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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,877 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,877
Reviews: 542
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 669
Gots: 527 | FT: 54
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: 1,877 | Reviews: 542 | Display Reviews Only:
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

Photo of hardy008
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Burgundy color with a one finger light tan head with decent retention. Smells of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon.

The taste mirrors the aroma perfectly, with caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. This is Kosmyk Charlie Y2K in a bourbon barrel. Is somewhat hot with alcohol.

Medium to full bodied, sweet, and creamy. Not as smooth as Kosmyk Charlie, due to the bourbon, but still very nice. I have several more bottles, and can't wait to see how they age.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this in an a BIF box from rebis1bear.

Served in a snifter.

I've had this beer a few times, but never this fresh. I am amazed at how much more I like it fresh. Recently we cracked an 09 and 10 side by side-- I was unimpressed. Had I rated those bottles, this beer would be getting a C- to D!
I like the fresh beer much more.

Anyway... Nice burnt orange color with a dark tan head formed from a surge of bubbles up the sides-- a rolling, cascading, and tumbling journey that really looks nice. The head has decent retention and leaves some hefty thick rings of lace.

Smells... well, like a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. Big malts are sweet and doughy while bourbon encompasses all with a blanket of sweet booziness. The beer has some dark fruit/raisin note with a touch of earthy character (from the hops? Barrel?), big sweet malts and boozy bourbon. The flavor is nice-- lots going on, with a solid bourbon bite to finish me off and linger a bit.

The body is nearly full with a surprising and delightful prickly feel. Excellent carbonation level. Really, quite nice on the feel.

This is a very nice beer. Any bottles I get from here on out will be consumed fresh. I shall not age them!

Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to milwaukeeclassic for throwing this in as an extra.

Pours a deep woody brown with a thin tan head. Very rich color.

The nose has a collection of bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, mellow hops and caramelized sugars.

The taste is more subtle, a tasty blend of whiskey, wood, toffee, pitted fruits and bitter hops.

Top knotch, I think I am starting to prefer bourbon aged strong ales over bourbon aged stouts. At least until my next BA stout. The residual sugars in this barleywine really pick up the complexities created by the barrels.

Photo of Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip. 2013 vintage.

A: dark orange/ terra cotta hued body. slightly hazed. head pours a bit underwhelming with a light brown/orange/white hue. retention is limited, but present. spots of lacing left behind.

S: dark fruit. plums. a lot of bourbon oak. a LOT of oak. but good, the wood is welcomed and works great with all this sweetness. no hop aroma at all, not that I mind one bit, this thing is all about big beer and bourbon.

T: holy hell, the first sip is fucking rocket fuel. straight ethanol. hope a few more sips will get me better acquainted. ahh, that's a little better. bourbon warmth/flavor for sure. similar to the nose, lots of bourbon-y oak flavor. a little bit of caramel sneaks out when it can. lingering brown sugar and alcohol heat.

M: carb is mellow and works well with this big guy. full bodied to the gills.

D: this would definitely be a prime candidate for cellaring. as soon as I took my first sip I thought maybe I opened this too soon. oh well, live and learn. regardless, there are some really good aromas/flavors going on here that im sure would develop some nice complexities over time. grab a few if you can.

Photo of Roguer
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful dirty nut brown brew, fairly dark in the glass, topped by a decent creamy tan head. Retention is so-so; lacing is bubbly but sparse.

Huge malty notes of caramel and toffee erupt from the glass, chased by vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon is much stronger on closer, careful sniffs, but not overpowering; there's plenty of room for pecans and walnuts, prunes, chocolate, vanilla, and a complete toasted malt bath.

Flavor follows the nose, with an added bite from earthy and herbal hops. Bourbon up front; followed by caramel, toffee, and toast; and finished with vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, oak, and some alcohol heat.

Long wet finish allows vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon to dance across your gums and tongue in waves. Brew is relatively thin up front, but with a silky wetness that coats your mouth. Lots of alcohol heat, but it's not unpleasant.

This beer tastes like they took the malt boil, poured it into a bourbon barrel, added some green hops, and called it a day. It's absolutely delicious.

Photo of morimech
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

Pours a dark brown with minimal head. What head that did form, disappeared in a few seconds. Very little lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is very complex. I detect bourbon, vanilla, coconut, and some dark fruit. Alcohol is noticed. A nice flavor as well. Surprisingly the bourbon is not the prominent flavor. It is vanilla with dark fruit mostly until the bourbon comes into focus. The finish is very warm with alcohol but not harsh. Unfortunately there is not much flavor that actually comes from the base beer. It is all barrel. Full bodied with low carbonation that lends a nice texture. A good example, not great. I wonder how an older example would taste?

Photo of Canada_Dan
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

Photo of cfrances33
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to yamar68, poured into HF stem.

Pour: Ugly, muddy copper, with barely a finger of head that diminishes to a rim. Nice sticky legs, alcohol definitely there.

Smell: Toffee and bourbon up front, with some chewy raisins and vanilla. A hefty oak presence lends an almost smokey character.

Taste: A lot of barrel here, both with bourbon characteristics and a significant oak presence. Nice toffee and very chewy dates and figs. Some vanilla. Ends extremely woody, almost smokey, and any lingering taste is gone.

Mouthfeel: I can't decide if this is too sweet, or has too much of an alcohol presence. As it warms, these concerns are alleviated as it all blends together.

Overall: A very nice barrel aged barleywine, but not in the same league as KH, Sucaba, and Leon.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter; Jan 2012 bottling

A somewhat murky mahogany body, with a small, ecru colored cap that fell quickly. Just some bubbles remain along the edges.

The nose is of figs, caramel, dates, maple syrup, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and some cocoa powder. Big and bold, assertive in all the right places.

On the palate, toffee and caramel with figs/raisins/dates quickly in tow. Some brown sugar and cocoa powder through the middle before a huge wave of bourbon and oak seal the deal. The finish is sugary and full of toffee and bourbon.

The body is on the lighter side of full with low carbonation. I felt this needed a little more body to really put it over the edge. A little undercarbonated as well.

This is a tasty beer in all aspects. Big, bold flavors and with a fuller body and better carbonation, this beer would really shine.

Photo of yourefragile
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 edition, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to everyone who sent me this.

Pours a clear crimson mahogany color with a moderate light beige head with average retention and lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is the highlight, a potent complex blend of bourbon, caramel malt, mild citrus hops, oak, maple, berries, etc with surprisingly little booziness. Unfortunately the flavor isn't quite as complex and balanced at the nose; I guess this could use some more age on it. Flavor starts with an intense vanilla and bourbon booziness before the base of a more English style barleywine with complex caramel malts and dark fruity esters. Finish is exceptionally boozy and drying with light citric hops. Body is medium thick with light carbonation and overall has a smooth, soft texture that covers the palate with a lingering dry bourbon finish. I really enjoyed this and look forward to aging some, but was a little let down by the hype on this as I enjoy Weyerbacher's Insanity almost as much and can buy that off the shelf.

Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruddy orange with moderate light tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet vanilla with some overripe dark fruit (plum, raisins), toffee and oak. Somewhat boozy as well.

Taste: Fairly sweet and fruity with a big blast of vanilla. While there is some definite toffee, plum and raisin driving home the malt base, this is mostly about the bourbon barrel aging, which imparts vanilla, coconut and light oak. Some light spicy hops on the finish.

Feel: Sweet, full and boozy body with moderately low carbonation. Finish is barely dry, struggling against the sweet taste.

Overall: More so than most Bourbon Barrel beers (which are often Stouts), this is truly a showcase for the Bourbon, making the beer secondary. This makes for a mighty tasty Barleywine, but one that is slightly hampered by sweetness and alcohol.

Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great barleywine, courtesy of Derek. Alias the Y2K barrel-aged. The bourbon aroma is mellow and pleasing The ruby colour and white bubbly head. Beatiful lace. Rich taste, the bourbon is intrinsic and its mellowed somewhat.Woody,sweetish, balanced. ABove average mouthfeel.A great sipper.

Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: typically low (for the style) head with light retention, refreshing itself with each tilt of the glass, the beer is an appealing deep amber in color

s: full, grainy caramel malt aroma, boozy bourbon with great notes of vanilla and malt soaked oak, loads of date and some raisin, quite strong, moderate piny hop presence

m: low carbonation, full body

t: rich caramel malts, considerable malt-soaked wood, vanilla cookies, moderate bitterness, nice

d: a slow sipper

12 oz. from dirty louis, into my Brooklyn snifter

Photo of cdkrenz
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Loud light brown head standing about an inch tall. The body a deep purple to reddish dark brown color with a thick haze. It appears dense.

S - Apricot, anise and alcohol soaked yeast.

T - Sweet black licorice with pungent fruity notes. There is a pungent hops here that really makes this special.

M - Smooth feel with a light bubbles texture. It goes down bitter-sweet.

~ This is a good beer. I've been a fan of the Central Waters brand and I have to say, "they haven't let me down here either." I'm thinking they may never let me down. I appreciate that. Thanks CW.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,877 ratings.