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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,878 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,878
Reviews: 542
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 671
Gots: 530 | FT: 54
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,878 | Reviews: 542 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of areich6
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Zachtheporter
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes written down 3 days ago.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into What is either a tulip glass or a sifter with an extra long stem. It's a very funny looking glass that I cannot really describe but I digress.

A- Pours a semi-dark rich amber red/brown. Has a light off-white head that forms and then dissipates right away leaving a thin ring around the edges of the glass. There are a few bubbles that are rising to the top, and so it is a noticeably carbonated brew; Especially since this is a bba brew. (strange)

S- The is a strong scent of bourbon permeating through out this beer melding with a sweet fruity aroma. There are notes of caramel and sweet fresh grapes as well as some light cherry notes.

T- This barley wine taste's very strongly of alcohol especially at the beginning. It is semi-sweet and fruity as well as a bit malty. the perfect combination. There are notes of both raisins and grapes among the cornucopia of malty and fruity flavors. The beer finishes with the rich taste of malty bourbon.

M- Medium to high carbonation give it a crispness that I find somewhat odd in a barley wine. The beer has a thick malty, almost grainy feel to it as well. It coats the tongue at the end of each sip.

O- Much like Central Waters other Bourbon barrel aged beers this is a brew that Whiskey/bourbon lovers will truly fall in love with, especially if hard liquor is there go to drink, because this beer definitely packs a noticeable punch. While I did enjoy this beer I find that I don't really care for the taste of bourbon in a barley wine. I would personally say that the bourbon flavor almost slightly ruins the delicious taste of Charlie's Y2K catastrophe ale (which I am pretty certain is the barley wine used for this). Because of the high price of this beer I don't think I'm going to buy this again, although that all depends on how this turns out since I plan on aging a bottle for a good few years.

Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Company. It is no secret that Central Waters is my favorite brewery in Wisconsin.
Score: 90

January 2012 vintage bottle served in an oversized brandy snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep and mostly opaque mahogany color with some highlights at the top of the beer when held to light. Pours a finger-plus of tan sea foam head that settles into a thin foggy layer atop the beer and ring around the glass. Above average, oil lacing. 4/5

Smell: Strong notes of vanilla and molasses. Sweet and malty vanilla extract, light and fluffy vanilla cake, and a little tiramissu. Sweet raisin, caramel malt and astringent alcohol too. 4/5

Taste: Very strong and malty-sweet vanilla extract flavor throughout. Molasses/brown sugar, sweet raisin and alcohol flavor/warmth on the midpalate. Lingering caramel malt and vanilla in the finish. There is a light barley flavor in the back half of the beer as well. As the beer layers and warms, increasing amounts of raisin and alcohol come out. This brew grows in sweetness as it warms and layers as well. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, low carbonation. Super malty and sweet, but not sticky. 4/5

Overall: Bold, malty-sweet flavors render this one a sipper. The barrel aging here has vastly improved the quality of the base beer (the Kosmyk Charlie Y2K).

Recommendation: Especially for those who missed out on King Henry and/or do not have access to upcoming re-release of Abacus, this is a barrel aged barleywine worth seeking out. The bold flavors might turn off some casual beer drinkers, but I feel that the flavors if this brew are balanced and mass-appealing enough to likely intrigue the majority of casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Pretzels.

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack.

Photo of Duff27
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of pschul4
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark mahogany with a 1 inch frothy tan head. Exactly how I'd expect a BBA barleywine to look.

S- Bourbon up front but not abrasively so. Very smooth bourbon with some brown sugar notes in the background

T- Very nice bourbon on the front with some sweet sugar notes and some dark fruits peaking through. A little hot on the end however, some age would do this well.

M- Like the rest of Central Waters barrel aged offerings just too thin. I wish this was a little thicker

O- I like this a lot. By no means is this a King Henry but still delicious. Once CW figures out a way to thicken their barrel aged beer I will buy tons of them and hoared them all!!

Photo of freduardo
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of C2H5
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of SpdKilz
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up only a single from my local Binny’s as that was all they would allow.

Appearance – Pours an absolute murky, ruddy color into my tulip. It really does remind you of dirty water almost. Just a few bubbles, almost no head, and little lacing if any to speak of.

Smell – Just massive amounts of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. Dark fruits such as plums and figs become more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste – Smack you in the face bourbon kick right off the bat. Plentiful rich vanilla and brown sugar. Just a hint of hops, mixed with caramel and just a hint of dark fruits at the end.

Mouthfeel – Nice and thick, chewy, lower carbonation.

Overall – A very impressive bourbon barrel barleywine. I really need to try and find more of these. A tasty beer with literally zero alcohol taste and just slight warming. Well done.

Photo of smogfood
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of DaBubs
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of pirmannt1
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of Joeyuwp
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jmpizzo
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of dlello2
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a dark amber with a slight off white head that lingers on the sides.

S - First impression is a musty, earthy barleywine, with some notes of bourbon. Little vanilla and oak make their way through as well. The bourbon is actually a little overpowered by that barleywine. As it warms, the aroma becomes more intoxicating, really quite enjoyable.

T - Quite the alcohol kick in the taste. They don't shy away on this one. The barleywine has a bitterness to it, and the bourbon seems to play onto that. A good malt backbone that works well with the oak characteristics. Like the smell, quite earthy and musty, but with a little hop pizzazz left since it's fresh. A big and bold taste, but maybe not the most balanced.

M - Quite hot on the mouthfeel, definitely a sipper. Carbonation was good, just the alcohol burn kind of hurts the mouthfeel.

O - Overall, if alcohol burn isn't a deal breaker for you, this is a good beer. Great for a cold winter night like tonight, warms you up. I'll definitely sit on one and see where it's at later, but a hot barleywine fresh, along with some nice barleywine as well as barrel notes in this beer.

Photo of strangebrew321
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of CMB2012
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark and hazy amber/burgundy. Creamy, one finger beige head which recedes and leaves a nice ring. I notice definite alcohol legs here.

S- The blend of bourbon and malt is quite awesome! It's difficult to pick each part out because of the near seamless blending. I get toffee, caramel, along with prune, raisins, dried peach. The bourbon is far from subtle, but it is so well rounded already. There is some pungency from the alcohol itself, but mostly just smooth bourbon and spice.

T- Everything that is amazing in Kosmyc Charlie's with bourbon! Follows right along with the nose, but the depth in flavor is far greater. Deep dried fruit nuances that play back and forth between raisin and prune, sugary dates, then there is a back drop of caramel and toffee. As this dance goes on the spic of the bourbon comes into play and the whole event finishes with a sweet and smooth bourbon kick.

M- Medium/full body. Could be a bit thicker, but I am not complaining. The mouth is smooth and creamy, pretty much perfect here.

O- This may be my first bourbon aged barley wine, I'm really not sure. It is pretty amazing though! I look forward to aging a few bottles of this and see what happens.

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of cmannes
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Reason2B
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A beautiful dark copper in color. 1/4” or so of light yellow / white head. Great lacing, which appears if may last my entire drinking experience.

S: Caramel malt, bourbon, alcohol, fill the nostros.

T: This is what bourbon aged is meant to be; I just love it. The bourbon taste just stay with you your whole time enjoying this beer. However, it is by no means unbalanced. Next in line adding to the complexity is vanilla, followed by great caramel, with good oak flavor.

M: Heavy in body, with just the right about of carbonation.

O: This is a WINNER. It builds on an already great Y2K base with bourbon, caramel, vanilla and oak…who doesn’t like that. This is perhaps only second up to Fourteen Fourteen as the greatest of Central Waters offering.

Photo of abanton
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of stpaulsipper07
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of ncketchum
4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Duvel tulip, 2012 vintage

A - pours a murky reddish brown with minimal head

S - bourbon, vanilla, caramel, not too boozy, not too sweet.

T - wow, lots of the bourbon up front, however, very well-balanced with vanilla and caramel as in the nose.

M - thick, good amount of carbonation, definitely some alcohol burn but not too much like in some barleywines I've had.

O - Awesome. The time of the year when this and its stout counterpart come out make me happy I live in Wisconsin. Definitely world class in my book.

Photo of bierbrauer
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle purchased locally, ($9.99/4). Bottle dated early January 2012. Poured into tulip glass.

A: Very cloudy copper, with ruby tones; 1-1/2" off-white head that settles pretty quickly and leaves very sparse, thin lacing with a thin ring around the inside of the glass; a few tiny bubbles rising at top; remains cloudy as it warms.

S: Caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla, black cherry; prominent alcohol heat.

T: Pronounced sweet caramel and black cherry; bourbon; slight oak; gentle bitterness.

M: Full bodied & mouth-coating/chewy, low carbonation; rich and smooth texture; persistent alcohol warming; neutral finish.

O: Warming helps release the qualities of this American barleywine, as cellaring likely will, as well. One of the highest ranked WI brews on BA, it is balanced and has real substance and depth, making it one to seek out and sample.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,878 ratings.