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

566 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 566
Hads: 2,067
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 4.46%
Wants: 708
Gots: 632 | FT: 76
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 566 | Hads: 2,067
Photo of e11a627
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pumpkin orange, brown color, translucent

S: Aged fruit, aroma of cherry twizzlers

T: Fruity, but not overwhelming at all.
Chocolate, bourbon, cherry.

M: Great flavor, tingle post-swallow, feel
warm while drinking it - yummmm.

D: Tastes amazing. Don't taste the ABV at all -goes down surprisingly smooth. I could drink more than one of these easily. I've had some bad barleywine experiences in the past and this changed my mind about barleywine completely. SO GOOD! (473 characters)

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Update, May 12, 2014. Opened another bottle....absolutely awesome!

Another awesome Central Waters beer! So nice and smooth, this is one of the better barleywines I have enjoyed lately. Pours a reddish brown with a small head. Big notes of bourbon and mash! I soo wish that CW was distributed in my area! Overall....awesome!! (325 characters)

Photo of bitterbeerguy
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starting the weekend with this 2009 gem thanks to JohnGalt1!

Pours a beautiful red color that has some orange and brown hidden throughout. Very light on the bubbles but I think that's how these bourbon barrel brews are meant to be.

Aroma has hints of whiskey, toffee, caramel, and raspberries. Absolutely no idea where the berries are coming from but I like it.

Taste is very complex: smooth malt barleywine characters such as toffee and fig show up first, then brew begins to turn the corner to bourbon, but in a very subtle way. I am truly impressed by how the lingering bourbon flavor sticks.

Overall a gem, as mentioned above. The light, yet complex, favors have developed over the past couple years very nicely. The best part is a subtle bourbon flavor that does not over power and instead let's the notes of the barleywine come through while providing complimentary favors.

Cheers! (893 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition. 12 oz. bottle. Pours a hazy ruby to chestnut color. Thin tan head disappears quickly. No lace.

Nice bourbon, boozy aroma, with just a hint of must. Caramel, fruit, and figs as well. A hint of alcohol. There is a lot going on in the nose here, and I love it!

Good amount of sweetness. Lots of caramel and figs here. Good notes of bourbon, without being overly boozy. Just a bit of tannins. Lots going on here too.

Good mouthfeel, with carbonation being on the lower side. Very complex all the way around. An outstanding beer. (541 characters)

Photo of stortore
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review, not first time consumed. 2014 bottle in a Pipeworks snifter.

Beautiful color, little flavor clouds swirling. Smell is just heavenly, boozy, malty. The taste is amazing, still smokin' hot after 9 months or so. Strong bourbon flavor, but balanced by the maltiness creating a complex and robust flavor. Full and rich mouthfeel.

This is a really outstanding beer that I look forward to every year. CW makes many outstanding BBA beers, and this one is my favorite. Run to get this one. (502 characters)

Photo of zoober911
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours a coppery golden brown. Little to no head.

S - The caramel is tremendous. Caramel, toffee. Dark fruits. Slight bourbon.

T - Silky caramel. Some dark fruit. As these slowly fade you're hit with bourbon on the tail end. Lots of sweet bourbon.

F - Feel is as expected with the style. Carb is spot on.

O - Overall this is awesome. Easily on par with Firestone's Abacus...easily. And much more accessible. I will pick up more before it's gone this season, and this will be my go to for the style. (505 characters)

Photo of Bshaw22
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is solid.
Lots of bourbon Carmel and some bitterness on the taste.
Nose is bourbon and Carmel.
This is a decimate sipper but so enjoyable. One of the best barleywines I've ever had. (188 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of butterscotch, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla, in that order. Also present are hints of deeper chocolate malt aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Rich caramel malt flavors with loads of bourbon flavors joining in shortly thereafter. Butterscotch and toffee flavors lead the pack with amounts of vanilla that are larger than that in the aroma. The sweetness subsides just a bit midway through the sip but other than that there is really no influence from hops. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thickness is on the more viscous side with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could drink a whole lot of these.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more so when I discovered the low price. This beer is a steal and well worth a shot. (1,103 characters)

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Woha! Big Beer Bananza!. Thank you big time to NFLMVP for a chance to sample this huge brew.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a toasty caramel with wild lively carbonation that reminds me of the finest big malt DIPAs. Thick and churning like a lava lamp. The Head is nice two fingers of white small lace but I don't need everything.

The smell is like WOW a pint of bourbon. So smooth deep and entrancing, I have a feeling this beer is going to be great! Notes on vanilla periodically shine through the oaken bourbon and toasted marshmallow sweetness. Man would this be great at a campfire in the fall.

The taste is just amazing, everything is working, big beer malt, mild hoppyness, great heat, this is what the Doctor ordered. I can't wait to share some oh my preciouses little stash with my closest BA Buddies. This extreme elixir will be the hit of the tasting.

The mouthfeel is very good, it could use a tad more body or maybe a little chewiness but if that is all I can say is wrong everything else is right.

The drinkability is GREAT. Big beer, big alcohol and HUGE flavor. I wish I could get more, I'd buy it by the case.

Thanks again to NVLMVP, It was a lot more then a quick beer run and some postage. Greatfull I truly am, I great freind you are.
Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK (1,326 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +8%
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. (511 characters)

Photo of herman77
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Murky dark amber/muddy brown. Small of white head. Very minimal lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon, sweet carmel malt, toffee, vanilla, oak and raisins.

T: Big hints of bourbon up front. Vanilla and oak dominate followed by a rich carmel/toffee malt. The integration between the maltiness and the bourbon is really good. Nice warming alcohol in the finish that lingers. I'm sure it mellows with age, but the heat from the bourbon works really well with this right now.

M: Fuller body, smooth and soft carbonation. Chewy and thick, love it.

O: Very impressive. Pretty damn good drinkability too considering what it is. Bummed I only picked up a single of this and I need to try the base beer. (691 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.6/5  rDev +8%

From notes on 2/26/14

Nice sweety caramely aroma. Lots of grainy bourbon smell. Dark amber in color. Poured with a nice fluffy head. Great tasting beer. Very sweet. Lots of alcohol burn. Really can pull the bourbon barrel age out of it. One thing to note, I’m drinking mine at around 55° temp. My gf has hers refrigerated. Both are great. The colder one is slightly smoother with less alcohol burn, but not as flavorful. Another great solid barrel aged beer from CW. (470 characters)

Photo of Mgm54
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type, 12 oz bottle, 2013 vintage, obtained in a trade with Stevedore, many thanks!

A - A deep amber, makes be think of caramel malt, maybe rum. 1cm tan head, still mostly retained after a minute or so.

S - Big notes of bourbon, caramel, and malt. Just wonderful, it smells like the candy of beer. Notes of vanilla bean as well. This smell makes be so happy, it truly deserves a 5.

T - Malty sweetness up front, with some bourbon heat coming next, then some hoppy bitterness (it is quite fresh!). Spicy notes coming from the bourbon.

M - Very smooth maltly booze, in the back end it feels a bit like bourbon

O - a wonderfully beer, I will be ageing my other bottle for a bit to see how the beer settles into itself. If you can get some, please do! This is my first Barrel Aged Barleywine, so maybe I am just a bit overzealous, but this is wonderful. (861 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle courtesy of czoch75 - a huge thanks to a great trader! 2009 vintage, poured in to an 18 oz. cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a transparent mahogany wood, a deep ruddy brown capped by a finger and a half of uniformly tan head of remarkable consistency. The retention is surprisingly solid for a beer of ... what's the abv% on this? I'm not sure, but it's high, and it's barrel aged, so it's probably even higher from the spirit addition. The lacing leaves a little more to be desired, but still does an admirable job at times of clinging to the sides of the glass, forming small freckle-like patterns in places and thicker, avant garde-esque sheets in others. Upon holding this one up to the light, a few incredibly fine streams of slow carbonation are visible.

Aroma: Barrel notes are very obvious in this one and meld wonderfully with a heavy, thick hop profile. Smooth waves of tobacco, leather, and oak provide nice window dressing for a slew of heavier malty notes - dark toffee, caramel, toast, bread crusts - and bourbon-soaked fruits, mostly lighter ones. It's a little fainter than I'd like and requires severe agitation to get a really good grasp on, unfortunately.

Taste: Sweet malts and dark fruits - caramel, doughy bread, moderately-roasted toffee, faint chocolate, as well as raisins, sweet cherries, dates - are in perfect equilibrium with a slew of hop notes, ranging from leather to tobacco to grapefruit to pine (the latter of which melds seamlessly with the hop bitterness, the alcohol burn, and the bourbon presence, for the record). The burn is actually predominantly hop bitterness (a fact that becomes evident in the "afterfeel," i.e., the belch), and I would love to set this one down for a few years to see what develops. Strong woodiness, faint vanillin, plus the bourbon adds an earthy, slightly spicy presence, with definite kisses of char and a few astringencies, but is by no means the dominant note here: perhaps it is the sheer intensity of the other flavors - the sweetness of the malt backbone and the complexity of the hop profile - that keeps it in check, but regardless, this beer presents a marvelously complex and well-balanced array of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, thick without being syrupy or cloying, with quite possibly the perfect amount of embedded carbonation, fine and well-dispersed that rises and lifts the wonderful aforementioned flavors to the perfect elevation. Marvelous.

Drinkability: An unbelievable beer. A remarkable array and assortment of flavors in near perfect balance provides for a true treat, whether alone or with dessert. No burn at all, and, well, since I don't know what the abv% is, I can't really knock any points off for drinkability there ... right? I'm going to guess between 9.5% and 10.5%, though at this level, my margin of error gets a little screwy. Regardless, this is a well-crafted beer with a good - albeit mild - nose, a fantastic mouthfeel and flavor profile, exceptional drinkability for the style, and one I would insist anyone who sees buys up instantly. And then mail it to me. (3,094 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sonic Alligator for this nice extra! The neck says 2010; the label says bottled in February. Poured into a tasting glass. The color is very red; I would say pomegranate. There is just a slight bit of haziness. There is no head to speak of.

The aroma is full of sweet toffee, caramel, with a bit of raisins. There is a bit of a doughy aroma as well, emphasizing the malt.

The taste is full of sweet caramel, some cocoa, and lots of dark fruit. To keep from being too sweet, there is a hefty dose of bitterness in the finish that leaves a slightly citrusy hop aftertaste. Awesome awesome awesome!

This is full bodied, and the carbonation is smooth.

This is one of the best bourbon barreled barley wines I have had. I will definitely be tracking down more! (767 characters)

Photo of sponberg
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
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!!! (993 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage courtesy of Beertracker, cheers Jeff!

Pours a chestnut tinged ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity to it! Average head retention & lacing

S: Plums, bourbon, vanilla, fusel alcohol. All drop of the table when warm, except for the booze & figs... Finishes dry, fruity, with praline sweetness, cherry juice & a kiss of booze soaked dark chocolate

T: Raisins, figs, brandy, leafy hops dryness & oakyness up front. Plummy dryness, more booze, raisins & woody hops when warm with a kiss of carob

MF: Chewy, near zero carbonation, warming with nice balance

Drinks great, skews English BW to me, but that could be age. I'm results-oriented & this kicks ass! (690 characters)

Photo of quicksilver96
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruddy brown, 1 finger creamy tan head formed on pour, very little lacing, very little retention however.

S: Oak, dried apricots, caramel, malt. Very smooth and sweet smell with very little citrus. There is so much going on here that it is hard to describe it all. Phenomenal.

T: Vanilla, raisin/dried fruit fading to a warm alcohol and slightly dry citrus note.

M: Low carbonation, slightly heavy. Very much what you should expect from a barleywine.

D: Very smooth, slight dry finish begs another sip. Overall quite exceptional.

Served in a very large red wine glass at roughly cellar temperature. Purchased 06/08 consumed 10/08. Will definitely try to pick up a bottle for longer term storage. (702 characters)

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a very unique color for the style. Dark brown with strong red edges surrounding and almost black center. Very interesting. Small off-white head with okay retention but no lacing.

S: Strong caramel and brown sugar, dark fruit (plum/raisin) and...oh, that's right lots of bourbon. Smells very good, but not that bold.

T&M: Sweet malts with caramelized brown sugar and a bit of vanilla hit upfront grabbing your attention right away. The plum flavor then kicks in with a faint note of bourbon that only grows stronger as the beer flows across the palate. The finish is fairly strong with hops, but still taste bud poppingly sweet. The hops give off just a small amount of bitterness which intertwines with the alcohol finish perfectly making it very pleasing. Mouthfeel is perfect for the style IMO, thick, full bodied, but still tiny bubbles of carbonation dance on the tongue.

Overall: Fantastic barleywine, can't think of any better I've had. Would be much more drinkable if the sweetness was down a notch. One bottle is perfect. Pick this one up if you can find it, I'm sure it will soon be on the top 10 of the style. (1,174 characters)

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

09 vintage on tap at the old eagle tavern. First time, I will be back.

A- comes to me with a solid finger of light tan head that does hold for a second then settles leaving only thin ring and a few wisps on top. Murky brown orange in color with a good glow.

S- wow! What a nose. Tons of bourbon and vanilla hits with a deep roasty chocolate flourish. Bits of coffee and brown sugar and caramel with a touch of stone fruits.

T- opens up with a smooth semi sweet bourbon and brown sugar punch. The malts are nicely toasted giving a touch of nuttiness and bakers chocolate. Hints of fall spice and a great dessert bread touch. With a subtle but clean bourbon finish.

M- a few steps above medium in body with a bit of chew to it. Nicely carbed for the style and its lightens things up in the mouth just right. Great heat on the palate, I'm always looking for that right amount of heat in a bbbw.

O- amazing brew, plain and simple. One of the best bbbw I've ever had. The time down has done wonderful things to this. (1,021 characters)

Photo of Reason2B
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A beautiful dark copper in color. 1/4” or so of light yellow / white head. Great lacing, which appears if may last my entire drinking experience.

S: Caramel malt, bourbon, alcohol, fill the nostros.

T: This is what bourbon aged is meant to be; I just love it. The bourbon taste just stay with you your whole time enjoying this beer. However, it is by no means unbalanced. Next in line adding to the complexity is vanilla, followed by great caramel, with good oak flavor.

M: Heavy in body, with just the right about of carbonation.

O: This is a WINNER. It builds on an already great Y2K base with bourbon, caramel, vanilla and oak…who doesn’t like that. This is perhaps only second up to Fourteen Fourteen as the greatest of Central Waters offering. (763 characters)

Photo of Axic10
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Barrythebear and notCreative for bottles. I'm not sure which one this came from, so I'll thank them both. 2010 vintage poured from 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a nice copper/amberish with no head on it at all.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, sweet malt, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla.

Taste: Bourbon upfront, vanilla, molasses and very sweet caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: Have one more bottle of this. I loved this beer and I'm curious as to what some age will do to this. (534 characters)

Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, ruby red. Light brown hints. Decent head that fades to a messy lacing.

S: Potent but not overpowering bourbon starts it off followed by molasses, caramel, toffee, raisins, dark fruits. Light hint of vanilla as the beer warms.

T: Starts off with big caramel, toffee and dark fruit and finishes off with bourbon, wood and vanilla. Definitely some earthy hops present. Bourbon is not overpowering which allows the base beer to shine, but blends very nicely.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very, very good BA Barleywine. The bourbon is not too overpowering, but blends insanely well with the base beer. Bourbon and vanilla become more prevalent as the beer warms. Top 5 BA BW for sure. Easier to acquire and cheaper than Sucaba, and is in a better format for when I want to have a single 12 oz instead of opening a 750 mL. Recommended! (883 characters)

Photo of ChimRichels
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep ruby body with essentially no head at all. A thin whit film lingers atop the murky body.

S - Smell really blew me away on this one. Very rich, rich sweet dark fruits and some mild citrus hop aromas tying together nicely. Very bold aroma that hints at a thick, doughy body.

T - Bold indeed it is. So many flavors at once I don't know where to begin. Sharp bite from the hops begins the roller coaster of flavors. Bitter dark roasted coffee follows. Sweet fruits follows along with a doughy mouth feel. Bourbon shows itself on the finish. A little boozy.

M- Thick and viscous. Can;t find anything to complain about there.

O - reall impressed by this offering from CW (677 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 566 ratings.