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

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.

Added by Skidz on 05-28-2004

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Reviews: 689 | Ratings: 2,525
Photo of EMH73
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a thin head that dissipated quickly and left very little lacing. Smells of bourbon, molasses, chocolate, vanilla and malts. Taste follows the nose, with additional notes of dark fruits and a hint of char. Medium bodied, minimal carbonation, rather thin mouth feel based on my expectations for the style.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Brown on the pour and sits black in the glass with less than half a finger of khaki head

S - Sublime, Bourbon, coffee, char, oak, tobacco, cherries, smoke.

T - Doesn't quite match the aroma, but still complex. An impressive lineup of bourbon, oak, char, dark chocolate, and tobacco. Not as in-your-face as the aroma, but still all present and accounted for.

F - Not as thick as I'd hoped, but gets the job done. A minor alcohol flavor, but it doesn't stick around. Carbonation moves it along

O - Really good, but not great. Wish the taste matched the aroma, but complex and drinkable.

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Photo of Leif_Eriksson
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Deep chocolate with a carbonated head that fizzes and pops, then disappears.

Nose: Milk chocolate, vanilla, definite bourbon barrel character. Cadbury's Mini Eggs.

Taste: Chocolate, toffee, and vanilla explode on the palate. Sweet. Smoked wood finish. A bit medicinal. Black licorice emerging as it warms.

Notes: Some have commented on a thin body for the style, and I would agree, but overall it's a worthwhile beer that isn't syrupy or too sweet.

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

Long time want here and first Central Waters beer.

Pours nearly pitch black with less than a finger mocha colored head that vanishes within a minute. Not much lacing.

Smell is great! Cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, toffee, caramel, and some molasses.

Taste is very nice also. The bourbon and vanilla is first noticeable and then some roasted chocolate and oak flavor comes in. Huge molasses and toffee just as in the nose. Caramel, hazelnut, and dark fruits also in there.

The feel is easily the most disappointing aspect of this beer. It really doesn't have a nice robust and thick feel to it that I've become accustomed to with BA Stouts. I gave it a 4 but that is being generous.

Overall this is honestly a little bit of a let down. I had no idea this beer was only 9.5% ABV which makes sense with the lack of body in the beer. I have seen people compare this to BCBS and there really is no comparison. Still would love to try some of their other Barrel Aged stuff but I won't come in with such high expectations next time.

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Photo of brureview
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a chocolate color with a 1/2 F
Head in a Stone Snifter. I was expecting a larger head, but it didn't materialize.

Excellent aroma: chocolate, milk chocolate, oak.

The MF was a little disappointing. . I was looking for a heavier body. It was bit thin and carbonated for the style.

Taste was excellent- not as pronounced as aroma: milk chocolate, powdered chocolate, roasted malt.

Good bitter finish.

Overall, an excellent stout. The body is a bit thin. More viscosity would have suited the style more.

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Photo of frozyn
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L -- Pours a very dark mahogany, a little head on an average pour that dissipates quickly. Poured at somewhere near room temperature, maybe around 55-60.

S -- A nice soft, somewhat sweet bourbon note, along with vanilla and slightly charred oak.

T -- Roasted malts with a sweet bourbon twang. The vanilla hits late on the tongue. I occasionally got some cola flavor towards the end of the sip, on the edges of the tongue.

F -- A little thin for what I think of a BBA stout, but I don't mind it. Still very smooth, and its nicely carbonated. Very enjoyable.

O -- A very nice beer. I prefer their bourbon barleywine a bit more (which tends to be true for me of most BBA stout-barleywine combos breweries put out), but this is definitely tasty.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I do not remember the whole story, but PA (Philadelphia & its neighbors) is the only place that gets Central Waters BC distro outside of Wisco & it is due to a friendship on the part of the owner/brewer. I have met him on a couple of occasions during PHL Beer Week & I always feel a twinge of excitement when I see his beers on the shelf.

From the bottle: "

This was also a 2016 bottle, but it may have had enough age on it to begin to collect lees, so I employed a gentle pour. Once sufficiently decanted, I performed a vigorous in-glass swirl to raise a brief finger of deep-tan/light-brown head that seemed anxious to fall back to wisps. Hey, pal, we all have better things to do & places to be! Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) with ruby highlights. Nose smelled like Duty Day morning coffee. An old, inveterate alcoholic RM1 taught me how to sneak a small flask in on Friday or Saturday night for Saturday or Sunday morning duty & it was always a welcome part of breakfast. Oaky, the beer smelled of VERY strong coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, vanilla & bourbon. Oh my. Mouthfeel was medium, but on the thin side for this style. I was unimpressed with this aspect of the beer. The taste was ... Holy Hot, Batman! Jeez, I may drinking this too young! It was burning a hole in my tongue until I worked up the courage to swallow it down. Phew! I could easily see at least another year of aging on this one at this point. The taste was riotous, with coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoke & fusel alcohol all coming to the fore. Whee! Oh my. I could really fall in love with this beer to the point of elopement. I may have been young, but it knew what it was doing. Mmm, baby, I think I love you, but I wanna know for sure. Wild thing! Finish was hot & dry, but again, I think that some aging will lead to smoothing out of the rough edges. I am going to rate in some nebulous way that should be disregarded in favor of the actual review. It was a decent beer, but with time, it has the potential to become a fantastic beer.

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Photo of 57md
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2016 Vintage

Pours a dark brown to black color with ruby edges and just about a half finger of head. The nose has modest notes of bourbon but has molasses notes, as well. The flavor has includes the sweet taste of bourbon alongside the roasted stout goodness. The body is a wee bit thin for the style but since the bourbon flavors are a bit muted, the residual alcohol esters never get obtrusive in spite of the lack of heft.

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Photo of Zoomslowik
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L- Dark brown to black. Very little head on the initial pour, though a thin ring stuck around for quite a while.

S- Solid bourbon smell with a little bit of roasted malt and vanilla behind it.

T- A bit too heavy on the bourbon and oak for my taste. There's a bit of chocolate sweetness behind it, but it's overpowered by the bourbon.

F- A little too thin. Not enough richness to counteract the booze. Slightly harsh going down.

O- I don't hate it, but it's not particularly well balanced. I like the other Brewer's Reserve beers I've had, so this was disappointing. They all had some good bourbon and oak flavors without beating you over the head with them.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little bit disappointed in this. I had Bell's Expedition Stout and this one. The Bell's was first, and this one paled in comparison.
It was a very dark brown color with a small tan head.
Bourbon and roasted malt aroma.
Coffee, vanilla, and bourbon taste.
Good beer but I was expecting more.

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Photo of TheeBeardedEMT
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aroma - Initially you get hit with the delicious smell of Bourbon. Following that you get hints of vanilla.

Appearance - This beer pours dark brown. There is a nice tan head that disappears.

Flavor - Holy Bourbon! Your first taste is Bourbon. Behind is vanilla and chocolate.

Mouthfeel - This is medium bodied. Carbonation is good. Slight tingle as it hits your tongue.

Overall - This was a beer I was looking forward to trying and I wasn't disappointed. The only complaint would be the Bourbon flavors were lacking a bit.

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Photo of strohme2
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a deep brown with a short lived tan head. Looks thin on the pour. Rye bread, molasses, anise on the nose, also some hints of heat. Deep caramel, licorice, molasses, cola, wood and small amounts of bourbon. Thin bodied mouthfeel. Good tastes but the body is what I like in a big bourbon barreled stout.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a midnight black with a one finger tan head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, toffee and dark chocolate.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, oak and bourbon.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice easy drinking barrel aged stout.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle - vintage 2016

Pours black with a dense creamy tan foam head. Smells like toasted nutty oak, bourbon, caramel, rich marshmallowy vanilla, toffee, molasses, spice, brown sugar, dark chocolate, roasted malts, some dark fruit, coffee, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes like toasted nutty oak, bourbon, caramel, rich marshmallowy vanilla, toffee, molasses, spice, brown sugar, dark chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit, coffee, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with some oak and marshmallow notes.

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Photo of bobv
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields a 1/2 inch tan head over a dark brown body with some lacing.
Nose of milk chocolate, some dark fruit, and some booze from the barrel. Taste follows with a little malty creaminess across the palate. Overall, a solid offering!

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Photo of BWood
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not as dark coloring as I would like in a BA stout. Tastes great though. But it's a little thin imo. I like the beer. But to me dragons milk is much better easy. To get BA stout.

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Photo of Martin194
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours very dark brown, looks like coffee. When held up to light, revealed to be a deep ruby red. Small, quickly-dissipating tan head.

Smell: It hits you right away with the bourbon scent, but that gives way to baker's chocolate and cherries along with hints of vanilla.

Taste: Bourbon stands out all the way through along with a nice coffee taste, little hints of fruit right after swallowing. This one's just a little watery in my opinion, not quite as strong as other stouts I've had, but still a fine taste.

Feel: Not a lot of carbonation, leaves the warm, dry feel and taste of bourbon after swallowing.

Overall: A fine stout, fairly easy drinking.

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Photo of beergoot
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Unique bottle info: Vintage 2016 Kudos to @LongTaco15 for the brew...

Deep, dark brown body; thick, creamy, light tan head. Rich, roasted grain aroma; cocoa with traces of vanilla; a touch of bourbon on the nose. Deep roasted and charred grain flavors blended with a heavy milk chocolate sweetness; bourbon tones noted; some nice ester notes; subtle bitterness. Heavy body; thick and lush with a velvety touch; lots of fine, residual sugar smoothness.

This is an outstanding tasting beer and the mouthfeel is exquisite. It is well-balanced and displays great depth and complexity for the style. Although far from being a lightweight beer, it doesn't bludgeon you with undue heaviness. The barrel aging is done about right to (in my opinion): not too overpowering, just the right touch to add to the depth and complexity of things. A righteous dark ale, for sure...

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Photo of avalon07
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Fair lacing.

S: A solid aroma of the advertised bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and some malt.

T: Tasted of a fair amount of dark chocolate, a lot of the bourbon (especially in the finish), a hint of vanilla, some oak, roasted malt, and dark fruit (plums, raisins). A pretty good flavor that's heavier on the bourbon than other elements. Very tasty and somewhat aggressive.

F: A good shot of carbonation with a mostly smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This beer might have a few minor flaws, but it's generally well done. Drinkable.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours black with a tan/white head. Aroma, chocolate, cherry, raspberry, Bourbon. taste- whiskey, a creamy chocolate. In the back is a pretty clear coffee note. Very creamy and slick mouthfeel. Overall- this is a very good Barrel aged stout. It is a kind of clean tasting beer surprisingly. It invites drinking. Drink ya some!

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Photo of scotorum
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Very dark clear ruby. Inch thick tan head receded to thick even surface foam and some spotty lacing.

s: Alcohol and dark roasty malt mellowed by slight dark fruit notes.

t; Booze battles dark fruit notes for attention. Finish is varied with emphasis on bitterness and the other two flavors.

m: Medium, good body and carbonation tingle.

o: Seems more like a BBA porter than a stout but very good as such.

 512 characters

Photo of ManapuaMan
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great BBA stout that depicts how several brewers are slowly but steadily closing the gap between formerly untouchable BBA stouts. At ~9% ABV this is surprisingly drinkable. Dark brown (borderline black) pour that's light at the edges. Thin film of head slips away into the liquid fairly quickly. Aroma of chocolate, malt, whiskey. Taste is fire-roasted malt, toasted grains, chocolate, whiskey heat, burnt sugar, vanilla and oak. Nice balance; alcohol heat comes through every now and again. Slick mouthfeel, perfect amount of carbonation.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.5


Bottle (12/08/16) to snifter.

Look: cola looking black brown. Smallish head that is off white. Fades.
Aroma: caramel, whiskey, hazelnut. Very nice, even from the start when it was pretty cold.
Taste: light malt, brown sugar, whiskey. Some wood.
Feel: thin for a stout. Also overly flat.

Smells great and tasty enough, but not much body or complexity here.


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Photo of jeffreed61
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Winter 2016 release. If you pour this cold, please, please let it warm up. Beautiful barrel nose, tons of bourbon and caramel. Thin feel, but deep, rich flavors really step up with the warmth.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours deep brown thin tan head spotty lacing around the glass.

Aroma - Dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts and leather.

Taste - Roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon very well balanced.

Feel - High side of medium well carbonated, very smooth and coating little burn from the alcohol

Overall - Very good BBA stout great flavors and very well balanced.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 2,525 ratings.
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