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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 644 | Ratings: 2,360
Photo of KarlHungus
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is a half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing. The aroma is of bourbon, oak, roasted malt, and milk chocolate. There is a lot going on in this aroma. The taste is maltier than the aroma with the bourbon remaining in the background. The mouthfeel is a bit light for the style. It is still full bodied, but not as full as I expect an imperial stout to be. Overall, this is a good beer that I would drink again, but there are much better bourbon stouts out there.

 530 characters

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

A: Very dark brown, 1/4 inch head in gentle pour.

S: Coffee, bitter chocolate.

T: Strong High quality coffee presence, oatmeal stoutish
flavor. Coffee is the main star here, followed by some chocolate
and bourbon.

F: Solid.

O: Quite good. While the bourbon takes a distant back seat
to the coffee, well executed, enjoyable.

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Photo of mcallister
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is black like midnight on halloween. Seriously it is damn dark brown if not black. No light penetrates any area of the snifter. A tan head was quick to dissipate leaving little lacing behind.

Thick layered smokey bourbon aromas, cappuccino, heavy cream, anise, and creme de cassis smells overwhelm the smell sensors.

Smokey, oaky, bourbon flavors. Some alcohol shows through in the chest as well, burnt malt flavors, with some hop presence. Cappuccino flavors don't come through as well as in the nose but there is still the hints of anise.

Good thick creamy mouthfeel but some alcohol burn hurts both the mouthfeel and drinkability of this beer.

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Photo of Duff27
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A- Pour reveals a thin medium mocha head on a black beer. Head recedes to a collar around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S- Chocolate notes, vanilla. Not as much bourbon smell as I was anticipating.

T- Oakiness, vanilla, chocolate. I'd like to say well balanced even though hops play a small role in the taste of this beer. Sweet bourbon taste at the end of each sip, relatively smooth. Well hidden booze.

M- Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Perfect amount of carbonation, compliments the barrel aspect very well.

D/O- Ridiculously drinkable for being 9.5%, dangerous! Overall an above average bourbon barrel stout. Would drink again, would recommend trying for fans of the style. Thanks a ton 4DAloveofSTOUT for picking this up for me.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A near ink black body with a dark mocha colored cap. The cap rose about one finger before falling to a thin layer of bubbles. Some stray lace here and there.

The aroma is lively and well-rounded with notes of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak, molasses, roast, dark chocolate, and coffee grounds.

Some initial sweetness (vanilla, chocolate, molasses) is swept away pretty quickly by the bold flavors of dark roast, bourbon, coffee, and oak. The finish is slightly boozy with a lingering roast bitterness.

A medium body; smooth with higher carbonation than anticipated. A touch of ethanol heat in the finish.

This is a tasty little number, but the mouthfeel is a real downer. A fuller body with low carbonation would do wonders.

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Photo of PrinceDarren
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. As far as bourbon barrel imperial stouts go, this one may win on drinkability, but lacks excitement.

It has a very pleasant aroma. Doesn't taste overly sweet, which is good, because many ISs are too dang sweet. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, but again, this is good because too many ISs are too dang syrupy.

In the end, there just isn't too much complexity in the taste to get me excited. Tastes decent enough and goes down easy for the style.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 and 2011 side by side. Thanks benc

Pours a surprisingly thin reddish brown. A touch of off-white head. Smells oaky with a touch of vanilla. There is a touch of hoppiness on the newer batch. The bourbon is a bit abrasiveness on the newer batch. Vry smooth on the 2010 batch. Fairly thin and roasty. Almost more of a porter. Fairly thick for the flavour profile. Overall not too shabby

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Photo of bum732
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S: Very rich breadiness, almost a yeastiness, sweet bourbon with some dark chocolate, medium high bourbon on the nose.

L: Very dark brown bordering on black. Light tan head that dissipates. Good lacing.

T: Rich breadiness up front with the bourbon sweetness following. Medium low bitterness with chocolate sweetness complementing the sweet bourbon. A big wave of breadiness hits before finishing.

M: Medium thin body, medium carbonation.

Pretty tasty, body was definitely on the thinner side. Not necessarily a bad thing. Nice balance of the bready malt with the bourbon.

 575 characters

Photo of ShanePB
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Dec 2011
Poured into a snifter glass

A: Dark brown with evident mahogany hues in the light. In a dimly lit room this may appear black, but it's not. A little disappointing for a Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. Small creamy tan head did fade quickly, and left only minor lace and retention. Okay but no where near the greatest.

S: Wow. Huge sweet bourbon notes, oak, vanilla, toffee and some chocolate. This has a massive barrel character and is quite aggressive on the nose. Truly a wonderful smelling beer for anyone who enjoys bourbon barrel stouts.

T: Bourbon is focused from the beginning, lots of semi-boozy rich bourbon and oak. Middle of the palate has touches of vanilla and an astringent bitterness. Chocolate and molasses towards the back end, with more bourbon coming full circle lingering for a while.

M: Unfortunately really thin, well carbonated - a bit too much for an Imperial Stout. It seems the barrel thinned this out more than I'd like for a beer of this style and size.

This is a quality bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout that is easy to get, inexpensive and doesn't have the hype machine behind it. More beers like this need to come out. Give this one some more body and we'd have a stand-out beer.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A very dark brown color, not pitch black. Poured easily, very light lacing that had a brown tint to it. Enjoyed out of a snifter.

Smell: A strong bourbon aroma. Not offensive, but very rounded. Pleasant vanilla undertones and some of the barrel aging can be detected.

Taste: Very smooth front to this beer. A lot of the vanilla, coffee, malt here. The body of this beer is a little light, but a very balanced bourbon flavor makes this a great brew. The bourbon sticks on the palette but in a much lighter fashion then other BB aged stouts.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is balanced and an easy drinker for this kind of beer. The bourbon gives a light tingle that makes you acknowledge its presence.

Overall: Very good. I figured this beer would be a light BB Stout and it was in some ways. Could have used some more body but at the same time this was a unique twist. Its lighter body balanced well with everything else going on in this beer. Definitely worth a buy.

 976 characters

Photo of zeledonia
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From notes: Pours very dark, nearly black, with a small tan head that remains throughout. Smell is mostly whiskey, not much else. Taste is again heavy on the whiskey, with some vanilla and roasted malts in the background. Nice complexity, but dominated by the bourbon. Mouthfeel is excellent, syrupy and smooth with a bit of carbonation.

Generally too heavy on the whiskey for my tastes, but pretty darn good. Would probably improve a lot with age - this one was from the most recent bottling.

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

All things considered this is a well done BA stout. Though still far from great unfortunately. A careful pour produces no head (was expected) with a deep black appearance along with a mahogany shimmer. Aromas are nice with the bourbon leading the way but not overpowering the roastiness. Mouthfeel is rather thin considering the style and the finish has an unexpected sticky feel as well. The taste is nice, not harsh for the bourbon and other noticeable flavors of vanilla and maple syrup. The sticky feel and maple syrup flavor leads me to be the syrup may have been added at some point or is maybe just an additional taste due to the aging. Overall, I was really surprised to find that this was good but not great.

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

Many thanks to PaleAl for the bottle.

Bourbon Barrel Stout is a dark mahogany color. It's nearly opaque, but burgundy highlights are apparent at the edges. A soft, tan head caps it off. It stands about a finger tall. Retention was good and lacing was sticky, though a little light.

The nose is a little weaker than I'd like. Bourbon is noted on the first whiff. It's tough to tell how prominent it might be in flavor, but it is apparent here. It tends to mask some of the stout characteristics in smell. There are some chocolate malt notes. They smell bittersweet. Roasted coffee is very subtle and is a secondary element here. Alcohol is noted, but is blended well for a 9.5% beer. All in all, it's good. More strength would help.

The flavor is good. There's no question that this is good beer. Bourbon is noted early and echoes throughout each sip. Unfortunately, it's just a little too prominent and buries much of the 'stout' flavor. Chocolate malts are bittersweet and have a nice flavor. They're just a little too subtle. Roasted coffee is more prominent than on the nose. It has a somewhat acrid taste, but its presence does compensate a little for its chocolate malt deficiency. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong for a nearly 10% beer. It finishes with a light coffee flavor and bourbon. All in all, it's good. But, a little more 'stout' flavor would go a long, long way.

Bourbon Barrel Stout has a medium body that feels too thin. It grows more substantial with warming, but it's not enough. Carbonation is light. It's smooth, but not quite where it needs to be for a big, barrel aged stout. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor enough. But, it is big at nearly 10% and doesn't have the body (or flavor) that it needs to get to the next level.

Central Waters has another success with Bourbon Barrel Stout. That much is clear. But it could easily be a much bigger success with more malt. That, alone, would probably give it more 'stout' flavor and a thicker body. Those are its most obvious shortcomings. I like this beer, but don't quite love it. It's good, but doesn't quite live up to the standards set by Bourbon Barrel Barleywine or Coffee Stout. Having said that, it's not too far off.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large medium brown faomy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of vanilla and bourbon is dominating with some black chocolate notes. Taste is also a nice mix between some vanilla and bourbon with some black chocolate but without any alcohol ester. Full body with some oily texture and good carbonation. Very well done and well balance overall.

 401 characters

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

Poures from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours deep, near-black with a sticky, lumpy white head.

S: Smooth vanilla, oak and bourbon heat are balanced well against a milk chocolate and smokey stout.

T: Follows the nose. The bourbon character is restrained and the subtler barrel notes overcome the booze and work in unison with the base beer.

D: Smooth and drinkable. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in balance and finesse.

Overall: Sort of a beginner's bbl stout. Refined and restrained, but flavourful and smooth. I like it.

 547 characters

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

First had: bottle share at Beermongers, Portland, OR
Thanks to writerLJberg for the share!

Appeared black, opaque, with a thin layer of tan head that laced a little bit. Oaky bourbon in the aroma, roasted chocolate malts. Taste is dark malts, dark chocolate, and yes, bourbon, with notes of oak, black cherries, Sugar Daddies; moderate alcohol warmth. Smooth and on the heavier side of medium-bodied. Not the best of its class, but still good overall.

 452 characters

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

12oz bottle into snifter. Vintage 2010.

A - Pours an inky black with dark brown edging. Sandy brown head that dissipated quickly. Minor lacing

S - Lots of roasty chocolate and coffee. Some piney hops. Just a whiff of the bourbon

T - Well balanced between the heavy chocolate and the bourbon. Noticeable but not over powering. The hops are there but more in the background. Some plums and raisins as well.

M - Medium body, pretty smooth and creamy.

O - Another good one from CW in their Brewers Reserve series. I have an 08 so I will see how things have changed with some age on it. Solid Impy stout.

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

Hmm, never heard much about Central Waters before. This beer was very black with a decent tan head that quickly faded away. The smell was very heavy on vanilla with a little char. The taste was hevay on the bourbon but not overpowering. Mouthfeel was a little thin. This was a very solid beer but compared to GI Boubon County Stout it falls way short. Still recommended for you stout lovers out there.

 401 characters

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

On tap at Brasserie Beck Washington DC, $10 for 12 oz. glass, enjoyed after a fine dinner.

Dark brown head, uneven size bubbles, slow dissipation with significant lacing. Oak, vanilla and chocolate in the nose, some dark brown sugar, minimal roast. Taste is chocolate forward balanced by the vanilla, certainly took on the character of the barrel, citrus hops. Mouthfeel on the full side of medium, good effervescence, sticky. A really interesting beer, hope I can run across the bottle version for comparison.

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3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and jet black as it crawls out of the bottle. Head is an inch and a half of dark tan striped with some darker brown notes. Head has nice retention and leaves a solid crown as it fades. Nose is absolutely delicious with strong tones of vanilla bourbon, coconut, leather and carmalized malts. Sweet bourbon and vanilla notes greet the tongue first quickly followed by a sour and tart bite that twings on the back of the tongue. This turns to a lenghty bitter feel that lasts long on the taste buds. Warms the belly well and has a bit of a bourbon bite twords the end of the palate. The sour feel does tone down a bit as it warms. Nicely drinkable overall. Mouthfeel is a bitter, sour battle.

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

Looks good. Black, nearly a finger of root beer colored foam that loiters for a bit before receding. Virtually no lacing.

Smells well of oak, vanilla, bourbon and booze primarily. They play pretty well together, with the oak seeming most often the most prominent. There is definitely some boozy warmth working on the sinuses, but that is okay by me. At times I catch some caramel, chocolate and/or roast underneath, but those elements are subtle. If I could change the aroma I would decrease the barrel presence a bit to allow the other parts to shine.

The nose and the taste of many, maybe most beers, seem to me to follow logically. I often notice the prominent elements in the nose and taste are similar. Here, they are not ridiculously dissimilar, but but the roast that was hard to find in the nose is mellow but not hidden. The booze is there, as in the nose, and sometimes even stings a little. The oaky flavor plays are less dominant and therefore more effective role in the flavor profile. I also get some vanilla, chocolate, and bitterness.

Low but adequate carbonation, full body, medium high viscosity, with a mildly bitter finish.

This is a very good but not elite bourbon stout. Not overpriced either, but the way. I suggest trying it if you have the chance and have enough interest in Bourbon Stouts to be reading this.

 1,340 characters

Photo of Steasy66
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Jet black, lighter head, with good retention
S The smell is all barrel, I don't get much else but the barrel aroma is spectacular
T Super sweet, some barrel flavor, a bit like marshmallow
M Flat, thin
Overall, decent bal Stout, I really wanted more roasted flavor and its too sweet for my taste.

 297 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with hoppymeal, thanks again Derek, poured into a snifter, color is very dark brown with ruby red edges, small 1/4 creamy light tan head, nice retention, some lacing, aroma is made up of oak, vanilla, maple syrup, milk chocolate, roasted malts, grains, and a whole lot of bourbon, starts off with some cocoa and a misplaced tart that thankfully goes away after a few sips, vanilla and chocolate malts battle it out in the middle, the finish has bourbon with some darker malts and a small burn, more vanilla comes out as it warms, not too strong and a nice sipper,
dry, roasty, and warming mouthfeel, medium body, carbonation is light, taste lingers for a little while, could drink this bottle and then some, hidden alcohol for the most part, what is there is desirable and a nice smoothness, would like to drink again, would probably age even more, this was a 2007 vintage, recommended

 921 characters

Photo of JamnesCameron
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010. Received from zimmerbloke in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks, Matt.

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep, dark brown, with light barely getting through around the edges. Had a slight, light tan head that drops quickly leaving a wisp of foam. Leaves a little lacing.

Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, and oak, with some roastiness hiding in the background. And an alcohol booziness.

Flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and oak, a sour tang, and some roasty malts. Some dark cocoa. The bourbon and barrel do not overpower this beer as in some examples.

Mouthfeel is thinner than most of its kind, with a good level of carbonation.

Overall a very good example, not too aggressive.

 670 characters

Photo of jhimstedt
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served into a Glencain. extra from a trade...can't remember from who! if it was you BM me so I can add your name.

A - poured cold, and very little head at all. not completely opaque and mostly a cloudy brown color rather than black.

S - very sweet nose, cola, vanilla, little bourbon and a some oak, dark chocolate and roast

T - tons of dark chocolate up front, roast and slight smokiness, cola-like syrup, no real fruit, alcohol melded nicely and bourbon component is married better than a lot of bourbon stouts.

M - creamy and thick, carbonation fits nicely

D - very drinkable. the chocolate and roast might be a bit much for some, but I find it very tasty. will seek out again and recommend it highly.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 2,360 ratings.
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