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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

1,835 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,835
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 654
Gots: 520 | FT: 56
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: 1,835 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of langchops
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle poured into snifter

2013 Vintage

I was expecting more bourbon based on the reviews I've read here, but was a little disappointed by the lack of this. It's a smooth barleywine but I would not say this is a bourbon bomb by any means.

Solid barleywine, would drink this again

langchops, May 14, 2013
Photo of miffsudd
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%

miffsudd, Sep 20, 2014
Photo of bsp77
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

bsp77, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of Stigs
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade, served in a DFH signature glass

A - pour yields about half an inch of frothy yellowish colored foam. the beer is crystal clear ruby in color (very pretty). head sticks around for most of the drink, leaving the glass covered.

S - smell fills the room when poured. big biting bourbon, dark figs, plums, dark chocolate, toffee, brown sugar. very sweet but the bourbon heat balances nicely. faint earthy hops at the finish.

T - begins with some massively sweet barleywine characteristics...dark fruits, caramel, toffee. bitterness from tobacco, ash and somewhat piney hops. bourbon-heavy throughout, very hot...to a fault at the end when everything gets lost in alcohol. still yummy though.

M - medium bodied and syrupy, but carbonation cuts through (both body and flavors) nicely. goes down easy until alcohol kicks in.

D - a *very* good barleywine, no doubts about that. so glad I have another bottle as this definitely needs to sit and mellow. i will be looking forward to that.

Stigs, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of cfrances33
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

cfrances33, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of Inflames
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aquired in a trade with overlord, (thanks again)
Pours a deep red-brownish color with a very dark center. Minimal head.
Aroma is nice almond,oaky,roastiness that has a tinge of sweetness.
Taste is malt forward with the bourbon and oaky nutiness leading into a slightly bitter roast, then a lingering of bourbon on the palate.
Mouthfeel of this beer reminds me of a bock, so heavy yet so light.
I could definately find my self drinking a couple of these in a night, so enjoyable all the way through.

Inflames, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of brydeen
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage into a snifter

A: Pours a really dark amberish ruby color. A very thin, and quickly vanishing white bubbly head.

S: Loads of vanilla, caramel, bourbony goodness. Some dark fruit sweetness too, raisins and plums perhaps?

T: Vanilla, molasses, caramel, and a little burnt sugar flavor. A warming booze presence with a generous bitter hop dosage as well. Good, but age will do this one well.

M: Very nice creamy texture. Really nice

O: Really good, but I think a year or 2 will do some good. Alcohol warming is pretty strong, and will likely mellow over time. Still very good now though.

brydeen, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of kevanb
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

kevanb, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of Treebs
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

Treebs, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of wyatt13
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

wyatt13, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of Jazzcrop
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes are unbelieveable malty sweetness, breadcrumbs, yeast, brown sugar, sherry, bourbon, wine sediment, hops, American crystal, mugwort and flowers. Smells are brown sugar, booze, straight-up booze, cornchips, malt liquor, vanilla and mango slices.

Jazzcrop, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of mtbdonn
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received a 2013 from mishuggah as an extra in a trade; thank you sir!
Enjoyed in my favorite DeMolen tall tulip glass.
A-The coloring was red-orange and foggy, lingering white head with light, lacing.
S-Super welcoming, warm aroma of dark fruits, caramel, toffee, bourbon.
T-Sticky, brown sugar, candied bourbon, sweet caramel, very appealing and relaxing flavors as a whole, malts and some floral aspects. The abv flavor was very subdued. The taste develops nicely as it warms up.
M-Medium bodied, low carbonation, thick and chewy.
O-Excellent, top notch beer that does well in a style that’s crowded with competition.

mtbdonn, Apr 13, 2013
Photo of lunarbrew
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 12oz bottle.

The beer pours clear amber red with about an inch of cappuccino-colored head. Head died quick with only a little lacing. Sweet, smoky, fruity and exciting. I can clearly smell honey, vanilla, and oak. A full, rich nose. Flavor is pretty boozy at this point. Not a ton of heat, but there is a huge bourbon flavor. The flavor also matches the smell, but I love that the barleywine is not too sweet. Very good profile which will be amazing with some age. Creamy, medium-bodied, and leaves syrup on the tongue. Already and very good beer. I can't wait for the booze and heat to mellow out. It will be fantastic.

lunarbrew, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of Moses_Malone
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

Moses_Malone, Nov 04, 2014
Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks! 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, wood, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and hops. There is also some vanilla, wood/leather, and anise.

Overall - Not as sweet as I expected but that leaves it a little more drinkable for a big beer. A very solid example of the style. I wish more beers like this were available to me locally. Also, for a 2012 beer this has a surprising amount of hop bite.

spinrsx, Apr 29, 2014
Photo of ChrisPro
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with callmemickey

Pours dark muddy brown with decent tan carb. little lacing, but this thick beast had some legs.

Aroma was vanilla, caramel and some earthy pine notes. Just the slightest hints of actual bourbon on the nose.

Flavor was exceptional: great sweet caramel and molasses up front, but very well balanced with a big bitter finish, but leaving some rich bourbon and caramel on the tongue.

Big thick mouthfeel, but exactly what I want from a barley wine.

This must be a great base barley wine, but Central Waters showed how well you can use bourbon with a barley wine.
4.0/4.5/4.0/4.0/4.5

Re-rate 2011 Vintage:
Tasted Blind as part of Blind BIF #4

12 oz. bottle poured into my Bruery tulip.

First hiss hints of barleywine, so let's see...

Pours a burnt orange with a couple fingers of finely laced head. A little chill haze that'll hopefully clear up. Some large soap bubbles float around as the head dissipates. Both lace and legs glissade down the glass as I drink.

Aroma is dominated by pine and bourbon: vanilla, coconut and and earthiness. There's definitely some caramel there, but this beer deserves to warm up...toffee sweetness emerges with the warmth

The taste is a big shot of bourbon in my mouth. There's a subtle hint of burnt wood, like a fresh bourbon barrel or super smokey scotch. Big caramel flavor, then a an astringent finish, though I can't distinguish if this is from hops or a tannin flavor from wood. Also get some coconut aftertaste, reassuring me that this beer's been in bourbon.

The heat is in your face and this tastes relatively fresh. if not fresh, it's definitely 11%+ ABV. As sweet as this beer is, the strange dry finish is interesting. Perfectly carbonated for the style as the small bubbles work well to accentuate flavor but not kill me.

Overall, a solid barleywine. The heat is there and could use some age, but it's pretty solid. Great complexity of flavor.

I'd think this is something like central waters bourbon barrel barley wine, or maybe JW Lees Lagavulin cask, since that lagavulin smoke might be what I'm tasting.
4.0/4.0/4.0/3.5/4.0

ChrisPro, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An insanely seductive Barleywine. Central Waters have figured it out.

I'll speed through the look, because the aroma is where this beer is at. A deep, truely amber colored beer carries a light majestic haze, moderate head formation and retention, and light lacing.

Now.. this beer's aroma is among the very best. Deep aromas of maple syrup, jelly beans, strawberry jam, raspberries, red licorice... it's unlike anything I have ever experienced in a beer glass.

With that nose, there's no way the flavor can measure up, right? Actually I am right. After the initial shock of ethynol and strong bitterness, I begin to appreciate the same attributes that I found in the nose. Caramel malts, toffee, sweet bourbon, and maple candy begin to describe the more prominant features of malt flavor. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves and waves.

The flavors of succulent malts and fruits are abruptly interferred by intense bitter bite and strong alcohol numbing and prickling. The attenuation is quite high for Barleywines, making the beer more drinkable and less syrupy than most. Still, malty rich and medium-full textured.

Sure, there's some criticism here. But those aromas are the best. Simply put.

Thanks Cheezdawg!

BEERchitect, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of Gushue3
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Gushue3, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Chriscrundwell12, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The amazing extras from AleWatcher just kept coming and coming. This is another off of my most wanted list that I was floored to see as I pulled bottle after bottle out of a heavy box.

2009 vintage, shared with my girlfriend who has a new found love for bourbon barreled stuff.
A- Not much head, but I wasnt expecting that at all. The beer is a semi murky brownish color. A little bit of purple, a little bit of red. Really nothing out of the ordinary.

S- Right off I can tell that this probably should be an English Barleywine or that the time this beer spent in the bottle made it mellow out A LOT. Either way, the bourbon here is pretty laid back. It doesnt fuss too much with the smooth caramel and raisiny stuff going on. Im getting nice amounts of wood and vanilla as well.

T- Yeah, really mellow. Not much in the way of hops. Its tasting like one of the best American takes on an English barleywine, only with a nice subtle bourbon aging. Nice vanilla and bourbon tones. The bourbon is very much incorporated.

M- Low carbonation, full body and an ABV that is a secret to anyone tasting it.

This beer in one word: Venerable

MbpBugeye, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of rawfish
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to pmarlowe for this.

Dark copper body with a hint of settlement. Smooth pour yields a very small half finger of tight yellowish head. Fades to nothing rather quickly with some stick on the glass.

Caramel, toast and some dark fruits notable cherries. Oak, bourbon and alcohol waft up from the glass with incredible fortitude.

Initial blast of caramel and brown sugar complimented by dark fruit and bourbon. Some medicinal hops and a slight acidic zest on the back end. Finishes with a oaky and bourbon flavor and alcohol provides a slight warming.

A touch flat and chewy but very smooth and a good body that doesn't get weighed down by the malt despite the carbonation. Only slightly sticky.

Flavorful barleywine, tasty stuff. A little bit of carbonation could help stir up more complexities but no complaints here. Nice way to cap off a night.

rawfish, Jun 21, 2012
Photo of NateSharpless
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

NateSharpless, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of Soneast
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled February 2010.

Pours a clear, burnt copper in color, developing a small fizzy head that disappears immediately leaving just a thin, bubbly ring.

The aroma has a lot of malt character, almost (but not quite) overwhelmed by the bourbon qualities. Some brown sugars and caramel aroma are evident, with a touch of wood and marshmallows coming through but mostly dominated by a rich bourbon smell.

The flavor is intensely delicious! Brown sugar, malt characteristics stand out first, rich caramel and creamy vanilla qualities are less perceptible, the barrel aged qualities come through in an oakey, bourbony flavor that encompasses everything else. A very nice, smooth finish, without much heat nor overly bitter. I dig it!

The mouthfeel is spot on for the style, very mild carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. The flavors of this beer combined so nicely, nothing really overwhelming the other components (unlike some other barrel aged beers, that basically taste like carbonated Maker's Mark). CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is well balanced and delicious. I have high expectations for this beer with some age on it.

Soneast, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of shadetree67
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle - 2014 vintage

Appearance - Dark amber in color. Pour yielded 1/2 finger of head. Slight lacing

Smell - Toffee, caramel, boozy bourbon, slight vanilla.

Taste - Bready Malts, caramel, vanilla. Not getting much barrel in this though the bourbon flavor is present.

Mouthfeel - Medium to thin mouthfeel. Slight carbonation. The alcohol warms the back of my throat for quite awhile. A bit too hot for my tastes

Overall - This is a pretty good BB barley wine and hopefully the booze mellows out with some age on the bottle. It has a lot of potential.

shadetree67, Feb 09, 2014
Photo of katan
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz into a pint - 2009 edition - the young kind

A - Pours a dark black to mostly brown color. Almost a red tinge to it. Very very hazy - could be a yeast suspension. Head formation is off white, lightly retained. Carbonation appears light.

S - Sugarly sweet with a high amount of bourbon backdrop. The bourbon barrel comes across as mostly sweet, somewhat sour. A light oaking does come through. No hopping.

T - Starts off incredibly sweet, with an immediate backdrop of alcohol burn. Mid-stream does start to be more balanced, but it is more due to a flash of bourbon barrel char. Incredibly sweet finish, extreme sugars off toffee and caramel. Intense flavors.

M - Thick, creamy, sugary and clinging. Tongue grabbing. No carbonation is detectable. Extremely fully bodied.

D - Does get a bit filling at times. A one time only beer by far - alcohol will sneak up on you, but when it does, look out. Flavors aren't that overwhelming. If i could manage not passing out after 2, I'd be signed up for more.

I'm thrilled with the way the bourbon came through on this beer for being so young. Almost too young perhaps. I have another that I'll age for a year to compare against. It does remind me of some of the young 2008 GI BCS I had.

katan, Sep 19, 2009
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,835 ratings.