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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.

574 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 574
Hads: 2,121
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 715
Gots: 641 | FT: 76
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 574 | Hads: 2,121
Photo of prototypic
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
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!

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of younger35
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
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!

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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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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.