Sixteen | Central Waters Brewing Co.

82 Reviews
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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:
An imperial stout aged in 21 year old bourbon barrels.

Added by MasterSki on 11-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 980
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of gatornation
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
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 suck great flavors mix and compliment the brew.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
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

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Photo of Elumbeer
4.81/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
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!

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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Photo of Zaximus
4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of fondyball20
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of jjdc
4.48/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of AnalogErik
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

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Photo of kbwalters
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of bound4er
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.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.89/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
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!

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of Schmitfaced414
4.75/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of doublevision
4.98/5  rDev +11.2%
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

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.39/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of M_J_Z
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Shared this with a few friends last night. It didn't disappoint and definitely lived up to its reputation.

Sixteen is very smooth and chocolaty with an appropriate bourbon flavor. There wasn't much head or lacing due to the length of time the beer was aged in the barrels.

I originally rated this a 5 on Untappd and still feel that the beer merits that rating or is very close. 4.75, at the very least.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass. Classy understated label design. Unbranded pry-off pressure cap.

Acquired in a trade with the ever-so-generous Duff27.

Expectations couldn't be higher; Central Waters does some of the best barrel aging in the business as far as I'm concerned. Served chilled into a snifter.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Dark khaki-tan head recedes quickly to a floater ring within 5 seconds, leaving no lacing.

BODY: Opaque ink-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. It's not unique or special, but it's good for the style. A fuller creamier longer lasting head would be an improvement, and the body could have more of a mirror sheen.

AROMA: Bourbon barrel character is obvious - authentic vanilla, toasted white oak, wood char, some burnt barrel sugars. The barrel doesn't seem to melt into the base; Central Waters usually manages a more seamless integration of the barrel, but this aroma suggests a less well balanced brew. A hint of marshmallow emerges as it comes to temp.

No yeast character, off-notes, or alcohol is detectable.

In terms of the base beer, I pick up on dark malt sweetness, chocolate malt, caramel, cream, lactose sugar, a hint of roasted barley, and some burnt character.

Overall, it's much more reticent than anticipated. I expected more evocative bourbon barrel and a more intricate base. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength.

TASTE: Marshmallow, bourbon, authentic vanilla notes, toasted white oak, slight char, and burnt barrel sugars. The bourbon barrel character doesn't melt into the base seamlessly like I expected (and like in some of Central Waters' other beers), but the bourbon character is lovely as always.

Speaking of the base, there isn't much there - no coffee, little roasted barley, no rich chocolate...I get dark malts, chocolate malts, and some syrupy character. Caramel. It's just not real complex, subtle, or intricate, and this is a style which requires all three. I'm a bit disappointed, to be honest, but only because I hoped for a great beer - and this is merely very good.

The balance is nice, but the barrel notes eclipse the base (which itself brings relatively little to the table, such that there's nothing for the bourbon to accent). It's nicely built, but isn't unique or special, and doesn't quite feel like a gestalt whole.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, soft, comforting, full-bodied, syrupy, viscous, and unrefreshing. This texture is well-executed and complements the taste well, but it doesn't elevate the beer. It does have some slight alcohol warmth, and is overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Very drinkable and enjoyable. It's good but not great work for Central Waters, and I'm let down only because I hoped for excellence. Absolutely worth trying if you're a fan of the style, and a very good imperial stout, but not a world-class one. I really wish the base boasted more complexity.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!


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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: An obsidian pour, capped by a thin film of mocha bubbles that fade to a ringlet; dots of lace linger

Smell: Chocolate fudge, Bourbon, vanilla, coconut and a hint of dried cherry

Taste: Dark chocolate fudge, up front, with the Bourbon and vanilla building; after the swallow, hints of coconut and dried cherry emerge, but the dominant tone remains the Bourbon and chocolate fudge

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Overall: Had this just after the 2014 BCBS and I am afraid it doesn't quite compare; still quite a good Bourbon barrel stout that I was glad to have tasted

Thanks, WI-Beer-Man, for the opportunity

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Photo of Jeffo
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this long time want from Masterski this past summer. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
16th Anniversary
21 months on bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: A clear black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, foamy and fizzy, light brown head with good retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and ring, though only the ring remains until the end leaving no lacing down the glass. Average at best; the black color saves it a little.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, sweet cream, alcohol and notes of fudge brownies on the nose. Big and boozy with plenty of barrel. Coconut and cotton candy sweetness as well. Really forthcoming and enticing for sure.

TASTE: Follows the nose, and doesn’t disappoint. Bourbon, alcohol, and toffee sweetness up front, before moving into a big finish of oak, vanilla and milk chocolate. Bold and lingering aftertaste of bourbon, coconut, vanilla, lightly burnt malts and lots of pure dark chocolate sweetness is wonderful and decadent. Notes of tobacco as well with just a touch of bitterness offering the right amount of balance to the brew. Plenty of bourbon barrel up front with plenty of fudge and sweetness to finish it off. Big, bold, and lots going on. Fudge and tobacco with some burnt notes linger and linger. Really good.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Slightly lighter on the palate than I’d hoped, a touch prickly perhaps, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch and finishes very sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was excellent. The feel is a bit lighter for the style, which perhaps kept it from being the show stopper it wants to be, but the nose and flavor are just decadent. One of the rare occasions when a beer held so highly actually deserves its reputation. The barrel character of wood, vanilla and toffee seem to mesh seamlessly with the base stout qualities of roast and chocolate fudge to create a wonderfully balanced and complex imperial stout. One of the better examples of the style out there. Thanks again Masterski! Would love to drink this in mass quantities.

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Sixteen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.48 out of 5 based on 980 ratings.
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