1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,657 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,657
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 632
Gots: 516 | FT: 46
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,657 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

3.43/5  rDev -20.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 00:36:49 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2007 05:53:29 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 01:11:07 | More by akorsak
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

03-03-2013 22:17:25 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
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 ...

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 16:46:26 | More by woodychandler
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.2%

04-28-2013 16:45:05 | More by orangesol
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 21:12:08 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 03:10:35 | More by stakem
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

05-14-2013 22:04:45 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-09-2013 08:56:08 | More by zestar
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage
Bottled: Jan
Revisted: 1 Jun 12

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice oil slicks and sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended. Thanks David!

2010 Vintage
Bottled: Feb
Revisted: 18 Nov 10

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this brew.

Poured into a Westy chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice oil slicks and sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended.

2009 Vintage

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice thick creamy sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended. Thanks Todd!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 00:49:24 | More by Wasatch
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

01-21-2013 16:48:10 | More by duceswild
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2010 17:59:17 | More by mothman
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2009 01:19:48 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 04:10:55 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of ejimhof
ejimhof

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.2%

03-08-2013 23:20:41 | More by ejimhof
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A mucky nutmeg colour with antique brass gloss. There is absolutely no head. None. The beer may appear dull, but hold it up to the light and appreciate all the liveliness that is otherwise concealed; warm fiery tones of pomegranate will greet you.

The aroma is almost equal parts bourbon and barleywine; the blend is sublime. It seems like the hops themselves were soaked in bourbon and then dipped in caramel before being used. This fusion of resiny hops and butterscotch-like malt is masterfully orchestrated into the domain of buttery oak and lots of dark honey.

The barleywine shines through foremost. The malts impart caramel and butterscotch that are so sticky and rich you'll find yourself licking your lips after every sip. The hops, in true American fashion, border on excessive and add a whole bucket of resin. Charred oak and plenty of dark honey ring out.

The bitterness is surprisingly high, I'm sure this could take a couple more years in the cellar. The alcohol is present, as it should be, but not overwhelming. A smaller sample size would be ample but I'm happy to have the whole 12oz bottle to myself. I doubt I'll have any problem finishing it.

Flavours are seamlessly blended but the barleywine is never drowned out. This is a beer foremost, and rightfully so! A lot of brewers who experimented with barrel aging couldn't quite find the balance. Often the beers become overwhelmed by whatever was inhabiting the barrel before it. Not in this case...

This is a wonderful little brewery from Wisconsin and this is the second simply spectacular barrel aged beer I've had from Central Waters (their bourbon-barrel aged stout being the other). I owe a big thanks to the Packers Fan who made both possible, thanks nflmvp, this was one serious treat!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 02:34:20 | More by biegaman
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

12-11-2013 03:39:03 | More by BillRoth
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 16:54:05 | More by John_M
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 21:41:52 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

11-29-2011 02:52:50 | More by brandoman63
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

4/5  rDev -7.2%

07-14-2013 23:36:52 | More by drewone
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-26-2013 02:03:53 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 04:47:19 | More by Viggo
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

3.3/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 08:19:01 | More by Mebuzzard
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,657 ratings.