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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

565 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 565
Hads: 2,062
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.69%
Wants: 703
Gots: 633 | FT: 76
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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 565 | Hads: 2,062
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012
Poured into sniffer
Look - hazy auburn color with slight head and of course floaters since it's 3.5 years old
Smell - complex! Booze, sweet bourbonized wood, vanilla, spices
Taste - bourbon oak barrel taste with some sweet vanilla and a lot of booze.
Feel - medium body with a warming feel and very lite carbonation that actually works for the beer
Overall - super complex, boozy and very tasteful with a great aroma! (424 characters)

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.6/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage. I got this in a trade but have since forgotten the trader. Thanks to whomever sent this.

Pours from the 12oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Emerges a ruddy brown color with minimal head, sporadic lacing, and little carbonation present. Slight amber hues through the light.

Aroma is nice. Perhaps a little heavy on the bourbon for some, but I like the in your face aromas of borbon. Vanilla, oak, pineapple, raisins also join the olfactory party.

I am a little lost in the last half. The flavor is decent. In this case, the bourbon IS too powerful. I like bourbonn beer as much as the next guy but the bourbon here needs to take a chill pill. Bourbon, alcohol, and tobacco are about all I get.

This one finishes super hot. The alcohol is certainly tangible and is in no way perfunctory. I like the chewiness but the hot finish and bourbon sucker punch kind of make this a one hit wonder.

Not bad overall but I think another year on this would do wonders. (981 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one as a bonus on trade and I was letting it age a little before I tried it. Bottled: 2015.

A - Dark amber color that is somewhat cloudy from the journey this beer has taken. Has a bone colored head that subsides quickly and leaves only a few spots of lacing.

S - Big sweet malt character and then sweet bourbon mixed with caramel and some vanilla. The booze is still very strong but it doesn't burn the nose. It's a sweet and pleasant bourbon barrel barleywine.

T - As you would expect the robust, sweet malt character is first and then a wash of big flavors takes the tongue. Toward the middle is the full bourbon flavor rich with oak, caramel, and vanilla. The finish has the dark fruits associated with a barleywine and some warmth from the alcohol.

M - High mouth-feel with low carbonation. This is how a bourbon barrel barleywine should be; soft on the palate, full flavored, and not too cloying.

Overall, this is a supreme example of the bourbon barrel barleywine. It isn't as complex, as boozy, or as easy to drink as some out there but being in the middle of it all give this beer perfect stature for the style. This is a sweet barleywine with plenty of bourbon and goes down nicely. If you haven't tried this style this is a great one to start with since it will be the baseline on what to taste for when sampling more offerings of the style.

Glass- Snifter (1,384 characters)

Photo of KellyScottMad
4.93/5  rDev +15.7%
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. (177 characters)

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (178 characters)

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
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. (286 characters)

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a four-pack of 12 ounce bottles from my local Trig's supermarket. 2015 vintage. Poured from the bottle at about 60 degrees into a goblet.

L: Beautiful pour on this one. Deep ruddy brown color with visible carbonation that yields an inch-and-a-half off-white head that sticks around for a very long time and leaves substantial lacing on the glass.

S: Huge bouquet on this one. Lots of vanilla and caramel malt with some subtle black licorice and roasty malt undertone. Oatmeal notes, as well. Very sweet and inviting nose.

T: Vanilla and clear alcohol are instantly present with the caramel and roasted malt front. Rye bread notes are discernible as the flavor progresses, along with a touch of black licorice. The clear alcohol persists through the back, as do the vanilla and caramel malt undertones. The pervading sense is one of sweetness, though this beer is sublimely well-balanced.

F: Substantial body on this one. It's very creamy and slightly sticky, though certainly not what I would consider overtly syrupy. There is a hold to the finish, but it's pleasant and in no way oppressive.

O: This is an excellent example of the BBA barleywine style. It is expertly balanced, as the bourbon flavor never overpowers the underlying base. Central Waters continues to impress me with their limited releases. This is definitely one to seek out. (1,357 characters)

Photo of kbwalters
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmed up some before pouring into tulip glass. Bottled on Jan 21st, 2014, consumed on 1/7/15.
Look = 4.75 Pours a deep mahogany color with red highlights and 2 fingers of thick off white head. Great lace and retention. Big time sediment, including big chucks. Usually a bigger negative but it seems to fit fine here.
Aroma = 4.5 Big sweet aroma at first, malty toffee and caramel, complimented by the bourbon and vanilla notes. Boozy.
Taste = 4.5 Big sweetness upfront and through the middle of the taste. Sweet malt toffee and caramel, a really good barelywine. Then come the bourbon! On the backend with deep notes of vanilla. The bourbon in the finish is the strongest I’ve ever come across. At first the tastes are really separated but after a few sips it all blends together very well.
Feel = 5.0 So velvety and smooth, thick and creamy. Very substantial mouthfeel.
Drinkability = 3.0 Wow, the bourbon is really overpowering at first. Combined with the big ABV, drinkability of this is low.
Overall = 4.4625 Crazy good barelywine combined nicely with significant bourbon profile. After it all starts to blend it really is something else. (1,157 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad BA barleywine, though it lacks the depth of flavor and barrel richness the best examples provide, though I kinda liked the hoppy kick it provided. Nose is the strength of this one, with rich vanilla tones coming out. Pretty cool to have a brew like this in small format bottles, but it doesn't quite keep up with similar small formats like BCBBW. (356 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: rich dark brown ale, opaque; thick finger of head slimmed to a filmy collar

S: sweet malts and sugared fruits glazed in bourbon; dry wood vapors

T: dark dried fruits and whiskey - hints of dates, raisin, and fig; toffee and brown sugar sweetness; impressions of herb and earthy hops; there are suggestions of something like coffee and peat; almost a smoky quality, too

M: smooth, dense, slightly chewy, muted carbonation

O: a super American BBA barleywine, spot-on and full of flavor. Highly recommended. (511 characters)

Photo of SonnyJay
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: very thin layer of head that quickly dissipated, leaving some lacing. Dark translucent amber

S: sweet caramel & toffee

T: sweet toffee up front giving way to a bitter finish that lingers for quite a while on the back palate

M: medium-to-full bodied; average carbonation for the style

O: quite nice, the interplay between the sweet aroma/initial flavors and the bitter finish makes this an interesting one. I'd recommend trying it (436 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian tulip glass

A: Dark amber red, creamy vanilla head, lots of carbonation streaming up the side, head vanished, light comes through when held up, lots of lacing.

A: Very sweet, toffee, caramel, not getting much barrel on the nose, no alcohol, just a big load of candy sweetness, very aromatic.

T: Toffee, caramel sweetness up front, nice hint of bourbon barrel, then some bitterness, alcohol on the backend, very drinkable, bitterness lingers overcoming the sweet flavors and the bourbon, very nice.

M: Medium mouthfeel, not much carbonation, not dry, very nice mouthfeel.

O: I am not very experienced with barrel aged barley wines, having only had Sucaba but this is really good, very drinkable, has a nice sweet bourbon bitter balance that makes it quite enjoyable. I would definitely pick up some more but I don't get distribution and this was an extra in a trade, very good. (921 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a deep ruby tinted brown with one finger off white head with decent retention and leaving some nice sticky lacing.

S: Bourbon, caramel, toffee, raisin, and coconut.

T: Bourbon, caramel, and maple. Dates and raisins. A really nice balance of bourbon, sweet, spices, and hops.

M: Full bodied with average carbonation. Coats the tongue nicely and finishes with a slightly sweet note.

O: Exellent BA barleywine. In my top five for sure. (521 characters)

Photo of nyyfanatic213
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark out of the bottle, billowing tan head that slowly faded while clinging to the sides of the glass. A very smooth yet intense beer, and not exactly something that I would have frequently, for ABV, flavor, and cost reasons. This may as well have been carbonated whiskey. Seek it out if you like the style (312 characters)

Photo of mabermud
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Deep mahogany, reddish-brown body. Light brown, dense head. Nice curtains of fine lace.
Smell: Awesome rich butterscotch/toffee and vanilla...bourbon barrel. Background alcohol. Dark bread is sitting in the back.
Taste: Wow. Sweet. Vanilla and caramel. Bourbon barrel. Sweet bread.
Feel: Full...maybe a little syrupy.

Overall - Very good. Strong bourbon barrel. I will have it again. (409 characters)

Photo of Czarkazm
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage. Appearance in the glass is a very unattractive murky brown color with a thin khaki head. When held up to the light the beer transforms, displaying a very cloudy yet magnificent ruby red body. Caramel and toffee dominate the nose, dark fruits, booze, subtle barrel notes. Taste is extremely boozy, unbalanced. Seems like a beer that requires at least a half year to develop in the bottle. Getting the same toffee and dark fruits on the taste with minimal bourbon and vanilla. There is an earthy/musty bitter hop aftertaste. Need to track down another bottle to age and (hopefully) appreciate more. (618 characters)

Photo of GOBLIN
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely fantastic ! Really, this is what fans of BA beers are looking for. Wish I would have had this around a month ago when it was -15 degrees . . . Warming. Been sipping this for an hour and fifteen minutes now. (217 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on 1/15/15, making this exactly 2 months old.

A: Pours a nice, dark mahogany. Turns a reddish-orange up to the light. Thin, off-white head rings the beer.

S: Caramel, butterscotch, pecan. Lots of fresh oak and bourbon.

T: Lots of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, maple, oak. Very, very boozy and hot in the finish. Not like a bourbon heat, just pure alcohol.

M: Full. Good carbonation. Way imbalanced with the booze on this one. Very spicy and alcoholic on the finish.

O: Not sure if this was left in the barrels too long or what, but this thing is hot. Recently had BBS, and that was way more enjoyable and balanced compared to this. The heat just overshadows the base beer, that I think is otherwise pretty good. Nice, English-style Barleywine. Great nose on it. Just way to spicy and boozy on the finish.

Recommendation: Somewhat overhyped for me. Way better BA Barleywine options out there. Would try to get a hold of their Bourbon Barrel Stout or Cherry Stout instead. Those are fantastic. (1,069 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Pours deep ruby amber mahogany with a couple fingers if head that settle to a film spicy caramel and dried fruit
Smell: Spicy caramel and acidic dark fruit with a hint of vanilla and char.
Taste: Sweetness dominates with moderate hops presence. Complex and spicy. Feel: Thick, tingly and warm, smooth
Overall: I was a little wary of the barrel aging, uncertain of how strong the bourbon flavors would be, but actually it came out as a traditional, nicely balanced and complex barleywine. The alcohol is definitely a big player here and is stronger than I prefer. Especially considering the price I would rather get a pack of SN Bigfoot, but this is a nice sipper. (674 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle poured on 3-7-15
Pours a caramel-red color with a tan head and lots of residue.
The aroma is all caramel and booze with hints of dark fruit and molasses. A hint of earthy hops in the background and a bit of spice.
The taste wallops you alongside the head. Even with a year on it, there's still a big bourbon boozy bite with caramel, vanilla and dark fruits following. Figs and dates. As it warms, hints of vanilla and oak and a bit of bitterness.
Full bodied and sticky.
A really good American Barleywine. (518 characters)

Photo of ksimons
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage
A-a murky dark caramel color with some visible sediment and a thin layer of khaki head

S-dark fruits, bourbon soaked raisins, brown sugar, smells all get deeper as the beer warms

T-large bourbon presence with caramel malt, dark fruits, vanilla, and a light bitterness in the finish. Very well hidden alcohol.

M-medium to full body, sticky, light carbonation

Overall truly delicious, probably the best barleywine I have had (440 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage - Poured into a tulip glass:

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

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

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

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

This one is very young - the alcohol really stands out. It may take some time to mellow, though it is certainly enjoyable now. The aroma itself is simply wonderful! (565 characters)

Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, ruby red. Light brown hints. Decent head that fades to a messy lacing.

S: Potent but not overpowering bourbon starts it off followed by molasses, caramel, toffee, raisins, dark fruits. Light hint of vanilla as the beer warms.

T: Starts off with big caramel, toffee and dark fruit and finishes off with bourbon, wood and vanilla. Definitely some earthy hops present. Bourbon is not overpowering which allows the base beer to shine, but blends very nicely.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very, very good BA Barleywine. The bourbon is not too overpowering, but blends insanely well with the base beer. Bourbon and vanilla become more prevalent as the beer warms. Top 5 BA BW for sure. Easier to acquire and cheaper than Sucaba, and is in a better format for when I want to have a single 12 oz instead of opening a 750 mL. Recommended! (883 characters)

Photo of zoober911
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours a coppery golden brown. Little to no head.

S - The caramel is tremendous. Caramel, toffee. Dark fruits. Slight bourbon.

T - Silky caramel. Some dark fruit. As these slowly fade you're hit with bourbon on the tail end. Lots of sweet bourbon.

F - Feel is as expected with the style. Carb is spot on.

O - Overall this is awesome. Easily on par with Firestone's Abacus...easily. And much more accessible. I will pick up more before it's gone this season, and this will be my go to for the style. (505 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very solid beer, sweet but not overwhelmingly so, very complex, has all the delicious flavors one would except from a fine barley wine such as Toffee, Dates, and vanilla. it is just a tad on the boozy side, i think a year on it would go a long way. overall this was a very good beer and i'd definitely recommend it to fans of the style. (337 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 565 ratings.