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

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,046 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,046
Reviews: 577
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 700
Gots: 631 | FT: 73
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: 2,046 | Reviews: 577
Photo of Jas45678
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle courtesy of Roger85

Pours a murky brown with a small off white head. Smell has tons of bourbon with vanilla, toffee, carmel and sweet malts. Taste is like the nose, lots of bourbon with the other flavors in the background. A little boozy. Medium to light mouthfeel with lower carbonation. Overall a very good Barleywine that if I had access to would buy a lot.

Photo of Timmah11
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Reddish brown. A bit murky. Carbonation bubbles along glass and a few bigger khaki bubbles on top. Carbonation and head recede fairly quickly.

Smell: The bourbon is dominate for sure. Sweetness-caramel, toffee and vanilla.

Taste: Strong bourbon flavor to start. The Sweet malt follows with flavors consistent with the aroma - toffee and caramel. Light vanilla. All the flavors are melded together. Really smooth.

Mouthfeel: Not as full bodied as many other barleywines. Creamy and smooth. A tad thin as I have found CWs other barrel aged styles.

Overall: I look forward to this release every year. A wonderful boozy but balanced sweet take on a barrel-aged barleywine.

Photo of JayCheG
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle

A: an earthy brown, almost muddy waterish color. Poured with a one finger head and had quite a bit of lacing.
S: Huge burst of bourbon, smells delicious. Also vanilla, brown sugar and plums.
T: Sweet bourbon and vanilla mainly. Hints of the brown sugar and plums from the smell as well.
M: Creamy in the beginning and a fizzy carbonated feel at the end.
O: Big smell and flavor. Very nicely balanced. Only negatives is it sort of looks like I'm drinking sludge water and wish it had a smoother drink.

Have another 4 pack in the cellar and looking forward to seeing what its like at 6 months and on!

Photo of Ri0
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Muddy brown with some amber tones with a thin khaki head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon is not as strong as I would have believed and there are complex aromas. Notes of thick caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit, malt, and bourbon make it a treat to inhale.

T - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, thick caramel, dark fruits dusted in brown sugar. Toffee and butter scotch and also hidden in teh back. Slight bit of alcohol and I do not notice any bitterness from the hops.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. It is smooth and rich on the palate.

O - I had this to do a comparison with Insanity. This was less harsh and more mellow and sweet compared to Insanity. I would have thought Insanity would have been less bitter since it is an English style, but the bourbon was too prevalent in it. Going to age both and see how they are. I do recommend this one.

Photo of shadetree67
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle - 2014 vintage

Appearance - Dark amber in color. Pour yielded 1/2 finger of head. Slight lacing

Smell - Toffee, caramel, boozy bourbon, slight vanilla.

Taste - Bready Malts, caramel, vanilla. Not getting much barrel in this though the bourbon flavor is present.

Mouthfeel - Medium to thin mouthfeel. Slight carbonation. The alcohol warms the back of my throat for quite awhile. A bit too hot for my tastes

Overall - This is a pretty good BB barley wine and hopefully the booze mellows out with some age on the bottle. It has a lot of potential.

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Superb drinking BA barleywine. Despite the abv, it doesn't seem overly hot to me, although you do feel it as you chug it down. (Sip, don't chug.) To say this is well balanced is correct. All elements come together nicely, preventing it from being too hoppy, too boozy, too sweet, or too anything else. Just a solid and delightful beer that's more drinkable that you'd expect. Very nice.

Photo of JohnG190
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thank you, pmarlowe for this outstanding extra. Pours a deep amber with a thin tan head. Good retention and lacing. Heavy bourbon on the nose along with dark fruit and biscuity malt aromas. Sweet bourbon throughout the palate, offset by faint hop bitterness. Heavy mouthfeel with lots of alcohol heat and little carbonation. Overall, this great BA barleywine is one that could lay down for a few years.

Photo of JerUrbans
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage just picked up. Also had this on tap at Central Waters anniversary party over the week end.

Amber orange and cloudy with light tan head. Smells is super sweet bourbon with alcohol coming through. Taste is fantastic!! Sweet brown sugar, big bourbon with slight tang. Heat lingering well after swallowed. Mouthfeel is clean and a little silky, not as silky as their Y2K, but very nice. Overall this is another Central Waters to seek out if you like this beer style you will not be disappointed. Picked up a case and will be aging some of this one.

Photo of don1481
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review of the 2014 vintage! WOOT! 12oz bottle poured into my pint glass.

Appearance: Dense, khaki colored head that subsides fairly quickly (albeit a little slower than most of the other high ABV beers I've been drinking of late) on top of a rich, deep reddish brown beverage. Hold it up to the light and see a fair amount of bubbles.

Smell: The moment I opened the bottle, I smelled the bourbon. Now that it's poured, this has a pretty complex nose to it. Notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, vanilla, raisins, malt, and a splash of the bourbon all dance together in this one. This smells beautiful.

Taste: YUM. The bourbon notes are the strongest here, but this has a good amount of complex sweetness to balance that out quite nicely. Definitely get the toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla here. I bet this is going to age spectacularly. Not hoppy at all, which I think allows the other flavors to truly shine here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the whole; not as smooth as say a Skull Splitter, but this goes down nicely. Body feels a little thinner than I expected. Carbonation doesn't really get in the way of this one, though, so no complaints there.

Overall: Woodman's only had 2 cases of this dropped off on Thursday; I bought two 4 packs and think I may need to go find more to age. I recently had a couple samplers of the BC Barleywine and this definitely is right there with it in terms of overall quality and complexity. VERY impressed.

Photo of CUBS09
3.78/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a 2013 into 3Floyd's teku.

Good clean toffee color, rich white brown head and lacing.

Strong alcohol smell. Hot boozy bourbony.

Great creamy mouthfeel. Taste of caramel, toffee and still a prevalent alcohol aftertaste which heightened as it warmed. Not unexpected for an 11.5 beer.

Maybe I'm crazy but feel like this has lost a little of the rich caramel flavor I remembered. Still a great beer and can't wait for the 2014 release.

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Update, May 12, 2014. Opened another bottle....absolutely awesome!

Another awesome Central Waters beer! So nice and smooth, this is one of the better barleywines I have enjoyed lately. Pours a reddish brown with a small head. Big notes of bourbon and mash! I soo wish that CW was distributed in my area! Overall....awesome!!

Photo of guityler83
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A dense tan colored head was poured about a finger tall into a snifter glass. Head retention was good for such a high gravity beer, a thin coat of lacing was left on the side of the glass as it was being consumed. Alcohol legs can be shown when swirled. The beer is a dark mahogany brown color, very murky with not much light coming through.

S: Big nose composed of prunes, raisins, plums and other dark stone fruits. A woody character melds with the complex malt profile so well it seems very organic. Fairly moderate dank and dark piny hop aroma.

T: Very complicated malt profile similar to the aroma. Prunes, plums, raisins, tobacco and pomegranate. The balance is on the malt side with a moderate sweetness, almost a syrup like flavor, but there is a medium bitterness at the beginning with an earthy, pine flavor. Last but not least the oak, vanilla, slightly coconut flavored barrel flavor develops throughout and melds very well and naturally. Very tasty.

M: Big warming sensation from the alcohol on this one, definitely a sipper. Big body with moderate to medium carbonation. The woody/oaky tannins are left on the pallet giving a slight drying sensation.

O: A big malty barley wine with an organically natural tasting barrel flavor thats great for sipping on a cold winter night. Cheers CW, keep up the good work.

Photo of BrotherDylan
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon. Then some more bourbon. And why not, grab a third helping of bourbon. I swear there is a pretty dam good barley wine somewhere in this beer.

It poured flat and thick with a bursting aroma of a bourbon soaked whiskey barrel. its ruby red and carmel like. It looks like bourbon juice.

the flavor is ripe with dark fruit, vanilla, wood spice, bourbon, cream, and a little oxidative sherry flavor. No hop flavor but some stringent hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is by far the best part of this beer. Its got a wood coarseness that drys the beer out nicely and accentuates the hop bitterness.

bottom line, if you like strong beers that overwhelm you with oaky bourbon flavors, buy more than one of this guy.

Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 2013 release with about 6 months aging. Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks for the trade, CVM4.

A: Tawney amber. A tan fourth-finger head that dissipates fast. No lacing to speak of.

S: Heavenly malts rush in with bourbon, oak, leather and caramel. Wow!

T: A superb malt/bourbon concoction. Sweet, sinful. Brown sugar and molassas combines with a great malt backdrop (drinks like an English barleywine). The 11.2% comes on strong and literally knocks you on your ass. Sit and sip. Excellent.

M: Medium with light to medium carbonation.

O: One of the better barleywines out there. I bet aging makes this one unbeatable. Share with friends.

Photo of kevanb
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter. 2013 vintage.

The beer pours a super dark, rich, brown color, hues of caramel and khaki with a thick beige head that has decent retention, settling nicely into a surplus of film around the rim of the glass, yet yields just a spot or two of lace. The aroma is really lovely, lots of burnt marshmallow, brown sugar, rich toffee, sweet grain, light oak, smooth bourbon with mild vanilla. Super sweet, but very complex and rewarding. The flavors resonate well, incredible marshmallow character initially, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, chewy oak, smooth and subtle bourbon, vanilla is mild with a nice smooth malt finish. The body is where this beer stumbles, lots of zippy carbonation, a bit unpleasant at times, that is a little too lively. It coats mildly well, but could do with a much richer and smoother feel. The finish is easy, a bit peppy but still fairly smooth and warming.

Verdict: A delightful Barrel Aged Barleywine from Central Waters, and one of their finest products. The body really doesn't do this beer justice as the flavors are so spot on, perfect marshmallow toastiness. It reminds me a lot BB4D, which is one of my favorite beers to date.

Photo of Rutager
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle with a big thank you to Steasy66!

Appearance. Pours a viscous deep amber-orange with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Smooth bourbon and oaky vanilla, caramel, some dark and orchard fruits ...even a little citrus rind.

Taste. Burnt sugar, light bourbon and plenty of oak, vanilla and caramel, grainy malts, and some bitter citrus rinds.

Mouthfeel. Full body with some boozy warmth, smooth low carbonation.

Overall. A great bwine that probably could have stayed in the cellar for another year or two and possibly benefited. Fairly hoppy and still tastes a little young ...in my expert opinion anyways. ;-)

Photo of Odysseyalien
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: caramel, bread, alcohol,woody.

Appearance: brown, cloudy, tan foam, frothy.

Taste: medium sweetness, virtually no bitterness.

Palate: medium body, thin feel, soft carbonation, subtlely bitter.

Overall: I don't think this is an American barleywine. It's more akin to a British barleywine. A nice barleywine, not too unlike Weyerbacher's Insanity though thinner; not unlike Lost Abbey's Angel Share but half the price. I picked this up in Pennsylvania last week but only got one. I'lll buy more if I get back down there sometime soon.

Photo of flagmantho
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

Photo of stortore
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review, not first time consumed. 2014 bottle in a Pipeworks snifter.

Beautiful color, little flavor clouds swirling. Smell is just heavenly, boozy, malty. The taste is amazing, still smokin' hot after 9 months or so. Strong bourbon flavor, but balanced by the maltiness creating a complex and robust flavor. Full and rich mouthfeel.

This is a really outstanding beer that I look forward to every year. CW makes many outstanding BBA beers, and this one is my favorite. Run to get this one.

Photo of joe1510
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009

I got this one a few months back from the man, d0b, thanks bitch! I have to pour this puppy with some height to conjure up a slow growing khaki head. When the bottle is empty the head sits at one finger in height atop a deep brown body with heavy tones of mahogany. When lifted to the light the body shows surprising clarity and a bright ruby glow. Carbonation bubbles creep from the bottom of the glass and pick up speed as they rise, eventually keeping the head in place throughout the drink. Sheet lacing splashes down the sides of the glass and shows great staying power.

Damn, this is a fine smelling barleywine! It's sweet right off the bat with loads of toffee and brandy soaked raisins. The nose is so sweet and rich it nearly puts me in a diabetic coma of pure bliss. Mild but noticeable candied citric notes come through the middle and the bourbon barrel adds notes of vanilla and spicy oak. Rich brown sugar, caramel, and a soft sweet note of bourbon make for a deeply complex nose on this English barleywine.

The flavors complexities are on par with those of the nose and may even surpass them. This barleywine starts off already in its prime. Deep, rich caramel and toffee wash of the tongue and stick around through the entirety while a lasting flash of the sweet candied citrus come through mid-palate. The bourbon barrel characteristics and dark brown sugar bring up the rear. Spicy oak and soft vanilla combine with rich brown sugar and mild but sweet bourbon. There's a touch of alcohol heat on the swallow that adds complexity instead of detracting from the overall flavor. This beer is a gem.

The weight is on the heavier side of the spectrum with a tongue and cheek coating viscosity that leaves me tasting this beer a minute or two after each drink. The carbonation seems soft on the front and middle of the tongue but the back has a surprising frothiness, well as close to frothiness as a beer this heavy could have. The aftertaste is highly enjoyable and seemingly everlasting.

A bottle of this is easy to kill by myself but it is without a doubt a sipper. The sheer complexity, depth, and viscosity keep me drinking this slowly and would limit me to one with each sitting. With all that said I will slowly and greedily drink this bottle all to myself and love every last drop.

Central Waters can do no wrong with their special releases. This is a gem from a lineup full of gems. Next time I'm up north a few more of these bottles will be picked up without a doubt. I can't recommend this enough if you're a fan of English barleywines. Thanks again for the bottle, Dave!

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a swampy mahogany amber. 2 fingers worth of off-white bubbly foam. Quickly recedes but is quickly rescued with a brisk swirl.

S - the aroma is intense yet elegant. Bourbon is noticeable but blends well with the caramel malt creating the illusion of a pot of freshly melted caramel. Notes of oak and vanilla are very prominent as well. Deep almost vinous fruit character such as cherries, figs, raisins, and raspberries. Cereal grains and hints of spice round out the nose.

T - grainy malt flavor on the tip of the tongue followed by the sticky sweet flavors of toffee and caramel. A peppery alcohol hit comes in mid palate along with woody notes and vanilla. Dark and dried fruit notes on the backend. Finish is lengthy and complex with peppery alcohol, vanilla, caramel and fruit flavors all fighting for attention.

M - creamy texture. Fuller side of medium bodied. High carbonation. Tight full bubbles. I would assume this was bottle conditioned.

O - an excellent barrel aged beer. CW just knows what to do with beer in a barrel. Something i would love to drink again.

Photo of Skrypt
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz pour into a snifter.

A: Pours a thin wisp of head that quickly disappears. Leaves a little lacing inside the glass. Color is that of strong, southern sweet tea (maybe a shade or two darker).

S: This smells great. Lots of oaky bourbon laced with sweet maltiness and vanilla.

T: It tastes just like it smells. Sweet and malty with really strong bourbon barrel characteristics. Very faint notes of vanilla and toffee. Lots of bourbon. The finish is warm and boozy, but surprisingly smooth. There's a strong alcohol aftertaste.

M: Full bodied, low carbonation with a bit of heat from the alcohol.

Overall, this was very enjoyable. Definitely recommend it if you enjoy bourbon because it really shines through.

Photo of BobZ
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to cfrances33.

Appearance: Dark amber/orange with a nice 2" head that recedes to nice cap, healthy lacing.

Smell: Bourbon soaked caramel and toffee.

Taste: All of whats good in a barleywine, caramel and toffee soaked with a tinge of bourbon. Oaky vanilla from the barrel weaves itself throughout the beer providing an accent to the malty base. Rich candied flavor. The alcohol is present in both heat and bourbon flavor.

Mouthfeel: Warm on the palate but still smooth.

Overall: Excellent example of a BA Barelywine a rich tapestry of flavor.

Photo of ubenumber2
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass , deep mahogany color to this beer , thin head with little lacing , might have been some residue in the glass or just might be on par for this brew.

The aroma is outstanding , the heavy malty sweetness hits you at the start , then you pick up on the hints of vanilla , oak and the bourbon with a whiff of alcohol at the end. Just makes your mouth water

The mouth on this beer is the best I've had in a Barleywine , it is not to heavy and not too thin with just the right amount of carbonation

The taste is just flat out spectacular , the malty sweetness hits you at the start and rides all the way through this brew , you can taste the flavors of the malt , the bourbon barrels and the hops really working together to make wonderful taste.

Overall this was my first ba barleywine , and I'm hooked , I will for sure be on the hunt for more of this great brew , just an outstanding beer

Photo of GJ40
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12ox bottle. Thanks Surge1311! This is a big, boozy beer. In fact it might be a bourbon with a hit of beer. The aroma is strong bourbon. The flavor follows with a rich malt backbone. This beer is flavorful and intense. I think the bourbon dominates too much but it's a fantastic beer that leaves you with a lot to think about.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,046 ratings.