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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 akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of Duff27
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Half-inch light tan head on a a really nice dark brown/red colored body, murky brown hues around the edges. Head settles in around the collar and leaves a little random lacing here and there.

S- A lot of toffee, caramel. Bourbon booziness.

T- Yup! The toffee notes are well backed by bourbony goodness. Might even guess at a higher ABV than the stated 11.5%

M- Thicker side of mouthfeel. Low but very fitting carbonation.

D/O- It's really hard to say anything negative about Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine...uhhhh, perhaps it doesn't have good drinkability? Nevermind that though, this one is meant for sipping and savoring. I feel this one may be best split with a friend for most.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage received from abents a long while back.. Thanks Adam. Trying to only drink from the cellar for a bit ... and I realized I hadn't reviewed this one.

Poured into MNFG.. 2 finger light khaki head.. great lace atop a crystal clear perfectly amber brew.

Nose is very rich ABW... tons of maltiness with still quite a bit of citric hoppiness. the barrel really comes across more as a fairly thick vanilla essence as opposed to bourbon..

Flavor begins the same as the nose.. thick .. rich .. and blankets the palate .. less vanilla and more oak than the aroma.. bunches of caramel.. and still a definite citric hoppiness.. medium body and a lighter than expected carbonation tilt toward a silky mouthfeel... the alcohol is there, but not bad at all..

This is pretty damn nice right now.... I don't know if any more age is gonna help it though.. I think with another year, the malts may become a bit cloying and leave the hops behind and not be as balanced.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.82/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/8/12
*From notes

-- This review is for the 2012 vintage only --

A: Unflitered honey comb in color. An elegant, straight pour down the center of the glass yields a 1.5 finger off-white, bubbly head.

S: Sweet bourbon, wild field flowers, sherry and ripe vine fruit.

T: Pretty on point, though not entirely. Pleasant sweetness hits first and lingers from start to finish. I should say that it becomes overly cloying as I continue drinking the beer. A jolt of juicy, almost tart hops hit the mid. Creamy malt rides to the back, and the bourbon packs a lot of heat on the finish. It doesn't linger long, and it feels a bit watery the longer I wait between sips.

M: A lighter BA Barleywine. Sure it's pretty thick, and the carbonation is alright. It just doesn't pack the punch you'd hope for in a big beer like this.

O: Certainly the best brew I've had from Central Waters, yet it doesn't reach the echelon of the best in-class. It gets to be too much, as the residual sugar is overly cloying and makes this hard to put back. An above average offering.

*I had a 2010 next to this. My notes are as follows:

A: 3.5 / A bit darker, though overall it's extremely similar.
S: 3 / Not nearly as pungent or rich. Not a lot of fruit or spirit to it.
T: 4 / Dryer. Less imediate heat, and the bourbon is much more subdued. Heavier on the char.
M: 4 / A touch more weight, though it's almost spot-on.
O: 3.5 / I preferred it fresh.

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Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of TallPaul07, thanks Paul!

This one pours a medium bodied cherry wood brown with a one finger beige head. The nose is pretty balanced. There is oak, vanilla, caramel, molasses, and even some red grape character. The flavors too are complex and it drinks an off dry. The flavors are sweet and malty, featuring dark red fruit, a good amount of oak, vanilla, toffee, and a moderate amount of alcohol. Pretty solid and more balanced than I expected. It drinks big and sticky with a good amount of wood and alcohol in the aftertaste. Overall I liked this quite a bit. It's better than the majority of barrel aged barley wines out there.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

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

12oz bottle obtained in the No BS 4 BIF via dirtylou. Thanks for the opportunity. 2009 edition.

Poured into Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy red brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly skim, with heavy legs and light but lasting lace. Aroma is syrupy sweet, with prominent alcohol.

Taste begins sweet, passes through some leathery tannins in the middle, barrel character near the close, and then alcohol comes on full bore at the end. Numb lips, warming down the gullet, it's all there. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is good in the I want another sometime sense, not the I want another bottle or three right now sense. At least not if you have any sense, with abv such as it is.

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

I had this after the Y2K Catastrophe, and this one completely blew it away.

A: Hazy amber-brown, light tan head, good retention, slight lacing.

S: Alcohol with hints of bourbon, very woody, nice caramel.

T: The wood aging really shows, while the bourbon is pleasantly subdued. Some caramel, nut & spice with hints of fruit & dark chocolate. Good bitterness. Alcohol is slightly warming. It's between a 4.5 & a 5, so I'll be generous.

M: Moderate body, slight residual sweetness, carbonation on the low side of moderate.

D: An awesome sipper.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes from 3/14/13

A- Pours a deep amber with ruby hues, a decent sized head with impressive retention for being barrel aged. Also excellent lacing is left in the glass.

S- The aroma is incredibly alluring, instantly bringing to mind ripe figs, raisins, sweet prunes, caramel, toffee, thick dark breadiness, and maybe a hint of dried apricot. There's also smooth vanilla from the bourbon barrel, and definitely some hefty booze in the aroma.

T- The taste is a malt lover's dream, with thick breadiness, toffee, dark honey, and caramel dominating. The vanilla is mild, but it is present just enough to mellow this out alongside the bourbon. The fruits noticed in the nose are present, but you have to search for them in this complex brew. Lastly there is just a bit of earthy/spicy hop bitterness to prevent this from being overly sweet.

M- The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and chewy, with only slight carbonation. It has a bite of bitterness and booze at the end, but it fades to mellow bourbon/vanilla aftertaste.

O- Overall this is one of the better BA Barleywines I've had, and I can't wait to have some more!

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

Big thanks to grub for opening up this treat.

Pours a hazy dark orange, pumpkin colour, light bit of brown, thin off white head forms, drops immediately to a ring around the glass, not much lacing, looks okay. Smell is crazy, tons of bourbon, toffee, oak, vanilla, very buttery, alcohol, rum raisins, very malty, bourbon really complements. Taste is intense, big toffee, rough alcohol edge, bourbon, vanilla and oak, coconut, more toffee, raisins, bananas Foster, toasty butter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, very smooth. This stuff is great, right amount of bourbon and great oak flavour, need to get some more of these. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky looking crimson. Thin, creamy beige head. Good retention and lace propensity. Nose is quite sweet and quite bourbony. It really just drips caramel and nougat and a little booze with the vanilla like bourbon notes. Really good aroma. Pretty hot feel to it right off the bat. But also nice traits of bourbon, caramel malt, nougat and passion fruits. It's got a little of that spiked punch feel to it but it's not overboard. Spicy alcohol lingers. It's lightly carbonated and about medium bodied. I think this beer needs to sleep for a few years to take the edge off. Nowhere near as good as the fresh Kosmyk Charlie or especially the aged Charlie I've had in years past. But then again, those were as close to perfection in a beer as I've ever seen.

Props to BA nflmvp for this beer on the day the NFL MVP said his good-bye.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 4.15.13

A - Pours an opaque reddish-amber with a one inch tan head that fades quickly.

S - Bourbon up front, subtle oak and some toffee.

T - Tons of carmel and toffee with vanilla and al ittle bourbon in the finish. Very good.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Great carmel and vanilla with a hint of bourbon. Stellar!

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Photo of rudzud
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a clear coppery garnet hue with a nice almost two finger head that faded down into a thin halo and light wisps.

S - Great aromas of bourbon right here. Light vanilla and oak with sweet caramel malts.

T - More of the sweet vanilla and caramel malts with good bourbon aspects here. Light toasted coconut. So delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is sweet with lots of bourbon. The alcohol is hidden, slightly, but is still there. To be expected. Bit on the thinner side too.

O - I have 4 or so of these left and definitely thing they will benefit from some extended time aging. Delicious.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks! 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, wood, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and hops. There is also some vanilla, wood/leather, and anise.

Overall - Not as sweet as I expected but that leaves it a little more drinkable for a big beer. A very solid example of the style. I wish more beers like this were available to me locally. Also, for a 2012 beer this has a surprising amount of hop bite.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of butterscotch, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla, in that order. Also present are hints of deeper chocolate malt aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Rich caramel malt flavors with loads of bourbon flavors joining in shortly thereafter. Butterscotch and toffee flavors lead the pack with amounts of vanilla that are larger than that in the aroma. The sweetness subsides just a bit midway through the sip but other than that there is really no influence from hops. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thickness is on the more viscous side with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could drink a whole lot of these.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more so when I discovered the low price. This beer is a steal and well worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AgentZero for this.

12zo bottle into my Rochefort glass, 2010 version.

Pours a murky light to medium brown, very light for a bw. Not much carbonation, light tan around the sides, poor lacing...Nice aroma, malty to start nice caramel and dark fruits with lots of wood and bourbon mellowing it out. Light cherry finish with a little more wood...The first thing on the taste is tons of wood, very bitter wood, too strong. The second is less wood but its still too much, at the end a bitter wood/grain alcohol finish. Not very sweet, not super complex. The taste is a big disappointment. Maybe needs a couple years to chill out...The feel is ok, very warming, lastin feel...Tough to drink because of the wood.

Overall, can't believe this a top 100. Not a great beer, has potential down the line maybe. This is unbalanced and totally too woody.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, rileys $3.99

appearance: dark dignified label...pours into a snifter a modest amber shade with a decent beige head and light retention

smell: strong whiffs of bourbon and vanilla right off the bat, sweet brown sugar, big malty nose with a high booze level, raisins and other dark fruits present. huge aroma here

taste: huge bourbon body, brown sugar, raisins and dates, plum soaked in bourbon, caramel malts, small amount of numbing bitter hops, a definite sipper from central waters that is quite the task to consume

mouthfeel: creamy but highly bitter, boozy, and powerful

drinkability: a monster

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

12oz bottle received from nflmvp in a recent trade. Thanks a bunch, Steve! Split with largadeer after lunch on day 3 of our decadence.

A: Garnet red with ruby highlights and a thin beige head that eventually recedes to a ring. Good carbonation

S: Soft oxidation with sherry that complements the gentle bourbon barrel character. Rich malty sweetness with toffee, mild tobacco and caramel

T: Opens up with great bourbon barrel character - bourbon, vanilla and oak flavors well integrated with the sweeter barleywine character. The toffee and sherry flavors meld well, yielding a rich, complex palate. Mildly dry and a little bitter on the finish with no tannic astringency. Great stuff

M: Big in body, solid carbonation and a nice finish

D: Enjoyable stuff, my other bottle is going to the cellar for a few years.

**Edit 23 Nov 2010. I got a couple of bottles of the 2010 vintage from CaseyK and asmokingoat. Thank you, guys! I haven't had this since my review in 2008, I'm curious to see what I think.

The color is beautiful, a rich garnet and ruby red with great clarity. A dense, off-white head recedes to a thin disk leaving a little lace.
The nose definitely does scream BBBW. Plenty of bourbon with quite a bit of oak, more than I was expecting. This seems a lot more aggressive than the 08 version. Moderate barrel tannins are present along with vanilla and bourbon. A touch of char and coconut as well, this does have a modest sweetness to it with caramel, some brown sugar and toffee. The toffee and the bourbon work particularly well together. In particular, it reminds me of the Bourbon barrel Angel's Share. Mildly fruity, there isn't much oxidation here.

The palate opens with a lot more bourbon heat and quite a bit more sweetness than the nose would suggest. The bourbon is pretty strong here, almost a little too much. The sweetness has caramel, mild nutty character along with some brown sugar. Crunchy toffee with a pleasant char are also present. Not as fruity as the nose would suggest. The barrel expression is quite beastly, intensely hot, rather than boozy. Tannic on the finish, this really has leached plenty of life out of that bourbon barrel that it sat in. While full in body with a moderately sweet finish, the tannins do dry out the palate a little bit. Carbonation is low, making this soft and creamy, but the barrel character is a little too harsh for my liking. Intense, but enjoyable, this vintage needs another year or so to settle down. I'm retaining my original scores as this beer is excellent when tamed a bit.

**Edit 12 Jun 2011**
Drinking a 2009 vintage that I got from Ian. Thanks, man! Drinking this during game 6 of the finals. This vintage seems to have plenty of brown sugar and bourbon. Vanilla and mild booze are present. A little oxidation is present as well, with some mild papery character present. The palate has a great balance between brown sugar and bourbon. The oak is great here, there's some tannic astringency to balance the sweetness. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel here. Excellent stuff. After breathing for 2 days in my fridge, it's gotten even better. S/T/M = 4.5/5/4.5

**Edit 26 Feb 2012**
Drinking my other bottle of the 2008 vintage.

Oxidation has kicked in, lending a moderate cardboard character. Bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, licorice, a little anise. The palate still has a sharp, boozy bite, but the flavors have fallen off. Thin on the mid-palate. Alcohol spice on the finish. I should have drunk this two years back.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den during the bella vista bash - 09 vintage

Pours a deep amber color, fairly dark, thick froth of off-white head retains well with some patchy lacing on the glass.

Strong bourbon notes, vanilla and oak, slight sweetness, notes of hoppiness and dark fruit.

Big bourbon flavor right up front with wood and vanilla tones. Boozy and full flavored, residual dark fruit with raisin and dates. Hops slice through in the beginning and towards the finish, which is warm and smooth.

Full bodied, somewhat higher carbonation, a bit creamy, lasting finish on the tongue. Drinks really nice, I was psyched to try this and I'm happy I have a 2011 bottle at home to compare this to.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter.
2013 bottle. No date or info.

A - The deeply hued rusty amber colored beer is dark but clear still and vibrant. A tall pour creates a short and short lived tan head which collapsed from the high alcohol level. Specks of lace adorn the glass and stay steadfast while legs dribble down around them.

S - This fresh bottle has quite a large bourbon nose with a strong alcohol presence seeping from it, though deep complexity continues to emerge. Vanilla and damp wood work well with the rich bread-like malts that express some caramelization and toffee as well.

T - Maltiness erupts in flavor, overtaking the large bourbon presence that dominated the aroma; dribbles of sweet caramel and a thin smear of plum jam spread over a slice of toasted whole wheat bread. Notes of vanilla, oak, and unsalted pretzel finish with the smooth bourbon alcohol.

M - Smooth as velvet, this bourbon barrel barleywine is decidedly malty with a overarching sweetness, but not without balance. Alcohol is warming and present but not overwhelming, rather, soothing and complimentary on the finish, lightly drying it out for a lingering presence that constantly requests another light sip.

O - A real treat, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is one of those vintage releases each year that must not go unenjoyed. It's rich presence carries from aroma to flavor though the smooth feel rounds out the alcohol nicely for a bourbon barrel beer that's quite drinkable fresh. This one will still age with the best of 'em.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to seeswo for the trade. Served at 53 degrees in a tulip. Bottled on January 2011 indicated on the label. Pours a bright amber hue with candy apple highlights. Clarity is almost translucent, but there's a slight haze. Head is an 1/8th of an inch, loose and cream-colored and immediately dissipates into a thin band around the shoulders. Some short strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Love the nose on this beer! Bourbon, buttery notes, sugary and candied fruits. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's definitely an alcohol presence here - it's still a little hot but not in a bad way. There's also some hops bitterness that manifests towards the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a slightly oily consistency that is somewhat masked by an assertive carbonation. There's definitely some residual alcohol heat. Overall, this is a top notch beer. I'm glad I opened it but would love to see what a few years does to it. That said, if you like the hops character in a your American Barleywines, open it sooner than later; however, this one is really going to open up over time in my opinion.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Did a 2013 and 2014 side by side. 13 is more caramel, toffee, and vanilla forward. 14 has more booze and oak flavor. Like it better with a year plus on it. I'd imagine it would probably be even better with another year on it. Definitely less sweet and thinner than say BCBBW or Sucaba.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade. Thanks jgam115! 1,100th rating or review!

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve- Barleywine Ale. Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels. Let's go!

Pours a murky brown, with some garnet hues. A small half inch head fizzy head descends quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing, and some visible carbonation.

Smells really incredible- I basically exclaimed "oh fuck" when I first smelled it. Strong brown sugar and toffee, some sweet sultry bourbon, and maple syrup.

The taste is similarly awesome. Just so many flavors from the clearly superior base barleywine, whatever it is, plus so many added flavors from the barrel aging. Strong maple syrup, some candied raisins and plums, brown sugar, toffee, sweet bourbon, rich, strong vanilla, light coconut, and some pleasant wood bitterness. There's a small amount of hop bitterness. The maple and vanilla flavor in this one is so strong, it almost tastes like it was made with them as adjuncts, which shows the strong brewing talents of the folks over at Central Waters.

This brew is medium bodied, but feels light and silky on the tongue. Really quite drinkable, which is a miracle, given the 11.5% ABV. The booze doesn't show up much at first, but as it warms, it becomes a bit spicy, but warming and awesome. Low carbonation, despite it's visible presence after the pour.

This is really awesome. It's barreled perfectly, it's got to be one of the smoothest barleywines I've ever had. It's decadent, and a rare treat to drink.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in Feb. 2010 vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy pale/blush red color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly down to bubbles.

(S)- A rather fruity nose of ripe fruits; I am getting bits of cherry, cranberry, fig, and raisin. Some warmth of vanilla with a light spicy note of a ginger/cinnamon woodiness.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. Has a robust bitterness in the middle, but goes along great with the sweet vanilla and fruit.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet and rich, but is counterbalanced well with the fruits and bitterness. Not as thick as I was expecting, but its actually not a bad thing. Rather smooth despite the ABV and bitterness.

(D)- A great barleywine with a great future ahead of it. Tastes great now, but age will continue to work wonders on this guy. Rather fruit driven, but goes well with the bourbon barrel aging. Reminds me almost of a port wine. Great stuff; seek this out and buy a case to set aside and drink over the next 4 years at least.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage courtesy of FrankenBrew pours a murky crimson color with a small cap of tan head...leaves a nice lacey collar.

Nose is definitely oxidized, and sweet. Bourbon comes in a distant third, followed by peanut brittle and wood. Interesting mix or aromas and smells like a big beer for sure.

Mmmm, this is what I am talkin bout! The bourbon soaked wood, oxidized sherry flavors and sweet malt come together damn near perfectly. The mouthfeel is bigger than the 11.5% would indicate and is awesomely rich. ABV is so well integrated at this point, it is very smooth. This is awesome, one of the best beers I have had in quite some time.

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