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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

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1,631 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,631
Reviews: 526
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 632
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: 1,631 | Reviews: 526 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Grohnke


3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, burnt orange/gold/brown. Quarter inch head, dissipates quickly, leaving a fine, thin scattered film, and perfect perimeter

Impressive bourbon aroma that lends to vanilla and some soft oak, rich caramel, prominent dark cherry. Sweet malty characteristic 

Carmel, cherry, vanilla, a spicy characteristic that could be attributed to the warming alcohol, at times it comes off hot. Great sweetness and dry wood on the finish.

Full body, light carbonation. Slightly sticky and creamy mouthfeel. Finishes surprisingly a bit dry, with a hot alcohol and light hop bitterness.

An enjoyable, heavily bourbonized, sipper of a barley wine. Fruits and caramel sweetness come out very well, with the hops and wood providing a nice finish. Bourbon notes are clear and complex. The big drawback here is how hot it is. And that it is represented in the aroma, flavor and finish...it constantly reminds you how hot the beer is. Maybe some time in the cellar would have helped. Too bad I only have one.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2012 05:10:38 | More by Grohnke
Photo of robo90124


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-07-2012 01:29:35 | More by robo90124
Photo of bsp77


4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruddy orange with moderate light tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet vanilla with some overripe dark fruit (plum, raisins), toffee and oak. Somewhat boozy as well.

Taste: Fairly sweet and fruity with a big blast of vanilla. While there is some definite toffee, plum and raisin driving home the malt base, this is mostly about the bourbon barrel aging, which imparts vanilla, coconut and light oak. Some light spicy hops on the finish.

Feel: Sweet, full and boozy body with moderately low carbonation. Finish is barely dry, struggling against the sweet taste.

Overall: More so than most Bourbon Barrel beers (which are often Stouts), this is truly a showcase for the Bourbon, making the beer secondary. This makes for a mighty tasty Barleywine, but one that is slightly hampered by sweetness and alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 15:06:16 | More by bsp77
Photo of monitorpop


4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

A: Thick, ruby caramel with a half finger off white head.

S: Candied sugar, malts, bourbon.

T: Bready malts, faint vanilla, dominant bourbon. Lingering bitter sweet finish.

M: Thick body, mild carbonation with warming alcohol.

O: A solid barely wine, but a bit overly bitter in the finish for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 03:50:23 | More by monitorpop
Photo of burnheartsMKE


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-04-2012 00:20:58 | More by burnheartsMKE
Photo of siradmiralnelson


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

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours 1 finger of head. Really good retention. Permanent collar of head. Thick lacing left. Color is a hazy amber brown.

S. A lot going on in the aroma of this beer. Caramel, vanilla, raisins, dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar. A little bit of hops. Nice bourbon aroma in the background. A little bit more alcohol comes out as it warms. Really a very nice complex smelling barleywine.

T. Flavor does not let down either. Lots going on. Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit, molasses. Some bourbon flavor. Drinks really smooth. Get some woody oaky flavor on the back of the tongue. Gives it some balance to the traditional barleywine sweetness. Nice vanilla flavors also come out as it warms, which is part of why I like this style so much.

M. Full bodied. Medium low carbonation. Finishes with some lingering sweetness.

O. Expected great things from this, and it delivered. Smooth easy drinking barleywine with a ton of depth and flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 22:27:54 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of mconz


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-03-2012 18:05:34 | More by mconz
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2010 Vintage (bottled Feb.)***

Thanks to grub for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Body is a mix of brown and red, like a light leather. Hard pour reveals less than half a finger that disappears pretty fast. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: Sweet bourbon, dark fruits and wood. Quite strong and nice.

Taste: Dry cherries ,aged wood, bourbon with traces of leather. Sweetness balanced with some bitterness. Rich flavors.

Mouthfeel: A bit rough with some residual bitterness from the alcohol heat. Smooths out as it warms.

Overall: A bit rough around the edges but ends up being good. Drinkable and not too heavy

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2012 12:16:41 | More by papat444
Photo of Nitrogenx


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

03-02-2012 08:55:39 | More by Nitrogenx
Photo of GORUM


5/5  rDev +16%

03-01-2012 15:31:49 | More by GORUM
Photo of richkrull


5/5  rDev +16%

03-01-2012 02:13:25 | More by richkrull
Photo of siege06nd


3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to osubuckeye99 for this trade. Thanks, Chris!

Poured into my Jackie O's 6th Anniversary 4 oz. snifter...

A: Pours a cloudy orange red with a quarter finger cream colored head. Solid retention and good lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Smells like liquid caramel. Tons of caramel and vanilla on the nose. Hints of ripe dark fruit and some bourbon.

T: Follows the nose. Lots of caramel, vanilla, some chocolate and tobacco. Hints of raisin, dark fruit, and some nice bittering hops on the finish. Bourbon and barrel on this are both very apparent. Sipping a little hot right now, could use some time in the cellar to settle down.

M: Quite a bit of burn on the finish. Bourbon is really dominating right now, and adding a lot of sweetness to this one, to the detriment of some of the other flavors. A bit one note.

O: Pretty good barleywine here. It definitely needs some age as it drinks pretty hot right now. Lots of nice flavors, though, and an assertive hop profile to boot.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 00:41:20 | More by siege06nd
Photo of KAP1356


4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle that I received a while back in a trade. Poured into a snifter...

A - Pours a deep, reddish-amber color with a small eggshell-white head that forms about .5 fingers thick. It recedes quite quickly to a collar. Some visible carbonation after the pour.

S - The aroma starts with caramel malts loaded with dark, sticky fruits (dates, figs, raisins) with raisins being the most prominent. Toffee, strong vanilla, oak, toasted coconut and some slightly hot bourbon notes come next. Nice barrel integration here.

T - The taste is nice. Hot bourbon and vanilla up front. Dark fruits, caramel malts, toffee and some butterscotch flavors come next. Soft oak notes make themselves known as do some hops that stand out as bitter on the back-end a bit more than I am used to with BA barleywines.

M - The feel is a bit syrupy and medium bodied. Here and there it seems a bit thin to me. The alcohol heat sure is present but not off-putting. Moderate carbonation here.

O - Overall, I liked this beer. I wasn't blown away by any means, but having the ability to have a bourbon barrel aged barleywine of this quality on a constant basis is nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 18:26:21 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Arbitrator


3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2012 vintage, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber body with a pinky finger of light beige head. Retention isn't great, but there is a thick swirl of bubbles on top of the brew for quite some time, with a thin collar that leaves a little ring during a swig. No lacing that sticks.

S: Bourbon... This is very bourbon-forward, wow. Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, brown sugar, molasses. Lots of sweet things. Vanilla, even some oak. Very pungent, very nice.

T: Almost a metallic bent to it, which recedes but doesn't fully vanish as the beer warms. It's very caramelly and sweet. Lots of toffee, butterscotch, and nuts to accentuate the bourbon character. Vanilla and oak are also found. Hops are quite strong in this beer, contributing bitterness but no particular flavor. Instead of balancing the rest of the beer, the bitterness clashes oddly. Somewhat poorly integrated. It starts off great, but the finish is metallic and astringent.

M: It is viscous, resistant to swirling in the mouth. Full-bodied in flavor, with low carbonation and a creamy presence. It's drier than expected, and the bitterness/metallicity helps prevent this from tasting too sweet as well. I detect the ABV only subtly as a warming effect.

D: This is an excellent deal. However, it could use a little more work to integrate the flavors properly. I'll definitely keep chasing it down in the future, but it's not a beer I need in large quantities. I like this approximately on par with Abacus; this one is more flavorful and less boozy, but Abacus has a better finish. The cost tips it in CW's favor.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 05:51:44 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Vonerichs


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

Murky rusty brown body with minimal head despite the aggressive pour.

Smells extremely boozy and hot, just like bourbon. Vanilla, wood, and a toasty caramel sweetness.

Wow, this is a really big beer. I love the depth of the bourbon flavors. It's definitely a sipper and doesn't try to mellow the bourbon. Loads of vanilla and wood, astringent, caramel.

Mouthfeel is creamy body, but cut with astringency. Low carbonation adds to the creamy body.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It's probably the most bourbon forward bw I've had, to the point it could almost be mistaken for a bourbon but for carbonation. It's a great beer to cap off a night.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 03:01:03 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of zeledonia


4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled January 2012.

Pours a hazy medium amber with hints of red. One-finger yellowish tan head, good retention and lacing. I like the looks of it.

Smell is simply fantastic. A wonderful blend of rich sweet fruity barleywine goodness with robust-but-not-overpowering bourbon notes. Caramel galore, some pungent over-ripe stone fruit. Wow.

Taste doesn't quite live up to that, mostly cause it's kinda hot. The first 3/4 of the taste is great, with rich sweet peaches and plums, caramel, and an undercurrent of bourbon. But in the last quarter, the bourbon blasts in, making me cough lightly and want a reprieve.

Mouthfeel is sticky and heavy. Not thick, but syrupy and clingy, sticking to the mouth and lips for quite a while. Carbonation is medium-low, as it should be, but provides a little shake-up at the end.

This is a very fine barleywine. I'm going to let my remaining bottles sit, in the hopes that the bourbon kick in the finish will mellow out. I find it darn tasty, but a bit hot. The base barleywine is quite good on its own, and it shows through well here, and blends well with the bourbon.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 04:45:02 | More by zeledonia
Photo of johnhenryconway

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

02-25-2012 03:44:04 | More by johnhenryconway
Photo of kyledg


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

02-21-2012 00:58:18 | More by kyledg
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -7.2%

02-20-2012 21:49:06 | More by djrn2
Photo of stbo101


3/5  rDev -30.4%

02-20-2012 05:41:51 | More by stbo101


4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

02-19-2012 22:19:38 | More by THEOPTIMATOR88
Photo of chrispoint


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

02-18-2012 08:32:13 | More by chrispoint
Photo of tfidler


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

02-18-2012 05:35:26 | More by tfidler
Photo of I2uss


4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

02-17-2012 23:51:37 | More by I2uss
Photo of sacrelicio


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

Just when I thought that Central Waters Y2K barleywine couldn't get any better...

Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. The color is a nice rosy-brown amber, with a nice even khaki colored head. The smell is rich and meaty, with vanilla, bourbon, caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

The taste follow suit, but with some muted floral hops and alcohol, hot and spicy. Somehow boozier than the 2012.

Mouthfeel is soft and slick, a little thin for the style, but a sign of good attenuation.

Overall, an excellent barleywine and I hope it gets even better with more age. If only I can hold on to this a little longer.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 06:57:51 | More by sacrelicio
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,631 ratings.