Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Rye Barrel Chocolate PorterRye Barrel Chocolate Porter
347 Ratings
Rye Barrel Chocolate PorterRye Barrel Chocolate Porter

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

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.65%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 347 |  Reviews: 60
Reviews by tectactoe:
Photo of tectactoe
3.8/5  rDev -12%

More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and an art-bearing black pry-off pressure cap acquired in a trade with the very generous Duff27 and served cold into a snifter.

Allowed to come to room temp over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Label: No ABV is listed. "Vintage 2014." "Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter." "Malt beverage aged in used oak rye barrels."

Expectations: High. I hold Central Waters in high regard.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour head. Good creaminess. Supple soft complexion. Even smooth consistency. Retention is average - about 2 minutes. Leaves uneven light lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

A richer, fuller, darker head would be ideal.

BODY: Opaque solid black. Not an ink or jet black, but quite dark. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated.

Overall, it's a good looking barrel aged porter, but there's room for improvement. While this is well above average, there's nothing particularly unique or special about it. The supple look of the head is a highlight.

AROMA: A barrel character is definitely noticeable, but it screams bourbon - not rye. There's none of the subtle spiciness or heat of rye, and plenty of the rich toasty oak and vanilla of bourbon. I forgot how good Central Waters is at integrating barrel notes into their base beers. Evokes a perfect level of sweetness, with decadent notes of cream, milk chocolate, chocolate malts, dark malts, and oats. Luxurious toasted coconut has my mouth watering. A dab of marshmallow in there too.

Overall, this is an impressive aroma which suggests a perfect harmony of barrel and base, without any alcohol heat. The delicate aromatics are indicative of perfect balance. No pesky hop notes or out of place yeast notes intrude. A mouthwatering aroma of mild strength. Wow.

TASTE: Gorgeous barrel character steals the show, providing a unifying substratum of charred oak, impeccably subtle toasted coconut, vanilla, bourbon, toasty oak, rich barrel sugars - and yes, contrary to the aroma - a kiss of rye's signature spiciness (but no pesky whiskey heat).

And the best part? The barrel notes don't clobber the base; they're in perfect harmony with it, coaxing out the nuances of the base beer's enjoyable notes of milk chocolate, chocolate malt, marshmallow, oatmeal, cream, and deeply buried roasted barley.

The toasted coconut is just perfectly done here. Avery Brewing, take note - this is how it's done.

Perfect flavour amplitude. Great cohesion. This beer is a gestalt whole; no constituent note could be removed without compromising the painstakingly careful balance. The barrel notes just melt into the base (and vice versa), and each note has its place, teasing the palate. Definitely a high quality brew, and one I'm loving each sip of.

Constructively, while it boasts plenty of nuance (the toasted coconut in particular is a great paradigm) and is fairly complex, it's not as intricate as the world's best beers in the style - but in order to criticize this beer, you have to compare it to the very best, which is testament to its quality. It's got good depth of flavour where it could have great depth of flavour, and the flavour duration could be longer if we're nitpicking. Flavour intensity is perfect; I'll take this mellow easy to drink flavour profile over some of the whiskey booze-bombs on the market with more intense ashy and burnt flavours.

As it warms, I pick up on faint kisses of dark fruit - light enough to make me question if they're really there. And a bit more of the subtle burnt barrel character creeps in - but make no mistake, it's well balanced in this flavour profile.

TEXTURE: Damn near perfect. It's a delicate mouthfeel which comforts the palate with a pleasing silkiness and creaminess while maintaining a nice softness, but never does the texture feel inadequate to support the taste; it's full-bodied and thick enough without feeling overbearing, syrupy, or overly heavy on the palate. This teasing feel elevates the beer beyond the limits of the flavour profile, adding an almost refreshing element to the brew that keeps me coming back for more and more.

There's no whiskey heat to make this a sipper; in fact I find it dangerously drinkable. Overall presence on the palate is excellent. Incredible execution. Perfect carbonation.

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

Constructively, I would like it a bit fuller.

OVERALL: Effortlessly drinkable. A real treat of a barrel aged porter, this is up there with the best in the style, but never quite reaches world-class level due to its relative lack of intricacy. Central Waters is easily one of the most competent breweries in the biz when it comes to barrel aging. I'll greedily kill this bottle alone and will love every sip. Thanks, Duff27!


Pair with nougat or chocolate truffle.

 4,976 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

10oz served in a goblet at Alchemy Cafe, 5/5/2014.

A- Dark cola brown body, one finger white head with good retention, a little bit of lacing. Looks the part of an imperial porter.

S- Lots and lots of rye whiskey as I would expect from a Central Waters barrel-aged beer. Seriously, they must leave a quarter of the barrel filled with whiskey. However, this is not off-putting at all because it melds in well with the base beer as it warms up. Smooth milk chocolate sweetness, a bit of coffee to temper that sweetness. The rye definitely shows up in this one, which I appreciate.

F- Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, milk chocolate, a bit of roast, bitter dark malt, a little bit of espresso and that damp oak barrel flavour. Very interesting, starts out one-note when its served cold but opens up a good bit as it warms. Still not superbly complex, but its definitely hitting the notes it advertises in the name.

M- Quite smooth, medium bodied and just right for a porter. Good carbonation. Served too cold, so definitely let this warm up. The finish is clean and just about right between dry and slick.

O- This is very good, very interesting and drinkable. I enjoyed this one a lot, and I'm glad I came out to this one Madison Craft Beer Week event as this is apparently the only event they're bringing this one to for the week.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is as good as it gets, a genius use of rye barrels, where the grain harshness of the booze comes through, penetrating a silky smooth rich viscous semisweet chocolate porter thats simply stunning to begin with. the booze can be picked up a little in the nose, but it marries right into a big oaty base beer that has a ton of body and rich chocolate notes that must come from some cocoa addition, along with the chocolate malt. a mild roasty bitterness is there, but the mood is mellow and sweet, not rough and bitter. its syrupy in texture, the imperial part of it becoming obvious too, warming alcohol is present now. rye spice comes in robustly, with a light vanilla hit from the barrel that goes with the dark chocolate really well, not to mention the wood. less lingering sugar than expected on the swallow, plenty of malt leftovers though on the tongue and teeth, and a pleasant buzz comes right on from this too. it has to be near 12% abv. beautiful harmony between the spirit barrel and the chocolate oat complex of the beer, flawlessly rich body and texture, and one of those special beers that probably deserves more attention that its getting. remarkable product, perfect for the chilly nights that are here.

 1,222 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque, black in color, with 1/4 inch head. Smell is amazing--nice rye and barrel. Taste is dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, rye whiskey, alcohol, and oak barrel. Really complex and tasty. One of the better beers that I have had from a really good brewery. I will get this again.

 291 characters

Photo of Ri0
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured 22oz bottle into chalice. Bought at the brewery on Oct 11.

A - Black silk with a 1.5 cocoa head. Fades to a thick collar with nice swaths of lacing.

S - Dark Chocolate and cocoa followed by notes of bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Hints of sweet caramel and a touch of bitter chocolate.

T - Big dark chocolate and cocoa flavor with some sweet caramel. Bourbon and wood are subdued along with vanilla and marshmallow notes. This is very chocolaty and delicious.

M - Velvety and smooth, medium bodied. Good amount of carbonation with a rich and smooth finish.

O - A very nice chocolate porter with a tame barrel presence. So easy to drink and so rich and creamy. I'm so happy that I made the 2 hour drive to acquire some.

 729 characters

Photo of dar482
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a ruby brown to deep brown color.

The aroma hits upfront of spicy rye character, lots of whisky character, bitter chocolate, medium plus roast.

The flavor follows vanilla, more of that upfront rye whisky, chocolate candy and cocoa, without being too much like chocolate syrup.

The mouthfeel is creamy, medium to medium plus, generous carbonation.

Reminders of Lagunitast High-Westified with the upfront rye character, without the chewy intense mouthfeel, and incredible price point.

 505 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a simple black with a large-for-a-stout- creamy head. The aroma starts with a huge blast of milk chocolate and vanilla, as well as some other barrel spice notes, clove and coconut oil. Plum, raisin, and light molasses are also highly apparent. It is a very rich and powerful nose on this beer - makes me think of bourbon barrel aged cocoa puffs (note to self - sell this idea). The flavor also leads with chocolate and vanilla, with such creamy accompanying texture, it reminds me deeply of ice cream. The plum, raisin, dark fruit notes come through later in the flavor. The mouthfeel is utterly creamy and soft. Overall this is a another sensational barrel aged offering from Central Waters.

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Photo of Duff27
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%

A- Short mid-mocha head that recedes after a minute to a collar. The beer itself is a dark brown. Above average lacing from a barrel aged porter.

S- Smell is all rich, decadent chocolate, undertones of rye barrel.

T- Chocolate dominates the front end of each sip, then barrel notes. I get some of that toasted coconut that I get in 16, which is always welcome to this guy. Oak comes out as it warms. Would guy this at about 10.5%abv.

M- Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Low carbonation point works well here.

D/O- Overall, a solid BA porter/stout from Central Waters, which is the norm. With so many exceptional BA stouts in their portfolio this one may get looked over...still, a solid beer.

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thank you to @ri0
For sending me this wonderful beer.

Pours a deep dark mahogany with a slight tan head. Quickly dissipates to a slight ring.
The nose has the rye upfront followed by chocolate and roast
The flavor is so much more complex than the smell. The rye isn't dominate at all. Instead it is simply one player in an incredible symphony. The bite of the rye compliments the bitter chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch flavors. The sweetness moves toward the front as it warms but never dominates.
Carbonation is average and the mouthfeel is full but not heavy.
This is really a wonderful example of barrel aging. The rye compliments a terrific beer and the end result is sublime.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter pours a black color, with a small head. Aroma with rich with dark chocolate. Flavor has a full bourbon kick, with a big sweet and dry dark chocolate finish. Good body and easy to drink. Overall, a very full rich porter with a kick.

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Photo of Ben7773
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.91/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, dark brown that shows flashes of ruby in the light. A thin, tan head leaves spotty lacing down the glass.
Amazing aroma. Chocolate, roast coffee, spicy rye, hints of dark fruit and a slight wash of vanilla.
What a great-tasting beer! Big chocolate flavor, spicy rye with a hint of pepper, a slight boozy warmth on the tongue and a hint of dark fruit. As it warms, a bit of sweet vanilla and oak.
The mouthfeel is awesome, thick and luscious.
Just a great beer. I really hope they make this again!!

 512 characters

Photo of tvenne
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jared14
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of fenlop54
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of MattyG85
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of tan head that quickly fades away.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and fairly roasty dark malt driven aroma with a scent of rye whiskey and chocolate. Upfront barrel presence with a scent of rye whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Dark roasted malt with a scent of cocoa nibs, coffee, toast, biscuit, oats, toffee, caramel, and nuts with yeast. Some hints of brown sugar and dark fruit. A really good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a rich, sweet, and roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of rye whiskey and chocolate. Big barrel flavor with notes of rye whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Dark roasted malt with notes of cocoa nibs, coffee, biscuit, toast, oatmeal, caramel, toffee, and nuts along with some yeast. Some brown sugar sweetness. Subtle notes of dark fruit. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and slick. Some alcohol heat is felt as expected but it's still smooth.

Overall: A very good Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. Great balance of Rye barrel flavor and roasty malt notes.

 1,189 characters

Photo of boogerisu
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Zonian1
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tappangordo
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of striker2160
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -24.8%

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Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 347 ratings