1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,469 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1469
Reviews: 515
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 1,469 | Reviews: 515 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gford217


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy deep copper with a dense head that dissipated quickly to a ring foam leaving sporadic lacing. The first aroma is the big sweet caramel malt smell with raisins, dates and subtle earthy hops. This is followed by a big bourbon backbone along with some sweet vanilla beans. The taste actually has more bourbon than the smell with a more prominent molasses sweetness. The caramel malts and earthy hops are still there as well, but the bourbon really comes out in the taste with a serious alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very creamy. The is a very good bourbon barleywine but the heavy bourbon presence means that getting through one of these would make for a good night. Update: I've had quite of few of these now. With 6-12 months on it, this beer is one of the best beers I've ever had. Fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 02:36:03 | More by gford217
Photo of drgonzo3705


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2009 05:12:08 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of Wisconsin


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After months of storage I can wait no longer to crack this 2009 version. A snifter glass would be nice here, but a pint glass is what were going with. Chilled for months and now served around 50 degrees, this is ready to roll.

A - A steady pour delivers a brown body that has some reddish tints to it when held up to the light. Somewhat translucent, this beer also has faint amounts of carbonation racing up to the head. A half finger head rises and fades to a ring around the glass after a couple of minutes, which is more than I have seen compared to other barleywines.

S - The smell is an intoxicating blend of bourbon whiskey from the oak barrels and dark fruits. Cherries, plums, figs, and apricots all rush through your nose along with the initial shot from the bourbon barrels. Trace amounts of caramel malts are also present and seem to keep the booziness of this beer down.

T - Absolutely the smoothest barleywine I have had, which will be appropriately reflected in the mouthfeel score. As expected, plenty of bourbon whiskey up front. The beer settles in nicely with the dark fruits, which I assume are cherries, plums, and apricots among others. Malts with a sweet caramel aspect are noticeable, but subtle in comparison to the other characteristics. I've struggled in deciding whether this beer should get a 4.5 for taste, but I have decided to kick it up to a 5.0. Right now, as this beer is warming there is just so much coming at me. The new aspect I didn't pick up from before was the hops that are now starting to come to life as this beer warms.

M - As I stated in the the taste, this is by far the smoothest barleywine I have had. Silky smooth entering the mouth with a nice full body coming in behind it. A light amount of carbonation presents the early oak whiskey barrels well and culminates nicely with the caramel malts and dark fruit notes. The dark fruit carries this beer from the initial oak whiskey taste to the caramel malted finish. Very smooth and enjoyable. No strong boozy taste either.

D - This an exceptional beer and probably the best barleywine I have gotten my hands on to date. The smoothness is undeniable and really separates this beer from other barleywines I have had. After about six months in the cellar this beer is great, so I am curious to find out what a fresh version of this beer would taste like along with one that has seen some extended cellar time. Unfortunately, this was my only 2009 bottle so I will have to hope some 2010 versions are available for my indulgence. Amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2010 03:01:31 | More by Wisconsin
Photo of Wisconsinality


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep ruby red with a slight purple tinge to it. Semi transparent with just a little bit of light that shows through. About a half finger's worth of head that leaves a little cap on the top and leaves some good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A good sweetness that is similar to a sherry or port. Some dark fruits are very apparent and a touch of oak in there as well. The deeper you smell the beer, the bourbon starts to peak its head out but never over powering. A hint of grape comes out as it warms along with the alcohol but not in a pungent, burning way found in some BA beers.

T- Well balanced and pretty complex come to mind right away. Some fig and dates to go along with a brown sugar sweetness but not cloying or syrupy. A touch of bourbon and some oak to make this a smooth beer. The alcohol is barely even noticeable and just adds to the overall smoothness and greatness of the beer.

M- Smooth and almost creamy. The carbonation is barely even noticeable but it works very well. There is a little heat on the tail end at the back of the throat as it goes down. A medium to full bodied that goes down smooth after every sip.

D- Exceptional. Goes down nicely and very well balanced. This is definitely a sipper which cuts down on the drinkability but this one is meant to be cherished. I would have to say that one is all you really need in a sitting. This would be great for after dinner or right before bed. Central Waters again shows why it is an up and coming brewery.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2010 02:22:56 | More by Wisconsinality
Photo of Shumista


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received two bottles in a recent trade at DLD. The only thing better than a barleywine is one that has spent some time in a barrel. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick, syrupy dark golden amber with a small rising off white head. Smell is bourbon and oak, dried dark fruits, alcohol. I think the barrel really takes the smell over. Taste is a wonderful intermingling between the natural flavors of the beer and the flavors imparted by the barrel. Charred oak, bourbon, sweet caramel malt, cherries, caramelized brown sugar, then dried dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness. The finish is sticky, warming a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is soft (that's the only thing I can think to call it), sticky, warming and comforting (an adjective that I think should be more widely used when describing beers like this). Drinkable enough, you're not really supposed to want another. I'd love sit back and relax with this after a great meal then slip into a buzzed food coma and sleep like a baby.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2010 04:39:43 | More by Shumista
Photo of chicagobeerriot


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the glass, this barrel-aged beauty appears as lightly veiled ruby/amber. An inch of lemon-cream colored head settles down quickly to a thin film.

The smell is a bourbon lover's delight. The bourbon, oak and vanilla notes come through clean and clear (unlike in an imperial stout where coffee and chocolate notes can reshape the smell of the barrel). The only supplement is a strong caramel base that smells as sweet as a bear claw pastry.

The mouthfeel is appropriately full with enough carbonation to provide just a bit of tang.

The flavor is bourbon forward as expected, but the flavors are well-rounded, preventing the alcohol from overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, this is a very big beer. But the vanilla and caramel notes help moderate the alcohol in such a way that the hop bitterness is given room to perform. As it warms, some dark fruit flavors emerge along with just a slight citric tang from the hops. The finish has a lot of bourbon warmth, but the prolonged hop fade is given equal billing.

Wonderfully complex, this beer rewards repeat visits by revealing new depth with every sip. May be my favorite barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 01:31:14 | More by chicagobeerriot
Photo of BeerHunter76


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A good friend shared a bottle of this with me, and he has been upgraded to great friend!

I love a good barleywine, and this is the top of my list right now. When we opened it the nose was almost sweet like candy, with a pour of dark copper into a snifter. Both were more than I was thinking we would get out of this one and each one was spectacular. The head on this was pale, minimal and did not last long, but it did leave a small ring around the top of the brew.
So smooth and sweet on the tongue which brings back the thought of sweet sugary candy. Very little carbonation to get in the way and it has the Bourbon flavor that kinda smacks you in the tastebuds. Fantastic! Sip it slowly and make it last. Thats easier said than done cuz this beer is extremely easy to drink.


Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 20:55:38 | More by BeerHunter76
Photo of sacrelicio


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

Just when I thought that Central Waters Y2K barleywine couldn't get any better...

Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. The color is a nice rosy-brown amber, with a nice even khaki colored head. The smell is rich and meaty, with vanilla, bourbon, caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

The taste follow suit, but with some muted floral hops and alcohol, hot and spicy. Somehow boozier than the 2012.

Mouthfeel is soft and slick, a little thin for the style, but a sign of good attenuation.

Overall, an excellent barleywine and I hope it gets even better with more age. If only I can hold on to this a little longer.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 06:57:51 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of JRdaSconnie


4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P: 2012 edition, 12oz bottle from 4pk purchased at Trigs Cellar 70 in Eagle River, WI. From fridge to big snifter. Started cold and sampled as it warmed. First try of this one.

A: Beautiful rusty brown pour with tan 1/2 finger head. Head drops quickly to thin ring. Definately has some legs on it.

S: Little hit of eye-watering alcohol first then all delicious caramel malt. Maybe a hint of hops? But yep, lots of tasty, tasty alcohol.

T: Some dark caramel malt first. Booze. Not sure on the whole figgy/dark fruit thing, maybe. Bourbon barrel for sure.

M: Luscious, velvety but cut with alcohol too. Mild carbonation with a little prickle mid tongue. Little alcohol heat.

O: Wow, I'm a BW fan and love barrel beers. 5's are very tempting. I like the base Kosmyk Charlie's Catastrophe Ale and barrelizing it is just awesome. Might be too boozy for some, but high on my totem pole.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 23:56:32 | More by JRdaSconnie
Photo of hoppymeal


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium copper in color, clear, a small skirmish of tan foam quickly appears and then is gone just as quickly. Aroma is wonderful, nice rich maltiness, toasted caramel, and pruniness is cut and dominated by a somewhat salty, outstanding leather and wood aroma. Taste is right on par with the aroma, rich, soft sugariness and caramel. The sweetness is cut by some bourbony alcohol and a woody and leathery dryness hits the tongue and persists long into the aftertaste along with a lingering sugary sweetness, a very nice combination. Medium to heavy in body, the alcohol content is extremely balanced. This is one of those beers where you know from the first smell how wonderful it will be. One where you find yourself sipping very slowly wishing it not to end. A great experience, an incredibly well crafted beer and the barrel aging lends the perfect balance to the richness of the bw. This is easily right up there with Batch 6000 and Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel BW as one of the finest barleywines I've had.
Steve, thank you for the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 01:57:54 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of mcallister


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

We've got liftoff. No seriously this is a fine looking brew and even better smelling. Christ almighty.

Dank dirty chestnut in appearance with a tan creamy head that leaves the party a little early.

Wonderful aromas in this. Lead by toasty vanilla infused oak and soft hints of bourbon. Than a rich caramel malt comes through and a musty hop aroma with fig and date characteristics. Some walnut and brown sugar as well.

This is a brew I'd love to have every day for the rest of my life. Great barrel aging art on this. Rich and creamy middle showing off caramel and toffee. Ripe dates and dried figs, alcohol, brown sugar, rum soaked raisin, thick tight vanilla and wood with a Jefferson's Reserve bourbon flavor. I have no clue what bourbon barrels they used or why I even said that. A showing of residual sugar towards the late middle ends in earthy hop bitter bliss balancing things impressively.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 21:05:45 | More by mcallister
Photo of IntriqKen


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Simply wow!
Pours a typical barleywine shade of deep mahogany with a small off white head that melts to a lingering ring.

Aroma is immediately oak barrels. Beautiful delicious oak covering some sweet amber type malts and a hint of bourbon.

Taste is ...what's this? Chocolate in a barleywine? Yep...I taste chocolate, soft fruits like apricots and peaches, some bitter citrus peel hops and then a finish to alcohol strength bourbon.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth and aftertaste is bourbon and oak.

Hell....I'm thinking of buying a really good oak aged sipping bourbon now. This was wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 03:11:25 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of lurpy1


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour is a funky murky amber. No head, but a depth to it that screams "drink me". Spectacular aroma of bourbon, caramel, and sugar. Taste is a similar line, with more of a fruity vibe (not that it's a bad thing), with raisins and a little bit of apricot.

Mouthfeel is simply hit out of the park. Thick, sticky. I'll gargle with this stuff, thanks.

One of the best beers I've had. If King Henry is a clear cut above this...I really gotta try King Henry.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 13:11:50 | More by lurpy1
Photo of OneBeertoRTA


4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to Zander for a few bottles of 2013 and 2012.

Pours about 3 fingers of head. Dark Maroonish brown

Smell- Bourbon, fig, booze

Taste- Plenty of carbonation, medium heat. The sweetness of the bourbon really adds to the traditional ABW flavor. Incredibly drinkable for 11.5% and a powerful beer. Compared to BA Numbskull this just has that donkey kick oomph in it. This is a big beer, just my liking.

Mouthfeel- high carbonation, medium build, flavor attack

Overall- Amazing beer and a perma-want

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 03:46:47 | More by OneBeertoRTA
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter.
2013 bottle. No date or info.

A - The deeply hued rusty amber colored beer is dark but clear still and vibrant. A tall pour creates a short and short lived tan head which collapsed from the high alcohol level. Specks of lace adorn the glass and stay steadfast while legs dribble down around them.

S - This fresh bottle has quite a large bourbon nose with a strong alcohol presence seeping from it, though deep complexity continues to emerge. Vanilla and damp wood work well with the rich bread-like malts that express some caramelization and toffee as well.

T - Maltiness erupts in flavor, overtaking the large bourbon presence that dominated the aroma; dribbles of sweet caramel and a thin smear of plum jam spread over a slice of toasted whole wheat bread. Notes of vanilla, oak, and unsalted pretzel finish with the smooth bourbon alcohol.

M - Smooth as velvet, this bourbon barrel barleywine is decidedly malty with a overarching sweetness, but not without balance. Alcohol is warming and present but not overwhelming, rather, soothing and complimentary on the finish, lightly drying it out for a lingering presence that constantly requests another light sip.

O - A real treat, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is one of those vintage releases each year that must not go unenjoyed. It's rich presence carries from aroma to flavor though the smooth feel rounds out the alcohol nicely for a bourbon barrel beer that's quite drinkable fresh. This one will still age with the best of 'em.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 00:02:42 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of jera1350


4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deeper burnt orange, short yet dense head of khaki foam that leaves thick lacing.

Highly complex nose. Very sweet, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, pound cake, maple syrup.

Huge barleywine sweetness intertwined with a huge hot bourbon punch. Underneath lies all of the complex flavors of spiced rum, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, maple syrup and caramel. The warm flavors and alcohol linger forever.

Hot and sticky with deep down heat lingering what seems forever. Full bodied with a sappy feel on the finish.

An absolute knockout of a brew. The price is a amazing for the quality of the product also. A sipper for sure, but an absolute pleasure of one.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 01:40:05 | More by jera1350
Photo of mandoskippy


4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I passed on this beer last year when it came out as I my first impression of the barley wine (non-bourbon barrel) was a little strong for me. That being said, I found a 2009 bottle of this and was blown away. The time and the bourbon barrel really mellowed the original barley wine in to something very special.

A: Nice Dark Amber color with a little bit of head. A nice lacing that disappears pretty quickly

S: Wonderful bourbon smell. What's neat about this smell is it evokes lots of bourbon aromas without coming across as "alcoholly" if that's a word.

T: Wow. Carmel, bourbon, toffee all in perfect balance. This doesn't taste like a high alcohol drink. Wonderful flavor.

M: Crisp as many high alcohol drinks feel to my palette. This one is clean and crisp rather than heavy and sharp. Very nice.

D: While this beer went down easy, I wouldn't call it "sessionable" to high of alcohol. Still, a very drinkable beer. One to share with "those you like" :)

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 02:21:54 | More by mandoskippy
Photo of notCreative


4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2-2010, drank young (3mo); Poured 12 oz into Bell's tulip glass.

A- Rustic caramel, fairly clear with a little haze. Light cream head disappeared quickly, but a nice lacing remains.

S- Sweet candy malts, brown sugar, caramel and... bourbon

T- Tasted like a delicious glass of warming bourbon, with a caramel/brown sugar/candy sweet back bone, with just a crisp hop finish. Bourbon was apparent, but not overpowering like, for example, KBS. Only alcohol that was apparent was the bourbon, but the taste was more than offset by the sweet malt backbone.

M- Viscous, but smooth. What you'd expect from a b-wine.

D- Way too drinkable. Dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2010 18:45:55 | More by notCreative
Photo of cokes


4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherrywood, hazed up sporting a tight buttercream head.
The nose comes in two stages, the first is traditional barleywine Kosmyk Charlie, all full of caramel, toffee, dates, golden raisins, and electric wintergreens hops. Stage 2 (which arrives after subsequent sniffs and with attention) show barrel aging full of hazelnuts, toasted oak, and vanilla.
The taste is inverted compared to the nose. Bourbon-barrel traits hit first, full of toasted coconut, hazelnut, oak, black cherry, and dark chocolate. The later part of the sip see it return to barleywine normalcy (or, more aptly, supremacy) with a deep caramel, honeyed grain, and toffeed maltiness, towing a fruitiness made of dates, figs, and more black cherry. Hopping is moderate, but full of sappy evergreens and citrus piths. There a recurrence of vanilla-laden barrel traits near the close, and it finishes with a convergence and re-explosion of all the preceding elements, along with obvious booze traits.
Full-bodied, with a subtle carbonation, if only to keep it from seeming overly fat or overly sticky. It has the consistency of cotton candy. It coats the mouth, dissolves, the beckons to be re-coated.
To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of bourbon-barreled Barleywines (especially hoppy ones like this), as I often find the barrel aging to be at odds with the hop profile, and the result ends up with a bunch of clashing colors. This achieves glory by compartmentalizing the barleywine and bourbon barrel traits up until the very end. And when they finally do converge, its absolutely harmonious. It's the best example of the style (specifically: booze barreled b'wines) that I've come across. And I can't think of another that even comes close.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2008 11:09:44 | More by cokes
Photo of boomer31


4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle reviewed 9/09

A - Darker orangeish woody
S - Bourobn all over the place with sweet malt in the background. This bad boy was sitting in a barrel for quite some time. Great smell if you love bourbon, if you're not a fan of it though, steer clear.
T - Again, bourbon everywhere. My first BB B-wine and what a treat. The malt does come forward as you get past the initial bourbon flavor. Wonderfull. This needs to be a top 50 beer.
M - Thick and smooth, low carbonation
D - Bourbon makes this one a sipper especially at the ABV (I'd assume is close to 9%)

Overall a favorite beer no doubt. I love this thing time and time again

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2009 00:34:05 | More by boomer31
Photo of mjpolzin


4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

We live in a society where people are constantly annointing the newest thing as the "greatest ever". Whether it is ESPN with the "greatest fill in the blank ever" or some other media outlet, we are quick to put something on the pedastal as being the best ever. That said, I am saying Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is my favorite beer ever and if need be, I will modify my score down the road if I decide it isn't up to the hype I am giving it tonight. Coupled with the Peruvian Morning I had after this brew, I may have tasted by top two brews ever tonight.

I really enjoyed the Y2K Barleywine by CW so I expected I would love the BB version. As soon as I smelled it I realized it was going to be great as the smell knocked me on my ass! The fruity, sweet smell of a regular barleywine was accented by a heavy scent of bourbon!

The taste was just as good. I tasted fruit, candy, malts and a rather strong bourbon presence. It was warm and tingly as it went down and I could instantly feel the 11.5 abv.

This beer lived up to the hype for me and I need to pick more up to age for a few months or years! For now, this will be my top beer on beer advocate.

EDIT: Had my first bottle from the 2013 vintage tonight. Central Waters advertised the fact that with this year's Bourbon Barrel Stout, they aged it for twice as long in the bourbon barrels. There were rumors that all of their bourbon barrel beers were aged for twice as long as in previous years. Whatever the case, this year's version of the BB Barleywine is so much smoother than last years! I will have to do a side by side comparison to be sure but as good as last year's was, there was always a slight harshness to each sip. That is totally gone this year as the bourbon integrates so much better with all of the wonderful barleywine flavors in this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 04:41:39 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #450. Thanks to Ungertaker for the bottle! 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 vintage.

A: Pours a deep amber color with an eggshell head that quickly settles, leaving a thin film and some sticky lace on the glass. Slight chill haze, but not offensive by any means.

S: This beer smells awesome! Caramel, vanilla, and some dark fruit notes, along with just a touch of bourbon and oak. Also a slight chocolate aroma in the background.

T: Massive caramel up front, with caramel, prune raisin, and vanilla. Bourbon is present with woody undertones, leading to a slightly dry, grassy hop finish. A bit of booze is apparent as well, with a warming sensation.

Notes: Complex as all hell, with full body and a ton of flavor. At 11.5%, alcohol is definitely a factor in its drinkability. A true sipper. Needless to say, now that I have tried this brew, it is hands down the best release I have ever had from Central Waters. Truly well done! I'll be searching for this one next year, and buy a few to age as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 02:31:48 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was imply an outstanding Barley wine. That is the best way to sum up my thoughts on this one. I received this as an extra a few weeks back and I immediately threw this one into the fridge and got it ready to be sampled. I have heard very good things and honestly just could not wait. Took this twelve ounce bottle and poured it into my Terrapin snifter at about cellar temp and just watched the madness unfold. Beautifully dark and seductive looking, it had a rich brownish color with hints of ruby around the edges. A slight bit of light coming through revealed some haze and a touch of sediment. A towering head of almost three inches glazed over the top of the glass and hung around for what seemed like forever before it finally settled down into a nice one finger layer of impenetrable foam. Rich side glass presentation as well just capped off the entire thing just wonderfully. One of the best looking, if not the best looking Barley wine I have ever seen.

The aroma was a heavy hitter right from the start. Tons of bourbon just wreaking havoc, had to let it calm down, revealing some nice hints of woody and earthy tones. Hints of vanilla and of all things chocolate starting to come through now. Very complex and nice, this was shaping up to be a winner already. The flavor was just drop down beautiful. Loads of rich bourbon and wood flavors coming through in the most wonderful of arrangements. Caramel and molasses seamless blended with touches of chocolate and dark fruits. Really just a whole another level of barley wine. The perfect body here, with a medium consistency that was layered down with a good level of carbonation and a heaviness that was just perfect. I was utterly floored by how good this one was. I sipped on this for the better part of a n hour or more, never tiring of it and really just enjoying every sip.

Overall I really cannot say enough good things about this one. One of the best Barley wines I have ever tasted and really just a testament to how good something can get with Barrel aging. I would love to try this one again any day of the week!

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 10:44:39 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Deuane


4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Multiple pours from the CW booth at GToM 2009.

A-Deep, ruby tinted burnt siena color with a small light tan head that vanished into a thin ring and left spotty lace.

S-Rich bourbon notes swirl with sweet caramel, toffee, citrus and dark fruits. A very complex and interesting aroma.

T-Luscious bourbon tantilizes the palate with sweet caramel, grapefruit citrus, prunes and burnt toffee in the finish. Wonderful complexity with no one single flavour dominating the others.

M-Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Long lasting flavours with an astringent finish.

D-About as good as a BBA barleywine can get. The folks at CW sure know how to barrel aged beers. I am surprised they remain under the radar, but in a way I am glad they do! A well kept Wisconsin secret! Keep up the great work CW!

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2009 05:56:10 | More by Deuane
Photo of newk340


4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a rosy mauve color that is slightly opaque that leaves no head after a slow pour.

S: a twinge of bourbon burns the nostrils while a faint aroma of cherries lingers in the back of the mind. phenomenal smell accurately predicts the exceptional taste.

T: a fantastic bourbon taste with black cherries lost in an oaky combination of flavors. simply wonderful.

MF/D: gives off a slight heat that coats the mouth and throat with a smooth finish. a great special occasion beer. no wonder this is in such high demand. thought about trading the rest of my stock, but also contemplating saving it...

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2010 04:34:31 | More by newk340
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,469 ratings.