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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

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

1,933 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,933
Reviews: 551
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 692
Gots: 554 | FT: 60
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: 1,933 | Reviews: 551 | Display Reviews Only:
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 jwc215
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage - Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours slightly hazed light brown with a very well-retained creamy tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of rich caramel/toffee, dates, figs, prunes, brown sugar and bourbon/wood.

The taste is of caramel with dates/figs/prunes. Booze and bourbon/oak stand out in the sharp finish.

It has a full-body. Black pepper/booze and dry wood linger on the palate.

This one is very young - the alcohol really stands out. It may take some time to mellow, though it is certainly enjoyable now. The aroma itself is simply wonderful!

Photo of kamikazeokami
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TK5150
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage.

A- Pours a nice opaque burgundy color with a small beige head. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Looks just like a barleywine should.

S- A nice shot of caramel, vanilla, barrel, and alcohol. The caramel and vanilla show nicely.

T- A big shot of caramel and bourbon hit me first. Loads of raisin and dark fruits appear after...grapes as well. The flavors come in waves. Lingering bitterness.

M- Full bodied, with a surprisingly spritzy carbonation.

O- A very nice barleywine; recommended. Would like to have this again.

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

12 oz. bottle served in a Deschute snifter. 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a nice combination of grapefruit and ruby with a one and half finger off white head forming on the pour. The head has some nice retention as well and it leaves some sticky lace. There is some slight sediment in the pour that takes some away from the look.

S: The smell is a mix of subtle bourbon with a malt sweetness. Some light caramel and vanilla come into play with minimal fruitiness. The alocohol is there ever so slightly.

T: The bourbon is very upfront with this one giving a nice warming sensation. It subsides to a nice caramel malt and a very light vanilla. There is some minimal oakiness with an addition of some subtle dark fruits. Very nicely done.

M: A little thinner and lighter then I would expect and not as sticky as I would like it. It does go down easy though even with the minimal heat. There is a slight drying finish to it.

O: A very nicely done BBBW. The barrel presence was solid and the heat really played nicely with the other surrounding flavors. I do wish the body of the beer was a little heavier though.

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

February 2010 bottling

12oz bottle received as anA extra in a trade with my most frequent trade partner thanks!

Appearance: Pours an attractive medium iced tea with red/honey folds. The crown is 1 finger, slightly off white, shows moderate retention and some lace.

Smell: Sweet malt with a hint of lightly toasted oak and a whisper of bourbon. Nothing bad but nothing exciting either.

Taste: Same as nose. Nice sweetness toward the end that subsides a bit quicker than the lingering bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied with decent carbonation. Works with the flavor profile.

Overall: A pretty solid brew that I probably should have tried fresh first to get a baseline on.

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

Had on-tap at the Norse, this came out dark with red highlights and smelled like woody cherries and bourbon. Taste is very sweet, with ripe fruit flavors, vanilla, lots of caramel and oaked wood. I like the fact that the bourbon isn't overwhelming, and that the beer gets more and more complex as it warms. I'm also genuinely surprised at the 11.5 ABV--this was so smooth! So light! So easy to drink! I don't normally love this style, but this I would have again in a second.

Photo of Goldndomer
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Ri0
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Muddy brown with some amber tones with a thin khaki head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon is not as strong as I would have believed and there are complex aromas. Notes of thick caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit, malt, and bourbon make it a treat to inhale.

T - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, thick caramel, dark fruits dusted in brown sugar. Toffee and butter scotch and also hidden in teh back. Slight bit of alcohol and I do not notice any bitterness from the hops.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. It is smooth and rich on the palate.

O - I had this to do a comparison with Insanity. This was less harsh and more mellow and sweet compared to Insanity. I would have thought Insanity would have been less bitter since it is an English style, but the bourbon was too prevalent in it. Going to age both and see how they are. I do recommend this one.

Photo of kevanb
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter. 2013 vintage.

The beer pours a super dark, rich, brown color, hues of caramel and khaki with a thick beige head that has decent retention, settling nicely into a surplus of film around the rim of the glass, yet yields just a spot or two of lace. The aroma is really lovely, lots of burnt marshmallow, brown sugar, rich toffee, sweet grain, light oak, smooth bourbon with mild vanilla. Super sweet, but very complex and rewarding. The flavors resonate well, incredible marshmallow character initially, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, chewy oak, smooth and subtle bourbon, vanilla is mild with a nice smooth malt finish. The body is where this beer stumbles, lots of zippy carbonation, a bit unpleasant at times, that is a little too lively. It coats mildly well, but could do with a much richer and smoother feel. The finish is easy, a bit peppy but still fairly smooth and warming.

Verdict: A delightful Barrel Aged Barleywine from Central Waters, and one of their finest products. The body really doesn't do this beer justice as the flavors are so spot on, perfect marshmallow toastiness. It reminds me a lot BB4D, which is one of my favorite beers to date.

Photo of wyatt13
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Half Acre snifter.

A - pours a dark toffee or burnt caramel with a half finger off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S - bourbon and oak are most noticeable, with a nice sweetness of caramel & dark fruits.

T - wow, great barrel character here. Nicely balanced with the base beer without being overpowering. Also manages to rein in the sweetness. A bit of heat on the aftertaste, but it doesn't detract too much.

M - sticky, but not too thick. Lots of carbonation here for a barrel-aged beer.

O - really liked this one. Nicely warming without impeding the drinkability. Great for a snowy winter day.

Photo of miffsudd
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%

Photo of yamar68
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burgundy with a modest off-white and lovely, thin beading. The nose is pretty massive - caramel, dark fruit, booze, toffee, some licorice, sweet grains, quite a bit going on, evolving with warmth. The taste is big on the sweeter, darker malt notes. The barrel does play a very dominant role but it definitely brings the beer in a different direction. The booze hits harder than I would expect which was also the case with their BA stout. Very good, nonetheless.

Photo of Etan
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2012) into a brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brownish-red with a small off-white head.

S: Raisin, brown sugar, strawberry shortcake, vanilla, a bit of oak and perfumy alcohol. Smells like dessert.

T: Sweet wave of barleywine malt - sugary prune, raisin, cherry, a bit of dark grain, cidery hop. Vanilla and spicy dark alcohol behind. Some hot tannic oaky bitterness. Throat-warming alcohol, vanilla, and coconut in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied with a nice tingle to it.

O: I'd be happy drinking this all year. Very solid -bal barleywine.

Photo of brewmudgeon
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/2011 (2011 vintage): very similar to the 2010 after a few months, except the figs and dates are even more buried by the booze--can't wait to try the 2010 later. On a side note, mixing a few ounces of this about 50/50 with red's rye p.a. turned out amazingly well.

9/2010 (2010 vintage):
a 4 slightly haz coppery amber. film lasts a modest while.

s 4.5 at first the deep fig and date aromas i remember from regular charlie, then the bourbon hits me bigtime.

t 4 the bourbon is big on the palate as well. this beer is slick, hot, and boozy. wow, this might really benefit from some age, whereas i like the y2k just the way it is.

m 4.5 thick, slick, enough carbonation of fine quality.

d 4 will have to crack another open in a year or so and see if the bourbon settles down at all. right now this is huge and impressive, but i don't like it as much as the regular charlie.

Photo of waltonc
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up thanks to a gentleman visiting from Milwaukee thus week. Tastes like a clone of Abacus, which is to say I think it's delicious. Pours dark brow/ruby with a creamy white head. Smells outstanding - vanilla, toffee, and bourbon predominate. The flavor follows, but is a touch too hot and boozy for my taste, resulting in a slightly diminished score. Body is fairly thick with perfect low to medium carbonation for this style. Overall, a great beer. I wish it was just a little less hot.

Photo of Morey
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a murky dirty brown color with one finger of beige colored foam following a medium aggressive pour. The head settled extremely fast to nothing but a thin and spotty layer. There's definitely some alcohol legs on the sides of my snifter, but the lacing quickly retreats back into the beer.

Aroma: Plenty of bourbon up front is followed closely by a huge wave a caramel malts. Smells sweet and sugary with a hint of sticky earthy hops. I'm also getting raisins in there as well.

Taste: In your face bourbon/alcohol up front gives way to caramel and earthy malt flavors. There's some sticky hop bitterness towards the middle. I'm also getting some dark fruit like sweetness towards the back-end. Plenty of bourbon along with a good dose of alcohol heat on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a sticky feel. Low level of carbonation.

Morey's Bottom Line: A BIG BAD Barleywine to be sure! If you don't like big beers, this isn't for you. Plenty of bourbon and warming alcohol following each sip. A bit more on the earthy side than most English-style Barleywines. It's somewhere in between American and English.

Photo of Zachtheporter
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes written down 3 days ago.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into What is either a tulip glass or a sifter with an extra long stem. It's a very funny looking glass that I cannot really describe but I digress.

A- Pours a semi-dark rich amber red/brown. Has a light off-white head that forms and then dissipates right away leaving a thin ring around the edges of the glass. There are a few bubbles that are rising to the top, and so it is a noticeably carbonated brew; Especially since this is a bba brew. (strange)

S- The is a strong scent of bourbon permeating through out this beer melding with a sweet fruity aroma. There are notes of caramel and sweet fresh grapes as well as some light cherry notes.

T- This barley wine taste's very strongly of alcohol especially at the beginning. It is semi-sweet and fruity as well as a bit malty. the perfect combination. There are notes of both raisins and grapes among the cornucopia of malty and fruity flavors. The beer finishes with the rich taste of malty bourbon.

M- Medium to high carbonation give it a crispness that I find somewhat odd in a barley wine. The beer has a thick malty, almost grainy feel to it as well. It coats the tongue at the end of each sip.

O- Much like Central Waters other Bourbon barrel aged beers this is a brew that Whiskey/bourbon lovers will truly fall in love with, especially if hard liquor is there go to drink, because this beer definitely packs a noticeable punch. While I did enjoy this beer I find that I don't really care for the taste of bourbon in a barley wine. I would personally say that the bourbon flavor almost slightly ruins the delicious taste of Charlie's Y2K catastrophe ale (which I am pretty certain is the barley wine used for this). Because of the high price of this beer I don't think I'm going to buy this again, although that all depends on how this turns out since I plan on aging a bottle for a good few years.

Photo of sprucetip
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintatage. Kind of a chestnut brown color, definitely darker than amber. Backlighting reveals good activity and chunks of yeast. If I hadn't poured the the last half ounce, I think it would be pretty clear. Very little head and no lacing.

Boozy esters, oak and bourbon are strong. I also get some light vanilla and caramel malty sweetness.

The taste is a little more balanced, but the barrel and bourbon are dominant. The sweet malty backbone is more prominent, and there is some vanilla and mild hop bitterness.

Strong warming, good carbonation, full body, and some lingering bitterness. Burns a little bit. Still pretty hot I guess.

Despite the misperceptions listed above, this is a really good beer that I'd like to have again, with a little more age on it if possible. Just my second beer from Central Waters, and I look forward to more.

Photo of Gushue3
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- smaller white head that has a decent retention. Body is a light brown and warming amber. Smaller retenion.

S- sweet malt and hops are all over with sone nice barrel scents too

T- big gigantic sweet malt with toffee and caramel. The wood is nice oaky with some stinky hops in there too. Vanilla becomes more known as it warms, but just a touch. Nice complexity, really glad i got this beer.

M- big thick mouthfeel with smaller carbonation. Really smoith and creamy. Drinks great.

O- really nice barleywine. Sweet, malty, bourbony. Good stuff.

Photo of monitorpop
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

A: Thick, ruby caramel with a half finger off white head.

S: Candied sugar, malts, bourbon.

T: Bready malts, faint vanilla, dominant bourbon. Lingering bitter sweet finish.

M: Thick body, mild carbonation with warming alcohol.

O: A solid barely wine, but a bit overly bitter in the finish for me.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass, sharred with Sournotes and Mothman.

A- Pours a burnt orange/red color, really clear, ½ finger off white head that dissipates to nothing, as it settles the beer looks very flat, splotchy lacing.
S- The aroma is really boozy, nice vanilla comes out right away, toffee, caramel, bourbon is present, nice sweetness as well.
T- The taste is amazing, bourbon, vanilla, sweet brown sugar, caramel, hops are still present, warm as it goes down.
M- Medium/ big mouth feel, really smooth drinking, crisp finish, nice heat is present as it goes down.
O- This is a very impressive BA Barleywine, smooth drinking and enjoyable.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,933 ratings.