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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.

1,704 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,704
Reviews: 529
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 650
Gots: 517 | FT: 50
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: 1,704 | Reviews: 529 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JAXSON


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

2010 bottle. Pours a clear, medium ruby with a scant head. Nose is nice, round malt, fruit sugars, bourbon, oak barrel. Mouth is fairly straight forward, but is good in its simplicity. Mostly bourbon, oak, burnt sugar. I feel like this is somewhat in the "American" vein after having some maltier, heavy ones like the Old Stock Reserves. It's the same idea as Wooden Hell but without the amazing complexity and depth. Impressive.

12-05-2010 21:04:43 | More by JAXSON
Photo of xnicknj


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

on tap at devils den during the bella vista bash - 09 vintage

Pours a deep amber color, fairly dark, thick froth of off-white head retains well with some patchy lacing on the glass.

Strong bourbon notes, vanilla and oak, slight sweetness, notes of hoppiness and dark fruit.

Big bourbon flavor right up front with wood and vanilla tones. Boozy and full flavored, residual dark fruit with raisin and dates. Hops slice through in the beginning and towards the finish, which is warm and smooth.

Full bodied, somewhat higher carbonation, a bit creamy, lasting finish on the tongue. Drinks really nice, I was psyched to try this and I'm happy I have a 2011 bottle at home to compare this to.

06-04-2011 16:25:41 | More by xnicknj
Photo of nrbw23


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

A- A pours a rich red color with an off white head. Head has ok retention and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness, and a good amount of wood.

T- Quite a bit of caramel, nice piney taste that came out of no where, bourbon and vanilla. A touch of booze here too.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- A sipper for sure. Very solid brew for sure. I'll try to hunt this one done again.

05-15-2012 19:28:10 | More by nrbw23
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

2010 edition, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to everyone who sent me this.

Pours a clear crimson mahogany color with a moderate light beige head with average retention and lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is the highlight, a potent complex blend of bourbon, caramel malt, mild citrus hops, oak, maple, berries, etc with surprisingly little booziness. Unfortunately the flavor isn't quite as complex and balanced at the nose; I guess this could use some more age on it. Flavor starts with an intense vanilla and bourbon booziness before the base of a more English style barleywine with complex caramel malts and dark fruity esters. Finish is exceptionally boozy and drying with light citric hops. Body is medium thick with light carbonation and overall has a smooth, soft texture that covers the palate with a lingering dry bourbon finish. I really enjoyed this and look forward to aging some, but was a little let down by the hype on this as I enjoy Weyerbacher's Insanity almost as much and can buy that off the shelf.

09-04-2010 01:34:43 | More by yourefragile
Photo of billshmeinke


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass.

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

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

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

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

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

08-25-2010 21:09:08 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of Ob1wan


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

One of my bottles from 2010 that had been in the cellar for the past year.

Poured with a slight head which remained around the a snifter's edge upon drinking.

The smell of this beer grabs you more than anything. The bourbon stands out on the nose along with on the taste long afterwards. Defiantly a slow drinker with the bitterness on the tail end.

03-04-2011 23:39:30 | More by Ob1wan
Photo of Atron67


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Presentation: saw this in the store and being a big fan of teh kosmic charlie i bought a couple, purple lable, standard central waters symbol with a barrel behind the fancy lettered name.

A- poured what appeared to be a murky brown, however it was too dark to see through. brown body with a little red tint through the light . has an almost tan head which faded reasonably quick to a thin film with little lacing.

S- has a strong malty scents. strong hops, though not overly floral, seems to be a more malt driven barleywine than a hop driven one. can notice the bourbon underneath not weak but not that strong.

T- has a strong malty kick that you look for in a barleywine, pretty good, light notes of dark fruits underneath, not a huge bourbon taste to note, however you can taste it on your breath after drinking it, however i think the taste is made more by the nice malt and fruit notes.

M- full body medium carbonation. can feel the bourbon on your throat after drinking.

D- pretty solid, well enjoyed, the kosmik might be better but its still solid

03-02-2008 01:08:47 | More by Atron67
Photo of hardy008


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

2010 vintage.

Burgundy color with a one finger light tan head with decent retention. Smells of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon.

The taste mirrors the aroma perfectly, with caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. This is Kosmyk Charlie Y2K in a bourbon barrel. Is somewhat hot with alcohol.

Medium to full bodied, sweet, and creamy. Not as smooth as Kosmyk Charlie, due to the bourbon, but still very nice. I have several more bottles, and can't wait to see how they age.

04-25-2010 19:39:57 | More by hardy008
Photo of Scotchboy


4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

12oz 2012 vintage bottle born in January of this year, poured into a New Belgium Globe. Huge thanks to laymansbeerfan for this one.

A: Pours a prototypical murky dark copper, with minimal tan head but excellent spotty lacing and alcohol feet.

S: Intense to start off - bourbon is prominent, dark sugary caramel sweetness, raisins and dried figs...very malty, and it smooths out as it warms...bits of oak and vanilla as well.

T: Alcohol is definitely there but it isn't overwhelming...bourbon, sugary caramel, dried figs dipped in brown sugar, oak, toffee, hints of vanilla, earthy notes.

MF: Alcohol heat definitely sits in your throat...medium to full mouthfeel, with good bitterness and a creamy body.

O: Intense beer, definitely like how the alcohol plays with all of the flavors, but it makes it hard to kill this bottle. One-and-done for me tonight.

Thanks Aaron!

04-17-2012 02:18:42 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of JohnnyHopps


4.11/5  rDev -4.6%

I aged a 2012 for about a year and half to see what happens. I though the beer has initially rather harsh.

Appearance - The beer was golden brown color. It is a little lighter in color than I am used to for a bourbon barrel barleywine. No head or lacing was noted.

Smell - The bourbon is noted in a big way, with a certain level of sweetness to the aroma.

Taste - On the initial taste, the warmth of the bourbon bursts. This is still hot. Notes of grassy caramel, burnt malt, and dark fruits follow the burn. The aspect of this one I enjoy most are the caramel notes. The bourbon notes lack vanilla and really do not add much more than a burn. The aftertaste is pretty heavy burn. This bourbon barleywine is not as smooth as some of its counterparts. Aging did little for this one.

Mouthfeel - The barleywine lacked smoothness because of the burn. This also prevents me from suggesting this to be an easy drinker.

Overall - I much prefer Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout to the barelywine. It is far too harsh for my liking.

05-24-2014 00:44:19 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of Jimmys


4.11/5  rDev -4.6%

12 oz bottle into tulip. 2013 vintage.

A: dark orange/ terra cotta hued body. slightly hazed. head pours a bit underwhelming with a light brown/orange/white hue. retention is limited, but present. spots of lacing left behind.

S: dark fruit. plums. a lot of bourbon oak. a LOT of oak. but good, the wood is welcomed and works great with all this sweetness. no hop aroma at all, not that I mind one bit, this thing is all about big beer and bourbon.

T: holy hell, the first sip is fucking rocket fuel. straight ethanol. hope a few more sips will get me better acquainted. ahh, that's a little better. bourbon warmth/flavor for sure. similar to the nose, lots of bourbon-y oak flavor. a little bit of caramel sneaks out when it can. lingering brown sugar and alcohol heat.

M: carb is mellow and works well with this big guy. full bodied to the gills.

D: this would definitely be a prime candidate for cellaring. as soon as I took my first sip I thought maybe I opened this too soon. oh well, live and learn. regardless, there are some really good aromas/flavors going on here that im sure would develop some nice complexities over time. grab a few if you can.

03-15-2013 14:14:44 | More by Jimmys
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Great barleywine, courtesy of Derek. Alias the Y2K barrel-aged. The bourbon aroma is mellow and pleasing The ruby colour and white bubbly head. Beatiful lace. Rich taste, the bourbon is intrinsic and its mellowed somewhat.Woody,sweetish, balanced. ABove average mouthfeel.A great sipper.

08-21-2008 04:00:09 | More by Sammy
Photo of morimech


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Vintage 2009

Pours a dark brown with minimal head. What head that did form, disappeared in a few seconds. Very little lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is very complex. I detect bourbon, vanilla, coconut, and some dark fruit. Alcohol is noticed. A nice flavor as well. Surprisingly the bourbon is not the prominent flavor. It is vanilla with dark fruit mostly until the bourbon comes into focus. The finish is very warm with alcohol but not harsh. Unfortunately there is not much flavor that actually comes from the base beer. It is all barrel. Full bodied with low carbonation that lends a nice texture. A good example, not great. I wonder how an older example would taste?

11-03-2009 23:23:27 | More by morimech
Photo of JohnGalt1


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

2008 vintage received from abents a long while back.. Thanks Adam. Trying to only drink from the cellar for a bit ... and I realized I hadn't reviewed this one.

Poured into MNFG.. 2 finger light khaki head.. great lace atop a crystal clear perfectly amber brew.

Nose is very rich ABW... tons of maltiness with still quite a bit of citric hoppiness. the barrel really comes across more as a fairly thick vanilla essence as opposed to bourbon..

Flavor begins the same as the nose.. thick .. rich .. and blankets the palate .. less vanilla and more oak than the aroma.. bunches of caramel.. and still a definite citric hoppiness.. medium body and a lighter than expected carbonation tilt toward a silky mouthfeel... the alcohol is there, but not bad at all..

This is pretty damn nice right now.... I don't know if any more age is gonna help it though.. I think with another year, the malts may become a bit cloying and leave the hops behind and not be as balanced.

10-15-2009 08:15:20 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of blackie


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

a: typically low (for the style) head with light retention, refreshing itself with each tilt of the glass, the beer is an appealing deep amber in color

s: full, grainy caramel malt aroma, boozy bourbon with great notes of vanilla and malt soaked oak, loads of date and some raisin, quite strong, moderate piny hop presence

m: low carbonation, full body

t: rich caramel malts, considerable malt-soaked wood, vanilla cookies, moderate bitterness, nice

d: a slow sipper

12 oz. from dirty louis, into my Brooklyn snifter

05-02-2008 03:52:30 | More by blackie
Photo of AleWatcher


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Got this in an a BIF box from rebis1bear.

Served in a snifter.

I've had this beer a few times, but never this fresh. I am amazed at how much more I like it fresh. Recently we cracked an 09 and 10 side by side-- I was unimpressed. Had I rated those bottles, this beer would be getting a C- to D!
I like the fresh beer much more.

Anyway... Nice burnt orange color with a dark tan head formed from a surge of bubbles up the sides-- a rolling, cascading, and tumbling journey that really looks nice. The head has decent retention and leaves some hefty thick rings of lace.

Smells... well, like a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. Big malts are sweet and doughy while bourbon encompasses all with a blanket of sweet booziness. The beer has some dark fruit/raisin note with a touch of earthy character (from the hops? Barrel?), big sweet malts and boozy bourbon. The flavor is nice-- lots going on, with a solid bourbon bite to finish me off and linger a bit.

The body is nearly full with a surprising and delightful prickly feel. Excellent carbonation level. Really, quite nice on the feel.

This is a very nice beer. Any bottles I get from here on out will be consumed fresh. I shall not age them!

05-20-2011 04:26:55 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of flagmantho


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

10-10-2013 22:54:28 | More by flagmantho
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter; Jan 2012 bottling

A somewhat murky mahogany body, with a small, ecru colored cap that fell quickly. Just some bubbles remain along the edges.

The nose is of figs, caramel, dates, maple syrup, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and some cocoa powder. Big and bold, assertive in all the right places.

On the palate, toffee and caramel with figs/raisins/dates quickly in tow. Some brown sugar and cocoa powder through the middle before a huge wave of bourbon and oak seal the deal. The finish is sugary and full of toffee and bourbon.

The body is on the lighter side of full with low carbonation. I felt this needed a little more body to really put it over the edge. A little undercarbonated as well.

This is a tasty beer in all aspects. Big, bold flavors and with a fuller body and better carbonation, this beer would really shine.

08-27-2012 21:09:14 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of cdkrenz


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

A - Loud light brown head standing about an inch tall. The body a deep purple to reddish dark brown color with a thick haze. It appears dense.

S - Apricot, anise and alcohol soaked yeast.

T - Sweet black licorice with pungent fruity notes. There is a pungent hops here that really makes this special.

M - Smooth feel with a light bubbles texture. It goes down bitter-sweet.

~ This is a good beer. I've been a fan of the Central Waters brand and I have to say, "they haven't let me down here either." I'm thinking they may never let me down. I appreciate that. Thanks CW.

04-16-2009 02:29:42 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of ATLbeerDog


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours dark orange red with a slight 1/16 inch head and low lacing. Very lightly carbonated. Strong bourbon malt smell. Bold bourbon-malt flavor that is smooth and balanced. This is very good and the 11.2% ABV is certainly in your face. The malt tastes goes very well with the bourbon. This is worth buying. Very enjoyable! World Class!

05-03-2008 21:54:21 | More by ATLbeerDog
Photo of TK5150


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

2011 Vintage.

A- Pours a nice opaque burgundy color with a small beige head. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Looks just like a barleywine should.

S- A nice shot of caramel, vanilla, barrel, and alcohol. The caramel and vanilla show nicely.

T- A big shot of caramel and bourbon hit me first. Loads of raisin and dark fruits appear after...grapes as well. The flavors come in waves. Lingering bitterness.

M- Full bodied, with a surprisingly spritzy carbonation.

O- A very nice barleywine; recommended. Would like to have this again.

09-21-2011 19:54:06 | More by TK5150
Photo of rye726


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Big thanks to milwaukeeclassic for throwing this in as an extra.

Pours a deep woody brown with a thin tan head. Very rich color.

The nose has a collection of bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, mellow hops and caramelized sugars.

The taste is more subtle, a tasty blend of whiskey, wood, toffee, pitted fruits and bitter hops.

Top knotch, I think I am starting to prefer bourbon aged strong ales over bourbon aged stouts. At least until my next BA stout. The residual sugars in this barleywine really pick up the complexities created by the barrels.

11-05-2008 02:24:07 | More by rye726
Photo of kirok1999


4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Only a green label to indicate the barrel aging. We did a side by side tasting with the regular version and this is a whole different experience. Pours a nice almost cloudy reddish brown. Smell is mostly sweet malts, caramel.
Taste is really more than a 4.5, more like a 4.75. My buddy said it tasted like buttered popcorn and in a small way he was right. There was a buttery taste to it that went really well with the caramel sweetness. Very smooth and thick, very little carbonation and it went down really well.
This is a really well crafted beer, the bourbon notes really made it great. Highly recommended.

08-20-2007 00:23:41 | More by kirok1999
Photo of koopa

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

February 2010 bottling

12oz bottle received as anA extra in a trade with my most frequent trade partner thanks!

Appearance: Pours an attractive medium iced tea with red/honey folds. The crown is 1 finger, slightly off white, shows moderate retention and some lace.

Smell: Sweet malt with a hint of lightly toasted oak and a whisper of bourbon. Nothing bad but nothing exciting either.

Taste: Same as nose. Nice sweetness toward the end that subsides a bit quicker than the lingering bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied with decent carbonation. Works with the flavor profile.

Overall: A pretty solid brew that I probably should have tried fresh first to get a baseline on.

05-12-2011 00:52:02 | More by koopa
Photo of Ri0


4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Muddy brown with some amber tones with a thin khaki head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon is not as strong as I would have believed and there are complex aromas. Notes of thick caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit, malt, and bourbon make it a treat to inhale.

T - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, thick caramel, dark fruits dusted in brown sugar. Toffee and butter scotch and also hidden in teh back. Slight bit of alcohol and I do not notice any bitterness from the hops.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. It is smooth and rich on the palate.

O - I had this to do a comparison with Insanity. This was less harsh and more mellow and sweet compared to Insanity. I would have thought Insanity would have been less bitter since it is an English style, but the bourbon was too prevalent in it. Going to age both and see how they are. I do recommend this one.

02-09-2014 21:39:12 | More by Ri0
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,704 ratings.