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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,939 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,939
Reviews: 552
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 693
Gots: 560 | FT: 62
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: 1,939 | Reviews: 552 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OakedCanuck
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into snifter

A - This beer pours a murky apple cider colour with a nice light yellow head. Good sticky lace

S - Lots of sweet sugars, some vanilla and woody oak. The bourbon is integrated in the nose very well

T - A nice balance of bourbon, vanilla, sugar plums, English toffee, brown sugar. Incredible taste

M - Sticky, medium-heavy, slight heat.

O - This is an incredibly well balance BB barleywine. One of my favourites so far, awesome. Highly recommended.

Photo of mariposafan
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip.

Minimal head, though what there is shows a nice beige color and very creamy texture. The beer itself is a somewhat murky dark red-brown, though sunlight showing through it give bright garnet highlights.

The aroma is incredible. All of the dried, dark fruits I've ever tried at one time. Sweet and toffee-like. I've never smelled a beer like this before - more like a vintage port than a beer.

The flavor straddles the line between those dark, candied/dried fruits and the other barleywines I've tried. Mostly it's reminiscent of a nice dessert wine, but with a little unwelcome bitterness. Less the bitterness this would be one of my all time favorite sippers. With it, it's still something that I'll pick up when I find it.

Fine, viscous mouthfeel with a little extra carbonation. Thick and delightful.

This was really nice. The other barleywines I've tried have been far too hoppy but this was a wonderful, sweet, thick treat. I do wonder if another couple of years aging would cut the remaining bitterness some but even with it this was a treat.

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

2009 vintage. Pulled from the cellar in celebration, with much anticipation. Many thanks to maximum12 for this one....geez, seems as if that trade was a hundred years ago..but man, was it a great one!! Cheers my friend!!!

Pours a cloudy dark iced tea color with translucent edges and a ruby hue against a white light. Visible effervescence sustains a shallow off eggshell collar briefly while a nice amount of spotty Belgian lacing adorns the glass. The smell is aggressive, and with high standard, quite classic. A vanilla character from the oak treatment adds nicely to the vibrant sweet malty caramel butterscotch toffee brown sugar molasses notes. Really nice!! The flavor is very pronounced... and sweet. The full bodied texture vividly supports the overall experience. The initial mouth feel was exceptionally well carbonated..especially for a beverage of this style. Full bodied without being syrupy, the texture REALLY adds a ton of value to this one. The flavor is quite NICE as it reflects the nose yet has a surprisingly black licorice thing going on, especially in the really enjoyable aftertaste. I REALLY ENJOYED considering this one!!! Again..many thanks to my long lost Minnesota connection!!

Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shango42 does it again with a KILLER extra. Feb 2010 vintage.

a - opened the bottle and filled my cigar city snifter. nice murky amber orange color with some carbonation sticking to the glass. the head was thin and gone quickly and lacing was not evident at all (but this IS a bourbon barrel aged beer, so that's what I expect).

s - as soon as the top was popped off the air filled with a nice raisin plum smell. after the pour and a closer sniff I could pull the delicate balance of a great hop/malt syrupy mix along with the wood from the barrels. Really nice and really well balanced.

t - very intense. caramel malts and some dark fruit. the bourbon is not in your face, but this beer has over a year on it. being a fan of in-yo-face-booziness, I'd love to try this one fresh. I'd also love to try the base beer Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. again, very nice balance of everything going on, wish the bourbon taste was more stand out.

m - full and rich. alcohol is tamed down and shows itself more on the aftertaste than the initial sips. also i noticed a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

o - overall, very nice. buzzing through some reviews, seems like the bourbon really tames over time (as expected), but is very in your face fresh...would love to check out a freshy. another fine barleywine.

*** ** * ** ***
had a chance to have the 2011 side-by-side with the 2010 at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 - the 2011 is exactly as predicted. the bourbon is very in your face. the 2010 is much dryer and more mellow. i'd say this beer is better with a year on it.

Photo of n2185
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky, orange-brown with a finger of off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt with touches of maple along with strong aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are sweet caramel malts up front with a touch of maple flavor as well. Then the vanilla, oak, and bourbon kick in. The finish has a fairly strong alcohol burn along with a lingering bitterness from the hops.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet at first but finishes a bit lighter than expected with the alcohol burn and bitterness.

O: A pretty good barleywine that thankfully doesn't suffer like their two bourbon barrel stouts. The original barleywine flavors still come through the barrel aging process, which is a quality their bbal stouts unfortunately lacked.

Photo of ChadQuest
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have a bit of a special review, as i will be drinking a 2010 & 2011 Side x Side, nifty.

Color is a clear mahogany redwood hue that is warm and inviting, just a thin collar with random bubbles floating around otherwise.

As you'd expect the bourbon has indeed toned down a bit on the 10, and a bit more stand out on the 11, i personally favor the sharper bourbon aroma of the 11 a touch more. Other notes are currants, pomegranate, vanilla and dark rich toffee.

This is one of those really exceptional beverages in my realm of perception. Such a chewy mouthfeel accentuated of exotic dark fruits soaked in bourbon, i swish every sip around after slurping it up, and just want to bite into it. The 10 has just a bit more viscosity to it, maybe from the tamed bourbon or from batch variation, but none the less it's got the thickness.

I would be splitting hairs to say so, but the 10 is drinking just a tad better, from age or batch variation it's hard to say, either year is world class on my palate, and i think this is one of the best bang/buck bottles in america, easily. I am going to start saving for next release now.

Photo of Yesac
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 fresh vintage

A- Opaque murky orangy red in color with a small bright white head.

S- Fruity nose.. cherries come to mind. Not much bourbon aromas present. Some caramel malt.

T- Right along with smell. Fruity notes on the nose and throughout. Sweet caramel malt and some candy sugar. Earthy tones and a saltyish finish. Very slight hints of bourbon. ABV is very well hidden.

M- Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Not sticky.

O- I'm glad to see something with "bourbon" on the label and it not taste like it's over powered by it. This brew is a good blend of barelywine aged in bourbon barrels and made for some interesting sipping. A little on the bitter-sweet side for taste however.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.29/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage, should have reviewed fresh, but didn't.

A: A thin, less than one finger head sits on top of a ruby red, hazy beer. No Active carbonation. I didn't expect much in terms of head or carbonation, but this beer just isn't impressive.

S: Sweet, fruity, slightly alcoholic. Sort of a fruit candy. Mambo's? No, Now and Laters. This smells like a Now and Later. And the alcohol is fading away. No hops, no grain. It is actually rather port-like, yet distinct. I like it, but it's a bit too light.

T: This is quite the mess. There's an almost acrid sharpness and it has a soapy taste to it, but soap has never touched this glass. Bourbon and Malty are not words I would use to describe this beer. Acidic, sharp, thin, those are more what I would say. Boozy even. This has been cellared quite well, and beers which are even older have come out of the cellar just fine. I think this got oxidized and it's just yuck.

M: Good, actually. Slight carbonation, but smooth

D: No, not something I'll cellar again. I liked the fresh version much more.

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

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!

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

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.

Photo of BZero007
3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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...

Photo of GehenHerzog
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Ob1wan
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of tewaris
3.12/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 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

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

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottle provided by brian23456, thanks Brian!

2011 vintage.

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.

Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.
4.0/4.5/4.0/4.0/4.5

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.
4.0/4.0/4.0/3.5/4.0

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of trappistlover
3.74/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(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.

Photo of TheDTrain
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of mjn5036
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,939 ratings.