Black Gold (2013) | Central Waters Brewing Co.

17 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Black Gold (2013)Black Gold (2013)

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
In 2012 we entered '1414' in The Great American Beer Festival's Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout Category. Awarded the GABF's Gold Medal, we saved some, aged it for 35 months in 25 year-old oak bourbon barrels, and bottled less than 500 in total. Truly one of a kind.

Added by lunarbrew on 10-13-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 116
Photo of oline73
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. You can pick up the alcohol in the nose as soon as you open the bottle. The beer is sweet and a bit hot with strong dark fruit notes that remind me of a dessert wine. I'm really enjoying the bourbon even if it is a bit hot. The finish is sweet and warm and sticks with you.

 311 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Twelve ounce bottle shared by Jeremy - thanks. Dated 10-12-13.

A: Pours a pale (light) black with a thin 1/16" tan head which clings to the rim and leaves a few spots of lace.

N: Heavy bourbon up front with dark fruits, vanilla, dark chocolate and caramel overtones.

T: Boozy bourbon, fruity, vanilla, sweet malts.

M: Full body and light carbonation. Thick and chewy, bourbon finish.

O: Another treat. Not expecting the boozy quality after aging. Enjoyed very much.

 491 characters

Photo of dar482
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite, by a bit, between a blind tasting with 15, 16, 17. The beer offers complexity of umami, chunky milk chocolate, intense vanilla, lingering coffee bitterness. Incredibly rich and intense in flavors that meld together beautifully.

 240 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, thanks Steve.

Pours a dark, viscous near black with a minimal khaki head in a ring of bubbles, no lace, etc. Nose of marshmallow, vanilla, light roast, caramel, dark fruit. A little rubbing alcohol cones through as well on the nose as well. Medium thick, smooth body, low carb and a silky hot finish. Flavor follows nose with a hot, roasty base and a vanilla, brown sugar and molasses sweet booziness. Tasty, hot, nothing too special.

 449 characters

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a special BA stout. All those extra months in the barrel really brought out a smoothness to the beer without adding the oxidation taste that can come with it. A fantastic beer I was very happy to get to try.

 218 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had two pours at the Great Amherst Beer Festival today, 10/12/2013, into my Cigar City snifter glass, which started with one 3-4oz pour from a generous local who had already cracked her bottle.. and we talked her friend into getting into line to pick up another bottle for a couple of us to share! Thanks Dustin for making sure I got a generous pour! All in all I probably got to savor about 7-8oz in the span of a hour before Sixteen was tapped.

Review #235. Label notes: "In 2012, we entered "1414" in the Great American Beer Festival's Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout category. Awarded the GABF's Gold Medal, we saved some, aged it for 35 months in 25-year-old oak bourbon barrels, and bottled less than 500 in total. Truly one of a kind."

This beer looked a lot like Fifteen did, actually. Poured a oily black, opaque body with a thick smallish mocha head that dissipated fairly quickly into a thinnish film. Bits and pieces of lacing show up, but this pretty much broadcasts the appearance of a big, big barrel-aged imperial stout. No surprises here.

This smelled delicious. Tons and tons of sweet bourbon, sweet milk chocolate, hints of bitter coffee. Lots of vanilla. Unlike Fifteen, I do not smell any rubbing alcohol, not even as it warms up. In fact, it reminds me of the smell on some of the more highly rated barrel-aged stouts, which I won't name because I don't throw this kind of stuff around lightly. In fact, I'm sniffing the empty bottle right now and its really something to savor.

Chewy milk chocolate soaked in bourbon with vanilla bean. It actually isn't quite that roasty sweet, like some other BA stouts are, but its more of a mellow, but dominant sweet bourbon presence tempered by vanilla. Chocolate, coffee, roast barley. This is well-executed beer that accentuates the very best parts of the bourbon barrel.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, but not super thick.. actually a bit thinner than I'd expect. Carbonation is rather minimal as you'd expect from a beer aged in barrels for nearly 3 years. Still, it is a sipper with a LOT of retrosternal burning as it goes down. Yet it doesn't smell or taste like solvent alcohol. I definitely got a few degrees warmer while drinking this bad boy.

Well, this is evidently a great beer. I await others cracking open their bottles and chiming in before we all make some sort of verdict somewhere down the line, but I will have to say that this is probably the one beer I've had so far that best showcases the quality of the bourbon barrels. The underlying base malts complements the bourbon barrel flavours more than the other way around, even more than Fifteen. Simply put, this is bourbon in a beer that accentuates what I consider to be the most desirable of bourbon flavours. I thought that Fifteen did this well, but BG is definitely a better example. In fact, I found this to be quite a bit more enjoyable than Fifteen, but I really would not recommend that people pound this 12oz bottle by themselves. This is probably a 3-person job. With the release of this beer, the beer formerly known as "1414" has now left the building. And it sure left with a bang.


Re-review: On tap at Showboat Saloon in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Served in a frosted pint glass 8/14/2015, unfortunately. This was allowed to warm up over the course of an hour. It looks as dark as any other stout, minimal half finger offwhite head that dies down pretty quickly. Smells of deep whiskey, dark chocolate, oak. It really hasn't changed much over time, I don't think. The oak, sweet smoky whiskey, malted grains all from the whiskey barrels still pop. There is a bit of chocolate and espresso as well. Flavour is similarly whiskey-forward, even as it warms up, it's still very much chocolate and whiskey. Lots of oak, a mild bit of vanilla, but overall dark chocolate, sweeter milk chocolate, cocoa, espresso are all there but sit behind the almighty bourbon barrel. Mouthfeel remains a bit on the thinner side; not that much different than the Cassian Sunset that was enjoyed next to it. Carbonation remains low, finish is warming with a decent whiskey flavour without the dryness and actual heat. I thought this beer didn't change very much over time, but that's probably because this has been sitting in a keg for almost two years rather than being bottle conditioned.

 4,330 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.37/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

thanks to TATURBO for the share!

12oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black body with thin white ring. Very evident boozy legs on the side of the glass.

Smell: Spicy bourbon. Boatloads of coconut. Honestly the most coconut that I have ever smelled in a barrel aged stout; and yes... more coconut than BCBS Prop. This beer smells way better than BCBS Prop, no doubt. Hint of oak and cinnamon.

Taste: Sweet and robust; hardcore barrel forward stout! Spicy bourbon. Tons of coconut. Bitter bakers cocoa. Hint of cola. Decent amount of oak too. Tastes a bit hot yet, but this will only get better!

Mouthfeel: almost a full bodied beer with low carbonation levels. Moderately boozey, this is a sipping beer for sure!

Overall: Intense barrel notes in both aroma and flavor profile. This beer needs to mellow a little bit, but man alive... CW made another amazing BA stout! Highly recommended!

 904 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.29/5  rDev -5.1%

Bottle from a great trader. 12 oz bottle of Batch #1, dated 10.12.13 (the 1414 Batch). Poured on 10/13/14. Almost exactly a year since bottled! Pours thinner than expected with lots of light showing through the brown pour, but settles nearly black without much more than a ring of bubbly head that dissipates quickly. Big fudgy aroma with lots of caramel and bourbon, vanilla and oak, marshmallowyness. Flavor is fudgy bourbon up front, followed by another punch of very hot bourbon, and then a long mellow oak and vanilla finish with a bit of caramel sweet mixed in. This one is hot for sure, in the range of Black Tuesday, yet somehow only 11%. The bourbon force is strong with this one. Body on the thinner side for the style--on par with the Eclipse variants with just a bit more heft--with medium carbonation and a dryness on the finish. Yeah, this is good. But the thinness and the massive bourbon note make it a step or two down from the truly world class. Nevertheless, very glad I got a chance to try this and it is a very nice brew.

 1,042 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.

A - Still yet intimidating, this slick stout pours without a sound, filling the glass with midnight black beer, covered in a brief skim of tan foam. The high concentration of alcohol banishes the bubbles to the outer edge of the glass where they stay through the beer's enjoyment.

S - Damn near erotic, the aroma of a barrel-aged stout doesn't get much better than Black Gold. Heavy bourbon restrains itself from becoming hot and boozy, instead it incorporates wet oak and vanilla bean notes into the roasted malt profile. Cocoa, dark chocolate, molasses, and caramel maple syrup fill in the gaps for an exceptional, voluptuous aroma, however; give this one a hearty swirl, and the result will be tingling nostrils.

T - Black Gold is exceptionally more subtle in flavor as bourbon takes a back seat to malt depth and complexity. Rich milk chocolate and unsweetened dark chocolate both have their place in this beer, swirling around gripping molasses and charred oak with traces of maple and vanilla on the finish. Oh, and bourbon too - it's there, but not mouth-punching.

M - Thick and warm, Central Waters' Black Gold begins with chewy caramel and chocolate fudge, followed by bitter molasses and finally ending with thinning, warming bourbon - the perfect way to keep such a heavy stout from draping the throat with a burdensome coating.

O - Central Waters' and their fans don't need another GABF gold metal to know these guys do the best barrel-aged stouts (though the bragging rights don't hurt). Practically orgasmic, Black Gold was easily worth it's near $1 per ounce cost as it's robust malt aroma and flavor flawlessly blend with the characteristics imparted by the aged barrels that previously held it. If you have the opportunity to try this beer, savor every drop, it's well worth stopping the world's rotation, however momentarily, to indulge in.

 1,913 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.6/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour is mostly black with a small amount of tight caramel head. Nose is big, wood and bourbon up front with rich fudgy malt. Taste is a bit sweeter, lots of bourbon up front, a fair amount of roasted malt come through mid palate as the fudge takes hold with notes of vanilla and some bourbon and heat through the finish. Body finishes a bit thin with low carbonation and a bit of a slick feel.

 393 characters

Photo of PHBoiler
4.29/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Slick and boozy mouthfeel. Spicy chocolate flavors. This would probably be a little fudgy from the age if it had more body. The smell is rich and chocolatey. I can appreciate the time this beer took, but it honestly doesn't add much more than the 1414 or 15 already had other than the status of limited bottles. I wouldn't break the bank trading for this, but it's certainly a tasty beer in and of itself.

 405 characters

Photo of jegross2
4.87/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing Black Gold from Central Waters Brewing Company out of Amherst, Wisconsin. This is 1414 aged for 35 months in 25 year old Willet bourbon barrels. Less than 500 bottles were made and released as part of a charity run hosted by Central Waters.

Score: 98

2013 vintage bottle served in a Black Tuesday taster and enjoyed on 01/24/14 side by side with Central Waters Fifteen. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a dark soda color with a wisp of head that totally settles. No lacing or retention. Really nice oily legs. This beer looks exactly like you would expect of a big stout. 4.5/5

Smell: The glass exudes fudge and fig and high percentage cacao dark chocolate. Ample vanilla and molasses too. Big bourbon undertones and a kiss of oak. As it warms up, the chocolatiness grows and grows. The aroma is big, but perfectly integrated. I could smell this beer all night. 5/5

Taste: Lots of fudge and molasses upfront, along with a big, boozy bourbon flavor. Some fig and date flavor too. A nice vanilla/oak flavor comes through towards finish, but it is not overly oaky and dry like Fifteen. Has a nice underlying alcohol warmth. Big chocolatey linger. Like the nose, the flavor profile is bold and marvelously integrated, albeit boozy as hell. So delicious. This one burns a bit, like a good bourbon. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full-medium bodied, low carbonation. Nice mix of bitter and sweet flavors. Oily, modestly dry finish. Good alcohol warmth, lively on the tongue. 4.5/5

Overall: Easily Central Waters’ best beer. Unlike Fifteen, the extended aging did not render this brew overly dry, but instead imparted a lot more bourbon-molasses and dark fruit character, while still retaining a lot of the chocolatiness that defined 1414 and was lost in Fifteen. Seek this one out!

Cost: $15 for a 12 oz bottle.

 1,823 characters

Photo of lunarbrew
4.79/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Let me start by saying I had only had about 4oz. of this stuff thanks to some awesome locals at the Great Amherst Beer Fest. Normally I wouldn't review beers in such quantities, but I feel like reviews will be sparse. Hopefully my impression of the limited pour will be a good contribution.

Beer pours a black color with hints of gold in the lacing... Ok, not really. Beer was black though, with little to no head. It looked surprisingly viscus for a CW brew.

The smell was pretty outrageous. I had just finished a small pour of Left Bridge Silhouette and it was a hilarious side-by-side. I know one beer was not barrel-aged, but the BG made the other beer smell like nothing and taste like water. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. GB is incredibly barrel-forward. IMO, this beer is pretty different than BBS and Fifteen. Vanilla, toffee, umami, and oak sprang from the glass. There was a little chocolate here, but it wasn't what I first noticed. The beer smelled quite sweet with a little roast in the background. I could tell it would really pack a punch.

The flavor did indeed match the smell. It honestly was one of the more flavorful beers I've tasted in my life. I don't know the abv (I'm guessing around 11% like 1414 and Fifteen), but while there was a bit of heat, the beer went down incredibly smooth. Huge waves of toffee, umami, oak, marshmallow, and caramel. The chocolate which wasn't prominent for me in the smell was very visible on the back-end of this beer. I was left with a delicious fudgey flavor after each sip. This component was very reminiscent of Fifteen.

The mouthfeel was very well executed, from what I could tell. While the beer is a tad thin, it isn't as thin as most CW BA beers. Thank god. Low carbonation, which is representative of the style.

This is undoubtably the best CW beer I've had. It is one of the best BA stouts I've ever had. I was also lucky enough to have a 8oz pour of Sixteen (sneak peek) the same day, which too was a step up from Fifteen, but BG was just so much more flavorful and complex. To me, the flavor profile is akin to Assassin, BT Black Magick, and BASC. It's a shame how few bottles of BG are out there. With the amount of people who popped their bottles on site, I'm guessing somewhere between 250-300 bottles exist, many which are in the hands of non-bas who were running a race hosted by CW during the time of ticket sales. One thing is for sure, Amherst residents are amazingly generous!

 2,468 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
4.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this at the 2015 GTMW festival. From what Central Waters told me on Twitter, it was the 2013 batch that they brought so I am putting my review here......

This was very good but I can't say it was better than Sixteen or Seventeen have been. If you think back, Central Waters used to have an issue with thin bodied barrel aged stouts before finally hitting their stride. If this Black Gold I had was in fact the 2013 version, that means the base beer was Fourteen Fourteen which was a little thin bodied. That could be why I probably didn't like it was much as more recent CW barrel aged beers.

 599 characters

Photo of WI-Beer-Man
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this as part of our Central Waters Anniversary tasting (Fourteen Fourteen, Fifteen, Black Gold '13, 16, Black Gold '14, 17)

Very bourbon forward compared to the other beers at the tasting. Dark fruits, dark chocolate and bourbon stand out in 2013 Black Gold.

 266 characters

Photo of bound4er
4.67/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

From a 12 oz. bottle picked up at Great Amherst Beer Fest in Oct. 2013.

L. Black appearance with a tan head of 2 fingers that fades rather quickly.

S. Holy shit!! Bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, whipped cream and a hint of coffee.

T. Very rich tasting with lots of cherry, vanilla, bourbon, oak and lingering booze on finish.

F. Moderate mouthfeel with low carbonation.

O. This is a special beer but not something I would want to drink more than a few times a year. Its richness is off the charts. CW really knows how to make great BA stouts.

 559 characters

Photo of parrotsnest
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my first review, I wanted to go big or go home!

APPEARANCE: Pitch black, how I like them. Dark tannish head.

SMELL: Wow. That bourbon comes through nicely! Some vanilla, dark chocolate, hints of espresso.

TASTE: Bourbon, fig, vanilla, oak, molasses, caramel, dark bakers chocolate. What separates this from the others, like others have said, is the depth of the bourbon flavor. It's not "HEY CHECK IT OUT, BOURBON TO YOUR FACE!" but more of a "let's explore the complexity of bourbon" type of bourbon. Does that make sense? Doesn't matter, bourbon.

OVERALL: By far the best BA RIS I've had the pleasure of trying. I'm a big fan of BCBS, but this definitely is a cut above the rest. I think the depth the bourbon has in this is world class for sure.

 758 characters

Black Gold (2013) from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.52 out of 5 based on 116 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.