Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

579 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 579
Hads: 2,149
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 17.52%
Wants: 720
Gots: 664 | FT: 82
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

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: 579 | Hads: 2,149
Photo of callmemickey
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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 BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An insanely seductive Barleywine. Central Waters have figured it out.

I'll speed through the look, because the aroma is where this beer is at. A deep, truely amber colored beer carries a light majestic haze, moderate head formation and retention, and light lacing.

Now.. this beer's aroma is among the very best. Deep aromas of maple syrup, jelly beans, strawberry jam, raspberries, red licorice... it's unlike anything I have ever experienced in a beer glass.

With that nose, there's no way the flavor can measure up, right? Actually I am right. After the initial shock of ethynol and strong bitterness, I begin to appreciate the same attributes that I found in the nose. Caramel malts, toffee, sweet bourbon, and maple candy begin to describe the more prominant features of malt flavor. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves and waves.

The flavors of succulent malts and fruits are abruptly interferred by intense bitter bite and strong alcohol numbing and prickling. The attenuation is quite high for Barleywines, making the beer more drinkable and less syrupy than most. Still, malty rich and medium-full textured.

Sure, there's some criticism here. But those aromas are the best. Simply put.

Thanks Cheezdawg!

 1,319 characters

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of butterscotch, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla, in that order. Also present are hints of deeper chocolate malt aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Rich caramel malt flavors with loads of bourbon flavors joining in shortly thereafter. Butterscotch and toffee flavors lead the pack with amounts of vanilla that are larger than that in the aroma. The sweetness subsides just a bit midway through the sip but other than that there is really no influence from hops. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thickness is on the more viscous side with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could drink a whole lot of these.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more so when I discovered the low price. This beer is a steal and well worth a shot.

 1,103 characters

Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to joe1510 for hooking me up with some of the latest CW offerings. We popped this while watching the Final Four games at my place. 12oz bottle split two ways into nonics.

A - Pours brown with a reddish hue, off-white head, no cap on top after the head disipitates. Some lacing here and there along the sides of the glass but not a whole lot.

S - Burnt candy/sugars, hot bourbon. The sweetness melds with the bourbon pretty damn well. For being a 2010 vintage, the beer is put together nicely.

T - Lots of bourbon, sweetness, candy notes, burnt sugars. Maybe a tad too hot for me right now, but impressive again, considering it just been put into the bottle. Sweet sugary finish with some nice hot alcohol.

M - Medium to full bodied, rich and smooth, syrupy finish.

D - Half of the bottle was enough for me right now. I have a couple of bottles left to cellar and will see how they improve as they get a chance to age.

 930 characters

Photo of hawks10
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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...

 1,385 characters

Photo of pmccallum86
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours maroon amber color with a light head, one finger head,

Aroma is of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malts, and bitter hops. Very rich in aroma, great for the style.

Wow, this beer is amazing. Lots of bourbon up front followed by a big wood (oak) flavor. Some vanilla and other subtle flavors come through on the finish. Seeing as it is a 2010 it seems a little hot, but it is still very good. I have heard much about this beer, lots f hype, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Terrific beer by Central waters.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a little hot. Age could do this beer well, as I'm sure it will only get better. Medium carbonation, smooth finish.

Very drinkable for the style, I want to get a lot of this beer, and keep it forever.

 738 characters

Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Old guardian glass

Pours hardly and head. Color of head is beige. Not a lot of lace due to the low amount of head. Color of beer is a light colored copper. Fairly clear.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, oak up front. Caramel and toffee malt. Then a layer of sweetness hits. The smell is great. The bourbon really adds to the already complexity of the base beer. Stunning.

Taste: Whoa, big bourbon kick. Oak and vanilla follow up quickly. Very malty. Bread, caramel, and toffee all present. I get a fresh layer of grassy/earthy hops with this beer. The main flavor is a major level of bourbon, however. Pretty solid beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation, higher than other ba bwines. The flow is nice. Ends a little hot and malty. I can see the mouthfeel getting better once the heat dies down. I don't expect it to take too much time.

Overall, this is a solid bwine. A little hot right now, but I can see this getting extremely tasty with time. I am glad we have CW so close to us. This is a beer that needs to be tried. Very drinkable. Well done.

 1,113 characters

Photo of daledeee
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a snifter style glass and found it to be a very dark reddish brown with an off white one inch head.

The nose is enough to make you love this beer. Apricots and burnt sugar are WAY up front. There is also some spice charred wood and malt.

Taste is as good as any barley wine I have ever tried. Very malty with not much hops, but nicely balanced. Some type of hops that remind me of the Belgian style(Question mark) some sweetness in the background. Alcohol is warming. I think I will leave some of these a while and maybe that finish will smooth out. Just a little strong on the "chemical" taste at the end.

 627 characters

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to krtman for giving me this as an extra!!!

Poured into my stone Old Guardian BW glass. Pours a cherry red with a nice thin head and lacing.

Aroma is amazing. Lots of caramel and candy coated fruits. Smalls very sweet. Little bit of hop spicyness in the nose. A little vanilla

Tastes very good. Lots of oak bite. Must have been an oaky bourbon. Has a lingering hop bitterness that im not too fond of. Very caramely and some alcohol burn. I would love to see how this one would age.

Mouthfeel is fairly light for a BW. Still heavy but i have had some heavy ass BW's. Nice carb

Overall I would like to put some age on it. I think it would improve greatly

 664 characters

Photo of goethean
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Intense candied oranges, sweet cherries, and amber malt, overlaid with a decent amount of assertive herbal flavor hops. A dry, hoppy finish. Malt complexity is hidden, I feel, by the substantial hop presence.

I usually don't cellar beers which are not bottle-conditioned, so I probably won't keep this beer long enough for its hops to mellow, which is a bit of a shame.

 371 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a white head. The aroma is bourbon, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. The flavor is chocolate, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, alcohol and molasses. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. An excellent barleywine that is enhanced by the bourbon-barrel aging.

 330 characters

Photo of vacax
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Wisconsinality
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep ruby red with a slight purple tinge to it. Semi transparent with just a little bit of light that shows through. About a half finger's worth of head that leaves a little cap on the top and leaves some good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A good sweetness that is similar to a sherry or port. Some dark fruits are very apparent and a touch of oak in there as well. The deeper you smell the beer, the bourbon starts to peak its head out but never over powering. A hint of grape comes out as it warms along with the alcohol but not in a pungent, burning way found in some BA beers.

T- Well balanced and pretty complex come to mind right away. Some fig and dates to go along with a brown sugar sweetness but not cloying or syrupy. A touch of bourbon and some oak to make this a smooth beer. The alcohol is barely even noticeable and just adds to the overall smoothness and greatness of the beer.

M- Smooth and almost creamy. The carbonation is barely even noticeable but it works very well. There is a little heat on the tail end at the back of the throat as it goes down. A medium to full bodied that goes down smooth after every sip.

D- Exceptional. Goes down nicely and very well balanced. This is definitely a sipper which cuts down on the drinkability but this one is meant to be cherished. I would have to say that one is all you really need in a sitting. This would be great for after dinner or right before bed. Central Waters again shows why it is an up and coming brewery.

 1,558 characters

Photo of bound4er
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage.

A. Redish amber color, off white two finger head with good staying power for a barleywine. Decent amount of carbonation bubbles and loads of lacing.

S. Almost Sherry-like on the nose with a caramel nuttiness that hits first followed by brown sugar, molasses and vanilla. Very complex for a beer - might a say nearly perfect - with the barrel aging adding complexity without overpowering anything.

T. After how nicely this poured and its intoxicating aroma, I was salivating anticipating my first sip. Wow, this is no wimpy beer. Lots going on here with Fino Sherry flavors (vanilla nuttiness) and some booze hitting you at first followed by some hop bitterness and a bit more booze on a long, long finish. While present, the alcohol is not off-putting by any means - it actually adds to the enjoyment of this beer - something I normally wouldn't say.

M. Very creamy and an excellent mouthfeel without the "syrupiness" one might expect from such a big beer.

D. This style of beer is meant for slow sipping. One and done for me. I am not a big barleywine guy but this is a very good beer and one that I will enjoy drinking from time to time. CW delivers again.

 1,182 characters

Photo of Soneast
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled February 2010.

Pours a clear, burnt copper in color, developing a small fizzy head that disappears immediately leaving just a thin, bubbly ring.

The aroma has a lot of malt character, almost (but not quite) overwhelmed by the bourbon qualities. Some brown sugars and caramel aroma are evident, with a touch of wood and marshmallows coming through but mostly dominated by a rich bourbon smell.

The flavor is intensely delicious! Brown sugar, malt characteristics stand out first, rich caramel and creamy vanilla qualities are less perceptible, the barrel aged qualities come through in an oakey, bourbony flavor that encompasses everything else. A very nice, smooth finish, without much heat nor overly bitter. I dig it!

The mouthfeel is spot on for the style, very mild carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. The flavors of this beer combined so nicely, nothing really overwhelming the other components (unlike some other barrel aged beers, that basically taste like carbonated Maker's Mark). CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is well balanced and delicious. I have high expectations for this beer with some age on it.

 1,129 characters

Photo of darklordlager
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

 583 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 1,218 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

 1,056 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

 1,740 characters

Photo of Wisconsin
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After months of storage I can wait no longer to crack this 2009 version. A snifter glass would be nice here, but a pint glass is what were going with. Chilled for months and now served around 50 degrees, this is ready to roll.

A - A steady pour delivers a brown body that has some reddish tints to it when held up to the light. Somewhat translucent, this beer also has faint amounts of carbonation racing up to the head. A half finger head rises and fades to a ring around the glass after a couple of minutes, which is more than I have seen compared to other barleywines.

S - The smell is an intoxicating blend of bourbon whiskey from the oak barrels and dark fruits. Cherries, plums, figs, and apricots all rush through your nose along with the initial shot from the bourbon barrels. Trace amounts of caramel malts are also present and seem to keep the booziness of this beer down.

T - Absolutely the smoothest barleywine I have had, which will be appropriately reflected in the mouthfeel score. As expected, plenty of bourbon whiskey up front. The beer settles in nicely with the dark fruits, which I assume are cherries, plums, and apricots among others. Malts with a sweet caramel aspect are noticeable, but subtle in comparison to the other characteristics. I've struggled in deciding whether this beer should get a 4.5 for taste, but I have decided to kick it up to a 5.0. Right now, as this beer is warming there is just so much coming at me. The new aspect I didn't pick up from before was the hops that are now starting to come to life as this beer warms.

M - As I stated in the the taste, this is by far the smoothest barleywine I have had. Silky smooth entering the mouth with a nice full body coming in behind it. A light amount of carbonation presents the early oak whiskey barrels well and culminates nicely with the caramel malts and dark fruit notes. The dark fruit carries this beer from the initial oak whiskey taste to the caramel malted finish. Very smooth and enjoyable. No strong boozy taste either.

D - This an exceptional beer and probably the best barleywine I have gotten my hands on to date. The smoothness is undeniable and really separates this beer from other barleywines I have had. After about six months in the cellar this beer is great, so I am curious to find out what a fresh version of this beer would taste like along with one that has seen some extended cellar time. Unfortunately, this was my only 2009 bottle so I will have to hope some 2010 versions are available for my indulgence. Amazing beer.

 2,547 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The rating I gave this beer is an average between the 2009 and 2010 vintage. There was a confirmed recipe change between these two vintages, and I believe that the 2009 and earlier vintages are clearly superior. My text below is for the 2010 vintage

2009 Vintage: 4.85
2010 Vintage: 4.1
---

Pours a ruby/brown color with about a half finger of head using a hard pour. The aroma is a potent assault of vanilla, oak, toffee, resiny hops, powdered cocoa, and some alcohol heat.

The taste is huge on the hops and booze....in the past I've only ever drank bottles that were at least 6 months old and both of those aspects were toned down significantly. Rich oak and caramel flavors are underneath. The vanilla is really pronounced after warming.

The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is where it should be. Drinkability of this fresh batch is fairly low due to the alcohol heat.

Overall, I must say that this beer is a most likely a shell of its future self right now. Sit on this for at least 6-12 months if you want to experience the full complexity of this barleywine. That being said, it is still very tasty even in this young state.

 1,143 characters

Photo of beertooth
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage pulled from the cellar.

This beer pours a dark cherry with a finger of off white head that melts into a thin collar and leaves some decent lacing in it's wake.

The nose is really nice. Notes of bourbon, vanilla, toasted malts, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, raisins, and some nice hop spice. The alcohol is there, but it isn't harsh.

The taste follows with layers of burnt sugars and dried cherries, raisins, black licorice, and dates soaked in bourbon and vanilla. The malt bill on this beer is really holding up against the barrel. It's really tasty and finishes a little sticky, dry, and sweet.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with a medium to low level of carbonation.

Not quite as good as Wooden Hell, but a damn fine bourbon barreled American barley wine that's worth picking up. Good job Central Waters!

 825 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bmanning for bringing this to a recent tasting.

Pours a dark brown with some crimson highlights. Not quite hazy and not quite opaque, but definitely not at all translucent. The smell is of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and caramel. The taste is equally impressive, with an absolutely gorgeous bourbon character and flavor without adding too much alcohol heat. Also picked up a little bit of oak. Moderate to full body with the perfect level of carbonation for the style, and just a little bit of alcohol heat. This one was absolutely fantastic and was perhaps the best bourbon barleywine that I've had to date, rivaled only by Kuhnhenn's version.

 659 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle...
Appears a crimson toned amber with a a small, off white head that slowly fades.
Smell is of big bourbon and oak up front with caramel, toasted nuts, and fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild citrus hop bite that joins nicely with the toffee and caramel flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a small amount of CO2 leading to a smooth finish.

 377 characters

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 579 ratings.