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 #324
Ranked #1,093
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: 781 | Ratings: 2,785 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

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

2014 bottle opened in 2021. From fridge temp. Pours black with some head. Quickly dissipates. Dark fruit dominates the nose. Not totally sure if this is a good thing or not. Cherries, blackberries, and strawberries. Chocolate and roasted malts are there as well. The taste is really good. Not getting much barrel, but this starts to come through as the temp goes up. Mostly dark fruit – like raspberry dipped chocolate. Roasted malts, oak, black licorice, molasses, fudge, and bourbon. Gets better as it warms. Mouthfeel is nice and thick.

Sep 18, 2021
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black and beautiful. Had about a finger head and smells of semisweet chocolate, molasses and dates, prunes or raisins. Taste follows the nose and I get some marshmallow creaminess with the semisweet chocolate, the dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. Taste is leaning a bit sweet too. Mouthfeel is thin but leaves interesting flavors on the tongue. Overall a fine Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. A nice change from the IPAs. SPECIAL THANKS to @jzeilinger for sharing this excellent stout. A 2020 Vintage.

May 23, 2021
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5toutman75 from Illinois

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 2012 release.
Consumed 5/19/21

I didn’t mean to age this guy this long, but I’m excited to see how this will go. I think like a lot of Midwesterners, this was my first barrel aged stout. It’s a classic beer! I remember buying it years ago thinking I was being fancy spending so much money on a 4 pack of beer for my Mexican BYOB dinner. I paid no attention to the abv, and promptly got drunk at dinner. Unlike Goose’s BCS, this is the perfect introduction to a barrel aged stout. It’s a strong beer, but not overwhelming for a newbie like BCS. After drinking these for a few years though, BCS and higher ABV stouts usually take the win for me. Still, I can enjoy this on a weeknight at least. Onto the beer...
I smell the bourbon which for me is hugely positive. I’ve grown to LOVE the motor oil double barrel 15% and above barrel aged stouts. On the nose, it’s clear this isn’t that but it’s going to be tasty. It’s a bit thin for my favorites. Black Gold is thicker. This is like BG’s baby brother. Drinking it I feel I’m drinking a nice barrel aged Porter rather than a stout. There’s wonderful vanilla notes. It’s super smooth which I contribute to the age of the beer. I like the bourbon notes too. I wish I had opened up this versus a fresh one to see how the aging has affected it.
Overall this is a classic beer and would always recommend it. Central Waters knows what they’re doing. Black Gold beats this guy, but I’ll it them again and always recommend them for newbies and experienced barrel aged stout drinkers.

May 20, 2021
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StoneTSR from Colorado

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass at cellar temp just like the description told me to do.

APPEARANCE: Super dark, black hole-like black. A decent head foams up and sticks around longer than expected, but as with any barrel-aged stout that's close to 11%, it doesn't last long aside from a few splotchy patches on the surface and a thin ring around the edges.

SMELL: Not sure how long this was aged, but the wood comes through strong in the nose, along with a dark, roasted coffee aroma. A little dark chocolate is detectable too, but it is far outweighed by the oak and roast.

TASTE: That oak is still quite strong and really provides a pleasant, woody backbone for a complex array of flavors - bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, deep roasty flavors, a little cherry, orange, fig, and mild booziness. This is really a rich and delicious beer.

MOUTHFEEL: At no point does this beer stray too far into sweet or too dry. The beer starts out with a bitter-sweet, orange-cherry-chocolate and finishes with a warming alcohol burn and roastiness. The sparkle is light, but more present than it is for some other Imperial Stouts I've had.

OVERALL: Just a treat. Every time I can get my hands on some Central Waters I'm happy, and this one did not disappoint. Not sure if following the directions to put it in the snifter at room temp made a difference, but it certainly didn't hurt! Great beer from a great brewery.

Apr 27, 2021
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pick this up at the village estate in Ohio 2020 edition into a stein. Great looking beer deep dark blackness mild Brown at the base with a nice half inch of mocha froth. Smell is pretty mild chocolate notes some mild oak a good amount of bourbon some coffee roasts but it seems pretty well blended. Taste is unexpectedly smooth as well very nice rich oak flavor smooth leading to some mild bourbon notes and a nice mend of bittersweet chocolates and coffee roasts. I could see why this rating is so high it's very balanced and easy drinking leading to the mouth feel of medium to heavy and smooth despite the almost 11% ABV. overall I am kind of floored that I only got one of these if it's still around I'll probably pick up a couple more a very smooth and balanced Bourbon barrel aged beer!

Apr 01, 2021
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jeffoert from Minnesota

4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This has become one of my favorite beers which I can still find. Although a little pricey it is less than other top of the line and similar type of beer I have had. There are various flavors that others point out but none too strong or dominating. I could drink this all night but I need to hold back given the alcohol content.

Mar 27, 2021
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woosterbill from Kentucky

4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle of the 2020 vintage, poured into Gandhi-Bot tulip. Thanks to Sam for sending this one my way!

L: Black body with clear chestnut highlights. One-inch head of tight tan foam that recedes at a moderate pace and leaves spotty lace. A little thin-looking on the pour, but that's to be expected from CW. Just fine.

S: Rich, bourbon-soaked brownie. A bit nutty, a bit roasty, and nicely restrained. Excellent.

T: Cola, vanilla, bourbon, dark chocolate, coconut, and booze. The finish is a little astringent and bitter, but everything leading up to that point is excellent.

F: Thin and soft, with ample velvety carbonation. Definitely out of step with the way the style is usually presented, but pleasant enough in its own right.

O: Such a solid beer, deliver a big straightforward dose of what makes Bourbon-barrel stouts so enjoyable. If it had the heft to stand up to its robust barrel character it would be truly outstanding.

Beers of Fame tick 206/250. Cheers!

Feb 19, 2021
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jdubbs13 from Minnesota

4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 vintage - barrel has faded on this a bit, however, there is a fair amount of complexity still in this one - caramel malt, roasty coffee and bakers chocolate. Still hanging on as a worthy cellared stout.

Jan 01, 2021
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

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

12 oz bottle, notched 2020

Overall its excellent. Pours black with tan head. Somebow both has the fairly bold roasty malt and bourbon flavors, yet is soft and well integrated. Oak, vanilla, mild caramel, cocoa is all in there. Full bodied, smooth feel.

Dec 31, 2020
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Hereforbeer92 from Illinois

4.71/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a great BA imperial stout. Comparable to hopping frog barrel aged TORRIS the tyrant, which is a compliment from me. Big chocolate - bourbon and chocolate will delight you if those are your thing. Less coffee than others, and not extremely complex. If you like bourbon and chocolate, stop reading and buy the beer.

I've been drinking this when I come across it for a number of years now – you really can't go wrong with it. Very decadent and extremely consistent quality, and there isn't anything I don't like about it.
If you buy this to get a great barrel aged stout, you'll be making a good decision.

I have had this beer for a number of years now, and the consistency is strong. As opposed to some other yearly brewery's BA stout releases, I have essentially never noticed a difference between years, which frankly I love in a beer sometimes. Surely it changes with age, but if you are reading these reviews in the future, it's safe to say that new versions will be consistent with these reviews even years on. Source: have bought it for 4-5 years now and it's consistently the same quality/flavor profile. Whoever is on QA over there is on it

Dec 30, 2020
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LunchMoney from Minnesota

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

A good BA stout. Chocolate molasses smell is good, but a little simple. Taste follows the smell, but has a little more complexity to add interest. The mouthfeel seems a bit thinner than expected, with the fine fuzzy bubbles. Overall, a very good beer.

Dec 20, 2020
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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
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 2785 ratings