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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.

571 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 571
Hads: 2,105
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 707
Gots: 639 | FT: 75
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
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Reviews: 571 | Hads: 2,105
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of nmann08
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

From a bottle, pours a very murky brown with ruby hues. A very thin and wispy head sits on top and there is a fair amount of clumpy sediment.

The smell is dark fruit, sweet malt and a fair amount of bourbon. Even after 3 or 4 years, this still has great barrel character. A little bit of hop content and vanilla still hang around.

The flavor is fruity, berry, not much bourbon at all. This is very mellow, balanced, in line with an aged barleywine. The barrel has faded considerably. Nice citrus hops with a faint taste of vanilla sweetness. This is in a great spot right now. Mouthfeel is clean, refreshing. Not much booze on the flavor.

Drink any 2011's you have now.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

so there does exist a barley wine that lives up to its hype, and it is this central waters offering. hazy and rich caramel colored beer with an awesome white head over an inch tall and lasting all the whole time. it smells like caramelized grain sugar, raw sugar, toffee dessert, and booze, but only just enough. the nose and taste both suggest ridiculous barrel influence, i mean, tons of vanilla, tons of char, tons of everything, sugars too but its not too sweet. i get good bourbon all the way through, with that oaky earthen character and all the vanilla in the world, while the booze remains way back, but persistent enough for me to want to let this warm and drink it slowly, although neither the body nor the sugar makes this hard to drink. smooth down, long vanilla finish, like creme brûlée in many ways, to rich for a ton of it, but highly appreciated in reasonable doses. a good twelve ounce to share, and finally a central waters beer worthy of its high praise, this is wonderful barleywine, as good as american made english style gets.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
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!

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Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
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

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
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!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  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.

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Photo of largadeer
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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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Photo of emerge077
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark crimson with two fingers of tan foam. Creamy consistency and long lasting retention. The deep crimson color is nice. Stewed prunes in the nose, not as nice. 2009 bottle, but it smells aged. Cotton candy, brown sugar, sweet and syrupy.

Some heat at first that's soon eclipsed by a gargantuan battle cruiser of bourbon and malt flavors. If you like those two things, you can't go wrong. Sweet vanilla aftertaste, plenty of rich malt and some residual hop bitterness. Drying finish, somewhat concealed in the booze department. Rich and syrupy feel, thankfully dry on the end like Y2K and not a sickly sweet aftertaste like so many barleywines. The barrel is integrated here, and it's not too hot, but you know deep down this is a booze bomb. Plenty of warmth, but not in the taste. Very well done overall, one to look forward to every year.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
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!

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.98/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a layer of off white head that fades to a ring with some carbonation wisps on top of the pour.

Smell: Caramel malt sweetness with some hot bourbon and mild vanilla, and dark fruit notes.

Taste: Quite smooth, but still hot because it is young. Bourbon heat with dark fruit and vanilla notes. Warm alcohol with a very slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side and a bit syrupy. Tingly, smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a smooth beer given how new it is. Nice flavors from the barrel, I would definitely have another.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Once again I find myself in the awkward position of not being able to remember the BA who sent me this beer. I need to write these things down. Whoever you are, let me know so I can acknowledge you!

2010 vintage. This brew pours a mostly clear garnet amber topped by a short wisp of white bubbles. The nose comprises whiskey, oak, caramel, biting citrus, and a touch o' booze. The taste is a richer version of the smell, though the alcohol really busts its way through, Kool-Aid Man-style. I'm not so sure I'd say "Oh yeah!" to this with as much enthusiasm as that glass bastard. The body is a hefty medium, with a light carbonation and rather thick feel. Overall, a decent BBBW, but decidedly too boozy right now. Perhaps this guy will be calmer with some years on him, but he's too damn hot today.

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Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jstilwell for this, one of my fav styles by far. I love barleywines, and adding bourbon barrel to it... oh man! Been holding it for a little while, but it was already about a year old when I got it. 2011 vintage, I believe it has a notch in the January bottled date.

Pours a light creamy looking head covering that fades at a med pace to just a touch of head eventually, but typical for an 11.5% beer, it also leaves nice lacing on the sides as long lengs drip from the top of the lacing in a neat effect. The beer is a hazy murky sediment filled yeast chunked drunken haze looking thing, with a chestnut mahogany almost purple color.

Nose is awesome, malt city! Big malts, sweet malts, loaded caramel, toffee, brown sugar, a bit of molasses, candy syrup, even a touch of maple. That's quickly brought on with the fruits, tons of fig and plum, raisins soaked in brandy, light nutty quality with that. Next on the list is the bourbon, it's not dominant but it's definitely there. A light vanilla oaky barrel aroma as well, but more of the bourbon with a light sweetness and vanilla of it's own. As it warms I also get a hint of an earthy spicy chewy hop like profile. A slight tingly booze is in there but doesn't seem as high as it is.

Taste comes on sweet, candy sweet, a bit syrupy at first, but then the bourbon kicks in nicely. A nice big bourbon flavor that doesn't overpower but adds quite a bit. Nice sweet candy bourbon with some oak barrel, and lots of vanilla, as the vanilla really comes through nicely. Malts are a plenty with the sweetness, reddish candy malts, plenty of caramel sweeteners, toffee galore, brown sugar and molasses come in just a bit. Later on the back end there is a light coffee syrup flavor too which is unique. Then of course the fruits of the labor, some fig and date, and lots of brandy soaked raisins again. As the nose did, it also brings some spicy earthy chewy hops, with quite a bit of bitterness. I'm surprised the hops come through as well as they do for it being almost 2 years old now. Just a touch of warming booze comes in, but not nearly 11.5% except for a light booze taste in the background, but no tingle or heavy alcohol. Finish is long lingering, a smooth creamy coffee syrup taste, with lots more vanilla, some bourbon, a bit of booze fruits again, little more caramel and toffee, and a big blanket of spicy earthy hops bringing a big bitterness. Not too dry on the finish but compared to the initial sweetness it's fairly dry.

Mouth is fuller bodied, somewhat rich, decent carb for what it is, some warming booze.

Overall very nice, delicious, great bourbon that brings lots of flavor without overpowering, delicious vanilla, sweeteners, fruits, malts, and even a long spicy earthy hop that brings nice bitterness and has held up for almost 2 years. I wish I could get a lot of this beer. I wouldn't call it my fav bourbon barrel aged barleywine, but it's up there. Again right in with my top 3 styles.

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Photo of mactrail
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely head on the dark amber brew. Huge head, creamy and smooth. Rich and sharp on the tongue. Intense aroma of vanilla and single-malt scotch, even if it's really only run through a cask of Old Fitzgerald.

Excellent bourbon taste. More whiskey and less of the cheap boozy, barrel. It does have a distinct woody flavor, but it really tastes like the old oak. What a great tasty, mellow, and intriguing beer. This proves that the barrel-aged style is a real bonus for the brewing world and not just a silly flavoring.

From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Food and Friends in Philadelphia. The strength is homage to the virile flavors. Thank you for the late-night sipping pleasure!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded gold pressure cap and simple straightforward label served into a flared stem-tulip glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired from Duff27 in a recent trade; thanks, buddy! "Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels." 2013 vintage. Label is an orange-brown and differs from the photo currently used on this webpage. Expectations are quite high; I loved the Y2K barleywine I had from Central Waters.

Served slightly chilled; I like my barleywines a bit warmer. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention (~5-6 minutes) for the high ABV. Even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Body colour is a refined rich amber. Looks like a fine brandy. Semitransparent. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'm impressed with the head. It looks as a barleywine ought to; understated and classy. Though the translucency/transparency is atypical of the style.

Sm: A bit of candi sweetness, candied fruits, subtle vanilla from the bourbon barrel, light toasted oak (less prominent than I'd like), caramel, toffee, maple, and rich malts. Refined and appealing, but I'm concerned about the sweetness. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable; this is shockingly un-boozy for its ABV. I like the fruits and vanilla. They play well together. A mild strength aroma.

T: The candi sweetness is problematic, but not to the degree I feared. Light vanilla. Very buried toasted oak notes. Caramel, toffee, and a heavy rich malt build. Sweet up front. Fruity on the climax, but these notes really fall off towards the finish, never quite feeling seamless in the build. No hop notes are detectable; maybe some minimal floral hopping at most. Some syrupy maple on the finish. ABV is decently hidden; some alcohol does come through. No yeast character. I want more from the oak; the bourbon notes are well integrated but shallow. It's balanced, if overly sweet. Well built for the style with good barrel aging execution.

More aggressive hopping is needed here to add bitterness and thereby balance the malty sweetness.

Mf: Silky. Refined. Smooth and wet. Even a biteen creamy. Good presence on the palate. Good thickness. Perfect carbonation. A well done texture for a barleywine. Good body.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV, but I can tell this one needs some time to age. The sweetness is just too high at the moment. Don't get me wrong though; this one is definitely a sipper - you couldn't chug it. It'll probably take me a good half hour to finish the bottle. It's a fine barleywine with good bourbon notes, but it just needs to develop more. I'd like to revisit this one with some age on it - no more than five years. Fans of the style will love this one - even fresh. Another solid brew from Central Waters. There's serious potential here. Thanks for the bottle, Duff27!

High B+

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle share at Beermonger, Portland, OR
Thanks to writerLJberg for the share!

Poured a slightly hazed caramel brown color with an off-white head that reduced to a ringlet. Aroma of caramel and sweet malts, dark fruits, bourbon. Alcohol warning. Taste is sweet and cakey, woody bourbon, rum raisin, figs and black cherries, finishing with a mild, seemingly hoppy fruit character. As in the aroma, alcohol's presence is noticeable...it is a bourbon-aged barleywine, so would you expect it to be otherwise? Heavy-medium body, chewy, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

many thanks to Daniel for this bottle.

bright crimson coloring, highly clouded, stable off-whitish head above...

Aroma is ripe with fruit...plump and luscious, orange, lemon, grapefruit, mango...ripe and pungent, very lively, very hoppy...nice, nice...

Fresh blast of deliciousness onto the palate at first...fruity and full of flavor...all types of them, a zesty cornucopia, replete with refreshing bitterness...Lordy, I like it! Well done!

Long lasting in the mouth, never quitting...very satisfying flavor...like an orange wedge doused in cognac! So good! An excellent nightcap, which this is tonight...lovely, lovely...

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Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours an orange amber color with high carbonation and one inch of an off white colored head.

s - Smells if bourbon, sweet fruit and malts, molasses, and oak. Very nice

t - Tastes of bourbon, molasses or sugar, sweet fruit and malts, and hints of alcohol.

m - Moderate carbonation and full body. Pretty smooth. Some alcohol warmth but not much.

d - Overall a great barleywine. Has a great bourbon and sweet smell and taste. Some great oak as well. Would love to have again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition. Shared this with the wife - served in my Foothills taster glass.

A - A half finger of tan foam that dissipates quickly and leaves a nice little ring. Murky Sultana raisin color with some chunks floating around at the bottom of the glass. Even with my lowered expectations for the style this one is not a looker.

S - Huge vanilla and bourbon flavor, mixed with caramel malts, raisins, dark fruits, brown sugar and a hint of tobacco. Big aroma on this one, particularly when warm.

T - The taste has a little more bread to it, but still quite a bit of caramel and dark fruits, and of course a ton of bourbon and vanilla. There's a nice dry finish, a lot of sharp wood bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Medium to full bodied, with a surprisingly decent amount of carbonation - the slight burn complements the bourbon notes. Pretty smooth and quite warming in the finish.

D - Sharing a single bottle with my wife was a nice portion size, although I'd have no trouble polishing off a bottle on my own. The booziness is surprisingly well-hidden, and only really pops up in the warming sensation after a few sips.

Not as good as Abacus or Angel's Share (when carbonated), but still pretty terrific.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 571 ratings.