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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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: 630 | 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 Verecund
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, consumed on 11.21.2010. Thanks go out to madtowndmb1 for this surprise.

Pours a reddish-brown, earthy color [sinopia]. Somewhat opaque, with almost no visible head, though the beer leaves tiny, tiny bubbles as lacing. (Second pour yields a darker, richer red body and, more importantly, a nice nearly one finger, mostly dissipating head. Bumped from 3.5 to 4.0.)

Truly appetizing nose. Sweet, sticky toffee and caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla custard, and a soft bourbon wood.
Toasted oak comes through most in the taste, with some combination of nuttiness, caramel, and vanilla rounding out the flavor profile. There's a citrusy/resinous hop bitterness on the finish which is swallowed by a wave of strong bourbon alcohol heat.

The nose is strangely soft and finessed, like that of a younger English barleywine, but CW BBBW packs a punch in the mouth.

All of 11.5%. Appropriately sticky, with low-medium carbonation.

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Ruby amber. Tan cake like head

S- Huge bourbon and toffee. Lots of vanilla as well. Cheesecake like sweetness detected in the aroma.

T- Rich, true to form English style barlywine. Lots of vanilla again, subtle hops, earthy wood, brown sugar, caramel. Warms really well in the finish. It is pretty damn good, but not big on the aftertaste.

M- Little bit of a bite initially, but settles in. Creamy, silky, yet late bitterness. An interesting tingling or numbing effect.

O- right there with Sucaba.

Photo of kojevergas
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded gold pressure cap and simple straightforward label served into a flared stem-tulip glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired from Duff27 in a recent trade; thanks, buddy! "Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels." 2013 vintage. Label is an orange-brown and differs from the photo currently used on this webpage. Expectations are quite high; I loved the Y2K barleywine I had from Central Waters.

Served slightly chilled; I like my barleywines a bit warmer. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention (~5-6 minutes) for the high ABV. Even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Body colour is a refined rich amber. Looks like a fine brandy. Semitransparent. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'm impressed with the head. It looks as a barleywine ought to; understated and classy. Though the translucency/transparency is atypical of the style.

Sm: A bit of candi sweetness, candied fruits, subtle vanilla from the bourbon barrel, light toasted oak (less prominent than I'd like), caramel, toffee, maple, and rich malts. Refined and appealing, but I'm concerned about the sweetness. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable; this is shockingly un-boozy for its ABV. I like the fruits and vanilla. They play well together. A mild strength aroma.

T: The candi sweetness is problematic, but not to the degree I feared. Light vanilla. Very buried toasted oak notes. Caramel, toffee, and a heavy rich malt build. Sweet up front. Fruity on the climax, but these notes really fall off towards the finish, never quite feeling seamless in the build. No hop notes are detectable; maybe some minimal floral hopping at most. Some syrupy maple on the finish. ABV is decently hidden; some alcohol does come through. No yeast character. I want more from the oak; the bourbon notes are well integrated but shallow. It's balanced, if overly sweet. Well built for the style with good barrel aging execution.

More aggressive hopping is needed here to add bitterness and thereby balance the malty sweetness.

Mf: Silky. Refined. Smooth and wet. Even a biteen creamy. Good presence on the palate. Good thickness. Perfect carbonation. A well done texture for a barleywine. Good body.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV, but I can tell this one needs some time to age. The sweetness is just too high at the moment. Don't get me wrong though; this one is definitely a sipper - you couldn't chug it. It'll probably take me a good half hour to finish the bottle. It's a fine barleywine with good bourbon notes, but it just needs to develop more. I'd like to revisit this one with some age on it - no more than five years. Fans of the style will love this one - even fresh. Another solid brew from Central Waters. There's serious potential here. Thanks for the bottle, Duff27!

High B+

Photo of AgentZero
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with levifunk

A - A brownish orange color with a lot of yellow that comes through. Very minimal head that dissipated quickly and didn't anything on the sides.

S - A lot of charred wood and brown sugar. Caramel and some vanilla from the barrel influence. Some bourbon in there as well, the smell is good but there is a little too much burnt wood in here which is taking the taste down.

T - The taste has some nice brown sugar and caramel complete with the vanilla from the barrel aging. The bourbon is nicely there but does not drink hot. This actually tastes very good except there is too much burnt wood in there, that is a real downer on this.

M - Medium bodied, syrupy, needs a little more carbonation.

D - Don't get any alcohol on this, and very smooth, highly drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of jahfool
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DP34 for the bottle. Poured into a wine glass, taking a break from working on a beautiful saturday afternoon. A small consolation for missing the Boonville beer festival.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear dark amber color, decent head that recedes relatively quickly. Not much lace. No yeast/sediment, not bottle conditioned. Inviting.

Smell: Hot, boozy. Rich malt presence, bourbon is noticeable but not overwhelming. No hops to speak of, seems like a english-style base barleywine.

Taste: For a bw, fairly dry. The bourbon barrel is the biggest component of the flavor, but the oak and whiskey notes are balanced by a sweet maltiness- well done. Noticeable alcohol, just a little hot.

Mouthfeel: Really clean, great carbonation- if anything slightly high for style, but with the sweet malt and barrel flavors, it helps liven up the beer. Smooth but not cloying.

Drinkability: Yes. This one goes down nice & easy. A very approachable barrel-aged BW, doesn't challenge the drinker while maintaining a nice complexity of flavor.

Overall: A solid effort, I'm impressed with the first Central Waters brew I've had. Well-balanced and the barrel-aging hits all of the right notes for me without being overwhelming. It doesn't make the 'top tier' for me, but is a very worthy beer.

Photo of mltobin
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle, poured into a wine glass.

The appearance is dark red-brown with a thin tannish head. Its` nose comes off with malts, a good deal of bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar and raisins. Tipping this one back and it tastes of caramel, syrup, more malts, alcohol. Mouthfeel is rich and full bodied, finishes with oak and bourbon. A nice barleywine from this brewery out of Wisconsin, had to pick this one up while passing through PA.

Photo of Sarlacc83
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 bottle from TPatuto. Thanks! 12 oz for me.

A: Dark brown with a prune tint in the light. Thin ring of head after the pour foams to about a 1/4 inch. Sticky. Very sticky.

N: Wow. Deep breather. Bourbon, oak, toffee, caramel, and vanilla. Raisins, molasses, and more bourbon. Lots of black licorice. This is layered and it threatens to suck you in and hold you in its folds.

T: Sweet and bracing. Raisins and prunes. Toffee and caramels. There's a coffee like bitterness that mixes with the hop spiciness. Very, very oaken. Candied pecans. Trucks full of black and licorice. Some oxidation, but it adds to the beer. Both sweet and yet balanced - there's still quite a bitter element to this.

M: Like someone forced you to eat a crayon (and not in a disgusting way.) This is sticky and viscous.

O: I thought 3.5 years might have done this a disservice, but it's still going quite strong. If I lived in WI, I would stock up on this and age it to this range. This is far better than fresh Mother of all Storms. I will say, though, that despite my gushing about it, I had Arctic Devil after this and had to drop this one a few points because AD is just that much better and rounder. Still, a recommended beer.

Photo of jpmclaug
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of BA's best bear, Barry! This is a 2010 vintage poured into a snifter.

Brownish body with a ruby hint, s mall circle of offwhite head rested on top at first but quickly gave way to just a circle around the rim of the glass. About what you'd expect for the style.

Smells real sweet, like a good bourbon but without any of the alcoholic scents found in one. Oak and vanilla are making an appearance as well.

Sweet barrel aged notes, a solid malt presence but seems to be lacking just a bit, sweet at the first swallow, Not much in the way of hop flavor showing but a little bitterness in the end, a bit of an oaky taste. Not much heat, I guess time in the cellar mellowed this one out. I dunno something is just lacking in this one, not as full flavored as I was hoping and the bourbon notes seem a bit subdued. I think I might enjoy this one more fresh.

Overall a solid take on the style but not the best I've had. I could go for some more malty notes and maybe a bit more barrel flavor. I think I would enjoy it more if it wasn't aged. Anyhow... it's still a decent beer and I see why people enjoy it. It's especially nice that it comes in 12oz bottles.

Photo of schwaeh
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from January 2011. An extra from readbaron, thanks man.

A: Pours dark mahogany with a little ring of lace, no head. Decent carbonation flowing and an overall murky look.

S: Smells a touch boozy. This rivals Firestone in the barrel aging, it really comes through loud and clear. Soft sweet malt and dark fruits blend with a lofty dose of bourbon. Toffee, dark fruity esters, sweet bourbon, plum, and fig are all showcased here.

T: Toffee, caramel, fig, vanilla, sweet & smoky bourbon, and a good alcohol burn are what I get. I like that the bourbon seems a little more complex than most in this. Stinging sweetness and some hop bitterness on the finish.

M: Full mouthfeel, low carbonation, sticky, and bitter.

O: This was a long-time want of mine in what is becoming one of my favorite styles. I wanted to have this mellowed out a touch more, the bourbon was unmistakable. If you really take your time with this there are lots of complexities that come out. Well done Central Waters

Photo of kels
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this 2010 bottle from NorthsideFred as an excellent extra - cheers!

It pours a rusty shade of brown and is more opaque than clear. The high ABV actually becomes visible in a slightly layered effect within the beer. The initial 1/2 finger white head fizzles out immediately to a bit of swirly skim and a few spots of spitty white lace.

Very interesting aromas in this beer. I do get the syrupy grains and some dark, sticky fruits in the nose, but the dominant scent is specifically the vanilla and oak - not the bourbon - from the bourbon barrel. It gives a really nice, softening effect to the normally nose-singing boldness of a barleywine. The alcohol is actually hardly detectable.

Alcohol hiding in the nose certainly comes through, almost too strongly, in the taste. It does hold the essence of the bourbon, but the alcohol is definitely more sharp, more like rubbing alcohol, than like the full and softly warming feel of a good bourbon. The vanilla and the oak come through deliciously, with a nice mellow sweetness and charred flavor. As with the nose, I get the barrel a little more than the barleywine, but that's okay with me in barrel-aged beers even if it isn't others preference. A bit of the deeply caramelized grains and that essence of sticky raisins and prunes comes out in the aftertaste. Feel isn't as thick and viscous as it would appear, though is far from thin or bubbly. It has a slick and moderate presence that keeps the flavors hanging around in the aftertaste forever.

Drinkability is definitely impacted by the sharpness of the alcohol in the taste, but not necessarily any more than in other beers of this style. Overall a tasty and somewhat unexpected beer that I'm glad to have enjoyed.

Photo of younger35
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
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!

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An old Kosmyk Charlie bottle with a green 'Aged in Bourbon Barrels' sticker affixed. From NFLMVP if my notes are reliable.

A: The barleywine is a dark reddish hue, one that looks brown from afar. Up close, the crimson shades are difficut to miss. A small head accompanied the pour, leaving no lace behind.

S: The nose has a rustic barleywine nose, quite sweet with caramel grains. The bourbon barrel is no slouch, adding light vanilla and a strong boozy streak. The bourbony sweetness needs some time, but it comes through nicely.

T: Sweet bourbon, sweet, sweet nectar. A bourbon barrel may have been made for a beer like this. The barleywine is big and strong, plenty of malts creating a dark, fruity landscape. The nearly cloying malts benefit from the barrel, adding vanilla and coconut. Vanilla is stronger and has a bit of pepper behind it. The barleywine and barrel together are a nice package, albeit one that packs a huge punch.

M: The mouthfeel is malty sweet, chewy before the bourbon sets in. Once it does, the ale picks up steam. It becomes a sweet, liquory drink from there. I'm not sure how old this bottle is but it has done quitely nicely.

D: At 11% or so, it is a nightcap. A nice blend of bourbon and barleywine.

Photo of Docrock
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 bottle

A: nice caramel brown color, minimal head with no retention, not that I expected much.

S: a slight hint of vanilla and just a touch of booziness, not smelling much at all..

T: nice caramel, vanilla, a touch of date. Not picking up much hop character at all.

M: a bit hot. There is a definite burn from the booziness on the roof of the mouth and the throat.

O: overall I enjoyed this beer. I am going to lay several down as I think 9 months to a year will do wonders. I am have been disappointed by most of Central Waters beers but this one is by far the best I have had from them and with a touch of cellaring, this has potential to be awesome.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep burgundy color with a small off white head and a fine ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet malts, oats, oak, bourbon, caramel, sugars and a hint of alcohol.

Taste of caramel, sugars, bourbon, molasses, and oats. A heavy sweet flavor takes charge here, leaving room for little else, but this is still a worthwhile beer that I hope ages well.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth with low carbonation.

Photo of siege06nd
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to osubuckeye99 for this trade. Thanks, Chris!

Poured into my Jackie O's 6th Anniversary 4 oz. snifter...

A: Pours a cloudy orange red with a quarter finger cream colored head. Solid retention and good lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Smells like liquid caramel. Tons of caramel and vanilla on the nose. Hints of ripe dark fruit and some bourbon.

T: Follows the nose. Lots of caramel, vanilla, some chocolate and tobacco. Hints of raisin, dark fruit, and some nice bittering hops on the finish. Bourbon and barrel on this are both very apparent. Sipping a little hot right now, could use some time in the cellar to settle down.

M: Quite a bit of burn on the finish. Bourbon is really dominating right now, and adding a lot of sweetness to this one, to the detriment of some of the other flavors. A bit one note.

O: Pretty good barleywine here. It definitely needs some age as it drinks pretty hot right now. Lots of nice flavors, though, and an assertive hop profile to boot.

Photo of rodkin
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Very small head, that quickly dissipates. A thick, translucent dark red. It's got some yeast sediment or something in there that's pretty gross looking.

Smell is vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel. Very sweet, but not cloying. The bourbon comes through with some added complexity, but it doesn't smell boozy at all.

Smell is vanilla, oak, cherry, booze, raisin. Some leather, kinda. Hint of caramel. Boozier than the nose.

Medium thickness, decent carbonation. A little more carb and a little less body than I'd like.

A fine barleywine. Probably the best thing I've had from Central Waters.

Photo of sleuthdog
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage pored into tulip

A: This brew poured an brown-orange color without any head. There was some evident carbonation upon the pour and I do see some slight bubbles through the murky color of this beer. Not overly impressed with the appearance of this one.

S: The first and somewhat dominating smell I get is the bourbon. I also after that get a nice sweet toffee, brown sugar and vanilla and these are melded together wonderfully with a booziness that works really well together. Really getting into this I do pick up a very slight oak character. The awesome smell has made up for the lacking appearance.

T: The taste follows the nose as I was hoping it would. I get the alcohol and the bourbon first. This is followed by some sweet notes like toffee, brown sugar, caramel and sweet malts and this just plain sticks to my tongue like a syrup. It just lingers for what seems like forever. The alcohol is evident to me but does not burn but instead I would describe it as a nice warming effect. Enjoy the taste on this one.

M: The feel is rather thin and watery to me but like I said it is also sticky and syrupy. The flavors do linger from sip to sip despite its thin feel.

O: I was not expecting this to taste like it did being that it is classified as an American barleywine. I expected more hop bite but got more sweetness that I get from the English style. Since I tend to enjoy the English version this was a pleasant surprise to me. Overall I really liked how the alcohol and the bourbon are not overly dominating but do play nice with the sweet and oak characters.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on January 2011

A - Nice golden deep red in color and pretty clear. No visible carbonation which leads to a weak head but average to good lacing deposits.

S - It's actually a lot sweeter than I was expecting. The bourbon smells fresh and the wood notes are light which in combo drown out the hops, but the stickiness of the resins can be felt with each sniff.

T - Could use a little age to knock the edge off the bourbon, but again it is a lot sweeter than I was expecting from an American style barleywine. The bourbon is dominant from start to finish and the wood flavors help cut down the harshness. The bitterness from the hops can be tasted at the end but no trace of hop flavor. Finishes with dry wood and a sweet bourbon burn.

M - Definitely a heavy body on this one and the carbonation is kept in check with low volumes. Rough on the palate due to the freshness of the beer but feels smooth on the tongue and almost sweet at the end.

O - I was expecting more of a hop flavor from an American barleywine, especially one this fresh, but this one tips the scales in favor of the malt and bourbon aging. I think with time it will calm down a little and balance out a little more. Either way it big, boozy, and definitely a solid barleywine.

Photo of ThirstyHerf
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Blind Bif 6
Bottle #1, 12 oz bottle shared with ilikebrew & chaseabeer. Poured into three Boulevard tulips.

between the appearance and the smell as i pour i know i have some sort of barleywine.

A - a nice amber, orange almost red hue, nice dregs, a little thin for a barleywine but all three of us are guessing CW BA BW 4

S - Bourbon barrel, raisin, carmel, burnt sugars, molasses, honey 4.5

T- This is quite hoppy and could really fare well with a little age. The rest of the flavors, carmel, coconut, vanilla, burnt sugar, molasses all play well together but the hops are a bit a of bully here and push this beer to the bitter side 3.5

M nice and sticky, coats the entire mouth but is a little thin for the style. 3.5

O - This is definitely a BA BW but an american style, definitely not english. Sticking with CW BABW 4

and we have... Nailed it! Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barley wine! I love this beer and it is always a want! Thanks Alwatcher. Its amazing how I have never picked up on the hops as much until now. bottles 2,3&4 to come.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.86/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle split into a snifter

A: Pours a medium amber color with a finger of dense white foam. Average retention and lacing.

S: Spicy bourbon starts off with a nice sweet caramel backbone with a touch of butterscotch. The complexity is in the bourbon here - moderate amounts of oak with quite a bit of spices that help balance the caramel sweetness.

T: Brown sugar is quite strong in this beer. Caramel sweetness comes in after that to pair with a fairly strong spicy bourbon character.

M: A bit thin with moderate carbonation.

O: A bit two dimensional caramel and bourbon, but some brown sugar sweetness comes in to add a bit to the complexity. Stays fairly dry. Solid.

Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into two snifters. Big thanks to Ethan for two bottles of this; I asked for four Abrasive, and instead I get three and two CW BBBW. What a great friend!

A - good looking brew. Looks more like a scotch ale than anything, super brown with little head on the forced pour. The carbonation is constant and visible, but, unlike most BBA beers, it's very translucent.

S - a lot of bourbon and a lot of alcohol. If I was doing a blind taste testing, I wouldn't guess that this was a barleywine. Harsh throughout.

T - the harshness continues. CW BBBW pounds the senses with intensity: alcohol, bourbon, and only a hint of the hops that one normally would expect from a barleywine. The malt and barley really hit hard, not in a good way. This baby needs at least a year in the cellar.

M - again, the alcohol really detracts here. Too much booze and carbonation, which isn't faithful to the other brews in the style. It's a harsh drinking experience.

O - this is a perfect candidate for the cellar, but I don't think I'd get another one fresh, even on tap. It hits hard and bitter.

Photo of Sarge3130
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage poured into Heavy seas tulip

Body is murky copper with thin bubbly head. Smells of plum, candied sugar, and heavy booze. taste is sweet caramel, oak, and alcohol. Thin and prickly mouthfeel. Really booze forward and abrasive.

I let the beer sit out for about 20 minutes to warm and it got better. As it warmed the flavors began to meld together nicely and the mouthfeel became more smooth. Still, nothing Earth shattering but solid BA Barley wine.

Overall: 3.75

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the bottles! 2010 Vintage, from notes.

Pours with a caramel-orange hue, not too much lace but some faint wine-like legs are evident after a short head fades.

Aromas of rich caramels and moderate barrel impact. The central waters barrel aged beers are so distinct in their barrel character.... not sure what kind of barrels they use though. Butterscotch and this charred/toasted wood character that is so distinct in the taste. Some sweeter vanilla and brown sugar combine with the robustness of the barrel notes. The base beer is not as complex as I remembered from the 2009 vintage, still boasts some darker fruity notes and toasted nuts for added depth. Upper medium bodied, low carbonation, felt a little 'heavy' at times. Alcohol becomes surprisingly evident as this got closer to room temp. Still, this was not too hot, but rather warming - making you constantly aware of the ABV. This is a pretty good BA Barlweywine, though not quite as magical as when I first had the 2009 vintage.

Photo of oakbluff
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle- 2009 vintage. Pours a ruby chestnut with good clarity and a one finger light brown head. Nose- ripe dark fruit, fig, big toasty malts, vanilla and sweet bourbon. Taste- very sweet blast of bourbon and caramel malts followed by raisins and spruce. Pretty boozy. Mouthfeel- low carbonation, thick and chewy from the huge malt bill. Drying finish from alcohol heat and reasonably high hopping. An interesting brew.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Great Lakes snifter. The pour is reddish, coppery-amber color with a fair amount of clarity and a very thin layer of foam that doesn't stick around for long (common for barrel-aged beers). The nose is quite sweet and boozy. I get notes of vanilla and bourbon, but the hops and some fusel alcohol notes assert themselves over the subtler toffee notes.

The beer has a full body and a nice slick feel. There's a brief bready sweetness up front that is quickly overpowered with hops and a sharp boozy heat, lending the beer a slightly metallic, medicinal tang. The heat intensifies towards the back of the palate and drowns out the caramel-like sweetness of the malt, which is fighting like hell to break through but doesn't quite make it all the way to the fore.

Beers like this are difficult for me to rate. It's clearly a well-crafted product with an abundance of intense flavors and marvelous aromas. Unfortunately, even though I enjoy American Barleywines, I'm just not a huge fan of aging these in bourbon barrels. I find that the bitter hop flavors clash a bit on my palate with the sweet, boozy notes and the malt is not allowed to work its magic. (Now English Barleywines - good gracious! Those are custom-made for bourbon-barrel-aging!) Nevertheless, I continue to try these as I come across them (or as wonderful traders - like Ri0 - bless me with their generosity) in hopes that my palate will eventually accept them.

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