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: Fall

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: 681 | Ratings: 2,509
Photo of alleykatking
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...thanks for the bottle klikger!

A- Pours a dark brown almost black color. Light amber highlights when held up to the light. Half finger tan head that dies down almost as soon as it shows. No real lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Roasted malts in this of course along with some vanilla, oak, bourbon, and a light almost maple smell. This smells like most BA beers but this seems to be a little more on the balanced side than others.

T- Light roasted malts on the front end of this get pushed aside by a distinct bourbon flavor. Nice hints of vanilla and oak continue this beer through the middle. The ending is more stout like with a good roasted flavor. Big burst in the front but mellows out by the end. I like this!

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. A little watery for a stout but I won't complain. Bourbon flavors left on the palate with some light roasted malts on the aftertaste. Clean flavors throughout the entire beer.

D- Normally a beer with this much ABV I wouldn't put into a mutiple bottle run but this is very very good and isn't heavy like most stouts making it not as filling. Do yourself a favor and get this beer if you can. You will not be dissapointed.

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Photo of Yojimbo1941
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle marked 2010 into a tulip glass

A - Dark brown with a thin mocha head which quickly dissipated. Looks great.

S - Cocoa nibs, bourbon laced with vanilla, a little clove, hint of molasses, chocolate, very light hop smell with some alcohol notes

T - Oak flavors with an alcohol bite, dark chocolate, bitterness at the end. Not as dense a flavor as I would expect from a beer of this type but still very tasty. The alcohol and bitterness give way to a warming feeling which lingers until the next gulp. More bourbon flavor as the beer progresses.

M - My tongue is coated after 2 swigs.

D - At 3.49 for a 12oz it's not bad for a Bourbon Stout. I'd definitely buy this again as long as I have a lot of time to relax and drink it.

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Photo of Duffman929
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from '11

A: Dark black color that left a nice lingering brown head. Looked fairly heavy and left a nice lace around the glass.

S: Bourbon smell was quite noticed. Smelled of oak, chocolate. It was devine!

T: Bottle was still on the hot side, which was disappointing, but the flavor of the bourbon was quality. For sure, a redeeming factor.

M: I expected some alcohol flavor, but this wasn't as mellowed out as I was hoping. I'm thinking it would have been better after the cellar for a few more months.

O: I liked this much more than Peruvian Morning and it probably would have been rated higher if aged a bit more in the feel/taste areas. Smelled great though. I'd like to try it again after some integration.

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Photo of Phelps
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sent by seeswo in the Blind Beers BIF, poured into a snifter and reviewed blind.

Pours from the bottle a thin, light brown that becomes murky and black inside the glass, with a fuzzy cream-colored head that fizzles away after a long while, leaving smooth mounds of lace on the walls.

Nose is a decadent blend of roasty and sweet notes. Marzipan, toffee, toasted coconut and chocolate syrup blend beautifully. Much lighter hints of coffee and toast as well. Cocoa powder comes out more and more as it warms.

Flavor displays a lot of the same. Big toffee and butterscotch, some toasted coconut and cocoa. Nice big roast to back it up. The finish is a perfect balance between the barrel and stout, leaning to the sweet side.

Moderate, prickly carbonation in a body a shade under medium-light. Just a little fizz as it moves. Some boozy heat comes through the nose, but it’s only noticeable when I look for it.

Money. Great flavors, great balance.

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Photo of kajerm
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark opaque brown with less than a finger of white carbonation that quickly fades leaving a few tracks of lace.

Barrel-aging is relatively subtle in the aroma, which mostly consists of malts. Some dark chocolate, but malt notes are mostly a little lighter than I would have expected. There is some vanilla and molasses in the background.

Flavor opens light, with sweetness and malt coming mid-palate. Finishes with coffee and some slight malt bitterness, with bourbon barrel flavors lingering afterwards. Almost no alcohol flavor.

The mouthfeel is quite a bit lighter than the average bourbon-aged imp, and along with the lack of heat and the subtle barrel-aging, it makes for a suprisingly drinkable and beer. Great balance-- this is definitely one of the better attempts at the style.

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Photo of birchstick
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours black as night with a surprisingly white head atop it

S - the nose is lot of vanilla and chocolate flavors. The two are really woven together and form a nice aroma out of the snifter.

T - opens up sweetly with chocolates up front. These fade to vanilla some coffee. Ends with some spicy bourbon and vanilla down the throat - the bourbon warms up the chest a bit too. Really nice - the bourbon is really well integrated into this one. Sometimes it is either too muted or too over the top. This one hits a nice stride between the two and complements everything else going on nicely.

M - medium bodied with light carbonation

D - this is a solid bourbon barrel stout. This is definitely one of the better ones I have tried as it is packs a lot of nice flavors with a perfect touch of bourbon. Too bad this one is hard to get a hold of, otherwise I would make a habit out of drinking this one.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, no one will notice but I'm leveling up on this review. YAY ME!

Beer poured from a bottle into a Delirium tulip. Beer is black / brown with a thin broken brown head of tiny bubbles that leaves a little lacing on the glass (doing the halo thing). Carbonation low.

Lots of wood and liquor in the aroma...nice! Sweet, balanced...nice strong.

Beer is nice, it's sweet up front with great bourbon character and has a medium to light body. The finish is a little dry but its a very nice beer. The liquor character is really well balanced into the overall beer. There is a mild tannic character and vanilla from the oak, I really like it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottling, pulled out of the fridge a good 25 minutes before pouring. Served in a Stella Artois glass.

A: Pours nearly jet black with ruby red showing along the edges of the glass...creamy tan head fizzles quickly away, leaving some oily alcohol feet on the glass.

S: Oaky bourbon, light vanilla, hints of milk chocolate. Smells smooth and slightly sweet with a light boozy character.

T: Oak, vanilla, bourbon, molasses, hints of chocolate, burnt caramel. Its very creamy and smooth but does finish with a flash of roasted bitterness. Warming.

MF: Pretty much medium in the body. Slightly dry on the finish.

O: A good stout, the bourbon barrel characters are nice, although the palette seems a bit thin. A great cellar-temp sipper, thanks Aaron!

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Photo of Chaz
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown in color -impenetrable to the naked eye- with a one-fingered darker tan-brown head. Exhibits excellent lacing and a good overall duration.

Amazing nose: a semi-sweet cocoa underneath some pleasant vanilla, all of which is buoyed by the hint of a bourbon. Restrained rather than "hot", at 9.5%

Right off the bat this one's a little easier going than I'd expected, with almost a lighter body and certainly a more warming effect considering its strength and its style. Of course, with the barrel aging this is also a big, aromatic drink throughout. Lightly vinuous at times (though not astringent) and coats and nearly soothes the palate with the gently-warming alcohol.

With a barrel aged D/IS I often expect some dryness, and there's enough of that here, but there's also just the right amount of sweetness (at least for me).

It might seem heretical, but this strikes me as the perfect stout with which to try a 'Stout Float', though a premium brand of vanilla would be necessary I'd think ; )

I'd say that this is worth seeking out -only- if you're a fan of the style, as it's a bit more Bourbon-forward (of course, a little age wouldn't hurt it and would mellow the barrel aging aspect as well). As for myself, I really like this style and treatment and -thankfully- it's easy enough for me to come by; At $10 / 4-pack (at a local Muni) it was my biggest surprise this Holiday season : )

Notch on label indicates December bottling; 2011 batch.
Served in a tumbler..

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

2016 vintage. Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a very dark brown with a hint of red around the edges. Thin dark mocha head quickly recedes leaving the thinnest of skims.
S: Strong and sweet bourbon note hits first. Sweet caramel, toffee, raisin, fig, vanilla, and a hint of molasses.
T: Sweet bourbon, raisin, cinnamon and bready yeast, caramel, vanilla, and molasses.
M: Medium body (actually drinks a bit lighter than you would imagine). Sweet with a coating, but not quite velvety, feel. Lingers and matures a bit on the palate too.
D: I love the bourbon note in this brew. I wish there was a bit more depth or seems like it is not quite fulfilling the potential. Still a very solid beer.

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

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. On the pour the body is dark brown with reddish hues, but in the glass it appears black. Small khaki-colored film of a head disappears quickly.

S: Bourbon is noted, but it's not overwhelmingly bourbon-centered. Also some wood tannins and vanilla. Molasses and toffee provide sweet malt foundation.

T: Interesting. I had KBS last night and while on paper this is the same type of beer, it's vastly different. The bourbon is subdued; there's more from the wood and the malt than the bourbon - think vanilla (even more vanilla as it warms), molasses, caramel malt and some chocolate malt. Also a modest roastiness. Finishes with heat from the 9.5% ABV and what is perceived as a tannic bitterness.

M: A little thinnish in feel; it's medium in heft, but thinner than your average RIS. Carbonation is modest at best, though the lighter body keeps this from veering into slick territory.

O: Good stuff.

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

A: Very dark brown with no head
S: Bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, alcohol, light roast, dark chocolate, cacao
T: Bourbon, light oak, brown sugar, dark chocolate, caramel, coconut, light vanilla
M: Medium, lighter for a BBA stout but very drinkable
O: Great drinkable BBA stout especially for the price point

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Photo of KDawg
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber bought at sheffields. Poured into a pint glass and pours a deep black with no real head

Powerful and rich aromas of black coffee, bourbon, dark chocolate, raisins and malt aromas too. Very good depth, but the tones felt like they were holding back a bit

full bodied with a really good feel. Good depth with flavors of raisins, a bit of bourbon, along with chocolate and malts. You get teh bourbon flavor, but not a boozy quality to it

A really good bourbon barrel stout. Holds the alcohol very well and has a great feel

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to nflmvp for this bottle.

a - pours black with a large light brown head, good retention for a big stout, moderate lacing

s - charred wood, dark chocolate, alcohol/bourbon notes, light vanilla

t - quite sweet up front, milk chocolate and plum, very light bitterness, coconut and vanilla along with oak, finish has a little bourbon heat with some lingering creamy vanilla and light bitterness

m - full-bodied, low carbonation, fairly dry finish, alcohol warming on the palate

d - somewhat drinkable for a big bourbon-aged stout, finish is pretty dry, but the taste is overall fairly sweet rather than bitter, alcohol is not overwhelming

Nice effort from Central second favorite of their stouts (after the superb Coffee Stout) I've tried. Well worth seeking a bottle out.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1607th Review on BA
Bottle to Central Waters Snifter

2011 Vintage
Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one

App- Out of the bottle it pours like a wood stain as you watch it fall into the glass. In the glass its a deep brown as the beer settles and melds together again. The density was quite nice with some lighter edges but a nice depth in the glass. A nice 1" head that was a bit tan in color was there and the left. It was a small bit of cling but not much.

Smell- The prickly booze from the bourbon is the 1st notes that I got. It turned into a bit of a dark chocolate and semi-malty beer as it warmed more from cellar. It was a bit one dimentional as some of the other CW beers but nice aromatics and a bit larger than the 9.5% would elude too.

Taste- I liked it, but felt it needed to be a bit smoother. It had a great profile with some malty dark chocolate and then the booze kicked in and gave the subtle notes to balance out the base stout. The char was there with a bit of the wood with a nice vanilla and sweetness.

Mouth- The body on this one was a bit grainy and prickly but the carbonation level and the residual vanilla and other flavors made me like this a lot. Kept wanting to savor it and not finish. Wish I had another bottle.

Drink- Its a good beer. A lot going on with the treatment. Not as lush as others in the category but for a 12oz. Hit the spot for stout day.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big off white head thats about 2 or 3 fingers big. Body is very dark brown. After the head goes down theres some nice lacing left over.
Sweet figs and woody bourbon. Theres some nice roast and subtle chocolate on the nose as well.

Follows the nose. Vanilla and dark fruits take over with some barrel and light smoke.

the mouthfeel feels a little lighter than id like and has a light amount of carbo.

Nice tasting stuff. Wish i had more.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Picked up while on a trip to Milwaukee.

A: Deep dark brown color. The pour dropped a small tan head that faded and left little lace.

A: Notes of chocolatete, vanilla, and caramel. Strong notes of bourbon and wood. An earthiness presents itself and is quite pleasant.

T: great balance between the barrel and the base brew. The chocolate and roastiness of the stout really plays nicely with the barrel. The vanilla, caramel, and wood notes are secondary to the malt backbone and really make for a great drinking experience. It finishes sweet and dry with a nice heat from the alcohol.

M: Creamy and smooth with good levels of carbonation. Heavy body.

O: really nice beer for the price tag. Great barrel aging and affordable. I highly suggest trying this if you can.

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Photo of Thedaver4220
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured into a New Belgium snifter
Thanks to Airmike for this one

Bourbon barrel stout pours pitch black with a thin line of tan/mocha colored head. The nose is bourbon first with some vanilla on the back end. It drinks with Malty sweetness with a touch heat on the back end. It's pretty smooth as well and pretty easy to drink. This was my first central waters offering and I hope others by them are this good.

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Photo of Agold
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours just a bit lighter than pitch black with a bit of thin white head that recedes to a short film. No lacing. The aroma is more raw oak than bourbon, some vanilla notes, a bit of cocoa, but the oak is right at the forefront. Very nice, but not subtle at all. For me the flavor integrates the oak into the beer better. The oak is still very much at the forefront, but it complements the roast and bitter chocolate in the base beer. There is some nice vanilla as well. Mouthfeel is not sticky or overly thick. Lighter, a bit refreshing, but not at all thin. I would say medium bodied. Good fine creamy carbonation. Very drinkable beer even with the 9.5 abv.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage. Pours black...but appears dark brown when held up to light. Small, light-tan head that disappears quickly. Scent is is bourbon up front with some nice chocolatey notes. Pretty heavy caramel malt aroma with some very subtle oak. As the beer warms up.. a little bit of chocolate cocoa comes through with just a hint of coffee. Taste is sweet bourbon at first. Lovely notes of vanilla and toffee. Somewhat of an interesting soda-like flavor...can't tell if I like this aspect or not. Nice chocolate flavors with just a hint of black licorice. Mouthfeel could use a little more body. Drinkability is pretty high, as the ABV is WELL-hidden. Overall, I wouldn't consider this among the top bourbon barrel stouts out there (Parabola, BCBS, KBS, etc), but it's pretty damn tasty. Needs more body though.

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Photo of davey101
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

January 2010 vintage into a brandy snifter. Huge thanks to surlytheduff for this killer extra!

A - Dark brown body that lets some light through. Light khaki edging. Some lacing and alcohol legs.

S - Huge amounts of sweet vanilla and oak. Some roasty malts, milk chocolate and dark fruit. So bourbon heavy, loving this aroma.

T - Very sweet but not cloying. Starts off with milk chocolate and leads into strong vanilla notes. Hints of coconut, oak, and roast. Tastes great but isn't very bold. Its actually pretty tame. Mouth feel is a bit on the light side but still medium bodied and slightly silky. High level of carbonation.

O - A delicious beer. It has a fantastic aroma and a great flavor profile, but it comes off a bit tame and subdued. Probably good news for someone who isn't into a sugary bourbon bomb, however I actually enjoy those.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle received as an extra from StayWhatYouAre2. Dated December of 2010. Poured into a Weyerbacher tulip...

A - Pours a deep, murky, dark brown color. A small, light mocha color head forms about half of a finger thick. It quickly recedes to a cap of tiny bubbles of the same color.

S - The smell rocks here. I highly recommend letting it warm significantly to get the full effect. Bourbon, vanilla, buttery brown sugar and roasted malts come out. Some chocolate and s slight coffee aroma as well. Aromas of toasted coconut covered marshmallows come out really bringing this one home for me.

T - Rich chocolate, some cherry, and bourbon all come out front. Vanilla and some oak follow along with a little bit of licorice. Nice mix of flavors, but I wish it tasted exactly like the nose.

M - Medium bodied beer that at times feels a bit too thin for my taste. Light carbonation makes it smooth. I just can't get past the thinness I am getting.

O - I liked this one. The aroma was awesome, and I found myself lifting my glass to my nose more than to my mouth. I wonder what a fresh bottle of this would taste like?

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Photo of Retsinis
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle. Review from notes.

A: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, the beer pours a murky coffee brown, with a wispy film of head, that quickly fades to just a razor thin ring of bubbles.

S: Distinct scents of butter bourbon, vanilla, dark oak, some cedar, and even a touch of cherry.

T: Initial draws has layers of dark chocolate, cherry, bourbon, cedar, followed by faint vanilla, and oak, and some dark licorice. Some sediment in the beer as well, possibly yeast, but it was a bit darker and chunky.

M: Light carbonation, mild peppery mouth feel, and a light to medium viscosity.

O: Good sipper for a barrel aged RIS, not too hot or strong, and just enough layers of complexity. Thanks to mnbearsfan for this beer, it was the best yet from central waters.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Smell: Sweet bourbon oak big vanilla marshmallow dark chocolate milk chocolate carmel toasted coconut.

Taste: upfront milk chocolate and toasted coconut middle of the mouth big vanilla carmel dark chocolate in the finish you get sweet bourbon oak and a slight dark malt biterness.

Feel: medium body a bit thin for the style low carbonation. Sillky smooth on the tongue. Dangerously easy drinking.

Overall: smell and taste are pretty nice on this beer maybe a little more mellow then most Barrel aged Stouts but still really good. Mouthfeel is where this beer really lacks it's a bit thin. The beer would really benefit from a fuller mouthfeel.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 2,509 ratings.
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