Brewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate PorterBrewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter
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Porter - Imperial
Ranked #21
Ranked #930
4.31 | pDev: 6.96%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Brewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate PorterBrewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter
Notes: Chocolatey beyond compare, Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter is made with our Imperial Porter brewed with cocoa nibs and aged in rye barrels.
Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 402 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by wl2bill:
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wl2bill from Wisconsin

4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nice balance of sweetness and the the whiskey spice. I am a rye whiskey fan and glad to see something different in a barrel program. I like all of their brewers rescue beers and almost always have some in hand.

Oct 30, 2019
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kojevergas from Louisiana

4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Oct 24, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Oct 13, 2014
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

May 06, 2014
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SammyJaxxxx from New Jersey

4.61/5  rDev +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.

Oct 10, 2016
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Ri0 from Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Oct 17, 2014
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +16%
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.

Apr 30, 2016
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dar482 from New York

4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

May 18, 2016
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

May 21, 2016
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Oct 22, 2017
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Duff27 from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

Oct 16, 2014
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Brewsed from North Carolina

4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aug 12, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.91/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mostly a deep brown and black, hits those brown appearance sides towards the edge, tan head, 2/5". Aroma was sweet bourbon, rye, chocolate malt.

Taste, smooth as usual coming from Central Waters, appreciable sweetness that is more about the rye barrel than any sugar, very mild and enjoyable. Chocolate malt imparts chocolate, but not adjunct levels. Mild vanilla notes. Alcohol very well tamed, this is something you can dome a bomber of by yourself. Well priced, but still want this in a 4 pack like the others. No need for Chicago pours here.

May 09, 2016
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XmnwildX12 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Dec 14, 2014
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TheBlueJerzzzz from Virginia

4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jul 07, 2016
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crobinso from Colorado

3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sep 23, 2017
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Snoopy488 from Nevada

4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

May 15, 2016
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2019 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours almost black; khaki head that falls leaving nice retention and solid lacing. There's some odd brown spots in the head, almost like it's sediment or something. It's honestly the first time I've ever seen something like this, so it's hard to explain or figure out what it really is. It's not really a big deal, just odd. The aromas have a nice subtle blend of bourbon and chocolate. Some black cherries along with some dark fruits. Malts are there. The flavors follow the nose. More chocolate leading the way along with the bourbon. Nice balance between the two. More dark fruit in the mix. Some rye and black pepper. Subtle spiciness. Malts do their thing. Mild warmth in the finish, but the alcohol is still well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's sharp, slick, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a nice barrel-aged brew. It might not be flashy, but it's simply well executed. It has everything that you'd look for in the style. Once again, this one is truly dangerously drinkable.

Mar 05, 2020
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larryarms847 from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown and sits near black in the glass with nice clarity and a finger and a half of fluffy tan carbonation.

Luscious chocolate and fudge notes with a noticeable rye spicy character and whiskey sweetness.

Big rye barrel character, sweet and spicy notes of rye whiskey, milk and dark chocolate, and nice roastiness.

Medium-full bodied, medium carbonation, sweet, subtle spiciness, dessert-like.

Overall, another fantastic barrel aged offering from CW, they have been knocking it out of the park with their barrel program and this is fantastic.

May 28, 2016
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Ikeithbot from New York

4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours black tending towards deep brown with one finger mocha colored creamy head. Fairly long retention and some light spotty lacing.

S: Aroma screams dark chocolate and bourbon. Light oak and vanilla with a touch of caramel.

T: Again, rich chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla. Barrel presence is evident but subtle. Kind of reminds me of a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top.

M: Full bodied and well carbonated for BA beer. Finish is slightly sweet and creamy.

O: Wonderful beer. Amazing flavor and aroma. I look forward to trying other beers from Central

Apr 27, 2016
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RoamingGnome from Wisconsin

4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I wanted to try this last year, but was unsuccessful. Glad I snagged a bottle this time around. I enjoyed this at cellar temp in a snifter. It's a cola color, and had a finger of tan head. The aroma is like that first wafting of air in a world class chocolatier's storefront. Yeah, that's an exaggeration, but the chocolate on the nose is quite nice. The interplay of the chocolate and rye work well in the flavor. The rye barrel character seems more predominant on the finish, which has a little heat. It's a smooth beer, and the body seems about right for a Porter. Central Waters has yet again impressed with a barrel aged offering, and done so at a fair price. Glad to recommend this beer.

Apr 16, 2016
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Gambyt20 from Illinois

4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jun 10, 2016
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SixPack6 from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Dec 10, 2014
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spartan3186 from Maryland

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oct 02, 2016
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mattreitz49 from Florida

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 15, 2017
Brewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 402 ratings