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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine AleBourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,715 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,715
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 650
Gots: 515 | FT: 51
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
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Ratings: 1,715 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DMBTattoo


5/5  rDev +16%

05-08-2013 22:23:07 | More by DMBTattoo
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5/5  rDev +16%

05-25-2014 20:19:16 | More by komsul
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5/5  rDev +16%

10-17-2012 19:16:06 | More by wibeerman
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New York

5/5  rDev +16%

01-20-2013 12:52:47 | More by GrindFatherBob
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5/5  rDev +16%

08-27-2014 06:03:00 | More by RedDon
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5/5  rDev +16%

07-29-2013 15:45:20 | More by NewGlarusFan
Photo of gio540


5/5  rDev +16%

03-11-2014 06:26:51 | More by gio540
Photo of ubenumber2


4.95/5  rDev +14.8%

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

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

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

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

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

06-23-2013 18:24:51 | More by ubenumber2
Photo of beerwolf77


4.93/5  rDev +14.4%

2010 vintage. Poured into my duvel tulip the beer is a muddy brown orange. The cream hued head hits about one finger berfore receding to leave a thick lace ring around the glass.

The aroma is spot on perfection. Sweet and sour playing tug of war with my olfactory senses. Apples and pears along with plums, dates, raisins and cherries. A nice burst of bourbon shines through along with a heavy dose of malt. Then just when you think it can't get any better the hops come in and tickle your nostrils.

The flavor is heavy on the malt up front. A nice hoppy fruity blast follows the malt. Warm bourbon mellows everything out in the finish. I have a feeling with some age the flavor will be epic.

Medium to full creamy body. Light carbonation.

Overall a great beer that I assume will become legend with time. I have a bottle of 09 and 08 that I will have to crack soon and see what the years have done. Stay tuned.

2009 vintage.

After having a bottle of 09 I will bump my scores slightly seeing as with one year this beer is now of mind blowing status.

03-11-2010 01:27:16 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of CharlatanSin


4.93/5  rDev +14.4%

Had a few of these on my Wisconsin trip, and it certainly wins best in show. Wonderful beer.

A: Pours a rusty reddish brown color. Clear. It's got a small white head that dissolves into a splotchy cap that never quite goes away and leaves light lacing.

S: Killer. Terrific deep caramel malt is the backdrop for oak, vanilla, and the other hallmarks of bourbon aging. All of the smells blend together wonderfully -- this is a big point for me. I love bourbon beers, but often the booze overwhelms the nose.

T: World-class. Again, the big caramel malt holds it all together. The vanilla is very strong, as is the booze from the bourbon. A little less oaky than the nose. There's a significant hop presence in the finish, but it doesn't stray into DIPA territory like so many of its American Barleywine comrades. And again, it's all balanced beautifully, as if an engineer had spent years calibrating it perfectly.

M: Thick and smooth, with low carbonation. A total mouth-coater. A decent amount of alcohol burn, but that doesn't bother me at all with this style.

D: Brilliant. I weep that I can't walk a quarter mile and pick up a four pack of this anymore. Truly, Madison, WI was forged by the gods themselves.

04-10-2010 19:16:53 | More by CharlatanSin
Photo of jmarsh123


4.9/5  rDev +13.7%

2011 vintage into a Flying Mouflan tulip.

Pours light brown with some caramel hue. Big foamy head with excellent retention and lacing. One of the best looking beers I've ever seen.

A lot of the barrel shows through in the aroma. Sweet bourbon, oak and vanilla with some toffee. Barrel character comes through, but doesn't smell incredibly boozy.

I could sum up the flavor in one word: fantastic. Very similar to the nose. Notes of oak, vanilla and coconut along with a little bit of sweet toffee. Bourbon flavor is presently but not overpowering.

Rich and chewy. Integrates the bourbon well masking almost all alcohol heat and despite the components comes no where near to being cloying.

Absolutely one of the best -bal barley wines I've ever had. Despite it's rich character, it never gets overpowering sweet and the bourbon is integrated perfectly.

03-31-2012 20:17:34 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of hawks10


4.88/5  rDev +13.2%

2010 Vintage - 12oz. bottle poured into my Central Waters pint glass, enjoyed at cellar temp...

Pours a thick glowing burnt orange with some ruby highlights. Slightly hazy with a thin one finger of soft white head that leaves a cap of haze on top of the beer for the whole drink...

Caramel, toffee and a nice boozy bourbon aroma with hints of vanilla and some wood scents as well. Sweet and complex, smells absolutely fantastic...

This beer sure is green! Heavy bourbon flavor with a distinct alcohol burn up front, undesirable to some, for me however, it is smooth and delicious. Lots of vanilla and small hints of all those smells; oak, caramel, toffee, bready, just overall thick and malty. Having a hard time picking out any hop bitterness at all...So complex, so smooth, feel like I am sipping on some liquor...

Thick and creamy, very slick from the low carbonation. Coats the entire palette and leaves behind a nice sting from the booze...

This beer is very fresh and ready to drink now, it will mellow out and change with age, but it is fantastic as is and if you're patient, it will also be fantastic down the road. Had a 2009 vintage about a month ago and it had calmed down a bit but was still quite boozy and nice...the 2010 picks up right where the 2009 left off, great beer from Central Waters, gonna drink one of these every few months for the next 2 years or so...

04-03-2010 23:20:21 | More by hawks10
Photo of Lothore


4.88/5  rDev +13.2%

A- Pours an orangey brown hue with very little head.

S- Smell consists of very dark fruits, raisins, figs, plum and a hint of bourbon.

T- Taste is excellent. A couple nights ago I had a Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barleywine and was worried this wouldn't hold a candle to it but it is pretty great. Lighter fruity notes to begin with followed by strong raisin and fig and a sweetness mixed with alcohol warming toward the end. Absolutely delicious.

M- Thick with ample carbonation.

D- This is an excellent bourbon barleywine. Great to sip on anytime. I will certainly seek this out again in the future.

02-18-2009 05:53:58 | More by Lothore
Photo of joe1510


4.86/5  rDev +12.8%


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

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

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

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

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

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

08-19-2013 02:19:42 | More by joe1510
Photo of lackenhauser


4.85/5  rDev +12.5%

Deep,deep mahogany color with a nice tight head-bordering on black but not quite so. Huge sweet malt aroma with a heavy hand of bourbon to boot. Very sweet, almost spirit sweet like one of the trendy "schnapps"...Big and heavy malt flavors-raisens, figs, caramel, dried fruit. Huge caramel and toffee like flavors. Enough hops to be there but this is certainly all about the malt here. Still holds a touch of grain flavor. Lingering spice-almost cookie like. Huge body and lick the lips sweetness going on. A big sticky, sweet mess that I simply love. Body goes on for miles. Just a great, great beer all around. A true sipper in every sense of the word. Just great. 2009 vintage. Don't know if this is done each year but oh what a cellarable beer...

03-21-2011 01:16:03 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of darklordlager


4.85/5  rDev +12.5%

2009 Bottle

A: Pours a very dark ruby, with a small, light tan head.

S: Oak, sweet vanilla, layers of delicious caramel and bourbon.

T: Layered caramel, candied dark fruit, big vanilla, bourbon. Not one dominating characteristic--very complex. Very nice warming and toasty malt flavour in the finish.

M: Smooth and velvetty. It may be the slightest bit sticky/syrupy, but it remains exceptionally smooth and pleasant.

D: So smooth, with a complexity that keeps it very interesting and enjoyable throughout. I look forward to "more of the same" from Central Waters. Fantastic.

03-13-2010 02:24:15 | More by darklordlager
Photo of wiscokid920


4.85/5  rDev +12.5%

12 oz bottle poured into Snifter. Vintage 2013

A- Deep rich copper/amber color. Small 1/2 finger tan head which fades fast....most likely due to the high alcohol content! Not a lot of retention or lacing.

S- HUGE bourbon booziness! Vanilla and sweet rich malt, caramel and toffee notes.

T- Big time malt flavors with bourbon booze without being dominant. Notes of vanilla, oak, and smooth bourbon finish.

M- Velvety smooth. This bourbon barrel barleywine has a huge malt sweetness with excellent boozy balance. The alcohol is nice and warming but not overwhelming. Extremely well balanced.

O - A FANTASTIC barleywine! A FANTASTIC BEER! One of the best beer's I have had. Extremely well balanced! Great fresh, but can't wait to put a few years of age on the bottle.

02-15-2013 05:38:22 | More by wiscokid920
Photo of brian23456


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

This review is for a 2009 bottle

A- Medium reddish color, minimal head with OK lacing, medium thickness.

S- Complex sweetness with a very noticeable bourbon barrel smell. Also some toffee, figs, plums and a little breadiness.

T- Rich, sweet, full flavor. Smooth and mellow sweetness followed up with a nice bourbon/wood flavor and very little hops, more malt than hops for sure. The sweetness and bourbon barrel follow into the after taste accompanied by a little vanilla and grapefruit. Alcohol is hidden, no astringency.

M- A little syrupy, not bad though. More carbonation than expected but still not much, just enough to help make the brew perfectly balanced.

D- Very smooth and a little alcohol warming. Too much flavor for a night of heavy drinking but perfect if you are only having one or two.

Everything about it is complex, great example of a barrel aged barley wine. Phenomenal beer, especially for the price, after trying one on tap at the release I bought a case. I hope I have enough.

02-15-2009 17:39:56 | More by brian23456
Photo of nflmvp


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

Pulled from the cellar and aggressively poured into a snifter (is there any other way?). A nice two finger khaki head of light foamy bubbles faded into a creamy skim coating. The color is a nice shade of ruby/mahogany and light reflects off it like rare gems.

The aroma is SO nice. All I want to do is keep my nose in the snifter. I can wait to drink it. It's not going anywhere. I just don't want to stop sniffing this. Lots of vanilla and bourbon and perhaps some caramel. Seriously, is this dessert?

The taste is a nice meld of Vanilla and some dark fruit, along with carmel and bourbon. The balance seems just right. Not too much of anything.

The mouthfeel is a nice medium to full body that feels smooth and rich with just a light alcohol tingle on the tongue. I swear, this could be SO dangerous because the alcohol doesn't jump out at you.

Drinkability is also top notch and again, possibly dangerously so. It's a beer that I like to let linger on my palate.

A sipper for sure. This one is gonna keep me from getting to bed on time tonight but then again, with snifter of this beauty in hand, who really cares?

Wow, HUGE hit from the guys at Central Waters. Too bad this one is so limited. It sounds like we may see this one again next winter. Damn, I sure hope so!

03-29-2007 03:43:44 | More by nflmvp
Photo of Wasatch


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

2012 Vintage
Bottled: Jan
Revisted: 1 Jun 12

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice oil slicks and sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended. Thanks David!

2010 Vintage
Bottled: Feb
Revisted: 18 Nov 10

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this brew.

Poured into a Westy chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice oil slicks and sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended.

2009 Vintage

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a very nice brownish color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice thick creamy sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some very nice notes of figs, raisins, plums, cherries, nice little touch of bourbon/oak. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, lots of dark fruits, and some bourbon/oak notes. Full/Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well on this one. Very Drinkable, this is a exceptional brew, highly recommended. Thanks Todd!

03-09-2010 00:49:24 | More by Wasatch
Photo of StoneTSR


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

APPEARANCE: Typical mahogany color for a Barleywine with a surprisingly nice head of about a full finger. Unlike some others who have reviewed this beer here, the head hung in there for a while. The lacing was also quite nice.

SMELL: Very complex and delicious smeller with cherry, vanilla and wood leading the way. Some caramel and a touch of bread were also present.

TASTE: Everything from the nose is here in the taste as well. The cherry is dominant along with vanilla and wood. Adding to the caramel and bread is a little chocolate. The one thing missing from a typical Barleywine here is banana. It may be that the bourbon barrels overwhelm it, and either way, it doesn't need it, just a note that it isn't there as I expected it to be. The beer is delicious.

MOUTHFEEL: Like the smell and taste, the mouthfeel is very complex as well. While it starts out sweet, the hops in the middle create a small pucker of bitterness and the beer dries throughout each sip.

OVERALL: With all the flavors here it would have been easy to allow one to take over and tip the balance, but at no point does this delicious masterpiece go too far in any direction. Beer Advocate encourages reviewers only to use 5s when a beer is truly exceptional - and this is one of those cases.

10-05-2012 03:05:44 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of DmanGTR


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

Thanks to Joe for sharing this. What a nice treat! Review from notes on 6/12/10.

Deep garnet with lovely clarity in the light. Off-white head that lasted throughout most of the experience. Bourbon wafts through the air as it's being poured. Oh the luxury! Oak, rum, vanilla, hint of toasted nuts, and figs fill my nares and makes my mouth water. Delicious caramel, vanilla, and a touch of cocoa makes for an immediate loving of bourbon aged barleywines. Followed by toffee, black currants, and a touch of berry. Nicely full bodied and smooth carbonation. Out of this world.

06-16-2010 17:56:06 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

Huge thanks goes out to KeefD for this!

A vigorous pour produces a fine white layer of bubbles. Moderate carbonation suites this style perfectly. When held to the light, a deep, clear garnet color is visible through my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

I so love the nose of this beer! Plums, cherries, caramel, various unrefined sugars are all present in this amalgam of malt flavors. Nice overtones of bourbon notes including vanilla, oak and a very slight, almost imperceptible smokiness.

The taste is an explosion of sugary flavors. Caramel, dates, slightly overripe grapes (not quite full fledged raisons) - this is what Imagine what a liquid high quality fruit cake (is there such a thing;) should taste like. This is almost cloying - almost! (said in my best Johnny Dangerously impression).

Mouthfeel is lush and expansive. Sticky sweet malt coats you lips after each luxurious sip.

Drinkability is very good, but more than two bottles might put you in a diabetic coma or, at the very least, make the room begin to spin.

Overall, a fantastic elixir that joins the pantheon of great barleywines that includes MS Arctic Devil, The Perfect Storm, Xyauyù, Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel, J.W. Lees and Old Ruffian.

03-12-2010 23:16:24 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of hu5om


4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

split 12 oz in 2 6oz tasters with newk340
a- translucent rosy amber, little foam

s- wood, smoky, ripe dark plum, slight heat.

t- bourbon smokiness, ripe, ripe fruit, a bit of heat with sweet malts lingering

m- low/med. carbonation. active boozy tingle on the palate, but not as much as i'd expect with the abv as it is. a gorgeous lingering sweet smokiness.

d- any time, any place, i'll drink this. i traded away way too much, but i hope everyone is enjoying it. god knows i did. definitely belongs in the top 100. it's in my top 10 easily. yum. super delic. call your sconsin ba's and get yourself some!

06-25-2010 03:23:37 | More by hu5om
Photo of dsuedbeck


4.81/5  rDev +11.6%

2013 Vintage

A: Reddish brown, murky, really thin white head that disappears quick.

S: Big bourbon notes, sweet caramel malts, some banana.

T: Starts off with a big malt taste, caramel, toffee, dark fruity notes up front. On the back end you get the bourbon and oak. Definitely a little boozey beings it is so fresh.

M: Great bourbon flavor lingers, small amount of carbonation, perfect amount of body to hold up to the alcohol.

O: Fantastic beer right now, super excited to let a few age. Definitely one of the best barleywines I've ever had.

02-21-2013 04:20:49 | More by dsuedbeck
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,715 ratings.