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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.

1,835 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,835
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 654
Gots: 520 | 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: 1,835 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beardown2489
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

beardown2489, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of Canada_Dan
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

Canada_Dan, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of rjp217
4.61/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

rjp217, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of tywhite
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%

tywhite, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of martyl1000
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm having this at midnight, April 3, 2013. I have four 4-packs I bought last December, sitting in storage at 60 deg. for 4 months.

And either I didn't recognize its greatness when it was new, or this little bit of age made this stuff golden. I'm this close to going back downstairs for another one. Aargh--

Good thing I've got a Weyerbacher Insanity in the fridge . . .
This is a "2013", drinking it 11-21-2013, so eleven months of aging.

A clear reddish-caramel in a tulip glass, with very little white head even with an aggressive pour (hence the 11.5% alcohol). Lacing is sparse, but with serious stick-to-it-iveness and dripping legs down the glass.

How I miss this aroma. Brings me right back to snowy April of last year. Bourbon in the nose seems nicely muted compared to my memory of it. I remember the bourbon being pronounced in the aroma. The vanilla, too. Oak and char and melted butter. Simple syrup. Brown sugar and raisin. Yeah, baby.

In the mouth the aging is instantly evident, with the hop bitterness knocked way back (though there's still a ghostly, earthy pine bitterness on the back-end, for sure). The flavor is wonderfully round: soft sugar cookie, ice-cream-caramel swirl, fig and prune, then the bourbon. I put more in the glass, and pie crust fills my nostrils. Plus Juicy Fruit Gum and marshmallow. It's massively toffee sweet, and yet the mild hops and tannins from the oak--not to mention the brightness of the still-respectable boozey ABV--bring balance. It drinks like Dogfish Head 120 minute.

Despite a fairly significant carbonation, the smoothness makes me want to cry. It gives the feel of a super-syrupy moscato di asti. Definitely more an English Barleywine profile, at least after the aging. How astonishing to experience true beer nirvana. I feel like I did two years ago sipping a JW Lees Harvest Ale for the first time.

CW's detractors denounce them as a one-trick (bourbon barrel) pony. Not only is this wrong (duh, Illumination? Exodus? La Petite Mort?). But even if true, this is bourbon-barrel aging at its very best. The barrel aging doesn't dominate, it elevates this brew. I'm looking forward to opening a cellared CW Bourbon Barrel Stout to compare it to their non-barrel aged Brewhouse Coffee Stout I like so much.
Ok, so the look of this pour makes me immediately worry this beer has gone bad in the cellar. It's about 22 months of cellar aging, now. And the physical appearance is one of cloudy gelatin, thick and murky, like badly-stirred Knox Blocks.

But the aroma. My God. It makes me want to become a bourbon drinker.

Then, holy bejeezums, the flavor in the mouth. If this was a perfect 5.0 a year ago, it's now punched through the ratings ceiling. What I hadn't perceived before was the red wine tartness, which helps push the butterscotch sweetness skyward.

I'm grinning like a psych ward inmate on chocolate pudding day that I have ten more bottles in the basement.

Heck, yeah.

martyl1000, Oct 12, 2014
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4.44/5  rDev +3%

sunofneurot, Oct 12, 2014
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4/5  rDev -7.2%

SurlyUtopia, Oct 11, 2014
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4/5  rDev -7.2%

PA-Michigander, Oct 11, 2014
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Ferocious, Oct 10, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

ElGordito, Oct 10, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

nilesschmidt, Oct 09, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Brdlist, Oct 08, 2014
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4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Tricerahops, Oct 08, 2014
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gfunk1121, Oct 08, 2014
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AdamP, Oct 07, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16%

krustster, Oct 07, 2014
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4.9/5  rDev +13.7%

nathanmiller, Oct 06, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

treznor, Oct 05, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16%

Stezz420, Oct 05, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Crispy21, Oct 04, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Snowshoes, Oct 04, 2014
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4.28/5  rDev -0.7%

kmanjohnson, Oct 04, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Axnjxn, Oct 01, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16%

Phil_H, Sep 29, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,835 ratings.