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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

1,747 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,747
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 650
Gots: 521 | FT: 51
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: 1,747 | Reviews: 532 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

zeff80, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

JAHMUR, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -7.2%

SocalKicks, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
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!

russpowell, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

MasterSki, May 03, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
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...

feloniousmonk, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

StonedTrippin, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of drabmuh
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

drabmuh, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

jlindros, Oct 25, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.33/5  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.

oline73, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of Rifugium
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Rifugium, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of mactrail
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

mactrail, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -13%

mendvicdog, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Mora2000, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

mdfb79, May 07, 2010
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Rochefort10nh, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Gueuzedude, May 24, 2009
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

MarkyMOD, Jun 13, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -7.2%

XmnwildX12, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  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.

Halcyondays, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of kojevergas
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
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+

kojevergas, Mar 31, 2013
Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

beernads, Apr 05, 2013
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

oriolesfan4, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

InspectorBob, May 14, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

imperialking, Nov 13, 2012
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,747 ratings.