Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #235
Ranked #948
4.27 | pDev: 8.43%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Notes: American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.

The brewery's most highly sought after beer, this imperial stout is aged to perfection in oak bourbon barrels. Look for this tasty teat to contain hints of bourbon and vanilla with roasted overtones that is [sic] sure to please any connoisseur's palate. Serve at cellar temperature from a snifter glass and enjoy this expression of out passion for brewing.
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Reviews: 755 | Ratings: 2,726
Photo of AvengeTheRavel
3.13/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I like this style of beer a lot but i felt this one was a little too thick/beefy in the body. The taste was suppressed by the boozy heaviness. I also felt this way about Central waters bourbon barrel aged barley wine, so i think a) this is common across their product line, and b) no point in me trying their other beers and expecting something different.

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

4/5/19 (Chicago): 12 ounce bottle, gift from my brother Andy, poured into snifter. Very generous, creamy and bubbly tan head, holds very well,, leaves generous lacing. Dark black texture. Very strong and pleasant bourbon aroma, roasted malt, very nice. Nice blended bourbon taste, strong upfront. Roast malt backs the bourbon well, cocoa as well. Creamy texture, carbonation holds well, easy smooth drinking. Bourbon stronger as beverage warms, though not overpowering. Overall outstanding bourbon stout, thank you so much Andy!

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Photo of Tony210
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a darkish color, a little on the thin side, modest head. Has a really nice chocolate aroma. Flavor is lots of chocolate, ample bourbon barrel, roasted malts, dark roast coffee, touch of sweet molasses, light vanilla bean flavor, gentle bitter espresso finish. Carbonation creates a creamy texture. Overall, this is a very enjoyable “light” BBA Imperial Stout, not crazy heavy and thick, yet it hits all the marks of a BBA Imperial Stout, quite deceptive at 10.5% abv. Curious to see how it ages...

12 oz bottle, 2018 vintage
4.25 rating

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Photo of DesMorris
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- pours thick and black with little to no head, although served at around 35°F.
S- strong whiskey and oak with chocolate notes
T- sweet chocolatey vanilla molasses with a little whiskey and oak but not overpowering alcohol detected. Finishes a little roasty/ nutty
F- very smooth and chewy, low to medium carbonation, just enough to compliment flavors.
O- very good, almost textbook example it seems to me, of a bourbon barrel stout. Although a high gravity beer, the alcohol is not overpowering at all and not too warming like some in this style. It seems very well balanced, but just slightly on the sweet side for my personal taste, which goes with the style though. Highly recommended

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Photo of Gilbertofiowa
4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Overall a very great beer that reminds me of getting together with family and enjoying a pleasant and warming drink. Despite more of a slick body rather than sticky and very full, roasted malts shine through and is balanced well with bourbon flavors at a slightly chilled temp 40-50f. At refrigeration temp flavor is more bourbon than stout.

Aroma is great, roasty, bready, light biscuit with warm overtones.

Banana spice both on flavor and aroma. Banana, nutmeg, very light yeast.

First taste was boozy but it came right out of the cooler. As it warms the flavor is more rich and less boozy. Bourbon flavor and malt profile very balanced as it warms.

Slick mouthfeel, mild but very fine carbonation, half finger head that fades slightly quick, but overall I wish there was more mouthfeel. Slightly thinner body than I would want or expect. Bourbon flavor is good, but aftertaste of the bourbon is just ok. I dont want to judge this beer based on BC by goose island, but it is definitely comparable. A little bit more sharper in roasted malt flavor and less body.

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Photo of npolachek
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with an oak aroma. Tastes dry with bourbon and slight chocholate and mild sweetness. Mild carbonation. Solid oak feel, but not on par with some others in this category.

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Photo of German-Helles
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass, there is maybe a 1/2 brown creamy look head of foam that settles to a thin layer after several minutes. The beer is a very dark brown, even held up to light I can not see through it.
I can smell a nice oak aroma from a distance, along with a bit of chocolate maybe, very nice!
The oak gives it a little dryness, then the bourbon flavor, the taste is not nearly as sweet as the smell. Slight chocolate.
Very smooth, creamy, a little carbonation fizz on the tongue.
Overall this is to my liking, very smooth, I like the amount of oak and bourbon flavors, and subtle sweetness. Sip it, so you can enjoy all the flavors!

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid black color. Light carbonation with an above average body .
Aroma is non bitter black coffee . Mild milk. chocolate , alcohol, and bourbon.
Taste is very identical to aroma, all the flavors balance really well and produce an easy to get down beer. The high abv is really well hidden and has very little high alcohol burn.
Overall it was a really great beer and totally worth trying

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Photo of josanguapo
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

De Labirratorium. En copa Teku. Viendo Westworld 2x01. Con queso pok. Bastante buena integracion del bourbon con la birra pero le falta intensidad para estar a la altura de los mejores exponentes del estilo

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Photo of EMV
4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Poured into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly black pour with a bit of mahogany brown around the edges... thin off-white head leaves a modest ring of lacing.

S: Chocolate, vanilla, and sweet roast.

T/F: Sweet roasted grains and sugars up front. Strong cocoa presence... minimal coffee. The bourbon is subtle after all these years... with more vanilla than booze. Medium bodied.... smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

O: A very nicely rendered big barrel aged stout. At 7 years it's probably lost some of the bourbon character, but has a very nice mix of chocolate and vanilla to go with the roast. Enjoyable and I'd love to try a younger vintage for comparison.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. '2017' vintage.
Deep brown to black colored body, with garnet colored back lit areas. One finger of beige head, which later exists as a thin cap and thicker ring. There is some scattered lacing left behind with each sip, but it is scattered and dispersed.
Aroma is very pleasant, with dark roasted malts combining with oak barrel that has lots of vanilla and bourbon.
Taste is dark roasted malts, balanced well with the barrel aging, which introduces smooth bourbon and vanilla. Can pick out ancillary flavors of chocolate, coffee, and toffee.
Thin to medium mouth feel. Good carbonation.
Well balanced barrel aged stout. Could have a more dense, thicker, sticky, coating mouth feel, but this is common with Central Waters stouts. The smell and flavors are excellent and enjoyable throughout.

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Photo of briandgilbert
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - all black, tiny bit tan at top with a little foam from pour
Smell - smells great, nice stout notes
Taste- dang good! Strong bourbon flavor with that barrel dryness, not sweet, wow it’s nice!

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Photo of kemoarps
4.14/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. From the depths of @FlintB's bottomless NBS BIF#007 box.

Pours a powdered dark brown like muddy coffee. Swell of creamy head settles back to its ring with apparitional whisps across the cap. Whispy lacing, though that's more than a lot of BA stouts can claim.

Nose gives notes of raisins and spicy bourbon. Some coffee bitter with sweet molasses, nuttiness, and a little chocolate.

Flavour is sweet and smoothe. Chocolate and coffee lead in with some creamy vanilla and oak. As it warms, the finish transforms into an incredible chocolate syrup descent down the back side of the flavour peak. The barreling comes through a little bit on the post taste with that alcohol/mash bitterness, and there's a little bit of bourbon spice to be found throughout the flavour experience.

Body is medium thin, but incredbily creamy and smoothe with little pinpricks of carbonation. That chocolate syrup slide down the back side mentioned above pushes this section into a different realm too.

Overall this is a really tasty BA Stout, and one that had been on my wants list for a while. Thanks Brian for sending it along and letting me enjoy some of the incredible stouts the midwest has to offer!!

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Photo of beersampler6
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice, tasty, well-balanced imperial stout. Nice dark oily-black color with some tan head and a little spotty lingering lacing. Smells of roast coffee, vanilla, bourbon and a hint of chocolate and raisin. Tastes similarly, along with brown sugar, molasses, malt and caramel. Nice smooth slightly creamy mouthfeel and just the right amount of carbonation.

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Photo of qrazvan
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown-red colour with a reduced head. Medium body.
Smells of bourbon, cognac, chocolate, cherries.
Tastes at first as a sparkling coffee with caramel, prunes, walnuts, vanilla and chocolate notes. All is nicely blended in the woody, bourbon barrel feel. Sweet taste along the tasting, becoming more dry towards the end and especially in the aftertaste.
A nicely crafted aged stout!

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Photo of jdhilt
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a two finger off-white head, that fades quickly leaving no lace. Black color, no high lights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Bourbon and caramel nose and taste is similar with bourbon, caramel and vanilla. Higher abv, 9.5%, is hidden. Brewed in 2016, 12oz bottle $1.85 from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 batch

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a finger of dense light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of liquid fudge with hints of vanilla, caramel and oak. Slight hint of coffee.
T: Taste is big and chocolatey up front with some coffee and roasted malts. Nice and light vanilla and caramel with some drying tannic oak with a little wood spice. Swallow is more chocolate, coffee and roasted malts with a hint of oxidation before the oak and vanilla come back across with some lingering roasted malts with a hint of charred wood.
M: This beer is surprisingly light in body given the abv and style. On the palate it sits at about a medium. Carbonation is just below being prickly while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer with some great flavors and complexity. It has aged gracefully and only shows hints of oxidation. The only thing I really wish this beer had was a bit more body as it does come across a little thin. Still a very good beer that is worth a try.

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Photo of dafla67
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown. The smell is chocolate, vanilla, malts and bourbon. The taste is amazing. Begins with the vanilla and caramel flavors followed by malts and chocolate and finishes with a bit of spicy bourbon. Very complex and well balanced. No one flavor is over powering. Feel is a bit light for the flavor of such a stout.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown pour with a finger of tan head.
Smell is bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla.
Taste follows, chocolate, barrel, roast malt, toffee, and caramel.
A bit thin to me but overall a tasty BA stout. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, just a touch of heat on the tongue.

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Photo of DavidR_9
4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thin dark mahogany brown/amber, settles into a shiny black body in the snifter. Fizzy tan head with small bubbles, fizzes out to edges with some small spots across surface.

Smell is straight up charred oak, roasty malt, caramel, vanilla, all followed by slightly spicy bourbon.

Taste is semi sweet up front with caramel, vanilla, and some earthy oak, a cola like roasty maltiness with some peanut character, quickly overtaken by a medium subtle bourbon charscter that has a slight spice and some sweetness. Not a whole lot of heat, just the right amount for this brew imo.

Feel is fairly light- medium light. Fairly high carbonation that gives it a sight cola like character but I think it works really well. The high carbonation quickly fizzes out to a smooth blanketing bourbon finish that lingers just long enough to encourage the next sip.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Really dark brown color with tan head. Aroma has really nice bourbon, butterscotch, toffee, caramel and milk chocolate. Taste follows with dark malts, butterscotch, some roasted malt acidity on the finish with medium roasty bitterness. Medium body and carbonation, quite smooth mouthfeel. Overall the bourbon flavors come through really nicely but there is also some alcohol heat.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is cola reddish-brown but surprisingly fills to shiny black, accumulating a lumpy, fuzzy light tan head that clings in slight ridges.

Smell exhibits plenty of spicy bourbon and charred oak with chocolate roasted malt, roasted peanuts, wafer and vanilla. It's a very pleasant and solid aroma that fills the nose without too much heat, capped off by a hint of licorice.

Taste is vanilla and cake batter right up front, but that's quickly hit with a splash of spiced bourbon and waxy, nutty oak. Flavors of cocoa and toasted dark malt support the middle, as bourbon comes back out on the swallow with a heated exhale.

The moderate to full body has a soft froth that delicately dissipates to a perfectly semi-dry, soft yet tingly finish, warming the gut.

This is a sleeper hit behind all the flavored variations Central Waters does. I'm glad I finally got to try the OG, as it's easily my favorite of theirs.

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Photo of untitledeuphoria
4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage, warmed to slughtly below room temperature, enjoyed from a tulip glass.

Pours jet black with zero head on a hard pour... I imagine four years in storage has something to do with that. Wonderful aroma, dark fruits, subtle bourbon, faint vanilla, some char. Taste has dropped off a little from years past, possibly a little astringent, but still deeply enjoyable...oak, bakers chocolate, deep roast.

Looking forward to getting a fresh batch this fall.

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Photo of mschrei
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage. Not super dark, tannish foamy lacing. Smell is boozy barrels with malt and sweet chocolate and vanilla notes. Taste is balance of barrel, booze, malt, sweet chocolate and vanilla. Smooth and flavorful, just not as bold as I'd like.

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Photo of Lahey
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having a 2 year old bottle from 2016.
It's a black inky beer with small disappearing head with very little lacing.

Smell is dark fruit, bourbon and roasted malt.

Flavor follows the smell. I'm not a big fan of too much dark fruit in my stouts, but the barrel balances it so well. I don't always like a lot of barrel, but this barrel flavor isn't too hot or rough. Some coffee/cocoa roasted malt.

Feel is somewhat thin due to the reasonably low abv for thr style.

Overall a very good example of the style. Maybe the time on it mellowed it out, but it's a very well rounded complex beer. I'll probably go back to the store and buy more. Not sure how it's stayed in the cooler this long.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 2726 ratings