Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine - Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,046 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,046
Reviews: 577
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 700
Gots: 630 | FT: 73
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: 2,046 | Reviews: 577
Photo of drabmuh
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage served in a snifter. Beer is dark brown and clear. Forms a thin off white head of tiny bubbles. The head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass. The beer leaves legs on the glass more than lacing, it looks really good.

Aroma is like liquor. Its strong with a bourbon backing and sweet caramel follow up. There is a hint of some hops but it is over shadowed by the bourbon and other alcohol aromas. Smell is strong and complex and I think it smells good.

Its a sipper. Beer is medium in body and finishes dry. Lots of sweetness up front but its not cloying at all. The liquor and alcohol flavors are bright and pretty forward in the midpalate, I imagine some age on this would really help this beer out a lot. There is no aftertaste and connectivity is pretty good. I believe this will age well the malt is there and some really interesting things can develop. I enjoyed this a lot.

Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage - Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours slightly hazed light brown with a very well-retained creamy tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of rich caramel/toffee, dates, figs, prunes, brown sugar and bourbon/wood.

The taste is of caramel with dates/figs/prunes. Booze and bourbon/oak stand out in the sharp finish.

It has a full-body. Black pepper/booze and dry wood linger on the palate.

This one is very young - the alcohol really stands out. It may take some time to mellow, though it is certainly enjoyable now. The aroma itself is simply wonderful!

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes out to KeefD for this!

A vigorous pour produces a fine white layer of bubbles. Moderate carbonation suites this style perfectly. When held to the light, a deep, clear garnet color is visible through my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

I so love the nose of this beer! Plums, cherries, caramel, various unrefined sugars are all present in this amalgam of malt flavors. Nice overtones of bourbon notes including vanilla, oak and a very slight, almost imperceptible smokiness.

The taste is an explosion of sugary flavors. Caramel, dates, slightly overripe grapes (not quite full fledged raisons) - this is what Imagine what a liquid high quality fruit cake (is there such a thing;) should taste like. This is almost cloying - almost! (said in my best Johnny Dangerously impression).

Mouthfeel is lush and expansive. Sticky sweet malt coats you lips after each luxurious sip.

Drinkability is very good, but more than two bottles might put you in a diabetic coma or, at the very least, make the room begin to spin.

Overall, a fantastic elixir that joins the pantheon of great barleywines that includes MS Arctic Devil, The Perfect Storm, Xyauyù, Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel, J.W. Lees and Old Ruffian.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a white head. The aroma is bourbon, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. The flavor is chocolate, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, alcohol and molasses. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. An excellent barleywine that is enhanced by the bourbon-barrel aging.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes. Thanks to Shane for this one!

A: Pours a reddish/brown color with a small tan head on top. The head lasts for a few moments before dissipating to a thin coating on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon upfront, some vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. A little bit of dark fruit comes out, more so as it warms. Some bready malt as well.

T: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla on the flavor profile. The bourbon comes through and there is a sweetness on the finish.

T: Full bodied with low to medium carbonation. Slight heat.

O: Another great BA beer from Central Waters, have enjoyed pretty much everything I have tried from them.

Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Old guardian glass

Pours hardly and head. Color of head is beige. Not a lot of lace due to the low amount of head. Color of beer is a light colored copper. Fairly clear.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, oak up front. Caramel and toffee malt. Then a layer of sweetness hits. The smell is great. The bourbon really adds to the already complexity of the base beer. Stunning.

Taste: Whoa, big bourbon kick. Oak and vanilla follow up quickly. Very malty. Bread, caramel, and toffee all present. I get a fresh layer of grassy/earthy hops with this beer. The main flavor is a major level of bourbon, however. Pretty solid beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation, higher than other ba bwines. The flow is nice. Ends a little hot and malty. I can see the mouthfeel getting better once the heat dies down. I don't expect it to take too much time.

Overall, this is a solid bwine. A little hot right now, but I can see this getting extremely tasty with time. I am glad we have CW so close to us. This is a beer that needs to be tried. Very drinkable. Well done.

Photo of stakem
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to eschmitt777 for hooking me up with a mixed sixer of some Central Waters brews. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears a hazed color of mahogany that is more ruby in coloration as it is held to the light. A rich frothy yellowish cap sits atop more than a finger strong that fades leaving a full wall of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of barrel character smelling of vanilla and a mildly medicinal alcohol touch. Dark fruity alcohol suggestions are present smelling like raisins coupled with burnt sugar. A bit of toasty grain can be found underneath with a contrast of sweetness verse herbal hops.

The taste includes plenty of solvent alcohol, toasty to bready grain and a bit of medicinal to fruity alcohol. Some herbal hoppiness is present that breaks things up and keeps this well within the reigns of an american barleywine. The more I sip on this, the more some raw woodiness emerges along with some soft vanilla tones. Once the brew goes beyond ideal temperature, it has almost a solvent alcohol DIPA feel to it with plenty of hoppy bitterness leading the role of the flavor profile.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I can tell this is a fairly young offering despite the label indication being a bit of a misfire. The alcohols is out in the open with flavor and solvent/numbing character inside the mouth. I think this would be a good one to lay down for awhile. While I enjoyed it now, I bet it would get nothing but better with some age.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled April 2009
A salty, almost peat like aroma is noticeable as I vigorously pour this beer into my 25cl tulip glass. It forms a three-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that rests on top of a darkish brown beer that shows a hazy, plum-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has a huge coconut note to it along with notes of vanillin; this is definitely quite distinct and definitely nice smelling. Sweet caramelized malt aromatics contribute notes of brown sugar, toffee and sweet brown bread play a supporting, subtle, but boosting role to the coconut and vanillin notes. As the beer warms up the brown sugar notes pick up and combine with the toasted coconut aromas. A touch of warming, spicy alcohol becomes more noticeable in the nose as well.

The beer feels thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It has a complex, caramelized sweetness from the chewy malt. The coconut note is here in the flavor as well, playing a big role but note quite as big as it did in the aroma. Spicy alcohol notes add some warmth and a touch of drying character to the finish that balances the up front sweetness. The barrel influence doesn't just provide flavors of coconut, but also touches of vanillin, a Bourbon spiciness, spicy oak notes, a touch of butterscotch and a slight tannic edge (this last is pretty subtle though). This is really a sipping brew because of the full body and overall richness. Brown sugar and caramelized malt notes just ooze from this beer. Other malt influences of toasted, concentrated pale malt flavors, a slight nuttiness at times and a big biscuit-like malt character. Resinous hop notes play a role here as well, quite a significant role actually, but I didn't notice them until quite a bit of time had passed because of all the other things going on; bitter earthy pine notes, a nice menthol touch and this eve has some essential citrus oil flavors.

This is much more enjoyable than I was expecting. The coconut notes from the barrel are really nice and it really works with the thick, sweet, rich base beer; without the barrel influence, the base beer might note even be all that good or balanced. The aroma is not as complex as the flavor, but it is quite distinct with its inviting coconut note. This is definitely an enjoyable beer that I am quite glad to have tried.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 and Amyliz4. Thanks Mike and Amy!

Served in a blind taste test with Alpine Great and Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

A: This beer appears umber hued and very slightly hazy, with a thin, wispy head that leaves a just a touch of lacing on the glass.

S: Bourbon, molasses, sweet malt, dark fruits, toffee, caramels, oak.

T: Dark fruits, caramels, oak. Nicely done. Rich and flavorful.

M: Medium-thin in body, with a fairly low carbonation level.

D: I found this beer to be similar in many regards to the Kuhnhenn brew I had alongside it, albeit 3% less abv. I'd definitely have it again.

Photo of woodychandler
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back. Now, I am just running through backlog.

From the bottle (in poetic format): "Flavors of bourbon, malt, and hops meld quite good/Served at cellar temp like it should/Unified in one voice, our fans can rejoice/Charlie now comes aged on wood!"

A beautiful finger-and-a-half of dense, tawny head that left beautiful lacing in its wake as it fell. Color was a hazy deep-amber. Nose caused the back of my head to blow off! Coconut/vanilla bourbon melded with sweet malt to create a hot, boozy melange that seared my nostrils, filled my sinus cavity and when I stupidly struck a match to see what was going on, ignited, blowing out my brain housing group. Wheeee! Mouthfeel seemed to suffer from CWBC Disease, i.e. thinness, but the heat of this darling erased all downfalls. I had a Come-to-Jesus moment as it initially had the heat of strained and lit Sterno on my tongue. I was initially overwhelmed, but upon recovering, I got tastes of coconut/vanilla with a big caramel malt sweetness. Where did I score this? Oh, for another bottle or two to cellar ...

Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2012 vintage bottle into a snifter

A- CWBBBW was a dark red mixing in with hazy brown making for a dark drink in the 12oz portion. It's not the dirtiest BW i've seen but it's pretty dark and difficult to see through. A nice beige cap up above leaving small splotz.

S- This smells amazing, it's really pungent with bourbon scents seeping out the glass. Wow! After getting around that a small candy scent and a big pile of roasty/toasty malt. Even some hop scent reaching out to be sniffed. Oak, vanilla, the works.

T- This is a great barleywine, I've never had the base, but can tell the original is no slouch. Bourbon hits my palate 1st and than the vanilla and oak come a blazing. Sweet caramel middle with malts and than some alcohol and piney hops afterwards. It's boozy still but it's also delicious.

M- Feel is approaching thick and somewhat syrupy, it's also a tad hot. It's also a big ass bourbon barleywine with 11.5%, so theres that. I get a somewhat candy gloss coating my mouth over some time. It's carbed up well.

O- I was really impressed with this one. Worthy of the praise it recieves. The only problem I had was drinking it. It tastes and feels great but it is a sipper in every sense of the word. I m loving sitting down at the crib with this one on a sunday night.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear pure light-medium amber with mild white head, good head retention, limited lace.

S: Sweet malt, vanilla, pastry, a delight to sniff.

T: Vanilla and malt, but with a prominent American hop character all the way through. Some molasses type notes as well.

M: Very smooth, creamy, lightly boozy.

D: An impressive beer from Central Waters. Good flavours and something methinks to age for a while.

Photo of atrocity
3.4/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overly harsh and boozy. Had many bourbon barrel aged barleywines that are fantastic... recently Omega Point comes to mind. This wasn't for me though.

Photo of yourefragile
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 edition, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to everyone who sent me this.

Pours a clear crimson mahogany color with a moderate light beige head with average retention and lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is the highlight, a potent complex blend of bourbon, caramel malt, mild citrus hops, oak, maple, berries, etc with surprisingly little booziness. Unfortunately the flavor isn't quite as complex and balanced at the nose; I guess this could use some more age on it. Flavor starts with an intense vanilla and bourbon booziness before the base of a more English style barleywine with complex caramel malts and dark fruity esters. Finish is exceptionally boozy and drying with light citric hops. Body is medium thick with light carbonation and overall has a smooth, soft texture that covers the palate with a lingering dry bourbon finish. I really enjoyed this and look forward to aging some, but was a little let down by the hype on this as I enjoy Weyerbacher's Insanity almost as much and can buy that off the shelf.

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a lighter brown color with a little bit of an orange tint to it. A very thin, white ring clung to the edges of the glass. It actually left a decent amount of lacing for how little of a head it had.

The aroma has a lot going on in it. I get some juicy, fruity, citrus like flavors coming out, with a bit of an orange juice, pineapple flavor to it. The bourbon is there and gives it some woody, boozy bourbon flavors. I'm getting a little bit of a dark fruit soaked in vodka quality to it as well. A little boozy overall and not as smooth as some of my favorites in the style, but not bad overall.

Things come together better for me in the taste. I get more of the malty, caramel flavors mixing with the bourbon up front. Midway I start to get more of the juicy, citrus bitterness to it with some grapefruit and pine present in the finish. A little bit of the woody, oak and vanilla flavor comes through in the finish. Again, a little boozy in the finish overall but not too bad.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a pretty solid beer, but didn't really wow me like some barrel aged barleywines have. It felt a little too juicy, citrusy and bitter as well as boozy at times, but then also smooth and drinkable at times when the malty flavors came out more. It had some very nice high points to it and was a very nice sipping beer this evening, but fell a little short of being a truly world class beer of the style.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.31/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is a 2012 version, drank on 2-21-2013

Pours a deep caramel body. White head is minimal and the lacing is thin. Small collar around the glass.

Sweet aroma. Caramel and sweetbread. Vanilla and bourbon. A bit woody. Some faint hops

Thin flavors, but they are good. Vanilla, caramel, wood, bourbon and earthy pine. Sweet baked caramel is ever present. The bourbon barrel provides smoothness. Yet it doesn't mesh well with the other flavors. The hops have faded, to be sure.

Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer took a lot of the same flavor cues from the non-bourbon ale. This adds a light whiskey element near the end. The aroma is pleasant, with the oak and vanilla, but still too weak. The drinkability was pretty good and unlike many other barleywines. Worth a try, very tasty.

Photo of corby112
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage.

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with slight caramel colored edges. Half finger yellowish head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind and visible carbonation bubbling up.

Earthy, leathery malt aroma with hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit as well as some subtle hops and boozy alcohol sweetness. The barrel aging is evident in the aroma with a nice amount of bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla and marshmallow. It's refreshing to encounter a bourbon BA beer that is complex and doesn't smell like a complete booze bomb.

Medium bodied with tight carbonation up front and a good bit of alcohol heat that lingers throughout and warms the chest. Lots of sweet caramel malt with earthy, leathery notes and slight bitter hops. Hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit countered by the bourbon barrel notes. Sweet and boozy but not too hot with plenty of bourbon, oak and vanilla. As it warms the heat tones down a notch and the silky caramel, toffee, vanilla and marshmallow flavors become more prominent. Very complex but a bit just a touch too hot at this stage. I would love to see how this is doing in another year or two. Very good but definitely a sipper.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an Allagash chalice. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Deep ruby. Pours clear until some sediment comes through and I pull back the bottle. Holding it up reveals suspended silt like sea monkeys in red wine. Yum.

Smell - Very nice bourbon aroma with a shot of grapefruit hops. Caramel and vanilla shine through, but brown sugar is subdued by the hop presence.

Taste - Health barrel up front. Bourbon mostly. Vanilla compounds blend with the caramel backing to all of it. Brown sugar a little more prevalent here. Hops come back with a vengeance in the aftertaste. Combine with a sharp oak flavor that is a bit harsh.

Mouthfeel - Boozy. Barrel hot and a hot beer. I enjoy older vintages of this a little more. Sharp hops, booze, and barrel make for an intense beer that I'd rather was more subtle in all categories.

Overall - Excellent beer, if not the best BA barleywine out there. A consistent standby that I almost always have in my fridge.

Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle...
Appears a crimson toned amber with a a small, off white head that slowly fades.
Smell is of big bourbon and oak up front with caramel, toasted nuts, and fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild citrus hop bite that joins nicely with the toffee and caramel flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a small amount of CO2 leading to a smooth finish.

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade with eyncognito. 2008 Vintage. Pours the color of rust with a 3/4 inch head. Retention is good and there's some lacing on my glass. The aroma is sweet and malty. Toffee and caramel notes are strong. Some earthy hops are present but are not prominent. The bourbon aroma is nice and strong. The bourbon is strong in the flavor and complements the sweet toffee. There's a medium level of hop bitterness, as well as some vanilla and caramel. The alcohol is quite strong. Mediumfull bodied with good carbonation.

Update: Received the 2009 vintage in a trade with eyncognito and bumped the drinkability up to 4.5

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.42/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a copper color with good carbonation and a small white head.

S: Mainly bourbon, hops, booze and caramel

T: I get some dark fruits, caramel, oak, vanilla,the bourbon increases from begininng to end leaving a very prounounced bourbon feel on the end.

M: Tends to be a bit thin for my liking, syrupy end leaving an aftertaste

D: Good but would not want another

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours an dense body of aged copper red with a thick creamy tan head that has a few tiny bubbles sticking to the glass. The head last for a good bit.

S- The sweet smell of rich caramel malt has a nice pine and herbal hop hint at the finish.

T- This beer has a rich malty flavor with a soft sweetness and a hint of caramel to it. This finish is a big pine note with a soft wood hint that lingers after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer is all about the big caramel sweet malt with some nice support from the pine hops and a very faint hint of barrel only after each sip. This beer does not have much depth of flavor but the flavors it does have are big and robust. I kind of miss the alcohol kick that cleans out the sweetness at the finish but it still goes down smooth.

Photo of John_M
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Last of my central water beers from my trade with Garrett. This is the 2012 version of this beer.

The beer pours a fairly dark brownish amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The beer is quite attractive on the nose, as I pick up light milk chocolate, noticeable vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this sweet, excellent beer. Also, maybe it's from the extended aging in my cellar/closet, but there's a soft creaminess on the palate this is very, very nice. The finish is long as well, and there is a hint of heat from the alcohol on the finish. Otherwise, the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile.

Very nice beer from Central Waters (which is what I've come to expect from them). My only complaint is that I really didn't pick up a whole lot of bourbon, etiher on the nose or the palate. Otherwise, this is a very fine beer from CW.

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An old Kosmyk Charlie bottle with a green 'Aged in Bourbon Barrels' sticker affixed. From NFLMVP if my notes are reliable.

A: The barleywine is a dark reddish hue, one that looks brown from afar. Up close, the crimson shades are difficut to miss. A small head accompanied the pour, leaving no lace behind.

S: The nose has a rustic barleywine nose, quite sweet with caramel grains. The bourbon barrel is no slouch, adding light vanilla and a strong boozy streak. The bourbony sweetness needs some time, but it comes through nicely.

T: Sweet bourbon, sweet, sweet nectar. A bourbon barrel may have been made for a beer like this. The barleywine is big and strong, plenty of malts creating a dark, fruity landscape. The nearly cloying malts benefit from the barrel, adding vanilla and coconut. Vanilla is stronger and has a bit of pepper behind it. The barleywine and barrel together are a nice package, albeit one that packs a huge punch.

M: The mouthfeel is malty sweet, chewy before the bourbon sets in. Once it does, the ale picks up steam. It becomes a sweet, liquory drink from there. I'm not sure how old this bottle is but it has done quitely nicely.

D: At 11% or so, it is a nightcap. A nice blend of bourbon and barleywine.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,046 ratings.