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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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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,855 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,855
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 661
Gots: 518 | FT: 56
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: 1,855 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cpetrone84
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a clear ruby red liquid with a tight khaki head.

S-the nose starts with the barrel, notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. caramel, carmelized brown sugar and cherries in the back.

T-the taste is quite boozy and hot. the wood is much less pronounced, light notes of oak and vanilla, much more bourbon. caramel, caramelized brown sugar, sweet, cherries, hint of raisin and heat in the finish.

M-very smooth and syrupy on the palate, a good carbonation, full bodied.

D-this is quite tasty and has a great nose. a little heat in the back but nothing that crushes the beer at all. great oak presence, a little more bourbon in the flavor but still very nice.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Joe for sharing this. What a nice treat! Review from notes on 6/12/10.

Deep garnet with lovely clarity in the light. Off-white head that lasted throughout most of the experience. Bourbon wafts through the air as it's being poured. Oh the luxury! Oak, rum, vanilla, hint of toasted nuts, and figs fill my nares and makes my mouth water. Delicious caramel, vanilla, and a touch of cocoa makes for an immediate loving of bourbon aged barleywines. Followed by toffee, black currants, and a touch of berry. Nicely full bodied and smooth carbonation. Out of this world.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Bobby8405 for the hook-up. As always, you are the man.

2010 vintage.

A - Beautiful ruby-amber, perfect translucence, nice off-white head that reduces to a thin cap but leaves good lace for a BA brew.

S - Phenomenal barrel, cinnamon-raisin, a pickled cherry aroma, and a vague earthiness.

T - Huge raisin-malty-dark bread flavor, finishing with a big and lingering maple impression. Big cherry and Bourbon flavors creep up, as well. Also a bit of chocolate. Just a great tasting brew all-around. I imagine this will age very well.

M - Very nice balance of booze, viscosity, and effervescence.

D - This is one of the nicest examples of a Bourbon barrel treatment I've come across.

Photo of sweemzander
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in Feb. 2010 vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy pale/blush red color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly down to bubbles.

(S)- A rather fruity nose of ripe fruits; I am getting bits of cherry, cranberry, fig, and raisin. Some warmth of vanilla with a light spicy note of a ginger/cinnamon woodiness.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. Has a robust bitterness in the middle, but goes along great with the sweet vanilla and fruit.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet and rich, but is counterbalanced well with the fruits and bitterness. Not as thick as I was expecting, but its actually not a bad thing. Rather smooth despite the ABV and bitterness.

(D)- A great barleywine with a great future ahead of it. Tastes great now, but age will continue to work wonders on this guy. Rather fruit driven, but goes well with the bourbon barrel aging. Reminds me almost of a port wine. Great stuff; seek this out and buy a case to set aside and drink over the next 4 years at least.

Photo of BarrytheBear
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 from cellar to snifter

Caramel colored with reddish highlights, minimal white froth puddles and recedes to the edges

Really nice on the snoot: sweet bourbon, dark fruits, and coconut shavings that hints at german chocolate cake...nice

It seems that my recommending this to a recent poster in search of a rich, malty, non hoppy barleywine may have been misguided. Bitter hop grip from the get-go, followed by a massive dose of hot bourbon in the form of vanilla, and rich maltiness. Hot damn, this beer is a load. The oak barrel is very present, as the woodiness and booziness of the bourbon barrel really make their appearance. This is an 11.5% monster that makes herself known.

Carbonation level is low but appropriate. The drinkability suffers a bit due to the heat. For me, CWBBW is difficult to figure. Last summer we had a two year old bottle that had aged horribly. Not sure if there is a bottle to bottle variance, but this beer could use some aging, but for how long before a decline is unknown.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
VINTAGE: 2010

This one is a nice, golden amber color with honey colored tinting. It forms a thin head, which is the color of burnt caramel. This dissipates rapidly, but the lacing is spotty and nicely sticky.

Chunks of creamy caramel wrapped in flakes of toasted coconut sail in a boat made of toast and marshmallows down a stream of butterey goodness. This has tons of deep, rich, maltiness to it. A good deal of oak is present. Lots of sticky, dark fruit notes. Mild traces of vanilla.
This has all of the barrel characteristics that you'd find in a stout of this style, except that they are with a barleywine here. I think they may even blend better here than with a stout.

The taste follows the nose. It brings some charred oak notes along to the party. Caramelized sugar notes. Mild presence of hops combine with the woodiness, to help give a nicely dry finish.
Bourbon flavor is apparent, but alcohol presence is fairly well hidden.

This has a very nice full body, verging very close to being downright thick. The carbonation level is mild-to-medium. It is very smooth and has just a touch of light creaminess going on.

For 11.50%abv this is very drinkable. If I had a four pack of this, I'd probably be passed out by now, but I'd have a great time getting to that point. This stuff is tasty!

Photo of kels
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this 2010 bottle from NorthsideFred as an excellent extra - cheers!

It pours a rusty shade of brown and is more opaque than clear. The high ABV actually becomes visible in a slightly layered effect within the beer. The initial 1/2 finger white head fizzles out immediately to a bit of swirly skim and a few spots of spitty white lace.

Very interesting aromas in this beer. I do get the syrupy grains and some dark, sticky fruits in the nose, but the dominant scent is specifically the vanilla and oak - not the bourbon - from the bourbon barrel. It gives a really nice, softening effect to the normally nose-singing boldness of a barleywine. The alcohol is actually hardly detectable.

Alcohol hiding in the nose certainly comes through, almost too strongly, in the taste. It does hold the essence of the bourbon, but the alcohol is definitely more sharp, more like rubbing alcohol, than like the full and softly warming feel of a good bourbon. The vanilla and the oak come through deliciously, with a nice mellow sweetness and charred flavor. As with the nose, I get the barrel a little more than the barleywine, but that's okay with me in barrel-aged beers even if it isn't others preference. A bit of the deeply caramelized grains and that essence of sticky raisins and prunes comes out in the aftertaste. Feel isn't as thick and viscous as it would appear, though is far from thin or bubbly. It has a slick and moderate presence that keeps the flavors hanging around in the aftertaste forever.

Drinkability is definitely impacted by the sharpness of the alcohol in the taste, but not necessarily any more than in other beers of this style. Overall a tasty and somewhat unexpected beer that I'm glad to have enjoyed.

Photo of jamie2dope
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received a dingle bottle of this as an extra from kbutler1, many many thanks for the chance to try this beer, which was on my wants list by the way. It pours a reddish orange color, with about one finger of white heading. From the nose there is big bourbon, and some maple syrup. More of the same from the taste, except the hops come through to add a bitter element to the experience. There is also a nice caramel sweetness that accompanies everything. Mouthfeel is thick, and pretty boozy, but does not get in the way of drinkability too much. If you want a clear picture of this beer taste wise, it is very similar to the Lost Abbey Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel Aged beer, just a bit hotter and more bitter. With a few years in the cellar, it might even pan out to be a better beer. Centrsl Waters made a great Barleywine here. Cheers

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

Received two bottles in a recent trade at DLD. The only thing better than a barleywine is one that has spent some time in a barrel. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick, syrupy dark golden amber with a small rising off white head. Smell is bourbon and oak, dried dark fruits, alcohol. I think the barrel really takes the smell over. Taste is a wonderful intermingling between the natural flavors of the beer and the flavors imparted by the barrel. Charred oak, bourbon, sweet caramel malt, cherries, caramelized brown sugar, then dried dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness. The finish is sticky, warming a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is soft (that's the only thing I can think to call it), sticky, warming and comforting (an adjective that I think should be more widely used when describing beers like this). Drinkable enough, you're not really supposed to want another. I'd love sit back and relax with this after a great meal then slip into a buzzed food coma and sleep like a baby.

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

12oz bottle, 2010 version. Thanks to justn. Had the 2009 a while ago but jusr a taste.

A- Lighter than expected. Amberish. Moderate creamy peanut-butter-cookie head. Slight lacing, good retention.

S- Caramel toffee bourbon goodness. Rich, almost butterscotch (good though). Barleywine is in the background but there... faint raisins or figs.

T- In a word- awesome. I think bourbon bal-aged barleywines are my kryptonite. The flavors work so well. The bourbon and wood notes are most noticed... very woody actually. Smooth and sweet caramel, a bit of a spicy wood note, vanilla and burnt sugar, mild creamed coffee (light roast).... and finally we get to the barleywine. Dried fruit, booze. I'm having a hard time picking out more than that but its all good. Lots of flavors at work and the barleywine is a perfect springboard for the other flavors in play.

M- Finesse- Really one for the record books. Is it hot? Yes. But not out of control or messy. I'm curious what some time would do to this as I'm really digging it now.

D- Moderately high- Rivals any other bal-aged barleywine I've had. Impressive stuff. If you have access to this stuff, consider yourself lucky.

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the bottles! 2010 Vintage, from notes.

Pours with a caramel-orange hue, not too much lace but some faint wine-like legs are evident after a short head fades.

Aromas of rich caramels and moderate barrel impact. The central waters barrel aged beers are so distinct in their barrel character.... not sure what kind of barrels they use though. Butterscotch and this charred/toasted wood character that is so distinct in the taste. Some sweeter vanilla and brown sugar combine with the robustness of the barrel notes. The base beer is not as complex as I remembered from the 2009 vintage, still boasts some darker fruity notes and toasted nuts for added depth. Upper medium bodied, low carbonation, felt a little 'heavy' at times. Alcohol becomes surprisingly evident as this got closer to room temp. Still, this was not too hot, but rather warming - making you constantly aware of the ABV. This is a pretty good BA Barlweywine, though not quite as magical as when I first had the 2009 vintage.

Photo of Strix
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly clear orange-amber, decent initial head, fading to nothing.

Smells of vanilla, malt, and bourbon, hint of cherry.

Tastes of sweet malt, cherry, caramel, brown sugar, oak, and bourbon. Boozy heat permeates. Nicely blended.

Smooth, nearly invisible in the mouth.

A nice sipper. It will be interesting to see how this ages.

Photo of jahfool
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DP34 for the bottle. Poured into a wine glass, taking a break from working on a beautiful saturday afternoon. A small consolation for missing the Boonville beer festival.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear dark amber color, decent head that recedes relatively quickly. Not much lace. No yeast/sediment, not bottle conditioned. Inviting.

Smell: Hot, boozy. Rich malt presence, bourbon is noticeable but not overwhelming. No hops to speak of, seems like a english-style base barleywine.

Taste: For a bw, fairly dry. The bourbon barrel is the biggest component of the flavor, but the oak and whiskey notes are balanced by a sweet maltiness- well done. Noticeable alcohol, just a little hot.

Mouthfeel: Really clean, great carbonation- if anything slightly high for style, but with the sweet malt and barrel flavors, it helps liven up the beer. Smooth but not cloying.

Drinkability: Yes. This one goes down nice & easy. A very approachable barrel-aged BW, doesn't challenge the drinker while maintaining a nice complexity of flavor.

Overall: A solid effort, I'm impressed with the first Central Waters brew I've had. Well-balanced and the barrel-aging hits all of the right notes for me without being overwhelming. It doesn't make the 'top tier' for me, but is a very worthy beer.

Photo of mdfb79
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours an orange amber color with high carbonation and one inch of an off white colored head.

s - Smells if bourbon, sweet fruit and malts, molasses, and oak. Very nice

t - Tastes of bourbon, molasses or sugar, sweet fruit and malts, and hints of alcohol.

m - Moderate carbonation and full body. Pretty smooth. Some alcohol warmth but not much.

d - Overall a great barleywine. Has a great bourbon and sweet smell and taste. Some great oak as well. Would love to have again.

Photo of getkrunkhoe
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

App- pours a really rich red almost burgundy color with brown hues. A thick and big as FU*k creamy tan head just stares at you. Looks like it'll fade quick.

Ar- I get vanilla and bourbon and a hint of plum(?). also the alc. is present.

taste- BOOZY, sweet, red fruit, a bit of caramel, and brbn of course.

mf- is creamy and lush, big and forward. Very inviting

Dr- needs time to age, a year or 2 will open this big bold beer imensely.Lots of potential.

I recommend this ish.

Photo of notCreative
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2-2010, drank young (3mo); Poured 12 oz into Bell's tulip glass.

A- Rustic caramel, fairly clear with a little haze. Light cream head disappeared quickly, but a nice lacing remains.

S- Sweet candy malts, brown sugar, caramel and... bourbon

T- Tasted like a delicious glass of warming bourbon, with a caramel/brown sugar/candy sweet back bone, with just a crisp hop finish. Bourbon was apparent, but not overpowering like, for example, KBS. Only alcohol that was apparent was the bourbon, but the taste was more than offset by the sweet malt backbone.

M- Viscous, but smooth. What you'd expect from a b-wine.

D- Way too drinkable. Dangerous.

Photo of Freethyhops
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with jojomdma, thanks Joe.

a- rust/brown with good clarity. a film and collar of beige head hung around the whole time showing great retention but not heavy lacing.

s- bourbon soaked caramel with a seemingly candy like sweetness. fairly strong oak and vanilla adds to a pleasant aroma.

t- mmm...mmmm this is my first BA barleywine and I'm surprised how smooth it is. I enjoyed what the barrel does, some great oak and vanilla adds some creaminess and is likely the source of the smooth feel too. The bourbon doesn't make this beer overly boozy. there's little to no alcohol that doesn't tast like clean warming bourbon. there's also a surprisingly strong bitterness battling to keep this one from being overly sweet. overall I love the way everything melds together, caramel candy, bourbon, vanilla, cream, bitter, bread, and wood.

m- the barrel did wonders for the feel of this beer. excellent thick creamy feel is so smooth. good carbonation keeps it from seeming cloyingly thick. really exceptional

D- 12oz was enough for one sitting but it takes some true willpower to keep the other 3 bottles I have in the ghetto cellar. hopefully I'll be able to keep at least one bottle to compare with a fresh one next year.

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a fair amount of this on a recent WI trip - now that it has a couple month's age on it, it is time to try it again.

A - Bright red color - fairly high clarity. The head faded pretty quickly but it remains an attractive beer.

S - It smells like a vanilla-cherry kool-aide with a bit of bourbon added it. I mean that in the best possible way. It smells delicious, with very little heat present.

T&M - Very rich and full bodied, especially as it warms from cellar temps. Packed with sweet roasty barleywine flavor with quite a bit of bourbon - especially on the finish. If anything it makes it a little harsh, but age has the potential to make this world class. Other than the bourbon burn, the flavor are very well blended. I love the way the vanilla oakiness comes out.

D - A sipper for sure, but the balance makes it very difficult to stop sipping.

I cannot believe how good this is for the price. I wish I bought more!

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

Pours the color of a rusty copper penny, with a good three fingers of light beige foam. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla and cinnamon. Flavors of bourbon, dark caramel, dark fruits and vanilla. A very nicely put together beer. I love the way barley wines are helped with the addition of the bourbon barrels. An excellent example of the style.

Photo of alleykatking
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many many many thanks go to klikger for this bottle. I have been trying to get this forever!

A- Pours a amber orange copper color. Light tan one and a half finger head that stays a short bit before dying down. Light lacing that falls back into the glass.

S- Big vanilla and oak notes that clash very nicely with big malt sweetness. Light boozy alcohol soaked darker fruits in the back end of the aroma. Light bourbon and toffee notes come and go through the entire beer. Makes my mouth water just smelling it.

T- Wow this is great! Well worth the wait. The taste follows the aroma dead on which was a nice surprise. The bourbon notes in this are a little more present than in the nose but don't drown out the rest of the barleywine like flavors which I was worried about. Nice sweetness to this without a lot of barleywine style alcohol sweetness that plauges a lot of other BB barleywines. I don't know if anybody else will get what I mean but oh well....

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Chewy beer in the mouth. Carbonation is great for the style. Big darker fruit and oak flavors left on the palate with some sweet alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Flavors blend together well without fading one flavor out with another. Bigger drying on the palate with every sip.

D- This is a highly drinkable beer that I wish I could find at my local store. Sadly, I hope it doesn't take this long to get some more of it. I think this beer was well worth the wait and hope to be able to get more of it. A very well made beer...I can see why it gets the scores it does.

Photo of drabmuh
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage served in a snifter. Beer is dark brown and clear. Forms a thin off white head of tiny bubbles. The head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass. The beer leaves legs on the glass more than lacing, it looks really good.

Aroma is like liquor. Its strong with a bourbon backing and sweet caramel follow up. There is a hint of some hops but it is over shadowed by the bourbon and other alcohol aromas. Smell is strong and complex and I think it smells good.

Its a sipper. Beer is medium in body and finishes dry. Lots of sweetness up front but its not cloying at all. The liquor and alcohol flavors are bright and pretty forward in the midpalate, I imagine some age on this would really help this beer out a lot. There is no aftertaste and connectivity is pretty good. I believe this will age well the malt is there and some really interesting things can develop. I enjoyed this a lot.

Photo of homebrew311
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in an in person trade with guyinchicago at DLD- thanks!

A: pours a reddish orange, some light passes through, little head to speak of, some lacing

S: huge notes of vanilla and oak from the bourbon which meld nicely with a sweet malt profile, some notes of molasses and figs followed by alcohol presence

T: taste is very similar to the nose but with more complex bourbon flavors, the oak character along with the bourbon pair perfectly with this barleywine, all of the flavors are well balanced and delicious, a nice heat at the end from the abv makes for a good sipper

MF: body on the thicker side, not syrupy although it leaves a little stickiness in the mouth, warming on the finish

D: this is one of the most delicious barleywines I have experienced, the bourbon really works well with the style

Photo of hardy008
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Burgundy color with a one finger light tan head with decent retention. Smells of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon.

The taste mirrors the aroma perfectly, with caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. This is Kosmyk Charlie Y2K in a bourbon barrel. Is somewhat hot with alcohol.

Medium to full bodied, sweet, and creamy. Not as smooth as Kosmyk Charlie, due to the bourbon, but still very nice. I have several more bottles, and can't wait to see how they age.

Photo of drpdaddy
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance :Tulip dark amber tan creamy head with good lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, bourbon, alcohol and fruity esters.

Taste: Quite sweet caramel, plum, raisin, some tropical fruity esters, vanilla with subtle but present bourbon flavor

Mouthfeel: Creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation, was not to thick

Drinkability: I am not the biggest fan of barley wine but this one was quite good, I couldn't handle more then one of these in a session but it was quite drinkable. The alcohol was well hidden. I am definitely going to pick up some more of this for the cellar.

Photo of kbutler1
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
Poured into a tulip glass. pours a nice deep, translucent amber red brown color with a 1 finger head that faded fast into a light colored tan head. Strong aroma of sweet malts with a slight touch of bourbon. First sip is a slap in the face of flavors! I expected this from being so fresh but WOW. Initial sweetness slowly transitions to a slighly strong bourbon and alcohold flavor followed by slight bitter hop at the end. Dry almost citrus like finish.
Medium mouthfeel.
For sure a sipper at 11.5%, but very good indeed. Can't wait for it to have some age on it and try some again at a later date.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,855 ratings.