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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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #267
Ranked #1,009
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.
Reviews: 769 | Ratings: 2,761 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

1st review of brewer. Amazed.
a) nice look - pours dark brown with 1 inch tan head, retention and lace very good.
s) Wood, bourbon, vanilla, molasses, malt, bittersweet chocolate.
t) Follows smell. Abundant. Satisfying fullness with oak, earth, roast coffee beans.
f) Slick, medium/full, soft carb.
o) As good as all comers in this category.

Aug 06, 2020
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NCSapiens from Indiana

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

Public service announcement: as an experiment had 2018 side by side 2019. Bottom line, 2019 is still a bit too hot and 2018 was much better. This review is for 2018 vintage aged two years.

This is a very good to outstanding bourbon stout. Dark black with light head that settles into a thick ring around the glass with slight lacing. Smells good, the usual bourbon barrel (vanilla, oak, etc.) Tastes great, but overwhelmed a bit by the bourbon vanilla and wood—make sure to drink at a warm enough temperature as it improves greatly as it warms. Overall it is really good but not so good that not trying it means missing out on something. Give it a try if you like bourbon stouts and see it on the menu.

Jul 30, 2020
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MesaDan from Minnesota

3.37/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle coded 30319 (brewed 2019)...drank June, 2020: Slight sweet chocolate nose with a bit earthiness; deep amber / dark chestnust hue; tan lacy retaining head; medium mouthfeel (a bit watery) with sharp carbonation; taste of musty oak & bourbon backnotes. There is an earthy taste, but no dark fruit sweetness. There is a chest warmth. Finishes very dry. Some sweetness with intial taste would improve this beer.

Jun 03, 2020
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Milktoast75 from Wisconsin

4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 2019 version 12oz into snifter.
Poured with minimal lace, head. Dark but not opaque with a curious amber ring at the very top of beer in glass. Swirling the glass gave a very nice lacing effect. Plus let loose a huge bouquet of rich wood, booze, chocolate and vanilla.
The taste is full without being overwhelming. Big rich smooth barrel flavor. Lots of bourbon wood mellowed with hints of chocolate and vanilla.
With such an overwhelming flavor profile you would think I could only handle a couple of quafs of this beer. Not. Full but not heavy feel. Finishes with a mix of alcohol and bitter chocolate.
CW has taken barrel aging to a consistently superior level. IHMO.

May 25, 2020
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

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

12 ounce bottle, 2019 vintage, thanks to Brutaltruth for this one! Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is good and there's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, molasses, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also the addition of some oak and earthy flavors too. Good amount of barrel character in both the aroma and taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's slick and has a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was a good overall brew, wouldn't mind having this again in the future!

Apr 10, 2020
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schoolboy from Ohio

4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I set this bottle up in my aging box a few months ago, but the zombie apocalypse means that I can't get out to get brews so this gets drank now. Emergency provisions.

It opens a nice black with fine head and lacing. The aroma is mostly boozy, but a bit roasty too. The taste is loads of roasty malts with a good amount of hops too. The barrel aging comes through just a bit. It works, and leaves a nice clean aftertaste.


Apr 09, 2020
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sixx bought a 6pck of this beer for us whilst in Wisconsin for the Eagle River pond hockey tournament. It poured an opaque dark with ecru ring head that is not leaving any lace. The scent had subtle cocoa nibs and bourbon highlights. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with dark fruit and chocolate with boozy bourbon. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall its a solid beer.

Mar 30, 2020
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wl2bill from Wisconsin

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

One of the first bourbon barrel aged beers I have had. It is still an all time favorite. I have had it fresh and aged. It has a different character in a stages. This will always be one of my measuring sticks.

Mar 20, 2020
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2019 vintage

L -- Pours a surprisingly light shade of black, almost a deep brown. Scant half finger of tan head produced with aerated pour. Minimal retention or lacing
S -- Chocolate cake, dried dark fruit, herbal hop, bourbon, oak, vanilla
T -- Dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, hint of char,
F -- Big mouthfeel, medium carb. Has the perfect amount of sweetness and a nice drying astringency on the tail end


Mar 12, 2020
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ChrisMon02 from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

I have read the reviews and this one deserves the hype. So simple and delicious. Well integrated barrel with cocoa and light nuances of char and coffee. Smooth and medium bodied. Nothing flashy here, just good beer. Well done. I will definately revisit. Recommended.

Feb 10, 2020
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krh from Illinois

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

This was very good, but not sure why it's so sought after. Not too heavy or thick, just solid all around. I'll take the Founders or varying BCBS releases over this.

Feb 10, 2020
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours almost black; small khaki head that fades leaving solid retention and lacing. The aromas have a nice blend of bourbon and milk chocolate. Some caramel. Some dark fruits. Malts are there. The flavors basically follow the nose for the most part. Nice blend of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. The dark chocolate gives it a mild bitterness. More caramel along with some hints of toffee. Mild hints of vanilla. The bourbon comes through and blends well with everything. Solid wood/oak notes. Malts do their thing. Finishes on the drier side. Alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels somewhat light and thin, but there's still some body to it. This one is dangerously drinkable.

This is a solid barrel-aged stout. The aromas are great and the flavors aren't bad. The flavors feel light compared to the nose, but it's still nice. The bourbon comes through. It's not bad at all. It's a clean example of the style.

Jan 02, 2020
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This very nice imperial
pours a muddy blackish brown with tea outliers and a
decent head of off white dissipating foam that settles
to a thin ring, thin dusty layer, and shows nice lacing.
Nose of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dark chocolate hints
with subtle char and strong booze. Flavors follow the
nose with rich bourbon and vanilla notes with moderate
oak and light char amongst dark sweet chocolate. Nice mouth
feel; full body, smooth, lightly warming, light carbonation,
and a lightly dry finish.

Overall, a SOLID brew from a newer to me brewery.


Nov 14, 2019
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rex_4539 from Greece

4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Very dark brown/black color, one finger brown head, ok lacing, light carbonation.

S: Chocolate, coffee.

T: Chocolate, coffee, sweet, alcohol.

F: Full bodied, full flavored.

O: A stellar imperial stout.

Oct 09, 2019
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AvengeTheRavel from Connecticut

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.

Sep 22, 2019
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ChicagoJ from Illinois

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!

Apr 06, 2019
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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 rating

12/29/19 update - aging didn’t do it any favors, tastes thinner and flatter than I remember. Hard to believe this beer is “sought after”...

Mar 13, 2019
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DesMorris from Minnesota

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

Mar 09, 2019
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Gilbertofiowa from Iowa

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.

Mar 09, 2019
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npolachek from New York

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.

Mar 04, 2019
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German-Helles from Wisconsin

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!

Mar 03, 2019
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

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

Mar 03, 2019
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josanguapo from Spain

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

Feb 21, 2019
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EMV from Pennsylvania

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.

Jan 23, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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.

Jan 04, 2019
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 2761 ratings