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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,852 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,852
Reviews: 534
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 661
Gots: 519 | 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: 1,852 | Reviews: 534 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
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 t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

2011 vintage. Bottled in January.

Pours a murky iced tea color with a huge 3 inch light orange head that fades to a chunky cap on the top of the beer. Nice distinct thin rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of brown sugar, toffee, biscuity malt, bourbon, along with some wood notes. Taste is of bourbon and wood up front, with brown sugar and malt coming through in the middle, and some nice citrus zest hop flavors on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a creamy yet sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with nice balanced bourbon flavors that don't overpower the traditional barleywine smells and tastes.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bmanning for bringing this to a recent tasting.

Pours a dark brown with some crimson highlights. Not quite hazy and not quite opaque, but definitely not at all translucent. The smell is of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and caramel. The taste is equally impressive, with an absolutely gorgeous bourbon character and flavor without adding too much alcohol heat. Also picked up a little bit of oak. Moderate to full body with the perfect level of carbonation for the style, and just a little bit of alcohol heat. This one was absolutely fantastic and was perhaps the best bourbon barleywine that I've had to date, rivaled only by Kuhnhenn's version.

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.92/5  rDev -9%

Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: A rising pour managed to bring out the head on this one, albeit only a finger deep, though it did leaves some strands; the liquid itself was a tawny brown color

Smell: Pure wort, with a grainy raisin character

Taste: Grainy fruit cake, up front, with a bourbon accented bitter character that develops by mid-palate; rum-soaked raisins appear as well; after the swallow, the the flavor grows increasingly resinous and boozy; a minty apsect appears in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: This beer didn't resonate with me as well as it did for other reviewers; I thought it was too boozy and had an astringent character that cut through both the sweet malts and the hops; I like a bourbon barrel beer where the bourbon adds a subtle element; in this beer it was neither subtle nor dominant and, because of all the other flavors that clashed, I forgot that there was a bourbon element to the beer in the midst of the tasting

Note: Just re-visited with a year+ old bottle of the 2013 and came to the same conclusion even before checking my review so I guess I will go against the crowd on this one

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!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a quite large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of light bourbon notes with the typical vanilla notes and some sweet caramelized malt notes. Taste is a nice mix between some sweet, though not overly so, notes of caramelized brown sugar with some notes bourbon and vanilla. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Easily drinkable with good balance and level of complexity.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition. Dark cherry red that lightens to maraschino cherry red with sunshine behind the snifter. A two finger slice of pale golden foam looks great after the pour... and even better as it melts. No more than a short collar of sudsy lace sticks, which is no surprise given the ABV and the barrel aging.

The aroma is a pleasant combination of toasted-earthy malts, dried cherries and whiskey. This isn't a 'bourbon bomb', though, which will please some and disappoint others. CWBC BBB is shaping up to be good, drinkable beer that will fall just short of special. Only one way to find out if that's true...

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is much closer to special than expected. First things first: this bottle of 2008 is drinking mighty fine right now. It has plenty of power, without being hot or harsh, and doesn't taste the least bit long in the tooth. Today was a fantastic day to crack it open... <pats self on back>.

Barleywines that contain something darker than pale malt have always been my favorites. This one is toasted bready, nutty and steely caramel-like. Other flavors include ripe figs, cherries, orange peel, bitter grapefruit pith, vanilla and oak. The beer is still amazingly hoppy-tight and complexity is oozing out of the woodwork with warming.

Again, this big bruiser is more of an American barelywine accented with bourbon than it is a bourbon-soaked beast that tastes like the spirit was splashed into the kettles. Thankfully, I had the foresight to buy a handful of bottles back in 2008. Here's hoping all of the others haven't been traded away.

The mouthfeel is lightly luscious. Time may have stolen some of its original chewiness, but what remains is still a sensory delight. Lightly sparkly bubbles work well, thanks to the softening action provided by mucho malt sugars.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine (2008) is damn good beer that tastes like it's at the peak of its considerable power right... about... now. Even if there are no more bottles in my cellar, I plan to stock up on this amazing elixir during the next trip up to Madtown.

Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was imply an outstanding Barley wine. That is the best way to sum up my thoughts on this one. I received this as an extra a few weeks back and I immediately threw this one into the fridge and got it ready to be sampled. I have heard very good things and honestly just could not wait. Took this twelve ounce bottle and poured it into my Terrapin snifter at about cellar temp and just watched the madness unfold. Beautifully dark and seductive looking, it had a rich brownish color with hints of ruby around the edges. A slight bit of light coming through revealed some haze and a touch of sediment. A towering head of almost three inches glazed over the top of the glass and hung around for what seemed like forever before it finally settled down into a nice one finger layer of impenetrable foam. Rich side glass presentation as well just capped off the entire thing just wonderfully. One of the best looking, if not the best looking Barley wine I have ever seen.

The aroma was a heavy hitter right from the start. Tons of bourbon just wreaking havoc, had to let it calm down, revealing some nice hints of woody and earthy tones. Hints of vanilla and of all things chocolate starting to come through now. Very complex and nice, this was shaping up to be a winner already. The flavor was just drop down beautiful. Loads of rich bourbon and wood flavors coming through in the most wonderful of arrangements. Caramel and molasses seamless blended with touches of chocolate and dark fruits. Really just a whole another level of barley wine. The perfect body here, with a medium consistency that was layered down with a good level of carbonation and a heaviness that was just perfect. I was utterly floored by how good this one was. I sipped on this for the better part of a n hour or more, never tiring of it and really just enjoying every sip.

Overall I really cannot say enough good things about this one. One of the best Barley wines I have ever tasted and really just a testament to how good something can get with Barrel aging. I would love to try this one again any day of the week!

Photo of womencantsail
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review #900

Thanks to Craig for sending me several of these. I've had both the 2009 and 2010 now, both delicious! This review is of the 2010 batch.

A: The pour is a crystal clear copper color with a mild white head.

S: The first sniff gives off plenty of sugary goodness. Caramel and burnt sugar lead the way and as the beer warms up, a very pleasant vanilla note comes through. Just a bit of bourbon and some nice dark fruits as well.

T: A really fantastic combination of caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, and vanilla comes through right away. The bourbon/barrel character is there, but not overpowering at all. There is, once again, a mild (but very ripe) fruit component that works quite well.

M: The body is medium to full with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Even at 11.5%, plus barrel aging, there really isn't too much alcohol to this beer. One of the best barrel aged barleywines I've had.

Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a hazy brown color with a cream colored head. There was a decent retention as well as some lacing for a while. There was some oily legs on the glass as well. The smell of the beer is boozy, lots of ethanol on the nose, hints of vanilla and caramel. The taste of the beer is sweet, malty with more vanilla and some subtle hop bitterness. The mouthfeel smooth, oily, moderate carbonation and kind of thick. Overall this beer is really quite good, big amounts of flavors. Has a lot of the characteristics of a solid barley wine. Worth trying for sure!

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body encircled by a ring of white bubbles.

Smell: Heavily fruity caramel aroma and all of the obligatory bourbonesque notes with some coarse wafts of that bourbon (Old Grandad) creeping into the nose.

Taste: Sweetish, sugary caramel maltiness with a slight toastiness to it. Tastes of wood and spiced vanilla from the bourbon. A little bit of maraschino cherry syrup. Medium-high bitterness. Bittersweet finish with a further hint of wood delivers plenty of warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is pretty, Central Waters. I'll cheerfully admit that.

Photo of largadeer
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark tawny amber with a haze to it. Pours with very little head, a quater-inch at most. Typical aged barleywine look.

Smell: Musty barrel initially, but as the temperature rises the mustiness fades and the caramel-vanilla sweetness rises to the surface. Whiskey-like notes are very present, adding a slight booziness as well. Subtle oxidation is present in the form of dates and sherry.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich, sweet, full on the palate. Moderate bitterness keeps things balanced, but this is a definite slow sipper. Bourbon flavors are very much present, but in balance with the base beer. Slight sherry-like oxidation has begun to set in, which adds a nice layer of complexity. This one should age nicely for years to come. The finish is bittersweet, with bitter eventually taking the edge. Very solid stuff, as someone who isn't a big barleywine fan I liked this quite a bit.

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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,852 ratings.