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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.

574 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 574
Hads: 2,125
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 17.52%
Wants: 715
Gots: 641 | FT: 77
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 574 | Hads: 2,125
Photo of kdb150
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured cool from a 2012 bottle into a snifter.

A - Nice brown color with ruby highlights, small ivory head subsides to a persistent ring. A bit of lacing. Looks pretty good.

S - Bourbon, toffee, and a hint of ethanol. Smells good.

T - Bourbon up front and toffee in the back. The middle shows a more complex base beer, with hints of dark fruit and caramel. It is a bit hot, but appropriate for the ABV. This could definitely use some age, but it's a delicious beer right now.

M - Nice and syrupy, though not to thick or cloying. Leaves a great toffee aftertaste that is really quite pleasant. Carb is moderate, works well with the beer.

O - This is quite good right now, but will no doubt get even better with age. The flavors are all there, and great, and the alcohol, though noticeable, doesn't need much calming. Bourbon barrel-aged barleywine is one of my very favorite styles, and this one is good enough to stash many away for future cold and rainy days. A very well-done brew.

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a lovely deep, dense mahogany…little head to speak of, but when I swirl it around, it livens a bit and the thinnest light khaki layer forms…but doesn’t last…the color and look are fantastic, but there could be a bit more head…(3.5/5)

Smell: Definitely bourbon barrel aged, that’s the first thing that hits me…there’s a dark cherry candy sweetness that follows close behind, diluting a bit of that alcohol punch…oak, vanilla, caramel, cola, creamy sweetness round it off…it’s bourbon barrel alcohol heavy, but delicate enough to allow other flavors to come through…(4.25/5)

Taste: Yum, tons of flavor…oak and bourbon alcohol heat right off the bat, though quickly sweetened bringing in the traditional barley wine flavors…candy sweet and tons of caramel malts, mild earthy tones…it’s flushed with a boozy quality that comes in and out, not overly done, but certainly not letting me forget that it’s bourbon barrel aged…it’s easy to say that it’s too boozy, because it is strong, but for me it’s just right…intentionally powerful, one sip lasts three minutes…(4.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, medium carbonation…fluffs up beautifully, bring tons of candy sweetness to the palate…when it fades, bourbon alcohol takes over and tingles the outside of my tongue and heats the back of my throat…rich, smooth, chewy, lively, boozy, sweet…fades sweet with tons of boozy heat…fantastic…(4.5/5)

Overall: This is a fantastic brew…a pure sipper, I’m sitting here watching the Oscars and it’s perfect…it makes me want to start a fire in the fireplace…the straight barley wine flavor playing the support role here would outshine most other brews by itself, but the addition of the bourbon barrel aging gives it a sophistication deserving of a snifter glass…boozy, straight forward, intoxicating, this brew is deserving of its allusiveness…I was lucky to snatch it up when I did and thankful I have a couple more to share, it’s no surprise this is one of Central Waters highest rated beers…a top shelf brew that’s well worth the price, if you get the chance to taste this, take it…I’d love to see this on tap somewhere just to see what a little more carbonation and head would do to the overall package…fantastic! (4.5/5)

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Photo of ThirstyHerf
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Blind Bif 6
Bottle #1, 12 oz bottle shared with ilikebrew & chaseabeer. Poured into three Boulevard tulips.

between the appearance and the smell as i pour i know i have some sort of barleywine.

A - a nice amber, orange almost red hue, nice dregs, a little thin for a barleywine but all three of us are guessing CW BA BW 4

S - Bourbon barrel, raisin, carmel, burnt sugars, molasses, honey 4.5

T- This is quite hoppy and could really fare well with a little age. The rest of the flavors, carmel, coconut, vanilla, burnt sugar, molasses all play well together but the hops are a bit a of bully here and push this beer to the bitter side 3.5

M nice and sticky, coats the entire mouth but is a little thin for the style. 3.5

O - This is definitely a BA BW but an american style, definitely not english. Sticking with CW BABW 4

and we have... Nailed it! Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barley wine! I love this beer and it is always a want! Thanks Alwatcher. Its amazing how I have never picked up on the hops as much until now. bottles 2,3&4 to come.

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Photo of newk340
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a rosy mauve color that is slightly opaque that leaves no head after a slow pour.

S: a twinge of bourbon burns the nostrils while a faint aroma of cherries lingers in the back of the mind. phenomenal smell accurately predicts the exceptional taste.

T: a fantastic bourbon taste with black cherries lost in an oaky combination of flavors. simply wonderful.

MF/D: gives off a slight heat that coats the mouth and throat with a smooth finish. a great special occasion beer. no wonder this is in such high demand. thought about trading the rest of my stock, but also contemplating saving it...

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

2012 vintage into a snifter

A: Pours a really dark amberish ruby color. A very thin, and quickly vanishing white bubbly head.

S: Loads of vanilla, caramel, bourbony goodness. Some dark fruit sweetness too, raisins and plums perhaps?

T: Vanilla, molasses, caramel, and a little burnt sugar flavor. A warming booze presence with a generous bitter hop dosage as well. Good, but age will do this one well.

M: Very nice creamy texture. Really nice

O: Really good, but I think a year or 2 will do some good. Alcohol warming is pretty strong, and will likely mellow over time. Still very good now though.

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Photo of mariposafan
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip.

Minimal head, though what there is shows a nice beige color and very creamy texture. The beer itself is a somewhat murky dark red-brown, though sunlight showing through it give bright garnet highlights.

The aroma is incredible. All of the dried, dark fruits I've ever tried at one time. Sweet and toffee-like. I've never smelled a beer like this before - more like a vintage port than a beer.

The flavor straddles the line between those dark, candied/dried fruits and the other barleywines I've tried. Mostly it's reminiscent of a nice dessert wine, but with a little unwelcome bitterness. Less the bitterness this would be one of my all time favorite sippers. With it, it's still something that I'll pick up when I find it.

Fine, viscous mouthfeel with a little extra carbonation. Thick and delightful.

This was really nice. The other barleywines I've tried have been far too hoppy but this was a wonderful, sweet, thick treat. I do wonder if another couple of years aging would cut the remaining bitterness some but even with it this was a treat.

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Photo of BZero007
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Starrdogg at a BA tasting for the DC area. Thanks!

Pours a very mixed amber color, seems to be confused as to weather it is red or orange. The head forms with a bit of work and head is a nice tan color. The aroma is honestly what threw me for a loop. Nice sweet malts power through with a slight hop and bourbon aroma in the background. A very nice aroma and it made the brew all the more enjoyable. The taste was a bit un balanced for me, nothing that age can't fix. I feel with age this brew would eventually balance out. The sweet malt and body I felt was great but the Hops and Bourbon were a bit over the top. The body I felt was perfect and overall was a very enjoyable brew.

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

2011 vintage (obtained from a random stranger in an in-person trade as we passed eachother in the street at Darkness Day) poured into a Deschutes snifter.

A- Burnt toffee color with a white one-finger head that dissipates to a thin, bubble-laden ring around the glass.

S- Caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and a slight hint of chocolate.

T- Bourbon throughout with caramel and oak at the start which transitions smoothly to chocolate and a boozy alcohol burn at the finish.

M- On the thin side of medium. The carbonation is spot-on, not overdone.

O- My experience with Barleywines is limited, but this is one of the best I have tasted. I would love to try one with a little more age on it, as it seems this will only get better.

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Photo of beertooth
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage pulled from the cellar.

This beer pours a dark cherry with a finger of off white head that melts into a thin collar and leaves some decent lacing in it's wake.

The nose is really nice. Notes of bourbon, vanilla, toasted malts, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, raisins, and some nice hop spice. The alcohol is there, but it isn't harsh.

The taste follows with layers of burnt sugars and dried cherries, raisins, black licorice, and dates soaked in bourbon and vanilla. The malt bill on this beer is really holding up against the barrel. It's really tasty and finishes a little sticky, dry, and sweet.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with a medium to low level of carbonation.

Not quite as good as Wooden Hell, but a damn fine bourbon barreled American barley wine that's worth picking up. Good job Central Waters!

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Photo of 321jeff
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage, poured into my Portsmouth glass.

A vigorous pour yields about 1/8" of tannish head. This beer's hazy reddish brownish color isn't going to win any beauty contests, but it's not too bad looking.

Aroma is dominated by a smoky bourbon with elements of wood and some sweet caramel. Reminds me of Elijah Craig 12yr but without the crazy alcohol bite.

Taste is pretty sweet overall featuring some dark fruits, caramel and some of the same oak and smoke. Fairly well integrated, but I wouldn't elevate it to being particularly special.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth with just the right amount of prickly carbonation, but it is lacking a little in body. A good -bal barleywine and definitely a sipper, I'll probably let my other bottles go for another year or more and see what develops.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle provided by my new found trading partner DoctorRock. Thanks for this big time want Andy!

Pours a cloudy maroon-ish brown with a slightly off white head that falls insanely quickly to just a swirl of film on the top. No legs are left behind on my NOLA snifter.

Smell is great, granted it's hard to mess up the beautiful aroma of a bourbon barrel aged barleywine. All the usually suspects clock in here. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, and dark fruits.

Taste is well balanced with the vanilla, dark fruits, and bourbon. I really wish there was more barrel characteristics in it. I like some good oakiness in BA BW's. Very nice flavor profile nonetheless.

The mouthfeel is decent. Slightly too light for my liking.

Overall this was a good beer. Unfortunately the only other two BA Barleywines I have to compare it to is Abacus and BA Decadence. Both are among my favorite beers and some of the top in the style. Very enjoyable though.

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Photo of Wisconsin
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After months of storage I can wait no longer to crack this 2009 version. A snifter glass would be nice here, but a pint glass is what were going with. Chilled for months and now served around 50 degrees, this is ready to roll.

A - A steady pour delivers a brown body that has some reddish tints to it when held up to the light. Somewhat translucent, this beer also has faint amounts of carbonation racing up to the head. A half finger head rises and fades to a ring around the glass after a couple of minutes, which is more than I have seen compared to other barleywines.

S - The smell is an intoxicating blend of bourbon whiskey from the oak barrels and dark fruits. Cherries, plums, figs, and apricots all rush through your nose along with the initial shot from the bourbon barrels. Trace amounts of caramel malts are also present and seem to keep the booziness of this beer down.

T - Absolutely the smoothest barleywine I have had, which will be appropriately reflected in the mouthfeel score. As expected, plenty of bourbon whiskey up front. The beer settles in nicely with the dark fruits, which I assume are cherries, plums, and apricots among others. Malts with a sweet caramel aspect are noticeable, but subtle in comparison to the other characteristics. I've struggled in deciding whether this beer should get a 4.5 for taste, but I have decided to kick it up to a 5.0. Right now, as this beer is warming there is just so much coming at me. The new aspect I didn't pick up from before was the hops that are now starting to come to life as this beer warms.

M - As I stated in the the taste, this is by far the smoothest barleywine I have had. Silky smooth entering the mouth with a nice full body coming in behind it. A light amount of carbonation presents the early oak whiskey barrels well and culminates nicely with the caramel malts and dark fruit notes. The dark fruit carries this beer from the initial oak whiskey taste to the caramel malted finish. Very smooth and enjoyable. No strong boozy taste either.

D - This an exceptional beer and probably the best barleywine I have gotten my hands on to date. The smoothness is undeniable and really separates this beer from other barleywines I have had. After about six months in the cellar this beer is great, so I am curious to find out what a fresh version of this beer would taste like along with one that has seen some extended cellar time. Unfortunately, this was my only 2009 bottle so I will have to hope some 2010 versions are available for my indulgence. Amazing beer.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Piraat snifter. This beer pours a thick looking, dark honey color with bright ruby colored highlights. A massive, thick, sticky, off-white head rises up out of nowhere in a beautiful cascading effect. The head lingers around for approximately seven minutes before receding into a white cap floating on top and a ring around the circumference. Soapy lacing is sparingly left around the sides of the class.

The nose on this beer is a lot of bourbon, caramel, roasted malts and toasted grains and maybe some bittering hops. Slightly floral and definitely sweet to the nose, this one smells great.

Taste is heavy on the bourbon, and like the nose full of caramel. Toffee and brown sugar make an appearance making this beer sweeter than I thought it was going to be. The lack of astringent, over the top hops found in the other big American barely wine is nice. There is quite a bit of boozy notes in the taste as well. This one could use a little time.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, like sipping on liquid caramel. It is actually fairly hot on the palate, possibly from the alcohol, possibly from the bourbon barrel aging. Like I said, I think some time will certainly help mellow this beer out and bring out some more of its subtle complexities. I didn't realize the abv on this bad boy was 11.5% until I pulled it up on here. With this alcohol content the heat isn't much of a surprise, and this is actually fairly drinkable considering that.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the glass, this barrel-aged beauty appears as lightly veiled ruby/amber. An inch of lemon-cream colored head settles down quickly to a thin film.

The smell is a bourbon lover's delight. The bourbon, oak and vanilla notes come through clean and clear (unlike in an imperial stout where coffee and chocolate notes can reshape the smell of the barrel). The only supplement is a strong caramel base that smells as sweet as a bear claw pastry.

The mouthfeel is appropriately full with enough carbonation to provide just a bit of tang.

The flavor is bourbon forward as expected, but the flavors are well-rounded, preventing the alcohol from overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, this is a very big beer. But the vanilla and caramel notes help moderate the alcohol in such a way that the hop bitterness is given room to perform. As it warms, some dark fruit flavors emerge along with just a slight citric tang from the hops. The finish has a lot of bourbon warmth, but the prolonged hop fade is given equal billing.

Wonderfully complex, this beer rewards repeat visits by revealing new depth with every sip. May be my favorite barleywine.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with jojomdma, thanks Joe.

a- rust/brown with good clarity. a film and collar of beige head hung around the whole time showing great retention but not heavy lacing.

s- bourbon soaked caramel with a seemingly candy like sweetness. fairly strong oak and vanilla adds to a pleasant aroma.

t- mmm...mmmm this is my first BA barleywine and I'm surprised how smooth it is. I enjoyed what the barrel does, some great oak and vanilla adds some creaminess and is likely the source of the smooth feel too. The bourbon doesn't make this beer overly boozy. there's little to no alcohol that doesn't tast like clean warming bourbon. there's also a surprisingly strong bitterness battling to keep this one from being overly sweet. overall I love the way everything melds together, caramel candy, bourbon, vanilla, cream, bitter, bread, and wood.

m- the barrel did wonders for the feel of this beer. excellent thick creamy feel is so smooth. good carbonation keeps it from seeming cloyingly thick. really exceptional

D- 12oz was enough for one sitting but it takes some true willpower to keep the other 3 bottles I have in the ghetto cellar. hopefully I'll be able to keep at least one bottle to compare with a fresh one next year.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick caramel, very viscous with a 1 inch head that sneaks up at the end of the pour

Smell - the smell is very light compared to the taste. Tons of sweet caramel with a kick of Bourbon.

Taste - AMAZING! Good amount of whiskey and sweet malty caramel. One of the best balanced barrel aged beers I've had. No strong alcohol presence but it's noticeable.

Overall - one of the best barrel aged brews I've had!

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked this up in Stevens Point during the Central Waters Anniversary party. Even though I've had the 08-10 before, I chose to rate this because this is what I have the most of. As far as I'm concerned, the 2009 is the best year to date (and alcstradamus - Adam - can be quoted as saying "I like this better than Wooden Hell).. followed by the 2008 and then 2010/2011. Poured into my town hall snifter:

A - Pours a dark murky brown color, with a slight golden and amber hue. Pour produces only a slight foam cap but quickly dissipates into a very thin foam ring, and it seems to appear only on the left hand side of the glass...strange.

S - Wonderful tones of caramel, brown sugar and toffee. Smooth hints of sweet bourbon and a tiny bit of leather. Smells smooth and sweet, but all around delicious.

T - This one is pretty booze but its a really smooth bourbon flavoring. This one is new so I expect it to be pretty hot, but I can say for sure that if you give this one a few years it will be one of the best BBBW out there. Back to the taste. Nice sweet caramel and burnt brown sugar. Also flavors of toffee and candy. Once it warms the bourbon comes to the front and offers a nice sipping treat.

M - Like I said before, this one is pretty hot. A nice smooth carbonation that leaves the mouth slightly tingly. Its just so very good.

D - I'm giving this one a 5 on drinkability because it is just so all around amazing. When its cold, you are able to drink it somewhat quick and the flavors are slightly suttle and toned down, but when it warms, you can really just enjoy it, and the flavors and wonderful and the barrel aging that this brew has undergone really comes through. I love the flavors, smell and look of this beer. Just an all around amazing beer. Paul and his team have done a wonderful job with this and I hope they keep up the good work. This one only gets better with age folks, but enjoy one today and see how greatness is born!

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Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle 10' vintage on 3/2/11 into a Darkness Snifter.

Pours a dark amber red with about 1 finger of head the dissipates into no lacing on the glass.

Smell that hits me first is a malty carmel background then a little bourbon and wood after.

Taste is lots of bourbon, carmel and toasty malts. It tough for me to get a lot because of all the bourbon but I think I get a little hops and some sweet sugary taste on my lips.

Mouth feel is medium but the booze is very present. Like many have and will probably say this one is HOT! Don't get me wrong though it is very good.

Drinkability is good right now but as with many barley wines that I have tried I really think this need a year or two before it peaks. The alcohols are apparent in this one but again I think much of the hot mouth feel will fade and it will be one hell of a brew to enjoy.

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Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a dark amber with a slight off white head that lingers on the sides.

S - First impression is a musty, earthy barleywine, with some notes of bourbon. Little vanilla and oak make their way through as well. The bourbon is actually a little overpowered by that barleywine. As it warms, the aroma becomes more intoxicating, really quite enjoyable.

T - Quite the alcohol kick in the taste. They don't shy away on this one. The barleywine has a bitterness to it, and the bourbon seems to play onto that. A good malt backbone that works well with the oak characteristics. Like the smell, quite earthy and musty, but with a little hop pizzazz left since it's fresh. A big and bold taste, but maybe not the most balanced.

M - Quite hot on the mouthfeel, definitely a sipper. Carbonation was good, just the alcohol burn kind of hurts the mouthfeel.

O - Overall, if alcohol burn isn't a deal breaker for you, this is a good beer. Great for a cold winter night like tonight, warms you up. I'll definitely sit on one and see where it's at later, but a hot barleywine fresh, along with some nice barleywine as well as barrel notes in this beer.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

for me this is better than their bourbon barrel stout.very boozy but also very well balanced tastes of bourbon and caramel. one of the best barleywine style beers ive ever tried.

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Photo of don1481
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review of the 2014 vintage! WOOT! 12oz bottle poured into my pint glass.

Appearance: Dense, khaki colored head that subsides fairly quickly (albeit a little slower than most of the other high ABV beers I've been drinking of late) on top of a rich, deep reddish brown beverage. Hold it up to the light and see a fair amount of bubbles.

Smell: The moment I opened the bottle, I smelled the bourbon. Now that it's poured, this has a pretty complex nose to it. Notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, vanilla, raisins, malt, and a splash of the bourbon all dance together in this one. This smells beautiful.

Taste: YUM. The bourbon notes are the strongest here, but this has a good amount of complex sweetness to balance that out quite nicely. Definitely get the toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla here. I bet this is going to age spectacularly. Not hoppy at all, which I think allows the other flavors to truly shine here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the whole; not as smooth as say a Skull Splitter, but this goes down nicely. Body feels a little thinner than I expected. Carbonation doesn't really get in the way of this one, though, so no complaints there.

Overall: Woodman's only had 2 cases of this dropped off on Thursday; I bought two 4 packs and think I may need to go find more to age. I recently had a couple samplers of the BC Barleywine and this definitely is right there with it in terms of overall quality and complexity. VERY impressed.

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Photo of KellyScottMad
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent!!! I am not a Barleywine fan to say the least, but when I tasted this beauty it changed my mind. This by far was the easiest and smoothest Barleywine I have had yet.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours to my glass a rich, murky brown/purple color with a 1/2 finger off-white head that fades quickly to a lasting ring around the glass. My glass stays laced throughout. The aroma that arises from this beer is nearly divine. A great, sweet bourbon hits me first. Next I find notes of brown sugar/caramel and a little molasses. The taste is similar to the nose here. Less bourbon and more malty flavors. Warming does this beer a lot of good, too.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Just the right amount of present alcohol. Not too boozy, but enough to let you know it is bourbon-barrel aged. Drinkability, in my opinion, is great. I picked this up tonight thinking I would just slowly enjoy the one bottle I had, but think if I had more than one, I could put down another. A great drinking, great tasting, stand out in its class beer. Lived up to any hype or preconceived notions I had about it.

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Photo of caskstrength
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle itself is dark glass, refreshingly simple label. Just announces itself as barrel aged barleywine, 2009, from Central Waters. ABV would have been nice.

Gourgeous maroon pour. Hold it up to the light if you want to see a beautiful looking beer. White head is just enough, dissapears and leaves a white ring.

Bourbon up front on the nose. Strong toffee. some dark fruit too, hops give some sweet citrus and rich pine. Need to start drinking this.

Taste is heavenly. If you like bourbon aged beers, you will absolutely love this. The magnificence of the flavors present here make me wonder if barleywines are even better suited to barrel aging than stouts. Dark fruit, oak, toffee and carmel coming through, but not too sweet. Subdued pine and citrus from the hops add to the complexity. Some booze in the mix too (it is 11.5%), but it really works with what's going on here and would be missed if it weren't there. Bourbon barrel backbone holding everything together, setting the tone for every sip, every smell.

One of those beers where after the first sip you know you're in love. Hard to drink slowly.


2010 revisted on 12/23/10. Doesn't have the sweetness of 2009, but after a year the alcohol burn has faded and it's woody and dry with an appropriate bite. (early 2010 had solvents ruining things). Excited for the 2011 batch.

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Local Option. Pours a cloudy amber with a substantial head. The nose is sweet vanilla and rich caramel toffee: at this point, I'm ready to take a bath in this stuff. Taste delivers what the nose promised: lots of sweet vanilla bourbon up front, then transitions into caramel maltiness, and finishes with a strong tart hoppiness. Very tart and hoppy on the end. Mouthfeel was a delight: chewy, creamy, and somewhere between medium- and high-carbed. A fantastic BA barleywine: it has all the best aspects of a english-style BA barleywine up front, and the intense hoppy tartness you see in american barleywines provides a great contrast at the end. So good I had to order another!

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.