABV and I had it directly after normal Y2K at 10%...I'm feeling pretty good. 4

Value: This trade was definitely worth it. Both this and the base beer are tasty offerings. 4.5

O: This beer definitely improved in the bourbon barrels. The taste was more balanced, easier to drink, and overall more enjoyable. Both are good beers, this one is just better and I would seek it out again. 4

Photo of n2185
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky, orange-brown with a finger of off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt with touches of maple along with strong aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are sweet caramel malts up front with a touch of maple flavor as well. Then the vanilla, oak, and bourbon kick in. The finish has a fairly strong alcohol burn along with a lingering bitterness from the hops.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet at first but finishes a bit lighter than expected with the alcohol burn and bitterness.

O: A pretty good barleywine that thankfully doesn't suffer like their two bourbon barrel stouts. The original barleywine flavors still come through the barrel aging process, which is a quality their bbal stouts unfortunately lacked.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddied Amber in color, with a nice little pale yellow colored head.

The aroma is huge with bourbon, sweet toffee, booze, malty sweetness, spiciness, and lots of wood/oak characters.

The taste have big woody oak notes, plenty of heat, vanilla, sweet malts, nice rich toffee.

The feel is creamy, milky, and pretty full bodied.

Overall, an excellent BW! Many thanks for seeswo for the hookup!

Photo of jsanford
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Snifter. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours a dark orange-brown with a thin white head that fades to a slight ring and whispy haze.
S - Sweet aromas of caramel malt and candied orange peel with strong Bourbon notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla. Reminds me a bit of those sugar-and-caramel candied that I love so much (cept boozier!).
T - Big and malty with lots of caramel, a touch of chocolate, bitter citrus hops, and a whole bunch of Bourbon that lingers on the palate for some time. Still quite boozy, I'm surprised this hasn't smoothed out more, but I'm not really minding it.
M - Sticky and sweet, with a fairly full mouthfeel and lowish carbonation. So decadent.
O - A really nice Bourbon-forward Barleywine, such a treat!

Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of TallPaul07, thanks Paul!

This one pours a medium bodied cherry wood brown with a one finger beige head. The nose is pretty balanced. There is oak, vanilla, caramel, molasses, and even some red grape character. The flavors too are complex and it drinks an off dry. The flavors are sweet and malty, featuring dark red fruit, a good amount of oak, vanilla, toffee, and a moderate amount of alcohol. Pretty solid and more balanced than I expected. It drinks big and sticky with a good amount of wood and alcohol in the aftertaste. Overall I liked this quite a bit. It's better than the majority of barrel aged barley wines out there.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shango42 does it again with a KILLER extra. Feb 2010 vintage.

a - opened the bottle and filled my cigar city snifter. nice murky amber orange color with some carbonation sticking to the glass. the head was thin and gone quickly and lacing was not evident at all (but this IS a bourbon barrel aged beer, so that's what I expect).

s - as soon as the top was popped off the air filled with a nice raisin plum smell. after the pour and a closer sniff I could pull the delicate balance of a great hop/malt syrupy mix along with the wood from the barrels. Really nice and really well balanced.

t - very intense. caramel malts and some dark fruit. the bourbon is not in your face, but this beer has over a year on it. being a fan of in-yo-face-booziness, I'd love to try this one fresh. I'd also love to try the base beer Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. again, very nice balance of everything going on, wish the bourbon taste was more stand out.

m - full and rich. alcohol is tamed down and shows itself more on the aftertaste than the initial sips. also i noticed a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

o - overall, very nice. buzzing through some reviews, seems like the bourbon really tames over time (as expected), but is very in your face fresh...would love to check out a freshy. another fine barleywine.

*** ** * ** ***
had a chance to have the 2011 side-by-side with the 2010 at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 - the 2011 is exactly as predicted. the bourbon is very in your face. the 2010 is much dryer and more mellow. i'd say this beer is better with a year on it.

Photo of flagmantho
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

Photo of ptykozoon
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty, burnt orangeish brownish. Okay head, okay lacing.

Bits of hops, orange, caramel, burnt sugar, nice.

Yum. Lots of caramel and candy in this one. Hops are dominated, mainly just dessert: vanilla and chocolate wrapped in an easily drinkeable, lightly hopped dessert beer.

Rich, full mouthfeel, well done. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the tongue. Alcohol controlled masterfully.

This is a truly great beer. Best I've had from Central Waters. Very impressed, seek out.

Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den during the bella vista bash - 09 vintage

Pours a deep amber color, fairly dark, thick froth of off-white head retains well with some patchy lacing on the glass.

Strong bourbon notes, vanilla and oak, slight sweetness, notes of hoppiness and dark fruit.

Big bourbon flavor right up front with wood and vanilla tones. Boozy and full flavored, residual dark fruit with raisin and dates. Hops slice through in the beginning and towards the finish, which is warm and smooth.

Full bodied, somewhat higher carbonation, a bit creamy, lasting finish on the tongue. Drinks really nice, I was psyched to try this and I'm happy I have a 2011 bottle at home to compare this to.

Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only a green label to indicate the barrel aging. We did a side by side tasting with the regular version and this is a whole different experience. Pours a nice almost cloudy reddish brown. Smell is mostly sweet malts, caramel.
Taste is really more than a 4.5, more like a 4.75. My buddy said it tasted like buttered popcorn and in a small way he was right. There was a buttery taste to it that went really well with the caramel sweetness. Very smooth and thick, very little carbonation and it went down really well.
This is a really well crafted beer, the bourbon notes really made it great. Highly recommended.

Photo of Ob1wan
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my bottles from 2010 that had been in the cellar for the past year.

Poured with a slight head which remained around the a snifter's edge upon drinking.

The smell of this beer grabs you more than anything. The bourbon stands out on the nose along with on the taste long afterwards. Defiantly a slow drinker with the bitterness on the tail end.

Photo of Atron67
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: saw this in the store and being a big fan of teh kosmic charlie i bought a couple, purple lable, standard central waters symbol with a barrel behind the fancy lettered name.

A- poured what appeared to be a murky brown, however it was too dark to see through. brown body with a little red tint through the light . has an almost tan head which faded reasonably quick to a thin film with little lacing.

S- has a strong malty scents. strong hops, though not overly floral, seems to be a more malt driven barleywine than a hop driven one. can notice the bourbon underneath not weak but not that strong.

T- has a strong malty kick that you look for in a barleywine, pretty good, light notes of dark fruits underneath, not a huge bourbon taste to note, however you can taste it on your breath after drinking it, however i think the taste is made more by the nice malt and fruit notes.

M- full body medium carbonation. can feel the bourbon on your throat after drinking.

D- pretty solid, well enjoyed, the kosmik might be better but its still solid

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,976 ratings.