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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class
610 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
610
Ratings:
2,248
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
717
Gots:
713
For Trade:
89
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 610 | Ratings: 2,248
Photo of Khazadum
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blind Beer #8 poured into a snifter! I wanted a beer while I played some video games tonight, and I figured I would knock out a blind review as well!

Good amount of creamy froth. Very fine bubble collection and cotton wisp nature. Good retention, great lacing. Hidden carbonation confuses me. There is very little to see and the retention is still amazing... hmmm. The body is a nice copper almost ruby hue.

Oooo is that bourbon I smell? I swear it smells like woodford reserve with the particular sweetness it imparts. There is also this interesting cherry background that makes me imagine just a few drops of maraschino cherry juice was added to create the perfect impression. There is a distinct astringency on the back end that detracts but it is paired with some minor vanilla hues that make me imagine oak barrels.

Flavors open up on the sip with fantastic bourbon sweetness. Its a syrupy type of molasses with very little earthen brown sugar characteristic. Very rich, distinct. Following this is some spiciness in the middle. Almost.. rye? Finish is alcoholic, hot, astringent, and minor bitterness to it. It has a minor upswing of vanilla on the ending. I should make it known that the ethanol characteristics are pervasive. They just peak in the finish making them known even much more. Very volatile.

Creamy. Nice and smooth. However, the ethanol at times becomes biting. Sharp. Very high. It isn't always, but when its on boy is it ON. Sticky flavors, and definitely some treasures are hidden all over my mouth and lips. There is a very very slight carbonation at the start that bursts slow. Like a rising burp, when it finally breaks it is sweet relief.

I like it. Its a pretty solid beer. I'm thinking a bourbon barrel barley wine. The alcohol may need a slight tweaking to work into the beer a bit stronger, however, I think overall it is beneficial. Its strength and heat overwhelm the palate and lead some flavors to be rushed over... lost and missed at times. Needs a bit more carbonation. At 12 ounces, I feel like I can't drink any other beers since it is just absolutely so thick.

Reveal is!!! Holy hell... I've had this. Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine! I've even had this year! It is sitting in a review notebook somewhere... I should find that and compare...

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Photo of 321jeff
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage, poured into my Portsmouth glass.

A vigorous pour yields about 1/8" of tannish head. This beer's hazy reddish brownish color isn't going to win any beauty contests, but it's not too bad looking.

Aroma is dominated by a smoky bourbon with elements of wood and some sweet caramel. Reminds me of Elijah Craig 12yr but without the crazy alcohol bite.

Taste is pretty sweet overall featuring some dark fruits, caramel and some of the same oak and smoke. Fairly well integrated, but I wouldn't elevate it to being particularly special.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth with just the right amount of prickly carbonation, but it is lacking a little in body. A good -bal barleywine and definitely a sipper, I'll probably let my other bottles go for another year or more and see what develops.

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Photo of SummitVA
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear deep auburn with ruby highlights on sides of glass. Light pop when opened, quarter inch white rocky head when poured. Steady carbonation.

S - Booze foremost. Licorice, then vanilla (and vanilla, then licorice after the glass warms to room temp), and wet oak. Lovely caramel and burnt sugar. I'm getting very little alcohol in the nose, strangely enough.

T - Bourbon and huge malt. Some dark caramel flavors, but little crystal sweetness. A little plum and date in the finish, along with a firm herbal bitterness. Alcohol far more apparent here; it is the last, lingering note, and it warms throat.

M - Medium bodied, but a good deal thinner than I was anticipating. Without bigger body, the alcohol in the finish tends to overwhelm.

O - Really happy to have had this at long last. A lovely, complex sipper. That being said, very glad to have another bottle that I can sit on for a year to see if the alcohol heat lessens.

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Photo of Holland
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a slightly hazy brown/orange/red color with a thin tan head that keeps a ring and small lacing.

S: sweet malt, oak, lots of bourbon, and some dark fruits

T: much the same as the smell, but with some alcohol and better balance than the smell. The alcohol takes away from the taste more than most barrel aged barleywines I've had

M: good carbonation, decent body, but not fantastic since the alcohol seems to cut it

O: excellent beer, should have aged it or had it colder than cellar temperature. Will be buying more of this soon.

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Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a dark amber with a slight off white head that lingers on the sides.

S - First impression is a musty, earthy barleywine, with some notes of bourbon. Little vanilla and oak make their way through as well. The bourbon is actually a little overpowered by that barleywine. As it warms, the aroma becomes more intoxicating, really quite enjoyable.

T - Quite the alcohol kick in the taste. They don't shy away on this one. The barleywine has a bitterness to it, and the bourbon seems to play onto that. A good malt backbone that works well with the oak characteristics. Like the smell, quite earthy and musty, but with a little hop pizzazz left since it's fresh. A big and bold taste, but maybe not the most balanced.

M - Quite hot on the mouthfeel, definitely a sipper. Carbonation was good, just the alcohol burn kind of hurts the mouthfeel.

O - Overall, if alcohol burn isn't a deal breaker for you, this is a good beer. Great for a cold winter night like tonight, warms you up. I'll definitely sit on one and see where it's at later, but a hot barleywine fresh, along with some nice barleywine as well as barrel notes in this beer.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass.

Ruby body that is quite clear. half a finger of off white head. Dies down quick to a ring of foam with wisps of foam on top.

Smells of caramel, toffee, dark cherries, vanilla, oak and bourbon. A hint of spicy/resinous hops as well.

Tastes of caramel, toffee, apples, some dark cherries, and some raisins. Followed by oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Then resinous tobacco, leafy and spicy hops. Quite complex and interesting.

Creamy, medium carbonation, low end of full bodied, but not really syrupy or thick. A bitter/resiny finish that is hot and a tad spicy going down.

Pretty palate wrecking. Would not be able to knock back more than one 12 oz. and still be able to taste much afterwards.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, label is notched as bottled at Feb 2012.

appears a cloudy muddy color, some copper highlights. no head. big aroma of vanilla and whiskey. brown sugar.

taste is also big on the bourbon flavors. sweet caramel malt, but not cloying. minimal hops. medium thickness, but it coats the tongue, lower carbonation.

overall a well executed example of the style.

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Photo of N_Schleret
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark amber color with a 2 finger tan head that dissipates quickly to a light ring. Blotchy lacing.
S: Big boozy bourbon fills the nose with hints of caramel, vanilla, and toffee.
T: Again sweet bourbon overpowers everything. I get hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and toffee.
M: Fills up the palate nicely with a creamy sticky feel.
O: Another good bourbon barrel beer from Central Waters. A little age might mellow this out.

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Photo of pcstuck
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is more of a dark auburn with a fairly tall head. Smelled the bourbon right when i cracked it open. Great aroma. Bourbon with earthy hop notes along with chocolate. The bourbon is upfront in this, so if thats not your style you may not like it. Almost a sweet taste to the bourbon. Maybe a caramel. Great brew all around.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Medium brown body, one finger white head that quickly drops into a thin white film. Not much of a collar or lacing.

S- Caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, oak. Rich vanilla. Lots of complexity.

F- The vanilla isn't as strong here as it is on the nose, but it is there. Lots of caramel, sweet lighter malt, and bourbon barrel flavours. Its certainly hot, but it brings all the bourbon barrel you'd want in a barleywine.

M- Medium body, low carbonation, slick and drying finish with plenty of bourbon.

O- Very bourbon-forward barleywine; sometimes I find this one to be a bit too hoppy but time always does this beer well.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage

Appearance - Ruby red/brown color with tan head

Smell - Caramel, toasted coconut, maple, oak

Taste - Caramel, rum, coconut, oak, a bit of maple in there as well

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront, barrel and booze in the back end

Overall - not quite as complex as Bourbon Counry Barrel Aged Barleywine, a bit harsh on the aftertaste, but a good tasting beer.

Price Point - $17.99/4 pack 12 oz bottles

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky looking crimson. Thin, creamy beige head. Good retention and lace propensity. Nose is quite sweet and quite bourbony. It really just drips caramel and nougat and a little booze with the vanilla like bourbon notes. Really good aroma. Pretty hot feel to it right off the bat. But also nice traits of bourbon, caramel malt, nougat and passion fruits. It's got a little of that spiked punch feel to it but it's not overboard. Spicy alcohol lingers. It's lightly carbonated and about medium bodied. I think this beer needs to sleep for a few years to take the edge off. Nowhere near as good as the fresh Kosmyk Charlie or especially the aged Charlie I've had in years past. But then again, those were as close to perfection in a beer as I've ever seen.

Props to BA nflmvp for this beer on the day the NFL MVP said his good-bye.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber hue with no sediment or haze. No head.

S: Caramel, molasses, and some citrus. Alcohol burn.

T: Caramel, toasted oak, vanilla and alcohol. Moderate hop bitterness. Some sourness on the tail end. Sort of hot.

M: Good body for the style. Very nice texture. Not very carbonated and medium overall body.

D: The 11.5% ABV is evident. I think the drinkability is relatively good with all factors considered, but others at the same tasting thought it was too hot.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 Bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn tulip

A - Deep cherry wood color with a light brown accent. Had a one finger light brown head that settled down to a few rocky spots of foam on top.

S - Big malty barleywine with strong caramel, toffee, and vanilla. There is also a big bourbon accent that comes through strong. This is one of those big noses that just brings the flavor to you.

T - Really strong alcohol and slight orange peel hits you up front. As it carries on, I get slight toffee, caramel, and vanilla that comes through to give it a slight presence. Strong bourbon comes along near the finish to bring both sweetness, roasted oak, and a slight booze. The finish is astringent as the booze and its heat carries along. This is one really bourbony beer as you get a ton of barrel presence, but it may actually be a bit too much as you get more bourbon than beer sometimes.

MF - Medium, slightly syrupy body. Light carbonation in this. It has a warming alcohol presence near the finish. The finish itself is astringent, has a alcoholic kick, and light tingle from the oak

O - Solid BA Barleywine for the price with a lot of barrel presence. This is definitely a sipper and with all of the bourbon one to have on a cold night. It's main downfall is that the bourbon really shines and make the beer a bit too hot instead of blending in well with the base beer.

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Photo of papat444
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2010 Vintage (bottled Feb.)***

Thanks to grub for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Body is a mix of brown and red, like a light leather. Hard pour reveals less than half a finger that disappears pretty fast. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: Sweet bourbon, dark fruits and wood. Quite strong and nice.

Taste: Dry cherries ,aged wood, bourbon with traces of leather. Sweetness balanced with some bitterness. Rich flavors.

Mouthfeel: A bit rough with some residual bitterness from the alcohol heat. Smooths out as it warms.

Overall: A bit rough around the edges but ends up being good. Drinkable and not too heavy

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Nice ruby color with solid retention but does dissapate to nothing as it settles down and warms up.

Fantastic notes of bourbon with a good backing of darker fruits and a little medicinal hop kick. Even the oak is apparent in the nose,subtle but does pop its head up.

Heavy caramel and fruit upfront. Nice vanilla following that makes way for the huge bourbon blast that takes over the ride.

Full bodied and a little too flat. A slight chew as well.

Not a bad beer, a little bit much as warms up.

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Photo of zac16125
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter
2012 bottle, notched as Feb bottling

A big thanks goes out to haveanother1 for this great extra!

A: Pours a fairly transparent light reddish brown that gives rise to only the slightest whisp and outer ring of head that doesn't even hang around long enough for me to note the color.  Does leave very slight patches of lacing.  

S: Big bourbon notes are immediately noted, then toffee,  a nutty character, burnt toast, dark fruits in the form of raisin and plum, booze.  Pretty awesome.  

T: Again, big bourbon notes right up front, oak, booze, hint of bakers chocolate on the finish, burnt toast.  Real nice at first.  Booze becomes quite dominant as I continue to drink though.  Each sip starts with a nice flavor or toffee, or bourbon, or nuts, then halfway through the sip its overtaken by a big boozy smack that dominates and lingers in the aftertaste.  Unfortunate, because this has the potential to be something special.  

M/D: Over carbonated for my liking, and a touch thin, although not too bad, and the carbonation is much more of an issue for me.  Slightly chewy, but again the carbonation distracts from the mouthfeel.  Its real boozy (this is coming from someone who really enjoys boozy beers) and is pretty hot going down.  Some time would do it well.  

O: Awesome nose, and potential for a great flavor profile, but this one needs some time on the shelf for the booze to mellow out.  It really is quite dominating throughout most of the drink, and takes away from the flavor intricacies.  Interestingly, I recently had the non barrel aged version of this beer, and didn't note it to be particularly boozy at all.  I do however, think that one was a 2011 bottle.   I would like to get my hands on a couple more of these, throw them in the cellar and come back in a year or two,  I think they could be great then.  

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear pure light-medium amber with mild white head, good head retention, limited lace.

S: Sweet malt, vanilla, pastry, a delight to sniff.

T: Vanilla and malt, but with a prominent American hop character all the way through. Some molasses type notes as well.

M: Very smooth, creamy, lightly boozy.

D: An impressive beer from Central Waters. Good flavours and something methinks to age for a while.

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Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer took a lot of the same flavor cues from the non-bourbon ale. This adds a light whiskey element near the end. The aroma is pleasant, with the oak and vanilla, but still too weak. The drinkability was pretty good and unlike many other barleywines. Worth a try, very tasty.

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Photo of tut2528
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage from MatttYCE. Thanks man!

A: pours a murky caramel in color, with touches of ruby tints, with about 1/2 fingers worth of head formation. without much lacing.

S: big caramel/toffee and vanilla right up front. there is a some oak and bourbon barrel presence as well, but it takes a back seat to the primary characters. i also pick up a slight hop note.

T: caramel sweetness right up front with a oaky bourbon presence coming out much more. i also pick up on more hop qualities here than what I was expecting from the smell. and the finish is vanilla creaminess. alcohol is definitely present.

M: flat, very thin for its style, and it doesnt quite coat the palate as it should.

O: its a nice brew. and this would be a great introductory barleywine to people who aren't familiar with the style.. and it has high drinkability.

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Photo of boralyl
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 2011 vintage poured into a snifter. The beer produces a small light tan head that quickly fades away . The beer is clear and ruby red in appearance.

S - There is a very strong bourbon presence in the aroma along with hints of oak and vanilla. As it warms slightly the dark fruit aromas become apparent.

M - Medium in body with light-medium carbonation and some creaminess.

T - A little bit of vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, plum sticks out in my mind. A huge bourbon flavor mixes in with the dark fruit and overpowers it leading to a hot alcohol heat in the finish.

Pretty good, but the bourbon flavor was a bit too strong for me. It may be that this vintage was too fresh for my tastes. I'll have to give an aged vintage a shot sometime soon.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Piraat snifter. This beer pours a thick looking, dark honey color with bright ruby colored highlights. A massive, thick, sticky, off-white head rises up out of nowhere in a beautiful cascading effect. The head lingers around for approximately seven minutes before receding into a white cap floating on top and a ring around the circumference. Soapy lacing is sparingly left around the sides of the class.

The nose on this beer is a lot of bourbon, caramel, roasted malts and toasted grains and maybe some bittering hops. Slightly floral and definitely sweet to the nose, this one smells great.

Taste is heavy on the bourbon, and like the nose full of caramel. Toffee and brown sugar make an appearance making this beer sweeter than I thought it was going to be. The lack of astringent, over the top hops found in the other big American barely wine is nice. There is quite a bit of boozy notes in the taste as well. This one could use a little time.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, like sipping on liquid caramel. It is actually fairly hot on the palate, possibly from the alcohol, possibly from the bourbon barrel aging. Like I said, I think some time will certainly help mellow this beer out and bring out some more of its subtle complexities. I didn't realize the abv on this bad boy was 11.5% until I pulled it up on here. With this alcohol content the heat isn't much of a surprise, and this is actually fairly drinkable considering that.

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Photo of TheDTrain
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow 11.5 abv! A very sweet barley wine. Pours a cloudy mahogany with great amber highlights. Taste is hot from the bourbon but gets overpowered by the sugars. As it warms, the awesome flavors of burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and bourbon whiskey really shine.

The sweetness is a bit fatiguing and could be toned down a notch. This one will probably get better with age. Nevertheless, a great barley wine that will keep the D train warm along the tracks.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 from cellar to snifter

Caramel colored with reddish highlights, minimal white froth puddles and recedes to the edges

Really nice on the snoot: sweet bourbon, dark fruits, and coconut shavings that hints at german chocolate cake...nice

It seems that my recommending this to a recent poster in search of a rich, malty, non hoppy barleywine may have been misguided. Bitter hop grip from the get-go, followed by a massive dose of hot bourbon in the form of vanilla, and rich maltiness. Hot damn, this beer is a load. The oak barrel is very present, as the woodiness and booziness of the bourbon barrel really make their appearance. This is an 11.5% monster that makes herself known.

Carbonation level is low but appropriate. The drinkability suffers a bit due to the heat. For me, CWBBW is difficult to figure. Last summer we had a two year old bottle that had aged horribly. Not sure if there is a bottle to bottle variance, but this beer could use some aging, but for how long before a decline is unknown.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 610 ratings.