Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 1,706 | Reviews: 529 | Display Reviews Only:
4.45/5 rDev +3.2%
12oz bottled in January of 2011. Huge thanks to StayWhatYouAre2 for sending this, along with 11 other Wisconsin brews to me. You're the man!
A: Pours a very hazy burnt orange/amber color with a small off-white head that seeps slowly back into the liquid from whence it came. Beautiful sticky lacing is left behind, creating a webby/stained-glass appearance on the sides as it descends towards the stem of the glass.
S: Huge bourbon smell is undeniable. However, it's not overwhelming because it's accompanied by sweet caramel and vanilla, dark fruits (fig and raisin), and a touch of oak to round out the complexity.
T: The taste is continually transitioning throughout each sip. It's hard to map the transitions, but here's what I've got: starts off with bourbon and wood and then quickly subsides to allow the sweeter characteristics of caramel and vanilla become prominent. The dark fruits almost simultaneously show up, then everything melds together for a finish comprised of each of the complex subtleties. The bourbon and booze are not so subtle at the finish and create a bit of heat. For 11.50%, though, the booze is masked pretty darn well. This is ridiculously tasty!
M: Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium, with carbonation that is more evident in the glass than it is on the tongue. Slightly heavy and slightly sticky with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. The finish is quite drying and makes your tongue beckon for the next sip, which creates the whirlwind of tastes and transitions all over again. Pretty exceptional.
D: This is a sipper for sure, however, the smell and flavors make it difficult to just sip. I keep going back for more quicker than I should, and it can catch up with you if you're not careful.
This is a really nice barleywine. I wish this was available to me where I live as it'd be one that I'd go back to as often as I could. Thanks again Alex!
04-01-2011 03:12:16 | More by Mississipping
4.45/5 rDev +3.2%
Pours a dark garnet color with a strong tan head and heavy lacing
Smell of dark fruit, healthy rich bourbon, oak , strong candy aromas and caramel mixed with toffee.
Taste is spot on for a barleywine although there is not a strong hop presence as is seen in many American Barleywines. Like I just stated, very weak hop presence which is probably all but overshadowed by the delicious bourbon and oak flavors. There is a great purple plum flavor in here mixing with cotton candy and caramel. Medium mouthfeel and a stronger carbonation than most have for the style. Finish is mostly graham cracker pie crust / slightly buttery.
Very nice, wish I had more.
03-31-2011 19:17:26 | More by alpinebryant
3.98/5 rDev -7.7%
Shared by Starrdogg at a BA tasting for the DC area. Thanks!
Pours a very mixed amber color, seems to be confused as to weather it is red or orange. The head forms with a bit of work and head is a nice tan color. The aroma is honestly what threw me for a loop. Nice sweet malts power through with a slight hop and bourbon aroma in the background. A very nice aroma and it made the brew all the more enjoyable. The taste was a bit un balanced for me, nothing that age can't fix. I feel with age this brew would eventually balance out. The sweet malt and body I felt was great but the Hops and Bourbon were a bit over the top. The body I felt was perfect and overall was a very enjoyable brew.
03-29-2011 19:50:11 | More by BZero007
4.15/5 rDev -3.7%
A-Rich amber, almost maroon body with a short off white head. Decent retention and good lacing.
S-Big load of caramel backed up with some biscuit, behind all that I started to get some sweet bourbon and a light oak character. I also got some light fruity and almost floral notes that added a really nice depth to all those rich aromas that you normally get.
T-Again, rich caramel and some biscuit, but this time with a sweet chocolate flavor, and the bourbon comes up sooner. I feel like the bourbon is better blended in this than in their bourbon stouts. The oak and hop flavors are pretty tame, the only oak I got was a light almost vanilla like flavor, and there is just a touch of a bitter kick at the finish, overall though it is very malt driven. There is some heat, especially evident at the finish, but its pretty well hidden.
M-Smooth and sugary with very low carb.
D-I felt that this was a great use of a bourbon barrel, Very nice and balanced flavor, decently complex, and the mouthfeel was very good for what it is. Drink this one fresh, I don't see much need for age.
03-25-2011 19:01:24 | More by larsenju
4.29/5 rDev -0.5%
aggressive pour into snifter.
Appearance: Reddish amber that almost looks like it glows. Small white head that disspates into a white ring around glass. Sticky lacing on the side of glass is noted.
Smell: Bourbon, Oak, and Malt.
Taste: The bourbon is immediate and quickly followed and complimented by the sweet flavor of malt. Oak and vanilla also compliment each other. Caramel, coconut, and toffee are detected with a more sweet bourbon flavor that just keeps coming at you unrelentingly. Nice dry oak in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with slightly warming boozeiness. Moderate carbonation, a bit more carbonation than expected with a barrel aged barleywine.
Overall: Another solid beer by Central Waters; i am becoming a big fan of their beer! I cant think of a better bourbon barrel barleywine that comes in 4 pack format. Great barrel notes and fantastic malt profile.
03-24-2011 03:35:30 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.85/5 rDev +12.5%
Deep,deep mahogany color with a nice tight head-bordering on black but not quite so. Huge sweet malt aroma with a heavy hand of bourbon to boot. Very sweet, almost spirit sweet like one of the trendy "schnapps"...Big and heavy malt flavors-raisens, figs, caramel, dried fruit. Huge caramel and toffee like flavors. Enough hops to be there but this is certainly all about the malt here. Still holds a touch of grain flavor. Lingering spice-almost cookie like. Huge body and lick the lips sweetness going on. A big sticky, sweet mess that I simply love. Body goes on for miles. Just a great, great beer all around. A true sipper in every sense of the word. Just great. 2009 vintage. Don't know if this is done each year but oh what a cellarable beer...
03-21-2011 01:16:03 | More by lackenhauser
4.3/5 rDev -0.2%
12oz bottle poured into Delirium Tremens snifter. Big thanks to UMNbeerhunter for this extra.
A- Pours a deep amber red with a single finger cream colored head that leaves no lacing.
S- Right up front I get bourbon with caramel on the finish.
T- Right off the bat I get bourbon and a little bit of sweet sugary taste. Nice roasted malt flavor with a little bit of caramel in the end. Mainly bourbon though
M- Medium bodied. Decently hot, but not too bad.
D- The alcohol is noticeable but it's also a pretty big beer. It drinks well for the high abv.
I'm not a big barleywine fan, but this one hit the spot. It's the first bourbon aged barleywine I have tried and I would be willing to try to find more similar to this.
03-10-2011 18:19:03 | More by GehenHerzog
4.22/5 rDev -2.1%
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Purchased from Riley's Wines of the World in Madison Wisconsin in early February. Bottled on date is January 2011. $10.99 a four pack.
Appearance: Pours hazy ruby/amber color. Thin foamy half finger head, minimal lacing.
Nose: Dried fruits. Nice bourbony/vanilla nose. Typical barleywine, but wait, theres more to it. Great oak/char back.
Taste: Unique flavor profile. The initial palate is bourbon barrel. Not overly boozy, but you can taste the vanilla and oak...slight charring, only to be washed away by the bitter barleywine flavor. The malt flavor is supported nicely by the bourbon/oak, and drifting away to the hop finish. Real nice balance.
Mouth: Great mouthfeel. I feel the carbonation is right where it should be. And at 11.5% ABV, no need to have a higher carbonation. Very drinkable, the booze isn't completely overbearing.
Drink and overall: Awesomely drinkable, high ABV barleywine. I like the oak barrel aging, it's done alot for Charlie. Fantastic beer, I have a few left and I am going to let them chill for a year or so.
03-08-2011 00:15:42 | More by MarcatGSB
4.1/5 rDev -4.9%
One of my bottles from 2010 that had been in the cellar for the past year.
Poured with a slight head which remained around the a snifter's edge upon drinking.
The smell of this beer grabs you more than anything. The bourbon stands out on the nose along with on the taste long afterwards. Defiantly a slow drinker with the bitterness on the tail end.
03-04-2011 23:39:30 | More by Ob1wan
3.05/5 rDev -29.2%
12 oz bottle of 2010 vintage poured into a wine glass after an year of aging. Poured dark amber-brown with oddly brilliant clarity for a beer of it's kind. The head was small and did not last too long, and left some lacing on the glass as it receded.
Smelled rich and sweet: dried fruits (mostly dates), residual sugars, and ample amount of oak-bourbon. Nothing too surprising but complex and more importantly, very good. The taste, however, was a a let down - slightly sweet and very bitter on a thin body with not enough malts/sugars to balance out the hops. The excellent aroma elements show up very briefly only in the aftertaste, which is a shame in my opinion.
Too much bitterness, to the point of clashing. Thin, overcarbonated, and hot with fusel alcohols. Seems like it has everything I hate about cheap liquor and very less of what I like about barleywines.
Scores: Appearance 4/5; Aroma 4.5/5; Taste 3/5; Mouthfeel 2; Drinkability 2/5
03-04-2011 22:04:38 | More by tewaris
4.47/5 rDev +3.7%
12oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottle provided by brian23456, thanks Brian!
A - Pours a murky orangish-brown color, really cloudy but not with sediment. On top sits an eggshell white, 1-fingered head with surprising retention given the high ABV of this beer. Following that is some awesome lacing as well that is spattered around the glass and actually sticks. How Central Water does it with this gravity is impressive.
S - The first smell I'm getting from this beer is a metric ton of vanilla oak that is incredibly enticing. There's bourbon as well, but it plays more of a support role. The vanilla has a sweetness that lends itself fantastically to the rest of the nose, which has lots of sweet malts. It has a nice, hoppy bite to it as well which is reminding me of Stone's Old Guardian. Think of OG in a bourbon barrel and that's this beer.
T - Given the great nose, I'm bracing myself for this beer to not live up to it as so many beers have done before. Thankfully I am redeemed after my first sip as this beer is incredibly smooth and bursting with flavor. Again, the vanilla hits hard in this beer and it actually has more of a presence here than in the nose in the sense that it has a much fuller flavor, almost with a sweetness and characteristic reminiscent of a slightly toasted marshmallow. The bourbon is again a transitional flavor between the flavor, malts, and hops, but I think it's achieved nicely. Speaking of the malts, they are here in full force, aiding in the smoothness and giving it some chew. The hops that were present in the nose are also in play at the end, bringing back the comparison to Old Guardian. In the finish, a pretty noticeable alcohol heat comes through, but it adds another layor to this beer without being a deterrent, just a warning to take it slow with this beer. Oh, and when I say sips for this beer, I literally mean it. Just a small mouthful is packed with flavor where anything more would just be overdoing it.
M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with low carbonation. Very creamy and the head, while it lasts, acts as a nice buffer. The finish is long and it leaves a thick coating on the mouth.
D - Drinkability is high. Although this is a sipper to a 'T', I didn't once think of finishing this beer and not regretting having more. I would love to see what this develops into, but fresh it's still a great beer.
03-04-2011 04:01:17 | More by nhindian
4.28/5 rDev -0.7%
Poured from a 12oz bottle 10' vintage on 3/2/11 into a Darkness Snifter.
Pours a dark amber red with about 1 finger of head the dissipates into no lacing on the glass.
Smell that hits me first is a malty carmel background then a little bourbon and wood after.
Taste is lots of bourbon, carmel and toasty malts. It tough for me to get a lot because of all the bourbon but I think I get a little hops and some sweet sugary taste on my lips.
Mouth feel is medium but the booze is very present. Like many have and will probably say this one is HOT! Don't get me wrong though it is very good.
Drinkability is good right now but as with many barley wines that I have tried I really think this need a year or two before it peaks. The alcohols are apparent in this one but again I think much of the hot mouth feel will fade and it will be one hell of a brew to enjoy.
03-03-2011 04:53:57 | More by UMNbeerhunter
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
Bottle shared with callmemickey
Pours dark muddy brown with decent tan carb. little lacing, but this thick beast had some legs.
Aroma was vanilla, caramel and some earthy pine notes. Just the slightest hints of actual bourbon on the nose.
Flavor was exceptional: great sweet caramel and molasses up front, but very well balanced with a big bitter finish, but leaving some rich bourbon and caramel on the tongue.
Big thick mouthfeel, but exactly what I want from a barley wine.
This must be a great base barley wine, but Central Waters showed how well you can use bourbon with a barley wine.
Re-rate 2011 Vintage:
Tasted Blind as part of Blind BIF #4
12 oz. bottle poured into my Bruery tulip.
First hiss hints of barleywine, so let's see...
Pours a burnt orange with a couple fingers of finely laced head. A little chill haze that'll hopefully clear up. Some large soap bubbles float around as the head dissipates. Both lace and legs glissade down the glass as I drink.
Aroma is dominated by pine and bourbon: vanilla, coconut and and earthiness. There's definitely some caramel there, but this beer deserves to warm up...toffee sweetness emerges with the warmth
The taste is a big shot of bourbon in my mouth. There's a subtle hint of burnt wood, like a fresh bourbon barrel or super smokey scotch. Big caramel flavor, then a an astringent finish, though I can't distinguish if this is from hops or a tannin flavor from wood. Also get some coconut aftertaste, reassuring me that this beer's been in bourbon.
The heat is in your face and this tastes relatively fresh. if not fresh, it's definitely 11%+ ABV. As sweet as this beer is, the strange dry finish is interesting. Perfectly carbonated for the style as the small bubbles work well to accentuate flavor but not kill me.
Overall, a solid barleywine. The heat is there and could use some age, but it's pretty solid. Great complexity of flavor.
I'd think this is something like central waters bourbon barrel barley wine, or maybe JW Lees Lagavulin cask, since that lagavulin smoke might be what I'm tasting.
03-01-2011 03:17:05 | More by ChrisPro
District of Columbia
4.6/5 rDev +6.7%
An excellent beer, thanks to starrdogg for sharing.
A: Reddish orange hue with some golden lacing on the sides of the glass. Ok ring of head.
S: A nice bourbon vanilla oak infused prune/vegetable barley base. Raisin sugar also dominate nicely.
T: Awesome taste. Elegant mix of oak/bourbon with huge dark fruit spicy barleywine. Confectionary levels of sweetness and some nice bitters at the back.
M: Smooth and very nice, bitter back. Great.
D: A little heavy but nice!
03-01-2011 02:12:27 | More by Dreadnaught33
3.73/5 rDev -13.5%
(12oz bottle courtesy of guyinchicago!). Pours cloudy amber color with sediment and off-white head. Aroma of candied sugar, dried 'pit' fruit and bourbon. Taste is sweet almost like a tootsie pop with a bitter pop at the end.. Full bodied and slick texture. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering. This is a pretty interesting beer.
02-23-2011 06:27:19 | More by trappistlover
4/5 rDev -7.2%
Wow 11.5 abv! A very sweet barley wine. Pours a cloudy mahogany with great amber highlights. Taste is hot from the bourbon but gets overpowered by the sugars. As it warms, the awesome flavors of burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and bourbon whiskey really shine.
The sweetness is a bit fatiguing and could be toned down a notch. This one will probably get better with age. Nevertheless, a great barley wine that will keep the D train warm along the tracks.
02-22-2011 13:14:18 | More by TheDTrain
4.03/5 rDev -6.5%
12oz bottle poured into my Piraat snifter. This beer pours a thick looking, dark honey color with bright ruby colored highlights. A massive, thick, sticky, off-white head rises up out of nowhere in a beautiful cascading effect. The head lingers around for approximately seven minutes before receding into a white cap floating on top and a ring around the circumference. Soapy lacing is sparingly left around the sides of the class.
The nose on this beer is a lot of bourbon, caramel, roasted malts and toasted grains and maybe some bittering hops. Slightly floral and definitely sweet to the nose, this one smells great.
Taste is heavy on the bourbon, and like the nose full of caramel. Toffee and brown sugar make an appearance making this beer sweeter than I thought it was going to be. The lack of astringent, over the top hops found in the other big American barely wine is nice. There is quite a bit of boozy notes in the taste as well. This one could use a little time.
Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, like sipping on liquid caramel. It is actually fairly hot on the palate, possibly from the alcohol, possibly from the bourbon barrel aging. Like I said, I think some time will certainly help mellow this beer out and bring out some more of its subtle complexities. I didn't realize the abv on this bad boy was 11.5% until I pulled it up on here. With this alcohol content the heat isn't much of a surprise, and this is actually fairly drinkable considering that.
02-22-2011 01:52:53 | More by mjn5036
4.55/5 rDev +5.6%
Picked this up in Stevens Point during the Central Waters Anniversary party. Even though I've had the 08-10 before, I chose to rate this because this is what I have the most of. As far as I'm concerned, the 2009 is the best year to date (and alcstradamus - Adam - can be quoted as saying "I like this better than Wooden Hell).. followed by the 2008 and then 2010/2011. Poured into my town hall snifter:
A - Pours a dark murky brown color, with a slight golden and amber hue. Pour produces only a slight foam cap but quickly dissipates into a very thin foam ring, and it seems to appear only on the left hand side of the glass...strange.
S - Wonderful tones of caramel, brown sugar and toffee. Smooth hints of sweet bourbon and a tiny bit of leather. Smells smooth and sweet, but all around delicious.
T - This one is pretty booze but its a really smooth bourbon flavoring. This one is new so I expect it to be pretty hot, but I can say for sure that if you give this one a few years it will be one of the best BBBW out there. Back to the taste. Nice sweet caramel and burnt brown sugar. Also flavors of toffee and candy. Once it warms the bourbon comes to the front and offers a nice sipping treat.
M - Like I said before, this one is pretty hot. A nice smooth carbonation that leaves the mouth slightly tingly. Its just so very good.
D - I'm giving this one a 5 on drinkability because it is just so all around amazing. When its cold, you are able to drink it somewhat quick and the flavors are slightly suttle and toned down, but when it warms, you can really just enjoy it, and the flavors and wonderful and the barrel aging that this brew has undergone really comes through. I love the flavors, smell and look of this beer. Just an all around amazing beer. Paul and his team have done a wonderful job with this and I hope they keep up the good work. This one only gets better with age folks, but enjoy one today and see how greatness is born!
02-20-2011 22:30:12 | More by joshuaseresse
4/5 rDev -7.2%
Shared by Chico1985, reviewed from notes. Bottle is about a year old.
A- Hazy deep red with a small cloud and bubbly ring. Legs fall and a minimal spot or two of lace sticks behind.
S- Oak and whiskey spice atop of dark fruit and a deep stale caramel old ale profile.
T- Old ale malt with some whiskey flavor and spice. Nice oak flavor and some dark fruit/cherry. Good ol' stale caramel, probably from the age on the bottle.
MF- Nice moderate carbonation with good alcohol warming and thickness to the body.
DB- Good balance of oak, barleywine malts and Bourbon flavors. I would like to try this one again in the future.
02-20-2011 01:23:13 | More by cbutova
4.28/5 rDev -0.7%
A - lively amber-brown with hazy white swirl capping. Not much head or lacing.
S- bourbon and a lot of caramel
T- bourbon is very tasty and balanced well. Bready, caramel, and slightly hoppy.
Mf - nice and full bodied, chewy, gratifying.
D - well balance beer with some very redeeming qualities.
02-19-2011 02:54:43 | More by atremains
4.38/5 rDev +1.6%
A: Deep red-brown, slightly cloudy with an oily film of a head.
S: Vanilla, alcohol, very sweet maltiness. You will smell it the second you uncap the bottle.
T: Fat, strong vanilla taste, oak, sweet alcohol, but remarkably smooth considering this is a new vintnage and huge ABV. Sweet malt heaven with just a slight crisp finish of the hops.
M: Slightly syrupy and average carb.
D: Drink slowly!
02-19-2011 01:37:22 | More by vitrael
4.23/5 rDev -1.9%
Reviewing 2011, have had 2008-2011 before.
Pours a translucent cherry brown with a reasonable tannish-white head. Smells just fantastic: caramel, vanilla, bourbon. Just knocks me outta the park. This is a very fresh barley wine, with hops in the finish and big sweetness upfront. A bit boozy, bourbony and just generally, a beer that needs some time to calm down. From experience, it doesn't take long for this beer to mellow quite a bit. Based off of this fresh and generally over time, this is a barley wine for people who like them relatively sweet. Very solid levels of carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. In it's current state, it's not the most drinkable beer. As it mellows, the sweetness emerges, putting a ceiling on the drinkability. In general, this beer has well integrated bourbon without being a bourbon/booze bomb, that is on the sweeter side of an already sweet style. Fantastic, and that's before I mention that you can't pay more than $3/12oz when it's available.
02-12-2011 04:36:31 | More by seeswo
4.38/5 rDev +1.6%
Served in a snifter
This beer looked a really nice deep red heavy amber color with a quickly fading light beige head that reduced to lacing on the surface. The smell, it's really really a wonderful fragrance. There is a honey brown sugar caramel aroma along with some hints of bourbon and vanilla. The taste was nice sweet brown sugar and vanilla flavor there were light fruit flavors hidden deep in back a hint of oak flavor. The taste when at the perfect temperature, which I assume to be the intended serving temperature, is a wonderful god like nectar, either above or below the tannins or booze come out respectively. This beer was really easy to drink when at the right temperature range, and I seriously wish that I was saving more of these bottle for myself because damn are they tasty.
02-09-2011 03:49:25 | More by Vdubb86
4.08/5 rDev -5.3%
2010 Vintage, poured into my Portsmouth glass.
A vigorous pour yields about 1/8" of tannish head. This beer's hazy reddish brownish color isn't going to win any beauty contests, but it's not too bad looking.
Aroma is dominated by a smoky bourbon with elements of wood and some sweet caramel. Reminds me of Elijah Craig 12yr but without the crazy alcohol bite.
Taste is pretty sweet overall featuring some dark fruits, caramel and some of the same oak and smoke. Fairly well integrated, but I wouldn't elevate it to being particularly special.
Mouthfeel is velvety smooth with just the right amount of prickly carbonation, but it is lacking a little in body. A good -bal barleywine and definitely a sipper, I'll probably let my other bottles go for another year or more and see what develops.
02-05-2011 04:22:51 | More by 321jeff
4.08/5 rDev -5.3%
2010 vintage. Out of my Maudite tulip
A- A glowing reddish amber color. Nice 1 finger off white head. The beer is pretty clear.
S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. Smells sweet, with a bit of oakiness. I smell some light hoppiness, but nothing crazy.
T- Coats the mouth with a wondeful smooth caramel flavor, which quickly transitions to a prominent piney hop flavor. The bourbon is there, but melds well with the other flavors. A little booze and vanilla too.
M- It's really pretty nice. Could have used some more time to mellow, but it is very drinkable. The hoppiness is a little strong.
D- More of a sipper, but plenty drinkable. A nice and complex barleywine, with a near perfect bourbon blend. Would love to try some of these with a couple years of age on them
01-30-2011 19:47:08 | More by Gfunk720
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,706 ratings.