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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
606 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
606
Ratings:
2,221
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
718
Gots:
701
For Trade:
85
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 606 | Ratings: 2,221
Photo of lurpy1
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour is a funky murky amber. No head, but a depth to it that screams "drink me". Spectacular aroma of bourbon, caramel, and sugar. Taste is a similar line, with more of a fruity vibe (not that it's a bad thing), with raisins and a little bit of apricot.

Mouthfeel is simply hit out of the park. Thick, sticky. I'll gargle with this stuff, thanks.

One of the best beers I've had. If King Henry is a clear cut above this...I really gotta try King Henry.

 457 characters

Photo of rodkin
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Very small head, that quickly dissipates. A thick, translucent dark red. It's got some yeast sediment or something in there that's pretty gross looking.

Smell is vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel. Very sweet, but not cloying. The bourbon comes through with some added complexity, but it doesn't smell boozy at all.

Smell is vanilla, oak, cherry, booze, raisin. Some leather, kinda. Hint of caramel. Boozier than the nose.

Medium thickness, decent carbonation. A little more carb and a little less body than I'd like.

A fine barleywine. Probably the best thing I've had from Central Waters.

 609 characters

Photo of tjkinate
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A: A hard pour into a large snifter produced a 2 fingered frothy yet creamy tan colored head. It displayed good retention and some lacing settling atop this deep red bodied, semi-transparent brew.

S: Loads of caramel and dark fruits, only little hints of bourbon. Good smell that lacked in complexity.

T: Follows the caramel found in the smell, but the new found complexity elevates this beer to the next level. Dark fruits were less prominent and blended nicely with the oak from the bourbon barrels.

M: Heavy, creamy, still pretty hot. Gonna hold onto my remaining bottles for later.

O: A surprisingly great Barleywine that I can see only getting better with time.

 685 characters

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

Yep, that guy Gillard is up to his old tricks by sharing amazing WI brew offerings. Thanks buddy.

Pours deep copper with light tan head. Nice aroma with tasty wood and bourbon notes that don't really over shadow the fruity esters and faint maltiness. The alcohol heat does build up and singe the nose a bit. The taste starts with mildly sweet maltiness and roasty malts that then becomes wood and barrel like flavors before a formidable vanilla flavor takes hold. There's also dark fruity esters of grapes, cherries and prunes before the alcohol hotness builds to a distracting level. It could use more age. Darn tasty now though

 630 characters

Photo of muttyd
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wisconsinality for this amazing extra.

Poured into a stemmed chalice with an apple-cider / hazy amber body and thin, offwhite head that settles into about a 1/8 inch thick haze. Very cloudy, decent lacing.

Aroma is all over the place. I get a caramel-dipped apple up front, some cinnamon & sugar toast, and vanilla/oak. The aroma really changes as the beer warms up and as you take a deeper whiff. Finishes with a burnt sugar, alcoholic presence. The flavor brings out the barrel a bit more than the nose with a pleasant vanilla frosting combined with wet oak flavor. Some citrusy/pineapple hops in there as well. Rich dark caramel sweetness makes this one sweet, without being too cloyingly sweet. Medium carbonation with a heavier body that finishes very sticky, coating the mouth.

Very generous extra, huge props again to Winsconsinality. Would love to get a hold of this one again.

 898 characters

Photo of Yesac
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 fresh vintage

A- Opaque murky orangy red in color with a small bright white head.

S- Fruity nose.. cherries come to mind. Not much bourbon aromas present. Some caramel malt.

T- Right along with smell. Fruity notes on the nose and throughout. Sweet caramel malt and some candy sugar. Earthy tones and a saltyish finish. Very slight hints of bourbon. ABV is very well hidden.

M- Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Not sticky.

O- I'm glad to see something with "bourbon" on the label and it not taste like it's over powered by it. This brew is a good blend of barelywine aged in bourbon barrels and made for some interesting sipping. A little on the bitter-sweet side for taste however.

 694 characters

Photo of boatshoes
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this as an extra from alcstradamus in a recent trade. A serious want of mine, thanks for the hookup!

Appearance- Pours a very dark amber brown that borders on opaque. A minimal cap of tan head off of a very aggressive pour. However, some carbonation present beading up the side of the glass throughout the drink and head remains throughout. Lots of sticking lacing left as well.

Smell- Huge notes of bourbon and vanilla coming through in a big way on the nose. Lots and lots of malt with a touch of fruitiness. Some sharp alcohol astringency with perhaps just a very subtle touch of underlying hop bitterness.

Taste- Pretty unlike any barleywine I've had thus far. Very prominent bourbon and vanilla with a touch of tobacco. Lots of underlying sweet malt that comes across like candied fruit. Some warming alcohol on the way down and maybe just the slightest bit of hoppy resin on the backside.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Very nice levels of carbonation with a thick and slick mouthfeel. Drinkability suffers just a bit because of the overwhelming sweetness of this one. Quite nice on the whole though.

Overall, very interesting and quite nice. An excellent barleywine worth picking up if you get the chance.

 1,219 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 vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 Vintage. Was happy to get my hands on a 4 pack of this today.

A- Pours a dark red, almost brown color. A small amount of off-white colored head quickly fades.

S- Nice aromas of bourbon and dark fruits. Some sweetness and caramel is noted too.

T- Really nice stuff. Starts very smooth with tastes of dark fruits and sweet malts. Then comes the bourbon and oak notes, which takes over the back half of each sip.

M- Low carbonation, drinks hot, a great sipper.

This is a great barleywine. Drinking kind of hot right now but not a bad thing at all. I'm anxious to see how it mellows out.

 633 characters

Photo of boralyl
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 2011 vintage poured into a snifter. The beer produces a small light tan head that quickly fades away . The beer is clear and ruby red in appearance.

S - There is a very strong bourbon presence in the aroma along with hints of oak and vanilla. As it warms slightly the dark fruit aromas become apparent.

M - Medium in body with light-medium carbonation and some creaminess.

T - A little bit of vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, plum sticks out in my mind. A huge bourbon flavor mixes in with the dark fruit and overpowers it leading to a hot alcohol heat in the finish.

Pretty good, but the bourbon flavor was a bit too strong for me. It may be that this vintage was too fresh for my tastes. I'll have to give an aged vintage a shot sometime soon.

 762 characters

Photo of hopsbreath
2.06/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had a little barrel aged barleywine tasting at MADhombrewer and Witchsbrew's residence last night. Filet mignon's were provided by our host's for TulipSnifter and I. Thanks guys!

In the lineup were Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Hellshire I, BA Hi-Fi Rye, BA Old Ruffian, Abacus, and Alpine Great. Our intention was to also open up Perfect Storm '09, Mother of all Storms '10, Kuhnhenn BBBW, and Arctic Devil but we agreed it best to hold off on those beers for another day due to palate fatigue. Small two ounce samples of the six beers from last night were first tasted and notes were taken before returning to the bottles for more tastes and refined notes.

Thanks to graniteskunk and zimmerbloke for providing me with 2010 and 2011 vintages of this.

A: Golden-tan, fizzy white head falls to nothing. Not particularly viscous looking and we get some spotty lacing. 3/5

S: Honey, grassy hops (slightly stronger in the '11 but very similar between the two vintages), and non-pleasant slightly putrid wood. 2/5

T: All hops and barrel. Any complexity that may be in here is currently hidden behind the more aggressive characteristics. It will need some time to develop complexity and in my opinion, the '10 batch is still very similar to the '11. Three years in the bottle might make this better but for now it's not very good. 2/5

M: Thin and spritzy compared to the other beers in the lineup. 2/5

O: Simply not up to par with the competition. 2/5

 1,465 characters

Photo of br3wmeister
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Lightly hazed dark brown liquid. Small bubbly off whit head that dissipated quickly. No lacing.

S- Lots of sweet malt and woody oak aromas up front. Hints of chocolate honey and bourbon are also present. Some good alcohol sting and light citrus hops.

T- Very sweet up front, lots of molasses, hint of honey and some vanilla. Great roasted barley notes as well, chocolate, nuts, and bitter roasted flavors. This beer also has a good hop presence giving it some nice bite. Thought the whole experience there is a large bourbon and boozy alcohol presence.

M- This is a full bodied beer that coats your mouth with an oily feeling. Good balance and prefect carbonation.

Overall- This does not taste much like a barley wine to me. The bourbon and oak character kind of take over letting the original beer be a subtle after thought. With that said, this is still a great beer. Great flavor, aroma and mouth feel.

 914 characters

Photo of ryanhooks81
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from bottle into tulip. pours a cloudy reddish brown. small light khaki colored head. dissipates into a thin ring. smells boozy, with vanilla and toffee. big vanilla flavor, along with dates and toffee and vanilla. perfect carbonation. very good. i wish i had more.

 272 characters

Photo of BoJengs
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle reviewed 2/27/2014. Purchased from Woodmans, fresh... Just reviewed the 2013 a few nights ago and loved it. Lets roll on this one.

A- Lighter appearance than the one yr old version. Has the same color as a typical whiskey, copper, reddish, can see the light of day through the beer (could not see through the one yr old) Good looking brew here.

S- Sweet smells right away. sweet bourbon, vanilla, caramel. sweet

T- Follows the nose. Very sweet. Much sweeter than the one yr old although still complex. Sweet bourbon and vanilla dominate, alcohol is there but still enjoyable. After tasting the one yr old the other night I expected this beer to be harsher. Somehow the fresh beer is sweeter and less resinous than the beer with a yr on it, confusing to me considering the nature of hops.

M- its a good mouthfeel although I feel the beer with a yr on it had more/better carbonation and mouthfeel, although totally subjective.

O- Great beer. I will buy at least 1-2 4 packs of this every yr - consuming a few fresh and laying a few away for good times later. After comparing the fresh to the 1 yr old I would have to say that I do prefer the brew with a year on it. It matured nicely and became a more balanced beer after the year. I suspect this will continue to improve at least to the 3 yr mark and I look forward to enjoying the journey.
___
~~~

2013 bottle reviewed 2/25/2014 after 1 yr in cellar.

A- murky reddish copper. Not much head if any at all. Even though this beer is more red/copper colored, when held up to light, barely any passes through. Looks good.

S- bourbon right away, then maybe a lil cherry. Definitely smell the bourbon radiating off the glass though.

T- Bourbon up front, slight tastes toffee, cherries, and a little vanilla. Can definitely taste the alcohol although it is very pleasant.

M- amazing mouthfeel. Although appearance doesn't lead one to believe there is carbonation the mouthfeel certainly feels like there is, and just the right amount. Very solid.

O- this beer was great fresh, and is still great after one yr in cellar. I have 2 more bottles of the '13 that I will open after 2 and 3 yrs and see how they progress (I am thinking this beer is only going to get smoother and smoother with time). Delicious offering as always from a great Wisconsin brewery. Nicely done Central Waters.

 2,350 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 ptykozoon
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty, burnt orangeish brownish. Okay head, okay lacing.

Bits of hops, orange, caramel, burnt sugar, nice.

Yum. Lots of caramel and candy in this one. Hops are dominated, mainly just dessert: vanilla and chocolate wrapped in an easily drinkeable, lightly hopped dessert beer.

Rich, full mouthfeel, well done. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the tongue. Alcohol controlled masterfully.

This is a truly great beer. Best I've had from Central Waters. Very impressed, seek out.

 480 characters

Photo of kbwalters
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmed up some before pouring into tulip glass. Bottled on Jan 21st, 2014, consumed on 1/7/15.
Look = 4.75 Pours a deep mahogany color with red highlights and 2 fingers of thick off white head. Great lace and retention. Big time sediment, including big chucks. Usually a bigger negative but it seems to fit fine here.
Aroma = 4.5 Big sweet aroma at first, malty toffee and caramel, complimented by the bourbon and vanilla notes. Boozy.
Taste = 4.5 Big sweetness upfront and through the middle of the taste. Sweet malt toffee and caramel, a really good barelywine. Then come the bourbon! On the backend with deep notes of vanilla. The bourbon in the finish is the strongest I’ve ever come across. At first the tastes are really separated but after a few sips it all blends together very well.
Feel = 5.0 So velvety and smooth, thick and creamy. Very substantial mouthfeel.
Drinkability = 3.0 Wow, the bourbon is really overpowering at first. Combined with the big ABV, drinkability of this is low.
Overall = 4.4625 Crazy good barelywine combined nicely with significant bourbon profile. After it all starts to blend it really is something else.

 1,157 characters

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

Finally getting around to reviewing this. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

appearance - auburn-brown liquid. little to no head.

smell - fantastic. smell is so sweet and caramelly. can smell the booze too.

taste - caramel & bourbon. enough said.

mouthfeel - syrupy feel. kind of coats your tongue. very smooth.

overall - great beer. the bourbon barrel aging is very prevalent.

side note: I had a sample of this at the beer store, and it was served quite cold. When I drank this bottle it was served at cellaring temp and I enjoyed it much more. I would recommend letting it sit out of your refrigerator for a while before drinking.

 642 characters

Photo of hu5om
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

 608 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 maedhros09
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Pours deep ruby amber mahogany with a couple fingers if head that settle to a film spicy caramel and dried fruit
Smell: Spicy caramel and acidic dark fruit with a hint of vanilla and char.
Taste: Sweetness dominates with moderate hops presence. Complex and spicy. Feel: Thick, tingly and warm, smooth
Overall: I was a little wary of the barrel aging, uncertain of how strong the bourbon flavors would be, but actually it came out as a traditional, nicely balanced and complex barleywine. The alcohol is definitely a big player here and is stronger than I prefer. Especially considering the price I would rather get a pack of SN Bigfoot, but this is a nice sipper.

 674 characters

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to nflmvp for this bottle. Cheers!
Pours with a thin head. Dark amberish in color. Has a big nose of sweetness with a hint of the booze. Taste is a nice mix of fruit and malt flavors with the bourbon. Mouthfeel is smooth but there is a bit of an etoh burn on the way down. A great sipper.

Cheers.

 304 characters

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a very unique color for the style. Dark brown with strong red edges surrounding and almost black center. Very interesting. Small off-white head with okay retention but no lacing.

S: Strong caramel and brown sugar, dark fruit (plum/raisin) and...oh, that's right lots of bourbon. Smells very good, but not that bold.

T&M: Sweet malts with caramelized brown sugar and a bit of vanilla hit upfront grabbing your attention right away. The plum flavor then kicks in with a faint note of bourbon that only grows stronger as the beer flows across the palate. The finish is fairly strong with hops, but still taste bud poppingly sweet. The hops give off just a small amount of bitterness which intertwines with the alcohol finish perfectly making it very pleasing. Mouthfeel is perfect for the style IMO, thick, full bodied, but still tiny bubbles of carbonation dance on the tongue.

Overall: Fantastic barleywine, can't think of any better I've had. Would be much more drinkable if the sweetness was down a notch. One bottle is perfect. Pick this one up if you can find it, I'm sure it will soon be on the top 10 of the style.

 1,174 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Purchased from Riley's Wines of the World in Madison Wisconsin in early February. Bottled on date is January 2011. $10.99 a four pack.

Appearance: Pours hazy ruby/amber color. Thin foamy half finger head, minimal lacing.

Nose: Dried fruits. Nice bourbony/vanilla nose. Typical barleywine, but wait, theres more to it. Great oak/char back.

Taste: Unique flavor profile. The initial palate is bourbon barrel. Not overly boozy, but you can taste the vanilla and oak...slight charring, only to be washed away by the bitter barleywine flavor. The malt flavor is supported nicely by the bourbon/oak, and drifting away to the hop finish. Real nice balance.

Mouth: Great mouthfeel. I feel the carbonation is right where it should be. And at 11.5% ABV, no need to have a higher carbonation. Very drinkable, the booze isn't completely overbearing.

Drink and overall: Awesomely drinkable, high ABV barleywine. I like the oak barrel aging, it's done alot for Charlie. Fantastic beer, I have a few left and I am going to let them chill for a year or so.

 1,106 characters

Photo of shadetree67
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle - 2014 vintage

Appearance - Dark amber in color. Pour yielded 1/2 finger of head. Slight lacing

Smell - Toffee, caramel, boozy bourbon, slight vanilla.

Taste - Bready Malts, caramel, vanilla. Not getting much barrel in this though the bourbon flavor is present.

Mouthfeel - Medium to thin mouthfeel. Slight carbonation. The alcohol warms the back of my throat for quite awhile. A bit too hot for my tastes

Overall - This is a pretty good BB barley wine and hopefully the booze mellows out with some age on the bottle. It has a lot of potential.

 563 characters

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.