Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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.

571 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 571
Hads: 2,084
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.69%
Wants: 706
Gots: 638 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 571 | Hads: 2,084
Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this after the Y2K Catastrophe, and this one completely blew it away.

A: Hazy amber-brown, light tan head, good retention, slight lacing.

S: Alcohol with hints of bourbon, very woody, nice caramel.

T: The wood aging really shows, while the bourbon is pleasantly subdued. Some caramel, nut & spice with hints of fruit & dark chocolate. Good bitterness. Alcohol is slightly warming. It's between a 4.5 & a 5, so I'll be generous.

M: Moderate body, slight residual sweetness, carbonation on the low side of moderate.

D: An awesome sipper. (546 characters)

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a fair amount of this on a recent WI trip - now that it has a couple month's age on it, it is time to try it again.

A - Bright red color - fairly high clarity. The head faded pretty quickly but it remains an attractive beer.

S - It smells like a vanilla-cherry kool-aide with a bit of bourbon added it. I mean that in the best possible way. It smells delicious, with very little heat present.

T&M - Very rich and full bodied, especially as it warms from cellar temps. Packed with sweet roasty barleywine flavor with quite a bit of bourbon - especially on the finish. If anything it makes it a little harsh, but age has the potential to make this world class. Other than the bourbon burn, the flavor are very well blended. I love the way the vanilla oakiness comes out.

D - A sipper for sure, but the balance makes it very difficult to stop sipping.

I cannot believe how good this is for the price. I wish I bought more! (936 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

2011 vintage. Bottled in January.

Pours a murky iced tea color with a huge 3 inch light orange head that fades to a chunky cap on the top of the beer. Nice distinct thin rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of brown sugar, toffee, biscuity malt, bourbon, along with some wood notes. Taste is of bourbon and wood up front, with brown sugar and malt coming through in the middle, and some nice citrus zest hop flavors on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a creamy yet sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with nice balanced bourbon flavors that don't overpower the traditional barleywine smells and tastes. (725 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark garnet color with a strong tan head and heavy lacing

Smell of dark fruit, healthy rich bourbon, oak , strong candy aromas and caramel mixed with toffee.

Taste is spot on for a barleywine although there is not a strong hop presence as is seen in many American Barleywines. Like I just stated, very weak hop presence which is probably all but overshadowed by the delicious bourbon and oak flavors. There is a great purple plum flavor in here mixing with cotton candy and caramel. Medium mouthfeel and a stronger carbonation than most have for the style. Finish is mostly graham cracker pie crust / slightly buttery.

Very nice, wish I had more. (659 characters)

Photo of Ungertaker
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage (obtained from a random stranger in an in-person trade as we passed eachother in the street at Darkness Day) poured into a Deschutes snifter.

A- Burnt toffee color with a white one-finger head that dissipates to a thin, bubble-laden ring around the glass.

S- Caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and a slight hint of chocolate.

T- Bourbon throughout with caramel and oak at the start which transitions smoothly to chocolate and a boozy alcohol burn at the finish.

M- On the thin side of medium. The carbonation is spot-on, not overdone.

O- My experience with Barleywines is limited, but this is one of the best I have tasted. I would love to try one with a little more age on it, as it seems this will only get better. (733 characters)

Photo of Mississipping
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled in January of 2011. Huge thanks to StayWhatYouAre2 for sending this, along with 11 other Wisconsin brews to me. You're the man!

A: Pours a very hazy burnt orange/amber color with a small off-white head that seeps slowly back into the liquid from whence it came. Beautiful sticky lacing is left behind, creating a webby/stained-glass appearance on the sides as it descends towards the stem of the glass.

S: Huge bourbon smell is undeniable. However, it's not overwhelming because it's accompanied by sweet caramel and vanilla, dark fruits (fig and raisin), and a touch of oak to round out the complexity.

T: The taste is continually transitioning throughout each sip. It's hard to map the transitions, but here's what I've got: starts off with bourbon and wood and then quickly subsides to allow the sweeter characteristics of caramel and vanilla become prominent. The dark fruits almost simultaneously show up, then everything melds together for a finish comprised of each of the complex subtleties. The bourbon and booze are not so subtle at the finish and create a bit of heat. For 11.50%, though, the booze is masked pretty darn well. This is ridiculously tasty!

M: Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium, with carbonation that is more evident in the glass than it is on the tongue. Slightly heavy and slightly sticky with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. The finish is quite drying and makes your tongue beckon for the next sip, which creates the whirlwind of tastes and transitions all over again. Pretty exceptional.

D: This is a sipper for sure, however, the smell and flavors make it difficult to just sip. I keep going back for more quicker than I should, and it can catch up with you if you're not careful.

This is a really nice barleywine. I wish this was available to me where I live as it'd be one that I'd go back to as often as I could. Thanks again Alex! (1,905 characters)

Photo of BrewerB
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

mcc1654 sent this beer my way a while back and I've been looking forward to trying it ever since. Cheers and thanks again, Mike!

Great clarity, copper in color with a thin off-white/light tan foam. Not much in the way of lacing.

Honey, vanilla, oak, molasses, fruity esters all coming through in the nose. Bourbon also prominently featured. Complex and inviting aroma hints at the strength of this brew with alcohol being detectable though not hot or solventy.

Rich malt backbone combining with bourbon barrel aging leads to flavors of vanilla, toffee, and burnt sugar. Though difficult to pick up in the aroma, some citrusy hops can be spotted here in the flavor. Pleasant lingering caramel sweetness in the finish.

Medium-full bodied with moderate/moderate-low carbonation level. Smooth with warming from alcohol.

Overall this is one delicious beer. Complex array of flavors keeps my palette intrigued in taking sip after sip. My only regret is that I didn't ask for a couple bottles to cellar as I think this will only get better over the next few years and beyond. (1,078 characters)

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow!! Another BIG THANKS to @ASUBeer for this one.

Not going to break it all down into separate categories.

Pours a beautiful ruby meets dark honey in color with a half inch of quickly dissipating creamy head. The aroma brings pure bliss. Gives that well balanced barleywine, not sweet enough to be a truly English one, but sweeter than some of the ones out there that the hops flatten out the sweet. Smells a bit like Mother of all Storms, with some barrel thrown in. Very tantalizing. The flavor is quick to grab. A bit of Bourbon barrel, malt, hint of fruity caramel ( I know that one sounds a bit off), and...gentle heat. Mine is a young one, 2012, and this is August. But not offputting in the least-just the opposite, Nirvana. Mouthfeel is full enough with a silky, slightly oily finish. Malt and Bourbon barrel linger in the aftertaste--thankfully.

Now I need another 3-4 bottles to sit on, and see how they are in a year or two. Great Barleywine! (957 characters)

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a swampy mahogany amber. 2 fingers worth of off-white bubbly foam. Quickly recedes but is quickly rescued with a brisk swirl.

S - the aroma is intense yet elegant. Bourbon is noticeable but blends well with the caramel malt creating the illusion of a pot of freshly melted caramel. Notes of oak and vanilla are very prominent as well. Deep almost vinous fruit character such as cherries, figs, raisins, and raspberries. Cereal grains and hints of spice round out the nose.

T - grainy malt flavor on the tip of the tongue followed by the sticky sweet flavors of toffee and caramel. A peppery alcohol hit comes in mid palate along with woody notes and vanilla. Dark and dried fruit notes on the backend. Finish is lengthy and complex with peppery alcohol, vanilla, caramel and fruit flavors all fighting for attention.

M - creamy texture. Fuller side of medium bodied. High carbonation. Tight full bubbles. I would assume this was bottle conditioned.

O - an excellent barrel aged beer. CW just knows what to do with beer in a barrel. Something i would love to drink again. (1,084 characters)

Photo of derkfromwi
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Bottled in JAN

A: Darker amber, finger of nice, light tan head, a bit hazy and structured, carbonation is there, good looks

S: Bourbon and malts, bit of hops

T: " and " first, brown sugar, vanilla

M: Good for style, almost very good

O: I like it a lot! Can't complain much, thank you lots Central Waters, and your team! (330 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Thanks to mtunnell for this one. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Dense pour barely stirs up a light caramel head that collapses quickly. Beer is a slightly cloudy clay-amber. Lacing is very spotty and sparse with oily legs. Average.

Nose really makes my mouth water. Robust toffee, caramel, and dark fruit. Brown sugar mixed with deep booziness topped off with a slight raisin and anise note. Really nice.

Opens dark fruit, caramel, and brown sugar. Toffee appears towards the middle and end integrate some booziness here and there. Very sweet and syrupy. Honey and molasses throughout. Finish is sweet with a lingering, sugary aftertaste. Incredible.

Medium to full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Oily and robust in the mouth and thick and syrupy going down. Abrasive, hot finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Exactly what I want.

Having heard so much about this beer and finally getting to try it, I can say for sure now that this most definitely lives up to the hype. Really great fresh and I can't even imaging how this would be with a couple of years on it. An amazing beer through and through. (1,144 characters)

Photo of vacax
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle vintage 2009.

Pours a rich dark color somewhere between copper and black but nicely translucent. The head is present but not too lively, which is expected at 11.5% ABV, but has an unexpected high level of retention and a fine layer of microubbles that carpets the glass when swirled and leaves a surprising amount of lace. The aroma is luxurious with malt, sweet oaky bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, maple, and a touch of vinous character to mellow it all out.

The flavor begins on a note of delicate balance between rich malts and assertive bitterness that carries through gracefully to the finish. The initial profile starts with maple, brown sugar, and oak the develops on the midpalate with plum and bourbon. The finish has the duality of lasting tongue prickly bitterness along with a bready cookielike lingering next to some masked flora. Feel is chewy with a feeling of full but soft carbonation that pleases the palate just right, hard to get better for a barleywine.

A few people I trust have told me that this beer is the real deal, including Overlord and Mikedashg (thanks Mike for this bottle). They were right. Deliciously complex, rich, balanced, elegant, and flat out tasty. (1,213 characters)

Photo of BrotherDylan
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon. Then some more bourbon. And why not, grab a third helping of bourbon. I swear there is a pretty dam good barley wine somewhere in this beer.

It poured flat and thick with a bursting aroma of a bourbon soaked whiskey barrel. its ruby red and carmel like. It looks like bourbon juice.

the flavor is ripe with dark fruit, vanilla, wood spice, bourbon, cream, and a little oxidative sherry flavor. No hop flavor but some stringent hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is by far the best part of this beer. Its got a wood coarseness that drys the beer out nicely and accentuates the hop bitterness.

bottom line, if you like strong beers that overwhelm you with oaky bourbon flavors, buy more than one of this guy. (718 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thank you, pmarlowe for this outstanding extra. Pours a deep amber with a thin tan head. Good retention and lacing. Heavy bourbon on the nose along with dark fruit and biscuity malt aromas. Sweet bourbon throughout the palate, offset by faint hop bitterness. Heavy mouthfeel with lots of alcohol heat and little carbonation. Overall, this great BA barleywine is one that could lay down for a few years. (402 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 7/19/10

Vintage 2010

Many thanks to levifunk for the Central Waters brews

Plum colored; dense with highlights of ruby. It's striking just how closely the color of the beer matches the color of the label on the bottle. Poured a one finger head that stayed for a few minutes but ultimately dissipated to a skim & bubbles, plus one string of lace. Swirling revives ephemeral retention & coats the glass with splotchy lace.

Cracking the bottle, bourbon & vanilla were well apparent. Once in the glass, it's no different. Bourbon, charred oak & vanilla are all at the front of the nose. Booze is appreciable, but doesn't seem like too much; rather befitting, actually. While the barrel notes are more notable, I'm amazed at how well they lead in to the aromatic aspects of the base beer. Notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar & toasty sweet bread notes. Maybe a touch of butterscotch. Hints of dark fruit; raisins & prune. Faint wisps of earthy hops.

One sip tells me this will be slow going. A quick, sharp prelude of whiskey hits upfront, giving way to the sweeter aspects of the beer rather quickly. Toasty brown sugar, caramel, toffee & a touch of hops provide a steadfast platform upon which the barrel aging can shine & indeed it does. After the whiskey teaser & malts subside the barrel swoops back in during the latter half of mid-swallow. Bourbon, a hint of vanilla & lots of charred oak finishes this one out. I must say this has the most distinctive charred note I've encountered in a barrel-aged beer, which I think is great.

Full bodied, though I'm trying to decide if the heft of the beer or its intensity makes it seem so formidable. My inclination is the latter. Carbonation is at the lower end of the spectrum. Grittiness makes this a beer inclined to hang around. Some heat is apparent, though seemingly never too hot (or slick, for that matter). Quite warming, though. As mentioned above, bourbon & charred notes linger for quite some time.

Ah, what's left to say? Central Waters did an outstanding job with this one. I have to surmise this will do extremely well with various years on it. For some folks it might be too brash at this point, but I certainly enjoyed it as is. Highly recommended. (2,241 characters)

Photo of nhindian
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottle provided by brian23456, thanks Brian!

2011 vintage.

A - Pours a murky orangish-brown color, really cloudy but not with sediment. On top sits an eggshell white, 1-fingered head with surprising retention given the high ABV of this beer. Following that is some awesome lacing as well that is spattered around the glass and actually sticks. How Central Water does it with this gravity is impressive.

S - The first smell I'm getting from this beer is a metric ton of vanilla oak that is incredibly enticing. There's bourbon as well, but it plays more of a support role. The vanilla has a sweetness that lends itself fantastically to the rest of the nose, which has lots of sweet malts. It has a nice, hoppy bite to it as well which is reminding me of Stone's Old Guardian. Think of OG in a bourbon barrel and that's this beer.

T - Given the great nose, I'm bracing myself for this beer to not live up to it as so many beers have done before. Thankfully I am redeemed after my first sip as this beer is incredibly smooth and bursting with flavor. Again, the vanilla hits hard in this beer and it actually has more of a presence here than in the nose in the sense that it has a much fuller flavor, almost with a sweetness and characteristic reminiscent of a slightly toasted marshmallow. The bourbon is again a transitional flavor between the flavor, malts, and hops, but I think it's achieved nicely. Speaking of the malts, they are here in full force, aiding in the smoothness and giving it some chew. The hops that were present in the nose are also in play at the end, bringing back the comparison to Old Guardian. In the finish, a pretty noticeable alcohol heat comes through, but it adds another layor to this beer without being a deterrent, just a warning to take it slow with this beer. Oh, and when I say sips for this beer, I literally mean it. Just a small mouthful is packed with flavor where anything more would just be overdoing it.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with low carbonation. Very creamy and the head, while it lasts, acts as a nice buffer. The finish is long and it leaves a thick coating on the mouth.

D - Drinkability is high. Although this is a sipper to a 'T', I didn't once think of finishing this beer and not regretting having more. I would love to see what this develops into, but fresh it's still a great beer. (2,393 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into an Allagash glass. 2010 vintage bottled in February.

Appearance: Light to medium brown in color. Pours a two finger head with good retention considering the ABV. Recedes into a nice thin, beige lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, molasses and a touch of bitter hops. Definitely leans more toward a malty barleywine at this point.Accompanying notes of bourbon, toffee, burnt sugar and vanilla. Really nicely balanced.

Taste: The malt notes really dominate here. Caramel, molasses, toffee and burnt sugar are all tempered by the slightest hint of bitter hops. The booze is very well controlled yet the wood and bourbon notes show through perfectly. Barrel heavy, but not overpowering. Vanilla and oak round this out nicely too.

Mouthfeel: Thick and cherwy, definitely full bodied with lower than average carbonation. Big and warming, perfect for sipping.

Overall, a really outstanding barleywine and exactly what I was in the mood for when I picked it out for tonight. Plenty of barrel and bourbon throughout but without being overly boozy. I really liked the hop note that balanced the heavy malt and kept this from being cloying. Really delicious, the only barrel aged barleywine I can definitively say I enjoyed more was Abacus, but I much preferred the serving size of this at only 12 oz. I will definitely seek out more to drink fresh and for the cellar. (1,390 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

February 2010 vintage. Received in a trade from jmp485, this has been sitting in my fridge for a while. 12 oz to a snifter.

Pours a purple/red color, very much like the color on the label. Small off-white head turns to a swirly cap and leaves pretty nice lacing.

Very malty smell. Rich caramel, dark plums, sweet cherries and vanilla bourbon goodness. Dessert-like. Not much hops, but excellent.

Taste follows the scent to a T, very sweet and malty. Huge notes of maple join what's listed above along with a tiny bit of hops. Reminiscent of an English Barleywine and high-quality liquor flavors (bourbon and rum) without any burn. Super caramel aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, carbonation on the low side. Alcohol is insanely hidden, truly a great example how to make a barrel-aged beer without letting the bourbon take over, it is only a compliment to the beer here 100%.

Obscenely drinkable for what it is, finished it faster than I should have. So glad I have 3 more bottles, I imagine this aging excellently. Probably the best Barleywine I have had so far. (1,082 characters)

Photo of AwYeh
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to seeswo for sending me this in the 2011 Black Booty BIF. This early fall-feeling night seemed like the perfect occasion to crack this one open on. 2011 vintage, poured into snifter.

A: Pours a deep amber-brown color, with a finger of tan head topping off the glass. A bit of lacing remains.

S: Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, and just a bit of alcohol. Great barleywine aroma.

T: Taste follows smell, with a hint more of alcohol coming in alongside oak to add to what was already there. Personally, I'm loving the alcohol alongside the great flavor- the spice and warmth accent it perfectly. Fantastic.

M: Medium-thick body with light carbonation. Its sticky characteristics accent the finish perfectly, allowing the flavor to linger in my mouth for minutes after a sip. Considering the strong body on this one, I'm wondering if it would hold up to a cigar. If I ever get my hands on a few more bottles of this, it will be something to try out.

O: Amazing beer; I was concerned that I hadn't aged it long enough when I gave in to opening it tonight, but it's certainly already an amazing beer to drink. Have a glass of this if you're lucky enough to be in its distribution range; you won't go wrong. This rivals Hoppin Frog's Naked Evil for my favorite barleywine to date, and very well may have just overtaken it. (1,354 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade with eyncognito. 2008 Vintage. Pours the color of rust with a 3/4 inch head. Retention is good and there's some lacing on my glass. The aroma is sweet and malty. Toffee and caramel notes are strong. Some earthy hops are present but are not prominent. The bourbon aroma is nice and strong. The bourbon is strong in the flavor and complements the sweet toffee. There's a medium level of hop bitterness, as well as some vanilla and caramel. The alcohol is quite strong. Mediumfull bodied with good carbonation.

Update: Received the 2009 vintage in a trade with eyncognito and bumped the drinkability up to 4.5 (639 characters)

Photo of waltersrj
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Murky, Ruby Red color with an initial 1-2 finger off white head that quickly dissipates into tiny bubbles around the glass' edge.

Nose: sharp grapefruit hops, toffee, sweet caramel, slight cherry, slight chocolate, vanilla and oak...charred oak.

Taste: Starts out with an aggressive grapefruit fused bourbon taste. The citrus grapefruit rhind intermingles with vanilla, charred oak, toffee, toasted coconut and bakers chocolate. This changes into a smoother bourbon taste mixed with alcohol and marshmallow. Thus ends with a very powerful grapefruit hop taste and a lasting, smooth bourbon tinge.

Mouthfeel: Dry with medium carbonation and slight alcohol burn.

Overall: Awesome. A great mix of smooth bourbon, malt richness and that great "American" hop tinge. Truly well crafted barleywine with a bourbon finish.

Thanks to splax23 for this one! (856 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Version, I got this sucker from Masterski in our recent trade.

A pretty, dark ruby colored body that is cloudy and hazy.

This smells good right away, boasting dark fruits, caramel and toffee malts, brown sugar, and a good dose of bourbon aromas.

The aromas reappear in the flavor here with more vigor. The caramel, toffee and brown sugar are right up front. They are sweet, rich and deep, and they mix with a moderately strong flavor of figs and other dark fruits. Although this is the 2009 version, I would guess that this barleywine is at least a year old based on the flavor, which I think is a good thing. I guess it had to spend some time in that barrel, but I wonder how much? Next in the taste comes the slightest bit of hop bitterness, but it is tiny. Then comes a good taste of bourbon and then barrel characteristics with the spicy flavor of oak. The finish is warm and a bit boozy.

Mouthfeel is full, with a warm finish.

This is a nice beer with great drinkability. Very tasty. (998 characters)

Photo of CMB2012
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark and hazy amber/burgundy. Creamy, one finger beige head which recedes and leaves a nice ring. I notice definite alcohol legs here.

S- The blend of bourbon and malt is quite awesome! It's difficult to pick each part out because of the near seamless blending. I get toffee, caramel, along with prune, raisins, dried peach. The bourbon is far from subtle, but it is so well rounded already. There is some pungency from the alcohol itself, but mostly just smooth bourbon and spice.

T- Everything that is amazing in Kosmyc Charlie's with bourbon! Follows right along with the nose, but the depth in flavor is far greater. Deep dried fruit nuances that play back and forth between raisin and prune, sugary dates, then there is a back drop of caramel and toffee. As this dance goes on the spic of the bourbon comes into play and the whole event finishes with a sweet and smooth bourbon kick.

M- Medium/full body. Could be a bit thicker, but I am not complaining. The mouth is smooth and creamy, pretty much perfect here.

O- This may be my first bourbon aged barley wine, I'm really not sure. It is pretty amazing though! I look forward to aging a few bottles of this and see what happens. (1,193 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, muddy red-brown body. Egg-shell colored head. Slight retention with real spotty lacing.

S: Lots of caramel, warm, toasty malts cap a delicate bourbon notes of vanilla and oak. Only slightly boozy which is a plus. Real enticing.

T: Simply outstanding. Lots of caramel malts with the same delicate bourbon presence from the nose. More vanilla than oak. The more I tasted this the more I was getting a rich alcohol-baked cake taste. Sweet without being overbearing. A real winner.

M: Nice hearty body with a silky feel. Low-medium carbonation. Well hidden booze.

D: I am absolutely pumped that I managed to snag 8 bottles of these. Will drink one or two more this year with the rest to age a range of years. I really can't imagine a much better american barleywine... Kudos to Central Waters. (805 characters)

Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Tonight I decided to use my crystal whiskey snifter that came with my Sam Adams Utopias bottle. This baby is perfect for catching all the small nuances of the aroma. It even opens up the beer a lot more than a normal goblet, not to mention its really classy looking. As I pried off the cap on this twelve ounce bottle there was just a faint hiss that leaked out. That was it, nothing real loud or noticeable. Because of its very high ABV and syrupy looking nature, I decided to pour straight on to entice a thick head. When I was done I was left with a thin, creamy, off white head that stuck around till the last drop. When I hold my glass up to the light there is burst of burnt orange, reds and amber shining through my snifter. This is surprisingly crystal clear and has a lot of tiny bubbles streaming upwards from the bottom of my glass. On the viscosity check I gave a generous swirl and noticed that this baby painted the glass walls with its foamy head and left a fair amount of legs slowly sliding down.


Right out of the gate a huge bouquet of caramel and toffee jump right out of the glass and into your sinuses. Not too far behind it is the straight heat from the bourbon. It is very present, almost like taking raisins, soaking them in whiskey and then snorting them up your nose. A tiny bit of vanilla is poking through and a decent amount of earthy, spicy hops round out the finish to offset the sweetness. Very complex and nice, this was shaping up to be a winner already.


Woah...I'm awake now! The flavor is just drop dead amazing! Loads of rich bourbon and wood flavors coming through in the most wonderful of arrangements. Sugary, candy like notes, followed by fruit galore and a tinge of hop spice. Other malt influences of toasted, pale malt flavors, a slight nuttiness at times and a big biscuit-like malt character. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves as my glass gets warmer. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate. I get some heat alcohol but not as much as you might think for having such a high ABV.


Overall this was another week of barrel aged bliss from a bottle. I am super glad that I decided to break this out today since it is just a little bit on the cooler side and this made for a fantastic afternoon sipper. I am going to head outside for a nice cigar to finish this baby up and unwind for the rest of my Sunday. If you get a chance to try this or trade for it I'd say this is one of the best bourbon barrel barleywines I have ever had so don't miss out (2,689 characters)

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