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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,629 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,629
Reviews: 526
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 631
Gots: 511 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: Atron67 on 03-02-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,629 | Reviews: 526 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lakersfan16


4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

05-21-2012 03:57:47 | More by lakersfan16
Photo of Romulux


4/5  rDev -7.2%

05-20-2012 17:03:45 | More by Romulux
Photo of bitterbeerguy


4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starting the weekend with this 2009 gem thanks to JohnGalt1!

Pours a beautiful red color that has some orange and brown hidden throughout. Very light on the bubbles but I think that's how these bourbon barrel brews are meant to be.

Aroma has hints of whiskey, toffee, caramel, and raspberries. Absolutely no idea where the berries are coming from but I like it.

Taste is very complex: smooth malt barleywine characters such as toffee and fig show up first, then brew begins to turn the corner to bourbon, but in a very subtle way. I am truly impressed by how the lingering bourbon flavor sticks.

Overall a gem, as mentioned above. The light, yet complex, favors have developed over the past couple years very nicely. The best part is a subtle bourbon flavor that does not over power and instead let's the notes of the barleywine come through while providing complimentary favors.


Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 21:21:01 | More by bitterbeerguy
Photo of BasterdInABasket


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

05-17-2012 00:02:21 | More by BasterdInABasket
Photo of nrbw23


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A pours a rich red color with an off white head. Head has ok retention and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness, and a good amount of wood.

T- Quite a bit of caramel, nice piney taste that came out of no where, bourbon and vanilla. A touch of booze here too.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- A sipper for sure. Very solid brew for sure. I'll try to hunt this one done again.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 19:28:10 | More by nrbw23
Photo of scott2269


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

05-15-2012 02:16:16 | More by scott2269
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Thanks to mtunnell for this one. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Dense pour barely stirs up a light caramel head that collapses quickly. Beer is a slightly cloudy clay-amber. Lacing is very spotty and sparse with oily legs. Average.

Nose really makes my mouth water. Robust toffee, caramel, and dark fruit. Brown sugar mixed with deep booziness topped off with a slight raisin and anise note. Really nice.

Opens dark fruit, caramel, and brown sugar. Toffee appears towards the middle and end integrate some booziness here and there. Very sweet and syrupy. Honey and molasses throughout. Finish is sweet with a lingering, sugary aftertaste. Incredible.

Medium to full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Oily and robust in the mouth and thick and syrupy going down. Abrasive, hot finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Exactly what I want.

Having heard so much about this beer and finally getting to try it, I can say for sure now that this most definitely lives up to the hype. Really great fresh and I can't even imaging how this would be with a couple of years on it. An amazing beer through and through.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 23:02:14 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of M1A2


4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

05-14-2012 13:03:59 | More by M1A2
Photo of JohnK17


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

05-10-2012 14:42:15 | More by JohnK17
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 22:42:53 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of beerhan


4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A-very turbid with a thin white head. orange brown hue towards an amber body.

S-lots of bourbon up front, a bit of a sour mash scent dominates. Some syrup is present as well.

T-Initial bourbon taste followed by lots of toffee, caramel, chocolate, and some marshmallow. Very rich flavors shine through.

M-Very smooth with an afterburn. Quite drinkable but is really thick.

O-This is one fine beer. Twelve ounces may be a bit much just because of how rich it is.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 15:53:28 | More by beerhan
Photo of Holland


4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a slightly hazy brown/orange/red color with a thin tan head that keeps a ring and small lacing.

S: sweet malt, oak, lots of bourbon, and some dark fruits

T: much the same as the smell, but with some alcohol and better balance than the smell. The alcohol takes away from the taste more than most barrel aged barleywines I've had

M: good carbonation, decent body, but not fantastic since the alcohol seems to cut it

O: excellent beer, should have aged it or had it colder than cellar temperature. Will be buying more of this soon.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 21:59:23 | More by Holland
Photo of tjkinate


4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A: A hard pour into a large snifter produced a 2 fingered frothy yet creamy tan colored head. It displayed good retention and some lacing settling atop this deep red bodied, semi-transparent brew.

S: Loads of caramel and dark fruits, only little hints of bourbon. Good smell that lacked in complexity.

T: Follows the caramel found in the smell, but the new found complexity elevates this beer to the next level. Dark fruits were less prominent and blended nicely with the oak from the bourbon barrels.

M: Heavy, creamy, still pretty hot. Gonna hold onto my remaining bottles for later.

O: A surprisingly great Barleywine that I can see only getting better with time.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 19:47:53 | More by tjkinate
Photo of ithinkimasofa


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

05-07-2012 02:43:11 | More by ithinkimasofa
Photo of jera1350


4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deeper burnt orange, short yet dense head of khaki foam that leaves thick lacing.

Highly complex nose. Very sweet, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, pound cake, maple syrup.

Huge barleywine sweetness intertwined with a huge hot bourbon punch. Underneath lies all of the complex flavors of spiced rum, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, maple syrup and caramel. The warm flavors and alcohol linger forever.

Hot and sticky with deep down heat lingering what seems forever. Full bodied with a sappy feel on the finish.

An absolute knockout of a brew. The price is a amazing for the quality of the product also. A sipper for sure, but an absolute pleasure of one.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 01:40:05 | More by jera1350
Photo of samie85


4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A rough pour into a Duvel tulip yields a hazy dark brown color with two and a half fingers of white head.

Smells of oak, vanillin, spicy bourbon notes, and some dark fruit notes with a bit of burnt sugar.

Follows the nose with vanillin from the barrel, spicy bourbon, some dark fruit notes and finishes with that spicy bourbon note.

Medium bodied with prickly carbonation and warm, boozy feel with a warmth that you only get from drinking bourbon straight.

A little bourbon heavy, which I don't mind, but I would like to get a better understanding of the base beer; it's pretty hard to distinguish from the big bourbon notes.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2012 03:45:32 | More by samie85
Photo of Brown120


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

05-02-2012 11:55:41 | More by Brown120
Photo of clarkw42


4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

05-02-2012 02:51:40 | More by clarkw42
Photo of ObeMaltKinobee


3.75/5  rDev -13%

05-01-2012 09:06:37 | More by ObeMaltKinobee
Photo of guytyping


5/5  rDev +16%

05-01-2012 03:01:44 | More by guytyping
Photo of mhenson42


5/5  rDev +16%

04-27-2012 22:57:58 | More by mhenson42
Photo of jjanega08


4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012

A= Pours a nice deep brownish amber color with a soft half finger of tan head on it that falls fast to nothing and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

S= The aroma is very barrel. Tons of bourbon and vanilla with great oak notes. Compared to the BBS the barleywine is more dominate of a character. There are lots caramel malts with a nice sweetness to it as well as some dark fruit character.

T= The bourbon taste is great as well as the barrel notes. This is a fine barleywine with the perfect use of barrels. Vanilla bourbon oak all the way with great caramel and dark fruit buried in it. A great mix.

M= Great carbonation and solid mouth.

O= CW does a great job with their barrels but after trying a number of their barrel aged stouts they don't seem to be able to get the base beer right making it a barrel drink to me. This does both of them correctly. The barlywine is a fine base and the barrels are outstanding. This is the barrel aged beer I've been looking for from Central Waters.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 07:30:49 | More by jjanega08
Photo of DersOne


4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

04-26-2012 15:46:31 | More by DersOne
Photo of TWStandley


4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into my KTG Snifter. 2012 Vintage.

Poured a semi-hazy brown/red color with an off white head that was big at first but dissipated quickly.

I will admit, the smell was a bit off-putting. Smelled somewhat like grain alcohol, with a faint smell of vanilla and oak.

Taste was phenomenal. Well balanced. Great bourbon flavors including vanilla, oak, and plums/raisins. Slight alcohol taste, combined with a bit of brown sugar and belgian candy sugars. Absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel is a bit warm, but given the 11.5% abv, not overdone. Definetely thick, with a bit more carb than most barleys I have had, but awesome none the less.

Wow, great great great barleywine. Glad I have a few more. Awesome use of the barrel.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2012 00:15:07 | More by TWStandley
Photo of shleepy


3.6/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 2012 bottle into snifter glasses.

A: Lightly hazy medium-brown. Small head.

S: Pleasant, subtle notes of vanilla and sour berries.

T: Vanilla, toffee, light liquoriche. Almost gives away the alcohol in the finish / aftertaste, but stops just short.

M: Creamy texture. Very heavy body - definitely a slow sipper.

O: I'm not generally a huge fan of the super-heavy beers, but I appreciated this one as a kind of nightcap, sipping it over a long period of time.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 06:10:51 | More by shleepy
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,629 ratings.