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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,742 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,742
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 651
Gots: 518 | FT: 50
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: 1,742 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oakbluff
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle- 2009 vintage. Pours a ruby chestnut with good clarity and a one finger light brown head. Nose- ripe dark fruit, fig, big toasty malts, vanilla and sweet bourbon. Taste- very sweet blast of bourbon and caramel malts followed by raisins and spruce. Pretty boozy. Mouthfeel- low carbonation, thick and chewy from the huge malt bill. Drying finish from alcohol heat and reasonably high hopping. An interesting brew.

oakbluff, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yep, that guy Gillard is up to his old tricks by sharing amazing WI brew offerings. Thanks buddy.

Pours deep copper with light tan head. Nice aroma with tasty wood and bourbon notes that don't really over shadow the fruity esters and faint maltiness. The alcohol heat does build up and singe the nose a bit. The taste starts with mildly sweet maltiness and roasty malts that then becomes wood and barrel like flavors before a formidable vanilla flavor takes hold. There's also dark fruity esters of grapes, cherries and prunes before the alcohol hotness builds to a distracting level. It could use more age. Darn tasty now though

BigMcLargeHuge, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of katan
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz into a pint - 2009 edition - the young kind

A - Pours a dark black to mostly brown color. Almost a red tinge to it. Very very hazy - could be a yeast suspension. Head formation is off white, lightly retained. Carbonation appears light.

S - Sugarly sweet with a high amount of bourbon backdrop. The bourbon barrel comes across as mostly sweet, somewhat sour. A light oaking does come through. No hopping.

T - Starts off incredibly sweet, with an immediate backdrop of alcohol burn. Mid-stream does start to be more balanced, but it is more due to a flash of bourbon barrel char. Incredibly sweet finish, extreme sugars off toffee and caramel. Intense flavors.

M - Thick, creamy, sugary and clinging. Tongue grabbing. No carbonation is detectable. Extremely fully bodied.

D - Does get a bit filling at times. A one time only beer by far - alcohol will sneak up on you, but when it does, look out. Flavors aren't that overwhelming. If i could manage not passing out after 2, I'd be signed up for more.

I'm thrilled with the way the bourbon came through on this beer for being so young. Almost too young perhaps. I have another that I'll age for a year to compare against. It does remind me of some of the young 2008 GI BCS I had.

katan, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of KeefD
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber brown color with a small off-white head that had a lasting cap but no lacing. Aroma is lightly oxidized, plenty of sticky sweet malt, a bit of hoppiness, rounded out by a touch of oak. Taste is mucho oak, vailla, caramel, and dark fruits galore. I can definitely pick out some raisins and over-ripe fruits in this one, a nice kick of piney hops, loads of caramel. Very sweet and becomes even more so as it starts to warm. Bourbon wasn't very present, but the musty, wet oak barrel was. Carbonation is nearly absent, smooth, sippable, delicious. This one tastes pretty good but there's just a touch of oxidation in the nose and in the flavor. Not sure if the bottle was starting to go bad, but it had just a hint of that oxidized cardboard taste. Still pretty darn good and I hope the other bottle I picked will age gracefully.

KeefD, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of boomer31
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle reviewed 9/09

A - Darker orangeish woody
S - Bourobn all over the place with sweet malt in the background. This bad boy was sitting in a barrel for quite some time. Great smell if you love bourbon, if you're not a fan of it though, steer clear.
T - Again, bourbon everywhere. My first BB B-wine and what a treat. The malt does come forward as you get past the initial bourbon flavor. Wonderfull. This needs to be a top 50 beer.
M - Thick and smooth, low carbonation
D - Bourbon makes this one a sipper especially at the ABV (I'd assume is close to 9%)

Overall a favorite beer no doubt. I love this thing time and time again

boomer31, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle courtesy of czoch75 - a huge thanks to a great trader! 2009 vintage, poured in to an 18 oz. cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a transparent mahogany wood, a deep ruddy brown capped by a finger and a half of uniformly tan head of remarkable consistency. The retention is surprisingly solid for a beer of ... what's the abv% on this? I'm not sure, but it's high, and it's barrel aged, so it's probably even higher from the spirit addition. The lacing leaves a little more to be desired, but still does an admirable job at times of clinging to the sides of the glass, forming small freckle-like patterns in places and thicker, avant garde-esque sheets in others. Upon holding this one up to the light, a few incredibly fine streams of slow carbonation are visible.

Aroma: Barrel notes are very obvious in this one and meld wonderfully with a heavy, thick hop profile. Smooth waves of tobacco, leather, and oak provide nice window dressing for a slew of heavier malty notes - dark toffee, caramel, toast, bread crusts - and bourbon-soaked fruits, mostly lighter ones. It's a little fainter than I'd like and requires severe agitation to get a really good grasp on, unfortunately.

Taste: Sweet malts and dark fruits - caramel, doughy bread, moderately-roasted toffee, faint chocolate, as well as raisins, sweet cherries, dates - are in perfect equilibrium with a slew of hop notes, ranging from leather to tobacco to grapefruit to pine (the latter of which melds seamlessly with the hop bitterness, the alcohol burn, and the bourbon presence, for the record). The burn is actually predominantly hop bitterness (a fact that becomes evident in the "afterfeel," i.e., the belch), and I would love to set this one down for a few years to see what develops. Strong woodiness, faint vanillin, plus the bourbon adds an earthy, slightly spicy presence, with definite kisses of char and a few astringencies, but is by no means the dominant note here: perhaps it is the sheer intensity of the other flavors - the sweetness of the malt backbone and the complexity of the hop profile - that keeps it in check, but regardless, this beer presents a marvelously complex and well-balanced array of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, thick without being syrupy or cloying, with quite possibly the perfect amount of embedded carbonation, fine and well-dispersed that rises and lifts the wonderful aforementioned flavors to the perfect elevation. Marvelous.

Drinkability: An unbelievable beer. A remarkable array and assortment of flavors in near perfect balance provides for a true treat, whether alone or with dessert. No burn at all, and, well, since I don't know what the abv% is, I can't really knock any points off for drinkability there ... right? I'm going to guess between 9.5% and 10.5%, though at this level, my margin of error gets a little screwy. Regardless, this is a well-crafted beer with a good - albeit mild - nose, a fantastic mouthfeel and flavor profile, exceptional drinkability for the style, and one I would insist anyone who sees buys up instantly. And then mail it to me.

CrellMoset, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of infestaxion
3.63/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From my notes

A - Murky dark red with a thin white head that fades quickly into a ring around the glass.

S - Big bourbon and sweet dark fruit. Nice malt presence.

T - Bourbon is much less in the taste. Huge malt and dark fruit. Apple. Alcohol. Very sweet aftertaste with a bit of burn.

M - Medium body and low carbonation.

D - Going to be slow drinking this thing.

infestaxion, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark crimson with two fingers of tan foam. Creamy consistency and long lasting retention. The deep crimson color is nice. Stewed prunes in the nose, not as nice. 2009 bottle, but it smells aged. Cotton candy, brown sugar, sweet and syrupy.

Some heat at first that's soon eclipsed by a gargantuan battle cruiser of bourbon and malt flavors. If you like those two things, you can't go wrong. Sweet vanilla aftertaste, plenty of rich malt and some residual hop bitterness. Drying finish, somewhat concealed in the booze department. Rich and syrupy feel, thankfully dry on the end like Y2K and not a sickly sweet aftertaste like so many barleywines. The barrel is integrated here, and it's not too hot, but you know deep down this is a booze bomb. Plenty of warmth, but not in the taste. Very well done overall, one to look forward to every year.

emerge077, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of bulletrain76
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to CaptainCougar. Hazy brown with a small beige head. Sweet bourbon, lightly tart wood, plenty of malt, and fruit in the aroma. The flavor is mellow and malty with a nice bourbon and caramel touch. The balance of the beer and the barrel is great, with just a light wood flavor and not much alcohol. Full bodied with medium-light carbonation. Very nice barrel integration, with a good spread of flavors.

bulletrain76, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of carps12
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my st sebastiaan tulip. Picked up in a trade with Brian23456. thanks. Dark brown with a reddish brown tint with some light passing through. Thin frothy head with white lacing that sticks, nice. Slight bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, berry compote, fantastic! Taste of bourbon covered chocolate with a oak bitterness on the finish. The dry oakiness/bitterness starts to wear on me. Mouthfeel had a little to much carbonation, but was still enjoyable. I'd like to see how this ages to mellow out the finish. Hard to have more than one.

carps12, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A heavy murk of the deepest of darkest scarlet brown but mostly black in duller light. Tall and fluffy capping of sandy browned foam bubbles its way to a medium height before finding a skimming and collar replacement slowly after. Elongated portions of sheeted lace angle the glass with a few icicles dangling along the bottom.

Aroma is plummy, rummy, dark orange, and deep with some over ripe date fruityness. Burnt brown sugar, vanilla pod paste, and huge earthen tobacco oak tinged heat perks the nose up with quite a beefy array. The heated esters do grab the impressions of the bourbon barrel aging very well. Nice!

Taste is heavenly lush, creamy, and thick with a huge loft of chewyish malts that drips lots of dark caramel all across a marmalade of dark fruity mushyness that has date, plum, fig, raisin, orange, mixing with tingey oaken warmth that adds a lovely vanilla aspect well within each sip. Partial warming chocolate thickness and burntish butter creep into its warming finish as it cinders with earthy vanilla oakyness. Damn nice taster!

Super creamy, silken medium/fullish body that has exceptional balance and tone the whole way thru as its length in taste is superseded by its well handled wamrth. Finsishes clean, earthy, warm, and like a warm chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough thats been slightly warmed in the oven just before the are comepletely ready to be a cookie; somewhere between cookie dough and its toasty/burnt edges if left unattended. Much like the Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe this has alot of dimensions that scream Old Ale while keeping its Barleywine presence maintained.

This was gone in no time flat as its balance was outstandingly nice between its malty chewyness and bourbony hinted, earthy vanilla warming. Remarkable stuff by Central Waters!

tavernjef, Aug 20, 2009
Photo of Casey10
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a barlywine and not a stout? Okay my bad. Oh yea this was a 12 oz trade from darklordlager

Incredible taste for a drink of this type really felt like a stout but here is my review:

A - Dark, cherry like a bit of light vs a cherry hue.

S - Chocoalate and burbon hues on the nose here.

T - Fantastic compexity, nice sour like chocoalte taste going down.

M - Warm, fuzzy definatley yummy.

D - Would love to drink these all night, a couple of reasons why not but this one is worth having !!!

Casey10, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of Deuane
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Multiple pours from the CW booth at GToM 2009.

A-Deep, ruby tinted burnt siena color with a small light tan head that vanished into a thin ring and left spotty lace.

S-Rich bourbon notes swirl with sweet caramel, toffee, citrus and dark fruits. A very complex and interesting aroma.

T-Luscious bourbon tantilizes the palate with sweet caramel, grapefruit citrus, prunes and burnt toffee in the finish. Wonderful complexity with no one single flavour dominating the others.

M-Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Long lasting flavours with an astringent finish.

D-About as good as a BBA barleywine can get. The folks at CW sure know how to barrel aged beers. I am surprised they remain under the radar, but in a way I am glad they do! A well kept Wisconsin secret! Keep up the great work CW!

Deuane, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep burgundy color with a small off white head and a fine ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet malts, oats, oak, bourbon, caramel, sugars and a hint of alcohol.

Taste of caramel, sugars, bourbon, molasses, and oats. A heavy sweet flavor takes charge here, leaving room for little else, but this is still a worthwhile beer that I hope ages well.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth with low carbonation.

paco1029384756, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Planned a trip to Hudson to specifically get this. I was saddened to find that Chicone's was out, but ecstatic to see that Casanova's had singles of this. For around the same price as GI BCS per bottle, I am expecting something great.

2009 bottle.

Pours a ruby hued brown color with a light carbonation. Uneventful head that was gone in a second, which I have come to find the norm in bourbon barrel aged beers.

Subtle bourbon hints mix well with caramel, toffee, dark fruits and a nice bitterness. Without the added bourbon, this would still be a great nose for a barleywine, but the bourbon takes this to a whole new level of goodness.

Taste is spot on the aroma. Thick bourbon and caramel malt base dominates this one, but subtle dark and citrusy fruits and grapefruit and piney hops blend to make this a very impressive beer. Nothing is overpowering and all the flavors play with each other to add to the complexity.

Smooth and creamy, with a light carbonation bite. Great drinkability as well.

I wish this were more widely available. Central waters only recently made it to Hudson, and at this point I think I'd be missing out if they hadn't. Highly recommended.

Mistofminn, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of Overlord
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Unclejedi for sharing this with me! I will try to review quickly, before the memory fades from my mind.

Pours a ruddy brown, some slow bubbling carbonation.

Smell is excellent, with some nice, not overpowering bourbon notes, caramel, and some balancing dark fruits and grapefruit/pine hops.

Taste delivers on the aroma. The citrus profile rounds out to include sweet orange along with the grapefruit and pine, some indescribable dark fruit and tropical notes, and a heavy bourbon and caramel malt base. Mmm... I hadn't heard of this beer before, and it was pretty stunning to try. Quite delicious, and very drinkable. Could have easily had a growler or two of this.

If this was a one-time, brewery only release of about 1000 bottles in a 750 ml bottle, the hype would be insane.

Overlord, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of prototypic
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to PaleAl for this one. You're the man, Alex.

Bottle indicates '2009' release.

This one pours a deep brown color with burgundy highlights. It's a little hazy, but light cuts through and really gives it an attractive deep red appearance. A caramel colored head sits on top and only rises to about a finger. It fell to a surface level covering rather quickly. Lacing was on the lighter side, but very sticky. Probably too much abv for it to succeed.

The nose is extremely impressive. It's incredibly rich and deep. A sweet caramel/toffee malt aroma kicks it off and never relents. Bourbon is readily apparent, but doesn't seem too aggressive. It's tame enough to let other aspects of it shine. Fruit is very strong throughout. There's citrus and dark fruit varieties noted. On the citrus side, there's grapefruit, pineapple, and orange. Raisin and plum make up the dark side. Citric hops are very much in the mix. There's some pine in there, as well. Alcohol is noted, but doesn't seem overly strong. I wish I knew what the actual abv is here. This is a delicious smelling brew. Hats off to Central Waters here.

The flavor is equally as impressive as the nose. I believe this is my first experience with a bourbon barrel barleywine and it's a treat. There's a ton of deep, diverse flavor here. Caramel malts are sweet and very prevalent up front. A little cocoa flavored chocolate malt rounds out the malt flavors. Hops follow quickly and add a nice bitter counterpunch. The hops feature some citric grapefruit and pineapple flavors, in addition to a nice sappy, pine flavor. I was a little apprehensive of the bourbon barrel aging aspect here, but it's astonishingly good. The bourbon flavor is prominent, but never seems to hog the spotlight. It complements the other components extremely well and produces an excellent final product. Dark fruit is noted throughout and furthers its deep flavor. Alcohol is noted, but is not warm or hot. I suspect the abv is somewhere around 10%, but it's blended well.

The body here seems medium, but it's nice and smooth. Carbonation is medium range and doesn't impede its smooth feel at all. It'd probably be a little smoother with more body, but Central Waters did a nice job here. Drinkability is good. I'm really enjoying this beer. I love the flavor, but it's one to sip and savor. I also suspect it's rather strong.

Central Waters has a huge hit with Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. This is my first beer from them and I'm extremely impressed. The flavor is simply massive and deep. The bourbon barrel aging adds an excellent flavor here. I didn't know what to expect, but damn...this is good stuff. I've been sitting on a few bottles from Central Waters and I'm now extremely excited to try them out. Alex, I should've hit you up for more than one bottle of this stuff. If you're reading this, you're wasting time that you should be spending tracking down Central Waters beer. Go find it!

prototypic, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of Bierguy5
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition. 12 oz. bottle. Pours a hazy ruby to chestnut color. Thin tan head disappears quickly. No lace.

Nice bourbon, boozy aroma, with just a hint of must. Caramel, fruit, and figs as well. A hint of alcohol. There is a lot going on in the nose here, and I love it!

Good amount of sweetness. Lots of caramel and figs here. Good notes of bourbon, without being overly boozy. Just a bit of tannins. Lots going on here too.

Good mouthfeel, with carbonation being on the lower side. Very complex all the way around. An outstanding beer.

Bierguy5, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of younger35
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this brew at Dark Lord Day from nflmvp. I like Central Waters and I expect this brew to be tasty as well. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish red with a decent enough half finger dark tan head that recedes very quickly. A thin collar is left with zero head and zero lacing.
Smell- The nose is big and bold and very candy like. Tons of brown sugar and toffee ooze out of the glass in a big sugary explosion. Cherries, grapefruit and prunes add a huge fruitiness behind the wall of red licorice. As it warms it gets slightly buttery and the barrel really comes though. Some vanilla, butterscotch and toasted marshmallow all peak their head in as well.
Taste- Starts with some rich butterscotch and toffee maltiness that like the nose is very sweet. Red licorice galore with a bit of hoppy fruitiness mixed in. Not really dark fruits but not really citrus or anything like that. Sort of a happy mix of raisins, prunes, and dark cherries with some mangos and orange peel hiding in the background. Very candy like, perhaps more than any beer I've had in a while. The barrel is lightly tannic and astringent but I don't get much of that woody goodness with all this sweetness. Finishes with a lightly sweet lightly warming linger.
Mouthfeel- Thinnish at times but nearing medium with a slightly sticky feel and extremely light carbonation.
Drinkability- The beer is honestly a bit sweet but not bad for it being as young as it is. I'm not 100% sure the sweetness will ever be toned down, even after some age, but everything should even out a bit. Definitely will only get better. Thanks very much Steve!

younger35, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of alovesupreme
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange color with a small head. Didnt expect to much head from a bourbon aged beer.
Bourbon and caramel.
Brown sugar, bourbon, caramel dominate. Molasses and fig also play a role with a big rich mouthfeel that is full of sweetness. A slight hop presence but very subtle due to the overwhelming sweetness.
This is a fantastic beer and one of the best barleywines I have yet to have. Seek this out, I will be enjoying this again in the future.

alovesupreme, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of rudylaw
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice deep red color with a monster off white head. Shrinks into a thin ring.

I get a lot of prunes and plums in the nose. Woodiness and bourbon as well. Never quite sniffed a beer like this before!

Bourbon is very smooth upon first taste. Very smooth and sweet. The dark fruits are coming through as well. Very well-balanced.

You can't drink a lot of these in a sitting, but this velvety barleywine is so unique and delicious. Central Waters needs more reach as this beer should be enjoyed by as many as possible.

rudylaw, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of illidurit
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy bulletrain76. Pours a muddy reddish brown color with a smallish off-white head. Huge bourbon aroma with really no other notes. Vanilla and coconut. Flavor is bourbony as well, not much beer to be found here. Finish is dry and slightly bitter. Definitely too heavy on the barrel here but it still tastes good.

illidurit, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: A very deep amber color with little head off the pour but retains a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Mmmm Bourbon. Very big bourbon nose, but not completely overwhelming. Sweet maltiness and a touch of oak really bring these together to make a nice nose.
T: Bourbon rides on top of a big wave of malt. Just slight hints of oak and some dark fruits tie this together very nicely.

M: Thick and chewy. A good amount of carbonation and a touch of hops.

D: Despite the mystery ABV on this beer its very nice to drink on. I'm not going to be pounding these, but I would definitely drink this all night long.

drgonzo3705, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Version, I got this sucker from Masterski in our recent trade.

A pretty, dark ruby colored body that is cloudy and hazy.

This smells good right away, boasting dark fruits, caramel and toffee malts, brown sugar, and a good dose of bourbon aromas.

The aromas reappear in the flavor here with more vigor. The caramel, toffee and brown sugar are right up front. They are sweet, rich and deep, and they mix with a moderately strong flavor of figs and other dark fruits. Although this is the 2009 version, I would guess that this barleywine is at least a year old based on the flavor, which I think is a good thing. I guess it had to spend some time in that barrel, but I wonder how much? Next in the taste comes the slightest bit of hop bitterness, but it is tiny. Then comes a good taste of bourbon and then barrel characteristics with the spicy flavor of oak. The finish is warm and a bit boozy.

Mouthfeel is full, with a warm finish.

This is a nice beer with great drinkability. Very tasty.

Hojaminbag, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled April 2009
A salty, almost peat like aroma is noticeable as I vigorously pour this beer into my 25cl tulip glass. It forms a three-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that rests on top of a darkish brown beer that shows a hazy, plum-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has a huge coconut note to it along with notes of vanillin; this is definitely quite distinct and definitely nice smelling. Sweet caramelized malt aromatics contribute notes of brown sugar, toffee and sweet brown bread play a supporting, subtle, but boosting role to the coconut and vanillin notes. As the beer warms up the brown sugar notes pick up and combine with the toasted coconut aromas. A touch of warming, spicy alcohol becomes more noticeable in the nose as well.

The beer feels thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It has a complex, caramelized sweetness from the chewy malt. The coconut note is here in the flavor as well, playing a big role but note quite as big as it did in the aroma. Spicy alcohol notes add some warmth and a touch of drying character to the finish that balances the up front sweetness. The barrel influence doesn't just provide flavors of coconut, but also touches of vanillin, a Bourbon spiciness, spicy oak notes, a touch of butterscotch and a slight tannic edge (this last is pretty subtle though). This is really a sipping brew because of the full body and overall richness. Brown sugar and caramelized malt notes just ooze from this beer. Other malt influences of toasted, concentrated pale malt flavors, a slight nuttiness at times and a big biscuit-like malt character. Resinous hop notes play a role here as well, quite a significant role actually, but I didn't notice them until quite a bit of time had passed because of all the other things going on; bitter earthy pine notes, a nice menthol touch and this eve has some essential citrus oil flavors.

This is much more enjoyable than I was expecting. The coconut notes from the barrel are really nice and it really works with the thick, sweet, rich base beer; without the barrel influence, the base beer might note even be all that good or balanced. The aroma is not as complex as the flavor, but it is quite distinct with its inviting coconut note. This is definitely an enjoyable beer that I am quite glad to have tried.

Gueuzedude, May 24, 2009
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,742 ratings.