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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

571 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 571
Hads: 2,105
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 708
Gots: 639 | FT: 75
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 571 | Hads: 2,105
Photo of alovesupreme
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of illidurit
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of brow1901
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No dating on the bottle but I'm assuming it isn't a vintage bottle. Poured into a tulip glass

A- pours a deep crimson red bordering on brown in color with an off white head. The head is bigger than other barley wines I've had and it sticks around for a while.

S- Nice but not overly impressive smells, notes of dark fruits especially raisons or prunes. Smells strongly of oats. Also the smell of wood, doesn't remind me of oak for some reason. Some alcohol scents.

T- Burbon sticks out in the mouth, it isn't too aggressive though, its really pleasant and warming. Very smooth flavor of wood (now I taste oak, weird). Not an overly sweet beer but not much on the hops in this one. The dark fruits provide the slight sweetness.

M- Very smooth, like velvet. Slight carbonation keeps the beer alive. Slickness in the throat.

D- Not the most drinkable BW I've ever had, but overall it's such a tasty beer.

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Photo of caskstrength
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle itself is dark glass, refreshingly simple label. Just announces itself as barrel aged barleywine, 2009, from Central Waters. ABV would have been nice.

Gourgeous maroon pour. Hold it up to the light if you want to see a beautiful looking beer. White head is just enough, dissapears and leaves a white ring.

Bourbon up front on the nose. Strong toffee. some dark fruit too, hops give some sweet citrus and rich pine. Need to start drinking this.

Taste is heavenly. If you like bourbon aged beers, you will absolutely love this. The magnificence of the flavors present here make me wonder if barleywines are even better suited to barrel aging than stouts. Dark fruit, oak, toffee and carmel coming through, but not too sweet. Subdued pine and citrus from the hops add to the complexity. Some booze in the mix too (it is 11.5%), but it really works with what's going on here and would be missed if it weren't there. Bourbon barrel backbone holding everything together, setting the tone for every sip, every smell.

One of those beers where after the first sip you know you're in love. Hard to drink slowly.


2010 revisted on 12/23/10. Doesn't have the sweetness of 2009, but after a year the alcohol burn has faded and it's woody and dry with an appropriate bite. (early 2010 had solvents ruining things). Excited for the 2011 batch.

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

12oz bottle obtained in the No BS 4 BIF via dirtylou. Thanks for the opportunity. 2009 edition.

Poured into Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy red brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly skim, with heavy legs and light but lasting lace. Aroma is syrupy sweet, with prominent alcohol.

Taste begins sweet, passes through some leathery tannins in the middle, barrel character near the close, and then alcohol comes on full bore at the end. Numb lips, warming down the gullet, it's all there. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is good in the I want another sometime sense, not the I want another bottle or three right now sense. At least not if you have any sense, with abv such as it is.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm that guy again...reviewing at the BA gathering at goose island.

A: pours a cloudy yellowish brown with a white colored head that leaves lacing on the glass.

S: smells like sweet malt, spices that I can't pick out, some red/dark fruits, vanilla

T: tastes just like the smell with more vanilla and even bourbon but in a mellow way, like a fruity, sweet, light bourbon..some alcohol flavor too

M: very full bodied, almost to the point of creamy

D: highly drinkable for the flavor but less so for the alcohol kick

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Photo of MasterSki
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition. Shared this with the wife - served in my Foothills taster glass.

A - A half finger of tan foam that dissipates quickly and leaves a nice little ring. Murky Sultana raisin color with some chunks floating around at the bottom of the glass. Even with my lowered expectations for the style this one is not a looker.

S - Huge vanilla and bourbon flavor, mixed with caramel malts, raisins, dark fruits, brown sugar and a hint of tobacco. Big aroma on this one, particularly when warm.

T - The taste has a little more bread to it, but still quite a bit of caramel and dark fruits, and of course a ton of bourbon and vanilla. There's a nice dry finish, a lot of sharp wood bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Medium to full bodied, with a surprisingly decent amount of carbonation - the slight burn complements the bourbon notes. Pretty smooth and quite warming in the finish.

D - Sharing a single bottle with my wife was a nice portion size, although I'd have no trouble polishing off a bottle on my own. The booziness is surprisingly well-hidden, and only really pops up in the warming sensation after a few sips.

Not as good as Abacus or Angel's Share (when carbonated), but still pretty terrific.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a very unique color for the style. Dark brown with strong red edges surrounding and almost black center. Very interesting. Small off-white head with okay retention but no lacing.

S: Strong caramel and brown sugar, dark fruit (plum/raisin) and...oh, that's right lots of bourbon. Smells very good, but not that bold.

T&M: Sweet malts with caramelized brown sugar and a bit of vanilla hit upfront grabbing your attention right away. The plum flavor then kicks in with a faint note of bourbon that only grows stronger as the beer flows across the palate. The finish is fairly strong with hops, but still taste bud poppingly sweet. The hops give off just a small amount of bitterness which intertwines with the alcohol finish perfectly making it very pleasing. Mouthfeel is perfect for the style IMO, thick, full bodied, but still tiny bubbles of carbonation dance on the tongue.

Overall: Fantastic barleywine, can't think of any better I've had. Would be much more drinkable if the sweetness was down a notch. One bottle is perfect. Pick this one up if you can find it, I'm sure it will soon be on the top 10 of the style.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Loud light brown head standing about an inch tall. The body a deep purple to reddish dark brown color with a thick haze. It appears dense.

S - Apricot, anise and alcohol soaked yeast.

T - Sweet black licorice with pungent fruity notes. There is a pungent hops here that really makes this special.

M - Smooth feel with a light bubbles texture. It goes down bitter-sweet.

~ This is a good beer. I've been a fan of the Central Waters brand and I have to say, "they haven't let me down here either." I'm thinking they may never let me down. I appreciate that. Thanks CW.

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Photo of maximum12
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ncbvc for sending this little gem along as an extra in a trade. It's extras like this that make opening every box that lands on the front stoop almost as good as a six-year old's Christmas morning.

This brew is light in the glow of the monitor, almost IPA light. Smell is overwhelmingly alcohol & bourbon, putting me immediately on the list for a nose-hair transplant.

Taste is orgasmic. The bourbon is riding herd on this beer but not drowning out the rest of the band or blowing out the amp (to mix metaphors rather generously). The dark fruits in the barleywine, the apparent alcohol, the dry tartness, the need to take another sip immediately...man, this rocks. This might be my first barrel-aged barleywine, & if this is representative of this rather rare genre, I'm going to be seeking out a lot more of them.

Find this. Drink this. Great beer.

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Photo of DIM
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, I loved the non-BA version (Y2k), I can't wait to try this one. Thanks, abents, for the chance! 2008 version.

a: Looks exactly the same to me.

s: Tobacco and bourbony vanilla combine with brown sugar and mellow dark fruits. Great balance here.

t: Sweet, oaky brown sugar followed by toffee and bourbon. The finish is tobacco and a hint of piny hops. Beautiful balance here. I haven't tried many, but this is the best barrel aged b-wine I've had.

m: Gentle carbonation and a long, lovely, piny and slightly sweet tobacco finish.

d: It's been a long time since I've been so sad to see an empty glass. This was just spectacular. I need more from Central Waters.

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Lightly hazed dark brown liquid. Small bubbly off whit head that dissipated quickly. No lacing.

S- Lots of sweet malt and woody oak aromas up front. Hints of chocolate honey and bourbon are also present. Some good alcohol sting and light citrus hops.

T- Very sweet up front, lots of molasses, hint of honey and some vanilla. Great roasted barley notes as well, chocolate, nuts, and bitter roasted flavors. This beer also has a good hop presence giving it some nice bite. Thought the whole experience there is a large bourbon and boozy alcohol presence.

M- This is a full bodied beer that coats your mouth with an oily feeling. Good balance and prefect carbonation.

Overall- This does not taste much like a barley wine to me. The bourbon and oak character kind of take over letting the original beer be a subtle after thought. With that said, this is still a great beer. Great flavor, aroma and mouth feel.

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Photo of Lothore
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours an orangey brown hue with very little head.

S- Smell consists of very dark fruits, raisins, figs, plum and a hint of bourbon.

T- Taste is excellent. A couple nights ago I had a Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barleywine and was worried this wouldn't hold a candle to it but it is pretty great. Lighter fruity notes to begin with followed by strong raisin and fig and a sweetness mixed with alcohol warming toward the end. Absolutely delicious.

M- Thick with ample carbonation.

D- This is an excellent bourbon barleywine. Great to sip on anytime. I will certainly seek this out again in the future.

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Photo of brian23456
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is for a 2009 bottle

A- Medium reddish color, minimal head with OK lacing, medium thickness.

S- Complex sweetness with a very noticeable bourbon barrel smell. Also some toffee, figs, plums and a little breadiness.

T- Rich, sweet, full flavor. Smooth and mellow sweetness followed up with a nice bourbon/wood flavor and very little hops, more malt than hops for sure. The sweetness and bourbon barrel follow into the after taste accompanied by a little vanilla and grapefruit. Alcohol is hidden, no astringency.

M- A little syrupy, not bad though. More carbonation than expected but still not much, just enough to help make the brew perfectly balanced.

D- Very smooth and a little alcohol warming. Too much flavor for a night of heavy drinking but perfect if you are only having one or two.

Everything about it is complex, great example of a barrel aged barley wine. Phenomenal beer, especially for the price, after trying one on tap at the release I bought a case. I hope I have enough.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade with eyncognito. 2008 Vintage. Pours the color of rust with a 3/4 inch head. Retention is good and there's some lacing on my glass. The aroma is sweet and malty. Toffee and caramel notes are strong. Some earthy hops are present but are not prominent. The bourbon aroma is nice and strong. The bourbon is strong in the flavor and complements the sweet toffee. There's a medium level of hop bitterness, as well as some vanilla and caramel. The alcohol is quite strong. Mediumfull bodied with good carbonation.

Update: Received the 2009 vintage in a trade with eyncognito and bumped the drinkability up to 4.5

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Central Waters was relatively new to me...until now. Pours a semi-hazy brown color with a definite red hue through out. A good pour but some sediment. A soft off white head with good retention and lacing, mostly hiding to the side of the glass through the tasting.

The nose is complex with malt and noticeable bourbon notes. To start the malt has some very nice malt complexity and a very nice melanodian caramel aroma. Some minor bready notes. There is a yeasty character but some very nice plum, raisin and fig notes come out. A noticeable woody aroma that leave more of a hint of bourbon but doesn't over power. Some minor alcohol notes but mostly clean.

The taste is very similar. A good malt base that really lends a complexity to it. Very nice kettle caramel notes that linger into the finish. Noticeable alcohol with some boarder line fusel notes in there as well. There are some yeasty notes but lighter than what the nose indicates. Some spicy, almost peppery aromas with a big sweet plum taste. Some minor raisin and pineapple notes as well. Very clean. The hops are limited but some minor citrus and earthy flavors.

The body is closer to big than moderate. A big plus is that the beer is so easy to drink. Overall a great barleywine. Thanks to flyingbison for the trade. A hidden gem for sure.

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Photo of hopdog
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with ughsmash (thanks!). 2008 Vintage.

Poured a medium and hazy brownish color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, some dark fruits, and some chocolate. Tastes of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, some woodiness, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Medium alcohol finish. This one is nice!

Notes from: 4/29/08

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from nflmvp in a recent trade. Thanks a bunch, Steve! Split with largadeer after lunch on day 3 of our decadence.

A: Garnet red with ruby highlights and a thin beige head that eventually recedes to a ring. Good carbonation

S: Soft oxidation with sherry that complements the gentle bourbon barrel character. Rich malty sweetness with toffee, mild tobacco and caramel

T: Opens up with great bourbon barrel character - bourbon, vanilla and oak flavors well integrated with the sweeter barleywine character. The toffee and sherry flavors meld well, yielding a rich, complex palate. Mildly dry and a little bitter on the finish with no tannic astringency. Great stuff

M: Big in body, solid carbonation and a nice finish

D: Enjoyable stuff, my other bottle is going to the cellar for a few years.

**Edit 23 Nov 2010. I got a couple of bottles of the 2010 vintage from CaseyK and asmokingoat. Thank you, guys! I haven't had this since my review in 2008, I'm curious to see what I think.

The color is beautiful, a rich garnet and ruby red with great clarity. A dense, off-white head recedes to a thin disk leaving a little lace.
The nose definitely does scream BBBW. Plenty of bourbon with quite a bit of oak, more than I was expecting. This seems a lot more aggressive than the 08 version. Moderate barrel tannins are present along with vanilla and bourbon. A touch of char and coconut as well, this does have a modest sweetness to it with caramel, some brown sugar and toffee. The toffee and the bourbon work particularly well together. In particular, it reminds me of the Bourbon barrel Angel's Share. Mildly fruity, there isn't much oxidation here.

The palate opens with a lot more bourbon heat and quite a bit more sweetness than the nose would suggest. The bourbon is pretty strong here, almost a little too much. The sweetness has caramel, mild nutty character along with some brown sugar. Crunchy toffee with a pleasant char are also present. Not as fruity as the nose would suggest. The barrel expression is quite beastly, intensely hot, rather than boozy. Tannic on the finish, this really has leached plenty of life out of that bourbon barrel that it sat in. While full in body with a moderately sweet finish, the tannins do dry out the palate a little bit. Carbonation is low, making this soft and creamy, but the barrel character is a little too harsh for my liking. Intense, but enjoyable, this vintage needs another year or so to settle down. I'm retaining my original scores as this beer is excellent when tamed a bit.

**Edit 12 Jun 2011**
Drinking a 2009 vintage that I got from Ian. Thanks, man! Drinking this during game 6 of the finals. This vintage seems to have plenty of brown sugar and bourbon. Vanilla and mild booze are present. A little oxidation is present as well, with some mild papery character present. The palate has a great balance between brown sugar and bourbon. The oak is great here, there's some tannic astringency to balance the sweetness. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel here. Excellent stuff. After breathing for 2 days in my fridge, it's gotten even better. S/T/M = 4.5/5/4.5

**Edit 26 Feb 2012**
Drinking my other bottle of the 2008 vintage.

Oxidation has kicked in, lending a moderate cardboard character. Bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, licorice, a little anise. The palate still has a sharp, boozy bite, but the flavors have fallen off. Thin on the mid-palate. Alcohol spice on the finish. I should have drunk this two years back.

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Photo of largadeer
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark tawny amber with a haze to it. Pours with very little head, a quater-inch at most. Typical aged barleywine look.

Smell: Musty barrel initially, but as the temperature rises the mustiness fades and the caramel-vanilla sweetness rises to the surface. Whiskey-like notes are very present, adding a slight booziness as well. Subtle oxidation is present in the form of dates and sherry.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich, sweet, full on the palate. Moderate bitterness keeps things balanced, but this is a definite slow sipper. Bourbon flavors are very much present, but in balance with the base beer. Slight sherry-like oxidation has begun to set in, which adds a nice layer of complexity. This one should age nicely for years to come. The finish is bittersweet, with bitter eventually taking the edge. Very solid stuff, as someone who isn't a big barleywine fan I liked this quite a bit.

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Photo of badbeer
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy amber brownish color with a beige head that has decent retention and lacing. Aroma just amazes me; I absolutely love their bourbon beers, haven't had anything else that compares. Sweet caramel, bourbon, and vanilla; just such an amazing aroma. Taste echoes the aroma. Whatever they do, the flavors just hit me perfectly. Thicker than medium body, somewhat light carbonation, but goes down very smooth. Another excellent barrel aged beer from Central Waters. Keep it up!

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Photo of charlesw
2.14/5  rDev -50%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Beautiful ruby/brown, you can just see through it. A few nice inches of head - nice small bubbles and they hang around a few minutes to leave a lasting covering lace. To make it perfect the head would need to last longer.

Smells fruity and rich like an English barleywine. Sweet prunes and whatnot.

Tastes, well. It doesn't taste English like it smells. Well, sort of. But, see, it's completely buried under an overwhelming woodiness. This is over the top. Yuck.

Other than the over-the-top wood (which really ruins this beer for me), I get English flavors only without the sweetness. Strange, to say the least. And, sure, I get bitterness but I associate that with tannins from the wood and not with hops. A most unpleasant experience. Given another 10 years in the bottle I might think about actually drinking one (as in, when it has mellowed down to something only slightly more extreme than a normal barleywine) but, as it is, neither I nor the wife even wants to smell it again.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 571 ratings.