Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Stout - American Imperial
4.52 | pDev: 5.75%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Seventeen is the product of blending two different bourbon barrel aged stouts to achieve a beer worthy of its forerunners. Barrel aging and blending is an art form, and we like to think we get better at it year by year. Happy Anniversary!
Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 687 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

First had this one back at March Madness 2015. I really should have kept acquiring these, I think I stopped after Eighteen. They're pretty similar and consistent I guess, plus you have the old regular version of the barrel aged stout that is always top notch and easier to acquire in greater quantities.

Pours black. Brings 1/3" tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, bourbon, oak. Simple as it seems, its a proven winner.

Taste keeps it going, not overly roasted, bitter or acrid. Mouth feel avoids sludge territory, both avoid hot booziness but instead drape the palate in mild chocolate and bigger bourbon and oak tones. Relatively smooth, bigger than the usual Central Waters stout, but not so much that it takes away from the experience. Deft hand in a big beer, smooth, almost creamy, not overly thick and stupid Chicago pour territory, mild amount of char to it that is perfectly complimentary. A fun beer to share 2 ways, not 115. Its a special occasion bigger variation and blend of the stuff they put in the 12oz bottles basically.

Sep 09, 2019
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.34/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aged but not forgotten, Central Waters gets better year by year and their seventeenth anniversary stout is a testament to nearly two decades of trial and error. What's old is... well, old again in a beer that's really a tale of two beers; each aged in bourbon barrels before blending.

As schizophrenic as it sounds, the abyss black Seventeen pours a luscious cream-like texture into the snifter, building a compact, dainty froth along the way. Its illustrious scent of dark roast coffee, chocolate, caramel and cream are only precursors to its malt dominance which lays sweetened tracks of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla on the early palate.

As the ale opens up through the middle palate, its sweetness holds steady while inviting a more robust taste of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, candied walnut and faint char in secondary support. Notions of honey and milkshake come to mind as the ale trends softly bitter with the earthiness of coffee, cocoa and nuttiness in tow. Its bourbon spice keeps the late palate lively and varied, right down to a coconut and campfire finish.

Full bodied and creamy, the beer's maturity easily hides its strength. Devilishly smooth and easy drinking for such imperial status is a nod to what this beer has done in five years of additional cellaring in the bottle.

Feb 06, 2019
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SeanBond from Illinois

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

As is typical of all the CW BA stouts I've had (no, I haven't had Black Gold or Ardea Insignis), the beer could benefit from a thicker base. The nose is pretty excellent, and the flavor is nice and complex (probably the blending of the barrels), but there's a bitter finish I can't quite place (wood or char, maybe?) that really hurts the beer in my opinion. An excellent BA stout, and just a couple things hold it back from being top-tier.

Nov 28, 2016
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Matthew for this treat!

Dark brown body with a thin beige collar. Aromas of oak, bourbon, chocolate, perhaps a note of cinnamon. Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. Tannic with lingering notes of oak. Bold and assertive. Outstanding.

Sep 23, 2016
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks bpolgaze for the epic extra!

A- Motor oil black pour from the bomber into a tulip. A frothy and deep mocha tan cap rises up to a half finger high. Decent retention and a wide belt remains dropping spotty lace and a few sheets.

S- Deep fudge brownie dessert and a hefty dose of Bourbon barrel. Deep chocolate, dark roast coffee, vanilla bean Bourbon oak, a touch of dark fruit esters, peppery whiskey and burnt barley.

T- Chocolate fudge, peppery Bourbon whiskey barrel and vanilla beans lead the flavor off with a blast of high strength. Rounding it all out are notes of toasty oak, caramel, sweets, cocoa puffs, heavily charred grains, milk chocolate, cherry truffle stem and all, pure oak wood and booze.

MF- Massively thick body with an oily slick and chewy creamy texture. Carbonation is at a medium level as the beer remains smooth despite ending in a very warm, even hot finish.

The barrel is strong with this one but the massive chocolate fudge and caramel do a great job balancing it out. Spicy whiskey is strong but it suits the malty base beer, also plenty of vanilla bean sweets.

Sep 20, 2016
Photo of Benish
Benish from Wisconsin

3.76/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured pitch black in color with minimal head. At the nose it was instant whiskey/booze and notes of dark chocolate and little licorice. The flavors were ton of whiskey - almost a bit too much. Then there were some chocolate and little molasses. But the booze was quite overwhelming and without a lot of depth. The mouthfeel was thinner then I expected. This was alright, just not nearly as good as one of the previous releases. I have not tried this when it was released, so I'm not sure how this beer has evolved overtime.

Aug 20, 2016
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BeerSamurai34 from Texas

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

Damn this one is crazy good. I had this side by side with 16, and this one crushed it. Still tons of chocolate and caramel in this one and the mouthfeel was super creamy and perfect.

Jul 12, 2016
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon, sweet chocolate, oak, dark chocolate, brownie, chocolate cake, alcohol, vanilla, roasty

Same for taste and smell. Phenomenal barrel stout like the other big CW beers

Jun 04, 2016
Photo of Scooter1027
Scooter1027 from Wisconsin

4.92/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Terrific terrific stout. I liked this one more than Eighteen, though both are great. Has great barrel flavors with vanilla, chocolate, hints of coffee, and an overall smooth roastiness. A more full feel than some of their Brewer Reserve barrel series. Definitely glad I got a shot at this one.

May 17, 2016
Photo of Stevem68
Stevem68 from Ohio

4.27/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a midnight black color. Aroma is roasted malts and chocolate with some booziness. The flavor follows the nose with some coffee but this is really smooth with a sweet boozy finish. This is a really good beer, I prefered it over eighteen.

May 06, 2016
Photo of bound4er
bound4er from Wisconsin

4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black in appearance with a fast breaking tan head. Rich smelling with oak, bourbon, vanilla, booze, cocoa and this unique, almost earthy element. Taste mirrors the nose which is a good thing - more bourbon, creamy vanilla, barrel influences (charred oak mainly), milk chocolate with just a kiss of roasted malt bitterness on the finish. Plenty of body and creaminess to this beer with no carbonation to speak of. This is another killer anniversary stout from CW.

Apr 09, 2016
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Brolo75 from California

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

Bottle poured into a snifter
A: Pours black with no head retention, no lacing, very little carbonation, does look pretty thick.
A: Bourbon, wood and oak, hints of vanilla, slight toasted coconut, picking up some alcohol.
T: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, moderate amount of bitterness, finish has some dry, dark coffee notes, hint of chocolate, very smooth and drinkable, well balanced.
M: Medium/light bodied with low carbonation, some alcohol burn on the palate.
O: Very solid bourbon barrel aged beer, has a great drinkability, lots of flavor, nice aroma, and great mouthfeel.

Apr 01, 2016
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MjBrewhouse from Idaho

4.56/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Off the chart good. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate.So balanced with rich viscus mouth feel. At just over a year old couldn't ask for much more in a barrel aged stout. Central waters does it again.

Feb 15, 2016
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BrewingMN from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black motor oil, very light carbonation, small half inch head that reduced to almost nothing.
Smell: Sweet chocolate syrup, bourbon, fudge brownie, raisins, vanilla.
Taste: Sweet chocolate, bourbon, caramel, roasted coffee, oak tannins faintly on the finish.
Feel: The carbonation is low but for the style it works. Nice smooth feel, perfect thickness.
Overall: Central waters has one of the best barrel aging programs around and this showcases it perfectly! Really great beer that I feel lucky to try! Impressive beer that can hang with any BA stout.

Feb 09, 2016
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

4.16/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got a couple of these from Masterski and Rutger. Loved 16 so could wait to dive into these. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy, light tan head with good retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident for the style. Head fades to a full creamy cap. A slight wisp and foamy ring remain until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, sweet cream, vanilla and coconut. Toffee and dark fudge chocolate all over. Bold and very enticing for sure. Nice stuff.

TASTE: Oak, bourbon, milk chocolate and sweet cream up front. Some alcohol and the swallow with a bold and boozy finish of bourbon, oak, coconut, sweet cream and milk chocolate with some bitter pure chocolate and coffee notes. Lots of barrel and booze with some decadent chocolate flavors. Really nice stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, a touch prickly perhaps, goes down fine and finishes a bit mouth-coating. Some heat lingers and a touch light for the style.

OVERALL: This is excellent. Lots of great barrel quality and a nice base stout as well. Pretty much just as good as I remember CW16 being. For some reason I find their anniversary imperial stouts much better than whatever I've gotten from them in a 12oz format. *shrugs* Anyways, a thicker body and less visible carbonation for the style would help here, but these are minor complaints. Loved this. Thanks again guys. Highly recommended.

Jan 06, 2016
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JISurfer from South Carolina

4.66/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So lucky to have a Central Waters hook up out here. He gave me this as a gift the other day, decided to crack it open tonight. It's everything you would expect out of a big barrel aged stout. Just a little sweet, boozy, dark chocolate. You could just about cut it with a knife it's so thick. Definitely worth seeking out.

Dec 24, 2015
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lots of vanilla, dark chocolate, cherry skin, roasted malt bitterness and marshmallow. Warming booziness. Oaky dry finish. Perfect level of sweetness. Medium mouthfeel. Pretty amazing.

Dec 08, 2015
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TX-Badger from Texas

4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark brown almost black like motor oil, viscous, with khaki colored head. Bourbon, chocolate, oak, roasted malts, even a faint hint of chocolate brownie in there; follows onto the palate. Full bodied and chewy, thick. Finishes with bourbon and chocolate.

Dec 07, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

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

im not too sure how this differs from sixteen, i know its a blend, but i have no idea of what, and from what i can remember, the two are similar. not in their nuances, but in the fact that they are both as thick as blacktop sealant, both are impossibly rich and dark, sweet, boozy, and as packed with bourbon flavor as any beer on the market. (they are also both painstakingly hard to come by). other breweries just dont do it this big, its up there with something like a black tuesday in terms of its depth and quality, just very few peers at the top here. this one is so sticky and thick, barely would run off the table if it was spilled, and it coats the palate forever. i taste most of this after the swallow, or rather i taste it all over again in a different order. the bourbon is huge, vanilla and honey all they way, with a slightly sharp alcohol kick and some char from the barrel that blends right into the almost burnt specialty malt base. hints of smoke and brown sugar, bakers chocolate, and vanilla bean. coats the throat like a lozenge, and is one of the biggest beers in terms of body and weight thats ever been in my mouth. i could taste it for an hour after it was gone, and while i dont really see it being radically different from the way i remember the sixteen being, its awfully impressive beer. worth trading for, even at a considerable cost, if these huge stouts are your thing.

Oct 13, 2015
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PHBoiler from Illinois

4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon on the nose to begin. The flavor is a mix of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and hints of coconut. There is some bourbon heat but it is well balanced and warming. The right amount of bourbon character, which highlights the beer.

Oct 12, 2015
Photo of Ri0
Ri0 from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured 22oz bottle into snifter.Midnight black with a thin 1 finger tan hear. Quick retention and a few spots of lacing on my glass. The aroma is wonderful with bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa, marshmallow and thick caramel. The taste is nice and roasty with vanilla and bourbon filled dark chocolates with hints of, oak, caramel, and mild hops. The barrel blends in so nicely with the base stout to create a memorable drinking experience. Medium body with creamy, smooth feel. Carbonation is spot on. I had this somewhat fresh on tap and prefer it after a year. Excellent BB Stout!

Oct 10, 2015
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Hopgoddess 312 for this amazing bottle!

A - Pours a pitch black color with a thick toffee colored ring, very viscous as it sticks to the side of the snifter.

S - Vanilla, dark chocolate, oak, bourbon.

T - Vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, dark cherries, oak, boozy effervescence, a little bit of dark fruit buried way down, the flavors hit your palate in layers - very nice complexity!

M - Heavy / full body, sticky on the lips, semi-dry finish, velvety.

O - This is an amazing beer and I expected nothing less from Central Waters, they are masterful at milking their barrels for as much flavor as possible.

Oct 06, 2015
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madtowndmb1 from Wisconsin

4.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A little thinner than 16, which I thought was up there with the best in the world.. This one is close, smell is awesome, taste is great but like I said a touch thin.

Still CW's barrel aged beers are extremely solid and well worth seeking out especially the newer ones! Well done Amherst!

Oct 02, 2015
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SinjaminBentek from Nebraska

4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle share at Courtyard & Cellar for Toppling Goliath Mornin' Delight release!

22oz Bottle

Very smooth. Very complex. Lots of chocolate. Alcohol is completely hidden. Jet black in color. Highly recommended.


Sep 14, 2015
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winningwes91 from North Carolina

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

Pours out a pitch black color. Smells of bourbon soaked chocolate fudge with dark fruits. Taste is exactly the same. Wow. Nice thick mouthfeel. My first cw beer. Wonderful experience. Thanks a lot for the bottle Kris.

Sep 01, 2015
Seventeen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 687 ratings