Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
2,584 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,584 |  Reviews: 701
Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Small beige head which dissipates to thin rim bubbles. Only a couple of spots for lace. The liquid is dark brown but very bright light can pass through the center of the glass.

Lightly sweet to the nose with an alcohol backbone. I smell the bourbon which reminds me a little bit like brandy. Strong, semisweet chocolate but it doesn't dominate.

The beer starts smooth and spritzy. The taste doesn't really start until the swallow. Prior to that, the taste is dry with cocoa notes. The finish is very chocolatey with a lot of alcohol warmth. Less brandy-like in the taste. Long aftertaste with more warmth. Toward the final fade, I pick up some bitterness which I think is from the hopping of the beer. Overall, I like the complexity without overdoing any particular element.

 787 characters

Photo of buzzy
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2016 vintage served at cellar temps.

Appearance: classy and informative label. Beer was very dark brown with a coffee colored head and a ton of lacing.

Nose: chocolate, coffee, bourbon, slight alcohol, raisins, vanilla, oaky, roasted malts and char

Taste: follows the nose well but adds a strong warming sensation. A bit sweet but it isn't distracting. Very nice barrel character

Overall: I would like to see a more full body and mouthfeel. Nice beer

 454 characters

Photo of tvenne
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of lanciloti
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of KensWorld
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Narthax
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MikeWard
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a tulip. 2016 vintage.

black/brown body with small tan head. decent lacing initially, but eventually the head dissipates to a faint ring and covering.

Now the aroma here is very inviting. Some bourbon, to be sure, but not overpowering. getting a lot of dried fruit, also a touch of cherries and a little caramel.

From the first mouthful, I know I'm going to enjoy this. The mouth exactly follows the nose, with a hint here and there of the oak. Roastiness is very mild, which this palate appreciates, along with the bourbon not being a heavy touch.

Mouth is between medium and full, finish is slightly sweet with a little warmth on the back end.

Overall, one of the more enjoyable balanced BB stouts I've had. At 9.5, this is also dangerously drinkable. Happy to have another 3 in reserve.

 815 characters

Photo of Dankacheese
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Mouthfeel and body would put this over the top. The malt, vanilla and cocoa blend with the oak, char and heat of the barrel for a delightful finish.

148 characters

Photo of EMH73
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

 341 characters

Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 593 characters

Photo of Leif_Eriksson
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 460 characters

Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of aoampm
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 1,038 characters

Photo of wflamholtz
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brureview
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 515 characters

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bum4ever
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of frozyn
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 749 characters

Photo of MI_beerdrinker
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of woodychandler
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

 2,027 characters

Photo of leroybrown10
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Jrodsmrs51
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 57md
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 429 characters

Photo of BarileMatt
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 2,584 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.