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

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Liked This Beer
4.26 w/ 2,569 ratings
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
American-style stout aged for 1 year in used 12 year bourbon barrels.

Added by Skidz on 05-28-2004

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Ratings: 2,569 |  Reviews: 699
Photo of largadeer
3.35/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle kindly shared by dyan.

Appearance: Clear dark brown, light in color for the style and a bit thin looking. Pours with a fairly small tan head that settles to a disc fairly quick.

Smell: Musty barrel and a hint of funkiness, as if it's starting to sour. There's a good share of molasses and roasted grain as well. Bourbon makes itself known once the beer reaches room temperature.

Taste & mouthfeel: Mildly acidic initially, followed by a strong roasted bitterness. Sweetness is present more in the form of fruit and caramel than the typical chocolate and molasses notes of this style. The body is on the light side, a touch thin for the style. The finish is oddly tannic and vinous. This one tastes like it's in the early stages of infection.

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Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in fall 2015. Pours nearly opaque dark brown/black color with a small dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toffee, raisin, fig, date, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, coconut, light coffee/leather/tobacco, and oak/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. A bit of booziness as it warms, but nothing significant. Taste of big milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toffee, raisin, fig, date, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, coconut, light coffee/leather, and oak/roasted earthiness. Light-moderate roasted bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toffee, raisin, fig, date, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, coconut, light coffee/leather/tobacco, and oak/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and oak spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from roasted bitterness/oak spice as well. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/silky, and slightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish; with minimal booziness. Overall this is an outstanding BBA stout. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. This was very unique for a stout; as it seemed to have a lot of characteristics related to barleywines, but still remained roasty enough to feel like a stout. A highly enjoyable offering.

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

Poured into KBS snifter.

Pours a light layer of beige head with good retention. Color is a dark brown. A little light for an imp stout.

Aroma: Coconuts!! Wow, I didn't expect that. Amazing. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, and coffee.

Taste: Huge bourbon and oak flavors. Rich chocolate and vanilla, coffee, some light notes of dark fruit. As it warms I smell coconut.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted with some vanilla.

Overall, a very solid ba stout. I am really impressed with CW on this one. Solid BA notes. Pretty drinkable as well.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle marked '05 on the cap.

A rousing pour brings up a short head of thin, frothy tan foam atop its black body. A rim of mahogany can be seen at the base of the glass when held to the light. What head is there holds pretty well, and it initially leaves some thin chips and crags of lace about the glass.

The nose offers some welcoming vanilla, oak, a touch of sweet bourbon, an edge of brown sugar, and some soft notes of milk chocolate.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied, and smooth with a very light tingle from the soft, very fine moderate carbonation.

The flavor is rich, and decidedly oaky rather than bourbonish, but not overbearing. A beautiful yeasty fruitiness adds a smart snap to it that keeps it from going too far towards, oaky/vanilla/bourbon, or dark malts. It's very nicely drinkable in that respect, and yet it's still a sipper - not because it's full, but because there is a bit of complexity to it, and it satisfies with just a nip. Some alcohol is present, but it's just enough to represent the bourbon. It finishes dry but not bitter, due mostly to oak and alcohol; and a short-lingering note of bourbon and some chocolate and roasty maltiness leave you wanting more.

Very nicely done. Delicately balanced. Well brewed. Perfectly aged in oak. If I still ate meat I'd pair this with a slightly charred, medium-rare filet mignon, lightly buttered baked potato, and gently caramelized onions. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of jlindros
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
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 Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
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 Rifugium
4/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. It poured a dark brown color with a thin and spotty tan head scattered across the top.

The aroma has a very nice chocolaty, bourbon flavor to it. I get some of the oak and vanilla from the barrel, but the chocolate and bourbon are really what catch my attention. Some caramel and cocoa flavors start to come out more as it warmed. Pretty modest on the alcohol for the style, and very nice overall.

The taste shows a little more of the barrel and bourbon character to it then the aroma did. I get some woody oak right off the bat, while the bourbon kicks in soon after. The stout flavors come through as a sweeter, cocoa like chocolate flavor with a bit of caramel to it as well. The finish brings a little more bourbon, with a modest alcohol presence.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and carbonation is a little below average. The carbonation fits my tastes for the style pretty well. Drinkability was good, I thought it was a very good barrel aged beer. I really liked the chocolate and bourbon flavors that came together in it. Very nice beer overall.

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Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of vfgccp
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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Photo of atrocity
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of paulish
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Thanks Joe!

A: Black in body with a small head that forms upon pouring but dissipates rather quickly leaving behind a very thin ring and no lacing.

S: Lots of caramel and vanilla upfront with some burnt sugar. A bit of oak comes forward as it warms.

T: A good bit of caramel and vanilla upfront with some chocolate and a little bourbon underneath. Faint oak flavors with a bit of molasses and brown sugar. As it warms there is a faint nutty flavor as well.

M: Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation.

O: A really nice imperial stout here. Liked how present the barrel is even after 1+ years.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'Blindfolded at night' black with red and gold autumn leaves edges when a light source is at hand. The huge, initially cascading, head is the color of brown sugar and is, visually at least, just as dense. When it finally deflates to a mounded lump of cream, a virtually unbroken sheet of thick lace is seen on the upper reaches of the glass. An outstanding look.

The nose is merely good. There's a bargeload of dark chocolate and a whiff of crushed coffee beans. Also apparent, naturally, is a booziness that isn't immediately recognizable as bourbon. It has a vanilla-like character, but none of the other aromas that I usually associate with my favorite liquor. A fine point perhaps, but a crucial one in a beer with 'Bourbon Barrel' in its name.

This is outstanding beer with a massive amount of flavor that sends my taste buds happily reeling. The malt backbone is massive in size and heavily roasted in character. As in the nose, bittersweet chocolate is the focal point, with both bitter and sweet applied with equal force. Thick, black joe refuses to be slighted and is nearly the equal of chocolate on the palate.

For whatever reason, the (considerable) liquor flavor is now obviously bourbon in origin. It's a little on the raw side, but I approve of its no-holds-barred nature. I'm having trouble thinking of another bourbon barrel stout that contains this much bourbon. Those barrels must have been especially absorbent and then leaky in turn.

It's hard to say whether any hops are present given the dominance of malt and alcohol, but I think I can appreciate a citric bite in there somewhere. Warming brings about even greater flavor intensity and even greater melding. The bourbon still seems less than perfectly integrated, but I'm willing to cut it some slack since I love both stout and bourbon.

The mouthfeel strikes a perfect balance and is as silky smooth as it is viscous. It's closer to full than to medium and is perfectly matched to the larger-than-life flavor while still allowing the beer to retain drinkability. Bigger would not necessarily equal better in this case.

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout is as big as its name. If you like both stouts and bourbon whiskey, then you'll love this beer. I really hope this isn't a one-off (since changed to 'winter release'), because I'd hate to think this is the only bottle I'll ever have the opportunity to drink. A huge thank you to Skidz for an incredible beer.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94.4% out of 100 with 2,569 ratings
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