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

Not Rated.
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

571 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 571
Hads: 2,084
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.69%
Wants: 705
Gots: 639 | FT: 76
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Atron67 on 03-02-2008

Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 571 | Hads: 2,084
Photo of jpmclaug
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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. (1,174 characters)

Photo of schwaeh
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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 (999 characters)

Photo of kels
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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. (1,729 characters)

Photo of younger35
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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! (1,643 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad BA barleywine, though it lacks the depth of flavor and barrel richness the best examples provide, though I kinda liked the hoppy kick it provided too. Nose is the strength of this one, with rich vanilla tones coming out. Pretty cool to have a brew like this in small format bottles, but it doesn't quite keep up with similar small formats like BCBBW. (360 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (1,235 characters)

Photo of Docrock
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (662 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (416 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (1,001 characters)

Photo of rodkin
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (609 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (1,587 characters)

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (1,257 characters)

Photo of ThirstyHerf
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (1,056 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
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. (1,095 characters)

Photo of Sarge3130
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
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 (478 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
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. (1,004 characters)

Photo of oakbluff
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
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. (428 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (1,455 characters)

Photo of abuliarose
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010, poured into a tulip glass, revealing ruby gold body under a finger and a half of yellowed head. Decent amount of head for a strong barleywine. Some lacing. Very nice looking. Smells a little alcoholic with a good bit of bourbon in there. Light malts and a slight floral presence underneath. Simple smells.

Tastes sweet up front with a decent bourbon vanilla presence and some milky caramel, devolving into a decently strong bitter dryness. If you like your barleywine bitter this one is still going strong. Fine for the style for sure, but it has lost much of the aromatic pine and citrus qualities in the bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and a little syrupy up front and drying at the end with a thin, prickly carbonation. Just over light-bodied. Decently drinkable, decently sip-able.

Overall it's quite nice. I don't know if it's on the outs or has yet to reach its peak but I would love to try some different vintages to see where I like it better. (959 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to eschmitt777 for hooking me up with a mixed sixer of some Central Waters brews. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears a hazed color of mahogany that is more ruby in coloration as it is held to the light. A rich frothy yellowish cap sits atop more than a finger strong that fades leaving a full wall of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of barrel character smelling of vanilla and a mildly medicinal alcohol touch. Dark fruity alcohol suggestions are present smelling like raisins coupled with burnt sugar. A bit of toasty grain can be found underneath with a contrast of sweetness verse herbal hops.

The taste includes plenty of solvent alcohol, toasty to bready grain and a bit of medicinal to fruity alcohol. Some herbal hoppiness is present that breaks things up and keeps this well within the reigns of an american barleywine. The more I sip on this, the more some raw woodiness emerges along with some soft vanilla tones. Once the brew goes beyond ideal temperature, it has almost a solvent alcohol DIPA feel to it with plenty of hoppy bitterness leading the role of the flavor profile.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I can tell this is a fairly young offering despite the label indication being a bit of a misfire. The alcohols is out in the open with flavor and solvent/numbing character inside the mouth. I think this would be a good one to lay down for awhile. While I enjoyed it now, I bet it would get nothing but better with some age. (1,525 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a lighter brown color with a little bit of an orange tint to it. A very thin, white ring clung to the edges of the glass. It actually left a decent amount of lacing for how little of a head it had.

The aroma has a lot going on in it. I get some juicy, fruity, citrus like flavors coming out, with a bit of an orange juice, pineapple flavor to it. The bourbon is there and gives it some woody, boozy bourbon flavors. I'm getting a little bit of a dark fruit soaked in vodka quality to it as well. A little boozy overall and not as smooth as some of my favorites in the style, but not bad overall.

Things come together better for me in the taste. I get more of the malty, caramel flavors mixing with the bourbon up front. Midway I start to get more of the juicy, citrus bitterness to it with some grapefruit and pine present in the finish. A little bit of the woody, oak and vanilla flavor comes through in the finish. Again, a little boozy in the finish overall but not too bad.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a pretty solid beer, but didn't really wow me like some barrel aged barleywines have. It felt a little too juicy, citrusy and bitter as well as boozy at times, but then also smooth and drinkable at times when the malty flavors came out more. It had some very nice high points to it and was a very nice sipping beer this evening, but fell a little short of being a truly world class beer of the style. (1,552 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/8/12
*From notes

-- This review is for the 2012 vintage only --

A: Unflitered honey comb in color. An elegant, straight pour down the center of the glass yields a 1.5 finger off-white, bubbly head.

S: Sweet bourbon, wild field flowers, sherry and ripe vine fruit.

T: Pretty on point, though not entirely. Pleasant sweetness hits first and lingers from start to finish. I should say that it becomes overly cloying as I continue drinking the beer. A jolt of juicy, almost tart hops hit the mid. Creamy malt rides to the back, and the bourbon packs a lot of heat on the finish. It doesn't linger long, and it feels a bit watery the longer I wait between sips.

M: A lighter BA Barleywine. Sure it's pretty thick, and the carbonation is alright. It just doesn't pack the punch you'd hope for in a big beer like this.

O: Certainly the best brew I've had from Central Waters, yet it doesn't reach the echelon of the best in-class. It gets to be too much, as the residual sugar is overly cloying and makes this hard to put back. An above average offering.

*I had a 2010 next to this. My notes are as follows:

A: 3.5 / A bit darker, though overall it's extremely similar.
S: 3 / Not nearly as pungent or rich. Not a lot of fruit or spirit to it.
T: 4 / Dryer. Less imediate heat, and the bourbon is much more subdued. Heavier on the char.
M: 4 / A touch more weight, though it's almost spot-on.
O: 3.5 / I preferred it fresh. (1,469 characters)

Photo of Grohnke
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, burnt orange/gold/brown. Quarter inch head, dissipates quickly, leaving a fine, thin scattered film, and perfect perimeter

Impressive bourbon aroma that lends to vanilla and some soft oak, rich caramel, prominent dark cherry. Sweet malty characteristic 

Carmel, cherry, vanilla, a spicy characteristic that could be attributed to the warming alcohol, at times it comes off hot. Great sweetness and dry wood on the finish.

Full body, light carbonation. Slightly sticky and creamy mouthfeel. Finishes surprisingly a bit dry, with a hot alcohol and light hop bitterness.

An enjoyable, heavily bourbonized, sipper of a barley wine. Fruits and caramel sweetness come out very well, with the hops and wood providing a nice finish. Bourbon notes are clear and complex. The big drawback here is how hot it is. And that it is represented in the aroma, flavor and finish...it constantly reminds you how hot the beer is. Maybe some time in the cellar would have helped. Too bad I only have one. (997 characters)

Photo of Brez07
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Dark cherry red color. Partially opaque. Small amount of cream head that stays for a few minutes

S: Great smooth bourbon presence up front. Combined with vanilla and some oakiness. Light citrus sneaks it's way through, mostly in the form of zest/rind. Notes of cherry and caramel. Sweet malt towards the end

T: Booze soaked caramels. Vanilla and dark fruit (still going with cherry). Definite bourbon presence. Subtle hop bitterness. Wood-like dryness

M: Medium bodied. Pretty high carbonation for the style. Fairly strong hop and alcohol finish

D: Might have opened this one a little early. With a little time I could see this being great. Decent now, but I'll sit on the other one I have (753 characters)

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 571 ratings.