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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: 647 | Ratings: 2,370
Photo of laza1979
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, poured in to a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

2010 vintage

A: dark brown with reddish hue when held in to light, 1 finger light brown head that quickly faded to leave nice lacing on the glass.

S: coffee, chocolate, with a hint of bourbon.

T: very well balanced blend of coffee and bourbon.

M: medium bodied, especially when compared to other bourbon stouts.

D: very drinkable, very smoothed out bourbon flavor, with only a slight bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got as an extra in a trade.

Pours a dark ruby brown color with tan head and good lacing. The smell seems to be dominated by a brownie like aroma, with very faint hints of the sweet edgy bourbon barrel. As it warms, notes of vanilla/oak appear as well as some burnt currants. Not a terribly bad aroma, but not on the level of most bourbon barrel beers. I would hope for more of the barrel affecting the beer.

The taste has a lot more molasses and malt to it, and a nice barrel affect that is really quite subtle compared to most barrel aged beers, i usually like a little more. Seems like the beer hadn't aged in the bourbon barrel for long, and also is young with lots of heat. A bittersweet finish is nice, but maybe a little dry in this style for me. Some chocolate brownie but less than the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium, and a little over carbonated for me. I also get a good dose of alcohol burn which isn't overly inviting and covers up a lot of the flavor. Not terrible, just a little over 'average' since it's semi coating.

The beer is good overall, but nothing special, especially after things like Goose Island BCBS or KBS or any of the other well known bourbon barrel beers.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours Coca Cola brown, no head and a ring of mediocre lacing.

Heat - Bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, maple syrup.

Lots of vanilla, tons of sweet sugar. Alcohol heavy, dry and vicious bourbon and loads of it hit in the finish.

Lighter mouthfeel than expected. Lots of carbonation, vivid mouthfeel. ABV at 9.5 seems exactly right if not surprisingly low. The aftertaste is bourbon, after a few drinks, your breath will smell exactly like a whiskey bottle.

This beer is bourbon heavy, to date probably the most I've ever tasted the influence of it. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved from ROBORB in a trade.

A - A dark brown beer, lighter for something that is an imperial stout. Tan head that had mild retention, left the sides of the glass clean.

S - Bourbon is a hot, some chocolate, bit of coffee and roast. It smells a little thin and that it also needs time to cool down a little bit.

T - Tastes like a fairly young, somewhat average, bourbon barrel stout. Hot, a little astringent. Bourbon comes through, and has a little bit of a souring affect. Chocolate is probably the most dominant flavor. This is okay, but definately not great.

M - Just a little bit too thin, burns a little bit.

D - Decent enough for a 9.5%, this is okay, but nothing I would seek out.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to whartontallboy for this bottle!

The BBBW was quite the disappointment...hopefully this had better experiences with the barrel. It pours a ruby-tinted black-brown topped by a half-finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises roasted caramel corn (it blasted me in the face...like opening one of those tri-popcorn tins around the holidays...), oak, vanilla, whiskey, and roasted marshmallows. Strange that the barrels o'erwhelm all else. The taste delivers the expected roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate...then another strong tsunami of bourbon-soaked wood. Still pretty good, though. The body is a strong medium, with a moderate carbonation and a slightly chewy feel. Overall, another disappointment, but nowhere near as deep as the BBBW. It's a pretty good -bal stout (as the West-Coasters would say), but the wood's a bit much for me, smothering the stout-y qualities a bit.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for letting me have a chance at this beer.

This beer displays a darkness with a finger of light tan foam. The smell is of bourbon, dark chocolate, rum raisin and butterscotch. The tastes reminds of bourbon mostly with some roasted malts, caramel, and a bit of raisin. The mouthfeel is a tad on the hot side for my liking and could do with some time to age. This drinks pretty well, but still as I said before if aged I would hope that it would mellow. This beer is very good, but has the potential to be much more.

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Photo of seeswo
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Central Waters is a really fantastic local brewery that brews such beers as Brewhouse Coffee Stout, Peruvian Morning, Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Bourbon Barrel Stout and Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout.

The Bourbon Barrel Stout pours opaque black color with minimal head. Smells of strong vanilla. Like, Backwoods Bastard levels of vanilla. Taste is vanilla and booze. Not super smooth, but good. Maybe just a tad muddled. There is a flavor in the middle carried through the end that could probably go, but it is small. I said backwoods bastard already, but this tastes like the imperial stout, little brother version of it (lesser vanilla, booze, stickiness, etc).

I find this beer to be pretty good and am interested in trying this with a little bit of time on it (this is the most recent version which literally just came out). A really solid barrel-forward, barrel-aged stout. If value were figured into the review, it would be a solid A, as a 4-pack of this beer is $10.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown with a mild off-white head, good lace.

S: Molasses, coffee, cocoa nibs.

T: Dark chocolate with a lot of upfront fresh bourbon barrel character with a considerable coffee play. A real nice mix of flavours.

M: Smooth, creamy, soft carbonation, moderately high viscosity, full-bodied for sure.

D: A very enjoyable big stout from this Wisconsin brewer. A definite buy if I'm ever in the area.

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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 GoGriz
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

Peruvian Morning is one of my favorites so it comes as no surprise to me that I would like this too.

Appearance is actually lighter and more cola-esque then I anticipated. head is full and recinds somewhat quick. Delicate wispy lacing left on the sides of the glass.

Smell is caramel, molasses, booze and char at the end which also came as a surprise.

Taste is where the beer is best. On the dryer side of the stout scale with a nice and light malt bill followed by caramel and bourbon. Good integration of flavor with a subtle bitter back end to the finish.

Mouthfeel is nice with more effervescense than I normally like out of a big stout but it doesn't detract from this brew.

Definitely feel the alcohol in the chest and while I like this beer I would be happy only having one. I want to stock up on this and also drink past vintages if anyone has them to trade. This will surely get better with some age on it I gotta believe!

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

Poured form 12oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. 1 finger tan colored head. Decent retention. Not much lacing. Color is black.

S. Chocolate, bourbon, molasses, coffee, alcohol, roasted malt.

T. Taste is pretty smooth. Coffee, chocolate, bourbon, roasted malt. Some vanilla, maybe a litte bit of oak.

M. Full bodied. Decent carbonation. Smooth drinking.

D. This is a surprisingly easy drinking Bourbon Barrel Stout. Not as complex as the best of the best, but goes down super easy. A very solid beer.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color that I first thought was black, with a minimal amount of head. Head turns into a layer of bubbles around the outside of the glass and leaves pretty much no lacing at all.

S- Smell is vanilla, bourbon and a heavy boozy smell. I'm also picking up some chocolate and roastiness. A bit of a wood smell here too.

T- Taste is great. Starts out with a mild vanilla and slightly smoky note. After that is tastes mostly of roastiness and touches of toffee. Not overly complex and again the vanilla is the prominent taste

M- On the lighter side of medium in body and light on the carbonation. I wish this one was a bit thicker, which is really my only complaint about this brew.

D- Its good and very easy to drink. Again my only knock is that I wish it was a bit fuller in body, but overall very excellent brew.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid drinkable Bourbon Stout. Living in Chicago, i often tend to judge the Bourbon Stouts against BCS, which is both unfair and hard since BCS is one of the most Bourbon upfront beers out there, but in any case, this one comparetivly has just a mention of bourbon that comes through more in vanilla and oak then in bourbon hotness, which is great for making this an approachable sipper. The complementary roast and molasses lends their part to the story and create one big tasty Impy Stout that is well worth picking up if you see if.


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Photo of Ryan011235
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 11/8/10

2010 vintage, bottled January

With many thanks to levifunk

Pours a clean, medium brown. Though darker in the glass it isn't black but a dark brown tinge. Just under one finger of loose, bubbly foam. The head thins quickly to a skim & some bubbles. A drippy trail of lace remains on a portion of the glass. Some wine-like legs are also to be had.

Ah, the aroma is easily accessible for a bourbon barrel stout. Vanilla is stronger than the oak, which in turn is stronger than the bourbon itself. Indeed, the bourbon merely lights on the cusp of the nose. Underneath the vanilla & oak are (again, considering the style) reasonably subtle layers of sweetened chocolate, toffee & hints of roasted coffee. Seemingly leaning more toward sweet than roasted, it's a clean aroma overall, with a slightly earthy, dusty bent in back.

The first sip surrenders a spot of bourbon upfront; though it initially is fleeting, said bourbon regroups & finishes out toward the finish. Whilst the bourbon is departed, roasted chocolate, roasted undertones & charred oak move in to occupy the void. I find it to be a great balance between sweet & roasted/charred. Vanilla is less of a focal point than in the nose; befitting the beer, in my opinion. The latter half is dry with a few hints of roasted coffee.

No mistake, this is a full bodied beer overall but it's toward the lighter end of the spectrum compared to some of it's counterparts. However, it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the beer. Carbonation is pretty low; fairly smooth but not quite creamy; just enough agitation to keep this out of lackadaisical territory. As mentioned earlier, bourbon is once again manifest on the finish.

Drinkability is very high in the realm of bourbon barrel stouts. Though warming (especially by the end) alcohol heat isn't at all overbearing; rather there isn't much heat aside from a little on the the back quarter & finish. Possibly it has mellowed since fresh but this is boasts high accessibility.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour is dark brown, light tan head.

Toffee and caramel, butterscotch and booze and alcohol.

Taste is initially boozy, with bourbon being the forward. Slightly sweet, with lingering cocoa.

Feel is medium to full in body with a nice creamy feel.

Drinkability is ok. Slightly boozy and the bourbon makes a solid appearance.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is dark brown with a slight mocha head and a touch of lacing. Nose is bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, and molasses. The taste really brings the bourbon through and it is not especially hot, melding quite well with the oak and vanilla. Touch of sweetness. Good creamy feel. Another solid -bal beer from CW.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this one. 2010 vintage. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields a .25 finger fine, light mocha head with poor retention. Beer is a dark, near opaque mahogany-brown. Lacing is stringy and spotty with little cling.

S: Nose is incredibly on-point. Barrels are prominent and serve to amplify the dark fruit, liquorice, chocolate, and roasted malt bitterness. Also maple syrup.

T: Vanilla, bourbon, raisins, prunes, and liquorice upfront. Roasted malt bitterness and cocoa powder lingers in the back, covered by the sweet kiss of chocolate and maple syrup. Booze kicks up at the middle and towards end, finishing with flavors of chocolate, fudge, and liquified fruit. Finish is chocolate with a boozy, sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, and smooth and oily in the mouth. Slightly abrasive from the booze and this one's not shy about its ABV. Finish is messy and aftertaste sticks.

D: I'm gradually starting to think that Central Waters makes the best line of imperial stouts of anyone. Satin Solstice, Cherry Bourbon Stout, now this? Every offering is incredible!! Definitely give this a try. Probably one of the best bal- beers around, period!

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Photo of fear025
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the GLBF 2010.

Aroma:Huge bourbon aroma with dark malt.

Appearance:Black, nearly opaque very little head.

Taste:Huge bourbon flavor. It's tough to get past the bourbon, but once you do there's also dark malt in there with the typical dark malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel:Medium to thick body. Slight harsh astringency.

Drinkability:This is a huge bourbon bomb.

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Photo of crossovert
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage.

It pours a dense black with a foamy, but also somewhat fizzy off-white/beige head. It does leave some pretty nice lacing.

The smell has quite a bit of depth. On first smell you get a huge whiff of bourbon, on second you get the huge cocoa presence, and then comes the oak. There is also some subtle biscuit, caramel, and vanilla in the aroma as well.

This is one of those bourbon barrel stouts that brings more than cloying sweetness and bourbon. The stout base balances the bourbon nicely with a huge amount of coffee and chocolate flavors. The bourbon cuts like a knife through the middle though providing a nice alcoholic bite, though as mentioned it isn't cloying. It could use a bit more depth however.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style.

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Photo of hawks10
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz - Bottled January 2010 - Poured into my Central Waters pint glass...

Pours a not quite opaque dark brown with crimson edges when given some light. One finger of light tan head forms and recedes quickly leaving no traces...

A delicious, strong, sweet bourbon aroma to start with bits of vanilla, very sweet and inviting. Slightly boozy with some oak and roasty hints...

Slightly sweet at first, bourbon warmth hits initially. Very oaky, almost a drying effect from the strong oak presence. Beer becomes bitter, a strong roasted/coffee taste in the finish is a stark contrast from the initial flavors. A tiny bit of vanilla comes forward as the beer warms...

Heavy bodied with low carbonation, creamy and delicious. The bitter coffee aftertaste lingers a bit longer than I'd like, but still a very good beer!

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Photo of Pencible
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a translucent black mahogany with a bit of off-white head.
S: It smelled like strong rich coffee with bitter chocolate and a bit of molasses and vanilla.
T: It tasted like roasted coffee and cream with milk chocolate and a bit of oak. It had a bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with a little carbonation - surprisingly thin.
D: This was a very nice imperial stout with great coffee flavor and subtle complexities. The body was somewhat weak, but it hid the alcohol well, so it was easy to drink. I enjoyed this better than their Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, and it may improve further with age.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown color, bordering on black. No sediment. Not particularly translucent.

S: Coffee, alcohol, molasses, and chocolate.

T: Coffee, dark roasted malts, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and oak. Very good flavor overall.

M: Good mouth feel. Medium body. Appropriate texture for the body.

D: Very drinkable for the genre and ABV. Balanced and nicely done overall.

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Photo of chicano4craft
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in Madison,WI at the Old Fashion. This was a steal for $3.25! A 2010 bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with very little head. Retains a halo of tiny white bubbles throughout.

Nose is mostly booze at first. It's a very nice woody bourbon. Some vanilla.

Starts a little hot. A rich stout is in the background of the bourbon. As it warmed there was more chocolate and distant cherries. At the end it reminded me of bourbon soaked cherries coated in dark chocolate my wife once made around Christmas time. Freaking awesome!

Mouthfeel is not as heavy as the nose would lead you to believe. It's actually a little thin for the style. It still maintains some serious flavor.

Very enjoyable. I was very excited for the chance to try this beer and it did not disappoint. I'm sure some age would make this stout even better.

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Photo of glazeman
3.42/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5


Extra from jcnd9803 in a recent trade. Thanks! Poured into a snifter.

A: Dark brown in color. Some light mocha colored head, but not much. Poor head retention, no lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon on the nose, and not too much else to be honest, but there is some coffee a little deeper.

T: Again, like the nose, there is a lot of bourbon, but the taste seems a little watered down. There's not much interesting coffee, vanilla, or chocolate that I have grown accustomed to in other bourbon aged stouts.

M: Too thin for my liking

D: Overall, the thinness, and simplicity of this beer make it quite drinkable. The alcohol content is hidden well and is not all that high to begin with.

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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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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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