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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:
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Reviews: 647 | Ratings: 2,370
Photo of BoJengs
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle coded 31415 will cellar a few bottles of this...

Pours dark black almost no head

Definitely can smell the bourbon in this one

Smooth bourbon barrel stout, hints of tobacco

Smooth feel

It's a no brainer every year to grab as much as possible

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Photo of pschul4
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My last one. :'(

A- Pours a dark brown with a 1/2" tan head that falls back to a slight film around the top of the beer

S- MMM big sweet bourbon with some nice chocolate and roast notes. Smells grrreat!

T- Whoa. Really really good. The sweet bourbon is back in beautiful form and the roasty chocolate shines brilliantly!

M- Only downfall. Pretty thin for a "big" stout but as my good friend areich6 put it: The rest of this beer is so good it gets away with it.

O- Central waters hits a homer with this one. Wonderfull done guys!

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Photo of areich6
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours very dark with little head. Looks quite inviting for this style of beer.

S: Sweet bourbon coupled with the smell of delicious sugary chocolate and roasty malts.

T: Everything that the smell promised the taste delivered. A perfect amount of bourbon balanced superbly with chocolate and roasty characteristics. Judging purely on taste, this is one of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts I have ever had.

M: If there is a downfall to this beer, in my opinion, the mouthfeel is where it is at. I prefer most stouts to be thicker than this. It is a little too watery for my taste. But it isn'at that bad, and the taste is so good that the lack of viscosity does not detract from very much.

O: Almost perfect bourbon barrel aged stout. If it was a little thicker, it would be a premier beer.

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Photo of King_KongDCO93
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012 bottle

A: Nice dark/motor oil appearance that you can't see through.

S: very vanilla upfront aroma. Some bourbon and roasted malts but mild

T: wow, really pleasant and sweet. really has a nice cocoa/mild coffee flavor. the bourbon is mild compared to to BCBS. This is more of a beer that people can enjoy if they find BCBS to strong. It is really smooth.

M: mellowed out. no booziness and tangy

O: Smooth and drinkable

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Pour leaves a thick tan head with an immediate aroma of chocolate coming through. After settling down the aroma of chocolate remains, and the bourbon comes through underneath. Taste is on par with some of the heavy hitters in this category including BCBS and Brunch weasel. Not as sweet as BCBS, and not as much coffee as brunch weasel, in all honesty more well balanced than both. Chocolate and bourbon are prominent with tobacco, molasses, vanilla, plum, cherry, and a touch of coffee. Feels slick and syrupy, and allows the taste to linger on the tongue for a delightful amount of time. One of the best of this style I've had.

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Photo of hopdog
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (good thing Rich had a bunch of these to open up and pass around).

Poured a dark and cloudy brown color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of bourbon, wood, vanilla, chocolate and roasted malts. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, roasted malts and coffee. Call me a BA sucker (especially Bourbon), but I liked this one.

Notes from: 12/12/05

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I realize that I am in the minority, but I prefer the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout better than the Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine. Take this as a degree of bias if you must.

Poured into a snifter, the stout is a handsome black color. It produces a tan foam. In this particular instance, there were swirls of darker colors mixed in the foam which makes me think I got something extra. The whiskey is evident in the aroma, as is the maltiness of the stout and a hint of vanilla. The aroma is pure magic. Intially, the taste is the maltiness of the stout. A short spell later, the bite of the alcohol tickles the tongue. Moments later, the coffee, tobacco, and chocolate dry the attention of your taste buds. In the aftertaste, the whiskey notes continue. But as the aftertaste fades, a strong chocolately malt favor appears.

Very smooth yet thick enough to linger, this barrel aged stout is pretty close to perfect.

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Photo of guityler83
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013, Vintage

A: A dense finger of tan colored head arose from the depths when poured into a tulip glass. The foam had nice retention and eventually falling back to leave behind a dusting on top of the opaque black liquid. Alcohol legs are swirled up in the glass.

S: Nice prominent oaky, vanilla barrel aroma comes off the top of the glass. Roasty malt character mixed with bourbon and a chocolate undertone at warmer temps. No noticeable hop aroma.

T: Strong vanilla character from the barrel along with caramel and oakey goodness. Dark chocolate, coffee, roasty notes and toffee malts come through distinctly. Hop bitterness keeps the sweetness in check but no real hop flavor detected. There is bit of sweetness but the bourbon quickly over takes it. Very nicely balanced flavors between the stout and the barrel

M: A little bit of a drying on the tongue from the tannins in the wood and tingling from the bourbon. Nice big body with low carbonation. Warming is there to remind you its a big 'un and to warm you up on a -12F WI winter night.

O: Not as big as BCBS and the base beer isn't as complex, but one hell of a substitute. Great clean barrel flavor comes through and the stout is balanced along with it. Can't wait to see how this ages.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap
A - Dark with rich strong head
S - Dark roasted, sweet malts
T - Wow, this is great - sweet and smooth
M - nice and thick
O - This is one of the best fresh BA stout I have had, big sweet flavor but no barrel harshness

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Photo of jlindros
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finally a cool day after a week long heat wave, cool drizzy day is perfect for a stout. Thanks to erric for this one a while back, 2011 vintage.

Pours a decent looking darker colored fizzy light head that is a nice surprise for the abv and age, no real lacing though, super pitch black beer with no light getting through at all, and some lacing on the sides.

Nose is heavenly! A great dark chocolate and hot cocoa mix to start, caramel, dark malts without the roast or acrid burnt aromas, a nice wafty bourbon in the background as well rounding it, sweet bourbon. Then the barrel, so much barrel, some toasted oak, some vanilla, lots of toasted coconut, very faint booze in the background, and more baker's choc coming through.

Taste is very good as well, plenty of dark chocolate and creamy cocoa, hot cocoa with a bit of creamy baker's chocolate and creamy oatmeal with dark chocolate melted in the middle. A bit of booze tingles in the middle, but a clean warming booze. Some caramel as well in there, before more barrel takes over, with more vanilla, light toasty barrel, and again some coconut but not nearly as crazy as the nose was, with faint bourbon on the background. Finish brings more dark chocolate, cocoa, creamy oatmeal and baker's choc lingering quite well, a hint of booze warmth, and more coconut and vanilla barrel, touch more bourbon and creamy oatmeal like, fairly dry.

Mouth is creamy and lush, thick, heavy, some warming tingly booze, decent carb for age and style.

Overall awesome beer, great flavors, perfect amazing aromas, good dark chocolate and caramel blended with lots of awesome barrel flavors, with just the right amount of booze. I don't know if the age really kicked it up a notch, or it is usually like this, but I really need to try one fresh.

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Photo of pagriley
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage (so 1 year old almost exactly). 12oz poured into a pint

A - Thick and black with a thin creamy tan head that dissipates quickly. Thick legs that are almost oily. No light at all penetrates even when held up to the light - perfect black blackness. Some thick sediment with a healthy chunk of yeast left in the bottom of the bottle. Good sign.

S - The only smell on earth known to bring on my happy face - Bourbon is prominent but with lashings of rich roasted malts, toffee, vanilla and raisins. The depth and complexity keeps bringing me back for another sniff and this is still pretty cold - it still has more to give as it opens up and warms.

T - Happy face 2.0 - oodles of thick malty goodness with a warm waft of bourbon with not much heat left. I have had this fresh and it can be hotter, but 1 year lurking in the cellar has done wonders for this beer. All the same dark fruits and caramel notes from the nose are there but integrated with the malt and the bourbon. Some charred oak still comes through with a nice bitterness (from the roast I imagine) to finish. Rich with some sweetness, but the bitterness in the finish balances perfectly. A little astringent tannin on the finish with the oak coming through, but this helps with the balance as well.

M - surprisingly sprightly carbonation given the thin head. It adds a nice spritz to the soft and creamy mouth feel. For such a big beer there is real softness and roundness to all the edges after a year of aging.

O - Utterly perfect. Not as big as some (like BCBS), but just perfectly balanced such that no flavor overwhelms or dominates. The bourbon is done well, but the 1 year in the cellar really is helping to calm this bad boy down and soften the heat. If you spot this it is a must have - drink a couple if you can't resist but you have to put some down for at least a year. I have had a bottle with 4 or 5 years on it a couple of months back and for me at least, some of the oxidized notes were too much - my guess is somewhere in the 1-3 year mark is perfect.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. 2012 Vintage bottle.

Appearance: Pours a dark oily black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of tan head that quickly fade into a small thin patch. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very rich, roasty, and bourbon soaked aroma. Big notes from the barrel up front with hints of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Sweet dark roasted malts with good hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, burnt caramel, toffee, oats, and biscuit. Molasses and maple syrup add some sweetness. Subtle undertones of dark cherry, raisins, fig, and plum. Also a light hint of anise spice. Hop presence is pretty subdued but there is a earthy scent. Really good BA stout aroma.

Taste: Rich, dark, sweet, and bourbon soaked like the taste. Big barrel taste upfront with notes of bourbon whiskey, oak, wood, and lots of vanilla. Dark bready roasted malts with a taste of dark chocolate, coffee, dark toasted bread, biscuit, burnt caramel, toffee, and oats. Sweet molasses and syrup add some more sweetness. Mild taste of anise spicing. Some nice undercurrents of dark fruits with notes of dark cherry, plum, raisin, and fig. Subtle earthy hop bitterness comes in towards the finish. A really good all around stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full and thick bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat syrupy. Booze can be detected bu the heat is fairly mild.

Overall: A really great stout. Very good barrel flavors and good use of dark malts. Sweetness is well balanced.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a dark brown/black, with ok carbonation. The head is one finger thick tan that fades to no lace.

The smell is of bourbon.

The taste is a stout washed in bourbon, the barrel must have had some liquid left in it. The strongest I have tasted. As this warms all kinds of good things happen. The BA comes out fading is the bourbon and i'm getting lost of chocolate and coffee notes. Wow What a treat!

The Mouthfeel is very mood this is a fine sipping beer.

The Drinkability is a little slow from the bourbon but oh so good any how.. Many thanks to NFLMVP for sending me this one. Prosit MK

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Ikea snifter. Pitch black with a small brown head that pops up on the pour, but fades to a ring around the glass almost immediately. Little dots of lace start sticking to the side of the glass.

Super nice aroma - lots of little smells mixed together nicely. I guess the main one is the bourbon vanilla & oak, then there's some dark chocolate in there, a little bit of caramel, and a little bit of hazelnuts.

Flavor is really great. Nice bourbon character without being too overwhelming. Lots of vanilla and woodiness. Somehow, this is the beer that tastes the most like actual bourbon to me, but is also the least overbearing with it. Really perfect integration of the bourbon flavors. Nice dark chocolate, and nice dry finish with just a touch of sweetness without being too syrupy. Alcohol presence is there, without pounding you over the head with it. Really great.

Mouthfeel is perfect, too - Maybe on the thin side for the style, but nice and thick, without being too syrupy or sticky.

Overall, a really great BA stout that isn't too over-the-top and is eminently drinkable. I'm super happy I got to try this! I can't wait to try more from this brewery! Thanks to Coirm for the bottle.

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Photo of DannoP
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Central Waters never let's down with barrel aged beers! These guys have been doing if for over 15 years and it really pays off! This is my go to beer all winter! Great nose of bourbon - not too heavy - subtle sweetness and bourbon present! Love it!

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Photo of craftbeerbyob
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a frothy, white head. No apparent sediment.

S: Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, bourbon. Amazing nose! Make sure to drink this beer in a snifter so you can get your nose in it.

T: You get more vanilla than chocolate, little coffee, and lots of bourbon notes. Phenomenal.

M: This was the worst part of the beer for me, because the beer was too thin and easy drinking for this style. I want a thicker feel for a bourbon stout. This is a small criticism however.

What a beer! It could be right on par with Goose Island Bourbon County until the mouthfeel portion. See if you can get your hands on this great seasonal before it's gone. Cheers!

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks again to nflmvp for this bottle

A - thie stout pours inky black with a lazy tan lacy head

S - wow, what a complex aroma, very enticing, i can distinguish chocolate, cherry, bourbon, and vanilla aromas, you know, this aroma really reminds me of a new frozen drink im addicted to from a coffee shop called It's A Grind, the drink is called a Triple Chocolate Mocha, very similar smell

T - wicked smooth stout, chocolate and vanilla aromas persist to the flavors and are accompanied by toffee as well, and bourbon taste too, which i am taking my roommates word on since i have never had bourbon, but he says its there

M&D - smooth and savory, an amazing stout, super high quality, great tastes, great mouthfeel, super good, thanks a million times over to nflmvp what a beer

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Photo of wyatt13
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 4-pack of this while I was home in Wisconsin over Winter Break and brought the extras back to college. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a small snifter.

A - Definitely black, but I wouldn't say it's like the dead of the night. A little more head than I was expecting from a barrel aged stout, but I'm guessing that could be because it has a (relatively) lower ABV.

S - Boatloads of vanilla and coconut. Certainly some barrel character and roasted malts. Chocolate and caramel are in there too.

T - Jeez, better than I was expecting here. I'm a big fan of vanilla, and the taste of this was right up my alley. It had the creamy vanilla taste of ice cream almost, with a toasty coconut character. Minimal booze evident, if any. Really enjoyable.

M - A little bit thinner than your typical big stout, but certainly not bad.

O - Really great beer, it sounds like the extra 6 months in the barrel paid some serious dividends here. A really delicious barrel-aged stout, especially at the price. Highly recommended.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
I'm fairly certain that weatherdog hooked me up with this one. Thanks!

This pours up a very nice dark brown color. The cappuccino colored head of foam is slight, but remains for awhile. The lacing is quite sticky.

Lots of bourbon, vanilla and oak notes come forward. A very nice coffee presence is just below the surface. Light traces of chocolate and roastiness. Decent amount of booziness comes through, but it's 9.50%abv, so it's kind of expected.

Okay...as you drink this (from a snifter, anyway) you get a nose full of bourbon scents first. Then the liquid flows into your mouth and you get a wonderfully full rush of coffee flavor. It's got a big, dark roasted flavor and has a subtle hint of dark chocolate with it. Then, the vanilla, oak and bourbon notes circle back around and meet you for the finish. Very nicely done.

This is full-bodied and has a light-to-medium level of carbonation. It is nicely smooth and has a good touch of creaminess.

Wow. I can't believe that this beer doesn't get more hype. Really. I'd put this in the same category as BCS or KBS, no problem. This is very tasty and deliciously drinkable to boot!

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Photo of B33R501
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great beer. black, big head, retension, lace. aroma is huge milk chocolate, little bourbon in the background. one of the best smelling beers i have had. tastes milk chocolate, vanilla, wood, lots of bourbon creating a very smooth, creamy, boozy beer. just how i like them. did i say bourbon? and $11.50 per 4, makes this a $5.75 bomber, who needs those $25 bourbon barrel bombers? not me. another superb beer from a very overlooked (at least in my area) brewery. zoom wow.

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Photo of robear
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 release

Appearance: This beer is a touch lighter than most "Imperial" stouts (I usually refer to it as a heavy single stout so folks know what to expect). Pours dark brown with some light getting through around the edges. Really luscious 2 fingers of latte-colored foam.

Aroma: Bourbon hits first followed by a ton of chocolate malt this year. Vanilla and just a hint of baked plums. A little bit of leather.

Taste: Leather, tobacco, chocolate, and bourbon. Tastes like your father's office. A tiny hint of coca cola.

Feel: The slightly lower abv and body help this beer rinse off the palate. None of the stickiness that can happen with bigger BA stouts. Seems like a higher carbonation than most, too (possibly even quite a bit higher than last year). Helps the flavors dance around.

Overall: This is a unique beer. The base stout must be around 9-9.25%, which makes this one of the lightest all-BA stouts on the market. It's better than many special release BA beers that cost twice as much. It's more drinkable than BCBS or Dark Lord, and this year's batch has some extra chocolate flavors to it. CW keeps getting better and better at brewing and barrel aging stouts.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a dark brownish black. Nice chocolate aroma, and the bourbon makes me think of warm fudge. The chocolate and bourbon predominate the taste, followed by creamy spice. I really enjoy how the bourbon doesn't overpower the beer. Instead, it compliments it. Medium mouth. This is easily one of my favorite barrel-aged stouts.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is black with a half finger light brown head that faded quickly.
Aroma is so luxurious. Oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel, chocolate.
The bourbon in the aroma is the perfect amount.
Flavor is oak barrel and vanilla. Milk chocolate and slight burnt sugar. Slight coconut.
Mouthfeel is medium and perfect. Carbonation is perfect and the lingering roast flavors just tops off this wonderful example of a bourbon barrel aged stout.
I wasnt expecting too much but I'm really blown away....or it's been forever since I've had a BB stout.

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Photo of cdanz87
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 release, bought direct from the brewery.

Pours ink black with a small, quickly fading brown head. Boozy, bourbon and dark fruits in the nose. Caramel and bourbon hit the palate first, with dark fruits coming up second. Slight alcohol taste as it warms. Smooth and medium bodied with a slight alcohol warmth. Overall a great barrel aged beer, one of the best bourbon stouts I've had.

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Photo of DudMan
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a nice 2 finger head and nice lacing. I primarily smell chocolate and some sweet vanilla and bourbon. Tastes jus like it smells. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Easy drinking. This is a great beer!

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 2,370 ratings.
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