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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

1,875 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,875
Reviews: 541
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 669
Gots: 523 | 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: 1,875 | Reviews: 541 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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.

Photo of rawfish
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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

Thanks for the hook-up Brophmonster!

This fine brew pours a dark amber and settles a ruby infused brown color. Oily legs cling to the glass after an inch of off white head dissipates. The nose smells very sweet with notes akin to caramel apples. There is a bit of a hop presence in the aroma but nothing too strong. The taste is also very sweet with a well masked alcohol level. The oak and vanilla bourbon characteristics offered by the oak barrel are shining through in this beer but not overpowering. You can still taste the caramel and light hop offerings as well. Some butter notes are also picked up in the flavor that add to the sweetness. The mouthfeel is full-bodied with a suiting low amount of carbonation. Overall, pretty damn smooth for such a brew and damn tasty as well.

Photo of BeerBeak81
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

A-Rich amber, almost maroon body with a short off white head. Decent retention and good lacing.

S-Big load of caramel backed up with some biscuit, behind all that I started to get some sweet bourbon and a light oak character. I also got some light fruity and almost floral notes that added a really nice depth to all those rich aromas that you normally get.

T-Again, rich caramel and some biscuit, but this time with a sweet chocolate flavor, and the bourbon comes up sooner. I feel like the bourbon is better blended in this than in their bourbon stouts. The oak and hop flavors are pretty tame, the only oak I got was a light almost vanilla like flavor, and there is just a touch of a bitter kick at the finish, overall though it is very malt driven. There is some heat, especially evident at the finish, but its pretty well hidden.

M-Smooth and sugary with very low carb.

D-I felt that this was a great use of a bourbon barrel, Very nice and balanced flavor, decently complex, and the mouthfeel was very good for what it is. Drink this one fresh, I don't see much need for age.

Photo of mtbdonn
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

Photo of langchops
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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

Photo of tjkinate
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A: A hard pour into a large snifter produced a 2 fingered frothy yet creamy tan colored head. It displayed good retention and some lacing settling atop this deep red bodied, semi-transparent brew.

S: Loads of caramel and dark fruits, only little hints of bourbon. Good smell that lacked in complexity.

T: Follows the caramel found in the smell, but the new found complexity elevates this beer to the next level. Dark fruits were less prominent and blended nicely with the oak from the bourbon barrels.

M: Heavy, creamy, still pretty hot. Gonna hold onto my remaining bottles for later.

O: A surprisingly great Barleywine that I can see only getting better with time.

Photo of Inflames
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,875 ratings.