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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

571 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 571
Hads: 2,084
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 8.69%
Wants: 705
Gots: 639 | 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 ColForbinBC
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (862 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive thanks goes out to the person (BM me if it was you and I will give you proper credit) who shared this one with the group at the "Evening Wood" tasting graciously hosted by cmrillo! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a deep red-orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. However there wasn't anything really interesting going on in it to make it overly memoriable. The flavor did however mix and compliment each other quite well. Pretty smooth for an 11.5% heavy hitter. Definitely worth trying! (791 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in Feb. 2010 vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy pale/blush red color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly down to bubbles.

(S)- A rather fruity nose of ripe fruits; I am getting bits of cherry, cranberry, fig, and raisin. Some warmth of vanilla with a light spicy note of a ginger/cinnamon woodiness.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. Has a robust bitterness in the middle, but goes along great with the sweet vanilla and fruit.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet and rich, but is counterbalanced well with the fruits and bitterness. Not as thick as I was expecting, but its actually not a bad thing. Rather smooth despite the ABV and bitterness.

(D)- A great barleywine with a great future ahead of it. Tastes great now, but age will continue to work wonders on this guy. Rather fruit driven, but goes well with the bourbon barrel aging. Reminds me almost of a port wine. Great stuff; seek this out and buy a case to set aside and drink over the next 4 years at least. (1,089 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade. Thanks jgam115! 1,100th rating or review!

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve- Barleywine Ale. Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels. Let's go!

Pours a murky brown, with some garnet hues. A small half inch head fizzy head descends quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing, and some visible carbonation.

Smells really incredible- I basically exclaimed "oh fuck" when I first smelled it. Strong brown sugar and toffee, some sweet sultry bourbon, and maple syrup.

The taste is similarly awesome. Just so many flavors from the clearly superior base barleywine, whatever it is, plus so many added flavors from the barrel aging. Strong maple syrup, some candied raisins and plums, brown sugar, toffee, sweet bourbon, rich, strong vanilla, light coconut, and some pleasant wood bitterness. There's a small amount of hop bitterness. The maple and vanilla flavor in this one is so strong, it almost tastes like it was made with them as adjuncts, which shows the strong brewing talents of the folks over at Central Waters.

This brew is medium bodied, but feels light and silky on the tongue. Really quite drinkable, which is a miracle, given the 11.5% ABV. The booze doesn't show up much at first, but as it warms, it becomes a bit spicy, but warming and awesome. Low carbonation, despite it's visible presence after the pour.

This is really awesome. It's barreled perfectly, it's got to be one of the smoothest barleywines I've ever had. It's decadent, and a rare treat to drink. (1,503 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with levifunk

A - A brownish orange color with a lot of yellow that comes through. Very minimal head that dissipated quickly and didn't anything on the sides.

S - A lot of charred wood and brown sugar. Caramel and some vanilla from the barrel influence. Some bourbon in there as well, the smell is good but there is a little too much burnt wood in here which is taking the taste down.

T - The taste has some nice brown sugar and caramel complete with the vanilla from the barrel aging. The bourbon is nicely there but does not drink hot. This actually tastes very good except there is too much burnt wood in there, that is a real downer on this.

M - Medium bodied, syrupy, needs a little more carbonation.

D - Don't get any alcohol on this, and very smooth, highly drinkable for the ABV. (813 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A heavy murk of the deepest of darkest scarlet brown but mostly black in duller light. Tall and fluffy capping of sandy browned foam bubbles its way to a medium height before finding a skimming and collar replacement slowly after. Elongated portions of sheeted lace angle the glass with a few icicles dangling along the bottom.

Aroma is plummy, rummy, dark orange, and deep with some over ripe date fruityness. Burnt brown sugar, vanilla pod paste, and huge earthen tobacco oak tinged heat perks the nose up with quite a beefy array. The heated esters do grab the impressions of the bourbon barrel aging very well. Nice!

Taste is heavenly lush, creamy, and thick with a huge loft of chewyish malts that drips lots of dark caramel all across a marmalade of dark fruity mushyness that has date, plum, fig, raisin, orange, mixing with tingey oaken warmth that adds a lovely vanilla aspect well within each sip. Partial warming chocolate thickness and burntish butter creep into its warming finish as it cinders with earthy vanilla oakyness. Damn nice taster!

Super creamy, silken medium/fullish body that has exceptional balance and tone the whole way thru as its length in taste is superseded by its well handled wamrth. Finsishes clean, earthy, warm, and like a warm chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough thats been slightly warmed in the oven just before the are comepletely ready to be a cookie; somewhere between cookie dough and its toasty/burnt edges if left unattended. Much like the Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe this has alot of dimensions that scream Old Ale while keeping its Barleywine presence maintained.

This was gone in no time flat as its balance was outstandingly nice between its malty chewyness and bourbony hinted, earthy vanilla warming. Remarkable stuff by Central Waters! (1,798 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

aggressive pour into snifter.

Appearance: Reddish amber that almost looks like it glows. Small white head that disspates into a white ring around glass. Sticky lacing on the side of glass is noted.

Smell: Bourbon, Oak, and Malt.

Taste: The bourbon is immediate and quickly followed and complimented by the sweet flavor of malt. Oak and vanilla also compliment each other. Caramel, coconut, and toffee are detected with a more sweet bourbon flavor that just keeps coming at you unrelentingly. Nice dry oak in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with slightly warming boozeiness. Moderate carbonation, a bit more carbonation than expected with a barrel aged barleywine.

Overall: Another solid beer by Central Waters; i am becoming a big fan of their beer! I cant think of a better bourbon barrel barleywine that comes in 4 pack format. Great barrel notes and fantastic malt profile. (891 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.79/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ncbvc for sending this little gem along as an extra in a trade. It's extras like this that make opening every box that lands on the front stoop almost as good as a six-year old's Christmas morning.

This brew is light in the glow of the monitor, almost IPA light. Smell is overwhelmingly alcohol & bourbon, putting me immediately on the list for a nose-hair transplant.

Taste is orgasmic. The bourbon is riding herd on this beer but not drowning out the rest of the band or blowing out the amp (to mix metaphors rather generously). The dark fruits in the barleywine, the apparent alcohol, the dry tartness, the need to take another sip immediately...man, this rocks. This might be my first barrel-aged barleywine, & if this is representative of this rather rare genre, I'm going to be seeking out a lot more of them.

Find this. Drink this. Great beer. (866 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of HopsMatt, thanks bro! Initial smell of the bottle is the same as sniffing a Jack Daniels or Crown Royal bottle: pure whiskey. The beer was an amber color, scant head. The aroma from the glass was more subdued bourbon with notes of vanilla. Flavor was vanilla, heavy booze, whiskey, caramel, decent but not great. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. I would not put this in the upper echelons of bourbon barrel barleywines but it was a decent offering overall. (473 characters)

Photo of mltobin
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle, poured into a wine glass.

The appearance is dark red-brown with a thin tannish head. Its` nose comes off with malts, a good deal of bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar and raisins. Tipping this one back and it tastes of caramel, syrup, more malts, alcohol. Mouthfeel is rich and full bodied, finishes with oak and bourbon. A nice barleywine from this brewery out of Wisconsin, had to pick this one up while passing through PA. (435 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shango42 does it again with a KILLER extra. Feb 2010 vintage.

a - opened the bottle and filled my cigar city snifter. nice murky amber orange color with some carbonation sticking to the glass. the head was thin and gone quickly and lacing was not evident at all (but this IS a bourbon barrel aged beer, so that's what I expect).

s - as soon as the top was popped off the air filled with a nice raisin plum smell. after the pour and a closer sniff I could pull the delicate balance of a great hop/malt syrupy mix along with the wood from the barrels. Really nice and really well balanced.

t - very intense. caramel malts and some dark fruit. the bourbon is not in your face, but this beer has over a year on it. being a fan of in-yo-face-booziness, I'd love to try this one fresh. I'd also love to try the base beer Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. again, very nice balance of everything going on, wish the bourbon taste was more stand out.

m - full and rich. alcohol is tamed down and shows itself more on the aftertaste than the initial sips. also i noticed a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

o - overall, very nice. buzzing through some reviews, seems like the bourbon really tames over time (as expected), but is very in your face fresh...would love to check out a freshy. another fine barleywine.

*** ** * ** ***
had a chance to have the 2011 side-by-side with the 2010 at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 - the 2011 is exactly as predicted. the bourbon is very in your face. the 2010 is much dryer and more mellow. i'd say this beer is better with a year on it. (1,584 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy deep copper with a dense head that dissipated quickly to a ring foam leaving sporadic lacing. The first aroma is the big sweet caramel malt smell with raisins, dates and subtle earthy hops. This is followed by a big bourbon backbone along with some sweet vanilla beans. The taste actually has more bourbon than the smell with a more prominent molasses sweetness. The caramel malts and earthy hops are still there as well, but the bourbon really comes out in the taste with a serious alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very creamy. The is a very good bourbon barleywine but the heavy bourbon presence means that getting through one of these would make for a good night. Update: I've had quite of few of these now. With 6-12 months on it, this beer is one of the best beers I've ever had. Fantastic. (826 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Chico1985, reviewed from notes. Bottle is about a year old.

A- Hazy deep red with a small cloud and bubbly ring. Legs fall and a minimal spot or two of lace sticks behind.

S- Oak and whiskey spice atop of dark fruit and a deep stale caramel old ale profile.

T- Old ale malt with some whiskey flavor and spice. Nice oak flavor and some dark fruit/cherry. Good ol' stale caramel, probably from the age on the bottle.

MF- Nice moderate carbonation with good alcohol warming and thickness to the body.

DB- Good balance of oak, barleywine malts and Bourbon flavors. I would like to try this one again in the future. (625 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, label is notched as bottled at Feb 2012.

appears a cloudy muddy color, some copper highlights. no head. big aroma of vanilla and whiskey. brown sugar.

taste is also big on the bourbon flavors. sweet caramel malt, but not cloying. minimal hops. medium thickness, but it coats the tongue, lower carbonation.

overall a well executed example of the style. (371 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy bulletrain76. Pours a muddy reddish brown color with a smallish off-white head. Huge bourbon aroma with really no other notes. Vanilla and coconut. Flavor is bourbony as well, not much beer to be found here. Finish is dry and slightly bitter. Definitely too heavy on the barrel here but it still tastes good. (324 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. 2008 Vintage.

Dark brass-like orange with a small whipped meringue head of off-white foam. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and bitter candy coated green monster hops. Taste is similar to the aroma but more intense. VERY hoppy with a lovely biscuity candy malt sweetness in the back and great swirling oak, vanilla, and bourbon flavors. Mouthfeel is medium/thick, drinkability is good, but not perfect, as this is definitely a sipper. A real treat from a small fantastic Wisconsin brewery that is really doing everything right when it comes to these barrell aged project beers. (591 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: This poured a clear reddish copper with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like cherry and toffee and caramel, with some citrus and alcohol.
T: It tasted like sharp citrus and rich caramel, with some toffee and biscuit and toasted oak. It had a bitter aftertaste with strong alcohol.
M: It was slick and oily with moderate carbonation.
D: This had a great scent and taste, somewhat similar to Gratitude, but rough around the edges. Definitely too hot and fresh, with dominant alcohol presence that made this a bit tough to sip. The bourbon barrel didn't come through very much either, with only subtle toasted oak notes. With some age, this could develop into a fantastic brew that contends with the top barleywines. But I don't recommend even trying it fresh. (761 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

Deep garnet with lovely clarity in the light. Off-white head that lasted throughout most of the experience. Bourbon wafts through the air as it's being poured. Oh the luxury! Oak, rum, vanilla, hint of toasted nuts, and figs fill my nares and makes my mouth water. Delicious caramel, vanilla, and a touch of cocoa makes for an immediate loving of bourbon aged barleywines. Followed by toffee, black currants, and a touch of berry. Nicely full bodied and smooth carbonation. Out of this world. (574 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from 2010, poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to EliteDigger for getting me this one in an in-person trade a couple DLDs ago.

A: Pours a cloudy dark red-brown body under a finger of fine tan head that settles slowly into a ring and leaves plenty of delicate lace. Pretty good.

S: Wow that's boozy...in a good way. Huge barrel presence, with luscious bourbon and raw oak absolutely dominating. Walnut, raisin, and vanilla have supporting roles. Not too sweet, hugely complex, and simply amazing.

T: Toffee and bourbon right up front, followed by vanilla, coconut, dark fruit, and booze-soaked wood on the finish. Really harsh on the back end, but it's worth it.

M: Thick, creamy, a little sticky. Very nice.

O: Great beer. One of the most bourbon-forward beers I've ever had, even after a couple years. If it finished more smoothly it would be right up there with the very, very best.

Cheers! (908 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherrywood, hazed up sporting a tight buttercream head.
The nose comes in two stages, the first is traditional barleywine Kosmyk Charlie, all full of caramel, toffee, dates, golden raisins, and electric wintergreens hops. Stage 2 (which arrives after subsequent sniffs and with attention) show barrel aging full of hazelnuts, toasted oak, and vanilla.
The taste is inverted compared to the nose. Bourbon-barrel traits hit first, full of toasted coconut, hazelnut, oak, black cherry, and dark chocolate. The later part of the sip see it return to barleywine normalcy (or, more aptly, supremacy) with a deep caramel, honeyed grain, and toffeed maltiness, towing a fruitiness made of dates, figs, and more black cherry. Hopping is moderate, but full of sappy evergreens and citrus piths. There a recurrence of vanilla-laden barrel traits near the close, and it finishes with a convergence and re-explosion of all the preceding elements, along with obvious booze traits.
Full-bodied, with a subtle carbonation, if only to keep it from seeming overly fat or overly sticky. It has the consistency of cotton candy. It coats the mouth, dissolves, the beckons to be re-coated.
To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of bourbon-barreled Barleywines (especially hoppy ones like this), as I often find the barrel aging to be at odds with the hop profile, and the result ends up with a bunch of clashing colors. This achieves glory by compartmentalizing the barleywine and bourbon barrel traits up until the very end. And when they finally do converge, its absolutely harmonious. It's the best example of the style (specifically: booze barreled b'wines) that I've come across. And I can't think of another that even comes close. (1,717 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle with a big thank you to Steasy66!

Appearance. Pours a viscous deep amber-orange with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Smooth bourbon and oaky vanilla, caramel, some dark and orchard fruits ...even a little citrus rind.

Taste. Burnt sugar, light bourbon and plenty of oak, vanilla and caramel, grainy malts, and some bitter citrus rinds.

Mouthfeel. Full body with some boozy warmth, smooth low carbonation.

Overall. A great bwine that probably could have stayed in the cellar for another year or two and possibly benefited. Fairly hoppy and still tastes a little young ...in my expert opinion anyways. ;-) (619 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deeper burnt orange, short yet dense head of khaki foam that leaves thick lacing.

Highly complex nose. Very sweet, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, pound cake, maple syrup.

Huge barleywine sweetness intertwined with a huge hot bourbon punch. Underneath lies all of the complex flavors of spiced rum, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, maple syrup and caramel. The warm flavors and alcohol linger forever.

Hot and sticky with deep down heat lingering what seems forever. Full bodied with a sappy feel on the finish.

An absolute knockout of a brew. The price is a amazing for the quality of the product also. A sipper for sure, but an absolute pleasure of one. (648 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 (521 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1482nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12oz

2011 Vintage
Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one

App- A deep and rich coloring intermixed with reds/browns/ambers and a little bit of mahogany. A nice puffy 2 finger head that was a bit tan and eggshell lasted longer than I though. Good lacing as well.

Smell- A bit think for my bourbon liking but was really nice aromatically. Boozy, malty, rich and creamy. A good note of toffee and darker fruits. Not per se quad like but close with figs and dark cherry.

Taste- Its a very good beer. Lots of depth of flavors with nothing really competeing with eachother but working together. Darker fruits and toffee along with boozy notes. Its a bit thick with creamy malts.

Mouth- A thinner medium body with a semi-prickly medium carbonation. Good flavors remain with malts, booze and candy sweetness.

Drink- Its a very tasty and solid 12oz. Love the fact its single serving. The booze is very well layered and doesnt over power. Glad I have a 12 to hold onto until next year. (1,013 characters)

Photo of Holland
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a slightly hazy brown/orange/red color with a thin tan head that keeps a ring and small lacing.

S: sweet malt, oak, lots of bourbon, and some dark fruits

T: much the same as the smell, but with some alcohol and better balance than the smell. The alcohol takes away from the taste more than most barrel aged barleywines I've had

M: good carbonation, decent body, but not fantastic since the alcohol seems to cut it

O: excellent beer, should have aged it or had it colder than cellar temperature. Will be buying more of this soon. (542 characters)

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