Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Stout - American Imperial
4.56 | pDev: 6.8%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: To celebrate our Sweet Sixteen, we made this Anniversary beer that builds itself on the shoulders of its predecessors. Using a bigger, bolder imperial stout, we aged this beer for 21 months in oak bourbon barrels. The result - rich, decadent bourbon, vanilla and toffee; complemented by the chocolate and roast of the stout. Enjoy this beer from our Gold Medal winning Anniversary series, because Sixteen is a milestone, but our life is just beginning.
Reviews: 87 | Ratings: 995 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours jet black in color with a one-finger foamy dark khaki head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- aroma opens with bold barrel aromas, immediately noticing the extended barrel aging. Tons of wet oak, barrel juice, coconut and vanilla. Undertones of brownies, chocolate, caramel, toffee, burnt marshmallows and molasses

T- sweet and malty up front with notes of cocoa, tootsie rolls, marshmallow and molasses. Mid-palate brings out flavors of brownie batter and caramel. The finish brings out a strong barrel presence, adding complex oak, barrel juice and enhancing notes of coconut flakes and vanilla bean. The linger gives chocolate brownies and gives a long linger of bourbon barrel

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a silky, warming finish

O- as expected from the extended barrel aging, the barrel leads the way. However I was really impressed with the variety of undertones that kept popping up as well

Sep 29, 2020
Photo of Sandis
Sandis from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Rastal Pint glass. The bourbon is evident in both the aroma and flavor of this one. Balanced by roast and chocolate. I like how this has aged.

Jul 05, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The coolest thing about this beer is that my WI bros hooked me up with four bottles of it, and it in fact, like every other anniversary stout of theirs, is phenomenal.

Pours black and dark brown, good 1/2" brown (lighter) head on the top. Exquisite aroma, smacks you with plenty of bourbon, chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla and marshmallow feels.

Taste is more of the same, deep, rich, soaked oak and bourbon continues on. Never hot. Not bitter. Smooth, rich, deep, dark. Plenty of fudgy baker's chocolate without the sweetness. Amazing how well it covers the alcohol up without resorting to going full on pastry stout. A minor amount of toffee and caramel feels to smooth it out even more, but the barrel really is the driving force here, but it has a deft touch. Such a good beer, this review is the culmination of drinking 3 of the bottles, there was like, no variation, all just phenomenally superb stuff. Good cost, good people hookin' it up. Love this beer.

Sep 22, 2017
Photo of Masonz223
Masonz223 from Michigan

4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smell: Huge fudge, oak, vanilla, bourbon, milk chocolate, coconut. Smells amazing!!

Taste: I'll make it simple everything that's in the nose is in the taste. It's fantastic. It's a real treat. This beer has aged like a fine wine.

Feel: Medium to full body. Best mouthfeel out of any of the central water barrel aged beers I've had.

Overall: This is almost like a 4 year old bourbon County but slightly more mellow. I never had this fresh but I could imagine it was amazing then as well.

Sep 10, 2017
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Spring 2014 vintage; drank 7/31/14 @ Yuss Haus.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown/black hue.

Tan head; no lace.

Milk chocolate & whiskey nose. Nice!

Thick mouthfeel.

A smooth, delicious melding of chocolate milk & whiskey. Very nice.

Oct 26, 2016
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gatornation from Minnesota

4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black color with slow forming bubbles that emerge to a beautiful 1/2 finger head. Smell is musty wood and roasted chocolate , toffee and dark fruits. Taste is superb mature oak barrel with mellow bourbon these mix with delicious chocolate/coffee taste , more char slight bitterness with some dark fruit, and vanilla, , mouth feel was rich with bourbon and chocolate roast, as this stout warms such great components mix and compliment the brew.

Oct 08, 2016
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boilermakerbrew from Indiana

4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and black into the glass. A small layer of bubbles forms on top of the beer and is a light chocolate in color. There is just a bit of lacing from the small head, and there are a few alcohol legs as well.

S- Big, boozy bourbon notes hit the nose first and dominate the scent. Next come some sweeter, balancing chocolate notes that take a bit of the alcohol sting away from the smell. The back end of the scent contains some dark malts and just a touch of coffee that adds a touch of bitterness into the smell. As the scent drifts away, the lingering smell is mostly of bourbon barrels, but also a combination of chocolate and more bitter roasts as well.

T- As the beer washes over the tongue, the flavor basically follows the same arc as the scent. Bourbon barrel spice and strength comes first, displaying great vanilla and char flavors, along with just a touch of a coconut note. The chocolate and dark malt flavors come next, first starting out with a bit of semi-sweetness, then moving directly into a dark and more bitter flavor. As the beer is finishing on the tongue, all of these flavors combine to leave a delicious, lingering flavor in the mouth.

M- Thick and boozy are the two best words to describe this beer on the palate. The weight of the beer is pretty heavy, as it drinks very thick and creamy. The alcohol content is definitely felt in this one, with a bit of a warming sensation as you drink it.

Overall, this is a pretty great barrel aged imperial stout. It has held up great after a couple of years in the bottle. My only potential suggestion for improvement is that I wish it had just a touch of coffee in it. In the end, I really like this beer and I am glad I was able to trade for it.

Jul 22, 2016
Photo of BeerSamurai34
BeerSamurai34 from Texas

4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Another great one from CW. Age has done this one really well. The flavors were very well balanced and the mouthfeel was spot on. Over time it did seem to get a bit thinner, but was still great.

Jul 12, 2016
Photo of Rimbimhoot
Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black with no head
S: Coconut, milk chocolate, bourbon, sweet, brown sugar, very light roast, chocolate cake. So amazing as it warms
T: Balanced bourbon, sweet chocolate, oak, coconut, vanilla, light roast, dark chocolate, brownie batter
M: Medium thick, very drinkable, hidden alcohol
O: Wow this is incredibly balanced and so much flavor

Apr 23, 2016
Photo of Elumbeer
Elumbeer from Wisconsin

4.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Two years of aging made this beer damn near perfect.

Pours a tempting black sludge.

Smells of bourbon, chocolate, maybe a hint of almond.

Tastes like liquid brownies, maybe as a chaser to a shot of bourbon. Flavor-wise I'm not sure it's any better than fresh Eighteen, but they're really close.

As thick as it gets before you feel the need to chew on it.

It takes your mouth on an adventure, hands you some fresh brownies while explaining the finer points of beer perfection, and leaves you feeling like you just had sex.

Mar 29, 2016
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger frothy dark mocha head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting cap. The head of this beer surprisingly dark with great retention, taking a while to settle and leaving large streaks of soapy lacing behind.

Wow, the nose on this beer is really special. Very inviting with a really strong barrel presence that's almost perfectly integrated into the base beer. Subtle charred oak with vanilla bean, prominent toasted coconut and sweet, spicy bourbon. This is countered by a balance of deeply roasted dark malt and rich dessert-like chocolate malt sweetness. Almost like a bourbon chocolate shake. Robust coffee, oatmeal, dark cacao followed by fudge, bakers chocolate caramel and toffee sweetness. Incredible!

Slightly viscous full body but the flavor profile doesn't quite live up to the aroma. The barrel is pretty strong but not as complex as in the nose, slightly dominating the complex malt bill that's lying underneath. Decent bourbon flavor without being too sweet or boozy. Strong charred oak and toasted coconut presence but the silky vanilla notes are missing. Really strong malt backbone that stands up against the huge barrel flavors. Prominent roast with nice robust coffee/espresso bean, burnt toast, oatmeal and bittersweet dark chocolate. The silky, sweeter dessert-like chocolate notes are there but not as strong as I expected or hoped for. Some milk chocolate, flourless chocolate cake and toffee but could use a touch more sweetness to counter the oak and heavy roast. Still, this is a great beer that's very complex and deceptively drinkable considering the high alcohol content. The 11% ABV IS nearly invisible with only subtle heat/warmth in the finish. This is a damn good beer!

Dec 02, 2015
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Inky black with a brown head that settles quickly. Thin and wispy lacing.

S: Fudge sauce, dark chocolate truffles, roast, char, dark caramel. Quick and faint whiff of black licorice. The barrel brings a lot of oak, some woody vanilla, and peppery bourbon.

T: Heavy roast and char up front. French roast coffee. Chocolate fudge sauce. Bitter dark chocolate. Acrid and smokey. The barrel comes on strong with a lot of oaky barrel char, woody vanilla, and peppery mature bourbon. Toasted coconut. Peanut brittle. Bourbon balls and chewy caramels too. Fleeting fig and berry flavors are drenched in bourbon. Brash finish with a good dose of char, smoke, wood, and bourbon.

M: Big and thick in body. Hefty and chewy with a slick coating feel. Wood tannins are apparent. Big warmth. Low tingling carbonation.

O: The base beer seems bold and roasty enough on its own, but the lengthy time in the barrel (21 months!) added a lot of aggressive barrel character too. The end result is a big, brash beer that challenges the palate and takes no prisoners. And that's after almost an additional two years of cellar time. It's over the top, but I happen to like 'em like that sometimes.

Aug 16, 2015
Photo of Zaximus
Zaximus from Colorado

4.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours nice and dark with minimal head and lacing.

Smells like bourbon.

Tastes like bourbon. And chocolate. Not overly complex but still quite tasty. Lots of oak and bourbon. Hot. Can only imagine what a face burn this was fresh.

Feel is great. Creamy and rich. Don't get the thinness others have described.

Overall very nice. Not complex or mind blowing but still quite nice.

Aug 09, 2015
Photo of fondyball20
fondyball20 from Wisconsin

4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Flavor is mostly chocolate, very similar to the 2014 kbs I just tried. Thinner feel then I would like with my stouts.

Revisited again on 2/4/16. Pretty much the same beer that I remember from the first time. Lots of chocolate, a little thin... but a very nice stout.

Aug 03, 2015
Photo of jjdc
jjdc from District of Columbia

4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge barrel character on this one. Motor oil in the glass. The nose is toffee, vanilla, whiskey, plums and dates. The taste follows with additional notes of dark chocolate and oak. This is very well integrated and the flavor leans a bit toward a barleywine. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than world beaters like BCBS, but this is very good.

Jul 04, 2015
Photo of AnalogErik
AnalogErik from Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Yeah had this up against SR-71. That was like being in beer heaven.

Perfect mouthfeel - creamy. Dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee.
Nose reflects that as well.

So glad I got one of these!

May 26, 2015
Photo of kbwalters
kbwalters from Wisconsin

4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look = 4.0 Pours a perfect black with no light coming through and a thin cap of brown bubbles that slowly fades to a ring. Good lacing for a aged stout.
Aroma = 5.0 Wonderfully complex. Bourbon hits first, accented with oak and vanilla. But the center piece is the dark chocolate that comes out more and more as it warms accompanied by coffee notes.
Taste = 5.0 Chocolate dominates the entire mouth through the middle of the taste, it kind of rolls from front to back. Highlights of vanilla and oak. Some bourbon and boozy coffee flavor comes out in the backend which leaves you with a little burn in the aftertaste.
Feel = 5.0 Full bodied, thick and creamy. Low to moderate carbonation fits as expected with an aged stout. Goes down so smooth.
Drinkability = 4.0 With a perfect aroma, taste and feel this stout is incredibly drinkable for how big it is. Creamy and smooth from start to finish with nothing overbearing.
Overall = 4.75 This stout is wonderfully complex and interesting. Tons of aroma and flavor, perfect mouthfeel, can’t ask for much more.

Apr 22, 2015
Photo of bound4er
bound4er from Wisconsin

4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black appearance with a thin, tan head. Smells fantastic - vanilla, fudge, hazelnut, bourbon, oak and warming alcohol. Big and rich on the palate with bourbon, chocolate and creme brulee notes. Finishes with a slightly burnt, alcohol-infused brownie flavor that lingers for nearly a minute. Just a fantastic barrel aged stout.

Apr 19, 2015
Photo of Bosoxfan20
Bosoxfan20 from Missouri

3.89/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours not quite black with a fair amount of light showing through. Initial thoughts are it could be a little thin. Aroma has a ton going on: vanilla, dark chocolate, oak, bourbon. Very complex nose that seems to peel off another layer with each niff. Flavor has a bunch of bourbon character show up. Comes off a little hot, surprisingly. Mostly what the nose picked up with some light dark fruits and tobacco. The comparisons to BCBS are fair. It seems to have a lot of those qualities without quite as much caramelized malt character.

Overall, pretty dang good. Came off a little messy for me at times, so maybe just a touch below my expectations.

Apr 06, 2015
Photo of richj1970
richj1970 from Alabama

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pitch black with smallish one finger mocha colored head that settles to a thin ring around the edge, and leaves little to no lacing.

S: Sweet bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut. Charred oak and molasses. Aroma reminds me a little of BCBS which is a good thing.

T: Rich dark chocolate and vanilla. Tons of bourbon influence. Faint notes of oak, cherry, and coconut.

M: Full bodied but not thick and nicely carbonated for a big stout. Some noticeable alcohol heat.

O: Another winner from CW. This is one of my favorite BA stouts for sure!

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cocoa, bitter chocolate, oak and coconut. Big dark chocolate, vanilla and oaky booze in the taste. Very well balanced. Perfect amount of sweetness. Super solid.

Feb 12, 2015
Photo of Schmitfaced414
Schmitfaced414 from Wisconsin

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am biased because this is brewed just outside of my home town. That said, this one stacks up well against the other BAs out there. CW really knows what it is doing with its BA.

Feb 05, 2015
Photo of doublevision
doublevision from Illinois

4.98/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black into a snifter. Huge amounts of bourbon on the nose which back off to a more moderate level as you start to sip. Bourbon and carmel notes dominate the intial taste that fade to a very intense chocolate almost fudge like finish. Body is not quite as thick and syrup like as say BCBS but it's no lightweight. Overall my favorite BA stout. I would drive the 3hrs each way to Central Waters in a heart beat if more suddenly became availible

Jan 26, 2015
Photo of KillerJigger
KillerJigger from Iowa

4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Impressed with this one and how it is smooth with compex tastes from the aging process. Not boozy or to oaky as well. If you can find one it is worth a sip or two.

Jan 14, 2015
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada (AB)

4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 30/12/14. big thanks kumatmebrew for the bottle

A black liquid with a deep cola edge, just short lived noisy finger of dark foam that leaves no lace

S hard to miss the barrel on the nose, heaps of bourbon and wood, a little smoke, caramel and vanilla, molasses, booze, more bourbon and a little chocolate, I smell a winner

T much like the nose thankfully, all barrel, charred wood, smokey bourbon, intense stuff, a little boozy but it works with the barrel intensity, a little chocolate, and vanilla in the mix but the bourbon barrel is king

M not overly thick, just enough bubbles to give it some life, tannin grit in the mouth but a little sticky on the stash, some heat on the way down, and charred barrel linger for ages

O its a big ass barrel monster and that suits me fine, intense bourbon notes at every turn, terrific stuff going on here

21 months? I'm struggling to think of a beer I've had that spent more time in a barrel, I also can't recall using the word "barrel" this many times in a review, coincidence? I think not.

Dec 31, 2014
Sixteen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 995 ratings